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Old 06-01-2001, 02:05 AM
SteveWal SteveWal is offline
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I've been finishing off my teaching course recently, so haven't been very active Erato-wise. Here's one of my favourite poems by British modernist (yes, they did exist) Basil Bunting:

At Briggflatts meetinghouse


Boasts time mocks cumber Rome. Wren
set up his own monument.
Others watch fells dwindle, think
the sun's fires sink.

Stones indeed sift to sand, oak
blends with saints' bones.
Yet for a little longer here
stone and oak shelter

silence while we ask nothing
but silence. Look how clouds dance
under the wind's wing, and leaves
delight in transience.

------------------
Steve Waling
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Old 06-01-2001, 06:00 AM
Barbara Thimm Barbara Thimm is offline
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modernist? sounds quite languagy to me .... can't have been very successful over here?

what do you like about this poem? have you tried something similar? do you know of any contemporary British poets trying something like this?

just curious.
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Old 06-01-2001, 06:26 AM
SteveWal SteveWal is offline
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Quote:
Originally posted by Barbara Thimm:
modernist? sounds quite languagy to me .... can't have been very successful over here?

what do you like about this poem? have you tried something similar? do you know of any contemporary British poets trying something like this?

just curious.
No British modernist was very successful in England, which is why no-one reads WS Graham, Bunting, Roy Fisher, Denise Riley etc etc... Poets influenced by them languish mostly in small presses. Instead, we have to put up with the likes of Andrew Motion and (for God's sake what do people see in her?) Wendy Cope. The English prefer their poetry like their tea: milky and lukewarm.

What I like about it is, first, the very condensed language (it can be unpicked: Rome is Catholicism, Wren is Anglicanism as represented by St Paul's cathedral). Secondly, it describes very accurately what a Quaker meeting is like (I should know, I've been to enough.)

I'm not sure I'd even try to imitate a poem like this. I do, however, believe very strongly in the basic modernist principle of condensare or concision: every word should count.

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Steve Waling
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Old 06-01-2001, 09:57 AM
graywyvern graywyvern is offline
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thanks for posting this. i couldn't have found a better poet to illustrate my poetry-characteristic of "calliditas" (see the lariat thread).

sometimes i think Bunting is the closest thing we have to Paul Celan.
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Old 06-22-2001, 08:36 AM
SteveWal SteveWal is offline
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Thanks. I'm replying to this to put it to the top of the list again.
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Old 06-26-2001, 03:31 AM
maltesian maltesian is offline
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It's good to see the hallowed name of Bunting again. It is a rare occurence.

Own the first publication of "briggsflatts" from Poetry magazine (Chicago) from 1956, I believe. His use and longing for musical effects and recording of sensuality is extraordinary.

With all the exquisite lyricism in it, one is aghast in reading his Collected Works to find nothing to compare with it in any way in quality! Just fifth-rate pontificating a la Ezra Pound. Or Miss Riding.

That said, those who don't read and enjoy "briggsflatts" have taken a poetic oath of celibacy, and don't know what they're missing!


BestWishes,

Geoff
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