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Set in 'South-Wets Wales' Illennium is a cut-up sonnet sequence which draws on recent theories about the social role of shame, as it kaleidoscopically traces the trajectory of a romantic attachment across a tangle of shifting friendships. Mixing disease and end-of-era career discontents, the personal and the personnel, its narratives constantly cohere and fracture under the blown down sign of The No Sign bar, a local watering-hole. Indeed, the more shameless the embarrassment of literary riches the poem shores up, from Shakespeare to Berrigan, Laforgue to Keats, Rimbaud to Dafydd ap Gwilym, the more the chances of emotional and poetic plenitude seem to be thwarted by 'silences stubbed out' on an 'I for an I / in the very temple of delight'. Yet, if the intersection of a personal pathology with the public ones of Clinton's Washington or Blair's Balkans disturbs us here by virtue of its apparent superficiality, it noneless sharply raises the question of how much we really wish to conceal what we think we (really) feel.Moreover, for all its fears of the 'dork inability' of the poet, even of poetry itself, to resist abject collapse, Illennium cannot help being brazen either, revealing itself over and over again to be a peach-succulent, recklessly playful work, whose blushful excesses bear witness to the 'brilliantly pointless' energies of language in lyric form.

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Shearsman Books
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