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Allen Fisher: Reading 'Mummers’ Strut'

Thurston, S 2003, 'Allen Fisher: Reading 'Mummers’ Strut'' , in: The Salt Companion to Allen Fisher , Salt Publishing. (Submitted)

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      Abstract

      In 1995, Allen Fisher published a poem entitled ‘Mummers’ Strut’ in an issue of the magazine West Coast Line, accompanied by a statement of poetics. This essay offers a close reading of the poem by investigating its multiple sources alongside Fisher's poetics. The principle technique that Fisher employs in this and other works is a form of collage; combining materials taken from other texts, often altering them in the process (a technique Fisher calls re-narration). This altering of the quotations from other texts amounts to what Fisher calls a ‘subversion of collage form’. 'Mummers’ Strut', unlike most of Fisher’s output, includes endnotes which precisely indicate the origins of each part of the poem’s fabric. This provides a rare opportunity for an exact comparison of the materials Fisher has drawn on and their final appearance in the text of the poem. It is hoped that such a comparison will suggest ways in which Fisher’s hypercomplex work can be understood and appreciated as literary art.

      Item Type: Book Section
      Uncontrolled Keywords: Allen Fisher Innovative Poetry
      Themes: Subjects / Themes > P Language and Literature > PE English
      Memory, Text and Place
      Schools: Colleges and Schools > College of Arts & Social Sciences > School of Humanities, Languages & Social Sciences > Centre for English Literature and Language
      Colleges and Schools > College of Arts & Social Sciences
      Colleges and Schools > College of Arts & Social Sciences > School of Humanities, Languages & Social Sciences
      Publisher: Salt Publishing
      Refereed: Yes
      Depositing User: SD Thurston
      Date Deposited: 19 Jan 2010 14:42
      Last Modified: 20 Aug 2013 17:02
      References: Baudrillard, Jean, ‘Simulacra and Simulations’, in Selected Writings, ed. by Mark Poster (Cambridge: Polity Press; Oxford: Basil Blackwell, 1988), pp. 166-84 Blake, William, Complete Writings, ed. by Geoffrey Keynes (Oxford and New York: Oxford University Press, 1992) Cicero, Marcus Tullius, De Inventione, De Optima Genere Oratorum, Topica, trans. by H.M. Hubbell (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press; London: Heinemann, 1976) Cobain, Kurt, ‘Negative Creep’, Nirvana, Bleach (Sub Pop records: ASIN: B0000035E7, 1989) Cobain, Kurt, ‘Negative Creep’, lyrics consulted online at http://hjem.get2net.dk/nirvclub/lyrics/bleachl.htm#creep (23/8/00) Cowper, William, ‘Ode to Peace’, in The Poetical Works of Cowper, ed. by H. S. Milford (London and New York: Oxford University Press, 1950) Debord, Guy, ‘Toward a Situationist International: Excerpt from a report on the construction of Situations and on the International Situationist tendency’s conditions of organisation and action’, in An endless adventure...an endless passion...an endless banquet: A Situationist Scrapbook, ed. by Iwona Blazwick (London and New York: Verso/ICA Publications, 1989), pp. 26-28 Debord, Guy, ‘Détournement as negation and prelude’, in An endless adventure...an endless passion...an endless banquet: A Situationist Scrapbook, ed. by Iwona Blazwick (London and New York: Verso/ICA Publications, 1989), p. 29 De Certeau, Michel, The Practice of Everyday Life (Berkeley and London: University of California Press, 1984) De Quincy, M. Quatremère, An Essay on the Nature, the End and the Means of Imitation in the Fine Arts, trans. by J.C. Kent (London: Smith, Elder and Co., 1837) Erdman, David V., ed., The Notebook of William Blake: a photographic and typographic facsimile (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1973) Fisher, Allen, Becoming: Place Book Four and part of five (London: Aloes Books, 1979) Fisher, Allen, Necessary Business (London: Spanner, 1985) Fisher, Allen, ‘Breaks Margin’, First Offense, no. 8 (1993), 54-63 Fisher, Allen, ‘Writer’s Notes: Allen Fisher’ and ‘Mummers’ Strut’, West Coast Line, no. 2 vol. 29 (1995), 109-10 and 28-37. Fisher, Allen, ‘The Poetics of the Complexity Manifold’, boundary 2, no. 1 vol. 26 (1999), 115-18 Fisher, Allen and Thurston, Scott, ‘Method and Technique in the work of Allen Fisher’, Poetry Salzburg Review 3 (2002) 10-27, p.15-16 Forrest-Thomson, Veronica, Poetic Artifice: a Theory of Twentieth-Century Poetry (Manchester: Manchester University Press, 1978) Hegel, G.W.F., Aesthetics: Lectures in Fine Art, trans. by T.M. Knox, 2 vols (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1975), II Kropotkin, Peter, The Conquest of Bread and Other Writings, ed. by Marshall Shatz (Cambridge and New York: Cambridge University Press, 1995) Mukařovsky, Jan, Aesthetic Function, Norm and Value As Social Facts (Ann Arbor: University of Michigan, 1970) Pliny, Natural History, trans. by H. Rackham (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press; London: Heinemann, 1952) Sheppard, Robert, ‘The Necessary Business of Allen Fisher’, in Future Exiles: 3 London Poets: Allen Fisher, Bill Griffiths, Brian Catling (London: Paladin, 1992), pp. 11-17 Sheppard, Robert, ‘The Poetics of Poetics: Charles Bernstein, Allen Fisher and “the poetic thinking that results”’, in Symbiosis, no. 1 vol. 3 (1999), 77-92 Ulmer, Gregory L., ‘The Object of Post-Criticism’, in Postmodern Culture, ed. by Hal Foster (London and Sydney: Pluto Press, 1985), pp. 83-110 Vitruvius, On Architecture, trans. by Frank Granger (London and New York: Heinemann and G.P. Putnam’s Sons, 1931)
      URI: http://usir.salford.ac.uk/id/eprint/2749

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