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Showing posts from September, 2021

Review - "Computer Dreams" by Anna Cathenka

Alan Baker “Computer Dreams” by Anna Cathenka, pub. Broken Sleep. 26pp. £6.00 (currently reduced: £4.50) The opening poem in this chapbook, "Everybody's Autobiography", is subtitled "after Gertrude Stein". The poem is a monologue spoken by Stein, and the language imitates her hypnotic, repetitive phrasing:                              this is everybody's talking             and everybody's walking and it is              lonely really lonely to. and so i went over              we all went over but              that is all there is to that. These lines introduce one of the themes of this collection - "everybody's talking ... it is lonely". The poems refer to robots, AI, bots and general cyber-activity, but underlying this (or perhaps as a result of it) there is a sense of longing and loneliness. In the poem "Alone in a Body" the word "alone" is repeated many times while describing a rainy street, the aftermath of some

Review - "Parallel Movement of the Hands" by John Ashbery

Martin Stannard PARALLEL MOVEMENT OF THE HANDS – Five Unfinished Longer Works, John Ashbery (Emily Skillings, Editor) 265pp. pub. Carcanet (UK) Ecco (USA) These days the John Ashbery phenomenon, somewhat thanks to the internet, is even more of a phenomenon than it might otherwise have been. As if an Ashbery academic/critical industry keeping lots of sometimes probably quite dull people in university positions were not enough, thanks to today’s technology one is able, among other things, to take a virtual tour of his house in Hudson, which is kind of fun, and might give you some ideas for interior d├ęcor. I often think back to the mid-1980s when I wrote my Masters dissertation on the New York School poets and their relationship to English poetry, and there was just one book of critical essays about Ashbery to which I could refer, which was one more than there was on either Frank O’Hara, Kenneth Koch or James Schuyler. These days, with Google and all the rest, I don’t know where one would