Sometime during the twentieth century, the self-mythology of the literary critic fused with that of the cowboy: lone outriders practising a defunct trade. In Holy Toledo! John Clegg tracks the critic's silhouette over the dangerous, sundrenched landscapes of New Mexico, California, Nashville, Utah, Oxford, Cambridge, and London. Here is Donald Davie listening to gospel radio in a Nashville taxi, and here is F.R. Leavis standing on a chair, 'unscrewing instead the world from round the lightbulb'. Vistas of bristlecone and citrus groves, pocked with fruit fl ies and rain birds, fuse with the glib-core of Oxbridge England, the university science labs where 'all three entrances felt like the back way'. Holy Toledo! is a history of English literary criticism in the twentieth century, a bestiary of the American Southwest, an unreliable guide to the desert. Generous, humorous, happily askew, Clegg's first Carcanet collection signals the flourishing of an 'emerging' poet as a major voice. 'No poet writing today matches John Clegg for wit and rigour. Holy Toledo! opens up a brilliant, uncanny frontier between the American West and the England of Empson, Davie and Woolf. Questioning language, rejoicing in it, Clegg's poetry plunges headfirst into the Great Tradition and comes out swinging.' (Dai George) 'Shaking off the dust of Cambridge, John Clegg spoors Bloomsbury, and then - Holy Toledo! - enters some western from another planet. Whatever horse he rides he makes it go, a lasso his modus operandi for capturing images.' (Marius Kociejowski)
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|Size: ||635 KB|
|Publisher: ||Carcanet Poetry|
|Date published: || 2016|
|ISBN: ||9781784102616 (DRM-EPUB)|
|Read Aloud: ||not allowed|