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Cluster index: Simon Collings

On poetry and the environmental crisis.

Rae Armantrout: ‘I’ll read any good book at the edge where research science brushes up against ontology. And, yes, I have gotten ideas, facts, quotes from this reading to use in poems.’

Holy cow.

Simon Collings: ‘This is the context in which we find the film’s principal characters, Cookie and King-Lu, trying to survive: a frontier trading network only recently established where violence is rife and international political influences shape local governance. The only access to the area from the east was by horse or on foot. No route through the Rockies suitable for wagons had been discovered at that point.’

Episode 38 of ‘Living Dead’ and two more poems.

By SIMON COLLINGS. . Episode 38: Living dead ‘I’M A NOBODY’ Bill says to Frank. ‘What have I accomplished? Precisely nothing. When I’m dead, I’ll disappear without trace.’ ‘Two caramel lattes,’ Frank says to the barista. ‘When I was a kid,’ Bill continues, ‘I used to think I’d be somebody one day, someone people would […]

Gianfranco Rosi’s marginalia.

Simon Collings: ‘Rosi films two horses in an urban area at night. We see the horses waiting for their owners, then one of them, a small white horse, standing alone. Later the two horses gallop toward us down the street and pass out of the frame, followed a few moments later by someone on a motorbike going the other way. These are actual events Rosi observed and filmed, but they might equally be from a dream.’

A blurring of genres.

Simon Collings: ‘statements by various critics and authors are marshalled in support of the idea that prose poems are characterised by indeterminacy and an avoidance of closure. But the same can be said of much contemporary lyric poetry. In what way is a Rae Armantrout poem more ‘closed’ than a typical prose poem? How are Charles Simic’s prose poems more ‘open’ than his lineated poems?’

The Rue Morgue Murders and two more short fictions.

By SIMON COLLINGS. The Rue Morgue murders HOLMES HAD A number of scientific journals spread out around him, and several travel books about Borneo. There was a gleam in his eye which suggested he had made a startling discovery. ‘You’ll remember, Watson, that Dupin concluded that the murders in the Rue Morgue were perpetrated by […]

Telling it for ourselves.

Simon Collings: ‘The various festivals within the African continent, and across Europe and North America, have always been key to how these films reach an audience, mirroring the experience of independent cinema generally. But the availability of films through online streaming services is expanding access.’

Labyrinth of artifice.

Simon Collings: ‘Some of the invention in Simó’s film perhaps derives from Buñuel himself. Always cagey about his Communist affiliations, the director would for many years deny he’d ever been a party member. In 1939 he wrote a short ‘autobiography’, a curriculum vitae intended to support his search for work in the USA where he had fled at the outbreak of the Second World War.’

Poetry in paragraphs.

Simon Collings: ‘”The Prose Poem Now” takes us from the present back to 2000, “The Postmodern Prose Poem” covers the second half of the twentieth century, and “The Modern Prose Poem” covers the century from the 1940s back to 1842.’

A box to go.

Simon Collings: ‘The medieval casket is, like Dilworth’s sculpture, made of whalebone. Its sides and top are carved with scenes from Roman, Jewish, Christian, and Germanic traditions, accompanied by runic inscriptions in Old English and Latin. Scholars differ in their interpretations of the casket’s significance and likely uses. It’s an enigmatic object, the selection of images and texts which adorn it capable of multiple interpretations.’

Atlantics.

Simon Collings: ‘Diop treats the migration story obliquely. It’s the background to the film not its central focus. Corrupt labour practices, unemployment, police bribes, and the tensions between an older, socially conservative, generation and the young, dominate the narrative. It is those who remain, and in particular Ada, who take centre stage.’

George, what is Fluxus?

Simon Collings: ‘In one of the clips Mekas comments: ‘Warhol and George, Warhol and Fluxus, somewhere there, very deep, they were the same. They were both Fluxus, both dealt essentially with nothingness. Both dismissed the current life civilization, everything that is being practised today, everything is the same, didn’t take any of it seriously. Both took life as a game, and laughed at it, each in his own way.’’

Six quite short stories.

Simon Collings: ‘The American academic Wendell G. Beresford appeared to have solved the mystery in 1903 when he put forward the theory that Crusoe had simply made a “slip of the pen” in a moment of distraction, having no doubt intended to write “pelican”‘

In Fabric.

Simon Collings: ‘[Peter Strickland’s] new film revolves around a haunted red dress. Sheila works as a bank clerk. She’s a single mum, separated from her husband and raising their teenage son Vince. She’s looking for a new relationship, through the lonely hearts ads in the local paper, and buys a red dress, in a sale at the local department store, to wear on a date. It proves a fatal choice.’

Existence and its discontents.

Simon Collings: ‘Capernaum shares with its predecessor a concern with social crisis, but here Labaki employs the conventions of ‘realism’ as the primary means of rendering her subject, though the film is not entirely ‘real’. This is not a ‘true story’. The suing of the parents is a dramatic device Labaki uses to structure her material, and its fictionality has something of the fairy-tale quality of Where do we go from here? There are also comic moments in the film which have an air of the fantastical. ‘