Jane Bowles’ novel Two Serious Ladies confounds with sinister humor and dark delight

Biblioklept

Two Women, Gwen John

Here’s a short review of Jane Bowles’ only novel, Two Serious Ladies: The book is amazing, a confounding, energetic picaresque suffused with sinister humor and dark delight. I read it knowing nothing about the plot on the recommendation of Ben Marcus, who described it as “so insane, so beautiful, and in some sense, unknowable to me. On the surface, it’s not really about much, but the arrangement of words does something chemical to me.” My recommendation is to dispense with the rest of my review and read Bowles’ novel.

“Unknowable” is a fair description, and Two Serious Ladies was met with bewilderment when it was first published in 1943, as Negar Azimi points out in the comprehensive essay “The Madness of Queen Jane”:

Edith Walton, writing in the Times Book Review, called the book senseless and silly: “To attempt to unravel the plot…

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Oum El Ma Lake in the middle of the desert, Libya

Beautiful. I have always wanted to visit Libya.

Riley Hanna

Oum El Ma Lake in the middle of the desert, Libya

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FROM INSIDE – my new book of poems.

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“The novelty meets with neglect; neglect provokes attack; and attack demands a theory.”

xxxxxxxT. S. Eliot, Reflections on Vers Libre – an article published in the New Statesman, 22 May 2013

You don’t have to like the person in these poems. Views that many espouse are not necessarily expressed by him. The person in these poems is no champion of rights; animal, vegetable or mineral. Let’s call that view-holding many the homogeneous majority: a far-from-silent community, it is made up of the middle-aged, partially open-minded middle classes, many of whom attend poetry workshops. Those chosen to award prizes must take this powerful readership into account. A poem should be of the approved length, should have a point, and point approved of by the aforesaid mob – if it is to be awarded any sort of a commendation. A poem is valued primarily for its humanity. Ideally there should be a theme that threads the poems together. Here a touch of novelty is called for. Most important of all, there needs to be a person in them who comes over as likeable, liberal, engaged in gender politics, preferably of a fashionable sex or hue or scion of an approved minority. Add pathos, and you’re in on the game. Pathos goes down very well indeed.

None of this is the case with the person you encounter when you start From Inside. This is because the person in these poems is a persona. Just as the ancient actors wore masks that expressed the spirits who spoke through them, spirits of those who might have murdered their children, slept with their mothers or flouted authority, these poems speak through masks. It is a strategy more often to be found in fiction, for it is fictive. It is a way of writing pioneered by Robert Browning – My Last Duchess provides the standard example, but that is just one poem among many that utilize a dramatic monologue.

So, underneath, I happen to be likeable, liberal etc, but in my poems I speak through masks, come from another location and stand in another’s place. Or so I would have you believe.

There is also operating that dramatic irony that is inherent in speeches or a situation of a play and is understood by the audience but not grasped by the characters in that play. The person in these poems may not be aware of what the reader is aware.              

Pound refined the technique in Personae; and now I try to take it further by reducing the distance between the voice of the spirit and my own. I am trying to resolve the enigma of how one may fetchingly express the unpleasant – make it readable, entertaining even – but, if the character conjured forth bears little resemblance to my own experience, a distance weakens the impact. There is much to admire in the movies of Nicholas Roeg. For instance, in Bad Timing, a plausible young psychiatrist asserts the control over his girl that he has always hankered for by making love to her while she is in a coma – having turned back the clock by a few minutes, to give himself time to rape her before he calls an ambulance. The action that enables him to seriously endanger her life is in itself an innocuous one, a movement of a finger on the minute hand. It is a conceivable crime. I can imagine myself doing this. And that is what makes the film’s proposition so powerful.

In the same paragraph as contains the quotation above, Eliot goes on to suggest that “In a sluggish society, as actual societies are, tradition is ever lapsing into superstition, and the violent stimulus of novelty is required.” A violent stimulus is more than a touch, and I aspire to just such a jolt. I would revive satire, long out of fashion in poetry, but I can’t go along with Eliot when he asserts, in the same essay, that “we only need the coming of a Satirist – no man of genius is rarer – to prove that the heroic couplet has lost none of its edge since Dryden and Pope laid it down.”  To my ear the couplet grows tedious, and seems nostalgically dated formally. Eliot was wrong about the sonnet too, which he thought long past its prime. In fact, the sonnet goes from strength to strength, but the Augustan couplet has lost its appeal.

Satire needs to discover a fresh and contemporary form.

The poems in this collection are uncomfortable. Often they may not seem to possess a “point”.  For me, the presence of the poem itself must be equal to the presence of any meaning. As I attempt to resolve this inherent conflict between form and content, I find myself discovering the poem; and its presence, as that emerges, often overwhelms a neatly significant end.

“All art constantly aspires to the condition of music.” Thus wrote Walter Pater when considering the paintings of Giorgione. Music does not concern itself with referential meaning. It concerns itself with an empathy derived from harmonies – it means a feeling, the feeling of music. This may be achieved in arts other than music. Poetry, for instance, uses rhyme, rhythm, assonance, alliteration, and all the wiles of prosody in order to create what amounts to the actual music of thought. Here a further irony gets generated: the untoward, discomforting thoughts that may engage the person in these poems are offered to the reader as a music. Harmony is thus impressed into the service of the discordant.

Well, dear reader, as the Possum said, “neglect provokes attack; and attack demands a theory.”

To purchase a copy, here is a link to The High Window/From Inside

For a critique of “humane art” see Ortega y Gasset

Click for my essay on Immoralism.

Launch reading was 31 May at 19:00-21:00 at Housmans Radical Booksellers, 5 Caledonian Road, London N1 9DX

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FIVE FIGURE EXERCISE – Lucinda Childs, Philip Glass, Sol LeWitt, Stuart Sherman and Robert Wilson (1979)

FIVE FIGURE EXERCISE – Harpers & Queen, May 1979

I reckon this is a historic document, so re-publish it here.

On a still undefined boundary of modern art painter Sol LeWitt, dancer Lucinda Childs and composer Philip Glass are working together to produce new work. Stuart Sherman and Robert Wilson have already been acclaimed as outstanding performers.  Anthony Howell, director of the English company the Theatre of Mistakes, reports on all five figures, some of whose work will be seen in Europe over the next few months.

 

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Lucinda Childs, leader of her own New York dance company, practises alone to attain the ‘chiselled precision’ demanded by systemic dance.

Three qualities make for a city with a lively art scene. The first is that it can sell art, the second is that it can inspire art, and the third is that it can provide an environment where art can be made. On the first two counts, at least, New York beats every other city hands down. Art, good contemporary art, sells: rich collectors and museum curators from all over Europe and from all over America may be seen literally queuing up to purchase work from galleries uptown or in SoHo. At Paula Cooper’s gallery the atmosphere is politely hectic, with the gallery attracting the amount of business we might associate with a top beauty salon – yet Paula is not selling charm or sentiment or nostalgia, but fine modern art, from Linda Benglis to Joel Shapiro. Round the corner, John Gibson leans out of the window of his gallery on the second floor and shouts down at the disappearing head of an artist who has just left a book of xeroxes in the ante-room – Gibson likes the work, he’ll show it, and he does.

And New York is inspiring. Perhaps its inspiration is born of the sheer momentum of the city -hardly cerebral – you keep working for as long as your intensity lasts, and if you miss anything out, tack it on at the end. It is a force which may be a bit muddled and rather romantic, but still a driving force. Inspiration is everywhere, in the people you meet, in the architecture you confront, at the exhibitions, performances, recitals, happenings. On the third count, New York is not so hot. ‘Survival in New York is an art in itself,’ one poor Brit artist told me, as proud of her loft and her secretarial job as she would have been with a show at the Museum of Modern Art in Oxford. There is no adequate dole, the life support for British art-making. The funds allocated to the National Endowment for the Arts in America are proportionally smaller than those given to the Arts Council of Great Britain, the organisers of venues have a desperate fight to get money on top of their job of organising, and many good artists who might have stuck it out in England drift off into the pop world or the graphics industry. It’s a crazy place, savage, competitive and enthralling. Great bars to chat or jive in until the early hours of the morning – so long as you don’t get knifed commuting between one bar and the next. During one month when I was there, two artists were murdered going to some of the nicest downtown bars. Some of the artists and performers currently the toast of New York will be in Europe over the coming months, and if you happen to be in Amsterdam, Paris or London, you may get the chance to see their work.

LUCINDA CHILDS

Lucinda Childs is the first ‘systems’ dancer. Systemic music has already gained fair headway through the work of composers such as Steve Reich and Philip Glass in America, John White in England. In dance, Lucinda Childs will repeat a limited vocabulary of steps until every juxtaposition of the chosen steps has been shown. Modern performers often derive much of their aesthetic from the visual arts – the idea that a sculpture may have more than one side from which to be viewed – an idea expressed by cubism in painting. So the context of the movement, what it comes before, what it follows, still doesn’t tell the whole story – each variation needs to be seen from the front and from the back and from the sides. Like systemic music, the result is often hypnotic – seemingly endless spinning, long, hesitant, complex running steps, and glorious sweeping glides backwards. Often Lucinda Childs employs no mu­sic, allowing the repetitive pattern of the dance to set up a tune, her feet echoing the notes of an imagined piece of dance music – a Landler perhaps.

This is very much an art of ‘spin-off’, in the sense that, as one sits watching, the dance changes with the suggestions and associations that crowd into the head. Gertrude Stein maintained that no repetition is the same as another – it’s either earlier or later in a line of repetitions, and so one is less saturated with one image during early repetitions of it, more so later, and each repetition slightly changes one’s view. The ideas suggested first, fade, and deeper insights stir in the mind. During Lucinda Childs’s recent performance at the Riverside Studios, Hammer­smith, I began by feeling like some Eastern potentate watch­ing my favourite houri. Tall, impossibly, remotely beautiful, she danced alone, tensely; any­one looking at her with the eye of a balletomane would almost say stiltedly – there is a sort of tension in the neck and upper back muscles one often sees in American dancers. Rosella Hightower exhibited the same charac­teristic. In Childs’ case this tension seems appropriate. Modi­fying the houri idea, it gave the impression of a captured bar­barian queen, a Boadicea; un­broken spirit rather than one whose mood was that of the erotic inveiglement affected by the ballerina tradition with its roots in the crush-bars of Rus­sian opera houses, which were practically high-class bordellos.

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The Lucinda Childs company: in collaboration with Philip Glass and Sol LeWitt, they will perform a new work in Brooklyn this year.

This seeming stiffness about Lucinda Childs, the chiselled precision of the steps themselves, counteracts any possible vertigo which might be brought on by the repetitive nature of the dance. Too much spinning in any piece of hers reminds me uncomfort­ably of the Sufis, who do it better, and of the dancing choreo­graphed by Andy Degroat and others for Robert Wilson in works of his such as Letter to Queen Victoria and The Life and Times of Joseph Stalin. But then Childs has worked with Wilson on more than one occasion -with Wilson, Degroat and Philip Glass on the opera Einstein on the Beach, presented at the Metropolitan Opera in November 1976, and with Wilson alone in his two-act play, I Was Sitting on My Patio This Guy Appeared I Thought I Was Hallucinating, which re­cently toured the United States and Europe, and, wonder of wonders, came to the Royal Court in London for an all too brief week, last summer.

When the spinning does not predominate, her dancing affects me strongly. Having worked with one diagonal, presenting one side, approaching and retreating from one section of the audience, she will work with the other diagonal in the next piece, re­versing the audience’s point of view. A variation will stop and start in unexpected places – there is a strong relationship between repetition and practising – the more one repeats anything the better one gets, improving initial expressions. The thorough­ness of the activity brings some­thing to her work which is almost like punctuation, as if she has dotted each i, employed semi-colons only where appro­priate. And then come these marvellous glides backwards, as if to the starting point, with head askance to the audience, and in the midst of all this seemingly remote, practically mathematical work, all the at­mosphere of high classical dance, Swan Lake, Sleeping Beauty, the impossibly regal ice queen of an enchanted world sweeping back in the ballroom; such images rush in upon the mind with this tiny action of the head.

Lucinda Childs is currently col­laborating with Philip Glass and Sol LeWitt on a major evening-length work which will tour in Europe and the United States during the 1979-80 season, and while, for the moment, I prefer to watch her in the silence – affected only by the sound of her feet, I expect this work to be well worth attending.

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Philip Glass: ‘as if we were listening to the music of mathematics.’

PHILIP GLASS

More about repetition. Repeti­tion is often considered dull – but we cannot do without it: night and day repeat themselves endlessly, a street is a repetitive string of houses; we survive by eating again and again, breath­ing again and again. Artists have been preoccupied with repeti­tion at all times: repetitive themes, colours, ways of making a brushstroke. What we often dismiss as repetition is not re­petitive at all – one day is not necessarily like the next. The roses which make up the repe­titive pattern printed on a fabric will alter when the fabric is made into a gown, becoming a riot of petals where the fabric folds, intact blooms where the fabric falls straight and sheer. It is one of the delights of repe­tition that through it we per­ceive differences. Philip Glass has come to understand this in music.

In his early works a single phrase may be chosen and then repeated, while minor changes are made to the phrase itself, until we have heard all the possible variations of it. It is as if we were listening to the music of mathematics. Again, this may sound dull, but remember, the same has been said about Bach. Watered-down renditions of sys­temic music have been heard on some pop albums, banalised by people like Terry Riley. It’s worth listening to Philip Glass for the real thing. It takes you further. The listener comes more to grips with the phenomenon of repetition, the ear becomes more attuned to the changes.

Glass employed electric organs and reed instruments in his early ensembles, with a singer bringing out new harmonies set up be­tween the phrases being played by the instruments. Nowadays he often works with a choir. His recent solo organ music deals with more complex structures than before. It is not so easy to grasp the tune of the repetition, more like putting one’s head in­side a bucket full of stars and feeling a variety of twinklings going off around, above, below, inside the head; a truly sublime sensation, the musical structure of which I hesitate to analyse. Glass wrote the music for Wil­son’s opera Einstein. At present he is working with the writer Constance DeJong and the de­signer Bob Israel on a new opera, Satyagraha, based on incidents in the life of Gandhi, and ap­parently incorporating such fig­ures as Leo Tolstoy, Martin Luther King and Rabindranath Tagore. This work has been com­missioned by the City of Rotter­dam for production by the Netherlands Opera in 1980. He is also working on the dance piece for Lucinda Childs which will have enormous projections by Sol LeWitt.

SOL LEWITT

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Sol LeWitt: All Combinations of Arcs from Corn­ers and Sides, Straight Lines, Not-Straight Lines and Broken Lines

Americans are often idealists. America itself is a sort of ideal – ‘the land of the free’. ‘Oh, my America, my New Found Land!’ exclaims John Donne, writing of his true-love. This may help us to understand why Sol LeWitt, one of the elite modern American artists, has founded his work on an idealism as high as that of Beata Angelico in the Renais­sance. Just as Walt Whitman, in the nineteenth century, liber­ated American poetry from all the constraints of European precedents, LeWitt wishes to free painting of many of the time-honoured traditions still respected this side of the At­lantic. He was a pioneer of the minimal and conceptual move­ments of the Sixties.

LeWitt would do away with an art appreciated for the intelli­gence shown  by  the gestures made by the artist’s hand – dexterity, moment-to-moment decision-making – since this al­lows ‘caprice, taste and other whimsies’ to get in the way of the initial notion upon which the work is based. Many of his pieces are the methodically com­posed outcome of a recipe he has decided upon in advance. All Combinations of Arcs from Corn­ers and Sides, Straight Lines, Not-Straight Lines and Broken Lines is the title of one such work. Ideally, anyone could create the piece, once they understood the instruction: a step along the road to the land where everyone can be an artist, sweeping away all European notions of genius, of artist as special case, removed from the rest of society. He uses the simplest ingredients in his cook­ing: cube and square, horizontal, vertical and parallel lines, and while he would not apply the word ‘systemic’ to himself he will pursue these basic units through endless permutations, and there are distinct simi­larities in the results he achieves and those arrived at in dance by Childs, and in music by Glass – so we can expect a fairly unified result from the Childs/Glass/LeWitt collaboration. I hope it will not prove too unified; artists sharing a similar taste are sometimes too willing to ac­commodate each other.

LeWitt’s work has been seen in this country at the Museum of Modern Art in Oxford in May 1977, in a show which included the work of Frank Stella and Hans Hofmann; at the Lisson Gallery in London during Feb­ruary this year and in the early part of 1978 a major retro­spective of LeWitt’s work was held at the Museum of Modern Art in New York. My reaction to his cube-grid sculptures was ambiguous. They reminded me of models for factories outside Detroit. As such, I cannot make up my mind whether they repre­sent a mirror or a manifestation of the nastier aspects of America. Ideals and opportunities go hand in hand. But I was impressed by his wall drawings, as usual created from simple rules, which exhibited the clarity of line I associate with the contours of the early Renaissance in Flor­ence, which were themselves arrived at through the Floren­tines’ appreciation of the clarity of drawing to be discerned on a Greek vase. So LeWitt’s work is often rewarding, but rather because it inadvertently re­asserts certain classical notions of fine draughtsmanship than because it has cast aside tra­ditional methods.

STUART SHERMAN

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Stuart Sherman: ‘his work is based on a language of signs, words, sounds, actions and objects, the anecdotes suggested rather than stated’

Portrait of Places, a work by the performance artist Stuart Sherman, is being presented in a tiny loft in downtown SoHo, New York. On either side of the small stage is a heap of tat – plastic roses, artificial grass remnants, plastic macs, bits of card. My programme tells me that I’m about to witness approximately 30 vignettes of places – Amsterdam, Cairo, Coconut Grove, Copenhagen, so the list goes on through the alphabet. A little man, casually dressed, comes on to the stage, chooses various items from the heaps, sets up a camper’s table, touches something, scrubs this with that, holds both in front of his nose, puts away his table, exchanges the objects for fresh ones, glances at a list he removes from his breast pocket – presumably to see which country comes next opens an umbrella, sticks a plastic rose through a hole in the umbrella, answers the telephone, searches in his pockets, throws away the telephone and the rose, picks up another object, spins it, blows on it, unties a package, allows some small rubber balls to roll out on to the floor, places patent leather shoes under the legs of the newly erected table, turns on a tape, turns off a tape, dismantles everything, runs a film, does something else, does something else.

At the end of the performance I am nonplussed. I have never seen so much happen in so short a time, but I am unsure of what I have seen. I can’t say I recognised any of the places from the events which took place. Anyway, I go to a nearby bar to mull over what I remember. I have to make a phone call. I go to the phone, put down my drink on the ledge, pick up the phone, put it down while I unzip my jacket, search for my address book, my dime, my specs, pick up the phone, insert the dime, dial, pick up my drink – and there I am perceiving myself doing this, coping with the myriad procedures of living. Could these actions in a phone booth be my vignette of New York? When the work of an artist enables me to glimpse some new aspect of myself I know I have seen something original.

Walking out of the Rothko exhibition at the Hayward Gallery several years ago, I noticed that as I stood at the kerb I could see cars approaching in either direction without turning my head; being brought to comprehend the spread of vision because Rothko’s paintings had encouraged my eyes to fill with the entirety of each canvas, rather than swinging from one particular point to another.

Back to Sherman, while I might not have been able to identify the place from the vignette, I recall each vignette quite clearly. And where I can pin place to vignette there’s a sort of crazy aptness – even if these are distillations of quite personal events which may have taken place in the cities in question. A large white slice of foam rubber, for somewhere in Scandinavia, with holes cut to fit the objects employed in the sketch, including two spaces for Mr Sherman’s feet. I reckon Scandinavians do rather like to keep things in their proper places, even the foam-rubber-like snow.  Sherman’s work resembles ‘Korf’s Joke’, celebrated by the German poet Morgenstern – you don’t understand it at the time, but a week later you wake up in the middle of the night, laughing like a drain. In Sherman’s work there are few repetitions, everything changes from moment to moment; an incredibly fast delivery of a string of action-jokes. His use of objects is revolutionary. I have never seen an actor who could pick up a candle without turning its article from indefinite to definite – it becomes ‘the candle’, or still worse, the vocative, ‘oh candle!’ Sherman handles objects for less time than they might be used in life, nothing becomes a symbol of itself, he might use a toothbrush only for as long as it would take to say ‘toothbrush’.

His performances are like a visit to the zoo where some highly intelligent animal chatters away at us in a language of signs, words, sounds, actions and objects: the anecdotes suggested rather than stated. In more recent works his stage is no more than the surface of a table, drawing from traditions such as the now almost forgotten flea circuses which used to be the marvel of every fair. He usually performs solo, but his work has nothing solitary about it. We eavesdrop on the struggles of love with death, time with money, erection with destruction, available to parents watching a child play.

Sherman is a puppeteer without puppets, with amazing capacity for surprise – just as we become engrossed in the events taking place on the table he may cough or slip sideways – impinging on the microscopic action like a giant or like the divinity. He is both powerful and original. He received a special citation from The Village Voice OBIE awards for his performances, and there is a chance that he may be performing at the Mickery Theatre in Amsterdam in May and at the ICA in late summer.

ROBERT WILSON

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Robert Wilson: nothing is too large to attempt, too costly to organise, too revolutionary to be dared.

 Robert Wilson is tall, brilliant, in his early thirties, and the most celebrated performance artist of the day. His large-scale, long-duration, hardly moving, visionary operas, mixing freemasonry with science fiction, Poussin with Saul Steinberg, sheer emptiness and lighting with special moments for casts of thousands; these works have won him prizes throughout the international theatre world. He pioneered theatre for the handicapped in America. Years ago, he took over a mountain near Persepolis with a piece which took a week to perform, and today, would make The Warp look like a piece of week-old jelly, dazzling only to the besotted eyes of some grey-bearded hippie. In London, his performances of I Was Sitting on My Patio This Guy Appeared I Thought I Was Hallucinating at the Royal Court last summer were greeted by non-comprehending notices.

But Wilson wears the laurels he has won abroad with aplomb, and with the approbation of all less parochial than ourselves. Not only is he an artist, but he is a king-maker among artists, a magician in the tradition of Diaghilev; nothing is too large to attempt, too costly to organise, too revolutionary to be dared. He has worked with many of the best of his contemporaries in the arts, including Lucinda Childs, in Patio, and Philip Glass, composer of Einstein on the Beach – the opera we in England have never been allowed to see. His smaller works, duets for himself and Christopher Knowles, or for himself and Childs, show an extraordinary grasp of the basic axioms of theatre, total theatre – if the term has not been belittled by incompetence here – the settings, pace, language, action, denouement of theatre, as well as bringing to light a new sort of dramatic irony and poetic melancholy. His achievement is too large, too various to be dealt with adequately here, spanning as it does surrealism and concept art.

Wilson is exhibiting video works at the Beaubourg, directing Shakespeare in Scotland, while a new piece has just opened in Berlin, entitled Death and Destruction in Detroit. Rumour has it that a new, large scale work is in the offing, with one or other of the greatest male classical dancers participating – that has to be Nureyev or Eric Bruhn, doesn’t it? What a shame the size-conscious Royal Ballet has sat on Wayne Sleep for so long or he could have been in the running for the role. Wilson’s work is extremely well received in Berlin, Paris, Amsterdam and New York, to name but a few places, and his lack of exposure to British audiences cannot be excused by the holes in our pockets and has to be put down to the envy of the British theatre establishment – who are scared stiff of him – and the sheer inadequacy of the British critical establishment who, saving perhaps Nigel Gosling, lack both the guts and the criteria to judge him. A.H.

I have tried to find the photos originally used wherever possible, and I think the images of Childs and Glass are by Nathaniel Tileston. I will add credits whenever notified.

 

 

 

 

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What are Perversions?

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My essay comparing attitudes to perversion then and now is to be found here

Books discussed:

What are Perversions? by Sergio Benvenuto, La-Bas (The Damned) by J.-K. Huysmans

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Dick

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DICK

Eight days after the invasion we were dealing with a country
That could actually finance its reconstruction by our own
Reconstruction contractors. A decade later, and we have a failed
State which is relatively easy to exploit, and that assessment

Could hardly have turned out to be any more auspicious for my company.
We have supplied more than a billion meals and more than twenty-four
Billion gallons of drinkable water, several icebergs of ice,
And everything from bodyguards to power plants and toilet paper.

Facing bankruptcy before, I found myself in the role of adviser
Advocating a policy by which we stood to gain by what ensued,
As indeed was readily understood – if we could only engineer
An excuse, if we could accuse a bastard worth bringing to his knees.

Evil is what is bad for you, said Spinoza. The war did me much good.
Prior to it, I prophesied the profit. Clearly, in my country’s eyes,
I have done my duty, having grown the stronger. And so I am proud
To have effectively delivered all and sundry to our martial forces.

We weathered the vicissitudes of conflict and ended up emphatically
Secure in a hostile climate where there were more private outfits
Plying for hire than in any previous war. A visionary, that’s me.
And my adherents (pioneers) perceive the Wild West as in the East.

Entrepreneurs, committed to development, they lead the way
In advocating the collapse of standards and the instigation of chaos,
Setting alight false beacons to lure your ships of state onto the rocks
From a liberal point of view; their torches freedom and democracy.

On savage shores my people serve the wreckers. Less of an endeavour
Than what was once required to colonise a source of blessed revenue.
Indeed, even our own government is redundant, and very soon we hope
To privatise war itself, just as some are seeking to copyright eternal life.

Anthony Howell, to be published in FROM INSIDE – a new collection of poems coming out from The High Window Press in March 2017

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THE GREY SUIT INITIATIVE

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Grey Suit Issues 1-12 are now online! Thanks to BFI, Elephant Trust, Ikon Gallery and ACE.  We did it!

Here is the link to the videos at  Grey Suit Editions

Grey Suit Online

Grey Suit was a magazine on VHS videotape published under the auspices of the University of Wales Institute Cardiff and supported by Arts Council England.  It ran from 1993-1995.  During that time 12 issues came out (one a double issue) – all in all, 13 hours of material were published.

Poets: F.T. Prince, Hugo Williams, John Ashbery, Anne-Marie Albiach, Huang Xiuqi, Caroline Bergvall, Les Murray, Cris Cheek, Peter Didsbury, Liz Lochhead, Ifor Thomas and Kerry-Lee Powell. Performance artists: Stuart Sherman, Teemu Maki, Paul Granjon, Mike Stubbs, Mehmet Sander, Anne Seagrave, Stelarc, Station House Opera and Bobby Baker. Film-makers and musicians: Tony Hill, Kai Zimmer, Frigo, Harald Busch, Cathy Vogan, Catherine Elwes, Derek Bailey, Jayne Parker, Wineke…

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