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This review is taken from PN Review 163, Volume 31 Number 5, May - June 2005.

FORMS OF ENQUIRY ALLEN FISHER, Gravity (Salt) £13.95
SUSAN M.SCHULTZ, And Then Something Happened (Salt) £9.95
FRANCES PRESLEY, Paravane: New and Selected Poems 1996-2003 (Salt) £9.95
NATHANIEL TARN, Recollections of Being (Salt) £8.95

Salt has quickly established an impressive list of mainly UK, US, and Australian work which is either broadly experimental or simply doesn't fit with what the high street and the prize-givers call poetry. An important aspect of Salt's list is making previously fugitive work available to a new readership. This is the case with Allen Fisher's Gravity, which collects a number of books published between 1985 and 1994. In a section of another large project, Place, Fisher asserts that 'originality has come because of previous accumulation'. Gravity has a ten-page bibliography but the line from Place implies not a conception of poems as the results of reading but their co-extensiveness with other forms of enquiry. For Fisher, this often means up-to-the-minute science. This not only enacts poetry's importance but also implies the narrowness of our usual cognitive engagements with experience. Only a short quotation is possible here:

The image of your desire
snookered or shadowed
by its own presentiment
Old as the industrial tip
trampled over on the way
home from another yard run
Beauty and Perfection interchange
Forgotten almost at the instant
of synapse before perception.

That perhaps gives little sense of the scale of Gravity 's achievement but it does indicate one of its locations: a polyphony of discourses.

The work in Susan M. Schultz's ...


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