Friday, February 8, 2008
£3.50 (U.K.) / $8.00 (U.S.)
Publication date: 23rd February 2008
For more details click here.
Here are the opening lines of this collection:
Out of the vernacular as the sky drains of light
The body heavy with a day’s work that gravity
What would it mean to aspire to transcendence?
The image of a sky draining of light asserts itelf, but we're conscious of the phrase 'the vernacular' which places us in the domain of language and abstraction. Is the vernacular referring to language, or some other art form, like painting? Either way, it implies that skies draining of light may be constructs of thought and language.
The second line, seemingly straightforward - the body heavy with a day's work - ends in mid sentence. That gravity ... then what? There's an impression of a mind heavy with a day's work that abruptly switches attention.
In the third line, the call for transcendence that is a stock-in-trade of poetry from the Romantics onwards is referenced here, but questioned, almost subverted. The rest of the poem builds on this beginning with an effective blurring of the discursive and descriptive.
This pamphlet is an exemplary mixture of political and personal, descriptive and abstract. We have a title as blunt as 'The Occupation of Iraq' and another poem giving us an amusing comment on Archbishop's radio interview. But alongside this, we have part of the continuing 'Divining for Starters' series; a set of meditative, almost philosophical pieces. That's a lot to pack in to a small pamphlet, but it doesn't feel packed, more evenly paced, unhurried. 'Yet' is highly recommended (by me), which is why I published it.