Friday, 22 May 2009

maydaze rides again

On Tuesday night at The Lamb the Blue Bus reading featured Gavin Selerie and Barry Schwabsky. Schwabsky, a native of Paterson NJ, has been in London for some years and runs the reading series at the Parasol Unit (at which it was a pleasure to hear David Chaloner read a few weeks back). His work has a light, graceful touch that belies its density. The most recent of his volumes is book left open in the rain (Black Square/Brooklyn Rail, 2008). Gavin Selerie’s reading was a de facto launch for his selected poems, Music’s Duel, just published by Shearsman. Selection would have been difficult since Selerie has worked largely in longer units that have become books in themselves, such as the early Azimuth (Binnacle, 1984) or the wondrous recent volume Le Fanu’s Ghost (Five Seasons Press, 2006). Like many fine poets in Britain his work has been less than readily available to the wider anglophone audience. This volume would be a very good place to start for those unfamiliar with his work and a welcome addition for those who are familiar with it. It contains work from all his books except for a handful of very brief publications and includes a considerable portion of previously unpublished work. Olson is in there in the approach to historical documents but there is also a quite un-Olsonian voicing that owes much to the English poets of the sixteenth century.

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