Jack Ross, ed.: Spin 39 (March 2001)
John Geraets, ? X. Auckland: Cornerdreamers, 2000. 71pp. $6. [Available from the Writers Group, 11-20 Poynton Terrace, Auckland 1001].
Jan Kemp: John Geraets
Only the poetry that lifts the tracks it lays, if it lays any, which can’t be known, is real …
John Geraets, editor of Brief (formerly A Brief Description of the Whole World, then ABDOTWW, then Ab.ww – get it?), probably needs some introduction to most of our readers. This is the fourth book of poems he has put out (at five-year intervals from 1985 till now), and is in an unashamedly experimental, or “oppositional” (to use Alan Loney’s term) or avant-garde, or even “L=A=N=G=U=A=G=E” style (though he himself comments, in this regard, “I don’t know if I understand clearly the politicization and historicalization of l-a-n-g-u-a-g-e, as if consciousness was derived from it or abetted it. Poetry still prefers one thing after another”). If you’ve read the poem on page 29 of this issue, you’ve seen how beautiful and delicate his poetry can be. His many years in Japan seem to have borne strange fruit: it’s as if, in his work, he is able to recreate the experience of coming to the English language for the first time. Highly recommended for the adventurous.