Sunday, 8 November 2015

Harry Mathews


Harry Mathews grew up on Manhattan’s Upper East Side and was educated at Princeton and Harvard University. He spent many years in Paris where he not only met John Ashbery but also became the only American member of the French avant-garde literary society Oulipo (Ouvroir de literature potentielle).

Mathews has also been associated with the New York School of poets. He started the literary magazine Locus Solus – named after the surrealist novel by Raymond Rousel – in 1960 together with John Ashbery, Kenneth Koch, and James Schuyler.

Mathews’ writing is often inspired by language games and formal constraints – a fact which also makes him a favourite with the language poets. As the Poetry Foundation notes:

“Mathews’s poetry and prose often use overarching formal constraints to examine the relationship between sound and meaning or pattern and lyric.”

In addition to his poetry he has published several novels. His honors include a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts and an award for his fiction from the American Academy of Arts and Letters.



Links:
http://www.poetryfoundation.org/bio/harry-mathews
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Harry_Mathews


My below poem was inspired by Mathews’ Selected Declarations of Dependence which uses modifications of common proverbs to build new poetic texts.

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Politics

Like something the cat brought
Like something the cat caught
Like something the chat sort
Like something the chat bought
Like something the VAT brought
Like something the VAT ought
Like something the rat sought
Like something the rat court
Like something the brat snort
Like something the brat sport
Like something the tat court
Like something the bat sport
Like something the bat fought
Like something the bat sort
Like something the bat bought
Like something the bat thwart
Like something the cat ought
Like something the cat thought
Like something the cat brought


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