Time to go solo?
April 17, 2008 13:30
William Direen (Ed.)
Written in a variety of languages and featuring the work of poets, writers and photographers, Percutio, edited by William Direen is an interesting and, at times, incomprehensible collection of writings. Given the task of writing on a crucial period of development implicit in the creative process, notable New Zealand and French literary figures describe their methods and influence in the 2007 issue of Percutio.
There was some poetry, there was some prose, there were paintings and there were photographs – whether I understood them at all was another issue altogether. J. Ross, Will Christie, Stuart Porter and Jo Contag were notably bewildering. After Sally McIntyre's thoughtful prose describing her take on Nigel Bunn’s photograph 'Untitled 2', Contag's 'U.S. Criminal Code vs. The Poetry of Oscar Wilde' left me utterly confused and ever so slightly baffled – if they were not one and the same. One could identify a sliver of structure in the ideas presented in the various stanzas. Contag seemed to touch on what appeared to be the nature of the US Justice system while also presenting a rather romanticized scene of genial people frolicking through gardens. I'm sure the poet understood what she was writing...
Conversely, Brett Cross's 'a cobble-path theme' or 'un motif de chemin pavé' is a simple and significantly more beautiful poem. In the work, Cross explores the binary opposition between nature and progress. The magnificence of nature is examined in the fourth stanza: “at the valley's foot / circled by peaks of ruptured stone,” while the construction of civilisation culminates in the creation of “a model world.” I also enjoyed the radical Arno Löffler, a German writer who begins his piece of prose by describing the role and popularity of icecream in New Zealand society...
I was adequately satisfied by the work that I did understand. In literature as in life, sometimes you get it and sometimes you don't.
Now, many people reading this post will know Brett Cross as the man behind Titus Books, the enterprising outfit that has given New Zealand a score of new volumes from a dozen authors over the past several years. As the Director and general dogsbody of Titus, Brett has been responsible for correcting Richard Taylor's spelling, elucidating the arcane allusions in Jack Ross' novels, defending David Lyndon Brown against charges of obscenity from outraged librarians, and buying yours truly endless drinks.
After being rated above a number of Titus authors by Critic, will Brett decide to abandon all this rather trying activity, and strike out on a new, solo career? Perhaps the rest of us will have to lift our games?