Publication Date: 15-Mar-04 | ISBN: 1844710173 | Trim Size: 216 x 140 mm | Extent: 140pp | Format: Paperback
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This is Anthony Caleshu’s first book of poems. Divided into five sections, themes range from the erotic to the religious in poems which are as inventive for their images as they are for their form. Concerns with language and contemporary culture are at the forefront of these poems, which are alternatively whimsical and seriously subversive. Straddling both the anecdotal narrative and the experimental lyric, these poems are at their most progressive in two sections of ‘dialogues’ and ‘collaborations’. The dialogues make use of disembodied voices as each poem creates a definitive scene. The collaborations play on notions of otherness and integration as Caleshu collaborates with himself; bouncing language against langauge, like hitting a tennis ball against a garage door. This is a poetry that captures the fun of having serious implications. If American in language games and effects, it is international in subject and wit.
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TABLE OF CONTENTS
Part I.; The Siege of the Body and a Brief Respite (I); 1. The Siege of the Body; 2. And a Brief Respite; Portrait; Peeping Tom’s Closing Argument on Why the Woman in the Third Floor Window Should Stop Dancing Naked around Her Room and Just Hold Her Hairbrush and Look at the Moon; Long Day’s Journey into Night; Ars Poetica Abandoned; Director’s Cut (1); Soap Opera; 1. Cassey to Samantha; 2. David to Cassey; 3. Samantha to Sue; 4. John to Whit; 5. Rob to Wilson; 6. Sue to Rob; 7. Whit to David; 8. Helen to David; 9. Wilson to Rob; 10. Sue to Samantha; 11. Epilogue : Samantha to Helen; The Interrupting; One Night Only : My Love Sings the Blues at the Chukker Club; Another Game of Chess; How Long Will this Game Last, or Should I Ask How Deep ?; Fixing Fences, Following the Hunt; Variations; Part II. Dialogues; Storming the Beaches; Ambushing the Houseatonic; The Wedding; Director’s Cut (2); Drama : Galway; The Changing of the Light Bulb; Imagine a Caste System; Steve Was Caught Red-Handed Weighing and Selling Bananas by the Pound; The Headless Cyclist Wins the Tour de France; The Office Monologues; 1. The Mannequin; 2. The Transparent Raincoat; 3. The Task; 4. Lunch; 5. In Case of Fire; 6. The Lingering Hours of Early Afternoon; 7. X, Y and Zed; 8. Quitting Time; The Messenger; Invigilating Students; Homecoming; The Doctor’s Child and the Doctor; As We Approached the Summit; The Correspondence; X-Poem; The Yelping Hound Howling at Her Lord; Part III.; The Poet’s Introduction to Another Poet’s Reading; 1. The ones who are better or different he has to hate because they are better or different —; 2. And those who are worse he despises because that is his earned right —; 3. Or, if they’re worse and successful, he hates them twice, twenty, fifty times as much for their success that indicts the taste of the public —; The Siege of the Body and a Brief Respite (II); 1. The Siege of the Body; 2. And a Brief Respite; At Thy Rebuke They Fled; Andy, My Friend the Businessman; August; Sestina : The Minister of Sound; Director’s Cut (3); Faith; The Man with Wings; The Politic Heart; In Ireland, after the Legalization of Divorce; Part IV. Collaborations; Collaboration : Cleaning up the Park; Collaboration : The Art Thief; Collaboration : On Hearing She Taught Her Younger Brother to Kiss; Collaboration : A Day at the Beach; Collaboration : Why the Birds Came; Collaboration : Director’s Cut (4); Collaboration : Film Noir; Collaboration : Between Countries; Collaboration : The Election; Collaboration : In a Time of Terror; Collaboration : The Satisfactioners; Collaboration : The Woman Who Can’t Dance and the Man Who Thinks He Can; 1. Smoke rose from the dance floor; 2. Outside the door, he waits for her to collect their coats; 3. On their walk home, he uses the woman who can’t dance like a crutch; 4. Stopping their goodnight kiss, she gets angry; Collaboration : The Wall; Collaboration : Pastoral on Fire; Collaboration : Migration Patterns; Part V.; Ciara Can’t Dance; After the Word Love Was Spoken; Epithalymion; Love, I Have Slept in that House; Study : Sunday Morning after Their First Saturday Night; Role Playing with Ciara; Your Mama’s Boy and Her Daddy’s Girl; Epithalymion; Love Thy Faye; Director’s Cut (5); The Madam in Her Chateau and the Cuckold Who Camps in Her Front Garden; Church Full of Objections; The Siege of the Body and a Brief Respite
PRAISE FOR THIS BOOK
“Anthony Caleshu is one of the best young poets writing in English. His poetry is remarkable for its velocity and quirky buoyancy, and, at the same time, its seriousness about cultural obsessions. We follow his poems’ logic and might at least temporarily believe we know where we’re headed, but inevitably Caleshu defeats our expectations, and we don’t in the least feel cheated by the experience. To borrow one of Caleshu’s tropes, our ways of making sense walk naked in these greatly satisfying poems.” —
“Title aside, Siege is less concerned with the life of the body than of the mind. Sex and the siren-call of pleasure are explored in a subset of poems (including the deft “Pornography: Director’s Cut” which alternates in tone between clinical and ecstatic), but the real energy lies in Caleshu’s riffs. When Caleshu takes a snippet of source material and lets the mind fly, his results are always arresting, occasionally spectacular.” —Agni
“"You do not start out as an art thief. You turn to art/ because it is worth more than banks…" Anthony Caleshu's thematically surprising, daring debut is full of this kind of cool-headed reasoning, warped practicality and consummate creepiness…. Unsentimental, pervasively witty and ostensibly anti-poetic, the voices that populate this collection stand on the shoulders of recognisably American giants… Intelligent, imaginative, and mercilessly witty, The Siege of the Body and a Brief Respite is a rewarding and extraordinary debut.” —Poetry Ireland Review
“It is a book with an overall design into which stand-alone poems have been fitted. It is both an unconventional book with alternating sections "The Siege of the Body", "A Brief Respite", and a conventional one of poems written as necessity and inspiration demanded. Caleshu wants it both ways, which is a risk worth taking.” —Poetry Review
“Caleshu contributes a drastically detached voice at odds with the formal conservatism of much Irish verse, past and present. His place in the anthology floats the notion that real aesthetic change is, if not imported, then washed ashore.'” —The Times
Anthony Caleshu is the author of two books of poetry and a novella.
His poems and stories have appeared widely in journals and newspapers on both sides of the Atlantic, including Times Literary Supplement, Poetry Review, Poetry Ireland Review, The Dublin Review, American Literary Review, and Agni Online. He is the editor of the literary journal Short FICTION and teaches at the University of Plymouth in South West England.