‘on-fold worldly-cares’: Metrical Cookery with Bill Griffiths

Article English OPEN
Virtanen, Juha (2014)
  • Publisher: Gylphi / Open Library of Humanities
  • Subject: PR | PN0080

This article closely examines Bill Griffiths’ fugitive pamphlet Metrical Cookery, published through his Amra Imprint in 1991. Considering the anecdotes regarding Griffiths’ diet, a sequence about cooking seems like a peculiar subject matter, but this article seeks to demonstrate that underneath the domestic exterior of the poems, the poet is in fact conducting a sociopolitical interrogation of the ‘illogical’ and ‘arbitrary’ premises of hierarchy and power, and ultimately presents a challenge to these systems of societal exclusion. This analysis is approached with reference to other Amra publications from 1991; Marx’s concept of alienated labour; as well as studies into the social anthropology of cooking and eating. The article also makes reference to Vaneigem’s The Revolution of Everyday Life, along with briefer discussions of works by both Adorno and Bürger. Ultimately, the article suggests that the poems of Metrical Cookery are a refusal of constraints that is enacted through the familiarity of its subject matter, which allows Griffiths to explore – if only on an aesthetic level – alternative modes of solidarity and sociality.
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