Monday, 4 July 2016

Simon Turner - "the yard's the only news on"

Some phrases from Joseph Massey's Illocality (Wave Books, 2015) [1].

world without
delineation.  No
thing until
detonated into
its word.


No ideas
but in parking lots.


Light and wind,

and the objects
between them,

only themselves.


A landscape:

          a rhizome
of slant rhymes.


Every other noun
frozen over.



the landscape lists

into chain-link,
parking lot, objects
barely held to their names.


From the center
of the inexplicable

night branches out.


        Even shade as it erases


the yard's the only news on


Let the day cohere

into the day's breakage
and mimic spring.


How the weather reads into you:

a phrase
at the back of the throat -

a phrase
that won't flower


In overgrown brush
a nameless animal's
short-circuited shriek.


[1] James Wood, in The Nearest Thing To Life, asserts that "A lot of the criticism I most admire is not especially analytical but is really a kind of passionate re-description."  In this instance, I have refused even this comparatively self-effacing critical option.  I have wanted to write on Massey's work for some time, having been a fan of his work since At the Point, but there was nothing I felt I could bring to a discussion of his poetry that would be remotely useful, either as 'passionate re-description', or as more traditionally exploratory, extrapolative criticism.  Massey's poems so perfectly do what they set tout to do - they're in effect hyper-compressed essays, delineating the various and intricate ways in which world impinges upon mind, and mind (re)shapes world - that any addendum to them, however well-intentioned, however delicately expressed, would have over-burdened them with a weight of sub-academic effluvia.  Just cataloguing the lines that spoke to me with the greatest clarity and resonance seemed the only honest method available to me.  Even this footnote feels overly extraneous and intrusive.     

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