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john davies
notes from a small vicar
from a parish
in Liverpool, UK

    Monday, January 05, 2009
    Iain Sinclair on 'heaven in ordinary'
     
    An interesting extract from the The Literary London Journal's excellent Iain Sinclair Special Edition in which Iain Sinclair, in conversation with Colette Meacher, gets a bit heaven in ordinary....
    CM: There's a line in White Goods: 'They became what they beheld' -- which obviously comes from a Romantic source - Blake, perhaps? And it's an expressive possibility that re-emerges again throughout your work; in Landor's Tower, the poet Tunstall experiences a feeling of 'joyous recognition' as he propels himself beyond a sense of the purely physical city, and becomes aware of its intrinsic transformative potential -- as a poetic form awaiting creative transcription. In this moment of self-realisation, 'light that is heat [came] from within, fused with the light of the world; in movement, definition. A riot, a ravishment; a chaos out of which he ... would retrieve or recognise order. And form. A unitive commingling with the pollen of the cosmos'.

    IS: Yes, Blake. It's interesting you mention that, because I've just finished this book in which I follow John Clare's walk from Epping Forest to a village north of Peterborough, and there's a point in that where he and his wife Patty, when they're courting, both look at the same thing and become as one. By looking at a single, natural feature - a river, or whatever it is - in that gaze, you become one with each other, and one with the landscape. That too contains my sense of the sublime.

    CM: Do you also encounter this sense of the sublime in relation to works of art - to paintings, sculpture, etc.?

    IS: I don't know what you'd call it; it's a sort of Joycean epiphany (or prejudice). You see something -- a work of art, a film, a piece of junk on the street, any kind of experience that lifts you into another realm, a parallel existence -- and then, as you move about the streets, mired in the mundane, you can attempt to burn a hole in the membrane of the ordinary. Heavenly light can come glimmering through.