Wednesday, April 18, 2007

The new Peter Gizzi book has arrived at last. It's called 'The Outernationale'. His last book 'Some Values of Landscape and Weather' was so good, I thought this one may disappoint, but it hasn't. It's got the same mastery of lyric form, in a tradition running from Wallace Stevens through John Ashbery, but made distinctly his own. It's very similar to his previous book, but not to his early work, which may mean that he's established his mature style. The same concerns are there - the nature of perception, how perception and language interact, visual art and social concerns (there's a lot more politics in this book than is first apparent). And there's at least one unabashed love poem. Like Rae Armantrout, who I'm also currently reading, Gizzi has the ability to pick images and phrases that suggest a lot with a few words. But Gizzi's poetry is more sensual and lyrical. Both poets are published in superb hardback editions by Welseyan.

Just had a weeks's family holiday in Andalucia. Not good for my 'carbon footprint', but we are holidaying in England in the summer. Weather poor. We visited the Alhambra palace in Granada on a day of heavy rain and cold wind. Last time I went there, in the mid-80s it was an idyllic experience. Since then the whole process of visiting has been industrialised, and the sheer number of visitors and guided parties (not helped by officious staff) is threatening to overwhelm a place whose attraction is its small-scale delicacy. I suppose its all down to people like me taking advantage of cheap air travel.

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