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Moon for Sale

69 pages31 minutes


Price's most live' or performative' work to date, the poems in Moon for Sale are sensual and shapeshifting and unfold like a series of haunting dreams. The collection begins with a poem about the artist David Bomberg and his ground-breaking book Russian Ballet in which poetry, art, and live performance are all reimagined for a contemporary audience. This is key to the whole collection, where the borderlines between the lyric, art, and life are hypnotically blurred. Highlights include the ambitious poem "The Price" in which the lyric tradition itself is satirized in striking image after image with self-lacerating glee, and "A Quiet River," at the other end of the spectrum in tone, where an intricate lyric about the peace and danger of rivers offers the complex solace of solitude. It is a poem that, within days of appearing in the Times Literary Supplement, inspired an artist completely unbidden to make the text into a large-scale ceramic artwork (the artist Liz Mathews). Questions and evocations of physical love and power in relationships surface in many of the poems, where play and remorse are locked in a tragi-comic mud wrestle. Moon for Sale is best compared not with contemporary poetry but with modern film Terrence Malick's Tree of Life, the subtle films of Margaret Tait or the carefully braided documentary films of Slovakian auteur Viera Cakanyova, who recently made a film about Price and his work. Key images recur the moon, leaves, tattoos on the skin, changing in their meaning as they do so. Gradually, cumulatively, and then overwhelmingly there is the sense in this collection of a crisis being much more than personal: against a backdrop of the failure and brutality of Western authority, these are poems which are trying to remember the best of the world while there is time at least to remember.

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