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FOOTNOTES

C. Perricone

ISBN: 978-1-911052-02-9
Dimensions: 180 × 110 mm
Extent: 144 pp.
Publication date: 18 July 2018

£10.00

Footnotes fizzes with nerdish beauty and is, at heart, a love letter to close reading.’ – Richard Scott

 

What are footnotes? They are appendages – subordinates – minions, even, to the text itself. Mostly they seem untroubled by their humble position. Occasionally, though, a footnote will erupt with a kind of violence, eager to break out of its ignominy and offer something more than a doffing of the cap. These footnotes have something else to say, and they will find their way to say it. These are the footnotes that make up this book.

Footnotes is a series of riffs and meditations on human life and culture, with a particular interest in the play of meaning and sound. These notes aspire towards the condition of poetry, running the gamut from the profane to the sacred, from the sublime to the ridiculous, and from the perfectly clear to the profoundly obscure.

These are poems. But they are more than poems. They are footnotes that have broken loose. They deserve your most loving attention. They demand it.

 

C. Perricone is the author of A Summer of Monkey Poems (1996), published by the Cummington Press. His articles and reviews have been published in philosophy journals, and his poetry has been published in literary journals. He lives in New Jersey, USA.

9.

 

It’s the play among texts

That grabs your attention,

The play played softly,

The conversation

At the bottoms of pages

In the numbers

Of the corners of paragraphs

Across the many spans of sunsets

Between professors

At Oxford and Leipzig

Who’ve professed among echoes . . .

And poets who’ve lived in dives.

Juvenal hated women.

It’s everywhere in the Satires,

But especially in 6,

The senator’s wife doing the gladiator

While the senator’s out of town,

The well-bred bitch, the athlete,

The corrupt mother, then the cunt with a whip,

And perhaps a woman who is also a man . . .

J. P. V. D. Balsdon in his Roman Women:

Their History and Habits

Asserts quite correctly that

The writers of ancient Rome were men,

The historians, the poets, and satirists,

All were men . . .

“And it is a thousand pities”

That there’s not been left behind

One woman’s record

Of the sunsets of her days.

As Balsdon suggests,

What a treat it would be

To read the record Tacitus read

Of Agrippina the Younger’s own words,

Which she wrote and published,

The sunsets of her own sad story,

A story neither copied nor conceived,

Just a report of a chance

In a swerve among swerves,

And yet a story just the same . . .

Her words, her son – the Emperor Nero, her family . . .

Lost words which never will have found the play

To which such words should have been allowed.