Olivier Assayas's film on the aftermath of May 1968 is infantile ultra-leftism
JOE GLENTON explains his need to respond to a world that is unsustainably divided
The radical Italian poet Rocco Scotellaro (1923-53) grew up in the impoverished and mountainous Italian south. He was active in the post-war struggle for land reform until his election as socialist mayor of Tricarico brought him into conflict with local landowners.
He was imprisoned on false charges, and although he was eventually released he died soon after of a heart attack.
After Scotellaro's death Carlo Levi, author of Christ Stopped At Eboli, edited a prize-winning collection of his friend's poetry, establishing his reputation in Italy as one of the pioneers of 1940s neorealism.
Your Call Keeps Us Awake (Smokestack Books, £7.95) is the first book-length bilingual publication of Scotellaro's work in Britain.
Edited and translated by Allen Prowle and Caroline Maldonado, it is a beautiful and unsentimental study of "the eternally poor" Italian peasants.
It explores the tensions between family and individual, country and city, progress and its alienation.
And the contradictions of rural Italy, its collective history and the backwardness of its superstitions are memorably evoked: "Your land, your beloved/land, breathing over there tonight/with re-awakened crickets and the stars,/is suffering here a useless hell."
Steve Ely's Oswald's Book Of Hours (Smokestack Books, £7.95) is another elegy for a lost and defeated land - the Anglo-Saxon kingdom of Northumbria.
A handbook of devotions to the Northumbrian King Oswald (604-642AD) and "for the exiled and expropriate English settled north of the Humber," it explores ideas of Englishness via radical, pre-industrial and pre-reformation traditions.
It includes a series of elegies and eulogies for an unlikely band of northern subversives.
Included among them are the hermit Richard Rolle, brigand John Nevison, Catholic rebel Robert Aske and the NUM leader Arthur Scargill.
These are "The lowest of the low and low-paid,/the primary men; farmhands, quarrymen, colliers./Crude men, of appetite and violence, mumblers,/white-knucklers, averters of eyes. Beasts of burden,/their lives lived out in the rhythm/of the Coal Board's seasons ... Larks orbiting the wheel/and the cold cage falling ... You brought them health and Palma de Mallorca,/Cortinas on the drive and kids in college,/reading Marx and Mao and The Wealth of Nations."
Kate Fox is a well-known performer and comedian, a familiar voice on BBC Radio and one of the regular poets on Radio 4's Saturday Live.
Last year her one-woman Edinburgh show Kate Fox News toured the UK.
Her new and selected poems Fox Populi (Smokestack Books, £7.95) collects the best of her poetry written for the page, stage and radio.
It is a hilarious journey through the crackly airwaves of contemporary British culture, a bi-lingual cross between stand-up comedy and sit-down poetry and it's feminist, fabulous and funny: "Number the women -/the smaller the amount,/you're seeing what happens when we don't count./This is the way to count;/add up the women you see and hear./Then factor in the ones you can't/to ensure they don't disappear ... I am no Pythagoras,/I'm more excited by cake than Pi,/but when equality fails to add up,/I'm going to keep asking why."
But the book also shows a quieter and more serious side to her work.
That is particularly notable in the long sequence Only Connect about working in a call centre: "She releases her bladder/to a count of three,/head aching with the brightness/of the strip lit white cubicle./The Doctor says battery hens,/the Psychologist says cotton mill workers, the Union Rep says cattle sheds./All of them smile at their own similes."
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