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Sport 16: Autumn 1996

Beginning and ending every day

Beginning and ending every day

One of my favourite drawings by Ken Bolton is of a dog running with a stick in its mouth. Just as a New York Times reporter once rhapsodised over Meredith Monk’s music: ‘Monumental in its minimalism!’ So it undoubtedly is with Bolton’s drawing.

At one time, or so I’m told, Bolton was flatting in somewhat cramped conditions and had to sleep on a top bunk with his face only two feet away from the ceiling, to which he affixed the original drawing of the running dog—directly in front of his sleeping and waking face. And I think that is a useful metaphor for Bolton’s poetry: a bringing to consciousness, a call to various sorts of attention, and also a losing of consciousness—a fabulous, disorientating, irrational, intoxicating ballpark of ideas. A presence and an absence spanning the distance between the dog on the ceiling and the Mona Lisa.