Monday, September 10, 2007

Barrett, via Killeen?

Take a good look. On the left we have two views (click to enlarge) of the cover of the second anthology of Kiwi poets in performance created by Jack Ross and his sidekick Jan Kemp. The first volume, which I preferred to Murray Deaker, has been ludicrously successful, going into multiple printings and selling something like three thousand copies so far. Like its predecessor, the new volume comes complete with a CD, so that you get to read and hear your favourite poems at the same time.

I haven't gotten hold of a copy yet, but I was intrigued by the cover of the second volume, which uses a painting by Richard Killeen. I've seen Killeen doing similar arrangements of odd-looking insects in other places - he has one attached to the wall above the lending desk at the University of Auckland library, for example. I've always wondered whether the wily Killeen - the man who outraged Elam art students in the '80s by turning up to give a guest lecture in a business suit - might have ripped his signature image off the cover of the second solo album by the late great Syd Barrett.

Syd, who was not in the best state of mind when he cut Barrett, is supposed to have painted those insects and put them on his cover as a greeting-challenge to John Lennon (get it?), another genius musician-painter who took too much acid in the late '60s. For my money, the music on Barrett is up there with Plastic Ono Band, the great album John was knocking out at about the same time.

What do you folks think? Is Syd Barrett a ghostly presence on the cover of Contemporary New Zealand Poets in Performance?


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Killeen may go to jail.

4:00 pm  

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