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Thursday, January 24, 2019

Robert Sheppard: My review of Adrian Clarke's Austerity Measures on Stride plus further notes, thoughts and links

My review of Adrian Clarke’s new book Austerity Measures is now up on Stride and I hope you will read it now. It is here.

On a personal note, this is the first piece of critical writing I’ve produced since finishing the grand slog of The Meaning of Form (see here for more on that volume of critical writing). That is, with the exception of the floating prose of Pulse, a sort of ‘treatise on metre’ that I am hoping will be published soon.

On another personal note, I have a poem dedicated to me in Adrian’s book and, by rights, I shouldn’t review the book, but I wanted to; I don’t know who else might and I regard Clarke as important (and somewhat neglected, though I don’t know why).  I simply ignored the poem in my account (though I like its references to 'C21 Blues'). I also ignored the poem dedicated to Patricia, which indeed is published on this blog here! Have a look: it gives an idea about how ‘austere’ Adrian's ‘measures’ are. There were plenty of other poems to deal with in their obdurately material insistence (along with their concomitant teasing indeterminacy)!

I have all of Adrian’s books on my desk at the moment and I’m surprised how many there are. Apart from the book reviewed, (see here) I’d check out the VEER website and look for Drastic Measures and Possession as starters. Or Excess Measures. If you don’t know the work. Here and here.

But there is one more example on Pages, from Adrian's 'Muzzle' here.

My earlier article on Adrian, ‘Colossal Fragments’ from Pages (as a print journal, 219-238, April 1994). Pages has been digitalised (see here) but I’ve also re-published that piece on this blog here. It was reprinted in my short critical volume Far Language here. But I also write about Clarke’s ‘creative linkage’ in The Poetry of Saying. See here.

But I haven’t written about his work recently (though there is a poetics piece dedicated to him in Berlin Bursts and I was surprised to find it still online in  the Singaporean magazine Softblow, here).

In the Stride review I wanted to present the work in its demanding delight without intervening critical discourse. (My one ‘reference’ to Guattari, whom I am currently re-reading, is heavily muted!)

So there are lots of places you can go to search out this work if you don’t know it, and plenty of books to buy (in addition to the new one). And there is one more link that will help you: I deal with Adrian’s poetics (in contrast to Pierre Joris’) here.

When I say in my review

Recently, I’ve read a lot of descriptions of rather mild excursions beyond the poetic normative as ‘experimental’, ‘innovative’, or ‘radical’, but very little measures up to Clarke’s excessive, austere, ghostly and (even) drastic measures…

I had a specific example in mind: a call for submissions for a magazine on Twitter that asked for collage work, cut-ups, surrealist writing, without irony! What we need, in Ranciere’s phrase, is something that will put the disruption back into montage! Adrian Clarke's work does that.

There is a second review, on Stride too, by Clark Allison, HERE.