note_28 MRD 1944-2021

Mourid Barghouti (مريد البرغوثي) died in Amman on Sunday 14th February, and is survived by his and Radwa Ashour’s son Tamim, to whom I offer my love and heartfelt condolences.

Mourid made this series of humble recordings between June and September 2020, reading a range of his poems in their own language. I was struck by each of them as they appeared, appreciating them for what they are, recognising many but more than that recognising the remarkable man, poet and memoirist in the voice and many gestures that were so very Mourid.

Continue reading “note_28 MRD 1944-2021”

notes_26 McKenzie Wark, conversational leavings on green poetics (more of The New Vulgarian, TANK, 2019)

Late summer 2019 -a plague and a bit ago- I conducted a written exchange with McKenzie Wark around Capital is Dead which was published in TANK magazine’s Autumn Issue. It was a privilege to do and peculiarly intimate as well as inherently exploratory if not aleatory. Wark’s work has a promiscuousness which I wanted to engage across its liberating range, and more clearly establish what that is. I had not been the interviewer rather than interviewee for a decade and it happened to take place during Wark’s transitioning; she later remarked upon the strangeness and no doubt unwelcome intrusiveness of this first interview…

TANK is a wonder for having the capacity for a piece like this and the process produced some interesting digressions, which distracted from the main conversatonal thrusts and so we nipped them out. I was seeking dissolution -if not end- points of certain intellectual trails (some of which Wark set out on in her General Intellects series, which emerged from her teaching practice), towards the muddying world of rivers and related planetary concerns and work of my own through this period. I’m always interested in where lines of thought and allegiance spill over or expire…

Continue reading “notes_26 McKenzie Wark, conversational leavings on green poetics (more of The New Vulgarian, TANK, 2019)”

note_20 On Lynne Tillman’s No Lease on Life, rearchive fever …

No Lease on Life/ Lynne Tillman by Guy Mannes-Abbott The Independent 30 April 1998

No Lease on Life/ Lynne Tillman/ Guy Mannes-Abbott The Independent 30 April 1998

While my fellow fruitiers were scattered between Ecuador and Sweden, I was able to visit archival regions unexplored for years. Principally I was in pursuit of a clean manuscript from a similar period as this which I want to restore to its original 78 subtle, molecular, daring fragments and, well, see. It got overrun by the immediate receptivity and success of my e.things to be straightforward about it, and though those grew out of much earlier actual experiments with all short forms, nevertheless I now see they were also directly enabled by the work on this novel manuscript for its tautness and the danger, to misquote a later e.thing, that it lived…

“Tillman is a writer of rare intelligence who knows that in writing a story, “the form of its telling will be part of its meaning”. She wants to challenge complacency, to “unconventionalise”, in the ultimate hope that we can “think beyond our limits”.

Continue reading “note_20 On Lynne Tillman’s No Lease on Life, rearchive fever …”

note_19 D is for danger; live your danger, live dangerous. Victoria Vol. 3

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Trying to locate the original manuscript of my novel of 78 fragments, I came across a lot of things. One of them was this; a nicely calibrated collaboration with my dear friend Simon English for Grant Watson’s Victoria which must have been hand-produced in 1998? Unbound, A3, in editions of 200 it seems, a warm and civil experience all around, and in happy company.

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D is Guy Mannes-Abbott, Double and Twist is Simon English (Ph GMA)

D or ‘d’ actually, was a very early e.things text from autumn 1997. The circle of what were the first hundred Continue reading “note_19 D is for danger; live your danger, live dangerous. Victoria Vol. 3”

note_05.1 Angela Carter on Wilson Harris “the Guyanese William Blake”, 1985

Angela Carter and Grace Paley on the Tube, c.1987 © Kate Webb

Angela Carter and Grace Paley on the Tube, c.1987. Ph ©KateWebb

“KW: Will you start by giving me your impression of Wilson?

 AC: He’s got these curious hooded eyes, he never looks at you straight. And this wonderful sing-song voice, this vatic, musical accent. He’s very impressive. But I don’t want to give you the wrong impression because he’s not like John Berger: it’s obvious that he never set out to be impressive. I can only say about his presence that when he said to me about my son, “You have a wonderful little boy”, I felt it was some kind of blessing.

 KW: Why do you think he’s such an important writer?

 AC: Until very recently there was nobody writing anything remotely like him in Britain, nobody writing fiction with that particular kind of poetic intensity

note_10 Rose, Feet First – Roy Oxlade catalogue, Odette Gilbert Gallery, 1987

Feet First Roy Oxlade 1986

Feet First Roy Oxlade 48×60 1986

I stumbled upon two folders that I have not seen/touched for maybe 15 years and found a lot of nice things; postings from Sebastian Horsley, exhibition cards/list from Birch & Conran, the Basquiat publications from Serpentine Gallery 1996, a letter of departure from Grant Watson, a copy of UNDERCUT the London Filmmakers’ Coop magazine, number 17 with transcriptions of the entire Cultural Identities 4-day screenings/discussion from 1986 (w Jean Rouch, Black Audio, Sankofa, Rose, Spivak, Mercer, Gidal…), other catalogues of The Music of Cornelius Cardew at SBC (Fri. 13 Dec 1991), from Nicola Durvasula and Liza May Post…

Plus! a 1987 catalogue from Odette Gilbert Gallery on Cork Street of a Roy Oxlade show. I can only share this out of an enthusiastic rescratching-back-together of things. Of course the paintings contain Rose Wylie Continue reading “note_10 Rose, Feet First – Roy Oxlade catalogue, Odette Gilbert Gallery, 1987”

note_05 Wilson Harris (1921-2018) -an inadequate tribute from 1990 #polyhistoric

WilsonHarris Ph Eamon McCabe

Photo Eamonn McCabe (The Guardian)

While adding to Chapters_Essays and Culture_Crit, I’ve been discovering how much material there is -its drives and formations- and came across a very short double review from the New Statesman, September 1990. You can scroll a long way down the Culture-Crit page for those very early pieces. Please! This one (or these short paragraphs), on The Four Banks of the River of Space (the last part of Harris’ Carnival Trilogy published by Faber, like all his books), is not exactly a major critical work but does, in its concentrated little way, resonate with me. The G.’s obituary for Wilson Harris does too.

In 1990 there was still something called Commonwealth Literature, a peculiarly handy way of keeping peoples, histories and cultures in place. It’s tempting to write ‘Foreign and…’. Publishing was on the turn Continue reading “note_05 Wilson Harris (1921-2018) -an inadequate tribute from 1990 #polyhistoric”

note_03 Contact sheet from Essential Things, Robert Prime, July 1999, linked…

 

 

In starting to update Art_Work, I came across these little images -poor, poor, poor- but also quite a good impression of that actual exhibition. A little memorial to that way of printing film, too! For more detail and documentation -Gallery Work-List, CDROM cover etc.- click on Art_Work above (more to come). Thanks to the artists, gallerists, collaborators and helpers involved in that show… The odd light in the images was a feature of that wonderful gallery space, as some may recall.

I remember giving a reading there on Warren Street on an enervating late-July day which thus felt all wrong … Except that I read ‘richard one’ for the first time and Angela heard me read ‘sing song’ after she’d read it at a party in the lead-in to the show. Continue reading “note_03 Contact sheet from Essential Things, Robert Prime, July 1999, linked…”

on appetite and a mystic chef, george steiner essays, new statesman 1995

George Steiner August 2008

Or; If Kafka were Hindu…

Every now and then I wonder about George Steiner. Mostly it’s positive wondering but something bugs me about him and it’s not what seems to bug most people I know or read that have met him or committed their view of him to print. Much of the latter is merely a distaste for overt intellect, especially a passionate ‘continental’ mind as well as distrust of the whole dynamic of translation, literally and metaphorically.

There are pedagogic and vulgar ego issues when it comes to Steiner but let me say in brief that I dissociate myself from the cynical Brit approach to him. What continues to bug me is essentially what bugged me when I committed myself to print 15 years ago [in the New Statesman, see below]; I hate it that he won’t credit Kafka, Mozart, even little me with the capacity -effort, hours/years of silent striving and error, the beauty of the attempt- to invent.

Instead, it wasn’t Kafka or Mozart it was “god”. Who? you might say. Religious faith is one thing [later, in Errata, he described himself as a “messianic agnostic”, which is anticipated in what I wrote below], but to misrecognise the grand smallness of human effort, endeavour and appetite is wrong as well as pitiful.

Steiner is a man with a good brain and that brain has famous and all too real appetite but it strikes me therefore as worse that he closes it all down when he approaches a peak to indulge in ‘god’-whistling instead. Such vacuity is the opposite Continue reading “on appetite and a mystic chef, george steiner essays, new statesman 1995”

on admiring a writer like marguerite young

I’m posting this as a note; part a/ so that I have to come back with a part b/…

She flitted through my mind, old interviews and some of my own early wonderment [triggered by a 1989 issue of the often useful Review of Contemporary Fiction, in this case one dedicated to MY, Kathy Acker and Christine Brooke-Rose] at her and her work, never quite resolved [mostly available in Dalkey Archive Press].

If the words US, 20th C. and utopian spirit don’t work in your mind -cults don’t count- then you ought to get to know MY…

That edition of RCF’s interview is here; “…abandoned utopias. I would say my theme has always been paradise lost, always the lost cause, the lost leader, the lost utopia.”

For now then, a fan page of photographs [why not?!] here.

And a Paris Review interview from 1977 is here

New editions of her books available in the UK today start at 0.1p… and $0.40 in the US; an unequivocally good sign!

UPDATE 5 Sep 2022!

She understood that all truly ambitious literary projects will unsettle the reading public and are, by their very nature, doomed to teeter on the brink of failure. “I think anyone who tries anything real—think Proust or Dostoevsky—risks being an absolute fool,” she told Charles Ruas in 1977, and she took this pitfall as a kind of dare: “But if you’re mistaken, be terribly mistaken!” I believe that Young was not mistaken. With Miss MacIntosh she succeeded in executing what I consider to be an entirely original vision, though her intent has often been neglected and misunderstood.’

I am avoiding elaborating my own thoughts by shamelessly linking you to the Introduction by MEGHAN O’GIEBLYN to the new DAP edition of Miss Macintosh, My Darling that was recently published online by N+1:

LINK: More Is More

PDF: More Is More | Online Only | n+1 | Meghan O’Gieblyn Sorry, have removed the PDF immediately, since everyone is linking to it not the online page! Will post when the link gives up…?