Friday, 20 March 2009

Rough chunks of stone

‘Scattered about the undergrowth by time, rough chunks of stone crumb kneaded by the grubby fingers of the god . . .’ – Ponge, ‘The Pebble’

To Highgate Cemetery today with W to see Karl Marx, not to mention the menagerie exhibitor George Wombwell with his favourite lion Nero asleep on top of him, and the bare-knuckle fighter Thomas Sayers with his dog, confusingly named Lion, beside him (above).

On the way back I bought a copy of the new Poetry London, which has a two-page review by Luke Kennard of the CBe Ponge book, translated by Beverley Bie Brahic. ‘Unfinished Ode to Mud is the first parallel text edition of Ponge’s work that I have come across . . . This is an act of generosity as well as bravery . . . The directness and sensitivity of Brahic’s translation is refreshing, and to finally see such previously untranslated works as the titular ode (along with over half of the prose poems in the book) is a great thing indeed.’ I could stop there but won’t: ‘CB editions’ books are already starting to look iconic with their attractive, understated covers, satisfyingly compact size and weight. This excellent English edition of an underrated master of the prose poem makes them a press to celebrate.’

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