Going Electric

Patrick McGuinness

  • Poems by J.H. Prynne
    Bloodaxe/Folio/Fremantle Arts Centre, 440 pp, £25.00, March 2000, ISBN 1 85224 491 7
  • Pearls that Were by J.H. Prynne
    Equipage, 28 pp, £4.00, March 1999, ISBN 1 900968 95 9
  • Triodes by J.H. Prynne
    Barque, 42 pp, £4.00, December 1999, ISBN 1 903488 01 X
  • Other: British and Irish Poetry since 1970 edited by Richard Caddel and Peter Quartermain
    Wesleyan, 280 pp, US $45.00, March 1999, ISBN 0 8195 2241 4

‘Calme bloc ici-bas chu d’un désastre obscur’ (‘calm block fallen here below from some obscure disaster’): this line from Mallarmé’s ‘Le Tombeau d’Edgar Poe’ seems an apt description of his own poems – aftermaths of stellar catastrophes, meteors sitting impassively in their craters, enigmatic wreckage from some temporal or spatial elsewhere. But it would also do for J.H. Prynne’s poems, which contain lines like these, in ‘Star Damage at Home’, from the 1969 collection The White Stones:

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