Wednesday, October 17, 2007

When I met John Bloomberg-Rissman in London early last year, he gave me the Collected Poems of Ted Berrigan, for which I've ever since been very grateful. I'd heard about Berrigan's translation of Rimbaud's 'Le Bateau Ivre' and thought I'd love to see it, and now, a poet/musician from Southern California has sent me a copy. It's a pirated copy. The poet-musician (and publisher) in question, who shall remain nameless, thought such a fine work ought to be in print, so he reproduced it in a limited edition from the original 1974 'Adventures in Poetry' chapbook. This one's complete with original cover design by Joe Brainard. The translation itself is wonderful - I recognised some of the lines from Berrigan's 'Sonnets' - and manages to sound like an American poem, rather than a French poem translated into English. I think most of all it works on a musical level, with some great lines:

...the star-steeped milky flowing mystic sea


I've dreamed green darkness and dazzling white,
Slow kisses on the eyelids of the sea.

It would be nice to see this and other of Berrigan's translations back in print. In the meantime I feel privileged to have a copy of this poem. I'm sure Berrigan and Brainard would approve of the spirit in which this little edition has been made.

Saturday, October 6, 2007

The reading at the Broadway Cinema was a success. Somehow, the word got round, and enough people turned up to fill all the seats. The room was long and narrow, with a wide window overlooking the street, and the cinema has a couple of bars and, being an 'alternative' place, has a nice bohemian-type atmosphere. Clive and Martin both read well, with an emphasis on the upbeat and entertaining side of their work. I had a feeling that some of the audience weren't poetry afficionados, and it was nice to see them enthusiastically applauding, sometimes after individual poems - the equivalent of clapping between movements at a classical concert, and a good idea if you ask me. Books were sold, which pleased me, and a good time was had by all.

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Last minute panic. I called the Broadway Cinema to check on some details only to find they had no record of any booking. It's all sorted out now, but it reminded me that it's a warped Protestant Work Ethic that keeps me doing all this stuff. At least that's how I feel right now. I'm sure I'll feel different when the heaving crowds have finally dispersed and we're all high on the the post-gig euphoria...
"I noticed no representative of the Shun A’Biro Corporate Creative Writing bloc. But their Art-as-an-enticement-to-business ethos, re-forming history to pose in a suit against bad architecture, wouldn’t even notice the loss of a man who did more for the arts and culture of the North-East in two decades than they have clean shirts and mentors: and it must be hard to move with a Northern Rock tied around your ankles."

Tom Raworth, reporting on Bill Griffiths' funeral