LUP, Hair cover chosen

Ross Hair sent me the cover of his book due from Liverpool University Press later this year. Of course I love it, not least for the picture of the model coracle I made in 1975 in darkest Camberwell, South London, not knowing what was going on, but heading towards the gallery and bookshelves in Camberwell New Road. I thought I’d use space here to try and come to terms with Ross’s title, as I understand it. It may be wide of the mark, but it goes like this. Avant-folk may be more of a music term which Ross has re-positioned to deal with the community of contemporary poetry he encompasses.But what I think he has done with his book is to try and rescue some currents in poetry and small press publishing and give it firm rooting in its reinterpretation of tradition. There are the examples, completely isolated tangents, that I keep throwing about in conversation : Ian Finlay’s ‘Dancers Inherit the Party’ where the verse-forms break down in an attempt to find new syntax, but seem perhaps suggestively folkloric in their subjects. And the paintings of Malevich before Suprematism, of generic peasant figures working in the fields gathering corn and farming, before the rigorous abstraction that followed.  Ross is perhaps is trying to renew the bases of a quasi-modernism for the period he espouses, and deal with aspects of its community and collectivity. This may be a very arcane entry to the more usual observational nature of these notes, but it’s also what comes in a day’s march between a couple of Portes on the extreme west side of Paris. SC

Source: Avant-Folk