John Hartley Williams may well contain several poets, all of them jostling for expression. These would include his younger self and many of his aliases, the lover, the satirist, the anarchist, the lyricist, the experimentalist, the saboteur etc. - all of whom are represented in this collection of largely unpublished work dating back as far as 1958, and ending in 1982. This marvellous book is organised not simply an 'early selected' poems, with everything arranged in chronological order, but as a coherent new collection epitomised by the title poem The Ship. Poetry has a philosophical function: to place seriousness (often equated with reliability or consistency) in question, and thereby achieve the serious joke that conceals the fundamental unease without which things never will get better. This is not just irony, which is just a privileged form of time-wasting. The humour that the serious joke contains demonstrates how much of what we take seriously for granted is merely shadow-play (political speeches, the news channel, the oil crisis, supermarkets). The serious joke reveals the paucity of present day reality.
It replaces the names of shadow-discourse with the names of things as they are: axes, bottles, carpets, dwarves, eggs, feet, geckoes, hats, igloos, jampots, kukudus, lampposts, mistresses, nappies, octopi, penguins, quicksands, rats, sausages, tubs, underwear, violins, whips, ex-wives, yams, and zoot-suits. If the names come at you systematised through the alphabet, so much the better; the alphabet is the most humorously devised system ever (it makes no sense). This book aims to give you things as they are, and to make sense through the fuzzy logic with which they are presented.
Publisher: Salt Publishing
Weight: 216 g
Dimensions: 216 x 140 x 16 mm