Beginning With Satie: Ken Edwards

In 1975 Ken Edwards published a pamphlet called 'Erik Satie loved children', containing 14 little poems. And now here it is again opening his No Public Language, from Shearsman, putting the 75 in the subtitle, "Selected Poems 1975-1995". They are fun and seem casually to be notes-towards-being-songs in a manner taken a long way by John James. In his Afterword, Edwards notes, of 'Erik Satie loved children', "I still think it's quite sweet, and besides it was the first showing of what later evolved into my preferred procedures: cutting and splicing, juxtaposition, language play, composition by rhythm." The title also announces the interplay with the processes of music which Edwards will pursue. The quick fusion of one of these poems, 'Coltrane's Narrow Road', is what you think, apart from the new frying pan. Then Basho again:


no sound

a handful of stones

tossed in dark water
the ripples

intersect then


That pattern of ripples is now impossibly complex, which is how the plainest of manners can point two words on and in the pattern which continues without further lines. The other poems take those rhythmic cross-cutting ripples as technique; but without the infusorian political abrasions which would come, though the opening poem 'Postwar' involves a watermelon violently hitting a tiled surface

pink sugary flesh
splattered everywhere

Edmund Hardy

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