Which leads me to poetry as dirge, as plaint of a swinging gate, a whining dog, a town google finally takes off its maps.
Shakespeare. War. Religion. Radiohead. Love. THE TRAPPED. All that is dangerous and tender about our days.
We are, and will always be, dear readers, alive in dangerous times. We are no different to any other excepting the angle of the wind, the calibre of exception. The comfortable have for all eternity and will (at least for now) continue to spare a moment for the trapped.
Poets are the first to respond and the last to pronounce about this on-going crisis that is us. But that is just their method. They are, like journalists and infantrymen, prone to a breath-taking mortality. They stop to think, pronounce, die in the dreadful percentages of those who count.
We have those playing a two-handed game, however
turn to window turn
from tv & c
d player to col
our lifes short & on
lookers fickle read
what you fear true hear
an unknown sound one
holds the benchmark an
other chins with succ
ess theyve a whole oth
er raison detre
flatters something rac
ist precious unreal
- Michael Farrell "curtain as persons" from a raiders guide
It sounds like it means something because I built it up to dodge a bullet, which is what Michael Farrell's poetry does very successfully. I call it poetry only because that's how it came packaged via the name of a man I do not know but trust like the weatherman. Whether it is his judgment or mine that is finally askew is one of those best left to the weathermen of this great new medium. The blurb (and I am a magpie of poet's back yards) informs us that Farrell's new collection is a "raid on the inarticulate", but not as TS Eliot intended...The poems are composed through the application of principles familiar from contemporary music - sampling and remixing, repetition and substitution. Which, I gather, is supposed to legitimise this intellectual condescension passed off as a book. It is enough that we have digitalised that last bastion of spontaneity - rock and roll soul rap hip hop - but now we have to swallow these desperate grabs at street cred by a desperately over-rated writer. "Farrell's ear is as warm as an analog synthesiser" blurbs Aaron McCollough a little underwhelmingly, but at least his forms a sentence. Christ knows what the ubiquitous blurber Chris Wallace Crabbe was getting to or working away from when he was finally grabbed mumbling "...a tough little cookie".
Raise your standards, Giramondo.