TILLA BRADING: AUTUMnal JOUR
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TILLA BRADING: NOTES IN A MANOR OF SPEAKING
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ISBN 0 9537634 5 5
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|TILLA BRADING: AUTUMnal JOUR|
As the title of her short pamphlet shows, Tilla Brading has not written an autumnal journal in verse. As the broken off phrase and use of upper and lower case suggest, this is a fragmented and questioning piece of work, not a completed and perfect piece of lyricism or indeed journal writing. The very idea of lyric verse is challenged here in the early reference to Keats:
Seasons mists conferences Inferences Smiles conspiring with usHere Keats' organic natural world turns, through the punning use of the word conferences, from fruitfulness (conference pears) to a more sinister public discourse. This brief example illustrates the two most pleasing aspects of this work: the playful and suggestive use of sound and language and the thought- provoking juxtapositions. Indeed the poem works largely by juxtapositions of textual responses to events occurring in Autumn, some by Brading and some by others. This is interspersed with some strong lines evoking the autumnal season in the natural world, but never without the threat of human presence always implicit.
The engagement with notions of time and place here is intriguing and ranges widely. September journal entries from Samuel Pepys' diary remind us of the plague, the fire of London and racial attitudes of the period (Sir R. Viner show Pepys a dead black boy who he has dried out in an oven, presumably for curiosity's sake). There is an implicit critique in Tilla Brading's selections here: Pepys is busy being curious and worrying about his clothes while people die around him and, what is more, Brading does not attribute her quotations. In taking three brief quotes she reduces this monumental work and monumental great man down to size. Throughout AUTUMnal JOUR she operates this kind of radical democracy, mentioning a whole cast of characters from Julius Augustus to Sir Henry Wood, significantly all men. What we find here is a fascinating fragmentary historicising of Autumn. Brading achieves a shift in our perception of the season or indeed the whole notions of seasons as a way of cutting up time. Autumn, previously an innocent part of the great universal natural wheel of organic time, become a series of times and dates in which human events have occurred and artists have responded to them. As the piece draws to a close the entry
6th Sophie born 12.00 pmis the first mention of a woman and suggests perhaps a different future not dominated by great men's Autumns. The final words of the AUTUMnal JOUR however do not let us off so easily, returning to a fragmentary dispersal of Keats' poem and reminding us of the dead (the missed) as well as our own vagueness (or mistiness ) about the past:
Seasons are missed Mist of seasons Mist Seasons of.Another strong pamphlet from the new and welcome MAQUETTE PRESS
|reviewer: Harriet Tarlo.|
TILLA BRADING: NOTES IN A MANOR OF SPEAKING|
A most unusual collection, very pleasant to look at. Six poems are each given a note of the musical scale as title and. each one has that note illustrated above the title.
The poems ruminate about language and meaning - the very stuff of poetry. I'm a little puzzled by the musical connection, but no doubt inspiration will strike in the dead of night sometime. The text incorporates quotations (which are attributed) from various sources, including academic works, as in the opening lines of NOTE A:
The whole language is arranged according to its terminations.It's good to see someone attempting something a little out of the ordinary. It's a rare collection that sets you thinking as this one does. From NOTE C:
Language creates life creates language creates lifeand from the same poem:
Words gestate, pursue their own geographies semaphore metaphors perusing the billowing grass branches written down you can let goThis is the first collection by TILLA BRADING that I've seen - it makes me wonder what I might have been missing.
|reviewer: John Francis Haines.|