DOUGLAS BARBOUR & SHEILA E MURPHY: CONTINUATIONS
University of Alberta Press
Ring House 2
ISBN 0 88864 463 9
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This page last updated: 10th December 2007.
|DOUGLAS BARBOUR & SHEILA E MURPHY: CONTINUATIONS|
The two poets who collaborated to produce this work are Douglas Barbour, Professor Emeritus of the University of Alberta, and Sheila E Murphy, who has written a number of poetry books. They were engaged in the creation of CONTINUATIONS from November 2000. The work incorporates aspects of the area in which they live — Alberta and Phoenix, Arizona — and aspects of their different communities are brought together.
I have to confess at the start that I never really "got into" this book. After several attempts, I found it was not for me. This is probably a reflection of my own taste as the quality is there. I have reviewed many longer pieces/books of lexical type poetry and there can be problems when commenting on written material that really lives in performance. At the back of the book, there is a short and interesting description of collaborative experimental works in America and Canada. In Britain, too, there have been many collaborative works, including the infamous collaborations in sound (ie the DAN series) between Bob Cobbing and Laurence Upton.
This book is a major undertaking by two competent poets. Douglas Barbour and Sheila E Murphy together tunnel into language. They extract all manner of obscure meaning:
xix only how solitary that figure turned inward eyes bank / a carved and empty mouth winds whirl through . . sculpted morning moaning meant cold day carved by figure depending upon what other eyes see / sculpting' only history / an ill-defined version of outward / blanking out the inward truth in motion this morning / looking in a spoon he noted that concavity reversed the image, while a convex view was straightforward / pressing code for the stretched spot of momentum signaling withinThe above is the opening of section xix. Douglas Barbour and Sheila E Murphy love language and what it can do. Their work is laconistic and acrid in places, and aseptic in others. Barbour and Murphy have produced a type of homage to the word.
|reviewer: Doreen King.|