Goodby, John

John Goodby - Illennium

£9.95

John Goodby - Illennium

Paperback, 86pp, 8.5x5.5ins 
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Set in 'South-Wets Wales', Illennium is a cut-up sonnet sequence which draws on recent theories about the social role of shame as it traces the trajectory of a single attachment within a tangled set of friendships. Mixing disease and end-of-era career discontents, its plotlines cohere and decompose around the blown down sign of the No Sign bar, a local watering-hole. There they intermingle with texts that range from Enid Blyton to Keats, Rimbaud to Dafydd ap Gwilym. But the more shameless the embarrassment of riches, the more the lyric itself comes to seem 'a form of shame management', its anticipated plenitudes thwarted by 'silences stubbed out' on an 'I for an I / in the very temples of delight'. Even so, for all its anxieties concerning the 'dork inability' of the poet, or of poetry itself, to resist the abjection that follows, Illennium's brazenness is golden too; again and again, it reveals the peach-succulent heart of a recklessly playful work which spares no blushes in celebrating the 'brilliantly pointless' energies of language.

 

"John Goodby's sequence of seventy-two sonnets… updates and transplants Ted Berrigan from New York City to South Wales. Irreverent and at times shamelessly erotic, [it] repeats and refigures lines… so that unexpected shifts in meaning occur in each new context, generating a kind of Fast Show meets Jules Laforgue effect. In these poems 'the existence of long-lasting emotions is something of a puzzle' as we enjoy mysterious encounters with film nut Nigel and Harry H. Corbett in Carmarthen's Latin Quarter and are exhorted repeatedly to accept that 'love is a babe'. 'If I ever write a poem this raw I'll be amazed'." —Scott Thurston

 

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