Friday, July 27, 2007

Current reading:

'Migrations', the long, modernist poem by Mexican poet, Gloria Gervitz. Encompassing Mexican life, Jewish identity and the immigrant experience. And of course, it's by a woman, and the central relationships in the poem are mother/daughter/grandmother - a feminine presence, sometimes a real woman, sometimes an oracle or female deity, haunts the poem. The wide-format book gives it the space it deserves, and some pages with a few lines, even a single line, give it an impressive visual impact.

Selected poems of Joanne Kyger, seminal American West Coast poet, who seems to have influenced a lot of people, from the Beats to the New Yorkers, with her Buddhist poetry of immediate experience. The notebook is the typical vehicle here for conveying moment-to-moment perception with quietness and gentle humour.

Next week I'm on a business trip to the Nissan car plant at Sunderland, and a week today we're off on a family holiday to Devon and Cornwall. Currently trying to plan a route that avoids flooded areas, taking plenty of books to read and games to play, as there seems no end in sight to the rainy weather.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

No Sounds of My own Making

I'm happy to announce the publication of John Bloomberg-Rissman's new book 'No Sounds of my Own Making'. The book is available via Lightning Source's distribution channels in the UK and the USA. See the catalogue for more details.

I was re-reading this work the other night and reminded of its skillfully-handled rhythm and pace. The conception of a lyric poem as a short, self-contained unit, encompassing completion and which can be admired and dwelt on by the reader, is confounded by work like this. In a non-narrative poem of 200 pages, the reader is urged forward, and, rather than contemplate what has gone before, is presented with a turn of direction or phrase which modifies the passage just read, before being in turn affected by what comes after. Tom Raworth is a presence in these lines. It's invigorating, and not at all difficult, provided that you just go with it.

The poem is in the Hay(na)ku form invented by Eileen Tabios. Each stanza has three lines, and a total of 6 words: 1 in the first line, 2 in the second line, and 3 in the third line. It's a simple, but flexible and quick-paced form.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

During the thirty days of June, the Leafe Press site had 8,181 visitors. A record. Almost twice the number of any previous month, and so far, July is shaping up to be the same. I don't know why; it's possibly because I've been linked by some big sites, including Salt Publishing. Now I know that many of these visitors will be 'spiders' and other software from search engines and so on. But that's still a healthy hit-rate.

Thursday, July 5, 2007

One of my poems has just been published on Great Works. It has seven sections, so make sure you click on the 'next text' link. It's called 'Variations on Painting a Room'. Thanks to editor Peter Philpott.

Wednesday, July 4, 2007

Alistair Noon's review of Gael Turnbull's Collected is now up on Litter. Turnbull is a good example of how a good, perhaps great, poet, can slip through the net. He's from the same mould as Roy Fisher and Charles Tomlinson; indeed, regarded by both as a mentor and trailblazer, but was less well-known than either during his lifetime. In fact, his work, until recently, was unknown outside samizdat circles, despite the 'accessibility' of much of it. I'm not sure why this is - maybe he was too various a writer to fit into a marketing or academic category. Maybe he confused people by living in more than one country, or offended them by taking an interest in American and French poetry. Whatever the reasons for Turnbull's lack of visibilty, his career certainly proves that writing very good poetry is no guarantee of recognition.