Recent Books Received, Some Noted.
By PETER RILEY
- Anthony Barnett, Translations Addenda. Allardyce Book ABP 2023. 96pp paperback. £15.00.
Gathers translations of European poets since Barnett’s Translations (2012). Pavese, Ekelöf, Segalen, Supervielle, Ungaretti, Zanzotto, Royet-Journoud.
- Daragh Breen, Birds in November. Shearsman 2023. 78pp paperback, £10.95
- Mark Dickinson, Networks. Shearsman 2022. 90pp paperback.
About 70 percent prose-poems, which assists a more engaging traction and engagement with the reader. The substance of the poems is between self and the biosphere.
• Mark Hyatt, Love, Leda. A novel. Peninsula Press £9.25.
Described as “…a transgressive, wriggling slice of queer working class life in 1960s London.”
• Mark Hyatt, So much for life. Selected poems edited by Sam Ladkin and Luke Roberts. Nightboat Books, 224pp, paperback $19.95.
Hyatt was one of a number of poets of working-class origin swept up into the arms of “postmodern poetry” (London/Cambridge) in the 1960s not all of whom were self-destructively addicted to something or other and determined to transcend their sub-proletarian status through poetry. Hyatt was fully illiterate when he first became known to the London modernists, as they thought they were. His poetry began from an intuitive high symbolism which, whether due to this context or not, produced some substantial poetry of great imaginative scope. When he got out of the capital to a northern village refuge-and-partner, the poetry was normalised into a counter-balanced plainness, realist in a disarming honesty as he painstakingly taught himself to write.
Translated by John Taylor. Afterword by José-Flore Tappy. Jaccotett’s last works, one in prose, the other poetry and bilingual. Seagull Books, University of Chicago Press, 2030. 140pp hardback. £13.99
- Osip Mandelstam, The Voronezh Workpoems. Translated by Alistair Noon. Shearsman Books 2022. 178pp paperback, £18.00.
Noon’s notes and commentary emphasise an urge literally to “come to terms” with the enemy power, relying on the success of the writing as poetry to gain a response.
- J.H. Prynne, Whitman and Truth. Shearsman Books 2022. 24pp pamphlet, £6.50.
A set of notes intended to introduce third-year university students to Whitman’s reading of war, with enlightening comparisons from the work of Susan Sontag, Sir Philip Sidney, Mo Yan, Edmund Blunden, and others.
- Simon Smith, Municipal Love Poems. Shearsman 2023. paperback. £9.25.
• Brian Swann, Imago. Johns Hopkins University Press 2023. 96pp paperback $22.00.
Those of us constantly torn between “conventional” and “experimental” new poetry could note that there are other ways, such as a constant manipulation of the poetic image in the iambic theatre, to achieve the full-force rhythmic recognition of the ending. Wallace Stevens would be the ancestor, I suppose, than whom Swann is a lot more chatty, but he does generally get there. The trouble is that the terminal plea remains at a distance and obeys only its own directions, lacking necessity. (This problem arises from time to time in Stevens, too.) A Brian Swann sampler is here.
Peter Riley, for ten years poetry editor of The Fortnightly Review’s New Series, is a former editor of Collection, and the author of fifteen books of poetry (including The Glacial Stairway [Carcanet, 2011]) – and some of prose. He lives in Yorkshire and is the recipient of a 2012 Cholmondeley Award for poetry.
Peter Riley’s Collected Poems, containing work from 1962 to 2017, was published in two volumes by Shearsman in 2018, followed by Truth, Justice, and the Companionship of Owls from Longbarrow Press in 2019. An earlier book, Due North, was shortlisted for the Forward Prize in 2015. A collection of his ‘Poetry Notes’ columns has been collected in The Fortnightly Reviews: Poetry Notes 2012-2014, and published in 2015 by Odd Volumes, our imprint. A second volume is in the works. An archive of his Fortnightly columns is here.