Niall McDevitt - Firing Slits, Jerusalem Colportage

Niall McDevitt - Firing Slits, Jerusalem Colportage

20.00

UNCORRECTED PROOF. SIGNED BY THE AUTHOR AND LIMITED TO 100 COPIES

HAND NUMBERED AND STAMPED

Colportage was the 19th century occupation of travelling booksellers who travelled town to town selling chiefly religious tracts and pamphlets. Niall McDevitts colportage is its contemporary reverse shadow. Firing Slits is a book of huge vocabulary and weight, the result of two months McDevitt spent in Jerusalem. It is in part a dictionary of Jerusalem, trying to unravel it's history by investigating it's etymology.  McDevitt is the Irish flaneur who flits between the Jerusalems, east and west, ancient and modern, heavenly and earthly, J1 and J2, to pen 'a description of an eternal war-zone'. Judeophile and Islamophile as antidote to the politics of hatred, McDevitt's observations are humane. His fascination with Jewish and Muslim sites is evident but he is disappointed with Christian sites and embarrassed by the behaviour of Christian tourists, feeling his own shame as 'a son of the crusaders'. McDevitt challenges Christopher Middleton's critique of contemporary poetry as 'reportage' and 'prosing' by attempting both consciously; but his 'colportage' takes him deeper into the topography of Jerusalem than a journalist could go, returning via Benjamin to the Baudelairean model of Paris Blues.

Ultimately, Firing Slits: Jerusalem Colportage is homage to the 100 copperplates of William Blake's Jerusalem which McDevitt regards as the greatest poem in English. Its fourfold architecture and 'all religions are one' sensibility are evidence of a necessary work, shedding the skins of ‘Jerusalem’ as over-used symbol. What McDevitt sees and hears is as uncomfortable as it is painterly and musical.

Printed on 90gsm FSC munken cream book paper. Hand bound in 270 gsm GF Smith laid watercolour paper

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