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false, heroic head he once lifted above more or less the same crowd
as that to which Captain Fuller and the anarchist Aldred proclaimed
the new aeon has become cumbersome, monstrous. In the dim stale light
it resembles nothing so much as the skull of a horse, but is sealed,
lacking all seven apertures.
length he becomes too irked by my pursuit to ignore it further and
makes as if to summon me, but no power resides in him now, and when
he swivels to claw at my shirt, the effect is merely comic. So he
turns and brushes his fingers against the hedge wall afresh,
is overwhelmed by the wealth of material in this issue. First, we
print book V of ‘The
Memory of the Drift’
in its entirety. Next, a David Chaloner memorial. By singular good
fortune AE has been given access to the archive of his letters. We
chose a time of dialogue with John Hall. David's
poems take place in a 'permanent present' and these remarkable
letters are meant to recover a 'deep present', the Now in which the
poems were written.This
feature presents a moment of time preserved like a crystal, a
formative moment for poetry. It is 1969 and: &
just abt to begin Jeremy Prynne's book The White Stones have you seen
that at all What have you been doing since our last letter &
where are your poems appearing I've not seen any for such a long time
Did you see the last copy of collection & the last resuscitator
I thought you'd've been there
we open the window on a new generation with an anthology of Ninerrors
poems. This field is so new that it can't be described. The concept
is ‘Twin Peaks': two moments, one of around 1969 and one of 2010.
There is a 'continuity of the unknown' and the course of brilliant
innovation which David was embarking on resembles the course of the
poets around Freaklung.
the freedom of information act failed to demand a supposed
‘transparency of normal speech’, it turns upon us to
decolonize rhetoric & the wider sphere of language,
syllable-by-syllable. we are to start with ‘radical’, ‘fairness’,
‘social’ & it’s derivatives, ‘rhetoric’, ‘free’
& words used in justifying a notion; there is now
animal fat in the extinguishers; we have begun to bribe refuse
collections; we have deduced the frequencies of sound that enact
violence on private property, we are counting heads
the comparison allows us a sense of deep time, the experience at
levels beneath consciousness of a ‘group identity’, always
dissolving in time but sustained by the linguistic or symbolic net of
third strand is what magazines are signed up for, a display of new
poems and some information.
by: Colin Simms, Rhys Trimble, Paul Holman, John Powell Ward, Graham
Hartill, David Barnett, Harry Godwin, Nat Raha, Alan Hay, RTA Parker,
SJ Fowler, Linus Slug, Gareth Durasow, Stephen Emmerson, Owain Lee,
James Harvey, Michael Zand.
we subtract the certain and the possible, there is the new poetry.
What will they think of the poetry of the recent past?
pp. cost £7.00 including postage. cheques payable to Andrew Duncan.
at 21 Querneby Road, Nottingham, Notts NG3 5JA.
Long ago, back in 1994, I wrote a piece starring the Higgs Boson. I still hold by its assertions, despite today's announcements. It forms part of my long text 'The Ghost Machine' (and, yes, I had that title back in 1994 too) and can be found entire at http://www.staplednapkin.co.uk. Here's the Higgs:
A DIGRESSION ON AN ABSENCE OF FACT
A NOT QUITE ECLOGUE
(A quiet glade in the Outer Realms. Hilarius Hilaricon
floats peacefully over the stream of nothingness, meditating on
abstruse tangles of being. Something sparkles on the nothing-stream.)
H.H. - Hello there, who are you?
H.B. - One who is tormented with existence, harried like
a hare by the dogs of knowledge. My
name is Boson, Higgs Boson.
H.H. - My friend, what is your problem?
H.B. - Until but a few years ago - how long it all seems
now — I was happy, at peace and non-existent - I had no problems
then - but then the Higgs appeared and forced me into name and
the scar I bearto this very day.
H.H. - Are you telling me it was your father?
H.B. - Father, creator, inventor, discoverer - it’s
all alike to me. It prised me from the contentedness of nothingness,
weighed me with gravity, squeezed mass from my cries, discontented me
H.H. - But that’s being born. We all must endure it.
H.B. - Not if you do not exist. And I don’t. Yet I am
forced to be. I am but a simple particle, my friend, my needs are
few, my resources little, yet the Higgs and its kind would entangle
me with everything, from the birth of the Universe to the surface of
sandwiches. I am not made for this. I haven’t the strength to bear
H.H.- So the Higgs turned you from a simple Boson to a
particle in great demand?
Even the Boson came with the Higgs.
H.H.- But why? Why are you persecuted so?
H.B.- For explanations.
H.H.- Ah, I see.
H.B.- They have plans for me, you know. I feel so
- so - hunted. I can sense them at every turn, they’re
looking everywhere for me, they’re out to get me.
H.H. -Please, please, take a hold of yourself.
H.B. - I can’t, I don’t exist.
H.H. -You’re beginning to sound paranoid.
A SIMPLE FRIENDSHIP
H.B. - I know they’re after me, I’ve seen them. I am
not, but am becoming.
H.H. - So why do you not go to the Higgs and its kind,
speak to them, try to come to an
agreement, to make a pact on your
H.B. - Because I do not exist.
H.H. - But the Higgs and its allies plot to make you
H.B. - Yes, yes, I never was and they will make me be. I
was thinner than the rarest air, less than the
shadow of a molecule, slighter than the skimpiest verse, more
negligible than the dressings of economists. I can’t, I can’t
take the weight of it all. The Higgs and its creatures want to hurl
things at me underground, where others cannot see their crimes, to
prove their equations, to make me count - I, who have no knowledge of
mathematics - shooting their numbers ever faster towards infinity and
me, until I am forced out of nothing by the bombardment.
H.H. - That sounds very painful but ....
H.B. - Have you ever been hit with a hadron?
H.H. - No, but I think the only thing you can do is wait
until you exist and then talk to them. Surely they want to
H.B.- Talk? I shall do more than talk. I shall change
into a wave. I shall drown them with in-existence, I shall submerge
them in apparitions.
(Hilarius Hilaricon brightens at the last word and
floats higher in the air. Interest animates his voice.)
Yes, my friend.
H.H.- Call me Hilarius. You mentioned apparitions?
H.B.- Yes, Hilarius, my friend, I too am a ghost. You
are the ghost of the living, I am the ghost of an idea. You are the
haunted, I, the hunted.
H.H.- We shall talk further on these matters.
(As the darkness falls on the page, they merge into the
thickening nothing, entering its non-existent folds, like shepherds
plodding homeward, into the brotherhood of a void bucolic.)
are Spain the best football team ever? I prefer the 1970 Brazilians but
picture reception was less reliable then. I also believe in Hamlet but
as some other clouds have been stirred lately perhaps some might want
to consider Vanessa Place's already notorious (note, notorious,
meaning) essay, from as long ago on the digital watch as last April,
'Poetry is Dead, I Killed It'
It could be that poetry is having a market crisis but I like the wit in Place's paragraph below, while in my darker moments I might suggest that a slight variation, 'Poetry is Dead and I Killed It' should be the mandatory title of all new collections of 'verse'. Unless proved otherwise.
In a court of law :)
"Drucker’s central thesis is that conceptualism is a symptom of a smooth-faced crisis of the Zeit,
in which systems exist to perpetuate themselves as systems rather than
servants. Where we are we only as bits of webbing used to tat more
networks that work to no other end but their own endless extension. This
seems correct in a general sense and what of it? For, in a general
sense, given that all we are are more or less attractive DNA delivery
devices, why should our souls be any less utilitarian or bent towards
something other than a dumb repetition? As Hegel noted, “Spirit is a
bone.” Or, as Craig Dworkin has illustrated, the Man Booker Prize is
awarded yearly to singularly unoriginal work,
much like the pages of most poetry anthologies go tête à bête with
their faithful readers. Too, it is too easy to note that the majority of
poetry that is produced is produced as reams of subjectivity, and that
the ability to sell one’s innermost and/or ethos is the call to market
for many an MFA. Or that poetry is largely a cottage industry of the
university, and like other university discourses, is the hand that feeds
it. Or that much political poetry presumes that the moo-faced masses
must be written at in order to be written for. But Drucker’s argument
falls most apart in its particulars, from its belief that aesthetic
movements follow each other like right and left feet, to its daisy chain
of false predicates and caged assumptions. To wit: (valid) art is about
opposition; opposition is about critique; (valid) politics is about
critique; thus (valid) poetics is about (valid) politics; critique is
about apartness; conceptualism is sameness; thus conceptualism is not
critique; thus conceptualism is neither valid politics nor valid
poetics. However, each semi-colon should serve as question mark, for
each point betrays its own faulty presumption. To be equally
reductive/reactive: art is about nothing but art, poetry is pointless
except as poetry, and The Matrix was a very good movie indeed.
Drucker wants to believe that once an aesthetic gesture has become
institutionalized, it loses its critical cachet, which is its only avant
ace. And she wants to believe this while also asserting the postmodern
maxim that we are but culture products and producers, and while
acknowledging the commonplace of cultural critique in a
post-Institutional Critique culture of production, in which we are but
producers, etc. But if we can agree that we may function critically not
from the conceit of extramural critique, which is essentially a
postmodern argument, but rather from a relational perspective, which is
the more conceptualist approach, we can avoid the temptation to fall
into the sweet satisfactions of self—including a sorrowful self that has
seen it all before. The best minds of my generation are servile, but it
is service with a purpose. We take it and dish it out and leave its
rumination to other minds. For, as Marjorie Perloff argues, the genius
of conceptualism is in the plating"