These High Contingencies – Mark Wilson’s ‘Passio’ and ‘The Angel of History’

Mark Wilson has been very busy.

In the same number of years three collections of poetry have appeared (details of which can be found below this review) the most recent two; Passio and The Angel of History are the subject of the present essay. But, before looking at these two works individually, I want to offer some general questions and comments, as introduction.

First of all, the basic rub. What is it that Wilson is doing?? Where is his head at?? As with the work of Paul Stubbs (whose work is also reviewed at The Fiend) the poetry is so multi-registered that it is difficult to detach general from specific. What could be said is that this crop of poets have rejected much in order to uncover the instrument of their own materials… and Wilson is, without doubt, the most scriptural, the most liturgical of all the poets so far reviewed at The Fiend. It would also be worth saying that these are only entry points; what he does with notions of the sacred, and of liturgy, are very much his own. But this requires further interpretive meanderings.

Quartet for the End of  TimeBefore delving into what differs between these two books let’s assert, for good or ill, who Wilson’s literary companions might be… if only to amend our views regarding these writers works in relation to what will be quoted here, as we close in on particular poems (meaning; that when a poet is illuminated by a peer, OR a poet long gone, he is also illuminating that which he is illuminated by). It might also be worth mentioning, at this point, how Stubbs, reviewing Wilson’s first book; Quartet for the End of Time, attempts to place Wilson’s influences. Speaking of his relation to Pound he writes;

When the latter bemoaned the arrogant and self-serving obtuseness of English poetry he brought forth in spirit what the critic G.S Fraser depicted as the “British Poundians” — a somewhat ineffable group of poets who comprehended and felt most the great technical innovations Pound invented, his highly serious principles of the forms of the imagination, which has allowed a poet like Wilson to in-tear the membrane of his own poetics

…this seems well put, and workable. Indeed, it is what Wilson has done with Pound’s techniques, most particularly, that separates him from the pervading tenor of much contemporary British poetry (if they have responded to Pound at all). Wilson’s clarity retains grammar and syntax, while doing bold and interesting melopoeic things with the line, itself.

Also, the striking, and reforming? social voice of some of Pound’s earlier poetry has been given a gloss of the divine, shall we say. The background features are all Gospel of St. John and Book of Revelation, and seem to have been put to work on a kind of pre-fall (and, most importantly, pre-religion?) language ritual. This is also to say that Wilson’s work is far from simply a voice of ‘conscience’ in the conventional sense, or political protest (although it is highly moral in perhaps the non-dualist hue of that meaning). Yes, there is something deeper and more apocalyptic going on, and if there is rage here, it is an angelic rage, a rage of the spirit, and of spirits. And, as each book has been put out, it seems that other companions become clearer; more distinct, or rounded, in the passions of Wilson’s pen;

Geoffrey Hill’s work (the later the better? at least formally) would not be amiss in this personal canon, neither would certain poems by the later Yeats, along with older echoes of Alighieri, Milton, and St. John of the Cross (see the poem Vacillation, from Passio, which could also be read as a scriptural gloss on Keats’s negative capability?) and St. John’s prose, particularly… although here you feel that while St. John provides impetus and joy, in that he simplifies and extolls, Wilson is poet, and provides musical alternatives; he disturbs and ‘makes slant’, in a dance with that same aura of the divine.

hillIn fact, through the latter author there is a sense in which the reader might imagine that Wilson, in the most complementary manner, is without modernity, or at least without modernity, as with Hill… in that there is a feeling while reading the poems, that the essential impulse, or shallow crux, of the modern world has been caught out, and rejected, in loud-but-subtle effusions of poetic utterance; a renaissance-like shrug that emulates both joy, and a kind of singing archness. These are not avoidance tactics however, they are a systematic critique of a culture gone round the bend. In the same way, could the curious reader posit the question “Is it evil, then, that the language keens-to, inspects, reveals, re-reveals… in different degrees?” Yeats, celebrating Balzac, has this to say on such things.

When we compare any modern writer, except Balzac, with the writers of an older world, with, let us say, Dante, Villon, Shakespeare, Cervantes, we are in the presence of something slight and shadowy. It is natural for a man who believes that man finds happiness here on earth, or not at all, to make light of all obstacles to that happiness and to deny altogether the insuperable obstacles seen by religious philosophy. The strength and weight of Shakespeare, of Villon, of Dante, even of Cervantes, come from their preoccupation with evil. In Shelley, in Ruskin, in Wordsworth, who for all his formal belief was, as Blake saw, a descendant of Rousseau, there is a constant resolution to dwell upon good only; and from this comes their lack of the sense of character, which is defined always by its defects or its incapacity, and their lack of dramatic sense; for them human nature has lost its antagonist.

Thus, if this dwelling on evil, or misdeed, is modern in Wilson’s work… then it is not modern in the sense that Baudelaire is the so-called ‘first modern.’ (in only the sense of an archness, sarcasm, or blackness that allowed Breton, in the same vein, to compile a book of black humour the following century). Wilson presents us with an otherworldly evangelistic voice that harks further back; is it perhaps the voice of Baudelaire in communion with a Winstanley, or a Milton? What it reveals is the divine via the shock of the satanic which, as with Blake, can be understood as an energy within the divine tremendum of the cosmos, bound through its own pathological service-to-self to be crushed by the inevitable momentum of its own anti-logos; the eschaton… just as the mainstream narratives finally falter to a ludicrous standstill.

eric-gill-LC140411_0066_1Wilson’s work, then… his voice, is witness, but worked through biblical and eschatological concerns. As with Joyce, Barker, Thomas et al, the poetry is involved in a perpetual state of dissolution of its own a-historical structures. The thing constantly ‘caught out’ in the poems is linear time’s chronic sequestration and annihilation of the larger truth of the heart, as a mode of historical patterning. Like Pound, the poetics takes Blake’s statement; “eternity is  in love with the productions of time,” seriously (and, as with Blake, Crane, Thomas and others, its useful to be on the look-out for two forms of time; “time” the linear movement, and “Time,” the multiversal and galactic reality, the Time that one of Wilson’s great instigators; Tarkovsky, ‘sculpts’ with: mythic Time of the film, made manifest via confrontations with the soul).
All these matters are what make for The Contingencies I’ve intended for this review’s title. It is “war” in Robert Duncan’s sense then, not the war of tribal battles, or even of primeval gnosis, or of dissent before monarchy, government or oligarchy (although, rightly, it can involve these)… but these are simply the historical pets of the larger sequestrations of the fundamental permission mankind has fallen to, the soul’s refusal, via matter, to not recognize itself, to distort itself… so that Kaedmon is also a two-way mirror, the god-man and the first bearer of evil (study trans-literations of the Chinese character for evil if you distrust such statements).

adam kadmonThe cosmic sense, then, is how the problem of evil is contended with in both these books. Wilson refuses to defer to wholly metaphysical solutions, favouring language, logos and music as primary tools. And, although the martyr-feature of The Marvellous inherent in much surrealism doesn’t explicitly function in this poetics, the anger of that initial pre-fallen violation does live in the poems, to very specific, and differing, degrees. These factors, of course, are worth further thought, both in this context, and in the context of contemporary poetry more widely. I encourage the reader to look into the work here reviewed and see where these issues take them. (I’ll attempt to speak, now, of the books themselves).

The collection Passio finds Wilson very much launching the matter of poetic sequences on the subject of artists of particular fascination to him. These will re-occur in the following book, and, at least formally, are what make these two books distinct from his first. (A matter of ambition, methinks). But what immediately intrigues in Passio, on a first reading at least, are its manifesto-like short poems, of which Incubator Song is particularly striking;

Inhaling through a contraption
that resembles the Ark-of-the-
Covenant: your ecclesiastical

life-support-machine which
incubates your mewling-puking

                      faith

…a poem that pulls no punches. And it very much establishes the quality of consiousness at work in the first book. I like how it is almost an anti-form, the refusal of rhyme, the uber-clipped bluntness of it, the Old Testament harem scarem quality. A poem that Hugh Selwyn Mauberley definitely haunts, no doubt. And yet! Read it again, there is nothing of Greece in this… no Parthenon from which to fie upon the lunacy of Europe, or Britain. We’ll have to wait for this.

Still, an awareness of the calamity of the infantilized playground of modern western culture, of all the televisions being turned off in disgust… combined with an awareness of the spiritual (or galactic) spheres in which this inferno of dead-end narratives refuses to partake. As Sun Ra so succinctly writes:

…feel the thrill
Of the living image  of you…
The you, you never allowed to become a reality.
Behold! The living image of you.
The living self eternal…
The you, you seek to deny……

We see a kind of cataclysm of meaningless cultural faiths, refusing their cosmic aspect, suggested in Sun Ra, and wholly contingent in Wilson. But… what grabs me about these short poems in particular? Why do I imagine them as more than just cynical vignettes? Something that catches the reader as being the product  of hard study, of a certain stringency of linguistic reach, the striving for what is most essential about man at this juncture in his development; the kind of thing a less bold mind would eschew as being too much without-world (avoidance! avoidance! avoidance! sings the contemporary hymn sheet). These are questions of evil. Of conscience. They strike deep. And Wilson knows this. In fact, in my own poetics, I seem more and more convinced that, once the instrument of tekne is mastered (and this is really only a decade, or two?) and one’s materials are found and manoeuvred through the final, and toughest ingredient, at least the toughest in its naked contingency – the extending of the sayable – is this matter of guts and boldness; of self/soul revelation… and why I imagine the ghost of James Joyce still haunts Europe so as to see if Finnegan was really, in extremis, the right move to make at that specific moment in the world-soul’s spiritual furtherment?!

Again, matters of abject contingency!

A second short quatrain, Credo for the Millenium further drives this striving-for-urgent-boldness on; and is also… a kind of anti-music?

You’ve had your one-
minute Holocaust silence.
Now it’s time to eat,
drink and be merry.

There’s both sarcasm and irony here. As if another secret announcement washes over the barely gleaned cross-cultural tannoy…. menu? occult schedule? Perhaps this is also highly prescient, politically, for me… as someone coming of age in the mid-nineties (a vaguely islanded half-decade before the lunacies of fabian New Labour London-Brussels rule moved the whole circus backward a half-century or so).

This short piece reminds me of a similar tension in a poem by Marina Tsvetaeva; If the soul was born with pinions:

I have two enemies in all the world,
Two twins, inseparably fused:
The hunger of the hungry and the fullness of the full

I see Wilson erring toward a warning regarding the latter: the fullness of the full. And, after 9/11, after the state terrorism of London 2005, after the latest Blair/Cameron in this ragtag bunch of corporate thieves, who could blame him? (Print more currency, print less currency… it is still that currency, and can equal “democracy and the individual, socialism and the group, intensities thereof etc… and lo! yer 20th century).

But there’s perhaps also a more sustained reflective sincerity of resonant depth here, aged by the follies and affairs of history, particularly the post-”cold war” European problem of socialism dressed up as market capitalist ‘democracy’, which is what I’ve come to call ‘the mediac’… and we’ll need to look up the words “oklos” (όχλος) and “demos” (δμος) in their ancient Greek derivations to understand how our dreams have been compromised for at least the last seventy or eighty years. It starts with the notion of a vaguely satisfied ‘majority’ and ends with only the appearance of a vaguely satisfied ‘majority’. Oklos reconfigured, and peddled as demos. Mirror for the mental slave. The thing is; not to re-direct one controlling ideal… you can do the same with communism, socialism etc but to continually introduce new ones, as you would idiomatic verbs into a dying language (to re-interpret Pound via his own terminology; is ideology, in a brute quotidian political sense, and on the page at least, simply logopoeia for the masses?)… and,  if you can program a population into thinking anything other than Demos is fascism; well, then, you really have them! Destruction of language. Brute reductions of vocabulary. Or as Bob Dylan once said:  Democracy don’t rule the world. / You’d better get that in your head. / This world is ruled by violence. / But I guess that’s better left unsaid… no, Bob, it’s better said! And the same goes for communism (Tsvetaeva, again)…

Even if we concede that communism, as an attempt at the best organisation of earthly life, is a good – is it alone in being a good, is it alone all goods, does it include in itself, define through itself, all other goods and powers: of art, science, religion, thought? […] the science of communal life is no more all-important than a feat of solitude – so even communism, organiser of earthly life, is no more all-important than all the movers of the spiritual life, which is neither a superstructure nor an annexe. The earth is not everything, and even if it were everything, this organising of communal living is not the whole earth. The earth is worth more and deserves more.

Ideology is language tamed to mind, rather than language attuned to consciousness; the omniversal generator. As far as politics goes, these short pieces exemplify the un-ravelling of psychic knots I’m getting at here. They are the curt explications of a problem, political or otherwise, that illuminate… within that; the spiritual task! of expanding consciousness so as to accede the boundaries of guilt and sin, to bring into consciousness undisturbed joy and acceptance; an unhindered-and-attendant awareness, without taking one’s eye off the ball (but how can you?… this is being alive, after all… karma takes care of the rest).

Wilson nails it via the political, but the same utterance could just as easily travel vertically into the spheres of the spirit. Meaning; the resonance of it creates the plane of political through the spirit’s eternality, and isn’t cornered or limited by those planes.

And there are altogether more differently-hued spiritual attitudes on show here… readers expecting only blunt politicizing as “Style”, or “Programme”, would be mistaken. For instance, Christmas Eve Antiphon, shifts moods dramatically:

You are an icon of
distilled light; your
refracted imagism
a parable of hope?

Eternal being of love,
transcendant mouthpiece;
diminuendo only inscribes
your divine absence?

For negative theology
presupposes a nimbus
always of “presence”, in
this oxymoronic season.

…these are chiselled, direct, resourceful, and forceful lines, and the poem, in its entirety, is worth the price of entrance on its own. Again, what impresses is how simply and clearly Wilson juggles social and divine contingencies, while having, musically, each line surprise the reader. The line is dizzying (or dizzies itself?) and tends to impose parabolic structures that cut across each other; a kind of inner argument that is felicitous in its exclamation but, simultaneously, linguistically reflective. He is also no stranger to setting in play a dance of oppositions and corollaries, here the demands of physiology and the demands of spirit are set in vital interplay. In a similar vein, we get these lines (from Life Plan for a Parnassian).

Live, O live for a truncated
season on the narrow edge of
        your poetic nerve.

A jokey but romantic ode to daring and splendour amongst the quotidian and the political, there is much fun and seriousness in this poem, and it advances a warmth that the poems more prone to judgement belie (and yet no poem lives alone…?)

Perhaps my mention of Tsvetaeva, earlier, is pertinent in the context of Passio, since Wilson’s brand of subverted religious orthodoxy is strongly reminiscent of the Russian poets. Perhaps the greatest of her poet-filmmakers; Andrei Tarkovsky, an artist who is an abiding obsession of Wilson’s, features in both Passio and his The Angel of History, where he devotes sequences related to, or titled with, Tarkovsky’s work. The first of these; The Andrei Passion, begins:

In Brueghel’s snow-deep
       kingdom the tableau
naturally presents itself –
               tempera on celluloid.

Gowned characters of
        this type-scene so
familiar we deduce the shock
        of the contemporary like
the Word that
                splits rocks.

coral castle 2The image is such a luscious and pristine update, or gloss, on the famous apocryphal snippet of Charles Olson To build out of sound the walls of the city / And display in one flower the wunderworld so that / By such means the unique stand forth… a very inviting movement from filmic ekphrase to linguistic revery. “Sound of words is resonance, and frequency begat physica,” etc.

The shock / of the contemporary… amongst the things of the past (the medieval Russia of Tarkovsky’s Andrei Rublev?) echoes Pound’s notion of simultaneity; all ages happening at the same time (is this why the narrative fragments from the longer Bob Dylan epics attract me so much? The magnetic pull of all-eras-occurring-right-now?) The whole sequence opens out, meanders… and will return, under a different guise, in the next book? (more on this later).

Note, also, that lovely hyphenated type-scene linking the “eye of the typewriter” with the eye of the painter or filmmaker, another marker of how Wilson takes the biblical logos seriously as something combining something both linguisto-aural and visually transcendent.

The Andrei Passion, however, is not the only piece prone to ekphrasis (is Wilson the most visual-leaning of the newer poets? It is possible… his treatment of the moving image is both modern and Renaissance at the same time… he makes you wonder what Michelangelo would’ve done with a Super 8 anyhow) since the same book also sports a piece on Paradjanov’s The Colour of Pomegranates.

Armenian lutes hang stark
       on a stone wall;
Oriental tapestries are richly
       carpeting the ground.

Ripe grain pours through
        cupped hands.

What the heraldic statement of Incubator Song does for exo-politics, so these images yield to pure atmosphere, conjuring Armenia through the visual image, into poetry. Fruit as living Mythos; anagogical force of plain human interaction? As in Mandelshtam’s Journey to Armenia, perhaps:

Three apples fell from heaven: the first for the one who told the tale, the second for the one who listened, and the third for the one who understood. That is the way most Armenian fairy tales end.

Or:

Finally, the Poet applies ink
        to parchment in alert,
conscious hieroglyphs.

He creates his masterpiece
         using the colouration

of pomegranates: the
        
          pigment of pain.

paradjanov? there is an argument between symbol and image here somewhere, with image descending from the Greco-Latin, and symbol being its father-process; an invention of early Egyptian civilization. My bets are on symbol (although do I have to decide??) which might be as old as Paradjanov’s Armenia? The oldest and deepest symbols reverberate out from those first shots of the film, and run through the lines of the poem.

What is established, as material, in Passio, is embedded with a different amped-up confidence in The Angel of History. If Passio has a sometimes unintentionally oblique poetics of reference (and does Wilson attempt to pre-empt this with extended notes in both books? It perhaps seems a little too much for this reader. If they have flogged Hill over these problems already methinks only the future, and future-time’s absolutions, will solve them)… then the following book legitimizes many of the experiments of the former. With the collagist techniques spiralling ever upward:

God’s fools
         the dogged gait of
bedraggled versifiers

         welcome to no inner
sanctum; and yet
        cosmic communicants
                            everywhere.

And that Paul’s epistles
        lacked a coherent
cosmology always a
                    juncture to
                                     differ

Instead, my soul
         too much kindled by

the logos of the
         Koine Johannine.

Dredged up throughout
         infanthood never to
                                     desert

like a purgatorial fire
         sent with an express
purpose and exemplifying
                            radiance.
My upper body is in
         paradise; my lower body

resides in the
                     scurrilous

                                       quotidian.

the angel of historyThis, from In Principio  (after Arvo Pärt)… much humour and felicity, here. I also choose this one, in particular, as a specimen of what the most recent book is doing formally… more variation of pressure on the line, more white space, less clustering, scattiness of indents etc. (Joyce has definitely entered the world of the book’s language, but modified, through hyphens and strange consonantal juxtapositions).

He tends to keep the line short and clipped in the first book but, formally, there’s more going on in the new one. The inclusion of Pärt as a kind of book-ending presence (literally and metaphorically) also allows us to make connections between the visual and the aural that we may have missed in the earlier book, where he had only a walk-on role.

Notice, also the chakric, or kabbalah-like, references to lower and upper body… is this also specific to Christian science? Renaissance occultism? Regardless, it is an important correction to Lawrence’s lower-self thesis, in Fantasia of the Unconscious (followed up by countless post-war writers. Necessary! yet overplayed. We can forgive Lawrence only in the sense of its being a particularly epochal attempt at adjustment in the terram corpus of that time).

On a different note, I’d also cite the beginning of the poem Cry Dada as signalling a new-found confidence:

Cry Dada. Burn on the acute
          cylinders of the vortex.

…infectiousness of proclamation! at least, in virtue of this mode, it seems like a kind of holy doubt… enveloping The Mythos of its form (and Dada’s power was its ‘great doubt’ surely? Its social constructivist-manifestoes were very dodgy, to say the least). But, the poem, half-didactically, leaps spritely forward…

You are not a cypher. Neither are
        you a primed pawn edging
out of this beleaguered kingdom.

Into the terrain of ‘l’aventurra’
         have you come
.

Cry Dada; the renewed glossolalia
         on your barbed tongue.

…or (from The Library Hovers Above Solaris) how about:

Let be          let be          let be
Levitate regardless
         with (or without)

                candelabra
                         and Tolstoy.

Did you expect ‘Tolstoy’ to enter here? I certainly didn’t! But it works… with all those t-sounds, and seems to rumour a movement that ebbs more upon “a sonic god” (?) rather than the analysands of more serious, earlier Wilson poems.

See, also, how he is treating Tarkovsky in the later book. Both in that last quoted poem, and in The Zone (the book’s other Tarkovsky piece, based on Stalker) the filmmaker has wings slightly more zany than in The Andrei Passion:

redemptrix regis
returns to the
Room la Zona
as if to her
private enceiled
        boudoir

a meteor?
a kingdom
coming?

slithers of
encrypted glass

in the dust…

As in painting, somehow, a catharsis is achieved; between stillness and movement (which, on a tangent, makes me think of Van Gogh’s The Sower for no particular reason). Here, Wilson has brought the, for-the-most-part, Quietude of Tarkovsky’s celluloid “Zone” into an unexpected brand of heraldic fugue.

And, speaking more generally; at this point in the book, you notice that the goalposts have shifted somewhat; regarding what Wilson is attempting… the poems are trying for animate forms of sustained pitch, of spiritual power, that were absent previously. Gone are the pithy short political satires of the first book. In a 97 page book we have six long poems, all exemplifying, or oscillating between, themes of sight and sound. Re-reading them it seems a little futile to quote extensively, as they very much ought to be judged as entire entities.

It is enough to mention, however, that there are poems after Picasso, Keith Jarrett, Arvo Pärt and Anish Kapoor. They represent, I think, a glut of unique pedestals that Wilson hasn’t topped, at least in his published output so far (and would a reading of Pound’s Antheil be of use in the context of Wilson’s musical devotions? Absolutely).

Only the final poem does not entirely catch fire with me (or at least hasn’t yet). The proposition of the poem; to conflate Arvo Pärt’s response to Kapoor’s Marsyas into poetry, via a meditation on the music itself? A total embuement of music into the poetic line, or a conflagration of the two? Or, better; as Wilson relates in his notes;

With its great size, Anish Kapoor’s sculpture shatters not only concepts of space, but also – in my view – concepts of time. The boundary between time and timelessness no longer seems so evident. This is the subject matter underlying my composition ‘Lamentate’. Accordingly I have written a lamento – not for the dead, but for the living, who have to deal with these issues for themselves.

Kapoor's MarsyasMy reading of Lamentate, despite incredibly intriguing metaphysical intrusions like: Through the twelve zones of / our distinct sensibility / have we come… (I feel something similar intuited by myself when reading something like H.D’s Notes on Vision) is slightly hindered by my profound indifference to the work of Anish Kapoor, and I can only politely add that the composer’s ecstatic response to the exhibit that Wilson relays in the notes (which I also saw close-up a few years later) in no way resembles my own!

Does this marr the poem? Yes and no. The reader can’t quite extricate themselves from the quality of a poet’s chosen guides… thus, the double pressure of the linguistic exactitude of le mot juste, as well as bringing to bear, upon the page, the correct influences, meaning; the poem = the poet = the poet’s usages, his most immediate navigation is to bring in the right people. This is not only an aesthetic but a spiritual problem that I’ve no doubt a poet of Wilson’s calibre is mightily aware of. How far can one be vigilant? I don’t profess to know… we might entertain the idea that “my hero’s heroes are not mine” but this is probably too quantitative to be of any use in making any regular observations on poetics (and is it even a question of a temporal choosing of Influence… well, there is an inevitability in this, to be sure). I simply leave it here as an open conundrum of aesthetic process, with the proviso that the whole problem feels religious; guilt or empowerment by association, rather than spiritual… which is ultimate empowerment, all creation, only impeded, pantheistically, by time?

It may be that there is more of the composer than the artist here, when all’s said and done. Or compare, for instance, my more theological meanderings here with what Wilson, liminally, qualitatively, does, or can do, with Pärt and Kapoor… from the final section of the poem; Fragile e concilante:

What is left to us?

Incandescent nymphs have
          retired to their
                     hermetic groves;

          are hushed for a while.

Whilst we are re-animated
                  with Contemplatio.

Exactly; this universe is
alive with an intelligence
          which is often
                            beyond us.

Our faculties’ indigence,
          the nous’ impassivity

pervades our radiant cosmos
          with its innately
                            divine fire.

Suffering is holiness.

That much is certain.

Laments are cast for our
          ultimate felicity;

          we who live, that is

Could these high reed-notes not be a Christopher Marlowe, or a George Herbert? They seem, at least as coda, to be the excitements and agitations of the book as a whole slowed down to a concrete and conversational solemnity.

So, in this, and in the other long poems mentioned, it still seems very obvious to me that The Angel of History reaches peaks of discursive and syntactical ambition that the casual reader of Wilson’s first book; Quartet for the End of Time, could probably not imagine easily.

I think, also, that these books mark a new kind of redemptive excitation not seen in British poetry for a long time, and can only wonder if the frenetic pace of the almost-two collections that led up to this liebestod-like crescendo can be sustained any longer, into another book? without a dramatic shift in tempo and/or seismic re-routing of thematic concerns? Time will prove the wiser. As of now, perhaps it’s simply enough to encourage any curious reader of this essay to “look into the work… per-use, and en-joy.”

Andrew O’Donnell, February ’14

Mark Wilson is based in Peterborough, England and is a regular contributor to ‘The Fiend’. ‘Quartet for the End of Time’ and ‘Passio’ are both currently available through lulu.com. ‘The Angel of History’ is published by Leaky Boot Press and can be ordered through online bookstores, or at http://leakyboot.com

For reference/bibliography:

Ezra Pound’s Three Kinds of Poetry and Ekphrasis (wikipedia)
Ezra Pound – Antheil
Geoffrey Hill – Broken Hierarchies
W.B Yeats – Collected Works Vol. 5, Later Essays
The Gospel of St. John
Sun Ra – The Immeasurable Equation: The Collected Poetry and Prose
Marina Tsvetaeva – Art in the Light of Conscience
Osip Mandelshtam – Journey to Armenia

About thefiendjournal

I was born in Blackpool, England and am currently based in Hungary. Poems have been published in magazines in the U.K, Ireland, France, New Zealand, Canada, U.S.A and South Korea. A pamphlet; "MMV", was published in 2008. Thousands of poems have been written in draft form, and multiple books are being planned and edited for future release. As well as editing 'The Fiend' I translate, paint and dabble in photography (images of which have occasionally been used here).
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