2017 Titles

Martin Anderson - Ice Stylus


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Martin Anderson - Ice Stylus

Published 2017. Paperback, 8.5x5.5 ins. 
ISBN 9781848615205. [Download a sample PDF from this volume here.]
The sequences of meditations which comprise Anderson’s last two books Interlocutors of Paradise (Skylight Press) and Obsequy for Lost Things (Shearsman Books) trace fault lines deeply inscribed within the Judeo-Christian psyche of the West. Ice Stylus is the final volume of Anderson’s Unsubdued Singing trilogy.  Many of the sequences in Interlocutors of Paradise and Obsequy for Lost Things begin in a geography which is both real and subliminal: the Essex Thames-side salt marsh. This is also Isaiah’s “parched wastes of salt”: here manifestation of wilderness, the condition of spiritual inanition, which has so frequently been attributed by the West to the non-West to legitimise aggression whilst masking its real objective of the expropriation of other peoples’ wealth, finds objective representation. It is the aggressor himself, the sequences suggest, not the victim, who suffers from  inanition. From the salt marshes his questing voyages take him in search of things he covets and dreams of, only to confront him, finally, with the reality of their non-existence. In this “dark land”, perhaps intimating archetypal adventure, his passage takes him through the trials and ordeals of many wastes of water. What such a journey eventually delivers to him, however, is not a sacred fire of illumination or boon of wisdom to take back to his old world to re-vivify it. Instead, he is vouchsafed the white isotope of destruction, turning everything dark and possessing the potential to annihilate the very products of time he has so violently sought to wrest from others.
“Anderson [in Obsequy for Lost Things] merges historical events, fragments of exile and appropriation, with the here and now ... in an … astonishingly succinct and piercing  … post-modern lyricism … prob[ing] both the psychology and the politics of a system of production and commerce which is global and ideological … As a reader you are permanently up  against [the] tension between the aesthetic … quietly musical … qualities of this writing and the nature of its subject matter … You can savour this writing ‘as writing’ but never at the expense of what it is saying and what it is saying is complex and important. This is poetry which is unsettling and disturbing.”   —Steve Spence – Stride Magazine

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