Chosen by Paul Griffiths as one of the TLS Books of the year.
Published on 7th October 2020.
76pp, perfect bound.
Praise for PROGRESS: REAL AND IMAGINED:
Show us in our own acts that we hear our supplication,” writes John Wheelwright in his poem to Leon Trotsky. See also here—and hear also here—as Oli Hazzard trains his weather eye and his one-of-a-kind ear on the storm we call progress. This is one of the most moving long poems in recent memory by one of my favorite living poets.
Graham Foust, author of Nightingalelessness and Time Down to Mind
Addressed to a certain Johannes (an ‘imaginary figure’? a generic archaic cipher? an amalgam? of Kepler? Vermeer?), progress: real and imagined is at least four things: an account of domesticity (with insights on children, sex, intimacy, labour); an exemplification of linguistic determinism (via a syntax that makes intention and therefore reality negotiable); an ekphrastic response to the Nicole Eisenman painting which gives this poem its title; and a treatise on suspended affect. These things are of course interrelated and inseparable, but the speaker’s ennui is often dominant: ‘For a long time / exhaustion // and its ostentatious display / were a big part // of the work. For a long time’. Communicated through a kind of inverted wonder rather than the usual fixings of male bravado, it’s like listening to a fossilised locust describing, with great specificity and diffidence (‘precise / and inexact at once’), the extended moment of being submerged and set in amber.
Sophie Collins, author of small white monkeys and Who is Mary Sue?
A storm of words with nooks of safety, innocence, humour, puzzlement and dazzle.