some poetry, politics & what have you

Monday, December 26, 2005

So, just after posting the previous note I received some links to poems by Justin Evans. They are here, here & here. At times blogs are a quick way of finding information. What strikes me on a first, summary reading is that yes, they might be described as rural, if that distinction is indeed useful. They are also fairly straight-forward & appear largely (auto-) biographical. They could also be called poems of (& in) place. For the most part I think they work well. If, however, I may offer some basic criticism, it sometimes feels like the words stand in the way of the poems. I would suggest reading, & maybe playing around with, some haiku - Yosa Buson would probably be the most useful one - & the first two books, Riprap & Myths & Texts, by Gary Snyder. That would be for brevity &, for want of a better word, form &, of course for some damn fine poetry. Now, I may well be way out of line here. (If I am, say so & I'll edit it out). There may be things at work here that isn't visible from just a handful of poems. Things that may have to do with his spoken prosody or any manner of other things. & besides, I'm not really all that much of a teacher of anything. & yes, I'll be keeping an eye on where mr. Evans goes in the future, there is something that interests me in a body of work such as he seems to be building. & I fear truly rural poets are an endangered species.

On to other things. On july 30 Nuclear Assault released their first new album in 12 years, Third World Genocide, & if the two songs on their website are anything to go by, the hiatus did them a (third) world of good. A band with as much long-term impact on my writing as N.A., but who don't know there is such a word as hiatus, is Chumbawamba. So far I've only heard the snippets from their new album, A Singsong & a Scrap, that are on their website. Of course the only things I can be certain about with Chumba is that they won't sound like they did on their last album & that they will sound good. After a couple of noisy swinging albums, this is an accoustic one. Once, many many moons ago, they began as some kind of disjunct punkrock band. Well, as far as I'm concerned they are one of the very few, say two or three, punk bands still around.

& now for something completely different; a deformed penguin. I'll resist the temptation to lecture & simply say "enjoy".

Some crime writing. A writer I haven't read yet, but who seems interesting, is Duane Swierczynski. Maybe I haven't yet got on your nerves about Robert B. Parker, or Sara Paretsky - anyone who can give the Patriot Act such a beautiful & savage beating as she does in Blacklist is forever included in my hall of fame. So are two writers quite distinct from the P persons & from each other; Tony Hillerman & Janwillem van de Wetering (this article about him, by Henry Wessells, is really good). The common feature that makes me mention Hillerman & Wetering in the same sentence, not once but twice, is that their views on crime, law, morals & justice differ radically from that of almost all other crime writers & of all so called western societies.

&, finally, I just learned that Kirby Olson has his first chapbook of poetry forthcoming. That is one book I'm curious about


At 10:00 AM, Blogger Kirby Olson said...

Supply me with an address and I will send you a copy of the chapbook for free and signed, Lars.

Also, Van der Wetering and Hillerman are great. I especially like Wan der Wetering. He in turn likes Charles Willeford. when I published my book on Comedy and it had a chapter on Willeford in it he apparently got a copy but unfortunately couldn't understand it because there was a lot of postmodern philosophy in it.

I think I've read all his books.

I only read one of Hillerman's books. I liked it, and the way he talked about beauty from within the Navajo or was it Hopi traditions. I liked how beauty and justice were intertwined.

The kids in the house are pretending to be Native Americans. The appeal of that culture is perennial.

"Do Indians do something like a bird dance?" My daughter asks.

Beauty and politics are not necessarily intertwined in the Aristotle tradition. I find Aristotle's poetics so interesting because he separates ethics, science, politics from aesthetics, and says aesthetics has its own rules to do with feeling -- something we still in the west at least have never completely understood.

Who is the best Swedish police novelist?

At 2:32 PM, Blogger Lars Palm said...

Kirby, thats really good of you.If you'll give me your email at larspalmeAThotmailDOTcom, I'll send you my address, I don't want to post it here as it's a bit too public. Also, one of my forthcoming chapbooks, if Bill at moria is fast it might be the first one, came about mostly because of an exchange between you & Ron last summer in the comments box on his blog about attention to detail or something like that, the form came from a swedish collection of poetry. When that one's out I'll send you a signed copy if you'll send your address.

I didn't know Wetering likes Willeford although I can't say I'm surprised. So far I've read only three of Willefords books & enjoyed them greatly. Wetering, I've read nothing later than Just a Corpse at Twilight. Also his first two books on his zen studies are good.
As for Hillerman I have some catching up with his three latest books to do. He was appointed honorary Navajo some years back because of how he portrayed them.

There have never been all that many swedish police novelists (at least not of the procedural kind). & to me the police novel has been in a period of decline since Sjöwall/Wahlöö disbanded, first by divorce & then permanently by the death of Per Wahlöö, in the mid to late seventies. Since then there has been only the psychological thriller where the only important thing has been to prove that people commit crimes because of bad relationships to their fathers (& occasionally mothers). This at the expense of things like story, description, rhythm & what have you. There are some writers about my age (mid-thirties) & a little younger who do things differently & more interestingly, but so far they are years away from properly distributed novels. Currently, I think the norweigians are a better bet. They have this tradition of easter-crime, which is when almost all the crime novels are published, bought & most everybody reads them. For some reasom I like a few of the books by Anne Holt. I assume some of her work has been translated, unless you read norwegian.

It is precisely that division that puts me at odds with Aristotle. Of the old greeks, which I've mostly lost touch with, Diogenes (sorry for the swedish spelling, but I can't recall the english spelling of his name)is maybe my favourite, if he was the one who asked the emperor, who came to give him some honour or other, to move because he was blocking out the sun

Have you any of the new english language police novelists to recommend?

At 7:47 AM, Blogger Kirby Olson said...

I'm running around today to try to take advantage of post-Christmas sales but will try to reply some time tomorrow. Too harried to think today but will respond to everything you asked at first opportunity.


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