I've been so busy with new projects (about which I hope soon to be able to write) over the last few months that I've not had the brainspace to return to blogging. However, I couldn't let the release of Phil Davenport’s new book-length poem APPEAL IN AIR go by without celebration. Visitors to the Requiem exhibition at the Bury Transport Museum during the Text Festival will have seen his spreadsheet form work in progress.
By using an accounting tool for an anatomy of sadness, the poem questions the way that we place value in our own lives. Who gets overlooked, what is unheard, what’s too loud?
The poem begins with a pile-up of noise, urban overload, into which is inserted the story of “A”, a true story of a suicide, verbatim from an overheard conversation. “… a thought lost in noise sold as music…” The poem drowns in random information, out of which come soaring flights of birds – first in tiny letters, then in flurries of word/birds that fill the page. The final section leaves us in the big wilderness spaces of the air.
“ringin beyond yr ears/blackbirds in London/starlings of Manchester/stitch th blue postcodes of th sky…”
Davenport’s debut was published by seminal avant-garde press Writers Forum in 1999; his porn/poems written on apples were shown at the 2004 Liverpool Biennial. His work has been variously billposted and exhibited throughout Europe and in China. Davenport curated the largest survey exhibition of Bob Cobbing’s work for Bury Text Festival in 2005 and the first posthumous gallery exhibition of Ian Hamilton Finlay’s work in 2006. He often collaborates with other artists and writer, including Ben Gwilliam, Lee Patterson, Tom Jenks. His current sequence of spreadsheet poems have been exhibited in the Henry Moore Institute and will be shown at Turnpike gallery this April.
APPEAL IN AIR is published by Knives Forks and Spoons press, UK.
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The book can be ordered online at this weblink: