Particularly today one is reminded that the United States is the only country to have actually USED nuclear weapons; twice : and in one case against a completely civilian population in a city of no military significance.
Wovon man nicht sprechen kann, darüber muss man schweigen
What is unspeakable, must remain Soylent.
A lung infection has kept me inactive for some days. This morning feels easier, but sleep past 4 a.m. is still impossible, so after a quick search online to see which if any of our newspapers of record had deigned to notice Lee Harwood’s death ten days after the event; none, I made coffee and drank it in the dawn light while reading (with pleasure) first
(trigger warning: contain thoughts, ideas and opinions of someone else):
The Dream-God, by John Cuningham 1873
(the latter via the excellent Futility Closet).
Now sunlight is passing through the coleus and hot pepper leaves behind me and I’m happy to have spent some time in the OED with fane and murex.
An email from Andrew Robinson, and a confirmation from Robert Sheppard, that Lee died at 12.10pm on July 26th.
Travers Rafe Lee Harwood
Born, Leicester June 6th.1939 : Died, Hove, July 26th.2015
Too many memories. Poet and worker.
Happier Times: Lee, Gunnar Harding, me.
Colchester, around Christmastime 1968
Extracted from An Interview with Andy Brown
Andy Brown: Another theme that goes across your work is ‘decay’. Air Clamps even invokes decay: ‘And decay gradually eats at the structures… we hope’. What is all this decay about?
Lee Harwood: I’m not so sure what I meant by ‘decay’ in some of the earlier poems, but I do know that in the later poems, such as Air Clamps, it’s about being relieved; finding a pleasure in knowing that nothing is there forever. In that poem, the fancy building is going to fall down. All this grandeur has got its comeuppance eventually. There’s one other poem in Take a Card, Any Card, called Ikon, which ends up with an image of faded angels and an evolving mollusc. Creatures are continually evolving. We’re just a passing thing. There’s a marvelous book called The Earth: an Intimate History – these strata and the Earth’s crust are continually moving and changing and shunting around – and the author, Richard Fortey, says: ‘Mankind is no more than a parasitic tick, gorging himself on temporary plenty, while the seas are low and the climate comparatively clement. The present arrangement of land and sea will change, and with it our brief supremacy’. That thing about change; it’s a chastening thing for human arrogance. But it also means that, sometimes, one might feel that everything’s a total mess, but a couple of days later it will have all shifted.
Kenneth Lee Irby
Born, Bowie, Texas November 18th 1936 : Died, Lawrence, Kansas July 30th 2015
A sad 4 a.m. drinking coffee, to get word from Steve Dickison of the death of Ken Irby, a poet whose presence seemed fixed. Whenever he lit in my memory the same two dominoes would flip, before else other. It’s late ’71 or early ’72, winter light and snow. Ted Greenwald, David Ball (and at one point Aram Saroyan) and I are driving with Harvey Brown from NYC to Franconia, NH to read. Bob Grenier is teaching up there. The story of that epic trip can only be properly told by Ted; but Ken was teaching at Tufts and he generously put us all up overnight. Going through his record collection he played us only Tibetan music and chants. That was my first meeting (other than by correspondence) with Ken. In an armchair with much Olson to hand. Drones, gongs, snow. Which tilts the second domino. Kent, Ohio, a little later in the 70s. We’re staying with the Dorns in their rented house. Ken comes by. Hilarity, drink, drugs. A fierce storm dumps feet of loose snow. For a forgotten reason I drive off towards the turnpike, heading back towards Bowling Green: and skid into a snowdrift. No cellphones in those days, but some hypersense after a couple of frozen hours brings Ken and Ed in a pick-up. I see this almost lion-head in silhouette as snow and ice are scraped from the windshield. Then more random memories flame up. I last saw Ken in Lawrence, where he’d returned to look after his mother, more than a decade ago. And I always thought he’d be there if I ever went back. I suppose he will.
Mood Indigo Duke Ellington Black, Brown & Beige
Finnegan’s Wake read by Jim Norton with Marcella Riordan
The Old Triangle Dominic Behan Major Minor
The Very Heart of Things Peter Brotzmann Munster Bern
Me Gadmovcurav Zgvas Irakli Charkviani
The Sea Around Us The Dubliners Finnegan Wakes
Finnegan’s Wake read by Jim Norton with Marcella Riordan
Satin Doll Sun Ra Duke Ellington’s Sound of Space
Direct download: novale.mp3
you all for such cheerful birthday greetings: it’s been a good day.
Older, and even less wise,
Variaciones Ornamentales, by Ronald Kay. Ediciones Universidad Diego Portales, Chile.
Poesía Reunida, by César Vallejo (Edited by Kurt Folch). Ediciones Universidad Diego Portales, Chile.
Temporal, by Nicanor Parra. Ediciones Universidad Diego Portales, Chile.
Eastward Ho!– The Saga of Vitus Bering, by Jennifer Dunbar Dorn. EARTH OF THE PARALLEL BREAD/Lost & Found
Apuntes Autobiogáficos y Algunas Poemas, by Robert Lowell (translated by Sergio Coddou). Ediciones Universidad Diego Portales, Chile.
Swimming Home, by Vincent Katz. Nightboat
This past week:
The Assasin: Association of Musical Marxists Reader, Ed. Michael Tercer & Andy Wilson. Ukant Press
Ten Laws, by Jow Lindsay. The Greenhouse, Chapel Street, Cork. Apparently hors commerce but a note to franciscrotATgmail.com might inform.
Little Apples of Gower, by Iain Sinclair. Little Toller
The Xipehuz, by J.-H.Rozny. Atlas Press hors commerce
Theory of the Great Game, by René Daumal, Roger Gilbert-Lecomte and others. Atlas Press
A Short History of Decay, by E.M.Cioran. Penguin Classics
Strange House, by Samantha Walton. SadPress (this is not yet listed on the SadPress site; but it’s well worth a visit)
The gin, the chocolates, the flowers were gifts from four visitors (Trevor Joyce, Jimmy Cummins, Keith Tuma and Fergal Gaynor) who arrived after the Cork SoundEye Poetry Festival. Drink was taken. There are a few photographs here. Thank you gentlemen for some excellent hours. For an opposite view see here.
Shortly before, our old friends (50+ years) David and Nicole Ball were in town for a few days
For a year and a half or so, tucked away in a corner of a parking lot adjacent to a nearby church has been the Lickle More Caribbean Kitchen stall. Goat Curry, and Jamaican patties were my favourites.
Since leaving hospital I haven’t been able to walk far, so I was pissed off to see this happen some days ago:
but a mass of local people turned out to help repair and repaint and all is back to normal. Yesterday delicious salt fish and ackee was my pleasure.
Finally, a sort of proof that I am sometimes upright:
Interviewed by die zeit
Mr. Schalliol’s English translation is no longer available as die zeit is using copyright as a restriction. This is retrieved from the cache.
Myths of Male Dominance, by Eleanor Burke Leacock This edition long o.o.p
Cry for a Nickel, Die for a Dime, by Woody Haut Concorde Press
Tip Regard, by Allen Fisher Spanner Press (not yet listed)
For Bill, ANYTHING, a festschrift for Bill Berkson by Various Pressed Wafer
Words Out of Time, by Robert Sheppard KniveForksandSpoons Press
The Deeper Genome, by John Parrington Oxford University Press
The Subprimes, by Karl Taro Greenfeld Harper Collins
L’Underground a Préaux-du-Perche More than 70pp black & white & colour of much interesting ephemera, letters, postcards, interviews and photographs. Published on the occasion of the exhibition Piero Heliczer aux Bains-Douches, Alençon, France, June 19th to September 22nd 2015 . More information, and how to order here.
Unflattening, by Nick Sousanis Harvard University Press
Are Poets At A Taste Opera?, by David Benedetti Noose Soon press, New Mexico. Enquire of the author at bendeadATq.com
The Drone Eats With Me, by Atef Abu Saif Comma Press
London Overground, by Iain Sinclair Hamish Hamilton
Fkn Dead Flying Lotus You’re Dead
South Carolina Rag (Take 1) Willie Walker Rough Guide to East Coast Blues
Wesley’s Theory Kendrick Lamar To Pimp A Butterfly
The Next Step Kamasi Washington The Epic
Blues for Aida Cristian Calcagnile Giancarlo Locatelli private recording
Intuition Lennie Tristano & Buddy DeFranco Cool & Quiet
After Words Willie Rodriguez Flatjacks
Direct Download: scrap.mp3
Up In The Old Hotel, by Joseph Mitchell. Vintage Classics
For British Workers: Versions of Vladimir Mayakovsky (and others), by Harry Gilonis. Barque Press 2015
(though not yet listed on the Barque Press site, the book seems to be available here.)
The Penguin Book of Latin American Verse, edited by E. Caracciolo-Trejo. Penguin Books 1971 (long OOP)
Sonnets no author listed
My Ears Are Bent, by Joseph Mitchell. Penguin / Random House.
Arrays, by Ian Heames. Face Press, Cambridge 2015.
for Arrays, and for Sonnets (above), see my note here.
A week ago I should have been in Lana (Südtirol) to receive the N.C. Kaser-Lyrikpreis. My life is so changed within the past year that any travel more than the immediately local on foot with stick or by bus or car is impossible. Kindly, Tom Leonard spoke and read for me; and Ulf Stolterfoht read some of his German translations. Sadly I cannot yet put names to the faces of the local poets, musicians, artists (including Maria C. Hilber, Louis Schropp, Gerd Sulzenbacher, Matthias Vieider und Jörg Zemmler) who took part; but I thank them and Tom and Ulf for their generosity, and apologise for being unable to be with them.
Tom Leonard and Ulf Stolterfoht.
The Major Works, by Sir Thomas Browne. Penguin Classics
This Fatal Looking Glass, by Martin Corless-Smith. SplitLevel Textx
Zibaldone: The Notebooks of Leopardi, by Giacomo Leopardi. Penguin Books
Later Lately, by Ted Greenwald. Cuneiform Press (hors commerce)
Courses Matter-Woven, by John Wilkinson. Equipage, Cambridge
The Utopia of Rules, by David Graeber. Melville House
El Ombú, by W.H.Hudson. Rescript Books
A Tablet Poem, by Franck André Jamme
4 Sandwiches for Ben, by Luke Allen
eight lines, by Thomas A. Clark
(all from Sine Wave Peak)
The Poems of Sulpicia, translated by John Heath-Stubbs. Hearing Eye (long OOP.)