Pete Brown – Let ‘em Roll Kafka

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I wrote briefly about Pete Brown as lyricist and poet here, and mentioned that I had ordered his 1969 poetry book Let ‘em Roll Kafka. I received this yesterday and have enjoyed reading this collection of its time, poetry made popular by its simplicities, its nonsense, its irreverence, its protest, its experimenting, and its lyricism.

I’m going to share two here, both sadly about death, the first Sad is the Man [poignant, perhaps, the day after it was announced an inmate commits suicide every three days in our prisons now], and the second Goodbye/The Mad May Dawn. The first seems to me reminiscent of the song lyricist in Brown, obviously the rhyming and the rhythms and the immediate transfer of emotion, and the second demonstrates some of the playing with form in ‘modern’ poetry at the time, though this is hardly original or radical. Is there an echo of Samuel Beckett in this?

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