Friday, 28 November 2008

It’s been too long, my friends! A few holiday snaps, expertly taken as they may be, will not suffice.

A lot is happening on the poetry front with some excellent gigs coming up including Simon Barraclough, Luke Kennard and Chris McCabe reading on 9th December at The Rose for the launch of Chris McCabe’s new book ‘Zeppelins’ (35 Albert Embankment, kick off 7pm) and another launch party for ‘Charismatic Megafauna’ (Tamsin Kendrick) and ‘Things To Do Before You Leave Town’ (Ross Sutherland) on Tuesday 13th January at Vibe Live, Brick Lane (free entry). Two eagerly anticipated happenings....

I have also been grafting, with a review of Julia Bird’s new book Hannah and the Monk appearing on Eyewear - also picked up by Salt Confidential

Other news - my poem Gaudí’s Workshop, June 6th 1926 is forthcoming in the next issue of Wolf Magazine (the launch is on 8th December with readers including Clare Pollard, Ruth Padel and Michael McKimm) and two poems, Members Only and Getting to the Point, will feature in The City Anthology published by Tall Lighthouse in December.

More to follow …… and I promise I won't wait an eon before updating next time.

Sunday, 26 October 2008


After my recent visit to Naples, I wrote the following poem. I was fascinated in the plaster cast figures of the victims, created by Giuseppe Fiorelli and his team who mastered the technique of pouring wet plaster in to the cavities left behind in the compacted ash.

The Plaster Cast Figures of Pompeii

The method of taking plaster casts…was introduced at Pompeii by Giuseppe Fiorelli, director of excavations between 1860 and 1875. It involves pouring liquid plaster into the cavity left in the compacted ash by the body of the victim.
Pompeii, Pier Giovanni Guzzo & Antonio d’Ambrosio

A glut of hydrocal pipelined to the heart
of an air gap – a body of air,
confined for two thousand years,

or perhaps not air at all
but what remains when cell matter
is sealed, locked into the strata.

From a hairline crack
drawn across a bed of ash,
to a chiselled hollow, to this,

this moulded form, this human fossil,
remade, remodelled, real as flesh.
A cart driver, parodied by the absence

of a mule, is cast in his final act,
and might be praying in that fragmentary pose,
having let go of the trace, his hands

bound palm to palm and lifted up to his head,
his head bowed down to his hands.
Further along, a dog flips back

on itself as if upended or leaping
to catch a ball - hind legs playfully foetal,
open mouthed to the possibility

of a last bark. A second human figure lies out
on a slab, appears to smile like a groom
in the milliseconds before a post nuptial headshot.

Tuesday, 23 September 2008

Forthcoming Poetry Gigs

I will be reading at the following:

9th October - Angel Poetry, Borders, Angel, Islington (as featured poet)

29th October 2008 - Tall Lighthouse Event

More details to follow................

Saturday, 13 September 2008

Tuesday, 9 September 2008

This week I've been reading Jean Sprackland's 'Tilt' - an amazingly crafted book, tender with the ability to leave you somewhere else, somewhere previously uncharted, in just a few stanzas - and Helen Mort's 'The Shape of Every Box' - which also manages to transport you into another experience, to take you off guard.

Highly recommended, both of them.

I've also been playing a CD of Simon Armitage reading for the Poetry Archive. It strikes me that there's something about Armitage that draws you back, despite any intention you might have to break away, to listen to newer voices. This CD is like that Bowie record you've worn out the grooves of from playing so often. You know you should really be listening to that obscure electronica you downloaded at the weekend but something makes you play Bowie again for the umpteenth time that day. Not sure Armitage and Bowie have been compared before but there is a first for everything!

On 2nd October, East Words takes place at the Museum in Docklands, compered by myself and Richard Tyrone Jones. I'm really excited about the line up ( and can't wait. Six of London's best poets for free. Gig of the year, I'd say.

Monday, 1 September 2008

It was really good to read at Shuffle at the weekend. The highlight for me: Simon Barraclough and Helen Mort. Simon's poem on Corrie stole the show. It was so hot in the second half in the dingy basement of the Poetry Cafe you could have fried an egg on the microphone!

Wednesday, 27 August 2008

Shuffle @ Poetry Cafe

I will be reading at Shuffle, the Poetry Cafe (Betterton Street, Covent Garden), this Saturday, 30th August from 7.30pm.