Liberty

December 14, 2017

On my notebooks from school
On my desk and the trees
On the sand on the snow
I write your name

On every page read
On all the white sheets
Stone blood paper or ash
I write your name

On the golden images
On the soldier’s weapons
On the crowns of kings
I write your name

On the jungle the desert
The nests and the bushes
On the echo of childhood
I write your name

On the wonder of nights
On the white bread of days
On the seasons engaged
I write your name

On all my blue rags
On the pond mildewed sun
On the lake living moon
I write your name

On the fields the horizon
The wings of the birds
On the windmill of shadows
I write your name

On each breath of the dawn
On the ships on the sea
On the mountain demented
I write your name

On the foam of the clouds
On the sweat of the storm
On dark insipid rain
I write your name

On the glittering forms
On the bells of colour
On physical truth
I write your name

On the wakened paths
On the opened ways
On the scattered places
I write your name

On the lamp that gives light
On the lamp that is drowned
On my house reunited
I write your name

On the bisected fruit
Of my mirror and room
On my bed’s empty shell
I write your name

On my dog greedy tender
On his listening ears
On his awkward paws
I write your name

On the sill of my door
On familiar things
On the fire’s sacred stream
I write your name

On all flesh that’s in tune
On the brows of my friends
On each hand that extends
I write your name

On the glass of surprises
On lips that attend
High over the silence
I write your name

On my ravaged refuges
On my fallen lighthouses
On the walls of my boredom
I write your name

On passionless absence
On naked solitude
On the marches of death
I write your name

On health that’s regained
On danger that’s past
On hope without memories
I write your name

By the power of the word
I regain my life
I was born to know you
And to name you

Paul Eluard

The business (of writing)

December 14, 2017

Asger Jorn - The suicide of Mr H

The novella is probably my favourite length. That or what used to be called a novelette, a term you don’t see much anymore. But it was usually measured at about 10,000 words. In fact, my first fiction was for Mike Shayne Mystery Magazine, and it was given that label. It gives me room to spread and tell a good story without having to write something that would be too long, too much information for a tale that’s better told at novella length. It’s a very natural length for me and I don’t pad anyway, so it’s good when I have a story I can tell and tell to its fullest, but yet, can finish it up with less time invested for a novel. I love reading novellas, and I love writing them…

The business (of writing) is always the hardest business in the world anytime you start. For a while, I thought this was the worst time, but actually, a lot of new markets are opening up all the time. The problem is it’s harder to make a real living as a writer, though to tell the truth, a lot of people making a living as a writer didn’t really start until the 1980s. I think we’re having to some extent a self–correction. It was never meant to have this vast readership for all authors, and the money that was there in the eighties, and somewhat in the 90s, just isn’t there anymore, at least not for as many authors as it once was. I think I’ve survived because I always wrote and loved to write a variety of types of fiction, non–fiction, screenplays, short stories, essays, comics, etc. When one thing faltered I had another place to go to, and it was always a place I wanted to go. I also edited anthologies from time to time, and taught at the University here, but believe me, that was more for the joy of it than the money. I’ve always written for me and then hoped someone would love it. Somehow, the money has always shown up and I’m still writing and feel I’m better now than ever. But, I got my foot in the door in the seventies, so maybe it was easier, but I remember people saying, well, it’s too hard now, back in the old days they had all those pulp magazines, and then in the fifties and sixties it was easier because of all those digest magazines and all the book publishers. All true, but it always changes, and there are more markets than people think. What amazes me is how poorly people who claim they want to write often investigate the markets. They have the internet, which actually makes it easier to find markets than in the old days. I wrote for very cheap markets when I started, even some for copies. And that’s another thing, no one wants to start at the bottom anymore. They don’t have the patience to deal with editors, chasing agents, so they just self–publish. I think that’s valid, but it seems to be what so many writers think of as the quickie way out. It’s better to be vetted by the market if that’s possible. You have a book you love, can’t get it published, sure go the self–publish route, but there’s a good chance that will only be marginally better than the “traditional” route. You still have to sell the books. EBooks, it’s the same. I think they have opened up a whole new world for writers, but they are not a magic answer. Nothing is other than hard work.

Joe R. Lansdale
Interview in Apex Magazine May 7, 2013

Surely it doesn’t have to be this way? Stretching up the hill ahead of me, I begin to see all of my future relationships, bearing me on and up like some escalator of the fleshly. Each step is a man, a man who will penetrate me with his penis and his language, a man who will make a little private place with me, secure from the world, for a month, or a week, or a couple of years.

How much more lonely and driven is the serial monogamist than the serial killer?

Will Self
Grey Area

dead heads

December 14, 2017

The dried dead heads nodded in mute agreement and shed a few more seeds into the icy wind proceeding with their slow undoing of civilization. Lucien picked up a few and planted them in the brickwork to hurry the decline.

Oliver Smith
The Sulphur Remedy

We were a love story

December 12, 2017

I found myself in the way the leaves fell across the road,
The way the rain hit my window,
And the way she reminded me of the first drink of coffee in the morning.

She was the stars in the sky
But I was stuck on earth
She was my Juliet
And I was hers
We were a love story without a Romeo
Just two girls who wanted to change the way the world looked at us.

Anon

hex

December 12, 2017

The bitch in the photograph
wears my face. I cut off my nose,
her nose collapses.
Chop down my hair &
hers shrieks from the sink.
How many poems do I
have to write ‘til she
gets dead, how many
live-wire syllables?
I drive a fork into her
heart & she comes back
a quart of blood-hyped milk.
Some girls are daughters,
& some are ghosts.
I will always love what strays.
It’s just the orphan in me.
I have stolen everyone
I ever loved.

Rachel McKibbens

Dr Who and Dune

December 12, 2017

Dr Who, then, is sci-fi, while Frank Herbert’s Dune is not. Dune, you see, is about ecology, anthropology, sociology, etc, etc. Dr Who is just about giant worms (and things that jump out and suck your head off in the dark). If you think Dune is just about giant worms too, you are being cynical and obstructive, go to the bottom of the class.

M. John Harrison
book review column in the New Manchester Review

rain

Contemporary poetry has a very strange fate in England I think as compared to America and possibly on the European continent. We seem to be party-going poets. […] I think one of the reasons for the loss of nerve at the present time is that the scientists have given us a picture of nature which is competitive, alien, empty, mechanical, and a universe in which we are complete strangers, and in which – talking about continuums – there is no continuum between ourselves and nature. This is the great romantic quest, that a continuum between nature and mankind should be proved … Science still proceeds on behaviouristic principles. Scientists, for instance, have to be very careful in testing drugs, or in doing any psychological experiment, not to allow suggestion to enter into it, no suggestion of the result, no placebo effect must be allowed in. But the placebo effect is a very wonderful thing indeed. It means you can take a sugar pill believing it will do you good and it will do you good. This is worth looking into I would have thought, but it’s the very thing that science keeps out: the power here – the Romantic idea – of the mind over the body, that the material world is responsive to the energies of the mind, or to immaterial energies. We live in a situation where these things are systematically undervalued. The Enlightenment was concerned to display everything visibly, with every factor controlled – and this is when the idea of the scientific controlled experiment came in. The Romantics were in contradiction to this. They wanted to know what was invisible. They protested against ‘the tyranny of the eye’. There is so much in Romantic poetry about weather for instance. Weather influences us profoundly. It is an invisible and visible series of changes which alter our moods and alter our access to ourselves. We are inspired or depressed by the weather. It is both objective and subjective in its effects. Thirty per cent of the population are intensely weather-sensitive. There is a kind of feeling-knowledge of the world which arises from meteorological changes. There is a response, an invisible response which is not accounted for in medical science. The facts are that very many diseases, very many sicknesses and illnesses, are intensified by the processes of storm. Heart palpitations sometimes synchronize with radio static from storms. You can watch, on a computer, the meteorological pattern say over the city of New York, and superimpose the deaths from heart attacks, and you can see that these two patterns follow each other, and there is a causal connection which appears to be electrical. We know that many people suffer from weather-sensitivity to a psychiatric extent – you get this very much in Cornwall, which has a great deal of weather as they say. But what happens? How are these people treated? Well, of course, the tranquillizer and antidepressant. There is no study of medical climatology, there is no school of it in this country as far as I know. There is no school of bio-meteorology. This romantic thing, the weather, this daily demonstration of our response to the whole situation of the earth and the atmosphere, the temperature of it, the humidity of it and the electricity of it – we can’t deny this anymore – is just ignored, because of course, to adjust this, to treat weather-sickness – well, there are certainly herbal and homeopathic remedies for it, and another solution is to move, which may not be viable economically. What is viable economically and which props up our system is to prescribe another of these invented drugs, at great cost. The alternative is to seek union with the invisible but actual world, as the Romantics did.

Peter Redgrove
The Science of the Subjective
A 1987 interview with Neil Roberts

visual fabulations

December 12, 2017

Fantastical dreamscapes, composite creatures, vegetal forms, abound in the paintings, and stories, of Leonora Carrington. Hybrid, transforming, mutating, metaphorical, metamorphosing, linguistic and visual fabulations that conjure into existence a twilight–world, a bewitched universe, a half-lit cosmo-verse of wonder and possibility, populated with fey, otherworldly, characters that only someone who still has one foot planted in the scene of childhood could invent.

Tina Kinsella
Gallery Talk
Irish Museum of Modern Art, Wednesday 13th November 2013

The Idea of Entropy at Maenporth Beach
“C’est elle! Noire et pourtant lumineuse.”

A boggy wood as full of springs as trees.
Slowly she slipped into the muck.
It was a white dress, she said, and that was not right.
Leathery polished mud, that stank as it split.
It is a smooth white body, she said, and that is not right,
not quite right; I’ll have a smoother
slicker body, and my golden hair
will sprinkle rich goodness everywhere.
So slowly she backed up into the mud.

If it were a white dress, she said, with some little black,
dressed with a little flaw, a smut, some swart
twinge of ancestry, or if it were all black
since I am white, but- it’s my mistake.
So slowly she slunk, all pleated, into the muck.

The mud spatters with rich seed and ranging pollens.
Black darts up the pleats, black pleats,
lance along the white ones, and she stops
swaying, cut in half. Is it right, she sobs
as the fat, juicy, incredibly tart mud rises
round her throat and dims the diamond there?
Is it right, so she stretches her white neck back
and takes a deep breath once and a one step back.
Some golden strands afloat pull after her.

The mud recoils, lies heavy, queasy, swart.
But then this soft blubber stirs, and quickly she comes up
dressed like a mound of lickerish earth,
swiftly ascending in a streaming pat
that grows tall, smooth brimming hips, and steps out
on flowing pillars, darkly draped.

And then the blackness breaks open with blue eyes
of this black Venus rising helmeted in night
who as she glides grins brilliantly, and drops
swatches superb as molasses on her path.

Who is that negress running on the beach
laughing excitedly with teeth as white
as the white waves kneeling, dazzled, to the sands?
Clapping excitedly the black rooks rise,
running delightedly in slapping rags
she sprinkles substance, and the small life flies!

She laughs aloud, and bares her teeth again, and cries:
Now that I am all black, and running in my richness
and knowing it a little, i have learnt
it is quite wrong to be all white always;
and knowing it a little, I shall take great care
to keep a little black about me somewhere.
A snotty nostril, a mourning nail will do.
Mud is a good dress, but not the best.
Ah, watch, she runs into the sea. She walks
in streaky white on dazzling sands that stretch
like the whole world’s pursy mud quite purged.
The black rooks coo like doves, new suns beam
from every droplet of the shattering waves,
from every crystal of the shattered rock.
Drenched in the mud, pure white rejoiced,
from this collision were new colours born,
and in their slithering passage to the sea
the shrugged-up riches of deep darkness sang.

Peter Redgrove