‘[A] poet must know more than | a surface suggests’: Reading and Secrecy in the Poetry of Anna Mendelssohn; by Vicky Sparrow

  There are moments when the reader of Anna Mendelssohn’s poetry feels themselves to be initiated into a secret poetic world within her work; and there are moments when such a reader is explicitly, sometimes uncomfortably, disabused of such a fantasy, debarred from such a space. The construction and reading of poetry always requires a negotiation of what is part-private and part-public, and in Mendelssohn’s work the crossing between these can feel peculiarly perilous. In Implacable Art (2000) Mendelssohn titles and addresses a poem ‘to any who want poems to give them answers’, cautioning her readers: ‘a poem is not…

Anna Mendelssohn; What a Performance

[…] __ Location:                  A Dark, Freezing Dungeon. England. Late 20th Century. Political Climate:  The Depression. Prisoner’s number:971226 ¹ flashbacks numerous.     assume dialogue except where obviously otherwise.   Go on write / I can’t write / You told me you could write / I could before I told you / I didn’t tell you I could, I told you I / I can’t say anymore, he’s armed with credentials and dangerous.² Why bring back torture? Because it is continuing / […] Never speak to another poet. Never breathe a word about your plans….