Mark Dickinson: First of 3 READINGS

J H Prynne, Pearls That Were, Equipage, 1999:

J H Prynne’s poetry, gathers together communication at its most difficult & conflicting. The disorientation of sense can be quite a discomforting experience, but its difficulty is really just a lived obstruction to the reception field, as what nestles between ‘wounds’ can reveal itself in the [1]‘the show to hope again’. I think the making of poetry of this kind is complex, but a necessary complex, that gathers together a granulation tissue ‘around the wound’. The physical embodiment and contextual realism may indeed be read as a ‘bar to wing,’ within the ‘trembling brilliance’ but the lineation does not assimilate a totalised subversion of reception; it electrifies from within a disjunctive sense order, the possibility of conjecture. At the linguistic level the syntactical line and counter-phrase forms hairpins that are essential (‘in parvo’) for a viral transmission within the language string ‘. So to reiterate, the disjunction (non-segmented rather meta-stranded) is not what it may appear to be, but it may feel ‘like eyelids over grit’.

In the face of any crisis, at the point of an immediate saturation experience between memory and forgetfulness, is the unspeakable act. But individually, historically and politically we must collectively repair. A sensational transformative rendering simply accommodates a nullifying print, but conjectures and the quivering condition of what remains possible may say, or imprint via connective hairpins, as a gift economy on behalf of the communicated transport of response. A traver/sing of condition accrues a correspondence of testaments and embeds within them an ‘open’ response with the frugality of, “linguistic disobedience”.

Six sections into Pearls That Were the continuity of the quatrains modify to ‘Lobster-orange’ and the resounding shrill of the Rienzi as hero/ mob incline the same orifice of terror & power, ‘quite sheer’ ‘and awash’. This is not felt as a breaking apart of the quatrains as a metered musicality, but I do sense a crisis of deliverability in the modality of lyric, as a vessel of critical dialectic expression.[2]

In Prynne we read the arrangement that articulates the morphological & dynamic infusions of ‘the waves still/ recoiling their crested and turbid confusions’ and very ‘Much like waves upon a shore’, a resistance becomes physically and mentally tiring. But there are no mechanised aids to buoy, knowing the sounds, and navigating such strong syntactical currents is always pressing against a need to just say “fuck it, I’m drowning!” But you can’t always swim against the rip, sometimes you have travel obliquely & ‘flicker some hope remaining.’


[1] The word ‘show’ here is problematic, but even subjugated to the a quivering register of a thingly spectacle, the word ‘hope’ still holds, especially with the condition and support of ‘again’.

[2] A bugbear this entire sentence, but there’s despair enough to ‘joint screaming with rind orange’.

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