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This article is taken from PN Review 215, Volume 40 Number 3, January - February 2014.

Twelve Vortices for Twelve Brothers: Iain Sinclair Andrew Duncan
IAIN SINCLAIR, Suicide Bridge Skylight Press) £11.99; Red Eye 1973 2013 (Test Centre) £15 (pb) £30 (hb)

Just to get the time-lines straight. Red Eye, a long poem from 1973, has never been published before. (A few pages surfaced in Sinclair's 1989 Selected Poems.) Suicide Bridge was originally published in 1979 and the new edition includes an extra 30 pages: 'At the end of the book, as it now stands, I will introduce some new material… (found in magazines, or typescript). Three new books. Westering. Brerton, The Darkness. Bowen, His Journey', along with a new title page reading PUNK VORTEX/X-FILE. The material is added as Books Two to Four at the end of this new version and dates from the original time of Suicide Bridge.

The title page shows Sinclair's own label for his work, punk vorticism; and refers to the status of this work, at its point of origin, as underground, self-published, ground to dust in the margins of malign generalisations, as an X-file. It resurfaces as great writing. Intimate as the text might be, thematically, with other work of the time, Olsonian and mythologising, it transcends what was flowing all around it. A problem which is simply one of book-keeping has limited discussion and anthologising, since Suicide Bridge (henceforward SB) is written, at least half, in prose. All the same the scale and intensity and originality of the work simply defy description; this is a modern classic and Sinclair probably now commands a wider spectrum of admiration than any other poet from that time. ...


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