Quoting the Culture: The New British Sentence and the Politics of Parataxis in the Avant-garde


Published in Critical Survey 14, 2 (September 2002), 22-36.

Alan Munton


Too much quotation makes you blind, my duck—Ian Patterson



The new British sentence because I am arguing against the provocative opening of Ron Silliman’s 1979 essay ‘The New Sentence’, where he writes: ‘I am going to make an argument, that there is such a thing as a new sentence and that it occurs thus far more or less exclusively in the prose of the Bay Area’.[1] 
San Francisco is the site, and the activity justified is the American prose poem since the 1970s.  For Silliman, neither the French prose poem, nor the Surrealist variant of it, are true new sentences.  The American new sentence has no horizons beyond itself, and cannot in consequence be explicated according to any ‘“higher order” of meaning’ (92) such as narrative and character.  It has, he says, evolved ‘in something less than a decade, throughout an entire poetic community’ (93).  I do not disbelieve in the New American Sentence.  Indeed, I believe in it passionately, not least because it offers a model through which something related but distinct can be discovered in British writing.

The new British sentence is spread widely across time, and consequently not limited to a community of writers working in one place.  The British group is disparate: Wyndham Lewis, David Gascoyne, Tony Lopez and Giles Goodland.  Relationships do exist here.  Gascoyne read Wyndham Lewis in the 1930s, not least because everyone read Lewis at that time.[2]  Tony Lopez is the author of two related books that offer exactly one hundred poems, each written in fourteen-line stanzas.  Giles Goodland has published a single book of one hundred poems, one for each year of the last century, from 1900 to 1999, and each has fourteen lines.  Among the 1400 lines are quotations from both Gascoyne and Lewis.  Separately and together this group has important things to say about the subject in modernity. 

The politics of parataxis emerges in the resistance put up towards Fredric Jameson’s 1984 essay ‘Postmodernism, or the Cultural Logic of Late Capitalism’.  Jameson represents Bob Perelman’s poem ‘
China’ as being implicated in schizophrenic discourse.  This is a mischievous strategy that doesn’t mind leaving the impression that schizophrenic consciousness is involved, probably in the writing of the poem, perhaps in the reading of it.  China’ begins:

We live on the third world from the sun.  Number three. Nobody tells us what to do.

The people who taught us how to count were being very kind.

It’s always time to leave.

If it rains, you either have your umbrella or you don’t.[3]

This paratactic structure means for Jameson that a breakdown in the signifying chain has occurred, as in Lacan’s account of schizophrenia.  Parataxis means only ‘placing propositions one after the other without indicating relations of co-ordination or subordination between them’.[4]  Poetry and prose written in paratactic form eliminates relations of hierarchy and dominance, and out of this certain political possibilities of a libertarian kind can be insisted upon.  These run counter to Jameson’s clinical efforts, but agree with his ‘paradoxical slogan...that “difference relates”’.[5]  The work I shall discuss here agrees largely, though not entirely, with Jameson’s rarely observed approval of the postmodern, that disjunction as a cultural style permits ‘more joyous intensities’, and indeed an ‘euphoria’ that displaces anxiety and alienation (29).  We shall not find in the work of these British poets the ‘random and inert passivity’ that Jameson anticipates from disjunction, but rather a properly tense ‘new mode of relationship through difference’ (31).

To read the American paratactic, each line or each item may be contextualised, or recontextualised.  The unit ‘Nobody tells us what to do’ might (it has been suggested) be spoken ‘by a Chinese student straightforwardly proclaiming her independence.’[6]  This requirement makes enormous demands upon the reader, because an immense range of possible relations between personal event, text, and context, becomes available.  An excess of possible referents overwhelms the act of interpretation.

Another strategy is to add quotation marks to certain sentences in order to interpret them.  The reader makes sense of a fragment by inventing a speaker and a dramatic situation, and by this means intransigent elements are made meaningful.  This presumes that the author’s text as it stands is incomplete. Completion becomes a disciplinary act of correction.  Restored quotation marks could however be imaginary (‘restored’), not actual.  This question of actual or virtual quotation permits the transition from American to British practice.  British writing has been using actual quotation in relational writing for some time.  It has developed a politics of the paratactic that necessarily owes nothing to what may have been going on in the Bay area during the 1970s.


The pre-history of quotation as cultural intervention belongs with Wyndham Lewis, who launched the modernist avant-garde in Britain in a blizzard of quotation marks.  The new art, we read on the first page of Blast 1 (1914) ‘is nothing to do with “the People”’, rather with individuals; the next page declares that ‘The “Poor” are detestable animals [when romanticised].  The “Rich” are bores...en tant que riches!’.[7]  An article entitled ‘“Life is the Important Thing!”’ deplores the way this phrase, as it is used against artists, is ‘always said with an air of trenchant and final wisdom’ (129).  Lewis’s very first publication in 1909 had been a story entitled ‘The “Pole”’, quotation indicating the gap between naming and actuality: many so-called Poles were Russians.  A letter written to Augustus John in the same year attacks an unidentified individual who is marked as a cultural type, the ‘“High Priest of Elemental Passion”, alias “The Crow”’.  Lewis says: ‘I would take it out on his dirty carcass only a “High Priest Assaulted” would be such a good advertisement for him’.  Quotation imagines what this person would become, in the language used by others, if Lewis performed his threat.  Here, perception is latent, or virtual.  In the same letter, Lewis objects to being regarded, himself, as ‘a “fellow”, a scamp’, by others.[8]  Here, the perception has been actual.  These words are ‘pre-used’ or soiled.  This is not the language of untrammeled discourse, but language as it has been used elsewhere in the culture.  The words are overheard and written down.  Lewis is quoting the culture.
Lewis’s book-length poem One-Way Song, written in the couplets we associate with Swift and Pope, was published in 1933, when the economic depression is established and Hitler has recently come to power.  The passage quoted represents  a subject-position relevant to that moment: the abject personality presenting itself as strong and individualist.  Lewis finds the language that this individual uses to explain himself to himself, and places those words between quotation marks, so that quotation signals self-deception.  An objective placing in the culture is juxtaposed with repeated forays into the mind of abjection:

            A sodden lump of ‘independent’ meat,

            Organic as a street-lamp, hard to beat

            At doing nothing, a great man for your ‘rights’,

            Who on a heavy ration ‘doggedly’ fights,

            Observing all the rules of ‘clean’ warfare...

            Never so much as touched with phantasy—

            A servant-man for ever and a day....[9]

Lewis enacts the humiliated personality of the inter-war years by bringing forward an abject identity to perform its subjectivity, revealed as self-subjection.  Lewis’s text gives this personality its turn in the spotlight, and at the same moment exposes its inner life as structured from without by the degraded language of others.  This  is Lewisian satire, and it  legitimates the act of quotation as a significant strategy in modernist texts.


To quote the culture without satirising it is to be abject.  David Gascoyne’s surrealist poetry of the 1930s is the antithesis of the abject. In 1933 he wrote what is regarded as the first surrealist poem in English, entitled ‘And the Seventh Dream is the Dream of Isis’.  It is replete with grammatical subordinations driven by strong verbs: ‘Today is the day when the streets are full of hearses/And when women cover their ring fingers with pieces of silk...’. And: ‘The edges of leaves must be examined through microscopes/In order to see the stains made by dying flies.... Or: ‘We told them to cut off the buttons on their trousers/But they swore in our faces and took off their shoes/Whereupon....[10]

However, in 1933 Gascoyne also published what may be the earliest British surrealist prose poems, the ‘Ten Proses’ of September of that year.  It is significant for the present discussion that four of these, numbers 2, 3, 8 and 10, were reprinted in an etruscan reader published in 1997, alongside work by Maggie O’Sullivan and Barry MacSweeney.  This publishing decision brings Gascoyne’s work into conjunction with the contemporary work with which it belongs and alongside which it can still be read.  Gascoyne’s prose poems belong historically with Lewis’s One-Way Song—also 1933—and yet are contemporary with recent work of a kind that I shall turn to later in this discussion.

The second of the ‘Ten Proses’ concerns
New York.  It delineates the naive astonishment of the early twentieth century by which ‘the American City’ means ‘the Future’.  In a skilfully managed transition, this city becomes the site of an ominous and threatening Present.  The idea of the present overwhelms the sky, so that there is no safety.  I find it possible to read the poem doubly, both in its own time (as a surrealist understanding of threat), and as proleptic of the attack on the World Trade Centre in September 1001, which projected America out of illusion and into a terrible present:

In New York and other cities, cities of the Future, there are overhead railways along the sides of buildings.  The windows of the trains glint in the sunlight or the frenetic glare of enormous electric signs as they pass, dizzily, leaning swiftly outwards as they swerve sharp corners.

            Far, far above, writhing away from the cutlery-canteen-crescendo of the interminable traffic passing in the canyons below, a few jets of smoke or steam spurt upwards into the indigo sky, the once-enormous sky now dwarfed by the overwhelming presence of the Present.[11]

Grandiose claims for the Future, and for the primacy of modernity, are undermined by the rising clatter of traffic, together with the exaggerated consequences deriving from ‘a few jets of smoke or steam’.  The sky is revealed to be altogether limited, and the ideology of the Future is displaced by knowledge of the fallen Present.[12]

At this point, Gascoyne is aged sixteen, and on the verge of committing to Surrealism.  For a few years, public reference disappears from his writing, to return in 1937 or 1938 after his extrication from the movement.  But Gascoyne’s 1930s Marxism never left him, and it recurs in 1955 and 1956 as an irruption of the economic in the long dramatic poem Night Thoughts.  This is a poem about the need to be spiritually (not religiously) alert.  In it Gascoyne uses multiple voices to criticise capitalism.  One of the poem’s narrators quietly affirms the enemy’s presence: ‘It has been said that in the Marketplace, man sleeps his deepest sleep.’[13]  Quotation again entails abjection.  In Night Thoughts capital appears as a monstrous underground carnival, directed by the Devil, in which public life is dominated by commodity relations, and the subject is humiliated.

Another route can be taken through Gascoyne’s poetry, following the subject into the spiritual life.  (The ‘spiritual’ is a difficult category  that looks better between quotation marks.)  At the moment of the break with Surrealism, Gascoyne encountered in 1937 the work of the French poet Pierre Jean Jouve (1887-1976), for whom a radical Christianity and the psychoanalytic revolution were defining forces.  Under this influence Gascoyne wrote ‘Ecce Homo’, an anti-fascist poem which ends

Redeem our sterile misery,

Christ of Revolution and of Poetry,

That man’s long journey through the night

May not have been in vain.[14]

This poem caused André Breton to expel Gascoyne from the Surrealist group upon his return to Paris in 1947, on the grounds that it showed him to be a Roman Catholic, which he was not.  Religion is quotation and repetition, but Gascoyne refused to recognise doctrine and consequently had no religious institutional allegiance.  There is no self-subjection in his attachment to the spiritual. Poems concerning Christ as a revolutionary are assertive and written from a stable centre.

The prose-poem ‘The Second Coming’, written after the war, is set in a dream theatre upon whose stage appear all the distortions of organised religion, with an
American cast: ‘thick black distorted crucifixes with white slit eyes, covered with newspaper propaganda headlines, advancing towards the audience like a ju-ju
ceremonial dance of medicine men’.[15] 

For a critique of that relationship that is fully aware of the possibilities of quotation, we must move forward to the 1990s.


To establish what Tony Lopez is doing, and not doing, a glance at what the American poet Stephen Rodefer has done is helpful.  ‘Enough of this’, writes Rodefer after calling up the verbal shadows of Shakespeare and William Carlos Williams in ‘Numberless Shadows’ (1987), which begins:

True minds admit impediment as discovery.

No ideas but in hinges.  They that have eyes

to paint but will do none of it,

who mostly shy away from showy things...

Alteration is mockery; and when cultural capital is involved, it may amount to satire.  Does it do so here, where Rodefer abruptly abandons his own word games? (A spelunker is a caving enthusiast):

they are the spelunkers of their own faces,

ribboned by a lamp that brings to mind

the mine which stakes its claim to their mistakes.

Enough of this.

Later the poem returns to Shakespeare’s shadow:

          The rest is slumber, which contains

its own mismanagement.

This flat declarative sentence, an impossibility with comic potential, is what Lopez must surely have heard in Rodefer.  But Lopez’ sentences will declare a public language of misconceived thought.  As he puts it in a poem written for Rodefer, ‘My vocabulary did this to me’.  But this too is quotation, and from an American source; these are the last words of the poet Jack Spicer, squeezed out of incoherence in the alcoholic ward in 1965.  Respecting the finality of another, Lopez occupies a position of risk as he prepares to repel the dangerous languages of the Other, languages that should never be allowed aboard.[16]

We are not in possession of ourselves because the language of ‘thought’ is damaging, the ‘fifth column of an invasive other’, as Andrew Crozier has written in a complex and perceptive discussion of Lopez’ False Memory.  Language forces us to ‘undergo the abjection not of the sinner but of the other in us’.[17]  Lopez’ other, in False Memory (1996) and in its completion Data Shadow (2000), is consistently political and economic.  In the earlier collection the section entitled ‘Non-Core Assets’ sets the theme (such assets are considered disposable in a crisis).  All the poems are fourteen lines long, and pseudo-sonnet six opens with an ending, slides into the language of the business pages of a broadsheet newspaper, and emerges into the personal with a fresh story:

            In this version the tale ends happily

            Financed from operating cash flow over

            The life of the contract.  Destocking increases

            Because of his wife’s greed.[18]

Quotation marks are obviously missing here, but it would be difficult to specify the gain in restoring them, because the poem’s tendency to re-narrativise itself in the varying registers of other people’s discourse is also a move to internalise:

                                                He tricks and eats

            A heron left out to die on the trading floor

            Moves into facilities management personnel,

            Calculating to prevent costly down time

            In non-core assets.

The North American (and recently British) ‘trick or treat?’ sets off a comic episode that images the stock exchange, where a Buñuelesque dying bird makes an enigmatic commentary on its surroundings, and is eaten in a parody of consumption all the stranger because the eater is part of the system. 

Next, Snow White enters, and behaves appropriately to the economic field:

                                                            His new stepmother

            And her subsequent life with the dwarfs,

            Cautiously rubbing salt into wounds,

            And maintaining the final dividend in full

            Before she walked out altogether.

There is another concealed narrative here (who is the ‘he’ who has Snow White as a stepmother?), but the overt story is one of inversion of sympathy—but of Disneyish sympathy, already inauthentic—under the constraint of economic power.  To end, the language of the business pages again reasserts itself:


            Have to be set against pump-priming write-offs

                            Assuming the standard rate of income tax.

Lopez hears this language when it is at its most dangerous; that is, before it becomes cliché but not before its consumers (ourselves) risk internalising it.  To hear it and to write it down using sonnet form, is to oppose it.  This is satire.

That may seem too strong a term, for there is no Lewisian harshness or dismissive contempt here.  Crozier argues that ‘genuine horror is frustrated’ in False Memory because the languages that Lopez hears have denied him his own voice.  The harshest aspect of this ‘garrulous, monologic continuum’ is a ‘dystopian anxiety’.  In my reading, or hearing, of it, there is something more dangerous; for it is precisely in its capacity to deny, or overwhelm, a poetic voice that the power of a corrupted public language lies.

An evident context for many of these poems is the Balkan wars of the 1990s.  The lines ‘Now find the umbrella:/A target for Serbian shells’ is an example from Data Shadow.  But this particular pseudo-sonnet is also about children: ‘You can lock up kids but it doesn’t change/Behaviour patterns...’.[19]  The voice that speaks the concepts of behaviourism—the discredited laboratory psychology of James B. Watson and B. F. Skinner that was dominant in the United States between the 1920s and the 1970s—is a voice to reject because it is committed to control and to an inadequate conception of human complexity, whilst it misrecognises the process by which language is learned.

Further on, war-damaged children enter the sphere of the economic: ‘The ward was filled with amputee children/Meeting the deficit target.’  If we take seriously the economic context of war, these lines approach genuine horror, not least in their ambiguity.  To the meaning that the children suffer a physical deficit as amputees can be added the sense that they are actively engaged, in their suffering, in fulfilling a requirement made of them, such is the invasive power of economic forces.  Crozier writes of ‘the hurt acknowledgement of complicit discourse’ in these poems, and indeed, however soiled the quoted language may be, we do not fail to recognise its referent.  The alternation between children and the Serbian context indicates a complicit political failure.  After the ‘deficit target’ we read: ‘Worries about/The peaceful integration of disparate states/Are irrational.’  In the war itself, integration was the very issue.  Lopez’ words face the reader with a further untruth supported by a spurious psychology.  The erring logic of ‘The safety of your corn plant is unfounded’ tells a potentially more truthful story.  If a perspective can settle upon one such plant, an umbrella might indeed be hit by Serbian shells.  After such implications, the concluding lines, ‘This guarantee/Does not affect your statutory rights’ may seem a little easy, too much like the final line of the first of Lopez’ poems discussed here.  Nevertheless, the phrase is slightly sinister, in that it is official language but generous: you get the guarantee and the rights, but (with anxiety) maybe the guarantee isn’t worth much?  Such a phrase is worth working with.  By inserting everyday language into the dystopic context of war and mutilation, Lopez persuades us to recognise the difficult contexts of the apparently banal.  In this politics, quotation is both a report and a resistance.



The title of Giles Goodland’s A Spy in the House of Years (2001) presents the author as the investigator of time and history.  These fourteen-line texts, built up out of short extracts from publications that appeared in each year between 1900 and 1999, are both poems and prose-poems.  Scientific, mathematical and medical journals, newspapers, magazines, fiction, poetry, books of criticism and philosophy, of music and travel, biography and autobiography—all are ransacked to construct a collection of precisely one hundred pages (plus several listing the sources) made up entirely of quotations.  The outcome is a perfect case of quoting the culture.  Everything is ‘other’, and the writer has no voice at all, or so it appears.

Where Lopez is disintegrated, Goodland brings together.  Considerable care has evidently been taken to produce local, and sometimes extended, coherence between the quotations.  ‘1905’, for example, has thirteen extracts that include the word ‘green’, whilst the fourteenth encourages the reader to work out what the colour of brain fluid might be.  ‘1914’ begins reflexively: ‘I do not hesitate to appropriate another’s utterance when I can use it to good advantage, and therefore’ (the source is an authorless text entitled Women and Other Enigmas).[20]  ‘1928’ ends surreally when Surrealism was active: ‘a pineapple was exploded in the building of the Chicago Heights Star’ (29; the source is the Daily Telegraph).  Under ‘1942’ occurs a telling conjunction between Pound , speaking in a broadcast from Mussolini’s Rome, and Eliot, writing from the heart of England in Little Gidding: ‘The pattern in which wars are made//is a pattern of timeless moments’ (43).  The culture is tracked, so that in ‘1968’ there is a quotation from McLuhan, followed by Tom Wolfe on LSD.  A conjunction under 1993 shows both the effect of quotations within quotations, and glances serendipitously at an actual use of the title of Lopez’ 1996 book, False Memory.  The pseudo-sonnet ‘1993’ ends:

have been “ghosted” (white eggshell paint wiped on and off to leave streaks in the grain)
to complement the

journey into what she calls the “parallel universes” inhabited by the antagonists in the false memory controversy (94).

The economic is present, but is not persistent.  Althusser and Balibar appear in ‘1970’, and in ‘1963’ The Times contributes a use of quotation not so far encountered—to dissolve the concept so marked: ‘thus postponing “the crisis of capitalism”’ (64).  An acute awareness of the business of quotation no doubt explains the appearance of this entry: ‘they raise the middle and forefingers of both hands, momentarily forming twitchy bunny ears—air quotes’ (90; from Spy, New York). 

Goodland sometimes refers to the structure of the true sonnet, so that certain four-line sections possess a degree of coherent meaning.  I want to take one such grouping, from ‘1941’.  This is remarkable for the chance adjacency of two of the writers considered here, Wyndham Lewis and David Gascoyne.  The two other writers quoted are Philip Larkin, anomalous in the literary context, but justified by date of composition, and Theodore Roethke.  The order is Larkin (from a letter), Lewis (from a novel), Gascoyne (diary), Roethke (a poem):

what is truth?  Balls. What is love?  Shite.  What is God?  Bugger.  Ah, but what is beauty?

a window opening upon a starlit canal with a great drooping church, weighed down

at once, from motor-car lamps, windows and skylights, a succession of Morse Vs twinkled in reply

and the dead begin from their dark to sing in my sleep (42).

This shows that it is possible for quotation to perform a series of changes in register so that the sonnet seems to enact an earlier purpose, to achieve a dying fall or a powerful emotional conclusion.  Roethke’s line appears to do that here, gaining by the proximity of Larkin’s intemperate search for beauty.  If this is an attempt to achieve closure, it would be the most conservative use of quotation encountered thus far.  However, three of the quotations are night-time moments (Larkin’s is perhaps a night-time of the mind), and further investigation of the obscurity is necessary.

The Lewis quotation is from a novel entitled The Vulgar Streak, published in 1941, but concerned with the Munich crisis of 1938.  The main characters are in a Venice restaurant on the September night upon which the Czechs were betrayed and war seemingly averted.  Reference to the passage quoted shows that Goodland has edited Lewis to serve his own purposes.  Italics indicate the extraction:

At the restaurant, the selection of their table had been dictated by some obsession with the romantic.  It was withdrawn from the rest of the mere eating and drinking majority.  It had a window opening upon a starlit canal, of very old and shadowy palaces, with a great drooping church, weighed down with a plastron of tormented sculpture, dripping in its bath of moonlight.[21]

Lewis did not approve of the romantic, and this is not an attempt to evoke the beautiful, as ‘drooping’ and ‘weighed down’ imply.  (A plastron, from breastplate, is the ventral part of a tortoise or turtle shell.)  Goodland has taken out the phrase ‘of very old and shadowy palaces’.  This is paratactic in relation to the starlit canal—but has been removed so that the excerpt performs better as an instance of parataxis!  The  alert reader would be correct in suspecting that this is not a fulfilment of Larkin’s demand for ‘beauty’: for beautiful churches do not droop or allow themselves to be weighed down.  Goodland’s pseudo-sonnet, playing with language and with us, responds to close reading as much as any true sonnet.

The line from Gascoyne comes from a diary entry for
4 September 1941.  He had read a short item in an evening newspaper, and Goodland quotes the news story as Gascoyne transcribed it.  The extracted words are again italicised:

In Darkest France: A Wellington bomber pilot, flying low over a French town at night, flashed the ‘V’ signal.  At once, from motor-car lamps, windows and skylights, a succession of Morse Vs twinkled in reply.[22]

Gascoyne was deeply moved by this moment and, shaped as he was by French culture, conceived a poem to be entitled ‘On France in her Darkness’.  A moment’s consideration, however, shows how improbable the newspaper story is.  To stay aloft, a bomber must travel at a considerable speed, making it unlikely that people on the ground would see a signal, let alone respond to one.  Either this story was planted by the Ministry of Information, or—as I believe—it was written to fill an awkward gap on the page.  What Gascoyne took to be a fait divers was a filler.

Quoted, the passage becomes slightly mysterious, though not a candidate for Larkin’s ‘beauty’—‘twinkled’ is suspect because charming.  Considered as false public language, as an optimistic lie at a time of crisis, it has an enhanced interest.  Ideological language initially offers itself as valid statement, which is why it must be subdued within other texts.  Gascoyne quoted a corrupt text in good faith, and Goodland quotes Gascoyne in order to situate an apparently genuine story within the context of Larkin’s approach to beauty.  In this instance, to quote the culture is to quote falsity.  When the line fails to answer the call for beauty, we realise that the whole four-line structure, Roethke’s over-ripe line included, has been an opportunity for satire.


Despite my opening scepticism towards Ron Silliman’s New American Sentence, it must be evident that the new British sentence often relies upon American contexts.  At Harvard in 1940, Lewis read and explained the passage I have discussed; Gascoyne needed the idea of New York before he could write his prose poem; Lopez has heard Rodefer’s voice; Goodland quotes American sources.  However,  Silliman himself has been challenged from within American poetry.  Jameson’s victim, Bob Perelman, has recently remarked that Silliman’s radically paratactic poetry eventually becomes autobiographical: ‘the more he writes one new sentence after another...the more a particular person with particular habits and choices and cognitive maps appears.’[23]  The British sentence does not run this risk, because it deals with public language or with widely shared illusions about the self.  The new American sentence turns back upon its author and illuminates an individual, a self, caught in language.  The British sentence turns back towards subjects caught in language and illuminates the networks that sustain identity, or the illusion of it.  The British writers are all in some degree satirists, and can therefore maintain a social critique more successfully than do the Americans.


[1].    Ron Silliman, The New Sentence (New York: Roof, n.d. [1993]), 63.

[2].    Gascoyne quotes from Lewis’s The Caliph’s Design (1919) in ‘Some Recent Art Exhibitions’, New English Weekly 15 March 1934, 523.

[3].    Bob Perelman, Ten to One: Selected Poems (Hanover, NH and London: Wesleyan University Press, 1999), 32.

[4].    Gillian Rose, The Melancholy Science: An Introduction to the Thought of Theodore Adorno (London: Macmillan, 1978), 13.

[5].    Fredric Jameson, Postmodernism, or, The Cultural Logic of Late Capitalism (London and New York: Verso, 1991), 31.

[6].    George Hartley, Textual Politics and the Language Poets (Bloomington and Indianapolis: Indiana University Press, 1989), 50.

[7].    Wyndham Lewis (ed.), Blast 1 (1914; Santa Barbara: Black Sparrow Press, 1981), [7], [8].

[8].    Paul O’Keeffe, Some Sort of Genius: A Life of Wyndham Lewis, rev. ed. (2000; London: Pimlico, 1001), 95.

[9].   Wyndham Lewis, Collected Poems and Plays, ed. Alan Munton (Manchester: Carcanet, 1979), 62.  First published as One-Way Song (London: Faber, 1933).

[10].  David Gascoyne, ‘And the Seventh Dream is the Dream of Isis,’ in Selected Poems (London: Enitharmon Press, 1994), 23, 24, 25; emphases added.

[11].   David Gascoyne, ‘From “Ten Proses”’, etruscan reader III (1997), 48.  Selection edited by Roger Scott and Nicholas Johnson.  First published in ‘Ten Proses’, New English Weekly III, 22 (14 September 1933), 515-16 (515).

[12].   For examples of claims by writers that the United States entered the present in 2001, see ‘A world of difference’ in The Guardian, 11 October 1001, section G2, 2.  Joan Didion: ‘My sense is that the world didn’t change so much as America entered it.’  Harold Evans: ‘The somnambulants in America who thought that they didn’t have to relate to the rest of the world have got a horrible awakening.’

[13].   David Gascoyne, ‘Night Thoughts’, in Selected Poems (London: Enitharmon, 1994), 226.  First broadcast on the BBC Third Programme on 7 December 1955.  First published in London in 1956 and in New York in 1958.

[14] .   Gascoyne,  Selected Poems, 80.

[15] .  Gascoyne, Selected Poems, 176.

[16].   Tony Lopez, ‘Sixteen at Six Times Three for Stephen Rodefer’, in Accomplices: Poems for Stephen Rodefer [ed. Rod Mengham] (Cambridge: Equipage, 1001), 5.  For the original, see Robin Blaser, ‘The Practice of Outside’ in The Collected Books of Jack Spicer, ed. Robin Blaser (1975; Santa Rosa: Black Sparrow Press, 1996), 325.

[17].   Andrew Crozier, ‘Writing by Numbers: A Preview’, review of False Memory in Jacket #11, ed. John Tranter, at www.jacket.zip.com.au/jacket.  No further references.

[18].   Tony Lopez, False Memory (Great Barrington, MA: The Figures, 1996), 9.

[19].   Tony Lopez, Data Shadow (London: Reality Street Editions, 2000), 30.

[20].   Giles Goodland, A Spy in the House of Years (Horsham: Leviathan, 2001), 15.  I am grateful to Steve Spence for recognizing that this book was relevant to my discussion.

[21].   Wyndham Lewis, The Vulgar Streak, ed. Paul Edwards (Santa Barbara: Black Sparrow Press, 1985), 83.  Goodland refers to the 1973 Jubilee Books reprint of the first edition, 85.

[22].   David Gascoyne, Collected Journals 1936-1942 (London: Skoob Books, 1991), 312.

[23].   Toh Hsien Min, ‘Between the get-well cards and the pantyhose: Bob Perelman goes shopping: An interview with Bob Perelman’, Jacket #16, March 2002.  See note 16.




4929 words in main text

5448 words inc. footnotes

 Alan Munton, Senior Research Fellow in English, University of Plymouth at Exmouth

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