‘Love’s not so pure and abstract as they use[d] to say’

A review of Clarities, by Nigel Parke

“The uniqueness that is Blandine Longre’s in this collection of poems is twofold, in my opinion. Firstly, she has identified a domain: the powerful complexity of instincts and vicissitudes, and their processes and their drives. Secondly, she has found a language and a form for their expression. It involves neologism, courageous experiment and a fierce intelligence to have kept such a sustained control. There is an immanence of the object in her writing which is entirely compelling.

Blandine Longre invites us to share an intensity of seeing, comprehending, reading the other and beyond: responding to the judgment call and interpreting the momentous subtlety of the moment. She has constituted an art of the matter of seeing: seeing in a most intimate and shockingly dynamic way. The irreducible integrity of the image that Pound once envisaged is herein extant. Clarities is an astonishing debut. Blandine Longre has unleashed a new, vital, metaphysical animal upon an unsuspecting public. Be warned!”

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Let’s get visceral

A review of Paul Stubbs’s EX NIHILO, by Nigel Parke

“The new, long poem, ‘Ex Nihilo’, is a tour-de-force. Building on the ground of ‘The Icon Maker’, here a world of new beginning and becoming is imagined and its logics and incidentals pursued. It’s a poem about the act of creation, and the poet’s rib is the Adamic starting point for a prolonged meditation on the genesis of art, creativity and poetic consciousness. The ‘I’ which begins the poem is an I which disintegrates, fragments, as the body becomes a discorporate symbol within a Picassoesque landscape of bone-rib outcrops and Svankmajeran intrinsically motivated, corporeal assemblages. Some of the phraseology is sublime.

(…)

Paul Stubbs’s ‘Ex Nihilo’ is the antidote to a poetry publishing current which appears to admit the most trivial of efforts. Poetry is a broad church and there’s no intrinsic harm in accessibility. However, Stubbs is coming from an entirely different place. He’s not writing for the reader who is looking for the habitual ‘performative’ element, though performance there is in every scalpel’s incision. The poet as surgeon diving deep for the soul, excavates the flesh, avoids his own anaesthesia and confronts that primeval landscape in an acupunctural ecstasy with only the agony of an already conscient subjectivity echoing the necessity of intervention.”

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