A delightful Canadian poet Christian Bok on Today this morning was talking about his work "Eunoia". Each chapter uses one vowel only, "a" for the first, "e" for the second and so on. It took him seven years to write. He read the opening "I" chapter beautifully.
Writing is inhibiting. Sighing, I sit, scribbling in ink this pidgin script. I sing with nihilistic witticism, disciplining signs with trifling gimmicks, impish highjinks which highlight stick [sidils?] . Isn’t it glib? isn’t it chic? I fit childish insights within rigid limits, writing schtick which might instil priggish misgivings in critics blind with hindsight. I dismiss nit-picking criticism which flirts with philistinism. I bitch. I kibbitz.. Griping whilst criticising dimwits. Sniping whilst inditing nitwits. Dismissing simplistic thinking in which philippic wit is still illicit.
Each vowel has a different character, he said - the "a" chapter was courtly, poetic, Arabic, e elegiac, i lyrical, "o" jocular, the "u" obscene.
Dons go crosstown to look for bookshops known to stock lots of top-notch goods: cookbooks, workbooks - room on room of how-to-books for jocks (how to jog, how to box), books on pro sports: golf or polo. Old colophons on schoolbooks from schoolrooms sport two sorts of logo: oblong whorls, rococo scrolls - both on worn morocco. [That last sentence has a clumsy almost rhyme "logo" and "morocco".]
This sounds like Martin Amis. Is it because it is noun heavy? Has Amis been trying to write a kind of prose poetry all this time?
It's a nice thing about the Today programme. After the last politician victim has been submitted to the Gestapo treatment, they will then have a short piece about science or the arts. The power chasers and public relaters and their ephemeral concerns share a platform with the makers of the beautiful, the quirky, and the seekers of knowledge.