Trevor Joyce - Conspiracy
Veer2 Publication 036 [ISBN: 978-1-911567-65-3] 12x14cms size, 216 pages. September 2023.
£11.00 (+ postage and packing)

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Trevor Joyce - Conspiracy

'In the collage and play of Trevor Joyce’s masterful Conspiracy, there’s always a return to the comedic with a delightfully casual history of language. Joyce’s is a most finely tuned music that “finds supreme tranquility/in dodging the question."'

- Paul Vangelisti

'The thrill of Conspiracy lies not in its continuity but rather in its ability to explode emerging narratives into something strange and unknowable that remains nevertheless propulsive, compulsively readable: “scattering light / at an unaccustomed angle” this sequence - and the accompanying images - offer “ongoing and intense / fluctuations in level” that will stay with you and draw you back in over and over.'

- David Toms

'I know of nothing that moves in quite the paradoxical ways of Trevor Joyce’s 12-liners, though Bob Cobbing’s title “Congruence of Speed and Stall” comes close to describing them. Each line seems frozen as if by a strobe, its moment form characteristic as the loops of a person’s handwriting, while also taking its turn in the headlong and highly-pressurised relay race of the poems’ often elusive, alarming and parabolic small narratives. It’s not really enjambment, more as if a dozen voices were speaking in turn, so well-rehearsed as to flow perfectly and still retain their distinctness. Nothing else for me has captured so well the weirdly hyperactive no-time of Lockdown, which somehow passed anyway.'

- Peter Manson

'Conspiracy is a set of 144 twelve-line poems, written one or more per day in Shandon, Cork, between May 18 and July 10, 2020.

These eight weeks saw the initial onslaught of the pandemic and the first panicked responses: mass hospitalizations and lockdowns, shortages of oxygen and protective equipment, lip-service to emergency workers, and political manoeuvring. It was also marked by the murder in the USA of George Floyd, street demonstrations, the leap to prominence of Black Lives Matter, and the spread of rumour and paranoia as lockstep faltered. Everywhere, this was played out on screens, as the language of voiceover often peeled away from the observed realities.

The title, Conspiracy, puts front and centre the human activity of breathing together, a shared need felt urgently at that time when much else ceased. The phrases stagger onward, interrupting and speaking over one another, as obsessive doomscrolling gives way to other reading and concerns — a book on cave art, a Victorian manual of stage magic, a coroner's inquiry into the collapse of Dublin tenements in 1913 — yet returns again to supplant them.

The poems are interset with photographs of stencilled sidewalk art from Sunset Boulevard, Los Angeles, Feb. 2020, images which echo or anticipate the apprehensions of the days they separate.'

This is part of a series of works organised by Robert Kiely for Veer2, produced and published jointly in the University of Surrey and the CPRC, Birkbeck College

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