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Showing posts from August, 2012

Eyewear At Free Verse 2012! See You There...

Gone: a brief comment

Gone, a recent thriller, was a box office flop, and a critical car crash.  This is a pity.  I feel it was entirely misread as a film.  Instead of seeing it as a generic serial killer / girl in peril movie, consider the subtext as the text.  And the subtext is complex and refreshing and disturbing - for the heroes of the film are not the bumbling and patronising male cops, boyfriends, or even killer, or false (female) therapist or co-worker - but two sisters - one a recovering alcoholic, the other a former mental patient.  Because of their love, and intelligence, they manage to survive one day's ordeal, and dispatch the evil that threatens them.  The screenplay is both mythic and rather glumly local (in a Joycean way) - for Portland is a small place, and even the car chases are low-key.


The best part of the film is how Amanda Seyfried's feisty, haunted (and yes, sexy) heroine lies to everyone she meets, as she does her best Nancy Drew, "five-foot-four, blonde, blue eyes, a…

New Poem by Todd Swift

I was at a wedding this summer, and doodled this on a napkin.  I offer it to you all, at summer's end.

For K& S

when lovers dance inside their box
the locksmith loosens all his locks

the keys with which the player plays
release the priest from what she prays

the fox outleaps the highest praise
so marriage dances on our gravest days

each ringed hand ringing as it peals
for love speaks parables of what it feels.

poem by Todd Swift

Guest Review: George on Bourne

James A. George reviews
The Bourne Legacy
The Bourne trilogy set a new benchmark for the Hollywood action film. Intrigue, mystery and more sophisticated crafting with its action scenes propelled Matt Damon’s Jason Bourne into pop-culture. The last two of the trilogy, directed by Paul Greengrass, took on a looser form than the original but kept the audience sympathetic to Bourne. Looser in terms of keeping to the script too. And perhaps for the best.
The screenwriter for the Bourne films, based on the novels of Robert Ludlum, is Tony Gilroy, now director of The Bourne Legacy. Tony Gilroy made his first big splash however with Michael Clayton, one of the very best political thrillers to ever hit the cinema and rightfully won a great many awards. However, this movie is built up of intense moments touching on a variety of serious issues that never seem to connect or add up. The films subplot explores the dangers and hidden agendas of pharmaceutical companies, but you’d be forgiven for thinki…

Bottled Air, coming Spring 2013!

Guest Review: Stainton On Edwards

Ben Stainton reviews
Clueless Dogs by Rhian Edwards


At a time when contemporary poetry seems to be leaning towards the anti-lyrical, the anti-personal, the irony-heavy and the ‘shrugging’ (to use Jack Underwood’s description), Rhian Edwards’ debut collection – autobiographical, image-laden, crafted and musical – takes its cues from more traditional sources. This is a poetry of the expected, inasmuch as it does what poems are ‘supposed to do’ – speak about the writer’s firsthand (quirky, affecting, disturbing) experiences in a relatively uncomplicated, feelingly anecdotal way. No bad thing for those who require or admire such qualities in poetry; and this approach is sometimes telling. The absolute clarity of ‘Parents’ Evening’, for example, offers up some attractive lines and even the weaker-seeming units function in the abbreviated manner of a school report –
            She has failed to grasp the planets…
            has proven violent in games…
            has learned to darn starf…

Daryl Hine Has Died

Sad news.  One of Canada's greatest poets, Daryl Hine, has died suddenly, at the age of 76.  When Evan Jones and I co-edited Modern Canadian Poets for Carcanet in 2010, we began with very few certitudes.  One of them was that Hine would be included.  He was a master formalist, perhaps the major North American formalist (alongside Wilbur), a delicious wit, and the former editor of Poetry magazine: a truly cosmopolitan Canadian.

Poets For Pussy Riot

Poets for Pussy RiotWednesday August 29th 2012 - 7pm until late - Free entranceat the Rich mix arts centre, main space venue35-47 Bethnal Green Road, London E1 6LA 020 7613 7498http://www.richmix.org.uk/whats-on/event/poets-for-pussy-riot/http://www.poetrylibrary.org.uk/events/readings/?id=7916With the news that Nadezhda Tolokonnikova, Maria Alyokhina and Yekaterina Samutsevich of the Russian punk collective, Pussy Riot, were sentenced to two years in prison for a wholly necessary and valid political protest, contemporary poets in London will come together in a unique evening of readings, featuring original poetry and text, as well as the words of Pussy Riot themselves. This event is an act of solidarity through the medium of poetry - a celebration of the courage and spirit of fellow writers of this generation, writing for real political change in a country that needs it.
The event will feature over 30 poets, including Tim Atkins, David Berridge, Harry Burke, Becky Cre…

Gone Fishing

Eyewear is getting some shut eye for a fortnight, in order to take a much needed post-Olympic break.  See you end of August.  I wish you grass.  I wish you sun.  I wish you sand.  I wish you a hammock, and a cool breeze.  I wish you some poetry books, or a charity shop thriller, or both.  Maybe a G&T, or some lemonade.  In the meantime, feel free to enjoy our unrivalled back catalogue of posts stretching back to 2005.  Countless poems, reviews, and opinion pieces.  I wish you love and health.

THE EYEWEAR CANON: BLAKE MORRISON

Greatest Britain

Eyewear's belief in the 2012 London Olympics has been totally vindicated, not least by Jonathan Freedland and Blake Morrison, both writing lyrically in today's Guardian.  One of the greatest games ever held - and surely the fairest, with no teams boycotting and women represented as never before - it has showcased a bold, lively, upbeat, good Britain - filled with enthusiastic, celebratory people able to enjoy the successes of themselves and others.  The nay-sayers are wrong about the Olympics, and always were - its ideals are real, as are its golden gifts.  The Games inspire and reveal the best of ourselves - as competitors, as hosts and as audience.  I am proud to live in London, and to be on track to get British citizenship.  I have lived in London for 9 years now, and am happy to be here.  British people, too often sold short by their media and their bankers and their politicians - have risen to the occasion, and vaulted over the establishment to make this a People's Ga…

Poetry Focus On: JESSICA MAYHEW

Eyewear is very glad to feature a poem today by Jessica Mayhew.  She is a 22-year-old student with a BA (Hons) in English Literature and Creative Writing. She will be studying for a Masters in English Literature at UCL this autumn. Her poetry and fiction has been published in magazines such as Staple, Coffee House, Cadaverine, Seventh Quarry, Party in Your Eyesocket, Cooldog and Hearing Voices. She has given readings, including at the Southwell and Ledbury poetry festivals. Her first pamphlet was published in 2012 by Crystal Clear Creators, and is titledSomeone Else’s Photograph. It is available from the Crystal Clear Creators website.
My Grandmother’s Grandfather
I watched her dream back to Lerwick, her chair hollowed to fit her, printing withered lips on water glasses the shade of the sand on Muckle Roe. She dammed the North Sea there with wet, gritted handfuls and mouse-earred chickweed shuddered white, sky dark as an under-wing.
Down on the aer, above the rush and kurr of the waves,…

B Is For Bolt

Eyewear was in the Olympic Stadium last night for the greatest show on earth - Usain Bolt's run into history, as world's fastest man, redux.  First, let me say that if Britain was run like the Olympics we would all be better off - it was efficient, uniformly friendly, and upbeat.  Britain isn't broken, it just needs to rise to the occasion which it is doing for these games, splendidly.  Secondly, let me note that poetry is not as great as sport.  Hearing and seeing 80,000 people erupt in joy after Bolt ran is a corrective to the notion that poems just need to be clearer, or rhyme, or be in traditional forms, or funny, to "win an audience".  No, to win an audience these days, one needs to genuinely enthral, thrill and impress, with something astounding.  There is no sense of cheap faux celebrity about Bolt.  The greatness is in the doing, and the deed is heroic.  Finally, on the subject of Bolt's authenticity - God, let's hope there's no doping involve…

Guest Review: Bowden On La Havas

Eyewear's Music Critic Lydia Bowden On Lianne La Havas
I can’t have an ice-cream without thinking about Lianne La Havas. Why? Because I swear she sings that instead of ‘I scream’ in her debut single ‘Is Your Love Big Enough?’- and of course it isn’t ice-cream- but La Havas’ voice sounds so much like flowing caramel, if there was such a thing, so I guess that connotation with ice-cream is fair enough on my part.
Seriously though, this girl’s voice is deliciously smooth. Not only that, but even the music sounds just as sweet. Insisting on playing her own highly strapped guitar, La Havas gives off this dreamlike effect through her music with random scales on guitar and experimental notes with her husky voice.

A Londoner- part Greek, part Jamaican- and yet another artist having emerged from Later…with Jools Holland, La Havas is something like Corinne Bailey Rae, but it’s something much more refreshing , something a little more honest and stylish from this young 22 year old.
It’s this …

Guest Review: Williamson On Womack

Heidi Williamson reviews
Misprint
by James Womack


If you’re the sort of bookshop browser who does judge a book by its cover, you’ll get a good indication of the content of James Womack’s debut poetry collection from its aptly chosen cover art. As well as its obvious references to historical, social, cultural, and political concerns, ‘The Origin of Socialist Realism’ by the two-man Russian √©migr√© collective Komar and Melamid is technically adept, self-consciously ironic, and provocative about the nature of art and the role of the artist. These are also features of Womack’s highly articulate and assured work.

Having seen his poems in PN Review and the Guardian online, I was aware of Womack as a poet with an ambitious reach – not afraid to tackle subjects like politics, terrorism, and war, but with a nice line in irony that shifts the tone of his work well out of the bounds of ‘worthiness.’

In this book he’s as comfortable and convincing narrating a seemingly ‘real-life’ story about ‘Vomit’ a…

Less Than Vertigo

Eyewear's favourite film has been Vertigo for some time (see my post from four years ago).  How could it not be?  The fetishism, scopophilia, love-death soundtrack, high romance, and melancholia of desire all make it grist for my mill.  So though I love Welles and his Kane, the news that Sight & Sound's once-a-decade critics poll has finally moved Hitch's greatest film to top place - a vertiginous place - is news to celebrate.