Saturday, 12 May 2007

Last Night at the Lamb

... there were some very good poems said. A Conduit of Lambs. Jeff Hilson and Giles Goodland launched a new reading series, which is called the Blue Bus. See note 1. It bears an as-yet inchoate relation to the Crossing the Line series. And inside that launch there was another launch, of Giles’ book Capital.

One trope which comes up a lot in Jeff’s Bird Bird is a kind of outraged or confused return to some subject as its object; I mean “subject” and “object” very loosely and in a kind of syntactical way: “the thing about x is that it’s so x!” or “when x is feeling a bit y, it goes and xs!” Two pseudo-hypotheses tend to dog this trope: (1) someone doesn’t know what he’s talking about and is running out of language so finishes up lamely where he started; (2) someone tries to draw out protocols from the thing she just mentioned, through which to extend it into a narrative, relations, qualifications, predications etc., but is almost immediately overwhelmed with regret and rushes back on herself to insist on the originary language (see note 2).

Much of Giles’ Capital is staked on the assertions made across the breaks between bits of found texts, e.g. “[...] the New York Times headlined / / with its blood serving as paint [...]”. Making too much of this obvious and widespread practice is trivial taxanonymising; Capital is conspicuous, though, in its fastidious avowal of each bit’s dual context (where it was found, and where it was put). For every bit of found text a source is cited. The bits fuse standoffishly, encysted in separate stanzas. One advantage is that it makes it difficult to collapse the manifold of dockings among discourses and subject positions and so on into a single channel of oncoming comic incongruities.

Note 1: The venue was a pretty standard Pub Upstairs, and I think it was asking £30. We had our own bar. The format was Giles / Jeff / break / Giles / Jeff. I think both readers made the same good choice to read quite briefly in the first half. I’m pretty sure the ticket conductors are David Miller, Alyson Torns and Keith Jebb. It’s going to be an occasional event TOOT TOOT! ALL ABOARD THE BLUE BUS! TOOT TOOT! £5 slash £3 concessions slash Oyster Card.

Note 2: But maybe tropes aren’t that interesting: I don’t think there’s much held in common among the contents of these sort-of-out-of-control claims.

Note 3: Are you also from Scotland, he said. No, no, I'm only from England, Jeff said. The other half of my family's from England, he said. Are they, said Jeff, where are they from. Well it's been two hundred years, he said, but Wales. And

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