Thursday, 24 December 2015

MERRY CHRISTMAS TO ALL AND TO ALL A GOOD NIGHT!










EYEWEAR WISHES THE PEOPLE OF THE EARTH AS MUCH PEACE, LOVE, JOY, BALANCE, GOOD CHEER AND FOOD AND WINE, LIGHTS AND WARMTH, AND SHELTER, AND HOPE, AND FRIENDSHIP AS THEY CAN FIND THIS NIGHT, AND ALL NIGHTS TO COME, WHETHER THEY WEAR SPECTACLES OR NOT.

THERE IS ROOM FOR ALL OF US, BUT BE GENTLE WITH EACH OTHER, WE ARE IN TOUGH TIMES.

MERRY CHRISTMAS EVERYBODY!

Monday, 21 December 2015

EYEWEAR BEST POETRY BOOKS OF 2015 - DAY ELEVEN

We are coming to the end of our 2015 list - today is the penultimate one - and of course we are unable to list all the many brilliant poetry collections that came out this year, but we hope that by tomorrow, and our 12th day, we will have shared a number of them with you. Think of this as a taster, a jumping off place, a gentle nudge.










Sunday, 20 December 2015

EYEWEAR BEST POETRY BOOKS OF 2015 - DAY TEN






EYEWEAR'S POETRY PERSONALITY OF THE YEAR 2015 - DON SHARE



A few years ago, when I first moved to London (after a few years in Paris), it was possible to bemoan the lack of any true Trans-Atlantic poetry exchange. The vital modern link between London and Chicago (and NYC) pioneered by Pound and Eliot, and then the Faber and Alvarez initiatives that allowed Lowell, Plath and Berryman to be household American names in the UK, were a thing of the past.

True, some Cambridge experimental poets had links to Americans like Dorn, and others to Ashbery, but mainly, a distance had drifted into view, and the so-called various languages, American and English, were firmly entrenched, as "two solitudes".  Meanwhile, 21st century poetry had lost its ways.  True, we had some critics offer their guiding poetics, like Bernstein. For awhile, Roddy Lumsden and Salt did a good job of trying to sort this mess out. Eyewear in 2012 also started building bridges. But still, most Americans never read a British poem anymore, and vice versa. All this changed a year or so ago.

Don Share - a mild-mannered, if brilliant, poet, scholar, critic, anthologist, with a background in a Penguin Classic on Seneca, and a spell running the Harvard Poetry series - became the Poetry Foundation's new Editor of Poetry magazine. Poetry was already an iconic magazine, more heard of than read in these British isles, and under Christian Wiman's solemn, intelligent editorship was already a quality journal that every poet in the world wanted to appear in.

But it was not any more relevant, or exciting, than half a dozen other magazines, which we could all name. It was not the most indie.  It was not the most inclusive. It was not the most international in reach. It was not the most eccentric, surprising, and stylish. Wiman was a poet and critic and editor of brilliance, and his work is to be honoured. But Don Share is a rarer creature even still - for he is an editor of genius.

What does such a claim mean? Precious little perhaps in this Digital Age, except, just as JJ Abrams is the go to guy to reboot something classic, now the poetry world has its own master rebooter - Dr Share - and not since Wordsworth has a name meant so much more than something to sign a book with.

For Share shares.  He has made Poetry the place where poets meet in this new world.  Online, and in print, every kind of poet and poem and poetry - so long as it is potent, effective, genuine and vital - appears under his expertly curated editorial open door policy - a policy that once seemed practical, then quaint, then foolhardly, then impossible - but renewed under Share is not only plausible but essential.

In the year of To Pimp A Butterfly, in the age of Ferguson and Trump and Daesh, month after month Share has astonished readers with a breadth of taste and selection opening readers up to what new, fresh, young American, British, Irish, and other poetries, actually sound like, now. Open as never before to Hip Hop/ rap poetics, for instance, Poetry is about as cutting edge as Pound's Italian razor from 1915, when he began cutting out a lot of guff.

Poetry the magazine and Foundation has its detractors, sure, - envy is always a presence in the poetry world - and some of its critics no doubt have a few good points - but nothing so big and generous and brave is ever going to please those who seek to set terse, grim limits. Sylvia Plath once said to Alvarez that "the little say No, the big say Yes."

Don Share is about as big as they come in the poetry world - a poet who has put his own strikingly clever and engaging poetry (some of the best of his time) to one side, in the service of editing and promoting thousands of other poets. All editors are generous. But none more so than Share - and daily he amuses and informs thousands, even hundreds of thousands, of readers, on social media, as no poet has before.

Don Share, in 2015, is the global face of American poetry - dare we say, of world poetry in the English language? And there is nary an edge of canon-crushing, cant, or cruelty, in his statements or judgements.  His vision is kind, if firm. His sense is humorous, and compassionate. His imagination is lively, avid, roving, and never-shut.

If we had a dozen Share-alikes (of all genders and races and ages, natch) running the other top mags and poetry publishers, we might have a total renaissance. As it is, there is only one Share, and he is doing a pretty good one-person job as it is. Thank you, Don, for changing how and why we read poetry, and Poetry.

Here's to Eyewear's Poetry Personality of the Year 2015!

Monday, 7 December 2015

THE BEST FILMS OF 2015?

SHE WATCHES TOO MANY ART HOUSE MOVIES

Reviewing the best films of 2015 from a British perspective is always slightly frustrating, as several of the big Hollywood films actually come out here in January - or just before Christmas, so we cannot say for sure if The Danish Girl, Creed, Trumbo, the new Tarantino, The Revenant, or indeed the new Star Wars* may actually be the year's best.

However, bearing in mind this is a not very definitive blog, one can still say the following TEN THINGS ABOUT TEN MOVIES IN 2015, based on what we have seen...

1. THE JAMES BOND WAS A DISAPPOINTMENT - MORE MOONRAKER THAN THE SPY WHO LOVED ME, MORE THUNDERBALL THAN GOLDFINGER. TIME FOR IDRIS AND A NEW DIRECTOR, LIKE NOLAN, SPIELBERG OR TARANTINO.

2. BROOKLYN IS A TAD TOO MADE FOR TV AND SICKLY SWEET TO BE A MASTERPIECE, BUT IS STILL A GENUINELY FUNNY AND MOVING PICTURE OF OLD-FASHIONED DELIGHTS.

3. MAD MAX'S LATEST INCARNATION IS WITHOUT DOUBT ONE OF THE GREATEST SPECTACLES EVERY PUT ONTO FILM AND ONE OF THE YEAR'S TEN BEST.

4. EVEREST HAS SUPERB PERFORMANCES AND WAS MORE THRILLING AND POWERFUL THAN MOST THIS YEAR.

5. THE MARTIAN IS ONE OF THE BETTER ADAPTATIONS OF A SCI-FI BOOK IN MEMORY, WITH A BRAVURA CENTRAL PERFORMANCE BY MR DAMON.

6. BRIDGE OF SPIES IS DULL AND WORTHY AT TIMES, BUT BEAUTIFULLY FILMED WITH SOME GREAT ACTING AND A POWERFUL SCENE OF POLICE INTOLERANCE IN AMERICA CONTRASTED WITH STATE BRUTALITY IN (EAST) BERLIN.

7. MISSION IMPOSSIBLE: ROGUE NATION WAS ACTUALLY A REALLY FUN, WELL-MADE FILM, BUT PROBABLY SUFFERED FROM A SENSE THAT WE HAD BEEN HERE BEFORE.

8. AMERICAN ULTRA WAS NOT AS FUNNY OR AS SMART AS IT THOUGHT IT WAS BUT THEN I WASN'T STONED OR 16 WHEN I SAW IT.

9. JURASSIC WORLD WAS BETTER THAN THE ORIGINALS IT WAS BASED ON, MUCH LIKE ALIENS IS BETTER THAN ALIEN.

10. CAROL BY TODD HAYNES IS THE GREATEST FILM OF 2015 - A POWERFUL, STYLISED, HUMANE AND TERRIFYINGLY, ACHINGLY POIGNANT RUMINATION ON LOVE AND/OR DESIRE, SEXUAL AND SOCIETAL TRANSGRESSION, HETERONORMATIVE JUDGEMENT, AND, FINALLY, AMERICAN FILM AND PHOTOGRAPHY.

*we have now seen The Force Awakens and it is not the best film of the year, but surely the best Reboot of a Franchise ever, including smart works by Nolan, and Casino Royale.

EYEWEAR BEST POETRY BOOKS OF 2015 - DAY THREE



ASBESTOS HEIGHTS
DAVID MCGIMPSEY
COACH HOUSE BOOKS

Saturday, 5 December 2015

EYEWEAR BEST POETRY BOOKS OF 2015 - DAY ONE

Eyewear publishes its own books, and while we could easily list our Humbert Summer by A.K. Blakemore, and Hungerpots, by Hester Knibbe translated by Jacquelyn Pope - indeed all our brilliant books from this year, we won't.

Instead, in the spirit of collegiality, we will mention a book or two every day between now and Christmas, give or take a few days, with special emphasis on British poetry, which we of course know best.

We are not going to offer, however, potted little reviews for these books. We stand behind these books and will simply list them by cover and a link.  You can Google and chase them up to see what others have said, and, hopefully, decide to read them for what is beyond their covers.

COMPLETE POEMS
R.F. LANGLEY
CARCANET

Wednesday, 2 December 2015

STOP THE WAR?

According to Time, The Observer, and David Cameron, "we" are at war with IS. This is debated, but if you consider the murder of 30 British tourists in Tunisia by an IS gunman provocative, and if you believe the news reports that 7 major attacks on British soil were foiled this year alone - and that one is pending any moment - you might think that IS was attacking UK interests.

At any rate, the decision facing the British Parliament this week is  - bomb Raqqa in Syria, or not. As is widely known, Labour is divided on this issue, and some Lib Dems and SNP are also unsure it is a wise move, as well as a few Tories; Canada and Australia are not currently bombing Syria, it should be noted. Russia, Turkey, and France, however are, along with the USA.

Mr Corbyn's pacifist leanings are not 'terrorist sympathising' despite what the British Prime Minister has said - it is honourable to question going to war. Furthermore, Britain could and should take far more refugees from Syria, and develop cultural, political, economic and strategic plans for replacing bankrupt leaders and ideologies in the region with those more rational and less fanatical, while respecting the culture and beliefs of the Middle East, and its complex histories and own needs.

GUEST REVIEW: PAUL S. ROWE ON BEN MAZER'S SELECTED POEMS

Possibility Glimpsed Through Windows: A Review of Ben Mazer’s Selected Poems Ben Mazer.  Selected Poems . (Ashville, NC: MadHat Press,...