notes on the poems

Notes on ‘Rustbelt’ anthology

Wheale. Caspars: French slang for “rats”. cf. the book Gaspard de la nuit by Aloysius Bertrand. Caspar was in legend the Black one of the Three Kings (with Melchior and Balthasar).
Mengham. Nomenclature: the Communist Party had lists of the loyal and dependable, who were the only ones acceptable for jobs above a certain (menial) level. These lists were known as “nomenclatures” (nomenklatura) and the word became a sceptical term for the whole Communist power elite.
Marriott. Mr Claude: is this the poet Claude McKay? Pahouin: “The Fang people, also known as Fãn or Pahouin, are a Bantu ethnic group found in Equatorial Guinea, northern Gabon, and southern Cameroon.”
“the extent of my perversity overwhelms me! But why impenetrable jungle are you still hiding the total zero of my mendacity and from a self-conscious concern for nobility not celebrating the horrible leap of my Pahouin ugliness?” Aimé Césaire, Cahiers d’un retour au pays natal. So we have two Black poets from the Caribbean. The exact subject of the “Pahouin” reference is likely to be a sculpture, kept in Paris, known as the “Pahouin Venus”.

"1933 AFRICA Primitive Sculpture Pahouin Venus. Great Bieri Baoule Lobi Mask (286)
The figure is “eighteenth century. Wood”. A photograph copyright says:
“Fang, (Gabon or Equatorial Guinea) ‘The Black Venus’ (a.k.a. ’eyema byeri’ or ’Pahouin Venus’) (19th century) Fang peoples, Betsi group, wood and pigment. H: 56cm. Ex Georges de Mire; Louis Carre by 1931; Jacob Epstein; Carlo Monzino © Droits reservés Musée Dapper “
The figure is completely unrealistic and the attachment of the word “Venus” to it is a racist insinuation that black people are ugly (like their sculptures). Aimé Césaire then applied this to evoke feelings of inferiority, expected of Black citizens of the French Empire. What I read says this about ‘eyeme byeri’: “Loosely translated as “statue for Byeri” (the cult of ancestral worship), biyema biyeri represent Fang ancestors. Such figures topped bark containers that held the bones of revered ancestors, and also served as puppets during family initiation rites. This figure has childlike proportions and adult musculature, reflecting Fang beliefs about connected life cycles. Its triple braids mimic Mvaï warrior hairstyles.” 
The figure may have braids but is not female.
Lieux de mémoire: a concept coined by Pierre Nora as the theme of a three-volume work which he edited, about the history of France. “A lieu de mémoire is a physical place or object which acts as container of memory. They are thus a form of memorialisation related to collective memory [.]” So Nora included the Guide Bleu district guides as one of the chapters. In the poem, the waters are a lieu de mémoire because they are part of collective memory: our ancestors crossed the waters and come from the other side of them. Nora wanted to narrate the history of France while bypassing the zones of controversy; so he left out events and there is nothing like an argument about whether France should be a monarchy or a republic. In fact, people were tired of those arguments.

Duncan. Pacific: At the Extreme Computing Fair there was historian George Dyson and AD bought a copy of his book, Project Orion. The Atomic Spaceship 1957-65. This is about a project to develop a spacecraft powered by nuclear explosions. It was led by Ted Taylor and the story about Ted Taylor and an atomic test is in the book. The passage about military surplus parts in the 1950s came from a New Scientist article. “Q landscapes” is from a series about the work of Stephen Tallents, head of the Empire Marketing Board in the 1930s, and his schemes for projecting Britain.

Corcoran, Lusieri: “Giovanni Battista Lusieri was an Italian landscape painter from Naples. He was court painter to Ferdinand I of the Two Sicilies before working for Thomas Bruce, 7th Earl of Elgin and becoming involved in the removal and shipping of the Elgin Marbles to England.” Myriorama:a toy with painted landscapes on flat cards which can be slotted together in many (myrio = 10,000) ways.

Bletsoe. The “lament configuration” is the name of a puzzle in Clive Barker’s ‘Hellraiser’. Bata’s valley: the meaning of “Batcombe”. Creatures from the id: ‘monsters from the id’ is a line from the 1956 film “Forbidden planet”. (Commander Adams : [to himself] Monsters from the id... Dr. Morbius :  Huh? Commander Adams : Monsters from the subconscious.)
ooser: name of mask in a Dorset folk ritual (and of the monster it depicts). Possibly like wasa in wuduwasa, a wood demon (wodwo appears in Gawaine and the Green knight). Energoumenos: possessed by a demon (the root could also mean ‘wrought upon’, ergon=work).
Clepsydra: hourglass Tetramorphs: the four animals associated with the four Evangelists.
Gokstad: a Viking-age ship was excavated from a burial mound in Gokstad, Norway.
Nástrond: strand of corpses, in the Prose Edda.

Gilonis. On his grave una fresca rosa 
in a crumpled greaseproof bag . . . 

The internet says “Ezra Weston Loomis Pound is buried in the San Michele Cemetery on the island of San Giorgio Maggiore, Venice, Italy, Europe.” so this may be Pound’s grave, although the island has a whole cemetery.
Schaue hier, Herz und Auge. : could well be from the text of the St Matthew Passion as set by J S Bach. The “tears fill my eyes” corresponds to “Um meiner Zähren willen“ in the text. BWV 848: Prelude and Fugue in C sharp Major, BWV 848, is a keyboard composition written by Johann Sebastian Bach. The abbreviation is for “Bach Werkverzeichnis”, list of Bach’s works.

Vaughan. Kitezh: In legend Kitezh was a town which sank beneath a lake (although you could still hear the bells ring). "Kitexhanka" is a peom by Akhamatova; there is also an opera by Rimsky-Korsakov called 'Kitezh'.

Nolan. Broca’s fold is one of the language centres in the brain. “Lissauer's tract is a white matter tract in the spinal cord that projects up or down across one or two spinal segments.”
Lydia: possibly because ancient Lydia was synonymous with mercantile wealth (so Croesus was its king, “rich as Croesus”). Lydia may have been where coins were invented. “peg house (plural peg houses). A brothel for male homosexuals.”
lauzeta: lark (Provençal)
Hunsecker: character in the film “The sweet smell of sucess”. A suave, dominant and manipulative gossip columnist.
Klangland sound-land
IVU: "An intravenous urogram (IVU) is a test that looks at the whole of your urinary system."
Al-jibr: algebra
Der Rosenkavalier: Strauss opera with libretto by Hugo von Hofmannsthal. The “kavalier” part may refer to the horse component of Centaurs.
“Semnai Theai. "Venerable goddesses." Goddesses of the earth and of fertility who were worshiped in a cave on the Aeropagus.” a trio, said to be related to the Erinyes and the Eumenides. Oneida: Native American tribe in New York State. Morlock: proletarian race in an H G Wells novel.
Chalkis-kymindis: “He draws attention to this in the case of a bird, which he says the gods call  chalkis  and men  kymindis,” (John Chrysostom)
  nacì para sufrir: I was born to suffer
Popiol I jesione: ashes (embers) and ashes (trees). (Polish)
Deserto rosso: film by Antonioni. The ‘red desert’ is an industrial zone in the Po Valley.
An lár: = “centre”, a sign on the front of a bus
Les Aléas des Enchères: the risks of auctions

Smith. A loser’s manual: reference is to “Life: a user’s manual”, translation of “La vie: mode d’emploi” by Georges Perec.>br>>br> Ayres. Soft clipping; “Soft Clipping is when the guitar signal / sine wave gets clipped in the feedback loop of an op amp.” Clipping is the loss of the part of a signal which is outside the capacity of some component.  Guy Laroche: French brewer of perfumes for men. “A symbol of French classicism and elegance, Guy Laroche perfumes lead to a world of timeless seduction.“
Angelus novus: “new angel”, a monoprint by Paul Klee. The print shows Kaiser Wilhelm II but the meaning referred to is more likely Walter Benjamin's interpretation of, or fantasy on, the picture (whch he owned at one time).

Pancucci. Facture: term for the means by which a painting is made.
Tocca me...tocca te: (if) it concerns me it concerns you
tocca ferro  “For Italians, rather than wood, they say 'tocca ferro' which means 'touch iron'. This idea originated from the belief that horseshoes can deflect evil spirits”
usquequaque: in every direction
Derris: derris powder is a insecticide
enekauestheen: “it was burnt”. The reference is specifically to “encaustic”, which gives the english word “ink” (Late Latin encaustum, cf. Italian inchiostro). 'insinged' translates this word.
Beiwacht: word from which “bivouac” is derived.
Bufo bufo: toad

Rees. Pure: purefoys, dog faeces collected for use as a raw materal in tanning hides.

Mellors. Spolia: fragments of buildings or works of art, usually as removed from their original site. Same word as “spoil heap”. The search at Psamathus is for the entrance into the underworld. Figura morta: the reference is to a passage by Guido Cavalcanti (13th C): Amor aparve a me in figura morta e disse: – Non mandar, ch'i' ti riprendo, però che, se l'amico è quel ch'io 'ntendo, e' non avrà già sì la mente accorta ...
So Love appears as Death. I am not clear what this means. Possibly it is about the basic vulnerability of the soul when what it desires is outside itself and outside its control: so that the idea of Love can arouse powerful memories of loss, frustration, and despair. “figura morta/ ‘cruel as the tigers of Ircania’ though a kind of lived substance/may emerge for the subject in such access of mind.” Pasiphae: mother of the Minotaur

James. Amfar; foundation for AIDS research. Cassina Acerbis etc.: brands of designer furniture

Hartill. Mannez: on Alderney. Fear of space: early Chinese and Ordos bronzes have been described as “raumfüllend”, over-full of decoration, so afraid of empty space. Reference is to a Latin phrase “horror vacui”, fear of space.

Green. “The Paps of Anu are a pair of breast-shaped mountains near Killarney in County Kerry, Ireland.“

raccolto - messis - cosecha: three words for “harvest”.
Nahwer: nowhere
caseg medi: (Welsh) medi is reap, caseg is ‘mare’. “The customs and symbolism surrounding the last sheaf, or caseg fedi, are scrutinised in some detail, together with their long-standing Frazerian interpretation”. [fedi - lenited form of medi] J G Frazer collected many examples of folklore concerning the last sheaf to be reaped, often made up into a corn dolly. A kern baby is one of these. He remarks that marble statues of Demeter may be exalted versions of figures of a corn-goddess twisted together out of stalks of corn. He cites some examples of "corn mares", with animals such as goats and wolves being more common.

Jordan. Belinus: “Belinus the Great was a legendary king of the Britons, as recounted by Geoffrey of Monmouth.” There probably was a genuine Romano-British name component, so for example Cunobelinus. Scattered inscriptions also record a Celtic god Belenus: “The theonym Belenus (or Belinus), which is a latinized form of the Gaulish Belenos (or Belinos), appears in some 51 inscriptions.” These were mostly in the Friuli region, at the head of the Adriatic. It is not clear what his divine function was. He was equated with Apollo. A Gaulish word for henbane is derived from his name.


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