:: Buzzwords Archive: February 2011. Click here for the latest posts.

3:AM Top 5: Colin Herd (published 22/02/2011)

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Colin Herd launches his poetry collection too ok – described by Dennis Cooper as a “treasure trove of razzle-dazzle stylings, superfine wit, charismatic discretion, and a vacuuming tenderness” – at Gay’s The Word next Monday (28 February @ 7pm, details here). To celebrate, Colin shares his Top 5 Poetry Books from 1981:

The late 1970s and early 1980s is my dream-era for poetry. Quite by chance, when looking out favourite poetry titles, trying to narrow down a list from which to pick five for this blog, the first three I picked happened to have been published in 1981, which is why I’ve decided to make this my top 5 poetry books published in the year 1981.

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1) The Brute – Peter Schjeldahl (Little Caesar Press, 1981)
Schjeldahl is better known nowadays as the art-critic for the New Yorker, but from 1964 until the mid-80s he published a number of fantastic books of poetry, including this one from Dennis Cooper‘s Little Caesar Press, which features stunning, chalky, scratchy illustrations by the artist Susan Rothenberg. Schjeldahl’s poems are unlike pretty much anyone else, but to give you an idea I’d say he’s like a bolder, dirtier, more raucous version of Kenneth Koch. For example, there’s a poem ‘On Cocksucking’ that begins: “Now I don’t know much about it / but I can tell you this: I’m tired / of its gross reputation here in California, / tired of the anti-cocksucker jokes that aren’t funny / and even if they were funny I’d hate them / for the scared sexist twirpy macho little-mindedness of them.”

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2) On Women Artists: Poems 1975-1980 – Alexandra Grilikhes (Cleis Press 1981)
Philadelphia-based Alexandra Grilikhes, who died in 2003, was the author of a novel called Yin Fire and a few poetry-collections, including Reveries, and this one On Women artists. It’s a gorgeous and various collection that, as its title suggests, wears its influences on its sleeve. There are poems inspired by a great range of female artists such as the experimental filmmakers Maya Deren and Bette Gordon, the sculptor Louise Nevelson and the dancer Viola Farber. The book is illustrated with evocative, furry paper-sculptures by the artist Jean van Harlingen.

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3) Italy – Donald Britton (Little Caesar Press 1981)
Another great title from Little Caesar, Italy is the only collection ever published by the poet Donald Britton, who died in 1994 of AIDS. Britton’s poems are elegant and witty, strange and subtle. Such as these opening lines from the Turandot-inspired ‘Non piangere, Donald!’: “Weird wind at the window. / Inside-of-pocket sky, close, empty, / cool, cigarette-wrapperish / and shadowless.” Reading those lines I find it hard to believe that Britton is barely known at all now, out-of-print and forgotten by all but a devoted few. The poet Reginald Shepherd was at work on a Collected Poems before his own passing in 2008. The book would have included uncollected work alongside Italy and the unpublished manuscript In the Empire of the Air. It would be an amazing tribute to both Shepherd and Britton if that book could find the light of day.

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4) Pavane – David Trinidad (Sherwood Press 1981)
Pavane is the first book by the poet David Trinidad, who has gone on to publish many extremely well-received collections, including The Late Show and Plasticville. Connected themes of death and dreaming haunt Pavane, in the midst of which a beautiful, funny, sensitive voice emerges. The highlight of the book for me is a poem called ‘The Party’, in which the narrator guides you through a decadent party, remaining on the outside: “Scattered / about the jewel- shaped pool / in tight groups, the well-bred guests / discuss preferable / positions with added interest. Enough beer // has disappeared / from the cases stacked / along the diving-board to permit / flattering passes / gossip / about someone standing within hearing distance.”

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5) Waltzing Matilda – Alice Notley (Kulchur 1981, reissue Faux Press 2003)
An early work by the renowned poet Alice Notley, Waltzing Matilda is also in my opinion one of her best. Free, and colloquial, the poems are an extraordinary mix of passion, whimsy, and intellectual speculation. I usually think of them as intricate, unpredictable maps of thought-processes: “Compassion is pungent / & sharply aromatic. / Small yellow heads in late summer. Love & hatred are / delicate and fragrant.” Faux Press reissued the collection in 2003 and a few poems, including the title-piece appear in ‘Grave of Light’ her New and Selected Poems from 2006.

Dodgem Logic (published 21/02/2011)

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Dodgem Logic at the London Word Festival is selling fast:

Alan Moore‘s reinvigoration of the underground fanzine, Dodgem Logic, comes alive in the non-conformist surroundings of Hackney’s Round Chapel. A night of art, comedy, comment and put-something-back localism. Released bi-monthly since 2009, Dodgem Logic is equal parts escapist entertainment, social curiosity and grassroots activism: a formidable pick-and-mix of hardworking humour and indie-essaying. An ink-stained-mantle-carrier for all the socially involved photocopy-and-staple self-published antecedents. With Robin Ince heading up a colossal stand-up bill, artists Steve Aylett, Savage Pencil, Melinda Gebbie and Kevin O’Neil panel-up to talk about their comic work, while music comes from hyperactive racketeers The Retro Spankees. With an exhibition of artwork from the magazine, and conducted by editor-in-chief Alan Moore.

Alan Moore’s Dodgem Logic,
Wednesday 4 May, 7pm,
Round Chapel,
£10 adv

Are friends Electric? (published )

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The Sohemians present Rob Young in conversation with Paul Murphy:

Our speaker Rob Young will talk about the background to his book, Electric Eden, a comprehensive study of Britain’s folk music.

Rob Young will investigate how the idea of folk has been handed down and transformed by successive generations – song collectors, composers, Marxist revivalists, folk-rockers, psychedelic voyagers, free festival goers, experimental pop stars and electronic innovators.

Wednesday February 23rd, 7.30pm
The Wheatsheaf, 25 Rathbone Place, W1
Admission £3

The Missing Links (published 20/02/2011)

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Ed van der Elsken‘s Love on the Left Bank. * Jean Cocteau‘s The Blood of a Poet (1930). * Charles Shaar Murray‘s blog. * Beckett necklace. * The Waiting for Godot video game. * The legacy of the King James Bible. * The New Romantics. * Speculative Realism as “philosophy fiction”. * Mark Fisher of k-punk interviewed. * An interview with David Vann. * Nicholas Lezard on Patrick Hamilton’s blue plaque. * George Shaw‘s wonderful paintings. * Delta 5. * An interview with the authors of Edgelands. * Daily Mail-o-matic. * Bad Brains live (1987). * San Francisco in ruins, 1906. * The Beats go on. * A short extract from The White Review‘s interview with Tom McCarthy. * Shoegazing. * Brian Eno discusses his porn collection with Chrissie Hynde (1974). * Why the Net Matters and The Net Delusion reviewed. * The return of crusty. * Stieg and Her. * Delayed Gratification and Slow Journalism. * London in the 50s. * The flipside of 60s London. * No New York, 1978. * Gustave Courbet‘s painting L’Origine du monde banned from Facebook. * Webolution? * Twitter revolution? * Badiou, Zizek and Tariq Ali on the Arab revolutions. * HP Lovecraft‘s psychedelic sound. * Vivian Girls free download. * Two early David Lynch films. * The dirty old men of literature. * Truffaut interviews Hitchcock, 1962. * A bibliography app. * The Doctor Who Experience. * Bruce Chatwin‘s letters. * The Mob reunited.

3:AM Cult Hero: David F. Friedman (published )

The New York Times last week reported the death aged 87 of David F. Friedman, the “film producer who cheerfully and cheesily exploited an audience’s hunger for bare-breasted women and blood-dripping corpses in lucrative low-budget films like “Blood Feast” and “Ilsa: She-Wolf of the S.S.,”:

Part carnival barker, part adman, part good-natured, dirty-minded adolescent, Mr. Friedman plumbed the low-rent depths of the movie business with a sense of boldness and a sense of fun. In the early 1960s he and a partner, the director Herschell Gordon Lewis, made a handful of films in a genre known as “nudie-cuties,” in which young women would perform ordinary household tasks or cavort in sun-dappled settings half-dressed or entirely undressed.

In 1963, Mr. Friedman and Mr. Lewis made the gleefully gore-soaked “Blood Feast,” considered by many to be a groundbreaking film in the horror genre, the first so-called splatter film. It tells the story of a murderous Egyptian caterer in Miami who is especially fond of decapitating women. To promote the film, Mr. Friedman warned viewers that it might be sickening and supplied theaters with airline vomit bags to distribute to customers. Made for $24,500, the film reportedly earned millions.

Mr. Friedman made films in the soft-porn vein — they had titles like “Trader Hornee” and “The Erotic Adventures of Zorro” — and eventually, while serving as chairman of the Adult Film Association, made a handful of hard-core movies as well. Perhaps his most famous title was “Ilsa: She-Wolf of the S.S.,” about a sadistic and insatiable female Nazi prison guard, generally considered a campy classic of sexploitation.

“He partied like an animal,” said Mike Vraney, whose company, Something Weird Video, distributed Mr. Friedman’s films. “He ate huge meals, drank and smoked enormous cigars. He lived with gusto.”

More: Dangerous Minds on Video Nasties / Tony O’Neill on Video Nasties / Dennis Cooper on Video Nasties / Sleazoid Express