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Jeffrey Wainwright - '79: History could make a stone weep'

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Published on Oct 5, 2012

Jeffrey Wainwright reads the 79th poem from his new collection, THE REASONER, at the booklaunch on 24 September 2012 at the International Anthony Burgess Foundation in Manchester. This event also launched GLASS IS ELASTIC by Jon Glover, and PARALOGUES by Evan Jones.

In a series of ninety-five poems we listen to 'the Reasoner', a voice that is by turns ardent, despairing and comic. Petty obsessions rub against attempts at philosophical seriousness; vernacular expression vies with an intent deliberation. Above all, the Reasoner is worried. He has cherished the notion that, with thought and study, the world may be understood. But the world remains recalcitrant, elusive even in simple things like the trickeries of light on a spider's web. Language plays tricks, although it may be as complete as we can manage. History proposes and disposes of its patterns. Behind all this there may be a 'hidden order' -- and that is both a hope and a fear.

Does God help us to understand any of this? Does Art? Is the 'soul' a sanctuary? The Reasoner, the reader, 'smiles ruefully and soldiers on', 'for this is not a wicked but a hard world, / and people struggle, without a scheme of things, / and deserve release.'

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