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RRP: GBP 7.99
ISBN: 978 1 784105 31 0
Categories: 21st Century, British
Imprint: Carcanet Poetry
Published: February 2018
104 pages (print version)
Publisher: Carcanet Press
Also available in: Paperback, eBook (Kindle), eBook (PDF)
Digital access available through Exact Editions
Oli Hazzard’s Blotter consists of five sequences, each constructed using a different process. In ‘Graig Syfyrddin’ notes on hillwalking in the Welsh marches – the poet’s former home – alternate with found text taken from an online walking forum. ‘Blotter’ is a shepherd’s calendar of sonnets composed of Russian spambot script – a mix of lifestyle advice, gaming tips, authoritarian propaganda, bucolic fragments and apocalyptic messages. ‘Within Habit’ is a series of prose poems collaged from numerous sources. ‘March and May’ comprises parallel columns of verse. ‘Or As’ is a family of 81 seventeen-syllable poems, each one an erasure of the corresponding page in a different book the poet was writing alongside Blotter.
The poems are preoccupied, above all, with the passage of time, and how that passage can be differently registered or disturbed: the working day, the distorted seasons, the timestamp of a text message, the jottings of a daybook, the formal structure of a shepherd’s calendar, the double exposure of a photograph, the reverse-flow of a Twitter feed. The title, Blotter, connects these concerns, suggesting at once a police blotter, a journal, a thing for drying wet spots, and, in its painterly connotation, a way of rendering the world in a manner that is vague, blurred, or out of focus.
'For Hazzard, language is not a shield, but a flexible and malleable tool in which new modes of expression are lurking... Blotter draws together many different texts and ideas in unpredictable ways, if not 'making it new' then making it original. It demands the reader's full attention, and is an enjoyable and compelling illustration of the wealth of possibilities inherent in language.'
Chrissy Williams, Poetry London
'He has a musical ear, so there's randomness in the generation, but its composition bears careful listening to.'
Jeremy Noel-Tod, The Sunday Times, Twelve poets to read now
'A beautiful, bracing book of surprising, absorbing itineraries, Blotter takes brilliant soundings of linguistic pools and discursive surrounds. These astonishing, seductive sequences explore "how time is layered / into the paint". Hazzard is a formidably inventive poet; he is also a generous, playful, inviting one. He abolishes the distance between the conceptual and the lyrical, updating Wordsworth's "selection of the real language of men" for our GPS moment. His sequences bespeak their compositional procedures but also something irreducibly else: the poet in and of the hinge, the gap, the step, the scroll, the click, the synapse - a shaping and shaped tender intelligence. Like the most ambitious works of any era, Hazzard's poems create their own occasions and terms. They invite us to enter new fields, to go skying toward new horizons, to sense a lovers touch, to hear both "a lullaby" and "the shocking truth"'.
Maureen N. McLane Praise for Oli Hazzard 'Haunting, hilarious, exquisitely inventive, Between Two Windows is a brilliant first collection by one of the brightest young stars in the poetic firmament.'
Mark Ford 'Oli Hazzard brilliantly conveys the experience of experiencing; although his observations are hyper-real, he seems always to be questioning -- and to be making us question -- whether they are sufficiently 'like' ... His work perfectly exemplifies Touchstone's saying that the truest poetry is the most feigning.'
Jane Griffiths 'Between Two Windows by Oli Hazzard is impressive in its formal assuredness and confidence of tone, all the while questioning what poetry is and does.'
Adam Newey, Guardian
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