Monday, December 17, 2007

The Man in Black

This new volume of poetry from David Caddy, editor of the excellent 'Tears in the Fence' dropped on my doormat last week,and very welcome it was too. In his review of Kelvin Corcoran, Kris Hemesley sees that poet as working on a project to define Englishness. Caddy could be seen as engaged in a similar project, and within the same radical and dissenting tradition; his journal "So Here We Are: Poetic Letters From England", is fascinating contribution to that project. Poet of rural South-West England with echoes of Bunting and the MacSweeney of 'Ranter', Caddy enlists to the cause, among others, Coleridge, Johnny Cash and Lady Jane Davy. There's a search for a sense of identity:

Look, we lost ourselves and choices
some time ago, when the land
was untied, overfed, resold
and the local animals were driven away.

Caddy looks to the people forgotten by globalised urban society, like the Quakers who found common cause with poachers and the rural poor, or people who 'have the thumb, can work the hopper, mesher/...have steel to fill these tenant boots'. In some ways, this poetry reminds me of Geoffrey Hill, though Caddy has more sympathy with ordinary people, and the language seems influenced by Basil Bunting in places:

Wide Scatter of bull, clenched
rewinced, disputes the human frame

The book is nicely produced by Penned in the Margins (saddle stitched and good quality paper). I've been reading a lot of New York and Californian poetry recently, and this book is a reminder of a home-grown tradition, both of poetry and of radical politics.

Details: Paperback: 48 pages, (Penned in the Margins, 1 Nov 2007). ISBN-10: 095538463X ISBN-13: 978-0955384639. Price: 8.99

Friday, December 14, 2007

We know the festive season is upon us when we see Rupert Loydell's 'Best of the Year' lists on Stride. This year I'm pleased that he's selected a Leafe book, 'No Sounds of My Own Making' by John Bloomberg-Rissman. Thanks Rupert, if you're reading this. It's a typically eclectic list. I cetainly agree with his choice of Rae Armantrout's 'Next Life', definitely on my list (if I had one) for the best books of the year. And Rachel Blau DuPlessis is on my to-do list, having been highly recommended to me by the aformentioned John B-R.

Monday, December 3, 2007

There's a fascinating review of Kelvin Corcoran's pamphlet "Roger Hilton's Sugar" on Kris Hemensley's blog.