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This report is taken from PN Review 219, Volume 41 Number 1, September - October 2014.

Languageless Cool Glass Burns Poetically Vahni Capildeo
Funky knitting: not a tongue twister, nor dating-profile (or any other) code. Too gentle to be a craze, it keeps many variously styled heads bent, hands busy, time-­honoured patterns rainbowing into untraditional fashion. The Irresistible Rise of the Funky Knitters. I have seen them on buses; on benches; on lunch break in publishing houses. Ordinary People can knit and purl; puzzle over Sudoku; learn to mix, and like, cocktails; listen, as a packed congregation recently did in Norwich Cathedral, to puns in sermons (Paraclete/parakeet, anyone?), sight-read hymns that emphasise words like ‘the’, and follow parables translated from ancient languages. I have a lingering, tingling wonder, like imaginative cramp in a constrained mind, that Ordinary People perform unremarked feats of complexity… yet need poetry they can ‘get’ at the first go.

Punish or be punished. If Poetry has been collared as the submissive in a relationship with the dominant Ordinary People, when was the scene agreed, and why should the list be impoverished? Complaint over. No case for difficulty; I’m no polemicist. No invocation; I’ve no identifiable Muse. Now for some beautiful things and words. Please join me, shamelessly.

‘Wineglass, the lipped ogee bowl with strong honeycomb moulding set on a triple annular knop over a plain section on a domed honeycomb moulded foot.’ In this catalogue’s language, poetry (in another sense of that vexed word) can be found. However, the catalogue-poetry cannot be got at the first go. You climb stairs or take a claustrophobic lift to a mezzanine where arches cut into stone walls, stopped with dappled glass, make windows. Day drizzles in as leopard-light, disorientating ...


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