Monday, 16 November 2009

The reviews are in

I've been doing a bit of reviewing for the Booktrust blog recently, which has been a lot of fun. I was very pleased to review the pamphlets of the current Faber New Poets - short collections from Heather Phillipson, Toby Martinez de las Rivas, Fiona Benson and Jack Underwood. You can see my review here.

I have also just finished a review of Emma Jones' amazing debut collection The Striped World which should be online soon. This morning I discussed her poem Pieta in my creative writing class, and we were greatly impressed with Jones' layering of meaning, linguistic dexterity and feeling for her subject.

Also today recorded some poem readings that hopefully are going to find their way onto Alex Pryce's brilliant Poetcasting website some time soon.

Wednesday, 28 October 2009

Angel Poetry

I will be appearing at Agnes Meadows' Angel Poetry night on Thursday November 12th at
Waterstone’s, Islington Green, London N1 at 7pm - looking forward to it! I'll be reading some new work too. Book 2 is coming along nicely.

Tuesday, 11 August 2009

Inside Out

I am very pleased to report that a new poem of mine, Grief, now appears on the Inside Out website here.

Inside Out describes itself as a new breed of literary arts magazine. Part literary publication, part therapeutic expression, our aim is to promote creativity for self-development through the publication of a diverse mix of artistic work, all with a focus on self-awareness and self-help. Why? Because we believe that sometimes simply owning something on the page is all it takes to move past it and move on, for both reader and creator.

The site has a very good look, an excellent illustrator.

Friday, 10 July 2009

The ICA’s current exhibition Poor.Old.Tired.Horse is an interesting one for poetry lovers and anyone interested in text and art crossovers. It:

"takes an expansive look at text-based art practices, inspired by the concrete poetry movement of the 60s which explored both the literary and graphic potential of language." ICA website

Concrete poetry, for anyone unsure, is poetry that explores the typographical arrangement of words as well as the meaning, rhythm or rhyme of those words. It also uses typography in part to comment on the fundamental instability of language – or the inability of language to adequately express an object. One of my favourite examples is Eugen Gomringer’s Silencio, which shows the ironic inadequacy of the word “silence” to express silence, but which also features an authentically silent space in the middle of the words. Arguably, blank space to express silence could possibly be the best relationship of concept to representation/language I can think of. Which is somewhat depressing, as a poet, to be honest.

Anyway, if interested, I would recommend checking out Mike Garofalo’s Garden Digest website
for lots of other interesting examples of visual and concrete poetry.

As far as Poor.Old.Tired.Horse goes, I hope that it reminds the world at large that this language we use is less a usefully transparent system of tags and more a bizarrely symbolic development of evolved grunting which has only a tenuous relationship to the real world. I’m sad that (according to the ICA) “most people have forgotten concrete poetry”, because it remains a philosophically important mode of questioning language itself; a valuable approach, especially in these days of scarily-approaching-Orwellian-doublespeak. I really feel like we are about two months away from the instigation of the Ministry of Love most of the time. And in all seriousness, political language is a really great example of the sheer unrepresentative nature of language to reality. I always think political language is the art of understatement and translation – rioting bloodbath becomes regrettable event, screaming dying thrashing becomes multiple fatality, fucked banking mismanagement and mammon-worship is a recession. Which suggests gently receding, like the hair of the people who wrote this particular dictionary of perverted mildness.

Although I am a poet (note: I wrote “post” then – interesting Royal Mail-oriented/self-as-blogpost slip, what could it mean, what could it mean?) and therefore engaged in the pursuit of sparking associations and meaning via juxtaposition and imagery in the mind of the reader, I am under no illusion that conventional poetry can ever really interrogate reality at the level of reality – it can, however, represent a stylised version of possibility which may well have an impact on the reader.

So therefore, in these conventional days of poetry that tends to rely on describing things in frequently boring ways, it is good to remember that there are artists who were and are working at a more symbolic level.

I am a post.


Wednesday, 24 June 2009

Spoken Space

As part of Wet Ink, I am performing at this.

Tuesday, 23 June 2009


To diversify my output, and for fun, I have been writing articles on poetry for the Booktrust weblog, and you can see my most recent effort here, discussing Tim Atkins' Folklore and Sascha Aurora Akhtar's The Grimoire of Grimalkin. Clearly, I am over the lunamoon just at the thought that "Grimoire" and "poetry" can be expressed within the same paragraph. Whoopty. Both brilliant books, both addressing language as material and as a system to be moulded and eviscerated, artistically of course. Perhaps that's too strong a term: fiddled with. The G of G addresses many postmodern philosophical concerns, among them ideas of the rhizome and polyglossia - both of interest to me and certainly familiar, esp. with reference to the rhizomatic nature of the internet, communal virtual texts and the construction of many-voiced many-linked text. MA flashback.

I can now also be found on New Writing South's Pirandello writer's database as a writer looking for writing wordwork.

Sunday, 17 May 2009


I am pleased to say that a new poem, Sirens, will be printed in the next issue of Trespass Magazine, and that I will be reading at the launch for the issue in June.

Also pleased to say that extracts from 8/8/8: A Bibliomantic Poem will be published online on Streetcake Magazine, the journal for experimental and innovative writing.

Tuesday, 5 May 2009


Twitter updates now blam their way onto this blog! Tweet, tweet against the dying of the light...

Making a poem in twitter is an idea more than one person has had, and is quite interesting as a durational kind of work, as well as the potential for creating a collaborative piece. If I had more time i might do it... not right now as there's another durational piece I'm working on but shhh ... it's under wraps for now.

In other news, my editor describes part 1 of my new collection as using repetition in a "surprising" way; is this Editorspeak for impenetrable / bad / hopeless / up-itself - or actually quite good? Or, surprising in a kind of "Gooo! jumping off the page at your face like a poodle crossed with a flea" kind of way ? The last I doubt as the poems aren't approaching any kind of the innovative page setups (or totally off-page status) they could be; they are floating in the mainstream with a wet nod to shock and surprise, easily towelled off.

Tuesday, 10 February 2009

New poem to be published in the next issue of Crannog

Just to say that a new poem, You Sleep, will be published at the end of February 2009 in Crannog, the Irish literary magazine - for more details.

I am about halfway through book 2 and I feel there's a definite development from book 1 - more structure, more substance perhaps, but just as much oomph. There is more work in response to other work, such as contemporary paintings, photography, landscape.

Monday, 12 January 2009

New work published online

A new poem of mine has been published online in Streetcake Magazine here. Streetcake is interested in visual, innovative and experimental writing.