J.H. Prynne



Simon Eales Reviews On Violence in the Work of J.H. Prynne

Violence and poetics are the key poles in Canadian-Australian critic and poet Matthew Hall’s new scholarly release. Hall charts how the British late-modernist poet, Prynne, responds to violent events of the twentieth and early twenty-first centuries – from the Holocaust, through apartheid, Chernobyl, and Australian colonialism, to Abu Ghraib. These affective sites of violence are linguistic, too: chapter two takes its subject as the ‘the sociolinguistic war’ which takes place under ‘the strain of economic factions and the reach of the multinational resource sector’.

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The Huntsman of the Rubáiyat: J H Prynne and Peter Henry Lepus Go to Abu Ghraib

Minor cultures are not only represented by poetry written in response to state violence. With each such poetic utterance, they are maintained as agential entities. Michael Richardson, in his forthcoming book, Gestures of Testimony: Torture, Trauma, and Affect in Literature (Bloomsbury, 2016) tracks various examples of these linguistic productions, investigating in part ‘how poetry can resist power even from within almost complete subjection.’

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Mathew Abbott Reviews Justin Clemens

MundiadWhat was mock epic? I use the past tense because the genre is thought to have died in the nineteenth century. According to a recent study by Professor Ritchie Robertson, a Queen’s College fellow and Taylor Professor of the German Language and Literature at Oxford University, mock epic died because epic lost its authoritative status: it was only possible to write a real mock epic in a time ‘when serious epics were being written and read in large numbers, manag[ing] to attain a position of cultural authority remotely comparable to that of Homer, Virgil, or Milton.’ Mock epic needed something prestigious to mock; when the epic lost its prestige mock epic lost its reason for being.

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The Ethics of Attention in Peter Larkin’s ‘Leaves of Field’

This paper is concerned with ‘making sense’ in Peter Larkin’s ‘Leaves of Field’, a long poem that articulates a post-pastoral poetics based on ethical valency activated by attention. ‘Leaves of Field’ directs questions at us: How do we look at ‘natural’ objects? What is adequate poetic description? Can there be ethics without an apparent subject? How can we avoid instrumentalising nature poetically and ecologically after human intervention? What is the ‘value’ of human-and-non-human relations? Creating a lyricism not based on self-expression or explicitly only-human community, Larkin answers the challenges of writing innovatively with ethical consciousness by attending minutely to poetic texture and to ‘attention’ itself.

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Prints in the New Snow: Notes on ‘Es Lebe der König’, J.H. Prynne’s Elegy to Paul Celan

In 1966 Prynne emphasised the necessity for poetry to ‘emphatically reclaim the power of knowledge for each and any of us in our common answerability as the creatures of language.’[1. Keston Sutherland, “Hilarious Absolute Daybreak,” Glossator: Theory and Practice of the Commentary, 2 (2010): 115-148, 117.] The ekphrastic, proprioceptive and dedicatory analysis that Prynne demanded of his readers through Kitchen Poems and The White Stone reaches a point of crescendo with Brass in 1971.

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J.H. Prynne and the Late-Modern Epic

The poetry of J.H. Prynne has recently come to the attention of an international set of poets and literary theorists. This attention has coincided with the release of his updated collected work, Poems, and, coincidently, with Prynne's retirement from a teaching position at the University of Cambridge and as a librarian at Gonville and Caius College. The attention that the rerelease of Poems has incited is due partially to a growing awareness of contemporary British Poetry, and marks the first time that Prynne's poetry has been made widely available outside of the small press publications of Cambridge.

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