On Wednesday Riley appeared again in the Blue Bus series, this time with Peter Philpott. The latter read once more from his new manuscript consisting of poems ‘written’ by several characters, while the former read, among other pieces, a sequence of short pieces from a journey around the southwest of the US. The journal paralleling these poems (and many other things, including a wonderful memoir of growing up in the Manchester catchment) can be seen on Riley’s website.
Last night at Birkbeck, Michael Heller, fresh from the George Oppen conference in Edinburgh read earlier work as well as material from his forthcoming book of poems, Eschaton. Heller’s new book on Oppen, Speaking the Estranged, has only just appeared. Earlier critical work includes Conviction’s Net of Branches (when it appeared this was clearly the best introduction around to the work of the so-called Objectivists) and Uncertain Poetries (Salt, 2005). A selected poems, Exigent Futures came out from Salt in 2003.
Meanwhile I’d spent the late afternoons of Wednesday and Thursday wandering through the collections at Tate Modern and Tate Britain, noting the rehangings of the respective permanent collections. At the Modern I particularly noted works in the rooms devoted to the theme ‘states of flux’ including paintings by Robert Delaunay, the quite wonderful Gino Severini, Edvard Munch and Pierre Bonnard and filmwork by Jonas Mekas. At Tate Britain they’ve given some rooms over entirely to the work of a single artist or a particular association of artists like the Independent Group. A whole room of Victor Pasmore was worth it, as were hangings of Robyn Denny, whose work I’d seen little of, and Eduardo Paolozzi (in the Independent Group room with Nigel Henderson) featuring collages from his scrapbooks and a collage mural from 1952. I’d never particularly liked the later Paolozzi but the early things are fascinating (both for themselves and for the argument that ‘pop’ originated in Britain, not the States).