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Showing posts from May, 2014

POETRY FOCUS: ADAM WIEDEWITSCH

Eyewear is thrilled to be offering a clutch of poems by an emerging poet of some note.

Adam Wiedewitsch (pictured) is a founding editor of Tongue: A Journal of Writing & Artand poetry editor at The Prague Revue. In 2009, he co-founded the international association of writers and artists,The Pirogue Collective, and co-edited the anthology Imagine Africa and The Rule of Barbarism, poems by Abdellatif Laâbi.
He has received fellowships from the Gorée Institute (Senegal), the Eva Tas Foundation (Holland), DAAD (Berlin), The Millay Colony (New York), The Ledig House International Writers Residency (New York) and his poetry has been published or is forthcoming from Carapace (South Africa), New Contrast (South Africa), Salamander (USA) and Azul Press (Holland).

Nature Morte
                In memory of Seamus Heaney

Offal held at bay by a boar’s rugged hide cannot keep the monkeys, cats, and dogs from picking up the market-fresh scent of death. Neither can the paintbrush. In even the most morb…

THE HARM OF COMING INTO EXISTENCE

Fans of True Detective the TV series may know that one of the influences that shaped its nihilistic vision was the anti-natalist position as espoused by philosopher David Benatar, who believes that "coming into existence is always a serious harm".  His infamous book on the subject, while cogent and serious, is perhaps the funniest book I have ever read, probably unintentionally so, as it reads like A Modest Proposal as dryly written by a logician.  Sometimes, well-argued philosophy can sound insane, and this book often does. I do not wish to use an ad hominem attack, though, to dispense with the central idea of his anti-natalist position, which is that no one should be born (all should be aborted, and the human race gradually made voluntarily extinct) because it is better to have never been born than lived at all.

To his credit, Benatar admits few other human beings are ever likely to assent to his view; that it seems counter-intuitive; and that it may even fly in the face of…

DISINTEGRATION

The trouble with getting older, aside from fear, boredom, and the only end of age, is, of course, you keep hitting milestones and anniversaries like unwanted speed bumps on the road of encroaching senility.  Eyewear, the blog likes to note some of these as well as the next media outlet (see the recent post on Pulp Fiction).

It comes as a shock to read in NME that it has been 25 years since The Cure released Disintegration, even still.  From a North American perspective, certain bands from the UK created a certain moody indie romantic feel, that spoke to the suburbs and made those lost places feel enchanted with an outsider's chance of escape.

It was poetry for the adolescent, in all but name - music yes, but far more impactful even, still - it was a bible, it was poetry, it was our wine and our dregs - and that group of 7 must include Depeche Mode, Echo & The Bunnymen, The Smiths, Simple Minds, Tears For Fears, Joy Division/New Order, and The Cure among its key players (add the …

3232

The previous post was the 3232nd posted at Eyewear since I started running this webzine on blogger, in the summer of 2005 - so, that's nine years of surveying the territory, of life in the 21st century, and more specifically in celebrity-obsessed, Bank-supporting, UKIP-supporting, semi-broken Britain - only semi-broken, because Britain showed the world, in 2012, it could hold a world-class Olympics with high spirits.

Unfortunately, Britain continues, despite an economic recovery, to be confused about its role at home and abroad - is it a world copper?; is it a multicultural place, or a Xenophobic one that wants to pull up the drawbridge?; does it want to keep the NHS and support people with disabilities and trouble finding work?  Britain has a huge disparity between its London billionaires, and its London poor - let alone the rest of the UK.  Meanwhile, culturally, it produces some of the best music, drama, acting, cinema, art, fashion, writing, comedy, TV, cooking, sports-persons,…

GUEST REVIEW: WONG ON MACKENZIE

Jenny Wong reviews The Good News By Rob Mackenzie
Deft, purposeful and precise, Rob Mackenzie’s latest collection The Good News examines from different perspectives the human need for faith, love and truth. His poetry fuses imaginative scenarios with prophetic voices, whilst it conjures a somewhat surreal yet familiar contemporary reality.
It is a delight to see the poet’s risk-taking experiments with form result in highly original satires such as ‘Tippexed Speeches on Scottish Independence'. In measured pace, Mackenzie taps into the latent meanings of a politician’s language, reworking the news-speak by David Cameron, Nick Clegg and Alex Salmond. By highlighting the different interpretations of ownership through the different use and repetition of ‘I/we/us’, and by leaving out parts of their speeches, the poet exposes the politicians' craft in swaying the crowd with deliberate, emotive language, such as the following imagined speech from David Cameron:
I also understand why peopl…

TIMELINE: New Poem by Todd Swift

TIMELINE
I loved the moon Then they invented fire I loved water Then they invented steel I loved air Then they invented song I loved the ground Then they invented walls
And all these new things Took my heart away So I loved them more And loved the old ones less As a suitor’s heart sinks At the sight of a sister’s dress And how it clings softly
I loved The Word Then they made the press I loved the poem Then they made the book I loved the film Then they made radio I loved The Shadow Then they made TV
And all these new things Took my heart away So I loved them more And loved the old ones less As a suitor’s heart sinks At the sight of a sister’s dress And how it clings softly
I loved the box set Then they gave us games I loved the joystick Then they gave us Internet I loved facebook Then they gave us apps I loved tweeting Then they gave us Tinder
And all these new things Took my heart away So I loved them more And loved the old ones less As a suitor’s heart sinks At the sight of a sister’s dress And how it clings softly
Moon, fire, w…

DO NOT GO MAD MEN. REVIEW OF THE NEW BBC DYLAN THOMAS BIOPIC

The BBC - perhaps feeling guilty over its infamous internal memos of the 40s and 50s outlining how Dylan Thomas was never to be described as the pre-eminent poet of his age (that was Eliot or Auden according to the Beeb)has -for the centenary of the Welsh poetic genius - produced a classy 80 minute TV show, written by Andrew Davies, king of the literary TV adaptation, and starring Tom Hollander, one of the best actors of his generation - that sucks the life out of the legend, and comes across as an episode of Mad Men.

Part of my PhD was on Thomas - I admire his work a great deal, but think him to have been a little shit, who manipulated friends and family, and lied and schemed to get money and free drinks and attention.  These are hardly unusual actions when it comes to alcoholics, let alone self-obsessed geniuses.  Thomas is often accused by critics of his work of being a narcissist, which is sort of like calling Poe morbid, or David Lynch weird.  Yes, sure, but then what?

The script, …

PULP FICTION 20 YEARS ON

Is there a person over the age of 18 alive who hasn't seen Pulp Fiction - or some offshoot of its pop culture impact? Like exploding brain splatter, Pulp Fiction became the film hit of 1994, and is, arguably, the greatest American film of that decade - perhaps of all time (in a short list that includes Blue Velvet and Apocalypse Now and Taxi Driver, to be sure). A sort of sexier, even darker Touch of Evil for our time.

Tarantino, despite or because of seeming to be a nerdy creep in "real life" is, in reel terms, a cinematic genius of B-thrills and Cannes insight - a rare balance.  Indeed, only a few other Western directors have ever managed to fuse art and thrills better or as well - Welles, Hitchcock, Spielberg, Scorsese are peers.

That poster!  That gimp scene! That watch monologue! That dance! That heroin! That soundtrack!  That amoral ultra-violence! I still remember seeing it with a friend.  When it ended, we turned to each other in amazement.  It was the first time s…

JOHN HARTLEY WILLIAMS, BRILLIANT BRITISH POET, HAS DIED

I am sad to hear of the death of my friend, the poet, John Hartley Williams.  For a few years, in the mid-00s, he and I would meet, have a few pints (or more) every few months when he was in London, and talk about poetry, life, and the relative oblivion awaiting all of our work.



John wrote poems like no other established British poet of his time - fearlessly, with a ribald appreciation of vocabulary, the zany, and the musical - tempered by a strong sense of form, and the tradition.  He was a sort of insider's punk - the most radical "mainstream" poet, somehow outside but always on the verge of being "in".  He was, after all, published by big presses for much of his career, and was nominated for a TS Eliot Prize.  John's poems are always larger than life, ferociously imaginative.  To hear him read, in his beautiful, theatrical voice, was to have already very vivid poetry roar to life.

There are very few poets who read every poem as if it was an event you are g…

Review: THE GHOST IN THE LOBBY BY KEVIN HIGGINS

I used to be a close friend of the poet Kevin Higgins; I am not especially close to him anymore - by that, I mean, we haven't seen each other in three or four years, at least, don't speak on the phone, and rarely email, if ever - but of course have some facebook contact, now and then.  I was very sorry when his mother died, and told him so. I mention this because, though I am fond of Kevin, and he wrote an introduction to a book of mine from his own publisher, Salmon, there isn't any literary back scratching going on these days, if ever there was any, between us. Things just drifted, as they do, as people in middle age become embroiled in their own days and ways.

I can write what I am about to say without fear of feeling compromised, or in any way, hindered.  If anything, my own familiarity with the man and all his poems (I have met him on perhaps a dozen occasions, sometimes with his talented partner, on two continents, and in major cities like Paris, New York, London and …

AMY BLAKEMORE WINS THE 2014 MELITA HUME POETRY PRIZE!

AMY BLAKEMORE WINS THE £1,400 MELITA HUME POETRY PRIZE 2014

THE COLLECTION “SPEAKS FOR A GENERATION BORED OF ITS IDOLS”

Faber award-winning poet Emily Berry (Dear Boy, 2013) – the 2014 judge for Eyewear’s Melita Hume Poetry Prize (now in its third year) – has chosen East London poet and model Amy Blakemore (pictured below) as the winner, from an international shortlist of 11. The prize – the richest of its kind – also comes with guaranteed publication and launch in spring 2015 from the indie publisher known for its stylish hardcovers and international roster of talent. Any poet living in the UK or Ireland 35 years or under at time of entering is eligible – the prize is for the best full, original and unpublished collection of poetry submitted in that year.Previous winners include Granta-listed poet Caleb Klaces and Scotland’s Marion McCready. Amy Blakemore was born in Deptford, London in 1991. She started writing poetry at the age of fifteen, “primarily out of spite” she says. She was na…