Thursday, February 07, 2013

Out from Otoliths—Martin Edmond's Eternities

Now out from Otoliths.

Martin Edmond
6" x 9"
64 pages, illustrated
Otoliths, 2013
ISBN: 978-0-9872010-7-2
$14.45 + p&h
Martin Edmond's Eternities is at once memoir, belle lettrist in a kind of Modernist French tradition, lyric prose poetry, literary criticism. He is a chronicler of lost and discarded sacred things, people, places—Tempe Velodrome, the Manzil Room, the Wet Taxis playing at the Britannia Hotel. The writing frequently builds a pathos that often leads to grieving, grieving for lost youth and ruined possibilities. The paradox is that the romantic desire for the ideal can be realized in dreaming. Edmond is so authentic you can believe every anecdote he tells, partly because he puts himself and the reader at the scene of real crimes and with novelist’s skills re-enacts their immediate horror. Meticulous research underpins the mythic dreaming and the constant resurgence (via mechanisms of memory, portents-reading, and hallucination) of the uncanny, seeping, if you like, out to the detritus of past time. The intertextual transcends the dull mechanics of postmodern technique, emerging epically as the Koran, the Tora, Aztec lore and old Testament parable populated with hitherto uncelebrated gypsies, thieves, dream-chasing hippies, and murderers. The book rolls with humanity, a secularized laughter and magic. Not theological at all, but as powerful as re-incarnation and pagan idol worship; such profound depth to even the most innocuous recollections. Perhaps it is Edmond’s expat origins, a New Zealander who has made Sydney crueler, kinder, more exotic and more magical than it ever could be on its own: . . . in those moments some ineffable translation happens, some occult adjustment of soul, some realignment of possibilities, after which he is profoundly changed. And all else too. It is as the book says—the redeemed world will be the same but not as this is. It’s theology without god. It’s nothing. Everything. —Adam Aitken

Martin Edmond’s bohemian travels documented within these prose pieces are eternities made manifest in run-down flats, movie sets and, along with other jobs, toiling on the night shift at the post office among fellow poets, painters, musicians and other variously assembled creatures of the night. Here is a writer with abundant gifts. With a novelist’s eye for detail and a poet’s perfect pitch Martin Edmond lives the life of the writer who takes ecstatic possession of every living moment. Within these pages the writer asks, ‘can music banish a curse?’ You bet it can. —Richard Lopez


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