Thursday, September 11, 2008

Two books/Violence 101/New poems in BMP in 09

Two books I want to briefly blog about that I’ve finished this week.

Will Leadbeater’s Jubal’s Lyre, like so much light verse, creeps into your day. I find myself going back and re-reading the small book. There’s a sense of loss here and more than the odd poem about drinking. Leadbeater has a relaxed, casual style that stays with you. And the cover photo of a younger Will at Fairburn’s grave points to another concern in the book—the ‘anxiety of influence’ or the need to ‘make a name for yourself’ and the troubles encountered when approaching poetry in this way. Like a good verse, beneath the breezy ease there’s a lot going on.

Regular readers will know that I’m working my way through the Manga Shakespeares which just continue to grow in quality. What I love about A Midsummer’s Night’s Dream is that the whole project is approached as a manga book. The aim is to produce the highest quality graphic novel. The drawing, lettering, frames and storytelling techniques all come from manga. Old Bill provides a plot and some lovely dialogue. And the words really do shine. The very terseness of manga sometimes throws into relief relations and tensions between characters that you can miss reading a script.

Last night I attended the lively, well attended and enjoyable launch of Denis Wright's first young adult novel Violence 101 at the Children's bookstore in Kilbirnie. The novel's antihero is an intelligent, maladjusted, violent fourteen-year-old boy. Denis read a a couple of riveting passages and I'm looking forward to reading this once the holidays come around.

Back to the poetry: three new poems will appear in the next Blackmail Press sometime next year: 'The Goodbyes', 'Courtship & marriage' and 'Midsummer forest.'

Hyperbanal revelation: The opening of Weezer's 'We are all on drugs' sounds a lot like the bars of Magazine's 'A song from under the floorboards.'

Images: ESAW, Selmadehero, Penguin NZ.

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