Literary reviews by Tim Love.
Warning: Rather than reviews, these are often notes in preparation for reviews that were never finished, or pleas for help with understanding pieces. See Litref Reviews - a rationale for details.

Wednesday, 21 May 2014

"Bevel" by William Letford (Carcanet, 2012)

Some short poems with prose layouts. "Becoming" is very Lydia Davis-like, the difference being that this is 2% of his book rather than 0.2% of one of hers. "In the mountains of northern Italy" (which I like, as far as it goes) could have been some repartee from a story. "[it rains]" and "[coffee shop window]" are 3-page poems, each with about a dozen words. I like "It's aboot the labour". "A poem" is 3 aphorisms, 2 of which I've seen before - I don't get it. Many of the poems depend on their punchline -

  • 'We stumble into youth by accident, from somewhere else, and spend the rest of our lives making our way home.' (p.18)
  • Tonight the instruments are beyond me. The music is constant (p.21)
  • It's not forever/ that makes life beautiful (p.42)
  • when you're away even the mundane is novel (p.43)
  • two people rooting around for something beautiful/ so we could grind it/ to dust (p.50)
  • love/ if at all possible/ love (p.51)

Other reviews

  • Nicholas Lezard (Guardian) (Letford's poetry, while it has the look of early experimental modernism – that William Carlos Williams/ee cummings thing – has the cadences and accents of ordinary, reported speech, but grants to both voice and ear moments of transcendental insight)
  • Dave (I can’t remember the last time a book held so complex a tension between the desire (explicitly stated on several occasions, like the excellent “[T-shirt wrapped around my head]” or the cantankerous “Newsflash”) for death-defying immortality and the desire to observe and document the actual waking world. WL seems to understand implicitly that if art really is the key to surviving one’s body, it cannot be done alone.)

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