I may not be writing much at the moment, but I am editing, and looking out for people who can write haiku and short-burst in-the-moment poetry…
Possibly the most unusual review of one of my poetry books yet.
You’ll never believe me…I was waiting to Skype God. You can imagine the anxiety! I mean…the Almighty, the Alpha & the Omega, Tetragrammaton—YHWH. It was buffering his end, ringing out. There was a lot of eeking & blare. The postman dropped his delivery. I was gripped on what God was going to look like. I suspected a primate for some reason. Nothing ichthyic I thought, nor feline, leonine or arachnid. I was going primate. Still buffering I opened my mail. It was Marie Marshall’s T.S. Eliot Prize nominated I am not a Fish. I forgot all about my natter with God—what had he to do with me, now?
book is unlike anything. A mellifluous mash of hilarious, playful poems,
evading the reader whilst prodding with long boney digits of joy. There is
alchemy between word & imagination, infused with hallucinatory &
hypnotic substance, which sounds painful, but actually manifests…
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Underfoot Poetry – thanks to guest editor Daniel Paul Marshall (no relation!) – has been kind enough to publish three of my poems, or rather one poem and two clusters. None of them match precisely what I’m writing at the moment, but they have never seen the light of day until now – I had been holding them back, for a reason I can’t now remember. ‘104’ and ’45’ belong to the numbered poems I was writing in 2017. The ‘Potty Poetry’ cluster contains some of the pieces I dashed off at the request of an attender at the 2016 ‘Burning Man’ festival – “Write me some poems I can leave in the bathrooms,” she said. So I did. Thank you, Underfoot, Tim, and Daniel, for doing me the honour of allowing me to share my work. Please visit, and please (if you like!) ‘like’ them both here and there. Thank you.
The river’s in constant re-set mode,
sighting by its hand against the banks
what’s up and what’s down. It has
the tattoo of the sky in its eye. Two
girls, leaning against the wall, ignore
it, choosing instead to contemplate
hills and the warmth of each other’s
shoulder, but each has plashed puddles
that have (since) closed up, that eye
winking out. The river’s voice is
understated, catch some in a bucket
and it’s abated. Call by to see brother
Perch in his green-and-silver suit, to
maintain a plastic pot for washing
your brushes, to extract and filter.
Renew! The sun turns you to molten
copper. The river’s dare is born of
hills and ephemeral daymare tails.
from Potty Poetry
(a handful of poems printed on cards and left in the toilets at Burning Man 2016)
We met right here,
but this is no sleazy…
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‘s.’ – the latest in my current series – is the daily poem over at Angélique Jamail’s excellent blog site, as part of her April Poem-a-day series. Please visit, and please do two ‘likes’, one here and one there, if you do happen to like the poem. Thank you. 🙂
I always want to post a poem in April by Scotland-based Marie Marshall because she does such wonderful and thought-provoking work. She also defies description — as in she literally defies it, which you may glean from her unconventional bio below. Her poetry and poetic style evolve and seek to push formal boundaries. She also writes fiction and posts it at her blog from time to time and has a few books out.
Probably the less I say the better. I think she would appreciate your having the chance to parse out her work for yourself.
“I was sevened and all
willowed-out, left and
bereft, reeling, punch-
loved; take an honest
hour to tour me; thumb
my spine, read what’s
implied by the rises &
falls, find where scars
crisscross to deviate.”
High over Spitzbergen
it moved from aurora to
real morning, the song
of dying stars…
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“We are constantly doing things for
..the last time. The last thing I saw
..was the red of the field before I lay
..down in sleep and woke up in sleep
..– something my placard will never
..tell you in lieu of a barebones story.
..My eyes dying is a reminder to you
..all, that there will be a last time that
..you’ll toss a coin into my old cap.”
The painted bird glides, sure as a coat
of rust, down Simile Street, avoiding
the maw and teeth in the darkness of
Metaphor Alley; when we find a burned
-out car, we see if we can see a star from
where we found the car or, travelling on,
regard and remark the gutter-piling of
grey dust, bays and inlets, coastal hills
of an imagined nation, the land of loss.
She feels an unsung wife on an unsafe
wire, but moves through the fair taking
in the unfairness; she pauses, considers
buying a calendar, sees its squareness,
how each day’s a place for a chessman;
only then she knows to make a knight’s
move without taking a step, opposite in
a set of six! Only there she knows love,
how it stands in a flow and braves loss.
A new short story over on my main web site.
Just after the junction where the side-road curves away to the prison car-park, the main road begins to slope gently upwards. If you didn’t know this was because the railway ran underneath you wouldn’t realise it was a bridge. I know, I realise. To me it’s a zone of demarcation – that’s precisely the term I use, along with the fancy word liminal – because it marks a transition between town and suburb, amongst other things. As I climb up onto the stone wall and test the slightly rounded capstones with the soles of my shoes, I take in the other demarcation. To my right is the pavement, three flagstones wide, and the busy road with its double yellow lines worn by constant traffic; to my left, between the bridge and the side-road and the railway line is a piece of scrubby ground where the grass is grey from the…
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Today, rather than write poetry (I’ll get back to that in due course) I have written a few words about poetry, and about ‘difficult’ poetry in particular. I have committed it to my main web site, but I decided I would also interrupt my current sequence of poems here, to put it before my readers.
But the fact of modern poetry’s being “hard to read” can be extolled as a virtue in and of itself […]. In writing that is propelled by sonic associations, for example, what one might call musicality, the result may, paradoxically, be a form of realism, giving the poem’s language material reality, palpability, presence, and worldliness. Such difficulty, even when it doesn’t produce conventional sense, may be engaging in its own right; or, from another point of view, it may be disengaging. It may be emblematic of resistance, elaborating a rejection and even a defiance of the production of totalizing and normalizing meanings, in resisting dogmatism, it may create spaces for ambiguity, provisionality, and difference. […] it may serve to roughen the surface of the work, so that it catches one’s attention, impedes one’s reading, wakes one up to reality. (Lyn Hejinian, The Language of Inquiry, p330)
I am grateful…
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Over at my general web site I have an opening for an aspiring cover artist. Could that be you? Or do you perhaps know of someone?
Are you an aspiring artist? Would you like to take a punt at designing a cover illustration for my latest YA/teen vampire novel, KWIREBOY vs VAMPIRE, sequel to From My Cold, Undead Hand? I have little to offer you at this point except recognition, but in that respect I would be helping you and you would be helping me.
Your illustration does not have to be fancy. In fact if you could take a cue from Millie Ho’s excellent black-and-white cover for the first book in the series (look right) you’ll see the kind of aesthetic we’re looking for.
If you would like to offer your services, please get in touch with the publisher direct.