Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Deprived and Porous

TLS July 1 2011

from Robert Wells's review of Complete Poetry, Translations, and Selected Prose, by Bernard Spencer, edited by Peter Robinson:

In his story ["Baa, Baa, Black Sheep"] Kipling links Punch's loss with a precocious compensatory passion for language. Spencer remarks on a similar preoccupation in himself: "I used to pray that I should be a traveller abroad when I grew up, just as I used to pray that I should be a poet". For him the two wishes are inseparable, committing him to a quest for a reality to replace the one taken from him. "The poet's immoderate, promiscuous love" has its origin in an immense deprivation.

*

Spencer died in an accident at the age of fifty-three. The accident was unforeseeable, yet in the later poems there are many such presentiments that a denouement was near. Spencer vanished one evening from the clinic in Vienna to which, in a state of delirium, he had been admitted after the sudden worsening of an unidentified illness. The next morning he was found dead beside a suburban railway track, having apparently been struck by a train. His shoes were worn out, and he must have walked some distance. In his delirium he had been possessed by the conviction that he needed to return to India.

*

Outside the poetry he is really no writer at all.

***

TNY July 11 & 18, 2011

from "The Prodigy," Peter Schjeldahl's review of Blinky Palermo at Bard and Dia:

Palermo's [art] is a cheerful name-dropping art, like none other I know: never imitative, but collegial. His borrowings pay generous tribute to their creditors. This rare characteristic partly explains his neglect in America, where a national bent for proprietary branding can confuse a signature look with quality. In truth, Palermo's "porosity" (a word applied to him by Beuys) is a tremendous distinction. Angelically hip, he affects his fans, including me, as a cosmopolitan escort of the imagination, with ready access to the smartest and best people and ideas in the world.

Sharp insight into Palermo and America. His photo shows an East Village hipster.

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