p.o.w.22: London


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p.o.w.22: London


The development of concrete poetry through sound - shown in Bob Cobbing's1967 chamber music - is explored through Sophie Herxheimer's funny and moving london. The poem is in the form of a dramatic monologue capturing the voice of the poet's German grandmother on first arriving in London. Herxheimer has a real skill for phonetic language. On first impression the lines appear to be in a pidgin european language but quickly reveals itself to be colloquial English spoken through a strong Germanic accent. Nouns are capitalised and consonants reinforced with Zs and Ks. The poet knows her character well and doesn't overly layer - or leave us short - of the full satisfaction of the reading experience. I have watched people opening and reading this broadside and it has been wonderful to see their faces change from a state of mild perplexity to one of delight as their concentration on pronunciation gives way to comprehension and they find that they're already on the bus journey with the narrator as the conductor smiles and says "Fanks Luv!". The poem is a sonnet containing experimental language that brilliantly captures the internationalism of London and as such it fits perfectly within the tradition of futura. This poem is part of a longer series written in the same idiom and publishers should be lining themselves up to snap this from Herxheimer.

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