Namesake (Film-Poem)

<a href="https://vimeo.com/118540384"><img src="http://cdn5.peakepro.com/files/2015/02/namesake-1024x575.png" alt="Namesake (Film-Poem)" class="alignnone" style="width: 100%; max-width: 800px; min-width: 280px; border=0;"/><br/>Click to watch video</a>

About the Poem

I essentially wrote this poem for a dare. Click here to read the text of the poem, and more about how it came to be.

Process Notes

Having already enhanced this ekphrastic poem with imagery, I decided that a film-poem seemed like an obvious next step. Visually, the film follows the poem’s concerns about different kinds of reality — personal, virtual, and historical — by playing with dimensionality.

It gave me the opportunity to try out parallax 2.5d animation using all open-source tools (Gimp and Blender), which I found both painstaking and enjoyable. I also mocked up flat animations in HTML and Javascript — such as the opening search scene and ending Matrix-style text, using screen capture to convert it to video. Valerie Kampmeier wrote and performed the score, inspired by courtly dances and the D-minor feel of a dial-up modem sequence.


Four Poems in Fowl Feathered Review

Marilyn with Lobster, from Fowl Feathered ReviewIt somehow escaped my attention that four new poems appeared in Issue 9 of Fowl Feathered Review toward the end of last year.

I responded to a call from Virgil Kay, mastermind of this highly eclectic online journal, via Twitter. The wild assemblage of text in various languages and images from different eras reminded me of the collaged ‘zines of the ’90s brought into the digital age. I have never quite seen anything like it. So, I am delighted to have had four poems adopted here.

To date, this is also the only publication I can claim to have had beside a full-page picture of Marilyn Monroe with a lobster on her face.

Enjoy.


Two New Poems Online (Plus Audio)

Rattle #44I just came back from a week-long spiritual retreat wherein I was completely off the grid to discover that two new poems of mine are now available online.

“Historic Spring” appears in the Fall/Winter issue of PoetryBay, an online literary journal edited by George Wallace. Do check out the full issue as it is consistently teeming with interesting poems. I am also grateful to George for inviting me to give a workshop and reading at Walt Whitman’s birthplace in May. I will be reading from my collection The Knowledge, which comes out in late April, and which includes this poem.

La Campagna, London, Friday Nightappeared in Rattle #44 this summer and is now available on the Rattle website with an accompanying audio recording. As it happens, I also recently created a WordPress plugin to support the Rattle website by making their “random poem” capability more durable in its popularity. Personally, I could spend the better part of the day clicking that random button and reading their excellent poems.

Enjoy.


“School Trip” Read by Phil Abrams (Video)

The Public Poetry Series, sponsored by Fjords Review, aims to foster a person-to-person experience of poetry through video. The actor Phil Abrams has done a remarkable job reading my poem “School Trip” to camera.

<a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=binga5XpTmU"><img src="http://cdn5.peakepro.com/files/2014/11/Screen-Shot-2014-11-19-at-21.08.45.png" alt="Phil Abrams reads &quot;School Trip&quot;" class="alignnone" style="width: 100%; max-width: 560px;"/><br/>Click here to watch the video</a>

He seems to feel and then say, unfolding his nuanced emotional range line-by-line in extreme close-up, embodying a kind of haggard, Giamatti-like anti-hero that is the perfect speaker for this poem.

Be sure to check out all the videos in the Public Poetry Series here.


The Space it Might Take

The Space it Might Take (Highgate Poets, 2014)I am pleased to have four poems, including the eponymous poem from my forthcoming collection The Knowledge in The Space it Might Take, the 26th biennial anthology of the Highgate Poets.

It is a pleasure to see these poems beside some of the strongest work over the last two years from each member of this unique North London poetry collective. In fact, I think it may be their best volume yet.

Hats off to those involved in its painstaking production. You can get your copy at the Highgate Poets website.


Five Reviews in Poetry Salzburg Review 26

Poetry Salzburg Review, Autumn 2014My reviews of five poetry collections appear in the current issue of Poetry Salzburg Review. Each poet, and collection, could not be more different from the next.

American poet Maureen Alsop’s Mantic is a bewitching book of divinations; Irish poet Gene Barry’s Unfinished Business is a humanistic raconteur’s parade; Midlands English poet Helen Calcutt layers deep, meditative imagery in Sudden rainfall; Professor Heger’s Daughter by Southeastern English poet Chrissie Gittins offers a by turns incisive and funny collection of philosophical bon mots; Northern English poet Andrew McMillan’s protest of the physical is a Howl for the post-industrial North.

It was a pleasure to read and review them all.


The Book of Love and Loss

“All the new thinking is about loss. / In this it resembles all the old thinking.”

-Robert Hass, “Meditation at Lagunitas
The Book of Love & LossLove and loss have been very present with me lately. Such thoughts were recently punctuated by the heavy thud of a parcel dropping through our mail slot — my contributor’s copy of The Book of Love and Loss.

The anthology weighs in at nearly 400 poems, and reads like the roll-call at a meeting of the Highgate Poets. It also features English laureates Andrew Motion and Carol Ann Duffy, Welsh laureate Gillian Clarke, children’s laureate Michael Rosen, and Frieda Hughes — daughter of Sylvia Plath and Ted Hughes. I was also pleased to see Carrie Etter’s Birthmother Catechism series represented here as well, having recently heard her read these poems at the Swindon Festival of Poetry.

Following on from the dedication, the work seems to be its own labour of love, and tribute of sorts, to the recently-departed UA Fanthorpe. It also aims to give solace to any who grieve, and seek comfort in the music of language. For this reason, it is an honour to have my poem “The Silence Teacher” among its pages.

Belgrave Press, Bath (Hardbound, 384pp, £12.99)