A note on: my top poetry reads of 2015 on 3am magazine

Tom Jenks, Spruce (Blarts Books)
One of most overlooked poets in the UK, doing the work conceptualism should be doing, getting to the heart of uniquely British ennui through splicing methodology and jet black humour.

Sandeep Parmar, Eidolon (Shearsman Books) 
High modernism powerfully maintained and redeployed by one of the most interesting poets crossing the American / UK scene.

Tom Chivers, Dark Islands (Test Centre)
One of the clearest voices in British poetry in his finest work to date, beautiful rendered, written and designed.

Emma Hammond, The Story of No (Penned in the Margins)
Powerful for it’s immediacy, incredibly sophisticated for it’s lack of pretension in the face of profoundly personal poetry. Amazing book.

Christodoulos Makris, The Architecture of Chance (wurm press) 
This is the future of a poetry which reflects our world of language without dispensing with the expressionistic skill of interpreting that language. Found text lies with lyrical poetry, a thorough achievement to balance them to such effect.

Peter Jaeger, A Field Guide to Lost Things (If P Then Q press)
Clever, resonant and profound, as all of Peter Jaeger’s works are, a fine example of the possibilities of contextual, process-orientated thinking getting to the heart of contemporary poetry.

Bruno Neiva & Paul Hawkins, Servant Drone (Knives forks and spoons press) 
Brilliant collaborative poetry collection (of which there are far too few) taking on a necessary issue in necessarily disjunctive ways.

Michael Thomas Taren, Eunuchs (Ugly Duckling Presse) 
Best possible example of what is possible in contemporary American poetics of my generation. Excessive, authentic, ambitious.

Rebecca Perry, Beauty/Beauty (Bloodaxe Books) 
Reflective and observational in the most well conceived way, a clear poetic experience as a book, it accumulates and resonates as a collection.

Lee Harwood, The Orchid Boat (Enitharmon Press) 
The last work by one of the most interesting poets in the English language in the latter half of the 20th century, a typically beautiful book.

a new reveiew of the Rottweiler's guide ... by Colin Lee Marshall on Intercapillary Spaces

http://intercapillaryspace.blogspot.co.uk/2015/04/sj-fowlers-rottweilers-guide-to-dog.html

 

But it is more typically through modifications to language itself that Fowler unsettles the act of easy assumption. At the end of the poem ‘Scent’  (via the rendering of a hairdresser’s comment, only partially overheard) the modifications are orthographical:

[…] “…exicans have been decapitating
peeple for thousands of years
it doesn’t mean there,
what it means here.”

The aphaeresis of “…exicans” is a sly lexical analogue to the decapitations to which the text refers—assuming, of course, that we take “…exicans” to be an aphaeretic rendering of “Mexicans”. Irrespective of whether we make this readerly decision, and supply the missing ‘M’, the sense of violence, of complicity in what things “mean”, and of ultimate detachment from what they are is insurmountable. This is further reinforced by the fact that “peeple" are being decapitated, and not ‘people’. ‘Peeple’ and ‘people’ are homophones (what looks like it should be a diphthong in the standard spelling isn’t) and as such, whoever overheard the hairdresser’s words would not have been able to infer any orthographical difference by sound alone. Contextually, the subtle de-anthropomorphic tweak makes perfect sense, given the implication that the value of human life is lower in the culture in question than it is in the “here” of the utterance; but the homophony preserves the problem of whether we are to read this as satire, or as a straight-faced semantic downgrade—a problem compounded by the ambiguity as to whether these are words cognized as heard, words cognized as (vicariously) spoken, or words that have been tinkered with at the extradiegetic level. Regardless, the text aims deliberately to upset the facile imputation of the spoken words—and perhaps, by extension, any facile imputations that we might be tempted to make upon reading it.

 

Melissa Lee Houghton's Beautiful Girls

http://www.pennedinthemargins.co.uk/
index.php/2013/10/beautiful-girls/ Melissa Lee Houghton is a really interesting poet, delighted to see her work grow with Penned in the Margins, and having published her work at 3am, I always look forward to getting her books. This one, from what I've read, is doing work that needs to be done, unfailingly honest, edged, uncurbed and unsmooth. Beautiful too. http://www.3ammagazine.com/3am/four-poems-melissa-lee-houghton/