Sunday, 26 October 2008

on Red Lion Square

On Friday and Saturday the Small Publishers’ Book Fair was held in Conway Hall on Red Lion Square in Holborn. The dozens of stalls included regulars like West House Books, Reality Street Editions, Veer Books, Moschatel Press and so many others. Some, like that of Colin Sackett (whose work was included in the V&A exhibition ‘Certain Trees’ – see my entry for July 24) featured the book as an art object in itself. There were several readings on Saturday including a launch for The Reality Street Book of Sonnets. Over the space of an hour the participants read one to three sonnets each. The readers, give or take the odd trick of memory, were Tim Atkins, Adrian Clarke, Laurie Duggan (I also read a piece each by John Scott and Pam Brown), Ken Edwards, Harry Gilonis (who also read Maurice Scully), Alan Halsey, Jeff Hilson, Elizabeth James, Keith Jebb, Chris McCabe, Richard Makin, Geraldine Monk, Frances Presley, Sophie Robinson, Gavin Selerie, Robert Sheppard, Simon Smith, John Welch, Johan de Wit. The sheer breadth and richness of the anthology was well in evidence. Alan Halsey, for example, vocalised his contributions, such as this one (slightly clipped at the left edge):

I picked up a few volumes: some more of Thomas A Clark’s Moschatel Press work (I’d bought some of these at last year’s Fair) and Sean Bonney’s new book from Veer, Baudelaire in English. Clark’s work is quiet (one little book is called in defence of quiet). It is unshowy, but often granite-like. Ron Silliman once commented astutely, that this writer was ‘the closest thing Scotland has ever had to a true Objectivist’. Sean Bonney’s work couldn’t be more different. The double page spread I’ve reproduced below gives some idea of his processes. The poems appear as palimpsests of typewritten lines that you can read enough of to get a strong sense of a poetry that is and is not the translator’s own. Bonney’s fondness for the typewriter is, in a way, a kind of punk nostalgia (he’d probably quite like it that my reproduction includes the shadow at the book’s spine), but it works well in his hands. Anyone interested should also check out the poems in his now complete series The 'Commons' on his website abandonedbuildings. These are, as it happens, sonnets. Jeff Hilson’s own sequence ‘Assarts’ is well worth perusing too.

1 comment:

Ernesto Priego said...

I was there too. Amazing how much lovely work is being produced.