For the month of April, which is national poetry month somewhere, I am exchanging poems with a friend every day, using a little of the previous poem in the next. This means sometimes using odd automatic or found-text style tricks like using translation tools, or breaking up a line and writing out from each. The thing that these techniques have in common is that there is a creative element in the curation and laying out of lines, rather than a generative effort.
Which is where we come to Love, bring myself by Dominic Leonard (Broken Sleep Books).
Dominic has plucked lines from the Mystery Plays (a series of medieval plays all performed on on day across the city of York in celebration of Corpus Christi) and arranged them into a series of sort-of-sonnets, take a look:
Naturally, as whenever we rip apart a text and start gluing it back together, we understand that in the reconstruction there is a new meaning formed. Often we can obsess with this idea of destruction and recreation to mean something else, because it’s a bit punk – like paving over another meaning with this new one.
The poems are smart, fun things to pick at, trying to find the person being addressed. But it is impossible to escape the text that you are working with – here there is a pleading tone, which comes from the prayer aspect, the heat of wanting something lives throughout – and even “our bodies stun me with horror” rings out with biblical shame.
The poetry is staccato of lists where each word pulls away from its neighbours, sometimes leaving something interesting between. Everything like this is in the translation – the reference to Job 10:21 sent me looking for the line, which can be translated variously for different purposes and I suppose is the point of the work, to find a new way of breaking and seeing the texts with a new found personal intimacy away from the medieval crowds.
Pick up Love, bring myself from Broken Sleep here.
Love Takes Risks is the wonderfully named symposium on the poetics of contemporary small press fiction. There are recording of the symposium up on the website here.
I really recommend to all of you who have heard or read my endless chatter about Claire-Louise Bennett’s Pond to listen to the very articulate Liam Harrison compare the work to Beckett in a way that really cuts through to the bones of what makes it great. ~~~
This is a very jolly poem by Carolyn DeCarlo called The Ultimate Freedom of Space and Time, which includes the lines: “My house traveling to France in 1778 to have sex with Marie Antoinette after meeting her on the internet.
My house sitting at the end of Marie Antoinette’s bed while she sleeps, telling itself the story of their lives together.”
I think I have a poem out somewhere, oh, here: Essay on Biophilia published in Peeking Cat.
I have so many Jiffy bags now from all the lovely people who send me books that I feel like I have no choice but start a small press. Sadly we are closed to submissions at this time. Thanks for reading Etch To Their Own – I think I am going to move the archive to my website and away from Medium at some point soon, as it seems like it might be better to actually use the site I pay for or something? This is a nice object from Guillemot Press.