Monday, 24 May 2010


Great news! The Knives, Forks and Spoons press has agreed (very enthusiastically) to publish my poetic project Taropoetics.

Taropoetics is an investigation of the creation of poetic language utilising the techniques of automatic writing and trance. This was a durational work, lasting a year, which produced a collection of 52 poems, with one written a week between February 2009 and February 2010. Each poem was created as a trance-written response to five tarot cards shuffled and dealt at random. The free-written text was collated over a year and then edited to produce the poems in this book.

For the curious, an index of cards “read” in each poem is given at the end of the book. It is not necessary to understand the given meanings of tarot cards to read this work; merely to understand that the tarot is a series of 78 intensely-imaged pictures that are made to inspire original and creative imaginative and/or intuitive connections.

My hope with Taropoetics was to express an ongoing psychopoetic landscape, with an element of possible prophecy - a text that captured the weekly development of my own oblique and symbolic unconscious.

Taropoetics refers to the stream-of-consciousness methods employed in Hannah Weiner’s Clairvoyant Journal, and the aleatoric processes used in the compositions of John Cage or works such as Jackson MacLow’s The Marrying Maiden: A Play of Changes, which utilized a tarot-like "action pack" of 1,400 playing cards with a series of "commands", structured on the principle of the I Ching. It aimed to disassemble language and reassemble it in ways that would surprise both MacLow and his listeners or readers.

Taropoetics works on the principle that not only are there a vast number of possible combinations of 78 tarot cards that can be the basis of poetic inspiration, but that also, meaning is as dependent on the moment of dealing as the cards themselves; the moment of the psychic state and its bearing on interpretation is as important as the cards themselves.

Taropoetics takes a holistic approach both to the creation of text and the inclusion of the artist within the work. Like Weiner’s Clairvoyant Journal, there is a direct connection between the personal and the work. Recognising the tarot as a valid and rich system of signs that can be used to generate an avant-garde text that speaks to prophecy and the individual, personal (postmodern and fractured) “narrative” also seems relevant in today’s newly-revived new age culture, which is seeking answers to modern life in ancient traditions. I think there is also a close relationship between psychic/seer/sibyl and artist/writer/poet that this kind of work reminds us of – both are tasked with decoding the “truth”, if it exists, for society and self.

So that's what it is: copies available in a month or so; I will post links. Hurrah!