Film by Helen Dewbery, Poetry by Martin Malone, Soundscape Marc Neys
“I just think a century’s gone by and we’re somewhere else in the story.”
Glyn Maxwell, On Poetry.
Facing up to the truth of this fact, The Unreturning adopts a neo-modernist approach to problematizing English poetry’s century long love affair with the elegiac trench lyric. Like the early modernists, it too attempts to make all history now in order to suggest contemporary lessons from the failures and accomplishments of the past. And while it is still true that all a poet can do today is warn, the nature of the warning has changed, along with its register. What the poems seek, then, is a transitional idiolect of Great War commemoration for our times. And some form of answer to David Jones’s thought, from the Introduction of In Parenthesis, that:
“It would be interesting to know how we shall ennoble our new media as we have already ennobled and made significant our old – candle-light, fire-light, Cups, Wands and Swords, to choose at random.”