All entries for Friday 18 June 2010
June 18, 2010
Writing about web page http://toddswift.blogspot.com/2010/06/brigley-on-carcanets-twenty.html
Todd Swift’s blog Eyewear , has just published my review of a new Carcanet anthology, Twenty Contemporary New Zealand Poets. It’s a great anthology and it is good to see New Zealand poetry being taken seriously. The editors, Andrew Johnstone and Robyn Marsack, have done an excellent job.
One thing that I particularly liked about the anthology was that each selection of poems by a particular writer was prefaced by a statement of poetics. Reading through these, I was particularly moved by the poet Bill Manhire and his comments about awkwardness, shyness and poetry. Here is what he says:
Shyness and awkwardness, especially awkwardness, can give a poem peculiar worth – so that the apparently finished thing thrives inside its own sense of incompleness, keeping faith with the clumsy world it came from. Awkwardness guarantees a kind of authenticity. The stumble, like the presence of bad special effects in a movie, makes us feel human.
I find this comment heartening, because (believe it or not!) in some ways I am an extremely shy person, but perhaps shyness need not be an obstacle but a help, at least in writing poetry. Shyness or awkwardness makes us more human than slick operators. Perhaps it works too against the kind of celebrity culture that dominates in the media. It reminds me of the singer Madeleine Peyroux who I saw being interviewed once on some BBC talkshow. I had to laugh, because Peyroux hardly spoke; she was altogether shy, awakward, self-conscious and completely refreshing!
Writing about web page http://www.polaritymag.co.uk/
I recently became a contributing editor on the new magazine Polarity. The mission statement says:
Polarity Magazine UK sets out to fill a hole in the soul of today’s culture-kestrels. Sitting somewhere between McSweeney’s magazines (The Believer, McSweeney’s Quarterly Concern) and that dark blend of European surrealism forefronted by Georges Bataille (Documents, Story of the Eye), Polarity aims to tickle its readers’ hearts, minds and rude bits, with a selection of visual art, poetry, prose and articles. Appearing three times a year, or as often as we can manage, each issue will be organised around two falsely polarised concepts, forming an artefactual expansion of the metaphorical substance of each.
The first ever issue (on the theme of Death vs. Taxes) is out this month and I have had a sneak peek! I can tell you that it looks mind-blowing, so if you can, try to make the launches. There is one on Thursday June 24th, at the Writers’ Room, Milburn House, University of Warwick, and another at the Slaughtered Lamb Pub in London on Sunday 27th June.
Here’s the official blurb about the launches from the editors, George Ttoouli, James Brookes and Neeral Bhatt:
Death Wrestling Taxes in a Bathful of Eels
We’ve updated the “website” with some sample content from issue 1. And please do spread the word if you like what you see, we’d be very much appreciative of your support.
Issue 1 Launch details below. The first issue comes with a free pamphlet titled A System of Taxation Upon the Internal Mind, or Pulling Britain Out of Recession: A White Paper on Thought Taxes and will cost you one crumpled note of the ten pound variety.
Polarity Magazine London Launch
Sunday, 27 June 2010 6pm-8pm
The Slaughtered Lamb Pub
34-35 Great Sutton Street
To the tune of coffins opening like red briefcases, we are proud to present the first issue of Polarity: Death vs. Taxes, for all your morbid and economic needs. Solutions to the current recession, and mortality, included.
Tickets to this underworld do not exist, yet passengers are advised to arrive promptly, 6pm, to ensure they do not miss the boatman. Bring thy pennies, for the ferry has an onboard bar. Passage is free for a limited period, though the dead may expect a levy of £10 to acquire the limited edition manual to the underworld and its economy. This is of course why the birds have fallen frozen from the branches of the money tree to claim their passage. A free copy of a government proposal for a System of Taxation Upon Thoughts will be provided with your manual, subject to economic flow.
Onboard entertainment may or may not include poetry, stories, music (piped from the living, dead, and those in debt), as well as a sneak preview of material from the future musical warzone of issue 2: Arms vs. Song.
Dress code: birdmasks optional.
(Slaughtered Lambs are purely metaphorical, the underworld is strictly Pythagorean.)
Performing on the night…
As will poet Charlotte Newman. Other guests TBC, but maybe Frank Key , and some stand-up comedy to close. And some exclusive preview material of the bonus CD coming with Issue 2: Arms vs. Song.
Polarity Magazine Coventry Launch
Thursday, 24 June 2010, 6pm-10pm
Milburn House, Milburn House Road
University of Warwick
Coventry, CV4 7AL
A BYOB end of year party, with launches, guest readers and musicians, and open mic slots. Bring instruments, bring poems, flash fictions and bottles.
Performing on the night…
- Arrive prompt to catch Kit a.k.a Amanda Hopkins, with a short set from her new album, ‘The View from Here’.
- Readings from Issue 1: Michael Wilson, Jessica Vickerage, Ivan Juritz, and anyone else who turns up.
- Readings by two WWP graduates, now published poets: James Brookes (Eric Gregory Award 2009) and Simon Turner (second collection, Difficult Second Album published by Nine Arches Press)
- And a showcase of work by this year’s creative writing students, including the MA in Writing cohort. Open mic slots available, so bring something to share, 3-5min, any genre.
- And music from Conrad Bird as well.
Hope to see you at one of the events, but if you can’t make it and would like a copy of the magazine, you can post a cheque (payable to ‘Polarity Magazine UK’) for £10 (free p&p to mailing list – put a note on the back of the cheque) to:
49 St Michael’s Road, Coventry, CV2 4EL. Or keep an eye on our website for online payment details.
And the drawbridge raises like an imitation-leather hardback, once again.
George, James & Neeral