Sunday, 23 April 2000

From "Off the Grid: Lyric and Politics in Andrea Brady's Embrace"

In its origins, the Intelligencer was a Black Mountain / Buffalo outgrowth, a product of the Olsonian force-field. It reproduced the odd combination in Olson's thought of high modernism, deep history, and phenomenology, which in J. H. Prynne's Kitchen Poems and The White Stones achieved its too-magisterial synthesis, even as The Maximus Poems were collapsing into archival fragments and phallic flourishes. The Northern wing stayed largely faithful to the Intelligencer's founding moment, its Poundian right finding a religious haven (John Riley in Russian Orthodoxy), while Peter Riley, a Northern poet although resident in Cambridge, elaborated out of sixties phenomenology an ethics and a poetics of responsiveness testable against geological time, cultural displacement, and musical improvisation. According with general British cultural geography, the Southern poets, including Prynne, showed a greater urbanity, becoming aligned with a Gramscian New Left more exercised by cultural and sexual politics than with the entrenched oppositions of labor and business or of industry and pastoral. Some even were so unorthodox as to be women.

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