Sunday, October 23, 2005

"Double Wedding, 1615"

My dear friend Jane Yeh has a poem in the Guardian this week. I am notoriously intolerant of new poetry whether or not it is written by friends--so often you read a poem that doesn't even seem to have been copy-edited to the standard of prose...--but Jane is a miraculously good poet and this is a really amazing book, a must-read in my opinion. Here's Jane's site, and here's one of my favorite poems from the book:


I could beg but I don’t have to. What it is
I couldn’t say. A chronic incidence

Of cringing from the light in elevators,
Night trains, doorwells: if this heart, it clatters

Into the bin like a handful of change, if this tatty
Muzzle, it fits the crime, if strapless

Were to ‘having it’ as bang-up is to ‘done that’,
Would my position be worth a flutter?

Darkness, debt, a peep, the thrill: possession
Is theft from, proof is knowing where, love

Is blind they say, but I’m having none of it.
I’ve an eye to the main chance.

I look better in the dark.
Even if the phone rings now I won’t stop.

I can't believe what she does with those words--I am just completely in love with the sequence "if strapless / Were to 'having it' as bang-up is to 'done that.'"

And here's the first stanza of a poem titled "Cumbria":

It seems unfair to the sheep.
Now that the cull's on, they haven't a chance.
They can't help being round, contagious, and woolly.
Ghostly herds bobble slowly down the track.

Here's the link if you want to order it from Carcanet; and here's the Amazon UK link. I think this edition is going to have some kind of distribution in the US, or possibly be reissued by a publisher here, and I will post when that happens. This is a book everyone should read.

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