Eric Mottram on Triggernometry (3)

III Walter Prescott Webb’s The Great Plains described the development of the cattle kingdoms of the American West and of the cowboy who worked the ranches and ranges. The Homestead Law of 1862, the invention of barbed wire in 1874, and the advent of the windmill, the railway, artificial irrigation systems, and the automobile combined to shape – and ultimately displace – the West: ‘The life of one man … Read more Eric Mottram on Triggernometry (3)

Eric Mottram on Triggernometry (2)

Enough readers have suggested I continue posting Eric Mottram’s essay, “Persuasive Lips,”  so I will — it will take 5 installments all in all. Here, the second part: II The technological morality of gangster and police movies provides a full iconography from the Thirties onwards. The obvious symbolism of black and white shirts is there in cowboy films, of course, together with other ancient characterizations: blonde and brunette, fair … Read more Eric Mottram on Triggernometry (2)

Eric Mottram on Triggernometry

That lethal all-American gun pathology has obviously been on my mind these last weeks. Two expressions from long ago kept coming back: “triggernometry” and “persuasive lips” — eventually they brought me back to Eric Mottram’s 1976 essay, “The Persuasive Lips” which opened his excellent 1989 collection of cultural criticism essays called Blood on the Nash Ambassador (long out of print, though cheap & decent copies can still be found via … Read more Eric Mottram on Triggernometry

Against Tyrrany

This morning, reading about the English critic Frank Kermode‘s passing at ninety (here and here among many other places), I couldn’t help thinking back on Eric Mottram (who passed away at barely 70 nearly fifteen years ago) who had so often warned me (& others) about Kermode’s reactionary literary stances — even if both men had followed each other on the stand at the Old Bailey in defense of … Read more Against Tyrrany

Ballard, Sinclair, Place & the Novel (Where's Poetry?)

Came across a fascinating essay on PLACE in contemporary British writing by David Cunningham on a Ballardian website — extracted below, full essay can be read here. The piece goes to the novel, rather than to poetry, although Charles Olson, Eric Mottram & Allen Fisher are briefly paid lip-service. Which may be a shame in the end, as the rather clear opposition between Iain Sinclair’s mytho-poetic fascination with place … Read more Ballard, Sinclair, Place & the Novel (Where's Poetry?)