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Showing posts from February 28, 2016

Peter Goldsworthy: The Rise of the Machines and other love poems

Speaking of the un- spoken, jokes are a smoky subspecies. This near-haiku is not so much a final definition of jokes as one definition of poetry. It shows up in Peter Goldsworthy’s sequence ‘Ars Poetica’. What he means is the wordplay of jokes we make every day is a microcosm, a type and model of the more grandiose verbal surprise packages known as poems. By this measure, Goldsworthy himself is quite a joker. Quips, puns, quadruple entendres, comic allusions, irreverent cross-references   and punch lines are the very stuff of his poetry, oft times their driving force and final destination. Laconicism gets the better of him on a visit to the Uffizi: About babies they were mostly wrong, the Old Masters, even when they stuck wings on them. Satiric, benevolent, worldly – his humour conveys more serious intentions, always implies an inhabited culture, and is part of an achieved art. (Those lines expect that you know Auden’s famous sonnet.) Irony, for example, can