Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Alan Wall on Geoffrey Hill

The poet must be attuned to the language uttered around him, but he must not succumb to its mores. A key word in Hill’s intellectual armoury is ‘resistance’. Hill regards postmodernism as a collapse of the necessary resistance of the artist, where modernism in its exemplary forms represented that resistance incarnate. In the breezy ironic whimsicalities of so much postmodernism, Hill sees a craven populism dressed up in the gladrags of cultural fashion. Modernism was hard; it never forgot that ‘difficulty is our plough’. The greatest tribute to the common reader, according to Hill, is the offer of serious difficulty encountered on the page. Not the snapshot slickness embodied in words like ‘tittagram’ and ‘recite-a-thon’. So what is the difference between a modernist approach to the present and the past, and its postmodernist counterparts?

The modernists encountered the past, not in order to recapitulate it, but to make it new. This meant that they were actually more obsessed with the past than their predecessors. They were wrestling more agonistically with what had been inherited and had to be transmuted. The Cantos begins with Homer, The Waste Land begins with Chaucer. But the central modernist perception is this: present language and our existing forms are only possible because of our prior language and prior forms, but we live now, with this language in its current state of use. Simple reiteration or pastiche will not do. So the present language of our verse must demonstrate its awareness of the tradition, but it must extend it at the same time.

from The Fortnightly Review.

Sunday, August 17, 2014

L. Samuels review of 'Get Some.'

Lisa Samuel’s review in Jacket of Sonya Yelich’s Get Some is a concise, perceptive consideration of the subtle shifts between NZ and American English in Yelich’s experimental, rewarding—book.

Saturday, August 16, 2014

from Tooth and Nail by Ian Rankin

So Rebus travelled through the Underground and tried hard not to look out of place, not to gawp at the buskers and the beggars, not to pause in a busy conduit the better to read this or that advertising poster.  A tramp actually entered his carriage at one stop and as the doors closed and the train pulled away again he began to rave, but his audience were deaf and dumb as well as blind and they successfully ignored his existence until the next stop where, daunted, he slouched from the carriage into the platform.  As the engine pulled away, Rebus could hear his voice again, coming from the carriage along.  It had been an astonishing performance, not by the tramp but by the passengers.  They had closed off their minds, refusing involvement.  Would they do the same if they saw a fight taking place?  Saw a thick-set man stealing a tourist’s wallet? Yes, they probably would.  This wasn’t an environment of good and evil: it was a moral vacuum and that frightened Rebus more than anything else.

Friday, August 15, 2014

Poems in Takahē 82

My poems ‘Wedding Album’, Amritsar’, ‘The Change’, ‘Valley Song’, ‘Empathy’, ‘The Golden Apples’ and ‘Late Show’ have been published in issue Takahē 82 which is the last issue edited by poetry editor Siobhan Harvey.  Looking at my poems in the issue, I see that they talk to each and that the conversation is really quite personal.  I’m working on my next book—which is taking a while—and so seeing these in print is satisfying as I know that the poems can be read and have gone out into the world.  Takahē 82 also features, among others, poems by Jenny Powell, Elizabeth McRae, L.E. Scott, Alistair Paterson, Damien Love, Jeni Curtis, Gail Ingram, Jane Simpson.

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Thursday, August 07, 2014

from NW by Zadie Smith

137. Train of thought

The screenwriter Dennis Potter was interviewed on television. Sometime during the early nineties. He was asked what it felt like to have a few weeks to live.  Natalie Blake remembered this answer: ‘I look out of my window and I see the blossom.  And it’s more blossomy than it’s ever been.’  Once she got within network she would check the year and whether or not that was the correct wording.  Then again, perhaps the way she had remembered it was the thing that was important.  The branch lay abandoned outside a phone box at Kilburn Station.  Sitting in her tube seat, Natalie Blake moved her pelvis very subtly back and forth. Beauty created a special awareness in her.  ‘The difference between moment and instant.’  She couldn’t remember very much about the philosophical significance of this distinction other than her good friend Leah Hanwell had once tried to understand it, and to make Natalie Blake understand it, a long time ago, when they were students, and far smarter than they were today.  And for a brief period in 1995, perhaps a week or so, she had thought that she understood it.

My novel of the year so far this year. A remarkable achievement.

Tuesday, August 05, 2014

Friday, August 01, 2014

ECO AGM 2014

ECO Conference 2014

ECO (Environment and Conservation Organisations) of NZ AGM & Conference 2014
Date: 22 to 23 August - starting noon
Venue: Toi Poneke, 61-69 Abel Smith St, Wellington
Theme:   ‘Achieving Genuine Progress for the Environment’
Key Topics
The conferences is focused on genuine progress of the the Environment.  Topics range from:
  • Values on the environment
  • climate change and energy
  • choices for the future
  • indicators of change
  • Attitudes to the environment
The conference will start at Noon on Friday.
Friday evening will include a discussion on political parties environmental and associated policy and representatives of the main political parties have been invited.
Saturday evening will include some recent environmental films.
Flyer: A flyer for the conference can be downloaded here.
Registration Form: A flyer and registration form can be downloaded here
Online Registration:  On line registration for the conference can be made here: REGISTRATION