Presbyopia

By Allan Cameron

Format: Paperback

A collection of poetry in English and Italian, with an introductory essay on the need to move away from "self-as-subject" and towards a more public discourse in poetry. (The Italian poems come with translations into English).

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Vagabond Voices

Founded in 2008 and based in Glasgow, Vagabond Voices is an independent publisher that is both Scottish and fervently European in its aims. Vagabond is committed to introducing new titles from Scottish authors and translating fiction from other languages. Our library reflects our aims to promote literary ambition and innovative writers, and to challenge readers.

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"My sight if fades and fading faded forms reveals; ageing looks beyond its age to shrivelled centuries beyond decades." The presbyopic poet cannot focus on "the self as subject", but only on what is distant. This collection of poetry attempts to detach the writer from the obsessions that have dominated poetry for so long: sentiment, love, feelings and the autobiographical in general. To completely dispose of these would be dogmatic, and Cameron argues that some of the greatest poets are both presbyopic and myopic. "And yet he fell apart, and headstrong held to that one truth, while falling and parting for his way, his lonely way of wanting justice for the damned." This poetry is unfashionably but unashamedly political and philosophical. Cameron continues to express in another form the contempt he feels for utilitarianism in general, and in particular its crude and extreme variety, as peddled by neo-conservative politicians and their intellectual bag-carriers. At the same time, he attempts to invent new poetic forms.


Inspired by some Italian poets (especially Eugenio Montale), he uses metre and some rhyme, but then breaks it up by introducting enjambement and internal rhymes as well. There are English influences too: most surprisingly Rudyard Kipling's "Mary Gloster" in part inspired "Zarathustra's Last Interview", the longest narrative poem in this collection. "We thank thee Lord for having made us free to rule the world and liberate its inner need to be so much more like us." This poetry is unashamedly anti-imperialist. "That war with wings of death does twist and crush and kill the flimsy leathered bag of flesh and bone and liquid life that spills upon the sands, requires no second telling." This poetry is unashamedly anti-war. "Only this empty moment which I spectate is in my clasp; amongst this fractured stillness, something knowable comes close and just eludes the closing fingers of my mind's grasp" This poetry is for those who have more doubts than certainties.

Additional Information

Additional Information

Format Paperback
Imprint Vagabond Voices
Publication Date 22 Sep 2009
ISBN 9780956056030
Number of Pages 112

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Press Reviews

"Cameron confesses to a weariness with poetry's old forms and old concerns, particularly the perennial Romantic subjects of love and exploration of the self. As a corrective he steers clear of personal topics, turning his presbyopic gaze outward in a sequence of poems that take in eco-vandalism, press barons, George W. Bush and death. One admires his determination to reject ... pretension and obscurantism." - The Sunday Herald "Cameron wants to inspire and galvanise, and it's a while since poetry was used in that public and declarative way." - Scottish Review of Books

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