“The Grammar of Witchcraft” by David Parry
A haunting conceit – Iain Sinclair
Revolution takes many forms. It can be political, artistic and even spiritual. Perhaps, that is why this collection of poems and mini-sagas by the British Anarchist and Heathen, David Parry, is so compelling. Indeed, there is a sense of discontent with the current scheme of things on every page; a feeling that the twin evils of a stale orthodoxy and meaningless social hierarchy are somehow at the very root of every problem faced by the United Kingdom, today.
If this book has a fault, it is to be found in Parry’s obstinate faith in his reader’s intelligence. In fact, the author combines themes so weighty that any one of them would be enough for an average poet to handle; developed as they are with ironic descriptions apparently designed to evoke a sense of significance in his audience. All of which is done in a highly appealing manner.
The adventures of Parry’s alter-ego (Caliban) are not, however, hard to follow. Both plot and structure reveal themselves in stages, as the protagonist journeys back from a lesbian wedding in Liverpool, to a rapidly deconstructing London. Certainly, the notion of a “Pilgrims Progress” is recurrent throughout the text, as well as the influence of Imagist poets from the recent past. Also, there are moments when Parry seems to express his frustration with economic elites in an almost open way: flashes of anger that empower his longer poems. This is, nevertheless, an accessible book which will challenge its readers as much as delight them.
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