Nikolai Duffy and Ian Seed book launches

The Manchester Writing School, Number 70 Oxford Street, Manchester, M1 5NH. Entry free, but booking essential. 7 PM start.

The Manchester Writing School at Manchester Met is delighted to present this special event to launch Nikolai Duffy’s latest poetry collection, Up The Creek, published by Knives Forks and Spoons Press and Ian Seed’s short story pamphlet, Italian Lessons, published by Like This Press. More here.

Pierre Reverdy – The Thief of Talant

Translated and introduced by Ian Seed, out now on Wakefield Press.

Originally published in French in 1917 but ignored (though subsequently a collector’s item after the end of WWI), The Thief of Talant would not see a new edition until 1967, after the author’s death. To this day it remains a particularly enigmatic book in the poet’s œuvre. Challenged by his friend, poet and art critic Max Jacob, to write a novel, Pierre Reverdy produced this strangely titled experiment: a fragmented assemblage of loneliness, paranoia, and depersonalization drawn from his own experience of Paris in the early twentieth century, the sometimes antagonistic atmosphere of the avant-garde, and his own troubled relationship with the generous but frequently suspicious Max Jacob, who like many of his literary and artistic friends, detected the threat of his literary treasures getting plagiarized among everyone he knew.

Toward the end of his life, Reverdy confirmed that the alienated and anxious “thief” of this novel in verse was a portrait of himself (“Talant” conveys both the dual echo in French of “talent” and the small town of “Talan” near Dijon, thereby evoking a potential plagiarizer from the countryside, finding his way in the Paris of the years 1910–1917), and “Abel the Magus” a semi-satirical portrait of Max Jacob.

The Thief of Talant was and remains a radical experiment in verse and narrative, but it is also a hauntingly beautiful and moving evocation of the loss (and recovery) of self, and an encrypted guidebook to the “heroic” years of Cubism and that movement’s literary and artistic protagonists.

Ian Seed: Identity Papers

The prose poems in Identity Papers seek to construct a living bridge between the self and its shadow, between the self and other, and between present and past. They do so with a vulnerable faith, working with Heidegger’s dictum that all things must be allowed their time in darkness. Along the way, their narrators meet a series of disturbing, irresistible strangers. Identity Papers follows on from Makers of Empty Dreams (Shearsman, 2014). It is the second volume in a trilogy of prose poem collections. Out now on Shearsman.

Fidelities, Ian Seed

Ian Seed says of Fidelities, ‘The poems here range from the lyrical to the more experimental, but I think that they all probe and explore a series of encounters and journeys.  I see them as being faithful, “in their fashion”, to the truths they discover along the way’. This collection enacts an excursive articulation of the world and language, the shifts and creative repetitions found in both, between words and inside words, between moments and within moments: each poem finding its distinct poetic imperative to reveal these moves in the landscape in complex and subtle ways. The rhythms of these poetic journeys involve but also exceed the sonic; here is the shaping of the space and time of attention, a focus and intimacy that situates and then opens up, and into, our embodied encounters with the phenomenal world; here is presence, and reflection on presence and on being present. This is language as an eye that sees and a hand that touches and shapes, but also as ‘skin listening’. ‘We do not see from our bodies as from inside /a box. We pertain to the whole, we take our place /in the landscape, in the touching of the sleek and rough.’”
Patricia Farrell

Out now on The Red Ceilings.

Shadowtrain 43

April-May 2015

Kate Ashton romps through slipping seasons; Tom Snarsky shakes a tattered image of himself; David Spittle remembers to leave the door open; Anne Gorrick is sleepless and heartbroken; Katherine Holmes meditates on window-wordless birds; Tim Allen finds a lost ticket for the stars; Sarah James drinks it with down with black medicine; Neil Fulwood admires a small, discreet tattoo; Patricia Farrell pushes to the absolute end; Ian Seed rifles through Tom Jenks’ Items. Board here.