New Words 2011

Review: 9/11-TEN

Ten poems by ten local writers on the tenth year since the atrocity


Thursday 29 September 2011

Original listing

Books and Beans, Aberdeen [Map]


On Thursday September 29th a well populated Books and Beans was witness to a memorable and memorious evening. On paper the idea was simple enough — Malfranteaux Concepts was to launch its collection of ten poems by ten poets commemorating the tenth anniversary of the airborne assault on the World Trade Centre on the 11th of September 2001. The realization — the presentation of ten diverse and distinctly uneven voices separated and linked by a musical narrative written and played by Haworth Hodgkinson on a array of tuned percussion, wind and ambient instruments — was an altogether more complex and layered affair than a simple reading would have been.

From the first sounding of the first tuned gong the mood established by the music was sombre, fragile, illustrative and elegiac. At times redolent of funeral bells, at others hinting at an aircraft turning or mimicking the rattle of falling masonry or the upward drift of burning paper and rising smoke, Haworth's careful, thoughtful and precise musicality did much to smooth over the unevenness of quality that the poems themselves reveal when read without accompaniment. To this reviewer's eye the best of them concentrate on detail, on detritus, on dislocation and leave the politics and political analyses aside. To quote Yeats in another context "the best of them lack passionate intensity". Some powerful images linger still, amongst them Keith Murray's "watch how each iron shadow / falls across the green / now an imperfect lawn", Sheena Blackhall's "...replayed on the multiple / eyes of the media, / like the myriad lenses of flies", Gerard Rochford's "Ashes rise like incense", Eddie Gibbons' "Something seismic happened — shoved this chair / I'm sat on".

Members of the audience wondered whether there were plans to record the poems being read in Haworth's musical setting. Let us hope so.

The book, 9/11-TEN: the Tenth Anniversary in Poetry, is available from Malfranteaux Concepts.

Review by John Mackie

Cover design by Eddie Gibbons

Promoted by

Poetry Aberdeen
Malfranteaux Concepts

Supported by

North East Writers


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