The Second Coming?

I totally disagree with Polly Toynbee’s miserable attack on Corbyn (13/12/19) in the Gruniad. The problem, as I see it, is that the toffs can always count on the working class to attack the middle class, since the workers perceive the middle as their enemy more than the toffs, and that is to a certain extent correct.

Corbyn’s mistake was to offer a second referendum, since though he decided to build his platform around basic principles, Johnson accurately perceived he could win if he made it about pitching the country against itself – ie that Brexit was the issue and the sole issue. Of course it isn’t, but Johnson read the mood. That is why he avoided all interviews on any other subject. He just wanted his slogan to get across. The Brexit party may seem like gumboot toffs, but the real push for Leave was among the working classes who have been furious that Labour might renege on the original referendum. They are who punished Corbyn.

I found Corbyn rock solid. Full of agility, charm and credibility. I always said to my pals that I agreed with him sitting on the fence over Brexit – and he was right to do so. His mistake was to get down from sitting on that fence.

Corbyn had a choice, either alienate the middle classes and London by saying the referendum had already been decided and he would never renege on that decision, which would have helped him retain the working class, or do as he did and offer a referendum at the end of the process, which would have placated the middle and London, but could AND DID alienate the working class. Personally, I see that as a difficult call, but I think his was the correctly principled and democratic decision – however it lost him the majority.

On top of that, the implacable hatred of him from the Zionist-bought press harmed him with the stupid middle as well. And there are plenty of stupids among the middle, including this woman, who was never part of the answer.

What Corbyn has achieved is that we may now have killed off the vestiges of new Labour (another contributing factor to his defeat since they were all such wasps towards what the party wanted by voting Corbyn in as leader and towards him as a rival for their power) and he has won over a huge percentage of youth to Socialism. Corbyn attracted popstar crowds (unlike Johnson who only managed to get who he paid for). My fear is that if he resigns we will get a fucking Blairite back. In which case, I will become a communist and give up on democracy in a world where  The Leaders’ Group puts 50 billion at the disposal of the Right, all derived from private backers. That is the problem and the situation. Anthony 13/12/19

THE SECOND COMING

Turning and turning in the widening gyre
The falcon cannot hear the falconer;
Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;
Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,
The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere
The ceremony of innocence is drowned;
The best lack all conviction, while the worst
Are full of passionate intensity.

Surely some revelation is at hand;
Surely the Second Coming is at hand.
The Second Coming! Hardly are those words out
When a vast image out of Spiritus Mundi
Troubles my sight: somewhere in sands of the desert
A shape with lion body and the head of a man,
A gaze blank and pitiless as the sun,
Is moving its slow thighs, while all about it
Reel shadows of the indignant desert birds.
The darkness drops again; but now I know
That twenty centuries of stony sleep
Were vexed to nightmare by a rocking cradle,
And what rough beast, its hour come round at last,
Slouches towards Bethlehem to be born?

W.B.Yeats (1865-1939)

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Latest News from Grey Suit Editions

There is a new review of The Step is the Foot . It’s by Alan Price in the Fortnightly. Follow all our posts on the blog of Grey Suit Editions, click link below.

Grey Suit Editions

This year we published two books – The Step is the Foot and Gertrude Mabel May, and a new chap-book is about to be published by Lorraine Mariner, whose brilliant collection Furniture  is available on Picador.

Grey Suit Editions publishes poetry chap-books and now longer publications as well, and it has an archive of videos of performance art, poets reading, film and music from its seminal video magazine published in the Nineties. All details can be found on the website at the link above.

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The Walking Dance

Fay Laflin’s excellent Tango for Balance class is featured on the BBC here

It was broadcast on Radio 4 10.30 am Tuesday 10th December 2019

Here is a LINK to the recording.

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How I see this journal

A comment on the nature of this journal, made when I first set it up in 2011.

anthonyhowelljournal

Shiva

I am advised that the best blogs are focused.   But I want this site to reflect the diversity of my interests – poetry, dance, performance art, essays and music.  Over the years, I have become reconciled to being a Jack of all trades – as I try to express in this poem:

PHYSIS

Jack, the strong octopus,

With more arms than a company,

Embraces with his trades

The ideal of metamorphosis.

Nataraja, dancing the Tandara

On the demon of ignorance,

Is the transformer, the storm,

His tentacles muscular,

Their tips accurate,

And delicate – expressive,

With a finger to a pie.

Now I know nought whatsoever,

But to walk through her

As she walks through me

Arouses the drum, the cobra,

The flame and the gesture.

My love is my weight:

Where it goes I go.

More comprehensive information can be found on my website – http://www.anthonyhowell.com — which…

View original post 50 more words

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Yeah! High Fives all round!

Well, this is great! This journal of mine, or blog, or whatever you want to call it, has just hit 40,000 views!

Thanks to all of you who have clicked on any post of mine. As an outlying writer, a maverick and ancient fellow, I hugely appreciate the response and attention I get here.

Latest publishing projects can be viewed at Grey Suit Editions – which is an Anglo-Canadian initiative I edit and publish along with the brilliant poet and short story writer Kerry-Lee Powell

Thanks to her, and to Dennis Boyles, editor of The Fortnightly Review, of which I am a contributing editor. As with posts here, it’s always worth clicking the links in their articles and their images. Such links are the treasures of online publishing. And I am grateful also to The Fortnightly ‘Odd Volumes’ series for publishing my latest “novel” Consciousness (with Mutilation) this year.

Thanks also to David Cooke at The High Window Press for bringing out my two latest books of poems From Inside and Songs of Realisation.

Thanks also to John Tranter for publishing me so often in the Journal of Poetics Research, Australia.

And thanks to Michael Schmidt at Carcanet for continuing to stock all Anvil Press titles and for publishing my versions Iraq’s finest poet of our time – Fawzi Karim.

May he rest in peace.

Other sites I manage include The Theatre of Mistakes – which I was honoured to be a member of back in the day.

Also Tango for Balance – my trademarked site for teaching tango exercises for those suffering from gait problems such as Parkinson’s Disease – which is now brilliantly carrying on with Fay Laflin’s teaching.

And finally, Tango Schumann – which I performed with Lindi de Angelis, and will continue to perform when the opportunity arises.

My website Anthonyhowell.org has more links to artists and writers I admire. And a warm thanks to all the poets and performers who I have had the honour to host at The Room over the last twenty years.

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Iliassa Sequin 1940-2019

The death has occurred of Iliassa Sequin, a poet much admired by the New York School. She was a friend of Nobel prize winner Odysseas Elytis, Paul Celan, Max de Carvalho and John Ashbery. Grey Suit Editions will be publishing her Collected Completed Poems this Autumn.

 

Click the link here for some poems of hers chosen by Miles Champion.  Three Quintets were also published in Conjunctions 12. Her work is also included in Oblek-5 edited by Peter Gizzi.

Grey Suit Editions hopes to publish a comprehensive collection of her work next year.

I will post more details here, as I am made aware of them, and I welcome contributions from her friends.

Iliassa Sequin, Poet (1940 – 2019) – from the biographical eulogy by her husband, read at the funeral 14 Nov 19.

Iliassa was born on April 13 to her mother Eunice in 1940 on a small island in the Cyclades, where her father Alexis Economos was a high school teacher. She had a brother Nicos and a sister Vera. Soon after her birth, the family moved to Athens living under the Acropolis in Plaka. Writing poetry from an early age, Iliassa initially enrolled in the Panteion University to study social and political studies. Against her fathers wishes she changed course and enrolled in Carolos Koon’s theatre (with her stunning looks an acting career loomed).

With musicality in language uppermost in her concerns, she developed an original poetic style expressing a severe disquiet for the status quo. This led to her to being befriended by Odysseas Elytis  (later a Nobel prize winner). He saved her from an attempted teenage suicide after her father had forbidden her to attend her studies at the theatre – even going as far as threatening to sue the theatre for allowing Iliassa to attend without paying fees. In 1958, she felt obliged to abandon her studies (she literally ran away to Germany). From then on she flitted between Germany, Italy, France and Sweden (the playwright’ Peter Weiss and the critic Susan Sontag offering accommodation and moral support), only returning to Greece for the briefest of visits.

Fluent in all these languages, existing frugally on temporary jobs throughout the 1960s, she met and corresponded with many poets including Giuseppe Ungaretti, Paul Celan (who became a close friend), Louise Kaschnitz & Andre du Bouchet. Very recently, Iliassa translated his poetic commentary on the painter Bram van Velde –  Le Couleur – which remains unpublished. In later years, English being her second language – she would insist it was her first – she saw her poems published in L’Ephemere, L’Ire de Vents and Les Belles Lettres  – in English with French translations. On the cusp of moving to London in 1969 John Ashbery published her in the Partisan Review – leading her to becoming associated with the New York school of poetry. In London, through the sculptor Brian Wall, she met her husband-to be Ken Sequin (at that time a reportage illustrator) and commenced writing plays for a puppet theatre (she tried to have her highly political plays performed without much success).

Moving to Yorkshire in the mid 1970s (Ken taking a lecturing post there) Iliassa commenced writing poems parodying pastoral and romantic notions of country life. Then the painter & writer Trevor Winkfield accompanied the pair on a visit further north to Scotland, where he introduced Iliassa to Ian Hamilton Finlay who, intrigued by her non-confessional formally innovative style, suggested that they should not dawdle too long in Yorkshire. This, together with Ken’s deteriorating health (Iliassa insisting that this was due to the stultifying lifestyle of academia imposed on art lecturers) prompting their return to London in 1992 .

With Ken painting again, Iliassa embarked on new work; as always exploring the musicality of language. Themes such as the sinking of the Kursk submarine in the Baltic (G.M. Hopkins’ poem The Wreck of the Deutschland being an inspiration), the plight of the refugees arriving in Greece being another, poems flew from her antiquated i Book. She translated the aforementioned poem for Andre du Bouchet and saw some of her poems again published in France – notably in La Treizième published by the poet Max de Carvalho. (a selection of her correspondence with Andre also being prepared for publication).

Otherwise little has been published – apart from in the New York Journals New Conjunctions and the Siennese Shredder – which published some of her many quintets. Cinema Sextet –  inspired by the work of Ken Loach & Richard Dadd (an exploration of the Victorian painters’ psyche) also came out in a dual translation in La Treizième. Iliassa had only one chapbook published in her lifetime Quintets -published by Peter Gizzi in O-blek Editions.

In recent years, Ken & Iliassa began a productive collaboration together, writing short stories and poems. In fact, most of Iliassa Sequin’s remarkable oeuvre has remained unpublished. An unpardonable omission in UK publishing. All in all, we have so far only had a glimpse into a remarkable achievement.

 

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Bracelli’s modern art – 1624

Bracelli2

Bracelli’s Bizzarie di Varie Figure (1624)

I have long maintained that art has its rivers that have been flowing through culture at all times, and my friend Roger Malbert just sent me the interesting link (above), posted by The Public Domain Review.

This bears out my view, I feel, and I suggest those interested in the various modes  that art and literature have always employed visit my post ART AND ITS DARK SIDE – an introduction to the eight rivers of Art.

Another friend, Tim Hyman, suggested these illustrations of Rabelais: from the

SONGES DROLATIQUES DE PANTAGRUEL- 1565- by Francois Desprez (?)

songes drolatiques 2

So from the formal preoccupations of cubism to the capricious inventions of surrealism, all forms of inventiveness have precedents, and the new is, rather, that which is taken up again.

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