Skip to main content


Showing posts from July, 2020

Review - "Bomb Damage Maps" by Rupert Loydell

Alan Baker "Bomb Damage Maps" by Rupert Loydell, pub. Red Ceilings Press. 34pp. When I see a new book by Rupert Loydell I wonder which Loydell it'll be. Over a long career he's turned his hand to a variety of styles, from cut-up and collage to realist monologue to meditations on the Virgin Mary and examinations of modernist art. "Bomb Damage Maps" finds Loydell in social-documentary mode, taking us on a journey through London on the A40(M) elevated road. This book is at one level psychogeography, an overused form, here redeemed by the element of parody and the justified anger at social injustice. The booklet consists of seven poems, the first entitled "The Lore of the Land". In this poem, Loydell lightly parodies the earnest tone of the psychogeographer:                          On other occasions the people did      convince themselves of intentions      to uprise and take back control      but apathy and commonsense      soon sent them back to wo

Mark Goodwin - "Moor", a portrait of Rannoch Moor, a film-poem

Mark Goodwin ((( Moor - a portrait of Rannoch Moor - film-poem ))) Moor is a film-poem interpretation of an original art & poetry chapbook of the same title, first published by Fidra Fine Art in Scotland (2020). Moor is a portrait of Scotland’s magnificent Rannoch Moor – fifty square miles   of bogland surrounded by mountains. It explores Rannoch's historical, wild, peat-layered landscape. During the winter of 2019/2020 artist Dominique Cameron repeatedly visited Rannoch ... and tweeted her drawings & paintings to Mark Goodwin... who replied with poetry. The film-poem (devised by video artist Martyn Blundell & Mark Goodwin) comprises still photographs of original paintings & drawings by Dominique Cameron, original poetry text by Mark Goodwin, and original sound work by sound artist Edu Comelles: THE FILM And here are pictures of the printed book:

Review - "Piece" by Stephen Emmerson

Steve Spence " A Piece " by Stephen Emmerson , pub. IF P Then Q .  474 pages “A Piece” is a process poem based on Robert Creeley’s sequence and also using the dictionary via a variation on the Oulipo technique of word replacement. The length of Emmerson’s sequence is decided by the method and the method itself appears to give rise to a mix of composition, decided by a strict if somewhat ‘arbitrary’ process, allied to a degree of improvisation: control and freedom, the twin planks of such an exploratory work. Once again in a publication from IF P THEN Q we have the extraordinary evidence of a ‘monster volume’, 474 pages in this instance, with one three-line poem per page, each poem range left at the top of the page, leaving a vast expanse of empty space to contemplate. A heavy tome indeed. And yet there’s a lightness of touch about the project which seems at variance with both the method and the ‘epic’ size and weight of the product itself, somewhat in tune with Creeley’s

Review - "Knuckle" by Tim Cumming

Steve Spence "knuckle" by Tim Cumming, pub. Pitt Street Poetry (Australia), 92 pages The ‘knuckle end’ is the sweetest meat on a leg of lamb, a fact included at the end of Tim Cumming’s end piece by way of a belated introduction to his latest collection. The sparse, neatly-designed cover includes a basic silhouette of a dog, possibly scavenging for bones. I’ve not read an entire collection of Cummings’ poetry since Apocalypso and that feels like centuries ago but I thoroughly enjoyed engaging with these poems which are strangely detached from the moments they are in without being in the least uninvolving or lacking in interest. I hope that makes some kind of sense. Whether in London, Budapest, Dorset or simply in an ‘unnamed room’ Cumming manages to create a present in which the past is forever hovering, in which memory and describing the ‘here and now’ are intermingled in a manner which combines sharp observation with an almost penumbral, dreamy vagueness. I’m not quite sure

Review - #LoveLikeBlood by Sascha A Akhtar

Alan Baker '#LoveLikeBlood' by Sascha A. Akhtar (76 pages), pub. Knives Forks and Spoons Press. £12.00 This large-format book is expansive, wide-ranging and linguistically adventurous, and gives the reader an impression of energy and scope. The poems range from diary entries to large-scale poems that sprawl across the page, to visual poems, and collages combining text and images. Underlying all of the work is a feel for language that enables the poet to deliver rhythmic, musical phrases that demand to be read aloud. "#LoveLikeBlood" references pop culture (the title apparently a 1980s song title), literary culture (references range from the Orpheus & Eurydice myth to JG Ballard's "Crash"), politics, and personal experience (such as a girlhood spent in a Catholic boarding school). There is also a successful concrete poem combining comment on the recent repression in Turkey while at the same time refencing Sufi culture and Dervish dance. Akhtar