“Most poetry I have come across in recent anthologies has a peculiar corpse-like quality to it. It’s as though you have walked into an art gallery, and under glass boxes, on whitewashed plinths, sit a collection of porcelain roses. They are elegant to observe, immaculately rendered, objects of refined beauty, but they don’t smell of roses.”
Full, brilliant interview, here.
This last month I have been chasing my tail frantically with two enormous and concurrent projects. First, I have been reading over 100 submissions for my forthcoming installation NOTHING TO SAY. Hugely time-consuming but very rewarding and highly instructive - so much so I wrote a long article HERE about what I learned about the state of contempoarary literature.
Second, I have been preparing for the 4th Not the Oxford Literary Festival, the independent, underground alternative to the very corporate event taking place here at the same time. We have been growing each year and this year have no fewer than 4 amazing events, all at the Albion Beatnik Bookstore, 34 Walton Street, Oxford, OX2 6AA.
17 March – 5pm Ice Cold in AlbionA year after the 100th anniversary of Scott’s ill-fated trip to the Antarctic, two brilliant and very different writers, Kiran Milllwood-Hargrave and Richard Pierce, take you back to the heart of winter
18 March – I am Blackbird 7.30pm
20 March Sadcore Dadwave 7pm
And rounding off the week, a rare as gold dust reading form the UK's greatest living poet Adelle Stripe, whose new collection Dark Corners of the Land was 3:am Magazine's 2012 Poetry Book of the Year.
22 March – Dark Lands and Cigarettes 7.30pm
All of which is to say I haven't really had time to stir up much in the way of awkwardness or trouble this month in the world of all things internet except for that first thing, where I accuse most modern writers of being utterly derivative and tear my hair out at the proliferation of very good, very polished books - of which there are TOO MANY.
Oh, the other thing I have been doing is almost finishing my new book, Guy and Evie, a heartbreaking story of obsession, lost ambitin, and redemption that has no words - it is told wholly in numbers. I won't say any more for now, but here is the opening paragraph:
together alone (together) ()
276.314 kilometres from the postbox on your street
is a room
where i imagine you
watching marina abramovic
folding and unfolding opalescent bodies
into the envelope of a fireplace.
as the crow flies.
my endless iterations of attempted quantification
are thwarted like beginner’s gambits
by carefully positioned lay-bys
where i climb banks and piss in coke bottles dusted with cigarette ash and pace in bushes in silent circles
waiting for doggers who never show.
it consoles me
that marina has fuelled 47082 more seconds
of our combined fantasies
than the someone
whose shit-smeared picture pulled cubist through
a salesman’s ass
catches tears warmed by that thought.
beside open bacon
in your kitchen are two bowls of
red and blue and tomorrow
after we masturbate on the vinyl floor
we will mix them separately with the fluids
and in the afternoon
we will chip pieces of quartz from neighbours’
driveways and talk about
how one day we might paint them purple.