Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Nothing in this Life: Nick Cave and the Romantics

The latest Horizon Review is out, assembled by the able editorial hands of the poet Katy Evans-Bush. Among the poems, essays, stories, and interviews lies an essay of mine called "Nothing in this Life: Nick Cave and the Romantics," about the special bond between Nick Cave and poets, who seem to adore him. The essay takes its title from the lyrics to Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds' song "There She Goes, My Beautiful World," and it begins like this:
Not long ago a pair of young poets approached me and asked if I’d like to contribute to an anthology they were editing. I write prose quickly, but I’m a slow poet, and don’t keep much ready-to-publish material on hand, so I was a bit wary. “What’s the theme?” I asked, as a series of possibilities for an anthology in which I might belong flickered through my head. Rapidly graying poets? White guys who could lose some poundage? The last generation of poets to get on the tenure track before the general derailment of academe? It turned out to be none of the above: the young poets wanted to put together an anthology of poetry inspired by Nick Cave.

When I mentioned the project to the Scottish poet Roddy Lumsden, he didn’t miss a beat. Nick Cave? Lumsden had written a poem for Nick Cave and, through a series of events too complex and unlikely to present here, he’d heard from an octogenarian friend who’d lunched with Cave that the great man himself had pored over the little chapbook in which the poem appeared — pored repeatedly, apparently fascinated, but inscrutable. There seems to be some special connection between Cave and the poets, and I think I know what it is.

The rest is online here.