Wednesday, January 17, 2007

The Flying Goose is a tiny venue with a great atmosphere and a nice mixture of regulars and newcomers. I'm a regular and I can usually catch up with friends and acquaintances there. The readings are organised by John Lucas, and they've been running for four years now. John has kindly opened the floor to Leafe Press poets, including Lee Harwood, Kelvin Corcoran and C.J. Allen.

At the start of the evening John Seed read from his 'New and Collected', and, after a break for wine and conversation (and book buying) he read from 'Pictures from Mayhew'. He described Mayhew's reportings on the London poor as a nineteenth century Ullyses (the Joyce version) - a vast proto-modernist collection of voices. He also read from the second volume, due out from Shearsman Books this year, and finished by reading some versions of, or at least poems inspired by, classical Chinese. I already had the Mayhew book, but I bought the other one and got him to sign it. It looks like a fine collection, Objectivist-inspired and influenced I suspect by Richard Cadell, who published Seed's first two collections. Right up my street. And a fine reading I thought.

At one point Seed asserted that "we all speak in verse, and in fragments. We're all poets - we're not novelists and we're not realists". I'll buy that.

2 comments:

John Bloomberg-Rissman said...

Not sure I entirely buy Seed's comments. We all tell stories (narrative being perhaps the essence - an essence - of consciousness) so we're novelists, too. How does he distinguish between gebnres, by the way? (We're all dramatists, too, for that matter, as our narratives often include others, who are usually reduced to characters in the drama/comedy in which we of course we have the leading role ...)

Litterbug said...

Hi John

I agree that our consciousness in general could be seen as analogous to a drama or a novel. Seed was more specifically talking about our speech, and about the fact that we don't talk in sentences, and that verbatim reporting of real speech reveals it as fragmentary and verse-like. But I agree that in terms of our consciousness narrative is important, and as you point out, character.

Alan