Category Archives: writing

drawing breath

Trees can be very big, and some of them are very old. Their character and way of life is complex, in many ways hidden, and very different from our own. They can make us pause and they can make us gasp.

drawing breath is a collection of twelve poems arising from a collaboration with visual artist Tansy Lee Moir.

I’ve made booklet with the poems, some photographs, and some of Tansy’s drawings, and I’ve also made a series of recordings of readings.  Hope you like them!

You can find links to all of these and more about our collaboration here.

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the walker gliding
vertical
between
then
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then
the cursor sliding
rules
a moment
now
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Stravaigin’ the scrow

handleHow long is the scroll? Continue reading


52: a bucketful of permission…? 

Review: ‘The Very Best of 52’ Edited by Jonathan Davidson, Jo Bell & Norman Hadley. Nine Arches Press, July 2015.

 

bucket_and_spade-1I have a confession to make when it comes to poetry … I’m a bit of a slow reader. Generally collections of poetry aren’t that long, but it usually takes me quite a while to work through a whole book of poems.  I tend to dip in and manage to read one or two poems at best and then need to stop for a while.

I find the same thing with visual art – I’m not one of these people who can readily hoover up three galleries in a day.  When you find yourself walking briskly past a Caravaggio with barely a sideways glance, I think it’s probably time to stop. Actually, the stopping ideally happens in front of the painting. But long enough in front of enough art, and I’m simply done for the day. If my brain is a bucket, it must just be less like the kind that they use in open cast mining, and more like the sort you take to the beach… Continue reading


MacGuffin: a self-publishing platform for fiction and poetry

Last week I had a look at a platform call MacGuffin that not-for-profit Manchester based publishers Comma Press are hosting.  Comma Press have a wide range of publishing initiatives as part of their Arts Council ‘National Portfolio Initiative‘.

MacGuffin is basically a very stripped back blogging platform offering a simple self-publishing resource for short story writers and poets. Every story or poem published on MacGuffin is presented both as a text, and as an audio recording. It’s therefore aimed, in part, at bringing together audiences that like to be read to with authors who enjoy reading aloud (I suppose there must be some people who don’t!). I think that it is ‘early days’ for the platform, which could perhaps usefully develop one or two additional features (playlists, perhaps?) without sacrificing it’s pleasingly sparse format, but it’s an interesting idea.

Schiehallion montageAs a test, I joined and added a walking poem called ‘The Fairy Hill‘ from a little while ago, extending the soundtrack to include some notes about the poem.  It was all very easy and there is lots of helpful advice about recording audio if you’re new to this. One thing I found awkward was that I couldn’t see how to link to a page with a ‘read/listen’ option for my post – this might exist, but I couldn’t find it easily, only a link to the ‘read’ page.  But instead here’s a search link that should offer both…

You can find out more about more about MacGuffin and find out how to join in here on Comma Press’s site.

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Desire Lines – getting there somehow!

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desire-lines-web-16Back in May I wrote about how I’d been trying to think of a way to combine a small collection of poems and images in a printed form other than a book.  As I have a longstanding love of maps, and as the pieces I’ve been making are in a sense fragments of a kind of journey, the result was the chart project I’ve called “Desire Lines”.
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I’m terrible for making my mind up – and I enjoy both working in visual media and writing. Consequently both poetry and photographs (or digital montages) are integral to the work I’ve been sharing on this blog.
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desire-lines-web-1 (1)Placing words and images together can risk diluting the impact of both – I hope this hasn’t been the case here. Together the images and the poems collected in “Desire Lines” represent a series of observations made on my own random survey of the in-between, hence – an ‘interstitial chart’.
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It’s taken a while to get the project to the next stage, but “Desire Lines” is now at the printers, proofed and ready to go … and will be coming shortly to an online store near you!
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Land’s stationary surface
Squeaking like meringue
To grip my marks,
Becomes a sudden sky.

I sense the edge.
I can’t see it,
But my stomach gives
A predictive lurch.

Ahead an uncreased page
Sweeps away, her seamless
Laid quite unperturbed
By marginal horizons.

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