grotesque (tread softly)

I’m unsure, but maybe the best way to smooth my writing is using the quantative/qualitative components of stess to soften the poem; that’s where I figured that my peoms might be grotesque, and it might be a good nomadic/artless point to use. Worth trying


For you, the disgust
I bear, I have only plastic
pinned to a table,
smoothly wiped off,
just 3 minutes later,
quite pitiful.

to make the interplay of feet and beats smoother, even-though neither really exist in free verse! I’d read the last line as two immediate stresses or two iambs, and hope that the two combine smoothly, that ‘quite’ is a beat but not an ictus and this makes the poem, here its tone, softer.

Or perhaps I can think of it in process, shaping the poem into and out of metrical ghosts, and using the moment to do so smoothly

With you,
for the disgust I bear,
I have a plastic
pinned to tables,
being wiped off smoothly,
just three minutes late,
quite pitiful.

I don’t know…



This is probably a bad sub beat example of nothing, but that’s my approach to MY poetic arranged and in order

White fog lifting and…
— after Ginsberg

with a girl I knew:
we complete speech,
sleep, and she goes first,
in a momentary clasp,
captured in new
I am twenty-one,
have forgotten our lives;
another girl
had an epileptic fit.
I did not restrain them,
and that was right.

I’m a changing light
in a thousand doped up
paradises in air.


The Waste Land again

I have a strange sense of formication, of bugs under my skin, looking at it again.

So, let’s suppose that The Waste Land is a prosaic collage that combines its tonal fragments into a sensation of fear and absent authority, that The Black Mountain then introduces ‘speech’, but it is too peculiar to the individual person/poet, that this tension is then written into the grammar of language and unavoidable (will is always waiting for the arrival of the future), even signalling the end of a completely up-to-date poetic.

I’ll probably finish my MFA with poems that smooth out incohrence and restlessness, hoping to reframe the world into something less fearsome but, due to the world’s narrative and its postponement, only momentarily so.


Review of Tim Allen



So maybe I would want the whole of the blog to be summarised in the following equation: fear of closure, limits and impossibility, especially speech. There’s a residue there of psychology as well as process, but one I wouldn’t necessarily care about. So that’s that.

— nembutsu

A gutter spits, pan
is quick toast; child
rise soon, routine
to diary repetition,
repeat learned phrase,
scuffing butter.



I was googling the “refitting old ships” quote, by Stravinsky on himself and Eliot. Perhaps they “can say again… only what has already been said” (Stravinsky on Eliot) if given “the sense of the present” (Eliot on Stravinksy) only when there is nothing to say. This nicely cuts up the two, and from Cage also, and may find room for Frye’s ‘continuous present’, which might involve the cultivation of sublimity (process in general), instead of spontaneous fear.


Betjeman having a stroke

I have written few lines of poetry recently, and am not submitting to magazines etc., but was recently impressed by my idea of reading my own poetry as if it were music or musical, in a similar war that lines in a hiphop verse would be read with aggression, as if it were an angry accusation to someone. My results were amusing; my poem sounded gentle and genteel as well as, internal to romanticism, deconstructive. I will paraphrase that as ‘Betjeman having a stroke’, and may use that as the title of my first full length collection, be that self published or forced down the throat of the small press scene. In fact, Betjeman did have a stroke, the same year I was born, and poets – three or four of them – have recommended I read (more) Ceravolo, which I should do. Third generation New York School; seems mildly vacuous but has more energy than most. Here’s the poem (if I work out how to embed audio, I’ll add).

On the welding of friends

Style, I ask you for the cup,
we trace you with hands on
body and begin to dance the
date and after smoke, kiss,
to press to lips of silver,
the cup, as tomorrow’s due
cloth’s rent for corn bread
and varnish: swill moment full.
Spring’s at turns, have wife;
she’s beside a white jukebox.

I wonder, leaving theory asunder, quite what sort of lyric subjectivity might be missing here, and if the answer links to how my technique on display might completely lack artistry, which is fair in a few ways but may suggest victory anyway. So, I guess you might vote green.



I hope to tie together my posts about a terrible grotesque and hermetic language.

It might not be obvious, but I think that sublimity, especially its effacing moment, can be brought about via narrative that lacks a new subjectivity to identify with, as that will instead restore the world as it already was without the reader, then producing catharsis insofar as – reading – we fear the loss of the world.

The goal is anti-habitual, should suggest new practices, processes and ways of responding even as the world reappears unchanged.


In Darkest Capital – ‘EQUIPOLLENCE’

15 page chapbook written by Drew Milne in 2012. The first two thirds is composed of stanzas beginning “the cost of this text” – presumably in reference to the division of labour – then a long unpunctuated sentence slightly offset – which I thought of as an aphoristic equation fragment – that may become redundant. The last third is similarly structured, and each stanza, which has a slightly larger margin, begins “the weight of this line”. I suppose the poem begins with a Lewisian grimace that the cost of this text “is living beyond its means”. The first section seems to be composed around (varying) iambs, and reminds me a little of Milton in that respect. The second less so. It looks like Milne has spliced together various found phrases (the lead, repeated, line subtracts from that sense), and I would guess so that each phrase overlaps with the next. In the first part, this seems to go without comment, while in the second I think we’re invited to to guess what has been elided, rather than say guess the source material, which could be anything but is suggestive of reports, both scholarship and from newspapers. There is an early sense of domesticity, quiet anger and political questions; the author is antagonistic, and I originally wanted to read the sequence for the shimmer of his absence from an ode at the level of readerly engagement with the text.

The repeated phrases add torque, specifically the rhythm of those repeated phrases, rather than – as may be more standard – torquing the line with open field or narrative. Diction is flat but also excited. Any rare word is sneered at in a pedagogical way (I learnt the exact definition of ‘substantive’ in grammar: a word or phrase acting like a noun). I had an early sense of life clawing at itself for space.

I suppose that for me the most appealing sentiment was that no-one gets it, sentence, in the first part, that “does not look like a gift horse that is ready to be messsed with by the dentist of the imagination”, which ends with a fresh and allusive phrase quite unlike another “the rope of words” (with 100,000 google hits from various authors).

Song lyrics and art movements get a mention.

The first series ends, abruptly, with “went to bed to mend his head with sellotape and white paper”. It reminds me a little of the ending of atonal music, but I could never say quite why and what it has to do with Milne or his sweetness; the grimace is now a pin-prick.

The second part reads more self referential – both to poetry (O’Hara and Rupert Loydell seem especially relevant) and itself – and, while it all goes mostly without comment, more engaged; only the postponed politics is better than the movies. I read it as a lament for suffering and how all we can do is be a little political.

I think each part has equal power, rather than appeal. The second series is not prose, unlike the first, and suffers ever increasing line shortening. It ends with “the quango of an imagined / given still up for the taking”. A quango is a quasi autonomous body of the civil service; the given relates to Sellars, ‘myth’, anti-foundationalism, and – I suppose – Hellenistic skepticism, which Milne relates to the title and Epoché, or suspenion of judgment (I’m happy I know this). These ideas intuitively fit together, though I cannot really relate them meaningfully beyond that, but it works together to seem quite dear (perhaps in terms of how the two parts reflect each other’s opening lines), even if no-one is.



Reading some of her late work, Hermetic Defintion, three series of poems ‘Red Rose and a Beggar’ ‘Grove of the Academe’ and ‘Star of Day’. Her own work and that of her Modernist friends looms large, while her use of myth, like the poems themselves (“news that stays news”?), strikes me superficial, which I’m sure is deliberate and due to her style (notwithstanding how little I know about it), while presumbaly having depth. That last claim is not necessarily too snobbish of me, as I was struck by how – despite being an appealing song – the speaker appears quite roughly in places, only to smoothed down by finishing the poem, or the poem’s form. Here’s the ending of the 5th poem from the 2nd series

in the dry sand drift,
I need not turn my head

to assure myself of the sea-ledge,
it is indented like a shell;
I know this, since I came here

before everything was over,
and befopre I realised an intimacy
near as the air.


I’m quite unsure how it achieves that wholism, but it could be, I suppose, a mastery of modernist technique and collage, one in which nothing much happens and everything appears to be on the surface. So I suppose what shatters is the poet – her self – herself.

I very much like how these poems sound, elegant, sculpted, though the collection has given me a bit of a headache, due to how the surface is where all the sensuous action lives/occurs (apparently her later works are linked to Plath, though you would never confuse – I’d guess – their poems, and HD comes off as so much more classical and less troubled).