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Wish List Welcome! GT attempts a new quickfire review series Where found: a bookstall at an academic conference in Durham, July Transparency: I became a fan of Michael Moorcock's writing in my teens, through the Elric series, the Tales of the Eternal Champion and that kind of thing. The prose versions, not the graphic novels, though I think one of the compendium editions I read included a comic series or all of the comics, it was a long time ago. Then I hit university and fantasy and SF were drummed out of me as 'un-literary'.
One of the UK PM Press reps was fronting a stall of their books, along with a selection of syndicated anarchist press titles. I'd been paid that month and needed a pick me up.
The series includes Ursula LeGuin which I also purchased, mainly for its inclusion of some of her poetry , Terry Bisson and Kim Stanley Robinson, for example fuller list on their website. The editorial approach for the series is fascinating.
Each book is slim — the Moorcock only about pages, the LeGuin, a little over 80 — and contains a strange mixture of prose, poetry, then an interview between the author and another writer, and a thorough bibliography to close. The LeGuin which I'll be reading next opens with a short story, 'The Wild Girls', then a short essay on reading habits and corporate structures in the States, then some poetry, then another short essay on modesty, and the trademark interview, this one conducted by Terry Bisson.
All the titles seem to have this similar approach: a 'curio curation' in a format that you rarely find in major publishing houses. It's totally dislocated from conventional spatio-temporal fixities or realism; Aristotle's probably turning in his grave at the misuse of his unities. It's also about the second closest thing to a serial poem in prose I've encountered Ballard's The Atrocity Exhibition is the closest.
The story is delivered through three sections: Living off the Market, Katrina, Katrina! Each section contains numbered segments, each with a bizarre title, e. Beneath each title the sections provide one or two quotations, mostly drawn from contemporary magazines like the New Statesman , PC Magazine , Popular Science , Time The sources are more diverse, some spilling over into fiction, one or two suggesting to me they're made up. To give you an example, the opening of part 10, in the first section Living off the Market :. When I first learnt Italian, I realised that I now had a whole new section of any bookshop to rummage through, and my joy was unsurpassed.
Even so, it was and is easy to track down pretty much any classic of Italian literature, either second-hand or new, and build yourself an Italian language library. Even then, the books that show up most often tend to be religious ones, so unless you want to hone your Yiddish by reading biblical exegesis, this approach is rather limited.
Modem times 2.0 : plus "My Londons" and "Get the music right" : outspoken interview
Peretz in English, but in Yiddish? All my favourite books are ones that have been pre-owned. They smell of pipe tobacco and that bright, sweet scent of decaying paper. I understand why some people love brand new books, with their pages that are still clean and their shiny covers, but pristine books make me uncomfortable. This is about more than just my inherent clumsiness, though. Second-hand books are often beautifully made, like the pocket edition of Paradise Lost I found that had a linen cover decorated with gold fleur-de-lys and which included a red silk placemarker ribbon. Someone called Aron Owen used to own this book, so maybe he was the cover artist, but it seems more like the work of a careful child than a dude with personalised bookplates.
Sometimes the personality of the previous owners is right there in these books. This book was published in New York but the library stamps inside its front cover show that it went first to Rownem in the Ukraine, then on to Tel-Aviv, before it came to me in the UK.
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The pages in this book are heavy, almost like blotting paper, so they've stayed crisp even though the cover has been knocked and scuffed at the corners. At some point in its life someone has recovered this book in a peculiar, plasticized fabric that I can't place; it feels like a s twinset that has been ironed on too high a heat. Another stamp in the back cover lets me know that this book was fumigated by "Hadar" on May 21st Judging by the unidentifiable insect crushed in the endpapers are book weevils a thing?
Cheers, Hadar. All those bookmarks and stamps and inscriptions that provide the briefest link to the world that has been lost, where Yiddish was still spoken and read and sung by my family and countless others in the UK. Every torn page, chewed edge and dented corner is evidence that these books faced some pretty steep odds and some pretty persistent insects, but they survived all that to cross the Atlantic and get cherished by me. I love that kid. Friday, 12 August Some news and a reading list.
Not your average news extravanganza, this is more a comp i l ic ation of interviews and random items gathered by George Ttoouli over the past few weeks Jonathan Morley was my co-founder and partner-in-rime at Heaventree Press ten years ago. The description for his pamphlet, Euclid's Harmonics , sounds on form given his recent output in anthologies like Voice Recognition : "a reckoning of his years in Coventry, manipulating register, form and language to create a dazzling, genre-defying collection". Jay I met when she was winning awards as a teenager and then through her first pamphlet with tall lighthouse, your sign is cuckoo girl she's also in Voice Recognition.
Ugly website, ugly format, but some good snippets. The last six minutes of this is amazing: DuVernay talks about, firstly, King's argument that rich white people used race to distract poor white people from their exploitation by rich white people. And then DuVernay explains how, contractually, the original screenwriter, Paul Webb, exercised his contractual right to be credited as sole writer of the final film, despite her rewriting a substantial portion of the script, including having to make up some of King's speeches because the copyrights for King's speeches are already owned by Dreamworks and Warner because Stephen Spielberg is working on a biopic of King.
Oh irony. The interviewer is a little sycophantic I mean, anything short of drawing blood is a bit too pandering for my tastes , but the discussion of the writing process was reassuring, given where I am right now with writing projects. It's, you know, adequate, but I wish there was a more articulated discourse on the bleeding edge of experimental essays. Having recovered sufficiently from former wounds inflicted in the interview room, George Ttoouli has decided to resume the foolhardy interview series, which may become regular, or might just be as sporadic as before.
A writer, editor, activist and educator based in London, she is so prolific online you could be forgiven for thinking she's some kind of post-human datacloud. Her poetry also features in Out of Everywhere 2 , which launched this week in London. So, Sophie, thanks for agreeing to an interview. How's the armchair activism going these days? Sofa feminism preferred term, please has never been better. I even joined Twitter and Tumblr so I could shout more into the black hole of the internet, mainly about this totally niche artform called film. Or the integration of vispo, filmpoetry, sound poetry, experimental narrative etc.
I look at world-class writers such as Rebecca Solnit and Alison Croggon wasting their time writing impassioned and informative posts for online magazines and then sharing them via Facebook and think: really? So clickbait.
Such attention-seeking behaviour. Nothing good will come of all this communication and conversation. But, tbh as the kids say , a lot of the internet is shit and a lot of clicktivism is disjointed from larger political communities and strategies. As the current government destroys education, including all media and arts education, and reduces the complexity of language and rhetoric to recognising made-up grammar, someone needs to intervene into the corporate double-speak, alarmist preaching, and displacement of verbal language by gifs and emojis.
Who better than poets? This is our business. It's fair to say, isn't it, that your war fronts are London-centric hipster battles--aren't they?
Modem Times 2.0 (PM Press Outspoken Authors)
Oh, absolutely. It is sadly true that independent DVD and video rental and retail stores are vanishing, like bookstores and record stores. So then it becomes even more important to choose wisely. Or start your own curation group or film club. Or just stay in and watch independent Indian films directed by women on Netflix really.
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And a film called Selma , which had wide theatrical distribution here. Major historical biopic.