Saturday, 26 September 2009

Statements of Intent (5) - Chris McCabe: "The slip gets mistook for the punt"

You have the ghosts of the past ruffling your shuffle feature, I said to Tom, that's what I like in your work. The problem (one of the problems) with 99% of poetry is that it's set in the past: the past of a person you don't know: a past experience of a person you don't know asking you to try and access their life through a transparent language that aims to be less important than the experience itself. The slip gets mistook for the punt. Brenda said she always made a point of giving poets like this a filofax for Christmas. Poetry, when it surges forward with its great dirigible speech bubble (in the present tense) offers every line as worthy of being the first (or last). Ends only when it runs out of breathe. Offers synchronicity to the speed of everything else around us. The city, the internet, last orders. Jon reads the stuff when he's drunk, on the tube or bus: what's out the window slows down what's on the page, so better to absorb it. I said, that's what I like about you: the human mind has evolved to crave speed as the essense of all artistic experience. Or not artisitic: compared to Houseman no piece of television is slow. Goldenballs turned Jasper Carrott into Melville's Confidence Man. Sarah made a monster out of the weekend broadsheets and Mr Mister tried to make it speak. Like a great poem I'm sure it changes faces whenever I'm not looking. When you go back to one of those great dirigible bubbles it never seems the same. What living thing ever is? Andrew said I was asleep when the monster tried to bite off my tongue.


Chris McCabe has two collections with Salt, The Hutton Inquiry (2005) and Zeppelins (2008). He also has a pamphlet of ludic elegies called The Borrowed Notebook (Landfill).

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