Publication Date: 01-Jan-01 | ISBN: 187685703X | Trim Size: 216 x 140 mm | Extent: 136pp | Format: Paperback
UK Distribution: | USA Distribution: | Publishing Status: Active
It’s the tail end of the Seventies, the severity of hypothetical Marxism has given way to the anti-humanism of punk. In a province, someone anglophobe and technophile is attempting to write documentary poetry about the situation at work, where the basic power relations never slip out of mind: an unending cascade of concrete and puzzling problems, of human conjunctures. The real ordinance of society follows an ideology which is secret, covered by a false public one; other forms of consciousness are a shifting set of part-patterns. All around, a generation of English poets are connecting their output to their input. A cultural blockade comes down over all poetry except the most subservient. Filtered expanses of monochrome nuance concealed the fact that nothing was being said. The industrial recession of the Thatcher years lays bare the fragility of every social and psychological structure. Somewhere in the underground of North London, the invisibility allows a constant approximation to popular culture. The infinite compression of punk breaks up into a boundless release, the rediscovery of melody and colour. Melancholic and esoteric virtuosity in deserted spaces is interrupted by a troupe of bedizened dropouts, impossibly nimble and competitive, and is redirected towards bright patched surfaces. The attack by the State and the South on a whole engineering civilisation is protested by the construction of complex symbolic machines. A lucid equivalent of turmoil is not the same as unstable maps of instability.
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TABLE OF CONTENTS
from In a German Hotel (1977—78); 1. Absence; 2. Poem Two; 4. Pissing Blood; 6.; Shape, scored in earth; from Threads of Iron (1980—81); Dead Wind; On First Publication; Black pane and decor ; Dhofar; “Laughing Man”: self-portrait by Richard Gerstl; Turkish Music; In Charnwood; Almond Wind: Lament for Osip Mandelshtam; For an artist having died in his dreams; from Skeleton Looking at Chinese Pictures (1983—87); Hic jacet Borbonius heros; Griffin Carved in Walrus Ivory; Light; About living opposite the Brewery in Brick Lane; The June Sun cast as the absent lover; Those are jewels that were his eyes; Night Train; The metallic autumn; Shapeshifting and Mismatches; from Sound Surface (1992); Jadis j’ai cru; Circular; The Doll’s House; from Surveillance and Compliance (1987—92); Roots of a Revolution; The policy of weakness ; Heat Loss; At Camden Lock; Shiny circuitry; Over and Over ; Fragments of the Above; Dialogue poems; from poems of 1991—6; At Cumae ; Three graves ; 18.4.91: Transparent radiation; For C.; Wind and Wear in Aix-en-Provence; Martyrdom and Triumph of Sergei Korolev; Chronique mondaine of the Fifth Poetry Conference in a Regional Style; from Pauper Estate (1996—9); Looks like luxury and feels like a disease; Adesso non posso ; At the Lido; Collection towards the definition of a word; Least Energy Structures; Snow-puffed plumage
PRAISE FOR THIS BOOK
“[T]he poems range over the planet, through history, across cultures, always with a sense of rootedness in a historical / cultural consciousness.” —Poetry Review
“Duncan has long been known as the editor of the exceptional magazine Angel Exhaust and a feisty controversialist, yet despite seven volumes, his poetry seems to be less known than he is. This book should redress the balance.” —Poetry Review
Andrew Duncan was born in 1956, and brought up in the Midlands, “in an atmosphere of technological optimism and class levelling which the South succeeded in reversing thereafter.” He worked as a labourer (in England and Germany) after leaving school, and subsequently as a project planner with a telecomms manufacturer (1978–87), and as a programmer for the Stock Exchange (1988–91).