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Tuesday, June 05, 2018

The Meaning of Form reviewed by Gareth Farmer in Journal of British and Irish Innovative Poetry



I’m pleased to say there is a thorough review of my The Meaning of Form in Contemporary Innovative Poetry (Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, 2016) by Gareth Farmer in the Journal of British and Irish Innovative Poetry (the journal Scott Thurston and I dreamt up a few years back and which Gareth now co-edits with Scott). Read it here. He ends:

The Meaning of Form is a noble and necessary part of the enterprise of taking us closer to the complex dynamics of the characteristics and operations of poetic form. There is, in Jacques Rancière’s phrase, an ‘aesthetic revolution’ going on, and many critics are joining the party. If, as Sheppard contends in his final chapter, ‘paraphrase […] is amnesia of form’, this book offers powerful smelling salts to jolt us back to a present of attentive concentration on form.

The book was largely sketched out on this blog: here’s a hub-post leading to a summary and links to relevant posts.

For those who can buy the book, or order it for libraries, here are the places to go to (raw links):

There’s also a review, on that page, of a fraternal book, Poetry and Performance During the British Poetry Revival 1960–1980: Event and Effect by Juha Virtanen, by Sally-Shakti Willow.

Check out the whole online journal here.

You can read Joey Francis’ account of the Sheppard Symposium here.

When I was co-editor the journal was hard copy. I left at the right point really because the change of technology signalled change more generally. It had always been my intention to leave the journal to younger souls (even before I started it) and I saw my role in life as setting up ‘provisional institutions’ for the innovative poetries. After I left I became involved with Storm and Golden Sky, the Liverpool reading series, which I proudly catalogue here. That took up nearly 3 years of the impulse. Then I suppose I was very busy with the book reviewed here! So now? About two days ago I decided I would no longer think of myself as ‘retired’ but as a 'full-time writer and Emeritus Professor of Poetry and Poetics'. I don’t see myself writing another critical book like the one reviewed, though being reviewed reminds me of the worth of my long endevours. Such work had never been part of an academic ‘career’, but part of my critical and creative attempt to re-configure the national poetic culture. What next? Well, I have a ‘treatise on metre’, called Pulse: All a Rhythm.