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Smoke Rising : London 1940-41

Seed, John
Format: Paperback
Publisher: Shearsman Books
Published: September 4, 2015
ISBN: 9781848614321
86 pages, black & white illustrations


“Despite exalted notions of the author, writers work with the materials they find around them and try to hammer out some kind of new thing with bits of discursive wood lying around and rusty nails and old string and glue. What I am doing here might even be compared to a film-maker creating a documentary out of other people’s bits of film and sound recordings, interspersed with some slight commentary. Editing as creative act!”- From John Seed’s ‘Postface’ to ‘Brandon Pithouse’Smoke Rising is a documentary poem.

Very much in the tradition of Charles Reznikoff’s Testimony, it utilises oral sources to capture the speech – and perhaps the experience-of those who suffered the London Blitz. However, its elective affinities are also to Walter Benjamin’s great unfinished Arcades Project: “to carry the principle of montage into history…to assemble large-scale constructions out of the smallest and most precisely cut components…to discover in the analysis of the small individual moment the crystal of the total event.”

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