Terry Jones
Furious Resonance

June 2011. 40 pp. ISBN-13 978-3-901993-35-0 (= PSPS 5)
£5.00 (+ 1.00 p&p), €6.00 (+ 1.00 p&p), US$ 8.50 (+ 1.50 p&p)
 

In Furious Resonance, an ominous grand piano plays itself, a sleeping mother-to-be "wanders through a charred dictionary / as large as a house", and the mummified body of an Egyptian princess recounts how the rituals of death and burial have left her stranded in the "droning world" of the twenty-first century. In other poems we hear birds "singing about war and sex", see red and white ants engaged in murderous classical warfare, and find a meditation on "the ghosts of the self / closed in books we read somewhere."
The collection explores how the spaces of the past and the present, the personal and the political, the conscious and the unconscious, and the living and the dead re-sound across cultures and languages in sympathy or protest with each other. It is a collection in which, as a set of German-English dictionaries are burned on a pyre, "verbs burn bluer than nouns"; in which Heidegger is offered a "posy" made partly from some of the concepts in his writings; and an excluded "black rat" protests eloquently at being "forced to eat history's shit". In the opening poem, where a trapped bee hangs on its "furious resonance", the reader is invited to "hold the note and enter".


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Other Poetry Recommendation:
"These poems register the strangeness of things with skill, delight, and verbal aplomb. A collection to savour." Peter Bennet, co-editor, Other Poetry 4.4 (2011)


Excerpts from Furious Resonance

Arrangement

You dropped your black cardigan right by the bay window:
it lies with its sleeves wrapped, a shadow hugging itself
or headless black swan where you stepped out of one thing

into another. It is a clue I should be able to read:
unillumined, I gather inklings and omens like kindling ...
But you are on the move - shifting between rooms,

ducking under doors, through walls, as if the house were a forest.
Now it looks like a bat - its ears, little teeth. It might crawl
deliberately towards the kitchen, look for somewhere to hang

the ink reflection of itself, its pall of smoke. Listen.
I won't pick it up. If you are going to shed your skin, take off
to the dark, I'll follow suit, shrug off this white shirt,

arrange it carefully by like an echo.

Lovers by the Ice Age Tarn

Lovers by the ice-age tarn
locked within the season's frame
tender to the ancient sun
all their urgent naked claim:

'Until the climate takes my eyes,
sun is darkened with its spores,
and pre-historic butterflies
turn to brittle amber tears,

bend me by the golden ice,
tip me to reflected stars;
here where winter's snowy lace,
Venus whitened, red with Mars,

cusps the cuddled frozen eye
grip me like infinity.'
He, curled above her effortlessly
melts upon the purity.

'Where the snow-thrilled continent,
all its queuing blinded hills,
skips the white hare to its heart
flashes burning icicles,

glacier-prisoned, iced in light,
I instance the blue weight,
valley-pinioned, through the least
curvings of landscape burst.'

Held in untemperatured January,
their ages warming embryo,
the two are liquid eye to eye:
one is tarn and one is sky.


"It is the familiar suddenly perceived, and the sharpness of that perception, found somehow in language, that characterises Furious Resonance. Jones's eye, pressed against the glass, is a keen one."

John North, New Writing Cumbria.

"He does not shy away from tackling some of the big themes: mortality ('Spuds', 'Shadow', 'Archaeopteryx'), the sometimes brutal struggle for existence ('Formicidae', 'Christmas Turkey') and the role and limitations of language itself ('Sleep-Talking', 'Spinning', 'A Posy for Heidegger'). All of these are handled with an impressive control over voice and form. [...] At his best, Jones has a metaphysical wit that allows for occasionally breath-taking leaps of associative power."

Martin Malone, New Writing Cumbria.

Click here to read the full reviews.


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