The Heat & The Hum

This week we’re kicking off with a poem from the upcoming chapbook from Spencer Williams, called ALIEN PINK, which can be pre-ordered over here at The Atlas Review store. Here’s literally the only snippet I can find of SPRING:

I actually don’t know if it continues from this point on, or ends there. It’s enough to get my preorder however. I enjoy this kind of back-and-forth implied by the left and right aligned halves of each line. The tabbed spaces suggest a breath or a pause, and that back and fourth suggest that kind of exchange in this description of a birth that wouldn’t be entirely out of place in Hesiod’s Theogony (a kind of who’s who of Greek deities and, inevitably, their awful and powerful rituals associated with their forming).

The violence of transmutation, the exchange between one side of the page and the mother and the child — some ritual magic, some attempt at infanticide, some nurturing, has something of Echidna about it (the mother of monsters) whose childrens’ births were extremely violent. But on the other hand there is joy, sweet music — although it may be from the womb, and therefore be tinged with the sadness of exile

Sorry to feature Tim Clare for two weeks in a row, but I am afraid it’s a little bit unavoidable, especially when Death Of One Thousand Cuts comes back tomorrow (point your podcatcher here), and he’s been talking about bad writing advice. Here’s a dissection of writing-a-novel-advice that didn’t quite hit the mark:

The original article can be found here. As Tim’s thread suggests, it’s filled with all sorts of rhetoric that sounds like good advice, but it barely applicable because we’re left without examples of what is really meant and how it could be applied.

More annoying for me is the fetishization of the difficult labour of writing throughout the piece, the language of it suggesting that there’s little between, say, building a house and writing a novel. I am sure Colum McCann is an excellent writer and tutor, but I think this might have been written with a low-hanging deadline.

How about a little domesticity from Momtaza Mehri:

And Marianne Moore’s England has been floating around twitter recently (for me at least). Despite her closeness to Pound (I think I have a book of their letters to one another) I don’t think I’ve read her work to a serious extent. Something I decided to correct immediately after reading this:


WITH its baby rivers and little towns, each with its abbey or its cathedral; 
 with voices — one voice perhaps, echoing through the transept — the 
criterion of suitability and convenience; and Italy with its equal 
 shores — contriving an epicureanism from which the grossness has been 
extracted: and Greece with its goats and its gourds, the nest of modified illusions: 
 and France, the “chrysalis of the nocturnal butterfly” in 
whose products, mystery of construction diverts one from that which was the object of one’s 
 search — substance at the core: and the far East with its snails, its emotional 
shorthand and jade cockroaches, its rock crystal and its imperturbability, 
 all of museum quality: and America where there 
is the little old ramshackle victoria in the south, where cigars are smoked on the 
 street in the north; where there are no proof readers, no silkworms, no digressions; 
the wild man’s land; grass-less, links-less, language-less country — in which letters are written 
 not in Spanish, not in Greek, not in Latin, not in shorthand 
but in plain American which cats and dogs can read! The letter “a” in psalm and calm, when 
 pronounced with the sound of “a” in candle, is very noticeable but 
why should continents of misapprehension have to be accounted for by the 
 fact? Does it follow that because there are poisonous toadstools 
which resemble mushrooms, both are dangerous? In the case of mettlesomeness which may be 
 mistaken for appetite, of heat which may appear to be haste, no con- 
conclusions may be drawn. To have misapprehended the matter, is to have confessed 
 that one has not looked far enough. The sublimated wisdom 
of China, Egyptian discernment, the cataclysmic torrent of emotion compressed 
 in the verbs of the Hebrew language, the books of the man who is able 
to say, “I envy nobody but him and him only, who catches more fish than 
 I do,” — the flower and fruit of all that noted superi- 
ority — should one not have stumbled upon it in America, must one imagine 
 that it is not there? It has never been confined to one locality.

I have so much love in me for: “in which letters are written not in Spanish, not in Greek, not in Latin, not in shorthand but in plain American which cats and dogs can read!”

Joyce Chong, featured a couple of weeks ago for her microchapbook from Ghost City Press has started a TinyLetter. It’s been good so far. Add it to your inbox.

Today’s Song is an “old” cover of The Weeknd, by Dillon. Not sure why I looked it up again, but I love the stripped back cover and the very youtube video which includes the artist probably checking something on the laptop that everything being recorded into and kind of almost, for a moment, forgetting that she’s mid song. It’s dreadfully endearing:

Dillon — Echo of Silence (The Weeknd Cover)

Okay. I’ll be the one to say it. It’s been too hot for poets. Books are boring aren’t they. This was swept up in the laziest way possibly by @CJEggett, and transmitted to you with about the same amount of care and attention. I can’t help it, it’s who I am. I thought I was going to include something about humming in here because I have a few thoughts about it, but I didn’t, because it’s too hot. To this end, I would like to offer one of my family heirlooms to you, a joke my Grandad used to tell:

“What has one wheel and hums?”

“A wheelbarrow full of manure”

If that hasn’t put you off, I would really appreciate you telling one person who might put up with this sort of thing about this very newsletter. It’s really the only way I can think of validating myself.

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