note_09 “It may require courage (but) take these marvelous essays to heart” Mezzaterra, Ahdaf Soueif

Mezzaterra US Cover GMA Quote Independent

Take these essays at difficult things inside you, let them pulse through your body and mind. And to your heart, yes. It may require more courage – in Britain, in English- than even I conceived in the last months of 2004. Courage and none at all, because these are a range of essays -as the short review below makes very clear.

I’ve been trying to develop a measure of truth in the context of the Persian Gulf and the regime in Abu Dhabi in as universal way as possible from an inventorised location in London and in English. I settled on a millennium-old measure from an Arabic treatise on taste. More on that in links to publications to come, but it reminds me of the increasing difficulty of being able to recognise a Palestinian right to exist in Britain or in English. Continue reading “note_09 “It may require courage (but) take these marvelous essays to heart” Mezzaterra, Ahdaf Soueif”

on warbling from a to d [ari-up to devendra banhart]


Some deaths are bludgeoning and Ari-Up’s recent dying was one such. You can hear why just by listening to that great first album, Cut [1979], the maddened monkeying in heaven singularity of her manifested voice on ‘New Town’ etc. All those sounds went in to me so faithfully and long ago that really I don’t need to hear them from without as it were.

However, listening to ‘I Heard It Through the Grapevine’ today sounded more like tomorrow than yesterday; striking for one of the least digitally conceived songs ever [despite its very crisp production]…

I realised too that the warbling Continue reading “on warbling from a to d [ari-up to devendra banhart]”

preface to epitaph, anne carson and nox in london nov 2010

 

Anne Carson Iceland 2009 [Photo Einar Falur Ingolfsson]

[Notes on Carson’s London reading of Nox, a couple of years after the last advertised event -in the wake of Decreation and also at SBC- was cancelled. They posted themselves raw a few days ago, here they are at least spell-checked…]

The first and easy thing to say about my obvious need to catch Anne Carson reading in London [Southbank Centre Poetry International Festival opening event Tuesday Nov 3] is that having gone only to see/hear the most significant poet in the English language actually read, perform, be in public the whole event was an instructive delight.

Carson was the last on of 6 poets, all of whom were worth seeing/hearing -if not memorable as such or as yet- but notable for me Continue reading “preface to epitaph, anne carson and nox in london nov 2010”

12.09. from josephine foster to emily dickinson; writing back

Josephine Foster’s Little Life [a “prev. unreleased home recording”] was one of several big refreshing breaths on Devendra Banhart’s The Golden Apples of the Sun sampler which Arthur magazine gave away in 2004 [here]. For me it was the most mysteriously rackety track -amongst Diane Cluck, Coco Rosie, Joanna Newsom, Antony’s The Lake- while also sounding like running water. I loved it.

Subsequent releases confirmed that it’s her voice, in concentrated form and as unaccompanied as possible, that I like. I kept missing her perform live, most recently in Porto for the opening of the new Serralves Foundation’s Collection where she was playing in the related festival at exactly the same time as my flight. I finally caught up with her at Cafe Oto, London in December, singing with a fine band but a band nevertheless.

It confirmed that the voice was her own, but I was hoping to hear from her new CD -As Graphic as a Star- on which she sings 26 Emily Dickinson poems, accompanied by crickets. I might have been a bit sceptical about the project had I not been writing notes to ED from a fruit store myself. Writing back to Emily Dickinson’s letters, wondering why it felt necessary, noting unavoidable parallels and differences.

So although I’ve completed one novel and begun another, written critical pieces of varying length but not one email in the fruit store, the first real ‘notes’ are this series which will take many months to complete. I’m tempted to claim that they’re a form of warm up exercise, in the way that Harry Mathews so nicely pretended his 20 Lines a Day were. But no, what follows are completely sincere inky whisperings which I do alone in my solitary room on the second storey of a real fruit store…