I haven’t read Bill Manhire’s The Victims of Lightning yet, just the taster, Rough Bounces, a lovely hand-made (the cover is a potato print, Agria of course) 100-copy edition of 10 poems from the new collection, which is due in March from VUP. Rough Bounces isn’t a re-mix. I guess it’s a pre-mix. Bill does these small publications each year, I gather, and all the ones I have been privileged to see and/or receive have been wonderful.
Nine of the 10 poems in this one are lyrics for Norman Meehan’s forthcoming CD Buddhist Rain. The poem that gives the album its title includes this stanza (flagrant breach of copyright ahead):
I closed up my umbrellaThat could be Leonard Cohen, but is so Ray Davies, such a lot packed into those simple words. “Waterloo Sunset”, anyone?
And stood there in the rain
I told her that I loved her
She told me much the same.
And here is a taster of what the album might sound like – singer Hannah Griffin and reed player Colin Hemmingsen with Meehan on piano performing his setting of EE Cummings’ “who are you, little i?” from Sun Moon Stars Rain. Spookily the poem includes the phrase “high window”, a pre-echo of the Philip Larkin poem and collection of almost that name.