new zealand electronic poetry centre

Leigh Davis

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He's a figure of small actions, with his own repeated sites and iconography,
who is (variously) composed, and haphazard. He is not a modern hero-
flawed, compulsive, or American, but he does come and go, and he finds
certain co-ordinates irresistible to sit in front of. He's lined up, like his
writing, on small, coded, printed rails. There is a sense also that Willy is an
editor with his own combinations, that he doesn't come from nowhere, that
he's never got an empty page. He lies up against his project with intentions
and distractions, and turns back, becoming a reader of his own in the later
      It was to become a nice big paper, as close as I could get it to
something from Reuter or Conde Nast, (with the latter's notion of class
publishing)... that timeful. that is, and social, for I am interested in
institutions, and also in a sense of recession, in how a cultural product
recedes, becomes historical, altering its signals. An ectomorph, too, goes
that way. Throughout the pieces of the poem (their uneven rates of
accumulation, their chequeredness) I wanted to get the 'literary', as a
concept, robust again. Some image-train poems seem rather thin. It is not a
matter of stylistics, or of some kind of new felicity but, as Barthes, in the
1950s, put it, 'Literature has entered a situation which is difficult, restricted,
mortal. It is no longer its ornaments that it is defending, but its skin... '

                                                                                      January 1 1983




Last updated 7 October, 2009