Tuesday, 27 May 2014

reassembling still

I first got to know David Miller’s work through Kris Hemensley’s Ear in a Wheatfield magazine in the early 1970s when I was living in Sydney. ‘South London Mix’, a relatively early piece appeared therein. I made a note of this work as it hinted at possible directions my own writing could take. I didn’t see a lot more of Miller’s work until I moved to Britain in 2006 and started attending the Blue Bus readings in Bloomsbury which he was organising. A collected volume had come out with the University of Salzburg Press in 1997 and a new version of this appeared a couple of years after my arrival. Now Shearsman have published Reassembling Still – Collected Poems, which contains all of the poems Miller wishes to keep excluding the ongoing series Spiritual Letters (the latest incarnation of this appeared with Chax in 2011). The new collected has been carefully assembled and includes much early work not featured in the previous gatherings. Miller writes a poetry which works through accretion and for which a straightforward chronological arrangement would be a disservice, hence a constant rearrangement over the years hinted at in the title. These poems come from an ‘other’ tradition in English language writing that owes much to poetries in other European languages as well as (in the diasporic anglo-world) the work of writers like Cid Corman and Frank Samperi. It’s a most welcome assemblage.

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