Great Creatures

Christopher Small

  • Sacred Elephant by Heathcote Williams
    Cape, 175 pp, £9.95, July 1989, ISBN 0 224 02642 9

Whitman doesn’t supply any of the fragments selected by Heathcote Williams to shore up his poems. You won’t find, in Leaves of Grass or elsewhere, more than passing allusion to whales or elephants. Williams, a child of the late 20th century’s technological manipulations and separations, looks long and longingly at animals, not so much as they swim or graze or galumph there within an observant loafer’s eye-range, as in books, photography, the shamelessly ingenious intrusions of the field-video. The catalogues of Sacred Elephant sometimes have a Whitmanesque cadence:

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