R. F. Langley
The forty-eight poems collected in this volume are the sum total completed by R. F. Langley during his seventy-two-year lifespan, but they contain an outsize vibrancy that intensifies on rereading. They are not well known on this side of the Atlantic, but hopefully this book will start to change that. Their range is not wide — indeed, it is consciously circumscribed (recurring subjects include insects and arachnids, Italian Renaissance art, the Suffolk countryside, church interiors, looking, and writing about looking) — but the attention and thinking they condense is considerable.
Instress, part 1
The secrets of clouds
Some poems declare their interest in magic openly through formal choices. Some poems are constructed as and/or “after” ancient or occult spells and take the form of a spell, which has some generally predictable structures. If we go from the ancient spells exemplified in Joshua Trachtenberg’s work, we’ll find these components: appeal, historiolae (historical or mythological precedents/correlates of the situation at hand), invocation, enunciation of names, request.