I've just bought of a copy of JH Prynne’s Furtherance (from Peter Riley), published in the USA by The Figures, containing his four most recent chapbooks before Acrylic Tips.
I've just read half of Triodes. It has had an immediate, ecstatic impact on me. I haven’t a clue what it means, but then the first time I heard Ligeti’s Atmospheres (that music in Kubrick’s 2001), I didn’t have a clue what that meant, either. Prynne has found a way to use language to communicate with the non–verbal impact of music, and I don’t know how he does it, the bastard, and I wish I could do it right now. No poet has done this to me before. This poem has an immediate impact, and I know, instinctively, that I’ll be able to keep coming back to it for the rest of my life and find something more in it.
You must have some piece of music that has a special impact on you. You knew when you first heard it that it was special, and you knew even then that the impact would last. Me, I’m thinking of Mike Oldfield’s guitar solo in David Bedford’s orchestral suite “Star's End”: a sudden, stunningly different and unexpected, but bloody obvious highlight. Half a reading of Triodes has done the same to me.
And this is not the first time this poet has walloped me.
Prynne hits me on the instinctive level, he hits me on the intellect. I’m beginning to realise he’s one of the greats.