Publication Date: 04-Jul-02 | ISBN: 1876857102 | Trim Size: 216 x 140 mm | Extent: 132pp | Format: Paperback
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The President of Earth gathers the best and most exciting of David Kennedy’s poetry from the mid-1980s onwards. Ranging from graceful, evocative lyrics and mysterious dream-like narratives through alert cultural observations and hilariously inventive cut-ups, Kennedy’s work explores poetry as way of behaving in language that is also a way of behaving in the world.
The President of Earth is divided into three sections. ‘Histories’ gathers new and selected poems to represent the full range of Kennedy’s concerns: the city and the consumer, home and the world, England and Englishness, past dreams of the future, the modern experience of living inside accelerated change, and the consequences of the collapse of hierarchies of meaning. ‘Cities’ offers further explorations of that collapse and its consequences with a sequence of cut-up sonnets that revel in the energies generated by collisions between diction and content. The book culminates with a long extract from ‘Gardens’, an ambitious sequence-in-progress which uses a range of historical and contemporary voices to explore the garden as a repository of cultural meanings.
Reviewing the book in Poetry Review, Simon Jenner noted that the poetry is characterised by “an aleatory dream narrative, an associative richness” and concluded: “The openings draw one in but … the journey, as in Cavafy’s ‘Ithika’ is all. One arrives at the end of his poems … entranced.”
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TABLE OF CONTENTS
Part I: Histories; The President of Earth; The Lime Blossom Tree; One For The Book Of Love; Sundays; Under The Trees; Juliette Greco Walks The Streets; A Walking Lunch; Lunch Dream; Postmodern Scenes; Naphtha (Revisited); The Future; Suburban For Beginners; Riverhampton Terrace; In-Flight Entertainment; Things To Do With Light and Motion; Agrapha; What Pefkos Said; Meltemi Blues; Cork Tiles; Song; Two Dreams; The Horn by The Sea; The Guitar; The Fountain; Horse Chestnut; England; Semper Eadem; Remembering The Future; Father And Son; Letter from a Man; Minority & Weird; A Meat Lamp for Helen Chadwick; The Art of Poetry; Part II: Cities; Any Turkish Bath; The Well-Buttressed Maid; The Buddhist Way; The Great Antistrophe; The Great Sal Zédo; Holly Rochelle’s Smile; Sabrina Fair; Soda With Persephone; Soché, Mzuzu, Nametiti Descending; A Glass Staircase; Life: The Musical; Kitsch and Kunst; Cities; That Noble Brother To The Lute; 100 Years Of Cinema; From The Floating Islands; An Inexplicable Incident; The Raindrop Prelude; The Age; Dan Leonard / Passing The Key; Pavanne For A Dead Symbology; A Philosopher Suddenly Apprehending God; A Love Poem; The Lost Semesters; Empathy And Spring; A Café At The End Of The Century; Notes For A Plain Tale; Those We Loved; Falling Backwards Into The Night; Fifty-Fifty; The New Life; The Last Romantics; At The Café Cleopatra; The Future; A Song About Entry; La Belle Captive; Part III: Gardens
PRAISE FOR THIS BOOK
“He has an obvious lyric talent and the poems are often artfully underwritten; they have an oddly shifted sense of perspective, perhaps with just a dash of [ … ] New York hot sauce” —Shearsman
“Kennedy offers an unblinking poetics free of specious closure [ … ] The journey, as in Cavafy’s ‘Ithika’, is all. One arrives at the end of his poems [ … ] entranced.” —Poetry Review
“Kennedy’s poetry is full of quirky argumentation and aleatory charm: ‘A Walking Lunch’, ‘What Pefkos Said’ and ‘Horse Chestnut’ are all fine and more than fine poems.” —Metre
“Kennedy has a painterly eye. He has an almost loving concern for “things’ and ‘objects’ in their variousness and palpability …” —Prop
“The influence of the New York School is unmistakeable … mingled with his wry self-deprecating humour … Wonderfully understated” —Blade
David Kennedy was born in Leicester in 1959. He co-edited The New Poetry and is the author of New Relations: The Refashioning of British Poetry 1980-1994. He edited the magazine of innovative poetry and poetics The Paper from 2000 to 2004 and publishes widely on contemporary British and Irish poetry. His publications include three collections with Salt; The Dice Cup, translations of Max Jacob’s prose poems with Christopher Pilling; the collaboration Eight Excursions with Rupert Loydell; and monographs on Douglas Dunn, on elegy, and on ekphrasis in contemporary British poetry. David lives in Sheffield with his wife, the artist and poet Christine Kennedy.