G. assembling a list of names for newspapers—sentinel, gazette, journal, &c. So I tell him about Isaac Bickerstaff (dub name for Joseph Addison)’s Tatler. And long of a sudden to write and distribute a daily sheet call’d The Snitch. Articles sign’d by Biggerstiff. (Some wag’s sure now to write in with the suggestive: The Snatch. Quoth th’unlubbable Mr. Eliot: “That is not what I meant at all. / That is not it, at all.”)
Cloud-brow’d and leadish the sky off in the western approaches of a late afternoon amble with the C-dog. Crows sailing by in th’upper reaches, that early hurry to belly up first to the bar. The Crow Bar downtown transform’d into some new pre-planned loss, a write-off against a meagre profit elsewhere. My gone impetus to scrimp together a new magazine, The Crowbar. I admit it: I only saw a cover, neon blare of Main Street signage, a wiseacre crow sucking the bubbly through a straw.
Sudden decision to complete my ergonometrically correct workstation with a slight up-pedic stool construct’d of my old Norton Anthology of English Literature (1968), in two volumes, ending with Dylan Thomas: “sullen art / Exercised in the still night.” One for foot the left, one for foot the right. (In the still recesses of my sullen head, I am exercising my night-memory: one of Aaron McCollough pointing out in the post-coffee wired-up sunlight whilst I paw’d at the snow-melt with my boot’d foot that I am not like my Blogland persona. And thinking to myself: “Whew! That’s a relief!”)
Poetry Review, Vol. 94, No. 4, edited by David Herd and Robert Potts (22 Betterton Street, London WC2H 9BX)
Poems by Ch’oe Young-mi, Mahmoud Darwish, Valérie Rouzeau, Piotr Sommer, Fiona Sampson, Jan Wagner, J. P. Nosbaum, Blanca Varela, Arjen Duinker, Al-Saddiq Al-Raddi, Anne Stevenson, Andrew Waterman, Tony Lopez, Sophie Hannah, Ralph Hawkins, Annemarie Austin, Ian Pindar, Nick Laird, Robert Hampson, Mary Michaels, David Wheatley, John Latta, Roger Waterfield, Sally Festing, Simon Carnell, Will Eaves, Paul Stubbs, and Tim Morris.
Essays by Sarah Maguire on the vicissitudes of translation (“Throughout the Cold War . . . the CIA actively encouraged the translation of fugitive East European poetry into English as a . . . means of countering Stalinist propaganda . . . [The CIA] recognized that the translation of poetry could be a political act with significant consequences.” And: “What doesn’t get translated and published is, of course, as fascinating as what does. André Lefevere has noted that, “of all the great literatures of the world, the literature produced in the Islamic system is arguably the least available to readers in Europe and the Americas.”) , and Andrew Jordan on being a resident poet in prison (“I understood the bewilderment that related to me and my residency. Detainees would sometimes be astonished to discover that they had been provided with a poet, when they needed interpreters, legal advisors, etc.”)
Reviews by Peter Manson (on Tom Leonard), Janet Phillips (on Kathleen Jamie), Aingeal Clare (on Frank Kuppner), Jane Griffiths (on Jane Draycott), Michael Murphy (on George Szirtes), Patrick McGuinness (on Peter Robinson), Carrie Etter (on Ruth Padel), Sarah Fulford (on Carola Luther), Jane Yeh (on P. J. Kavanagh, Graham Mort, Andrew Sant, John Fuller, and Colette Bryce), John Muckle (on Jeff Nuttall, Rupert M. Loydell, Robert Sheppard, John Welch, and Ralph Hawkins), Fiona Sampson (on Ágnes Nemes Nagy, Miklós Radnóti, and Kapka Kassabova), Peter Robinson (on The Faber Book of 20th-Century Italian Poems), Andrew Duncan (on Peter Huchel and Ernst Meister), Montserrat Roser i Puig (on Gabirel Ferrater and Justo Jorge Padrón), Jerzy Jarniewicz (on Tadeusz Rozewicz, Ewa Lipska, and some anthologies of Polish poetry), and Alison Brackenbury (on some journals—Banipal, Wasafiri, Orient Express, Modern Poetry in Translation, Poetry Quarterly Review, and Chicago Review—with recent issues devoted to translation).
Alan Jenkins on the art of William Nicholson.
Art by David Gledhill and William Nicholson.
A slow learner I am when it comes to literary politics, tending to prefer the big circus tent model to the hen-pecking order model (though willing ’s any old blue-tick hound with a namesake biting ’s vitals to nip at the heels of any swayback brokedown nag what git too uppity, or ornery) . . .
A slow learner I am when it comes to literary politics in these States, and to suss the blunder and counterweight of the British variety is no job for me. However, I note that the current editors of Poetry Review report in an editorial that “this is our penultimate issue.” There follow some reflections pertinent to all shores:
When we were interviewed for the position we were asked how we would handle the factionalism of contemporary poetry. We said, boldly (foolhardily), that we would ignore it. Our strong sense, as readers of British poetry of the past decade, was that the categories according to which the territory was divided, the short-hand by which British poetry was routinely assessed, had come to be damaging. The categories—the short-hand terms— . . . of course, can be useful; they can provide an orientation in the world. Critical short-hand, however, can become an alternative to reading, with a poem or poet, once labeled, being forever consigned to one corner of the territory or another.They continue, calling for an reading-approach of “wilful naivety”—considering “each poem according to its own specific terms and motives, and on its particular merits.”
Less convincingly, Herd and Potts, in trying to pinpoint the source of British “aesthetic diversity,” note:
Quite possibly . . . it has something to do with the fact that in Britain, more than in many countries, there are not, currently, any governing themes, any common stories which people readily agree on. In this we differ, notably, even from America, where for good and ill, themes of freedom and democracy still organize debate. In Britain for very healthy reasons, there are no themes—social, political or religious—that inspire consensus.Not imperial shrinkage? Not class obsession?
All day trying to recover that phrase that taunt’d me long after midnight, some voidoid spacial gap of significance to it, so blatant in its adverbial squat it seem’d surely it’d last to dawn. Didn’t.
(As for Aaron McCollough’s persona non blogga: just turn yo’ bad selfs around a square one-eighty, dudes and dudettes! Aphoristickal? He ain’t no skinny-down deacon of th’aphoristical, nunh-unh. And he ain’t no half-pint parson of the proper proverb, neither. He big! The man talks in full-blood’d and hot-butter’d, fully justified—left and right—paragraphs! And he gots a vocab that’d go to bat for him in a fourteen hundred dollar suit! Syntactickal finesse that’ll daunt the swivelest ear! That Steelers stuff? Bob’s your mother, mister! The McCollough intimated privately that the idea of contact sports makes him “shuddery.” Quote, even cribbage, unquote.)
The story of the blogger who continually foists off self-promotion onto the sphere of some pub-clearinghouse-sweepstakes-like contestual, as if writing about poetry and poetics should be just another boil on the butt of mercantile consumerist America . . . We do, apparently, “have” a “winner” . . .