Just back from breezy Hunstanton in North Norfolk where I was staying with Peter Hughes, and took the opportunity to record an interview. I’m currently doing a series of these with people I used to publish with The Many Press and who have not, as far as I’m aware, been interviewed before. The un- or at least the under-interviewed. . . I’ve already more or less completed one with Bill (publishes as W.G.) Shepherd, whose point of departure is his father setting off for the First World War aged sixteen (he’d lied, as so many did, about his age) on a horse and armed with a sword. . . The repercussions of this are a significant theme in our ensuing conversation.
Peter gave me the latest in his Oystercatcher series, The Deer Path to my Door by Gerry Loose. This is a series or sequence of two line poems, work that, to quote from the Oystercatcher site, 'leads language through its own moving landscapes, as well as others trodden, tended and observed by the author. Wry, lyrical, daft, philosophical – these lines are alert to miniscule shifts in natural phenomena and thought, the tracks of language glistening under starlight, sun and ample Scottish rain . . .' It’s a tricky thing, the very short poem. It can all too easily acquire a tendentious significance precisely because of its shortness – those shards of agonised experience written by Ian Hamilton, and by others published by him in The Review some years ago, fall into this category for me; something enormous is left hanging in the air, but after a while you can’t help thinking, well so what. Gerry Loose does work for me, less portentous, and offering moments of real illumination.