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Lud Heat and Suicide Bridge (1975)

by Iain Sinclair

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1633171,009 (3.11)5
Iain Sinclair's classic early text, Lud Heat, explores mysterious cartographic connections between the six Hawksmoor churches in London. In a unique fusion of prose and poetry, Sinclair invokes the mythic realm of King Lud, who according to legend was one of the founders of London, as well as the notion of psychic 'heat' as an enigmatic energy contained in many of its places. The book's many different voices, including the incantatory whispers of Blake and Pound, combine in an amalgamated shamanic sense that somehow works to transcend time. The transmogrifying intonations and rhythms slowly incorporate new signs, symbols and sigils into the poem that further work on the senses. This was the work that set the 'psychogeographical' tone for much of Sinclair's mature work, as well as inspiring novels like Hawksmoor and Gloriana from his peers Peter Ackroyd and Michael Moorcock, and Alan Moore's From Hell.… (more)
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Showing 3 of 3
the word devours the beast/as the fig devoured the donkey

Equally dense and transportive, Sinclair is always a poet, melding and fusing, even while penning his psycho-geography or his harrowing novels. This pair of works from the mid-70s is not for the faint of heart, nor is it a recommended point of entry into the world of Sinclair. The first section balances the architect Hawksmoor and the film artist Brahkage. The second plumbs the occult to find Howard Hughes gestating at the core of our collective unconscious. Be wary. ( )
  jonfaith | Feb 22, 2019 |
A grim, sinister, and psychologically disturbing read of poetry and prose based on Hawkmoor’s churches in London. It’s difficult to separate fiction from non fiction here.
  ShelleyAlberta | Apr 19, 2018 |
Lud Heat
A Book of Dead Hamlets
May 1974 to April 1975

They have circumnavigated the Roman wall, they have followed the Hawksmoor trail east, from Blake's grave and the glimpse of St Luke, Old Street, through the Rookeries and refuse laneways and streets of bird fear, the fen edge, to the place of the lichen-pattern on the grave, to the crossroads, the staked vampire pit, St George-in-the-East. Limehouse, twilight.

The interaction of history, Egyptian mythology, geography and architecture, with Hawksmoor's churches, obelisks and pyramids as points in a sacred geography of the East End of London. Vortices of power attracting or causing heinous crimes, such as Jack the Ripper' crimes, and the Ratcliffe Highway murders, whose supposed perpetrator was buried under a crossroads with a stake through his heart.

"Lud Heat" is quite hard going, as it consists of lots of disconnected paragraphs interspersed with poetry. I can’t say that I liked the poems very much, as they were often laid out in an annoying way that made them very hard to read. Part lines, offset from each other with minimal punctuation meant that I was always having to backtrack to make sense of them.

You definitely need to be in the right mood to read this book, but it does provide lots of fuel for the imagination.

Suicide Bridge
A Book of the Furies
A Mythology of the South & East
Autumn 1973 to Spring 1978

Hughes too is sucked into this vortex. Has put so much of himself into bank vaults, numbered accounts, invisible back-dated deals, hidden from his own self's flame, biological theatre transactions, that he can't find his way back into his own body: & at this very point the energy stream of America, the shimmering milk flood, is tapped by Ed Dorn, & at this point the old mummy cracks into sawdust & stitches, & what was never there is seen to be absent. The recorded voice track coughs and fades. They pull out of vietnam, the colonial push is over, & the ventriloquist's dummy that Hughes operated in the White House is stranded with nothing but the gangster cassettes from The Big Heat & Hawks' Scarface & Point Blank and the whole edifice comes down like the last days of Sodom.

"Suicide Bridge" is a series of poems and prose creating a new mythology of southern England, from Dartmoor Prison in the West to Cambridge University in the East. But then he is sidetracked away from England to the mythology of 1960s America; Hollywood, the Kennedys and the moon landings and behind them all the reclusive Howard Hughes, pulling all the strings that made everything happen. And thank goodness he did get sidetracked, as I was losing the will to live (or at least the will to read) after all that poetry with its unpleasant images of sex, suicide, sacrifice, bones and entrails. ( )
  isabelx | Apr 22, 2011 |
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Iain Sinclair's classic early text, Lud Heat, explores mysterious cartographic connections between the six Hawksmoor churches in London. In a unique fusion of prose and poetry, Sinclair invokes the mythic realm of King Lud, who according to legend was one of the founders of London, as well as the notion of psychic 'heat' as an enigmatic energy contained in many of its places. The book's many different voices, including the incantatory whispers of Blake and Pound, combine in an amalgamated shamanic sense that somehow works to transcend time. The transmogrifying intonations and rhythms slowly incorporate new signs, symbols and sigils into the poem that further work on the senses. This was the work that set the 'psychogeographical' tone for much of Sinclair's mature work, as well as inspiring novels like Hawksmoor and Gloriana from his peers Peter Ackroyd and Michael Moorcock, and Alan Moore's From Hell.

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