Archive for May 4th, 2015

Philip Fried and the mendacity of words

Monday, May 4th, 2015
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poetryreview2Over the weekend, my occasional correspondent Philip Fried, editor of the Manhattan Review (we’ve written about him here and here and here), dropped me a note. He’s rightly chuffed with the new review that’s just come out for his Interrogating Water (Salmon, 2014), which just appeared in The Poetry Review, journal of the British Poetry Society. In her review, poet Carol Rumens considered Phil’s book alongside Martha Kapos‘s The Likeness (Enitharmon).

I liked the final paragraph the best:

Fried’s poems demonstrate that whatever is made of language is open to contamination, morality included. As the soldiers in ‘Moral Helmets’ are advised, “coming soon is a Moral Positioning System/(MPS) to align your firefight decisions/With four or five of the major world religions”. But, through their heightened awareness of the mendacity of words, the poems find authenticity, and document a vision of morality almost as a superior form of politics. The nuances of Wilfred Owen‘s ‘Draft Preface’ comes to mind. “Yet these elegies are to this generation in no sense consolatory. They may be to the next. All a poet can do today is warn. That is why the true Poets must be truthful.”