Monthly Archives: February 2015

My S(h)elf

I am going to start a new serial post where, once a week or so, I show you something that is on my shelf. Simple.

To start this off I will pick something that has been on my shelf for a long time. Lorine Niedecker’s ‘Collected Works’ edited by Jenny Penberthy and published by University of California Press. The hardback was published in 2002 and the paperback (which I have) was published in 2004.

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Niedecker (1903-1970) is an integral part of an American modernist tradition. She was the only (where there others?) woman associated with the Objectivist and was for many year neglected (still is in someways). During the 1960 her work started to be published more widely thanks to British’s presses such as Fulcrum. But this kind of info can be found online easy enough.

I first heard about Niedecker’s work via a recommendation from Trevor Joyce. If memory serves he mentioned that she was a big influence on Catherine Walsh‘s work. I have always liked the way in chick the work itself outlines her involvement with poetry. For example

‘If I were a bird’

I’d be a dainty contained cool

Greek figurette

on a morning shore –

H.D.

I’d flitter and feed and delouse myself

close to Williams’ house

and his kind eyes

I’d be a never-museumed tinted glass

breakable from the shelves of Marianne Moore.

On Stevens’ fictive sibilant hibiscus flower

I’d poise myself,a cuckoo, flamingo-pink.

I’d plunge the depths with Zukofsky

and all that means — stirred earth,

cut sky, organ-sounding, resounding

anew, anew.

I’d prick the sand in cunning, lean,

Cummings irony, a little drunk dead sober.

Man, that walk down the beach!

I’d sit on a quiet fence

and sing a quiet thing: sincere, sincere.

And that would be Reznikoff.

Lorine Niedecker

There is a simplicity in her work but one that is clearly crafted and hard to master. There is a real tension in some of the lines which point to her being an influence on the Likes of Frank O’Hara and Robert Creeley. another poem.

I walked

on New Year’s Day

Beside the trees

my father now gone planted

evenly following

the road

Each

spoke

you can buy Niedecker’s ‘Collected Works’ here

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Poetry in Motion: Poetry Documentaries

staying with poetry documentaries I watched Ron Mann’s 1982 film Poetry in Motion which features writers like Amiri Baraka, Ted Berrigan, William Burroughs and John Cage (to name a few).

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It can be watched – with Spanish subtitles – on youtube here. What was great about this documentary is the amount of footage of poets reading. The film is not just about poetry but also contains alot of poetry.

It got me thinking about how important documentary film making is in terms of gathering and preserving footage which might otherwise remain lost or forgotten about in archives. Furthermore, how documentaries can introduce poetry, poetry movements and individual poets to a wider audience. So I ask, what other poetry documentaries should I watch? Are there any on the British equivalent poetry scenes/periods (Cambridge, London, Essex etc)? What about the idea of documentaries on British or Irish poets? who would you like to see a documentary on?

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Polis Is This: Charles Olson and the Persistence of Place

I watched this decent enough documentary on the American poet Charles Olson today.

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I am always surprised by the amount of poets I meet who have never heard of Olson. This documentary is a very good, and relatively short, introduction into his life and poetry. It is entitled Polis Is This: Charles Olson and the Persistence of Place and was made in 2007 by the film maker Henry Ferrini. For $30 plus P+P you can buy the DVD.

or, thanks to the director, you can see it in six parts on YouTube

 

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