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Showing posts from 2017

HOLY WEEKS

Several major religions are observing solemn, important festivals this month - holy days, holy weeks. Eyewear's team will be taking some time off, to be with their families and friends, and reflect, in their various ways, on this time of returning light.

Meanwhile, we have seen, in the past few days, inhumanity at the heart of our capitalist system (where it has been, hidden, for too long) - the decision to drag a doctor, bloodied and beaten, from a United Airlines plane he had lawfully bought a ticket for is yet another instance of the total decline in compassion and empathy rooting itself in a business-led model that ignores the value of life beneath the numbers.

Publishing, too, is not immune. Too often, authors, agents, and publishers, seek to profit from relationships that would be better off pursued for higher aims, of art, solidarity and creativity. Sharing is not much part of this dog-eat-dog Darwinian world, that pushes each against the other. It strikes me as one of the la…

PROTECTING WESTMINSTER AND THE WIDER WORLD

A few days ago a person who was very angry at the state of the world, and who had determined to do something violent in the name of extreme views, went on a rampage outside of the British houses of parliament.
A terror incident, and awfully, innocent people were injured, and killed, including an officer guarding the home of democracy in these isles. Images of an heroic MP bloodied and unbowed, and talk of the Blitz spirit, boomed across the globe.... Britain is strong, and unbeaten.

Family members of the killer have apologised. Debates rage about his religious identity, and how someone "home grown" could end up so hate-filled - as if this was not also the country that gave us Cromwell and Jack The Ripper. Hate is often grown at home.

The new PM, Mrs May, spoke eloquently, and in rather rhetorical fashion, about the greatness of democracy and Westminster. True, but painfully ironic. For, while the terrorist in London has taken a few lives cruelly soon, and criminally, with evil …

VERY IMPORTANT PERSONS OF COLOR

Last week saw the deaths of TS Eliot andJohn Lennon... now imagine that media fuss. Well, what did happen? In fact, Derek Walcott and Chuck Berry died.

Now consider what actually happened... There was a lot of fuss; obituaries... AND THEN... sort of not all that much.

Certainly not the wailing lamentation when Bowie died... or even Ted Hughes...

I am not saying the media and Western cultural machines are organisationally racist, but there is something wrong with the omelettes in Denmark, when arguably the greatest poet of color of the 20th century dies followed by ONLY THE GOLDARN INVENTOR OF ROCK AND ROLL - and there is no world-shaking sorrow and recognition that SOME OF THE GREATEST ART AND CULTURE is made by non-white folks.

Just saying...

Because Walcott and Berry, for all their human weaknesses, were universal geniuses in their fields. Their deaths were not just sad or notable - they were SEISMIC.

Now imagine they were white... we'd have TIME magazine covers for weeks. Or am I mis…

BEST SONGS OF 2017 SO FAR

I turn now to our quarterly report into some of the key popular songs that have made their way as ear-worms into the hearts and minds of the writer of this post, since January 1, 2017 - in short, for the first 25% of the year, what are the top songs so far?

Note, only songs that one can find on Spotify count. It has been a good year so far, for pop and indie music... new Shins, and Depeche Mode albums in the same month as the first album from The Jesus and Mary Chain in 19 years can hardly be said to be a bad time.... so, counting down from Number one, in anti-climactic order.... here goes.... the 11 best songs so far, for 2017.... (and be careful, what with the allusions to a decade now as long ago as the 50s was to the Reagan era, this might be the best of 1987).

1. 'Love' - Lana Del Rey
Arguably her best song - and, like all her songs - a microcosm of her entire canon - like Dylan Thomas', her work is always imploding inwards to achieve a sort of Ur-perfection of its own s…

FOR LOGAN, THINK LOLITA - the SECRET Ls at the GENETIC CORE OF THE NEW X-MEN CLASSIC

Logan, the new film by James Mangold, and the tenth outing for the Wolverine character from the Marvel Universe, as played by Hugh Jackman, is receiving a lot of critical praise. Released March 1, the film has been called "the Citizen Kane" of comic book films, and compared favourably to the previous benchmark for quality in this sub-genre, The Dark Knight trilogy, by Christopher Nolan. It shares with that trilogy a gritty realism, a downbeat tone, and serious actors at the top of their game. It is however not an urban picture, but, as every critic has noted, a road movie/Western in its DNA. The cliché is to cite Shane, which the picture does itself, as the blueprint, but this is a red herring, since the actual Western it most resembles is The Searchers - let alone In Cold Blood or T2.

Mangold has co-written the film, at a time of Western darkness (Brexit, the rise of Trump) and the film opens on a landscape torn from Beckett by way of Bannon - loudmouthed American youths on …

OSCAR SMOSHCAR

The Oscars - Academy Awards officially - were once huge cultural events - in 1975, Frank Sinatra, Sammy Davis Jr, Shirley MacLaineandBob Hope co-hosted, for example - and Best Picture noms included The Conversation and Chinatown. Godfather Part 2 won. Last two years, movies titled Birdman and Spotlight won, and the hosts and those films are retrospectively minor, trifling. This year, some important, resonant films are up for consideration - including Hidden Figures and Moonlight, two favourites of this blog. Viola Davis and Denzel Washington will hopefully win for their sterling performances in Fences. However, La La Land - the most superficial and empty Best Picture contender since Gigi in 1959 (which beat Vertigo) - could smite all comers, and render this year's awards historically trivial, even idiotic.

The Oscars often opt for safe, optimistic films, or safe, pessimistic films, that are usually about white men (less often, white women) finding their path to doing the right thin…

TOM RAWORTH HAS DIED

British poet of genius and cultural significance, Tom Raworth has died after a long and protracted illness, aged 78. Writer, artist, teacher, and publisher Tom Raworth was born in South London and attended the University of Essex. In 1970, he earned an MA in the theory and practice of literary translation. As founder of Matrix Press and co-founder of Goliard Press, Raworth was instrumental in bringing an entire tradition of American poetry to English readers. Promoting the work of a number of poets associated with the Black Mountain School, including Edward Dorn, Robert Creeley, and Charles Olson, Raworth also published the poetry of Elaine Feinstein, Aram Saroyan, Anselm Hollo, and Zoltan Farkas. Raworth’s own work has also been identified with the Black Mountain School. He wrote over 40 collections of poetry, among them The Relation Ship (1969), winner of the Alice Hunt Bartlett Prize, Eternal Sections (1993), Tottering State: Selected Poems 1965–1983 (1984), the 500-plus page Collec…

EYEWEAR PUBLISHING LTD EDITORIAL POLICY

EYEWEAR PUBLISHING EDITORIAL POLICY 2017
Eyewear is a privately-funded company. Its chief aim is literary – to discover, nurture, and publish, significant and interesting new and established writers and poets, across all languages, and all genres. We do so by holding our editorial team to the highest standards of professionalism and integrity; and by ensuring our printing is environmentally sustainable. We actively seek diversity of representation, and opinion, in our editorial choices, and align ourselves with no one political party, or movement. We are, in most things, radically moderate. At the moment, our ideal political leaders would be Justin Trudeau in Canada, Angela Merkel in Germany. As a rule, our editors do not believe Brexit is in the best interests of the UK, and we remain deeply concerned about the direction America is taking under its new leadership. We are on record as welcoming refugees to the UK. Our publications try to build bridges between cultures and continents (e…

THE BEST OF 2016 IN POPULAR MUSIC, TV, FILM AND POETRY

Eyewear, The Blog, usually enjoys compiling end of the year lists. 2016, now arguably the punch line to a Kafka-Beckett comedy routine, doesn't seem the sort of place to lodge too many enthusiasms, but of course some of the finest films, songs, and poems, have been created during wartime, and The Great Depression, and other major moments in recent history.
2016 will be remembered for the Dylan Nobel, Brexit, the slaughter of Aleppo, the deaths of Castro, Bowie, Ali, Carrie Fisher, and the Trump election - probably little else, except the rise of social media/iPhone ubiquity in the techno-cultural sphere.


BEST MUSIC

A cruel trilogy of masterful albums, two almost posthumous, are clearly in the top five - by Leonard Cohen, Nick Cave, and David Bowie. Then there's Lemonade, by BeyoncĂ©. Drake and Rihanna dropped major new LPs, as did Solange. Warpaint, PJ Harvey, Animal Collective, offered fine new LPs. Lady Gaga reinvented herself. Massive Attack and Hope Sandoval created one of the…

A BRIEF ESSAY ON BEING YOUNG AND AMERICAN IN THE TIME OF TRUMP BY STEVEN TIMBERMAN

The Cavalry
As the early results curdle, I text my father three words - This Is Bad. Like thousands of others, I’ve spent the last year volunteering and working to elect Hillary Clinton. The long fight. The good fight. The first fight I’ve truly thrown myself into, again and again. Election Night finds me in southern Virginia, a ramshackle campaign office held together by duct tape, off-white cracked paint, and five other community organizers. Growing up, the evening news was my family’s sacred time. Six years old, I watch a Palestinian child dive behind wreckage as gunfire crackles. Peter Jennings’ lullaby voice informs us that the child is unaccounted for. My father responds to my text with two words - I know.
Hour ago a packed office, trusty volunteers using an auto-dialer to rapid fire call as many inconsistent voters as we can. After polls close in Virginia, volunteers shuffle out. Well-wishes. Hugs. These aren’t my volunteers. My volunteer team is two hours to the east, forty plu…

AS IF CATULLUS COULD RESPOND TO PRESIDENT TRUMP - NEW POEM BY ERIC SIGLER, AMERICAN POET AND SATIRIST

Inaugural Occasional Poem: The White House
Casting Couch Is Visited By Zeus as Golden Rain
BY THE AMERICAN POET AND SATIRIST ERIC SIGLER

I
I thought I saw a smoke screen or a cloud
descend through spears that rallied at the sky,
and railed against the theme -
four years beneath a shroud-
until I woke to see that, in my eye,
I could not emancipate the dream 
from shackles chained to starlight -
a strident stalker wading through the night,
an endless specter searching for a theme....


II
But then I saw sun's gilded feet retreat - 
high-heeled hopes broken by the darkness,