Poetry International Does The Knowledge


“…the voice in these poems is deeply reflective, defiant, and with doses of insect imagery”
-Lorenia Salgado, Poetry International

Poetry International (SDSU) carries a micro-review of The Knowledge on their website today. Lorenia Salgado notes “the speaker’s intricate response to life’s perplexing moments” throughout the book’s three sections, and quotes passages from “Nocturne with Writer’s Block” to illustrate various forms of Kafkaesque metamorphosis.

Reflection. Defiance. Insects. What more could you want from poetry?

You can read the full review at Poetry International.

World Literature Today Does The Knowledge

Los-Angeles-based Piotr Florczyk takes on The Knowledge in a new review for World Literature Today (University of Oklahoma, founded 1927).

He rightly points out that the book is “fuelled by the poet’s insatiable wish to understand himself and the world around him”. Yet he also notes a the tempering influence, calling the work “equally restrained and voracious in … kaleidoscopic recording of the here and now.”

Noting the book’s cinematic quality, Florczyk observes, “Like a perfectionist cameraman, Peake is after the ‘dust in a shaft of light,’ recognising both its negative and life-affirming qualities.”

You can read the full review in the November print edition, and online.

Letting the Robin out of the Bag

Robin Concrete PoemI have had poems coerced into handmade paper via letterpress printing techniques, laser printed on broadsides sheets, and even hung like advertisements in shop windows. I am really excited, though, to have a poem on a tote bag.

Not just any tote bag — a concrete interpretation of my poem “Robin”, beautifully designed by Jane Commane, on a classy natural canvas bag. It comes free with a subscription to the Nine Arches Poetry Book Club — itself an excellent idea that gets you six fine single-author poetry collections hot off the press, discounts on other books, and special invitations. Gift wrap available. Really, I hope they made enough bags!

I also like the idea that using this tote instead of a plastic bag might help a scruffy robin survive the long winter of our global mass-consumption.

As they say in the UK: “Bagsy!” And in my native California: “Totes amazeballs!” You get the idea. I’m exited.

Bag in splendour next to fine poetry books
Bag your six books

New Poetry-Film Essay Online

Screen Shot 2015-06-15 at 20.52.07

The film-poem genre has attracted considerable interest from various disciplines, and is beginning to gain astute critical insight as an emerging artistic form.

One excellent vehicle is the German-based Poetryfilmkanal website. I was delighted to be asked to write an essay for them about the fascination of the film-poem. The relationship between art and memory has always fascinated me personally, and in this piece I regard memory as a kind of aesthetic glue holding the two genres in relationship to one another. 

You can read the full essay, “Mnemosyne’s Tango: Poetry, Film, and the Dance of Memory” at the Poetryfilmkanal website.

Four Poems from The Knowledge Online

We Wanted to be WritersCheryl Olsen of the We Wanted to be Writers blog is kindly running four poems from The Knowledge, including the eponymous piece itself, on their website. While some of these poems are previously published, most have never been on the web before.

So, if you have been keen to take a peek inside the cover, now’s your chance.

Many thanks to the WW2BW crew for putting these poems in front of their readership.

The Knowledge Has Arrived!

First Read of The KnowledgeOn Friday, I attended a small private London launch for the second edition of a book by my friend and former boss, David Allen. His methodology has been the key to creating the space in my life for poetry amidst a dynamic career in technology and management consulting, and a generally full trans-Atlantic life.

Having sold more than two million copies of his Getting Things Done book in nearly 30 languages, I jokingly asked over lunch for any tips on avoiding hand cramp when signing great numbers of books at once. Pre-orders for my debut full-length poetry collection The Knowledge have, after all, been rolling in.

That afternoon, I got the good news that books had arrived from the printer, and whizzed up to meet my publisher Jane in Milton Keynes, the preferred halfway point between where we both live. Despite the appearance of Milton in the name, I find Milton Keynes to be one of the least poetic cities in Britain — essentially England’s answer to Orange County. And so it was in a coffee chain store inside a glass-and-steel mall that I first laid hands on this beautiful book.

What can I say? It is a lovely object. Small but important details that I couldn’t have gleaned from the PDF galley — like the way in which facing-page poems interrelate thanks to expert pagination — surprised and impressed me. The entire experience of working with Jane has had a ring of rightness about it, and the finished product feels good in so many way, including tactilely — from the French flaps to the sturdy off-white pages to the matte-finish cover.

I am looking forward to my launch tour next week — Wenlock, Cheltenham, then New York. What a pleasure it will be to read from this lovingly-produced new book.

If you would like to hold a copy in your own hands, you can order it here.