Words by the Founders; Photo by Rafe Usher-Harris
Each month Foxtrot Uniform will be reviewing new books, poetry, plays, music or events that we have experienced over the passing month. October has held a lot: Catalonia declared independence, ending in Spanish arrests and crisis; Hollywood and Westminster have been gripped by sexual assault allegations. Yet, the month has been a good one for us, with the publication of the first issue of our magazine. It’s also been a good month for the literary community as you’ll see in this month’s review:
Penguin Modern Poets 6: Die Deeper into Life
By Claudia Rankine, Maggie Nelson, and Denise Riley
Published by Penguin, 26th October 2017
A reboot of the 1960-70’s series, this sixth volume of the Penguin Modern Poets series bridges the gap between poetry and prose with long and short pieces by two American and one English poet. An amazing place for the seasoned poetry reader to rekindle a passion, Modern Poets is also a great way for new readers to delve into the world of poetry. With sweeping poems that fall onto both portrait and landscape pages, this really is the world of contemporary poetry. Each of the poets in this collection have jobs outside poetry ensuring that the poems are truly ‘real-world’ poems; from history and philosophy to Marxist politics this really is poetry for the world.
From Here To Eternity: Traveling the World to Find the Good Death
By Caitlin Doughty
Published by. W.W. Norton & Company, 3rd October 2017
In a search for the ‘good death’, Caitlin Doughty explores different cultures’ ways of treating their dead. She discovers and participates in powerful death rituals, that are mostly unknown in the Western world, and discusses a topic which society usually avoids.
Coupled with beautiful illustrations, and Caitlin’s own experience of being a mortician and running a funeral home, it is a book which allows you to explore various different cultures ways of treating their dead. From Japan, Bolivia, Indonesia, Mexico, to Spain, it is both eye-opening and wonderfully intriguing. Definitely one for those interested in the treatment of death and cultural differences.
That Inevitable Victorian Thing
By E.K. Johnston
Published by Penguin Young Readers Group, 3rd October 2017
Set in the near future, That Inevitable Victorian Thing follows the princess of the empire, Victoria–Margaret, who is a descendant of Victoria I. The princess, due to marry, first has a summer of freedom.
Johnston inventively explores the significance of Queen Victoria as a strong, powerful figure who made significant changes in the course of history with a futuristic twist. The novel involves Victorian values of marriage in a postmodern setting using DNA to create suitable matches. This exploration of the nature of relationships and attitudes towards social conventions is applicable to our current society.
A Glossary of Years
By Linda Rose Parkes
Published by Under The Radar, Issue 19, Summer 2017
A poem in fragmented structure discussing the struggle translating German words learnt from her years spent in Germany into English.
Structuring the poem with very little punctuation and harsh gaps between sentences represents the gap in translation between German to English in a very broken way, almost saying ‘these are German words, not perfect in English but why must they be?’. The narrator comes across as breathless in the first part of the poem, compressing definitions and historical artefacts together, making the reader uncomfortable on purpose (and I suspect I feel something very different to a reader who could speak both English and German.) The one stanza that stands out is the smallest: ‘die Scheide vagina / Separation die Scheidung’. Such clever use of form, space on the page and translation in just six words: a perfect microcosm of the poem that I think sums up what the poet is trying to get across.