The Engineer rakes sand over
oil burns on the path
to the windmill. He spreads dust on snow
and readjusts his watch.
A man in a raincoat
taps his stick down the path
His ears are burning.
He sees the Photographer’s arms around an elm trunk.
One hand can be discerned: it trembles.
Between her hands he images an equator
her body a sphere of energy
perhaps equal to the elm’s it
bounds without meeting
until knotted in a six-dimensional space.
Blake closes his door
for a long time turns a key
in a delicate lock
A Mathematician, a Poet and
the Engineer sit across a map table
on the High Road
to begin analysis of the ice.
The Mathematician opens an English copy of
A running walk can be checked from
alternative hind-foot-hind-foot footfall sequence
reads as one foot close to the surface to take
body weight should the support foot slide.
Every so often saliva has frozen, formed discs on the path.
Six-space is a delusion, the Poet says, It’s
noise, reminated each moment.
Information, the Engineer notes, transmitted over long
periods of time, deteriorates.
The noise can be heat, or radiation, right?
It can be mutagenic chemical. The molecular
clock runs faster than the genetic, It relies
on noise for the controlled introduction of novelty.
You mean balance of conserving and radical change?
What’s that mean? the Poet seems irritated.
There are problems of measurement and scale.
And imagination, the Poet adds.
Are we talking, asks the Engineer leaning back on his chair,
About resilience, persistence, or resistance?
Perturbations need to be stated spatially, the Mathematician
turns to the Poet, Your richness, connectance, and
interaction makes instability. My evidence suggests
that local stability can be observed.
But you won’t wake up to the complexity of observation as
I’m not concerned, the Mathematician says, With
the successive destruction of individuals. Entire generations
will be grovelling on the Earth. All volition assembles
to form schemes for destruction. We are here to examine
the ice, the cracks, and the shape of this great cloud
of opinion points.
Energy and time cannot be simultaneously measured, you know that.
From the cloud we can integrate over one variable
to get the probability of the other.
I am on an equal footing with what I see, the Poet says.
No, the Engineer interrupts.
The Poet turn to the Engineer, Your system
is acceptance of death.
The Mathematician laughs, he rides a horse into the
green path glowing with golden cane in his left, a
storm bursting from his right, towards a riot of flowers
that enamel his Paradise.
The melons are flat, ready for serving, buttercups
have straight stems, raspberries
spring into baskets between their bushes.
The Mathematician's breath visibly leaves his nostrils
freezes on the tabletop.
Without deliberate perception, what he sees
repeats and trembles.
I stride out onto this plane, feel vertigo,
until I induce a horizontal depth.
I can shatter this ice, this encased sublimnity:
I can prevent your sleep’s expiation and encourage
curbs to your euphoria.
The Mathematician ignores this, walks over to the ice
to contemplate its structure
as if its crystals focussed his energy for thought
The Engineer walks across his contemplation
to triturate this illusion. The Mathematician watches
through his windscreen, then laughs.
I question, the Poet calls, the temporality of narrative,
and use its maps to make their records obsolete.
The Engineer lifts a bundle and carries it to the table,
A thousand confident threads, he says, Hold friends
and not one of them would break that.
That’s an illusion of the future, the Poet argues.
The Photographer interrupts, We reject
stoicism as vanity. All that impedes lucidity
and hampers confidence crenellates the present.
It’s a roll of film, the Engineer jokes, spilling
his tea. His cup leaves a white circle. The Mathematician
starts to draw a tangent to it. The Photographer doodles
a shopping list on the tangent line,
across the Mathematician’s copy of The Interpretation
of Dreams. I picked up one of the Klopstock volumes
Blake had marked. I was crying
and wouldn’t say whether it was joy
or a sorrow of amazement
In pleasing confusion,
We’re breaking we other’s bones.
The Mathematician and Engineer contested
strength in an arm wrestle across,
what the Engineer called, the concentration table.
A storm hung over the High Road as I wheeled
my bike up the walkway for repair...
The Engineer rakes sand over
vive em: Hereford, Reino Unido
Allen Fisher, born in 1944 in London, is a poet, painter and publisher, teacher and performer associated with the British Poetry Revival and is the edit of Spanner magazine.
Allen Fisher has been involved in performance and poetry since 1962. In 1969 his poetry and art practice developed different strands of processual, conceptual and systematic methods. Altogether Fisher has over 150 publications in his name consisting of art documentation, poetry and theory. He has written four main long sequences of work: the PLACE project (1971-1980), Blood, Bone, Brain (1970-1980), The Art of Flight (1970s) and Gravity as a consequence of shape (1982-2007).
Fisher started painting in 1978. After twenty years in lead and plastics industries he started teaching art, art history and poetry at Goldsmiths' College in the eighties, moved to Herefordshire College of Art & Design in 1989.
In 1998 Fisher became Head of Art at Roehampton University, was appointed as Professor of Poetry & Art in 2002 and became Head of Contemporary Arts at Manchester Metropolitan University in 2005 and was made Emeritus Professor in 2009.
His early long project PLACE was published in a series of books and pamphlets in the 1970s. PLACE is a development in open field poetics, focusing on South London, and incorporates a series of books including Convergences (1978), Becoming (1978) and Unpolished Mirrors (1986).
Originally published over several years as a series of interconnecting books, it incorporated influences from Blake, Olson, Pope, Wordsworth, Robert Kelly, Walter Benjamin, Jung, Dickens, Foucault, Wilhelm Reich, Marxism, the Situationists, conceptual art and researches in mythology, linguistics, psychology, mathematics, immunology, topography, zoology and much else – and yet remains unclassifiable.
Parallel with this ten-year project PLACE, he developed systematic sequences of poetry, such as The Art of Flight based on the notes in Bach's The Art of Fugue and Apocalyptic Sonnets which invented the double sonnet. During the 1980s he started a series of works in art history and poetics (Necessary Business 1985, Topological Shovel 1999 and Confidence in lack, 2007).
Gravity as a consequence of shape incorporates many small books and booklets started in 1982, culminating in 3 collected volumes: Gravity (2004); Entanglement (2004), and Leans (2007).
This very long sequence is a mix of science, everyday language and the poetic tradition of Britain, combined with comments from philosophy, politics, and business to a web of texts that goes beyond collage and montage techniques and is closely related to forms of conceptual art and techniques of contemporary art.
This was followed by a book of emblems (poem-image-commentary) called "Proposals" and, in 2014, a collage book of poetry, visual images and prose quotations called "SPUTTOR". A book of essays "Imperfect Fit: Aesthetic Function, Facture and Perception" regarding American and British Poetry & Art Since 1950 and other essays on poetics was published by the University of Alabama in 2016. Forthcoming: a "Companion" to his work with essays by contemporaries and an "Allen Fisher Reader", both due in 2017.
Fisher has exhibited widely, including a retrospective painting show in Hereford Museum & Art Gallery in 1993, and one-man shows in London, 2003, and Hereford, 2013. Part of his processual work is in the Tate Collection and his painted work is owned by museums in Hereford and Iceland and private collections in America, Australia, Britain and the United Arab Emirates.
Allen Fisher lives as Emeritus Professor of Poetry and Art at Manchester Metropolitan University in Hereford.
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