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Reading Peter Reading

Isabel Martin

3 ratings by Goodreads
ISBN 10: 1852244666 / ISBN 13: 9781852244668
Published by Bloodaxe Books, 2000
Condition: Fine Hardcover
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Hardcover with dust jacket. First Edition. 1st printing (no later printings indicated). No markings. Ships in a box. Fast shipping from NYC!. Bookseller Inventory # 0718200828a

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Bibliographic Details

Title: Reading Peter Reading

Publisher: Bloodaxe Books

Publication Date: 2000

Binding: Hardcover

Book Condition:Fine

Dust Jacket Condition: Fine

Edition: First Edition.

About this title


Peter Reading is one of Britain's most prolific, versatile, startlingly contemporary, and strikingly original poets. Reading maps out an inconsolably sad and, at times, hilariously funny picture of England-and the world-in decline. His eschatological vision chastises a world gone morally, ecologically, and politically insane. Both bleak and deeply humane, his harrowing art aspires to, nothing less than, a distilled elegiac epic of our time. The destruction also strikes at Reading's art itself-the last six books are one long valedictory, culminating in his own death statement, Ob. 'Reading Peter Reading' illuminates the poet's thematic and formal concerns, paradoxes, and development, as well as underlining his major status in contemporary literature. Its updated, detailed, textual analysis will help the readers' understanding of the poetry and provide a thorough and substantial basis for any future critical discussion of Reading's work.

From Publishers Weekly:

Relentlessly bleak, restlessly clever and suffused with metaphysical bile, Reading's 24 books of verse (all published since 1973) have won him fiercely devoted admirers in his native Britain. His latest, book-length poem responds to the year he spent in Marfa, Tex., a remote desert hamlet now largely occupied by the buildings, installations and legacies of Minimalist sculptor Donald Judd. Like almost all Reading's mise en scenes, Marfan begins and ends with politicized anger, ennui and ashen disgust. Blank-verse paragraphs portray departed trains, "the restless spirit of the dead Apache," "El Cheapo Liquor," a "Blessed Tortilla," "Cowboys for Christ" and the luminous apparitions known as "Marfa Mystery Lights." Reading's speaker also remembers his own "anxieties: a labial lump;/ pain in the kidneys and the abdomen;/ and money, money, money, money, money." Descriptions are wry: "Sunset is like a busted-up fried egg"; Judd's "aluminium boxes/ betoken... genius spawned of privilege"; and the Border Patrol, attacking Mexican migrants, are "fat, trigger-happy, complacent twats." Jay Shuttleworth's black-and-white photos, along with Reading's own jittery collages, lend the short book additional visual interest. Reading's no-holds-barred dysphemisms seek the stringencies of Beckett and Swift, and while his admirers will find him their equal, detractors will object to his narrow tonal range. Chief among those admirers has been Martin, who wrote the introduction to Reading's two-volume Collected Poems. Adapted from her German doctoral thesis, Martin's hefty volume examines Reading's oeuvre and his reputation book by book, from his Larkinesque juvenilia through his breakthrough (in the U.K.) volume, Perduta Gente, a sequence about homelessness, squalor and mayhem in Thatcher's England. Other Reading investigations include his use of classical metrics and mathematical word games; his sequence "C," about death from cancer; and his recent, misleadingly titled Last Poems. It's solid criticism, but unlikely to reach or attract the unconverted. (Nov.)
Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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