Suite for Percy Grainger
Vagabond Press, $25 pb, 136 pp, 9781922181206
Jessica L. Wilkinson won the 2014 Peter Porter Poetry Prize with ‘Arrival Platform Humlet', a phantasmagoria of typographical and lexical invention whirling around a tune of the same name by Percy Grainger. This book performs the same service for his whole life and oeuvre, to stunning effect.
Grainger (1882–1961) is generally known as an interesting character first and a composer second. Wilkinson helpfully lists for us the various Percys on offer, among them the Folk-Song Collector, the Nordic, the Flagellant. This was a man who founded a museum in his own memory and who preserved a large part of the English folk tradition while also advocating ‘free’ machine-generated music.