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Folklore by Tim Atkins - The Ex-Communicator

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November 21st, 2008

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04:36 pm - Folklore by Tim Atkins
I bought a book of modern poetry called 'Folklore' by Tim Atkins from Salt Publishing, because I heard someone read from it at the Tin Angel, and I liked what I heard.

The poems are all broken up with punctuation (lots of full stops, missing some apostrophes for some reason). I think the purpose of this is to reflect the way consciousness is broken up into a collection of moments.

Sometimes I found the poems too hard to understand - particularly the very short ones didn't work so well for me. Too hard to grip.
Waken in. A plum stone.

Speaks into tables. With a handful of signs. Lays them on the same. Dreams of. Mends fences.

Breathing, sighing is a sign.

But mostly I thought they were vivid, intense (if, still, hard to understand). He reminds me a lot of Alan Garner - intense fleshy relationship with the land, the history of the land, working class men and women living in little houses on the edge of the wild land. But set in the Malvern Hills rather than Cheshire.

This for instance reminds me of Alan Garner a lot

(this is an extract from poem 7 - none of the poems have names)

This machine.

Inside night's clover. Beauty is. (But) it comes there.

Swifts circle the owl's house. But the owl is. Let down. If you break open her pellets, she reveals. Fieldmice, shrews. Voles even are buried there. In her eyes.

So we walk and the dirt road ends there. Suddenly. Why she stops and she cries.

Beneath the purple eaves. Light escapes through the cracks. To be lost there. Night lifts itself up and covers us until there is no air.

Where we were climbed there and her skin was all off & the flowers inside. Breathed in what & out silver. Pollen. hayseed. Smeared the dust in our lungs. Paints it all in. Before there was air there. Inside.

The moon is so empty now. We have left us with nowhere to go. Kissing is.

For good health wear bird's bones. In your clothes.

When you see a falling star say -

Actually as I read these and now type them I like them more and more.

(4 comments | Leave a comment)


(Deleted comment)
[User Picture]
Date:November 22nd, 2008 11:03 am (UTC)
Glad you like it maia
[User Picture]
Date:November 22nd, 2008 04:17 am (UTC)
I agree, this is hard poetry to understand, but very approachable from a sheerly visceral level. I can feel it, even if I can't explain it to myself.

I'm reminded (forgive me, my head is in hell right now) of a newish trend I've spotted in fanfic where, instead of the ellipsis or the em dash to denote that stop-start quality that is, after all, the way most people think and speak, writers are using full stops in mid-sentence. "I don't--I mean, it's just that, well, I wanted to be there." becomes "I dont. I mean, it's just that. Well, I wanted to be there." And it works quite well in fic, I find.

The landscape of language shifts so fast on the internet. This poet seems to be in tune with something similar.

"Light escapes through the cracks. To be lost there" is a particularly vivid image for me.

Thanks for sharing this.
[User Picture]
Date:November 22nd, 2008 11:03 am (UTC)
I don't read much fanfic, but I wonder whether people are using ellipses less often because they've been over-used for so long. It's difficult to reproduce thought in language, I suppose impossible. So people copy successful stylistic tics they've seen. I know I do.
[User Picture]
Date:November 22nd, 2008 04:28 pm (UTC)
And the reproduction of thought in language is a huge part of the fiction landscape, of course.

Yeah, absolutely, ellipses have been grossly overused and needed replacing. Fanfic at its best is the province of some very loose, very easygoing writing, and fic writers reach for whatever practical tool is available, because speed is critical. The rate at which new stylistic tools propagate themselves across the internet is fascinating.

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