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Showing posts from October, 2009

Dorothy Molloy's third book

Dorothy Molloy, the Irish poet, died in 2004, ten days before her Faber collection was published. It was a tragic debut. Her second collection was prepared posthumously, and also came out from Faber. Now, her partner has brought out her third and final collection, Long-distance Swimmer, with Irish press Salmon. As Andrew Carpenter writes in his Introduction, "Dorothy would have been delighted to know that Salmon was publishing her work." I've yet to read the book in depth, but it seems an image-rich, dark, and lively collection that I look forward to reading. New books from other Irish writers that have appeared recently, include C.L Dallat's, and the new one from Siobhan Campbell, Cross-Talk.

Queyras and Starnino

Good news. Canada's major poetry award, the GGs, has shortlisted two key 21st century poet-critics, Carmine Starnino and Sina Queyras, who represent widely divergent poetics. Both edited major Canadian anthologies recently - Open Field and The New Canon. As poets their work represents the major trends in new Canadian poetry. It'll be interesting to see who wins.

Introducing Kavita Joshi

Friends, the new assistant editor of Eyewear is Ms. Kavita Joshi. She is a fine younger British poet and recent university graduate from Leicester, where she studied literature. From time to time she may update the site. Mainly, she will oversee it in a caretaker capacity. Hopefully, pending reviews can be added later in the year.

Poetry and illness

Thank you, friends and followers, for keeping me on your radar. I saw my doctor again today. I am unfit for work, require more investigations, and am currently switching to a new treatment regime. I am in great pain most of the time. What a beautiful October weekend it was: the end of the British summer, and the best weather of the year. I am deeply moved by love and friendship now - more even than art, it endures, and matters. I cannot imagine what I ever had to complain about - if I did. What I had, before this ill health came, was a great treasure. The treasure remains. A dear true love. One thinks of poets and illness - Keats the best known, and not just because of the new film, Bright Star, which I hear is superb. Dylan Thomas, too. Eliot's nerves. Plath. The list is long. I am not sure pain makes things better creatively, though Delmore Schwartz thought so. Be good to each other. Don't take poetry prizes too seriously - I suppose my two main messages. I…

New Religion

The surprise move by the Catholic church to welcome dissenting Anglicans, even married priests, into the fold, is disconcerting. I'd take advantage of it as I am an Anglican moving towards Rome, however the main reasons most want to switch not fight are intolerant; namely, homophobia and other small-minded positions. This sort of thing means that when Stephen Fry recently debated against the Church he was able to use the subtlety of a Dan Brown to shoot fish in a barrell. A pity, because the good that Catholicism does in Britain and the world is greater than the evils its detractors claim.

The Fountain

Echo and the Bunnymen have an 11th album, if not an 11th hour conversion. But they have made a pop album that is almost annoyingly upbeat, and it sounds like Snow Patrol too often. While the fabulous wordplay surrounding sacharine, Shroud of Turin, and sack you're in is fun, nothing here reaches the splendour of Ocean Rain, or the erotic danger of Lips Like Sugar. A disappointment after Siberia, but worth listening to if a true fan.

Joseph Wiseman Has Died

Sad news. The great Montreal-born character actor, Joseph Wiseman, unforgettable as the first major Bond villain, Dr No, has died. He was also in The Apprenticeship of Duddy Kravitz, that important Canadian-American film set in Montreal.

Update On Poetry Day

I was reading Helen Gardner the other day on the "art of TS Eliot" and it struck me that the phrase he borrowed from Julian of Norwich, for his Four Quartets, "and all shall be well..." has come to be, I think, widely seen as his. Allusion begets authorship. Today is National Poetry Day in Britain. I am still dealing with a condition that basically has three outcomes - one, it clears up in a few months; two, it becomes chronic, and I am on medication for life; or three, it becomes chronic until treated with surgery. It isn't, currently, life-threatening - though it can become pre-cancerous if not treated thoroughly and effectively. The problem is, the medication has side effects, and the condition itself is unpleasant, and sometimes alarmingly painful. I don't want to belly ache: there are many people with worse conditions. However, because I have erosive esophagitis, it means that there is near constant burning down the length of my food pipe; and, …

Roman Knows

Thanks for all the get-well comments. My condition is ongoing but hopefully can be managed by the treatments on offer. At the moment I am mostly in some pain throughout the day. I don't intend to return too often to these pages for a month or so, but did want to briefly mention that, after thinking about it, I agree with the arrest of Polanski. Chinatown is a great film, and was once my favourite, - as is Fearless Vampire Killers, Bitter Moon, and Frantic - but what he did (which he admitted to) is a crime that warrants punishment. As with Pound, we can have the man, and the work, and need not tar the one with the other. Polanski's tormented, oddly unfortunate life deepened the filmic intensity of his best projects, but the films rarely open out onto any apology or remorse, for evil. They're works of genius; but a genius inflected darkly.