Thursday, 27 October 2011

Form is what happens...

Meg Aikman - 'The Piccadilly Nightingale.'

The book is now launched, people are buying it, which is gratifying, with not too many problems so far.
Of course, after publication, one is always thinking of the material you wanted to put in, things that you might have approached differently, stylistic choices that were or were not made. The list goes on... Pat and myself hit the basic problem when Don suddenly and tragically died: should we continue or should we abandon the book in its planned form and try to resurrect it as something else?  In the end, we fell somewhere in the middle, deciding that, yes, the book would be incomplete from the original ideas that had been thrashed out, because we needed more of Don's input for that, and short of a Doris Stokes moment or two, this was not going to happen in this life. But what we had was maybe enough to justify the project. So we went with that. Three stories that elliptically reflect and refract on each other. The other issue was: time and mortality. With Don gone, the two of us not exactly spring chickens, the owld wingรจd chariot was hurrying near behind us somewhat.  Et in busking arcadia ego... (I have a rather drunken fancy that after death, crossing the bar (to borrow from Tennyson) might be turned from the sombre process of changing continuum, so to speak, if the Pilot suddenly turned round and revealed himself as my old friend, professional loon and busking partner, Jumping Jack/Earl of Mustard/Norman Norris: 'I'm the guv'nor. Whorr hor hor.' I assume the old bugger has left this level sometime back and would like to think he found a good gig beyond... ).

In the end, the book followed one of the literary precepts which CharlesOlson appropriated from his younger friend and fellow poet, Robert Creeley: 'FORM IS NEVER MORE THAN AN EXTENSION OF CONTENT .'.
Many years later, when asked about his famous quote, Creeley responded:
'I would now almost amend the statement to say, "Form is
what happens." It's the fact of things in the world, however
they are. So that form in that way is simply the presence of
any thing.'
From here...  (scroll down).

So the form of the book is created by what we had left to play with. 'Form is what happens.' Hopefully something interesting came of it.

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