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Cluster index: Judith Willson

‘Last kind words.’

Peter Riley: ‘The song was recorded in 1930 in a makeshift studio in Grafton, Wisconsin, and issued by Paramount Records as‘ Last Kind Words Blues’ on one side of a 78 rpm shellac disc with the musician’s name given as “Geeshie Wiley”. It’s not a simple lyric. It’s not about slavery, but slavery is there in it. It’s about the victims of war, but forgets that and after verse four goes off into transferable formulae (floating verses).’

‘The London Cage’ and three more poems.

Judith Willson: ‘Smoke holds no shape
but this was centuries ago
in an age of countable numbers
and each man was written into ceremony.’

Five new poems.

Judith Willson: ‘Fragile as old film, the miners whistle their names’ thin tunes –
John Newton, Cageman. Tom Evans, Shaftman – lines of them
rising from the archives, red dust on their backs. ‘