I can proudly announce that my new collection of poetry, Spectral Emphatic, is now available to order from the Knives, Forks and Spoons Press. At just £7 a complete bargain.
Here's a sneak preview of one of my favourite poems from the book, Elf-hill:
I’m standing on a slip-road, waiting for the elves
on highway one. Mysteriously, the almost-bankrupt kroner
in my pocket is rolled into tight balls: I do not remember
that rounding reflex of my fingers; around us, the air slices
printing-ink and cod cheeks into a cold harmony. My pencil
hovers over the page. The bloody smell of the graphite makes
me nauseous. The Viking, a psychic and expert in these matters, is
squatting by an elf-hill around which the road parts.
This is his routine: consulting elves on plans for new roads
and intersections, settling the conundrums and drinking
coffee laced with something odourless but as warming
as the magic pounding my chakras from the
grass-covered mound. I chafe my hands, though gloved,
against the morning and yearn for an alcoholic or otherwise
effective preservative from the ghostly whims of the elf-folk,
baby thieves and hearth-cursers all, and the black moonscape,
steaming mud magic that I feel creep towards my swollen
belly, smoky fingers conjuring a jump under my
erratic diaphragm. The Viking coughs discreetly; he is ready to
dictate the elves’ terms, invoking shadows of boulders and
ice-floes and the splits in continental plates. Their demands
are simple enough: goats’ milk, bread and fresh seal meat.
My pencil moves across the page in the received
shorthand we use for such occasions, pressing sigils into the
page in the learnt language whose lines and spaces are the
windy plains in my own flat-vowelled fields of words. The
demands of the elves spread over the page like a virus:
observances to be kept with a ken of acceptance on both
sides. We will take this to be signed off, and the Viking is our
only parley, with his heavy fringe and hazel twigs.
I have never seen them, only felt their demands on my energy.
The Viking straightens from his crouch, brushing earth from his
knees, towering over the road like one who commands
lightning: it’s time to leave. As he turns, the sun hits the highway
like an alien visitation, and just for a moment the winter hillock
is alive with hands reaching for my pregnant belly, grasping
for a hold on the child-yet-to-be. I can feel their want like a
belt, squeezing spell-like promises from the foetus, promises
of the elemental to the water-bound. The Viking extends his
hand. “Don’t linger,” he says, and I pull myself away from the
lassitude that has already entered my blood like a sour painkiller,
a soused herring at the back of my tongue, dissolving.
Friday, 7 January 2011
I am excited to announce that my third book of poetry, Spectral Emphatic, will be coming out in early 2011 with the Knives, Forks and Spoons Press. Just earlier this year they were kind enough to produce my book of durational experimental poetry, Taropoetics. Spectral Emphatic is a more conventional collection of poems, in that it is an overall collection of individual pieces written with no obvious method or procedure apart from the traditional inspiration, mulling, crossing-out and sudden imaginative leaps.
It has a theme, though, that threads through all of the poems in one way or another. The idea is that Spectral Emphatic is the sometime journal of an imagined poet and artist collective called The Bohemian Embassy: a small group stamping their obsessive, exhortative writings onto pulpy pages, making short runs of a cult publication. The book begins with their manifesto:
SPECTRAL EMPHATIC: JOURNAL OF THE BOHEMIAN EMBASSY
THE GROUP WILL STRETCH SPECTRAL FINGERS INTO THE WRITERS’ CONSCIOUSNESS AND POSSESS HER.
THE GROUP WILL MATERIALISE AS OCCASIONAL PHANTASMS.
THE GROUP SHALL SLIP IN AND OUT OF CONSCIOUSNESS.
MEMBERS OF THE GROUP SHALL TEETER AT THE EDGE OF THINGS.
WE WILL EMBRACE THE GHOSTLY AND LIMINAL.
THE GROUP SHALL BE LIKE EELS IN MURKY PONDS: SYMBOLS IN THE WRITER’S DREAMS.
INDIVIDUAL MEMBERS OF THE GROUP SHOULD BE AWARE OF THEMSELVES AS RESIDUAL FORMS CONTAINING UNSPENT PSYCHIC FORCE.
WE WILL INVESTIGATE THE WORLD WITH MAGIC PERSEVERENCE.
WE WILL ENCOURAGE THE WRITER TO EMBRACE THE SENTIMENTS OF HER GOTHIC AND SYMBOLIST FOREBEARS.
WE WILL DRIFT IN THE TIDEWINDS.
THE GROUP WILL RESPOND TO OTHER ARTISTS WHOSE WORK CONTAINS LIMINALITY AND THREAT, MENACE OR OTHERWORLDLINESS.
THE GROUP WILL APPLAUD WHEN THE WRITER DELVES INTO HER NIGHTMARES.
WE WILL ENCOURAGE CONSIDERATION OF ICONIC MYTHICAL FIGURES.
WE WILL TRANSMIT ON LOW FREQUENCIES.
The group features two main characters, Valerie and Veronik, that appear in some of the poems – they are ghostly, liminal, gothic, bohemian heroines that stand on the edge of things, transmitting symbols and dreams to those on low wavelengths.
The collection, then, is concerned with the ghostly and liminal; the gothic and symbolist. It also includes poems inspired by artists who might enjoy membership of the Bohemian Embassy: Christine Aerfeldt, Sarah Moon, Paula Rego, Nikki Sixx: artists who have explored the dark and mysterious places where the mind and spirit stray if unchecked. And those dark and mysterious recesses of the mind are where some of the other poems dally – grief, obsession and madness, unspent psychic forces, as well as addressing familiar mythic figures – the Sphinx, the Sirens, the goddess Medea.
Spectral Emphatic also returns to the theme of divination, but this time via bibliomancy, with 8: A Bibliomantic Poem. This is a long work in three parts made as a result of a processual approach to writing – in this case, a poem that investigates the essence of the energy of the number 8 by a writing-through of text from page 8 from every book on a three-shelf bookcase. The Bohemian Embassy also have a hand in this, using the writer’s trancelike state in writing through to transmit some of the mysteries they are concerned with.
The book cover is included above - illustration by the super talented Laura Daligan. Her website: http://www.lauradaligan-art.com/
Posted by Anna at 11:20