I have reviewed two recent publications by James Davies for Stride magazine. Published by Ma Bibliothèque in their Good Reader series, The Ten Superstrata of Stockport J. Middleton, performs a series of ten variations on the opening page of Philip K. Dick’s 1965 novel, The Three Stigmata of Palmer Eldritch. The sequence Forty-Four Poems and a Volta, published by Red Ceilings Press, is composed of forty-five short texts, each centered on its page, each of two parts, the second of which is in parentheses.
Both of Davies’ sequences work at the business of language, at its use in naming or making distinctions, separating same from different, the operation of the word as label, the functioning of a textual instance as example or test. Here Wittgenstein’s language games, language as function and operation, meet scanning errors and search results, language as sortable or reordered matter. Two books to read both for the (fragmentary) narratives they tell, and for the (novel) ways they deploy the stuff of writing.
In much of Dubost’s wider practice he performs with musicians, where his vocal improvisation operates among and with other instruments in live sound events. These events are a mode of theatre, at work with language, sound, and meaning, with what can be heard, and what might be understood. The 49 articles in this Manifesto might be read as a guide or annotation for those performances. And as a prompt to performances by other readers.
I have written a review of a new publication of collected writings by Dick Higgins which is now online at theInternational Times. Intermedia, Fluxus and the Something Else Press, edited by Stephen Clay and Ken Friedman, collects a number of essays, manifestos, catalogue texts, and other critical writings by Higgins in one well-designed and produced volume. Higgins’ writing were important to me when I began learning about hybrid and performative modes of poetry, so it was exciting to receive a volume that brought these diverse texts together.
My review of Rowan Evans’ new publication from Guillemot Press, The Last Verses of Beccán is live now on the Stride website.
Lastness, lateness and the left behind are woven through this book, from the title, to references to last things (‘eschaton’), to grave slabs, cemeteries and remains within the shifting sounds and forms of its mix of languages. Here are heard the leftovers of poems written on the edge, in the far outposts of a Christian world, the last place before wide ocean, somewhere to go to escape your fate or to end your days.