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Translation of Eric Mottram's Twentythird Legal by T Wignesan

Translation of Eric Mottram’s Twentythird Legal by T. Wignesan Le vingt-troisième légal pendant la guerre le peuple devient obéissent de nouveau plein du respect (et) de la confiance les enfants naïfs dans la foi la gouvernance nécessaire la responsabilité perdue des serviteurs loyaux des castrés adults la gouvernance appropriée dans leurs esprits c’est l’urgence Ils se sentent bien obligés à la ration bien dans le manquement bien d’être restreint l’anxiété permanente reconnaissants pour le chocolat addictif nous n’avons pas besoin d’une guerre pour l’instant uniquement des structures favorisant la mort une gouvernance parfaite qu'ils posent des questions inattendues alors nous pouvons continuer à vivre (from The Legal Poems. Colne: Arrowspire Press, 1986, p. 19) Excerpt from a review of EM’s Selected Poems. 1989 by Simon Smith in “fragmente", Issue One, Spring 1990, Ed. Andrew Lawson and Anthony Mellors at Oxford, p. 39: “…The police state enters these poems with great frequency, and its shadow becomes darker in later works like Interrogation Rooms and The Legal Poems. The oppression is seen as global not local. (…) The way we are pinned into responses and grindingly intolerable lives, Mottram reveals in chilling fashion with the “Twentythird Legal Poem”… (…) This is Mottram’s bleak assessment of the situation facing us in Thatcherite Britain: his poetry is about the use and abuse of this kind of power. As he points out in “Elegy 4”: “politics came throgh (sic) poets/ poet-statesmen the rule” (24). But the power networks have changed since Wyatt’s time (a writer Mottram particularly admires). The poet is no longer one of Shelley’s legislators; our poets are simply the most articulate of the dispossessed. This Selected (Poems) faces up to this readjustment in a way few others have dared.” Excerpts from Eric Mottram’s letters from America during 1965-66 (continued): August 10, 1966: « Dear Wignesan,       I’m so sorry I put you to writing to enquire about the safety of your Burroughs bundle: everything arrived safely forwarded from New York Univ. while I was up in Buffalo. I just could not find the time towards the end of my time there for anything except teaching my two graduate courses and grading the hefty papers. Up there I found three editors who want the article [actually the first part of William Burroughs: The Algebra of Need. London: Marion Boyars, 1977, 282pp.]: to appear in Audit, Salmagundi and as a separate thing. Your work in getting hold of it and the letters must have been irritating and I sincerely thank you for it all. One thing: I did send the Reich - did you get it? Since you don’t say, I gather not: that’s worrying because you know how They are about Reich. Incidentally, Brown has a second book out at last - Love’s Body -not quite the brilliance of Life Against Death but pretty good and an original form. Otherwise I am hung up totally reading and thinking about Olson, as a result of hearing tapes of his discourses and seeing lecture notes of his seminars at Buffalo. Quite apart from my steady admiration for him as poet and Black Mountain organizer. (Incidentally I owe you one pound one and six for the postage - shall I pay you by check now or when I arrive?) Under the pressure of my courses up there, I felt energized and tackled a number of  other projects in a way which astonished me - all sorts of things loose in my mind started to come through connected. Partly the decent conditions, the sunshine, the airconditioned office, and the excellent company recruited for the summer session - Fiedler, Barth, Richard Stern, Mudrick, Clive Hart, Arnold Stein, Basil Bunting, Tony Connor - etc - and Me. - it added up to work done and feelings used. Not one bad dream. [... 11 lines suppressed] Olson is not a Negro - why did you think he was I wonder? :interesting. You are right about my position in London and the betrayals of everything you and I stand for: latest is M.L.Rosenthal’s piece on Ginsberg - after years of talking to him about Allen and hearing my lecture on him at Kilve, he comes out with this classic **** in the NY Times Book Review. But I now have three of my best students teaching in universities in England - some hope and happiness here. And let me say, everywhere I have taught and seminared and lectured here, the response has been great, and the jobs offered very heartening. Especially at Buffalo. [... 10 lines suppressed]       I shall not write again from here - I have three weeks to do everything in. So I am telling everyone no more letters from this end -unless imperative. I have unfinished business from Buffalo to get down to while the whole thing is fermenting, and a number of pieces to complete here. Whether I’ll get to San Francisco as planned I doubt - not only the plane strike but sheer weight of things. I earned the money for the trip, so that’s ok. On[e] thing I would like to do is to go and see Olson at Gloucester at the end of the month. Feel I need it.       So that’s it. Let me know if there is anything urgent at all, nevertheless. Otherwise we’ll get things out in September - sailing the seventh.      [1 para of 6 lines on my writing lobbed off]                                                                       Yours sincerely,   Eric. »   [From c/o Wilentz, 17 West 8th Street, New York 10003. Letter addressed to Room 3, 7, Buckland Crescent, Swiss Cottage, N.W.3]   (c) T. Wignesan - Paris, 2017

Copyright © | Year Posted 2017

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