poem by John Gibbens
Books, 1st March 2012
£7.95, ISBN 978-0-9568144-5-6
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hauntingly captures the songs and rhythms of love and London, as his poem
snakes through a society in chaos.
Jenny McCartney, Sunday Telegraph columnist
has been essayed by a number of contemporary poets, but few as successfully
as John Gibbens does here. Add to this a passionate lyrical impetus and
a gift for formal variety and inventiveness Gibbens is the real
Miller, poet, founder of Kater Murrs Press
an impressive range of forms and voices to dramatize a powerful poetic
fiction reminiscent of high quality film noir. A skilful and distinctive
poet for our time.
Lindsay Clarke, novelist (The Chymical
Wedding, The Water Theatre)
all the things I'm interested in the city, the country total
breakdown sex, music, reality as it is and the possibility of meaning.
Nothing sentimental but so much feeling
it is Tennysonian
the Tennyson of Maud intensely psychological, formally varied,
beautifully patterned and frightening.
Twigg, poet and songwriter
A take on the
Orphic Mysteries that is, by turns, bohemian, pastoral and dystopian,
using songs, sonnets, raps and satires. Moving and menacing.
Niall McDevitt, poet, songwriter, poetry
editor of International Times
the evening singers had all but finished
A wren appeared on one concrete fencepost
And flew to the next, darted from platform
To thicket and, after a moment lost
To view, perched in a diamond of the mesh.
the post the bird had graced a calm
moon inched up from its branching niche.
the sleeping river of rails
While behind him in a faint electric hum
The train that had brought him slept, its lights still on,
Paul waited for the nine-thirteen to come,
Steels complaining chirp forerunning its wheels.
tilted, recurring reflections
the short journey, and the petals
from dwarfed ostentatious cherries,
Bleaching and drifted on the suburban
Ways he walked. Piling himself a plateful,
He sat down in the feast-littered kitchen.
A large-browed man was scorning the Tories;
his dope-wide gaze sceptical
glistering, mourned arts difficulties.
He glimpsed her for the first time by the door,
Hesitating, looking in; quizzical,
Timid, and dark-complexioned as the wren
Out of the garden night. The light tussle
Of bracelets accompanied her quick four
between the pairs of silenced men
resuming as before.
studied her smooth profile as she leaned
Over to help herself then turned to bear
His inspection frankly for an instant.
Fumbling his fork, taken unaware,
He scattered rice on his chair. As he gleaned
binned the grains, he thought a slight, distant
was on him amused but not unkind.
Part I: 1989 (Flowers After Dark)
excerpt from Part III: Disorder can be read on the new International
the back cover
Ascending is the story of the singer
who falls dangerously in love, of the beautiful woman who becomes all
things to him, and of the underworld king who claims her for his own.
It tells how she is abducted and how the hero goes through hell to find
her. Like Salman Rushdie, Nick Cave, Rilke, Cocteau and Tennessee Williams
before him, John Gibbens recasts the Orpheus myth in contemporary terms,
this time in a strangely altered version of the London music scene in
the late 1980s, a retro-future where violent unrest meets government backlash
and where pastoral idyll is only a precarious refuge from the perilous
currents of history. It is a book about music, love and Fascism.