Sunday, February 04, 2007

Finding Out Shantih, or, how to get from A to W

There is a post on George Szirtes blog where he mentions a novel that has been written about the Byzantine world of collegiate bureacracy (at least that's what I thought). He mentions a spoof of T.S. Eliot's The Waste Land, by Edward Pygge, with the line "shantih, shantih, shantih / it's only a shantih in old shantih town"

So this sends me off looking on the internet, because I love spoof poems and I like mysteries too. First I find Waste Paper - A Poem of Profound Insignificence by H. P. Lovecraft, which presses a few of the right buttons, but not the line I'm looking for. Interesting p-take of Eliot though. Don't get me wrong, I do like Eliot in small doses, but I also like what came afterwards too, even if it is irreverent.

Then I search under Edward Pygge, and find this is connected to Ian Hamilton, John Fuller, Clive James, Russell Davies and Julian Barnes. They used Edward Pygge as a cover all pseudonym for publishing spoofs and Ian Hamilton was involved with The Review, and later The New Review, poetry journals that looked to extend and push against the prescribed poetics of the times (sound familiar?).

Further research shows that the poem The Wasted Land, the Eliot spoof, is contained in Clive James collection, The Book of My Enemy. Naturally there is a website for Clive James, and a little poking has revealed that there are some poems contained there like The Australian Suicide Bomber's Heavenly Reward and this too, Statement from the Secretary of Defense .

I've been threatening to go round to Amazon and pick up that list of books I keep adding to. Now seems like a really good time to get The Book of My Enemy as well.


Rob said...

There’s a Pffa thread called The Waste Land Miniature. Some of the spoofs there are funny and ingenious.

Rob said...

Oh, and in case anyone misunderstands, Larry's introduction to that thread is entirely tongue-in-cheek.

Cailleach said...

Oooh - just off to take a look - thanks very much Rob!

Cailleach said...

That was very funny especially the 2nd page with the minimalist 4 line The Worst Land by Eparsons... I laughed out loud :D

Atyllah said...

I shall have to go a-browsing! Thanks for the heads-up.

Clive James is just wonderful - Chicken Man has a substantial collection of his writings and essays.