talk to that & other poems

  This is my first poetry publication for two years, a series of poems exploring cities: Liverpool, New York, Munich and  Brasília.   The central poem imagines Federico García Lorca, Walt Whitman and Hart Crane meeting in New York. This limited edition chapbook is restricted to 53 copies and is published in Tangerine Press's latest 'Walking Wounded' series, alongside new publications by David Keenan and Wendy Erskine.  Order Talk to That & Other Poems from Tangerine Press for £12, inclusive of p&p. 

john furnival (1933 - 2020)

A few years ago I co-edited a new anthology of visual poetry and the first name on the list for inclusion was John Furnival. Not only had John defined the landscape for British concrete poetry, he had continued to produce so much exciting work well into the 2000s. I spent a wonderful afternoon with John and Astrid, selecting from the artworks which were all over the house, on the walls, in books, in drawers. John's art and life were as one, he was a visionary and the world will be a little dimmer without him. On that afternoon John generously donated some works for the National Poetry Library collection in London, where I work, and those works are now held with the original pieces from the 1960s and 1970s, for future generations to access. For as long as humans have an interest in how images and words collide - which will be forever - John's work will fascinate, intrigue and delight everyone who looks at them. john furnival, 'statue of liberty' (1977-78)

typewriter poems

I have been using typewriters to create typewriter art and poems for many years, but have never owned a typewriter until now. Lockdown presented the perfect opportunity to fill the longer days and quiet time with the happy thud-thud-thud of the alphabet. I took advice from Barrie Tullett, the brilliant typwriter artist and visual poet, and went for a Silver Reed 500. This is the first work I made on the machine, a further homage to James Joyce.

poetry objects

Over the past few years I have been working on a series of 'poem objects', using a wide range of materials. I later discovered the work of Joan Brossa, who also worked at this intersection between the visual arts and poetry. Each of my 'poem objects' is numbered. poem object #7 'sound poem' poem object #4 'the monarchy' poem object #1 'the solar system'

poems from the edge of extinction in new york

I've just got back from launching Poems from the Edge of Extinction  in New York. This anthology includes 50 poems in the world's endangered languages, and the launch at Bowery Poetry included readings from Laura Tohe, Navajo Nation Poet Laureate, Belarusian poet Valzhyna Mort and Bowery Poetry founder Bob Holman. It was my first time in New York, a city which has taken on elements of the mythic in my poetic imagination. I took Walt Whitman's 'Crossing Brooklyn Ferry', Lorca's Poet in New York and Hart Crane's The Bridge, as companions. The Bridge has become a really important text for me over the past for years, and like all poems that I return to, has aspects which I just can't work out. How did Crane come to fuse Elizabethan rhythm and diction with Modernist techniques? How had he come to live in a room in an apartment in Brooklyn Heights where the bridge's builder, John A. Roebling, had previously lived? And the visions ... Whitman of

new poem: talk to that

I've noticed a trend of people asking 'can you talk to that?' (rather than 'What are your thoughts?, or 'Can you say something about that?'). Maybe it's just a literary thing. Can you talk to that? TALK TO THAT There came a point     in human interactions when people asked        ‘Can you talk to that?’ not, ‘What are your thoughts?’   or, ‘Can I have your view?’ or even, ‘What do you think?’       but ‘Can you talk to that?’     overnight the abstract became the object    a mischief of rhetoric  that removed the person        from the dialectic.   ‘Can you talk to that?’  What fractal was detached,     what was the ‘that’ that wanted talking to?        Heel boy, sit, sit,   get back talk now, talk to make it sit,       the question has fleas! Lice! Tics!           Can you thought to that? Can you think that?      Can you take a that? Can you talk     Can  Can you talk to     Can        can you

poems from the edge of extinction

What to say about this book? It began life at the National Poetry Library as the Endangered Poetry Project , has taken around 18 months of research, and has brought be into contact with some of the most exciting and unique poets and poetries imaginable. A highlight was in discovering a poem in  Patuá,  the critically endangered patois spoken by people on the island of Macau, near to Hong Kong.   I had read on the language database Ethnologue that the language was ‘nearly extinct’. A helpful and knowledgeable academic, who was also a prolific and thorough anthologist of Macanese writers living in Macau, told me that he’d heard carol services sung in Patuá, but had never come across any new poetry  that had been created in the language. Another academic,  John Corbett, who had hosted my visit to Macau a few years before, had also drawn a blank, but suggested I try Miguel  S. Fernandes, a lawyer and local theatre director. A few days later Fernandes’s response left me stunned: