Thursday, March 30, 2006

Big Bang Research

In my brief report on the StAnza Poetry Festival a couple of weeks ago, I mentioned that I’d gone to hear Richard Price do a reading. I didn’t know his stuff at all, but found it intriguing.

After the event, I offered to swap my chapbook for his. I must confess my ignorance at this point. I hadn’t realised that Richard was quite a well-known poet. His latest collection, Lucky Day (published by Carcanet Press, Michael Schmidt’s imprint) has been nominated for the Whitbread Poetry Prize, among other awards, and he’s been writing and publishing for many more years than I have.

Anway, he was gracious enough to agree to the swap and today I received a chapbook containing his translations of Apollinaire and some translations of other French writers into Scots by Donny O’Rourke. I’ve had a look through some of the poems and they look very good.

However, at his website, I found an excellent poem that’s really been making me think over the last few days. It’s called Big Bang Research.

As I see it, the poem is about relationships, and how poems and emails are transforming communication. Although the narrator likes visits from real people and suggests (by email) that the recipient comes over to stay, he still believes by the end of the poem that the “new upgrade” will solve communication problems (although this might be ironic - the lines "you know/ this new upgrade?" suggest that). “Attachments” (very ambiguous word – it connects with poems in L1-2, but also must have a secondary sense of being attached to people) are a scientific accident. An ambiguous love/hate relationship with technology is present throughout the poem, as I read it.

I’m not sure if I’ve read the poem correctly, but I enjoyed the compressed language, the pinched lines, the (ironic?) humour, and the way the poem made me think and continues to do so.

In April, I’ve banned myself from buying any books, as I have way too many to read as it is, but I plan to read Lucky Day when I get the chance.

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