Gareth Farmer was born in Bristol in 1979 to Welsh parents. He attended Brislington Comprehensive School (now an Enterprise College) and St Brendan’s Sixth Form College. He read for a BA in English Literature at Goldsmiths College and for an MA in Modern and Contemporary Poetry at the University of Bristol. He is submitting his DPhil. on the critical and creative work of Veronica Forrest-Thomson in September 2011 at the University of Sussex. Having undertaken a variety of jobs, he is currently a visiting lecturer at a few institutions. Gareth has published a number of articles on contemporary poetry and prose, with particular emphasis on style and its interaction with theories of identity and linguistic affect.
The poems featured here were recorded on the 2-3 August, 2011 in Gareth’s flat in Hove. If you listen closely you can hear some Hovean Herring Gulls (Larus argentatus) on the recording of Dawn’s Resolve and Dusk Falls. The Gulls’ plaintive cries are appropriately diegetic for a sequence in which the sights and sounds of the Hove coast are invoked. ‘Gulls squawking out spin like mantras.’
- '"Insensible vista over coarse grass grazed"'
- 'Ekaterina's Sad Pleas'
- 'I Know Why the Frayed Word Twinges'
- 'Pathology of Laterality'
- 'Pornography Objects, by Mademoiselle de Maupin'
‘Pornography Objects, by Mademoiselle de Maupin’ is one of a projected twenty-poem sequence comprised of collaged excerpts from Andrea Dworkin’s Pornography; Men Possessing Women (London: The Women’s Press, 1981).
- 'Poser Pine's Artificial Garden'
'Poser Pine’s Artificial Garden’ is a ‘long poem’ homage to Veronica Forrest-Thomson and to elegiac, allusive parody in general. ‘Poser Pine’ is, of course, a thinly veiled avatar of Proserpine.
- 'Quaint Restraint'
- 'Richard II'
'Richard II' was one of Veronica Forrest-Thomson's last poems and is, I think, an important milestone in late twentieth-century poetry. Forrest-Thomson died on 26 April, 1975, the night before she was due to read 'Richard II' at Southwark Cathedral as part of the (then) annual 'Poems for Shakespeare' event. See Anthony Rudolf's account of Forrest-Thomson's absence in the introduction to his edited Poems for Shakespeare 4 (London: Globe Playhouse Publications, 1976), pp. 7-10. The volume is dedicated to Forrest-Thomson's memory.
'Richard II' in Veronica Forrest-Thomson, Collected Poems, ed. Anthony Barnett (Exeter: Shearsman, in assoc. with Lewes: Allardyce, Barnett, Publishers, 2008), pp. 158-9. By permission of the Estate of Veronica Forrest-Thomson and Allardyce, Barnett, Publishers.
- 'Rise to Order'
‘Rise to Order’ is the first three cantos of a projected longer sequence on media and power called, Rise to Order.
- 'The hooting child' (featured in Crater 0)
- 'To Writ'
Dawn's Resolve and Dusk Falls (in twenty-four snatched scenes).
This sequence is comprised of twenty-four text-boxes each of which houses five lines of poetry. Each text-box has an italicised, tentative ‘title’ above right. In the recording, I have chosen to read the ‘titles’ before the boxed lines. This practice is by no means prescriptive. One sagacious reviewer described the sequence as ‘good but not great’ and also referred to ‘Farmer’s artistic integrity and his very palpable sense of personal style’. (Catherine Woodward, Eyewear 27th January 2011). We must, surely, take the ‘good’ (or almost ‘great’), moments of ‘artistic integrity’ as well as a ‘palpable […] personal style’ wheresoever we may find them? The sequence can be purchased at Knives Forks and Spoons Press.
- 'Dawn's Resolve and Dusk Falls (in twenty-four snatched scenes)'
Mock into the Brazen Day
- 'Aspirant I'
- 'Aspirant II'
- 'Incidentally: It All Resolves Around Rectangles'
- 'Into This Cast It'
- 'Reading Beckett Under Verdigris Tree'
- 'Straight in Curve'
Gareth’s poetry has appeared in various magazines and on websites, including Quid, Axolotl, Shearsman, Crater (see this great press here: http://www.craterpress.co.uk/), Dusie (http://www.dusie.org/), and www.modernpoetry.org.uk. He has published three pamphlets of poetry to date:
- Apply Brakes (privately printed, 2006)
- Mock into the Brazen Day (London: yt communication, 2010)
- Dawn’s Resolve and Dusk Falls (in twenty-four snatched scenes) (Newton-le-Willows: The Knives Forks and Spoons Press, 2011).
A new collection, featuring a number of the poems recorded here, should be out towards the end of 2011.
from Poser Pine’s Artificial Garden
I was peddling my trusty deception down Blatchington road,
keeping an ear open for the threatening mumblings of desire.
The breeze unsettled my equilibrium as I straddled the lamppost,
chaining memory and desire to the chiselled dusk.
The rain shattered startles into the humming street.
“I told you moments ago,” muttered a teenaged mum
on the down-low, a helmet of hair atop her head,
a twentieth-first century Dolores through whom humanity poureth.
I found myself thrumming the inalienable to Khadeeth’s Mart
perked in self-persuasion of ‘conscience’,
turning to the dark demesne of the entrance which failed to.
Inside, the false prophet promises of cowardly collage made the walls,
stating something codified for the recondite alone.
Britney waved the airways, oddly,
replacing the synthetic with the authority of authenticity;
my crumpled heart bore time with Britney.
A speech of welcome imposed itself on me from great, tight corners,
from an incongruously placed seraph sampling happiness quotes.
In the twilight of a damp day and the dark time of a shop fray,
vainly my eyes on signs they rested where:
‘Enterprise rent-a-goat’ promised good time and conscience rebate;
‘I had a love affair with a statue’ feigned off-the-wall wit.
Strange this list before me which marked ‘needs must’
to which I, in turn, did state my trajectory.
I followed this as if compelled to fill out supple sighs.
These bags that last I saw in Tesco rumpled pleasingly
against my thigh with no mere smugness.
Feeling myself ennobled, I sallied forth
About the frozen foods I fleet footed
and moved to pick up an icy word-filter promising
“un sens plus pur aux mots de la tribu”.
Like the last time, I didn’t believe a word of it.
By chance, a Swan’s beak and black foot were captive
in the ice compartment next to the lollies.
White was the ice I saw in this icicle icy ice drawer.
My hand reached down,
my fingernails scraped the ice like Onyx.
There at the fish counter where all mackerel seemed dead
pricy enough to incite a riot, I pondered.
I doubted myself of my doubtful dreams.
That, the ’monger reminded me,
was Mister Nomer,
casting a sturgeon into the pot as he spoke.
Fishes mouths lay ‘ope,
looking like they couldn’t cope with life.
I picked up a packet of Marine Breeze cod fillets.
Oh to be an angel fish!
Gathering my goods, I tripped the exit
where the revolution of the door was devouring children.
My knees bent, I desperately stooped to carry.
Walking out into the balmy-now dusk,
I posed the question: why
even the most beautiful,
even precisely the beautiful,
has not today become a lie.
I tipped the ash of my cigar into the art-tray
to gather there like iron-filings;
roses again to bloom.
It was like a Tournon night outside
and each step into the dusk was like a shower.
One stiff blind horse awaited me dutifully, his blessed bones a-stare.
And Mary, my beauty, lingered nearby, imagining my heroic return.
All at once our feet and hooves expressed joy
and we turned to finally give nothingness the slip,
once more to hurry home.
- 'Aspirant II'
- 'Aspirant I'
- 'Ekaterina's Sad Pleas'