East Bay View (a blog about several things)

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Thursday, February 23, 2006

Hype: Roy Fisher

The most useful Collected Poems in many a moon is Roy Fisher's The Long and the Short of It, partly because of its organisation -- it front-loads all his major works into a varied, thrilling first section, leaving you to cherry-pick the rest of his oeuvre at your leisure. (Hint: sections VII and VI are hot.) Fisher is to postwar Birmingham what Joyce was to pre-independence Dublin: he untames Modernism to evoke the people and places of his youth, even though his concerns are wider than a single time or place. So he gives us the polyvocal collage of "City"; the prefigured New Sentences of "The Cut Pages"; the haunted narrative of "The Ship's Orchestra"; the summation of "A Furnace". He's not just Birmingham's greatest living poet -- I think he can stand with anyone this side of Ashbery.

EXTRA: Excerpt now available at the (shhh) Illegal Archive of Poetry.


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