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Of all the poets published by Carcanet, Morgan is the one who most ably meets Michael Schmidt's criterion of applying 'the community of experience to the community'. It is to poets like him we should be looking for a genuine renaissance in British poetry. Brian Lee DRIFTWOOD PRESS Descriptions & Other Poems, Paul Matthews. Letters to Berlin, Matt Simpson. And Suddenly This, David H. W. Grubb. Stars, Brian Wake. The Lionheart Letters, Jim Mangnall. Skywords, Derek Telling. (Subscriptions to the Driftwood Press are $7 (paid in advance) for eight titles and the Driftwood Anthology. They can be ordered from Driftwood Publications, 58 Exeter Road, Bootle, Lancashire, England, L20 7SA.) Perhaps two claims are always made for the need of small presses. The first is that they publish more material than any of the major presses can afford to produce, given the expensive format most of the major publishing houses are locked into; and, second, that they are not tied as closely to the popular, commercial market, and therefore can produce books by poets whose work is experimental, eccentric, cultist, avant-garde. The former assertion is easily supported. The latter requires some further consideration. For example, the booklets issued by Driftwood contain perhaps the smallest range of what we have come to know as modem freeverse . The images are the time-honored ones of romanticism, set in the context of the less-is-more imagist school, and breathed over by some of the projectivist technical concerns. What does this produce? Tide out; and the dizzying sun flashed a gull across the sight of an old man gazing. Whitely it splashed upon his nerves slapping his mind with fluttering wings, a pai ? of whi te. His old brain stalled and only his eyes could follow it into focus and he saw the sneering brilliance of its eye scavenging and gluttonous above the sewage and mud then sometimes slicing downwards like a whip grab whirl upwards and dissolve into the dezzle of the sun. ("Gull" by Matt Simpson) The limitations of this particular sensibility are given, interestingly enough, in the poem "Spring" which follows. After noticing that the snow has melted and that grass is green again, the poet goes inside, thinking there might be a poem in this vision. Finally, he must admit that there isn't: "it was/just something I noticed/ that's all." One could, I suppose, argue that all poetry is just something "1 noticed," and whether it became a poem or not depended on the poet's ability 168 to make something out of it. But this definition only holds true for a particular kind of poetry, a kind that we are so familiar with that there is a moment when we begin thinking perhaps that is all there is to it. This art of miniature has become as popular as Fabrege eggs: 2 doves are building their nest at the edge of the garden. Last year, on a Sunday, a foal was born on the other side. This year 2 white doves with grey wing-tips. This year 2 white doves with grey-wing tips, circi ing and hunting this is almost enough. ("Index Poems: Four" by David H.W. Grubb) William Carlos Williams was willing to assert that his red wheelbarrow , glazed with rain, beside the white chickens was pretty important too. Perhaps what Brian Wake says in the poem, "We are So Many Things," (Wake is the editor of Driftwood Press) is what many of these poems are meant to say: We are, we think, alone among the silent objects, chairs and tables, dishes, corpses, curtains just a breeze away from the dancing, matches just a scratch away from the fire. Making silent objects speak has become an important occupation for much of modern poetry, certainly the poetry in this series. Wake himself speaks for grass, foxes, eagles, sea tides, stars (the title of his booklet), the dead. If the poems range into the realm of the surreal (as they do, especially in Jim Mangnall's works) it is their only logical destination, given their preoccupation with the importance of objects: The clock ticks on my bone's edge and rubber flowers spring from it...

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Additional Information

ISSN
2157-4189
Print ISSN
0026-5667
Pages
pp. 168-170
Launched on MUSE
2011-07-06
Open Access
No
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