Cordite Books


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Read Ken Bolton's introduction to Echoland.

ISBN: 9780648056829

Please excuse these pages. Every poem is a disaster and every poetic form is an insult to poetry, to proper measure and harmony. The tone is particularly off, and sometimes it seems like the author is the kind who presents ugliness as beauty and beauty as ugliness and everything is so loud and underlined until there is nothing that is not. What point is there in reading anything like that? Or, for that matter, in reading anything at all? Of Baudelaire’s prose poems, Turgenev advised, 'do not run through these poems one after the other: you will probably get bored – and the book will fall from your hands.' If only this collection were so poetic. Alas, these poems prowl around hoping to snag someone. And in such a distempered way, really, who could be moved by a single word or letter, especially when they’re tugging on your sleeve like a slavering dog. And that’s not the half of it. You will find these poems, or whatever they are, forced into an arrangement which is as false as any bouquet that has been idly ripped from nature, and already stinks as it lands in cellophane or a vase. Stinks of nothing but the history of prattle: poems, prose, writing, from Ovid to Beckett with many others stuck in between. So what – we all like pretending to be someone we are not. And these pages are written in the shadow of Echo, who rambled on and on, outlived Narcissus, outlived her own body, until she was only voice – a great, echoing voice, the parrot that is us, and which won’t go away.

–Helen Lambert