>Fred Beake was praising the New Zealand poet Peter Bland to me the
>other day cos he has a new book out, is it in Penguin? I must look.
Actually, mine was a different Peter (or Pete) Bland -- He was living in
Notting Hill in the late 1960s, and got to know several people in Cambridge
and elsewhere (me, Barry MacSweeney, JH Prynne, John James, Lee
Harwood...). I was living in Hove at the time but he was often around when
I visited Cambridge and I saw him a few times in London in 1969/70. He
took hard drugs and was never healthy.
There's one book: PASSING GODS, Ferry Press 1970 (which was edited by
Jeremy Prynne though it doesn't say so) and a half: JOINT EFFORT by Bland
and MacSweeney, Blacksuede Boot Press 1970.
He wrote a free-ranging spoken poetry, in which a tension which could be
quite desperate was held in the paradoxes of serious/joky, calm/passionate.
It was formally rough, with quite daring formulations at times, influenced
by Ashbery (whom he always spelled Ashberry) and O'Hara, surreal touches
via New York , always in a way poised and fundamentally serious.
Then like a number of poets at that time he fell out of contact and wasn't
heard from. He certainly moved out of London to somewhere north, perhaps
Hebden Bridge area. He sent me a long poem called something like Rose Poppy
and Moth which I foolishly rejected from the magazine COLLECTION and I
never heard from him again. When I recently asked someone it was suggested
that he might be dead.
IN THE WIND
Time alone, in the wind, would
seem to be the very essence. A
vast cone of glowing
coral, engulfing me. Its songs
divinely sweet, waiting only on my
calm. Yet calm is a state
our hooting lives (& if not our
lives, our hooting pasts) ill
A small part of me, perhaps
a lip, or eyebrow, is tacked
to a telegraph pole, feeling the
coarse wood-grain, a terribly
remote & cold place to have
as one's stability. The
rest of me, dismembered
swings in air, seeing the awful
at the call of
aimless winds. Only
when I kiss,
is it real &
tasting of voices.
PASSING GODS page 45
In what sepia town
can we unburden? No, my
dream of lakes, swaying
trees, arose one inch before
death, a brief postcard
fluttering through steel.
The rust, that I unwittingly
chose to carry, an arc
of slug across the black
shingle, a death.
The bellows will never
stop: the tree
is bursting weeping
with "love" it does not scream,
whispers, soft as
a birth, taste.
[the word "never" is italicised]
I suppose this could be number one of a series, "Where Are They Now?"