Author Archives: teethingwells

Dial-A-Poem Poets

An American album from 1984: Giorno Poetry Systems 10-track vinyl LP comprising works by Dial A Poems finest – William S. Burroughs, Meredith Monk and Anne Walgmann, and from the New York noise/punk scene: poet and punk musician Jim Carrol, DNS’s Arto Lindsay with Mars’ Lucy Hamilton, Lydia Lunch with Clint Ruin, Richard Hell and an utterly necessary version of ‘Unclean’ by industrial giants Psychic TV – Genesis P-Orridge, Wife Paule, and Alternative TV’s Alex Fergusson…

Side 1:
1. David Johansen – Imaginatin’ Coctail
2. John Giorno – Exiled In Domestic Life
3. William S. Burroughs (Research Recording, 1984)
4. Psychic TV – Unclean
5. Lydia Lunch – What It Is

Side 2:
1. Meredith Monk – Candy Bullets And Moon
2. Jim Carrol – A Peculiar Looking Girl
3. Anne Waldman – Uh-oh Plutonium
4. Richard Hell – The Rev. Hell Gets Confused
5. Arto Lindsay – Alisa

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Something Else

What yoof TV used to be. This episode of BBC’s Something Else, a series that ran from 1978 is from 2 October, 1981. There’s poetry from Anne Clark and Aidan Cant – incidental music by Paul Weller – a bit about youth clubs, as well as music from The Jam, The Questions and the much missed Dolly Mixture. There’s an also a section where young people talk about what class they are as they awkwardly sit around a table (not) drinking.
Of particular interest is some talk on ‘zines from Tony Fletcher of Jamming! Also featured is Making Time and the item is very centred on poetry. The young reporter even talks to Faber and Faber about what they are, and aren’t, publishing and this links right back to the class item. Now there’s a suprise.

The Punishment Cell

Scattered through Evgenia S. Ginzburg’s book Into The Whirlwind are poems she wrote whilst imprisoned for ten years as a victim of Stalin’s purges.

The Punishment Cell

No producer’s nightmare this,
No eerie tale by Poe,
I hear the soldier’s footsteps
Die away.
Junketing jackals,
Evil, base, debauched . . .
My pillow may be a stone
But I am not forsaken.
From a corner,
Pushkin exorcizes the spirit of darkness
And, invisible to the soldiers,
Alexander Blok, my friend,
A knight without compare,
Crosses the threshold.
If I should weary
(We do not live soft in the tomb)
I will remember Gaetan’s song
And I too will sing of joy and suffering.
Let the devilish host
Howl and cavort.
I have that
Which they have no power to take from me.

Poetry, they couldn’t take that away from me! They had taken everything else – my clothes, shoes, stockings, comb. They had left me half-naked in the icy cold. But they could not take this. It was not in their power. What I had I held. I would survive even this dungeon.

Scottish Poetry 1973

From Scottish International, March 1973.

In spite of somewhat scathing references to Poem ’73 as Kulturfest or Poetry Jamboree, the scoffers met with in Sandy Bell’s and Milne’s were there lapping it up as earlier they’d lapped their pints. And he 50 per cent increase in paid attendances to over 1,300 this year can’t just be explained in terms of unemployment – all day and only 25p to spend!
Two factors in particular drew the crowds. Those who were at the first of these events last year probably came again and their enthusiasm brought their friends along. And this year the spectrum has been widened to include, among the Scottish poets, those with international reputations as well as several still fairly new to public readings plus a strong Gaelic contingent. And then it as international enough to take in English and American poets – and at least one Canadian. Two symposia, one on Poetry in Magazines, to round off the day and plenty to buy (and it was bought) you wanted to read poetry for a change.
If you felt like a rest from it all there was even an exhibition of poetic texts and posters and for those wanting a little action there was a participation poem.
Last year it went, in spite of threatened power cuts, pretty much like clockwork. This year the director, John Schofield, had another large band of enthusiastic and helpful stewards, and so apart from a big-name poet dropping out (fell off his high-horse on the way up?) the previous high standard was maintained. Thank goodness though, Poem ’74 will probably be a two-day event, because the drawback with this, as with last years’s festival, was the invidious choice forced on one, faced with up to three sets of readings on at the same time.