Without an audience a poet shrivels. Where once I had brother-poets and father-poets, girlfriends and creative writing tutors, now I have none of that, only the audience of the magazine which quite regularly publish individual poems of mine. Since 2019 I have had 12 published by Snakeskin, who like poems to be self-evident, demonstrative, intelligible and focussed. They do not (alas) like poems that delight in a wilful opacity, retain a meaning from the reader, employ encryption, black magnets, code, Symbolism or mysticism. So I have to write for them, because they publish me, and thought I would re-publish the 12 I have done with them herein. About myself as an artist: I live at the foot of the oldest fell Black Combe and so technically should follow in the footsteps of local poet Norman Nicholson but unlike him have lived in many places, do not originate from the area, am not a local dialect poet and do not consider myself a Christian Conservative either - even though that was probably the way I was supposed to be brought up. I started writing when I was 5 and our family were on holiday in France and my two younger brothers started playing together without me and I needed something to do - and it was like a giant wind picked up my hand and started me writing. By the age of 7 my songs and poems were pretty good. I have been going strong ever since, and according to the editor of Snakeskin, my poetry has got even better of late. My father left behind some principles which I try to abide by in my writing - precepts if you like. A list runs as follows: 1. All writing is fiction. 2. It is rude to write of the living. 3. A writer has a right to a name otherwise an Exclusion of the Individual Machine can close ranks against you. 4. Literature can either have moral compass or sheer cleverness alone. 5. A standard of truthfulness should come before the need to sell a story. 6. “Why not?” is not a good reason for writing a poem. 7. You’re supposed to get the ball over the other’s guy’s head. 8. A poet is a translator of feelings. As I have stated, sticking to number 7 - getting the ball over the reader's head - is hard, especially when the only audience you have, the only magazine that publishes you, does not believe in Opacity, but in Saying. Nevertheless, to the discipline of getting published by Snakeskin I have applied myself, my skill-set, almost as a kind of therapy, but also - living here in semi-wilderness - like the guy in Heart of Darkness who still starches his shirts half way down the river (that snake leading into the unconscious.) I do not believe in poems about poetry. I do not believe first drafts have to be sacrosanct. I do not believe the voice in the poem is always the same as the name on the front. I do believe that Portability could be the enigmatic 'it' or X Factor that makes a poem work, where a lot of things converge, such as music preceding sense as an agent of understanding (as it does in the natural world), such as musicality aiding memorability too. Also unlike Norman Nicholson, I have mental health issues - and hear voices which I once thought of as Quavers, then as Syllabubbles, now as "Sonic Machinations." With voices one feels one is thrust into a co-imaginative, telepathic or even omnijective writing experiment - which does not lead to Freedom. Although I am the poet that coined the word "co-imagination" I do not believe co-imaginative writing leads to Freedom. Another thing you may like to know about me is that when I was a child I was the witness from The Lords And The New Creatures by Jim Morrison - was the guy that realised that acute 60's dream. It wasn't due to anything I did or did not do but happened because Jim Morrison wrote "a creature waits out the war" in The Lords And The New Creatures - and my father went and sold his international art dealing business at the fall of the Berlin Wall. So it made sense to art and politics and nature and poetry and history and music too that I became the witness - although it didn't make sense to me, having never heard of the doors at the time. It happened twice and was only the start of an epic story. So I feel endeared to writers like James Joyce (who also saw new creatures), Ted Hughes (who saw a monster in the river in childhood) and even Jim Morrison himself (who saw winged serpents in the desert on acid.) I also play guitar quite well although they come much better at guitar - and I don't play so much anymore. I am forty and that seems too old to really be prancing around like a newly mystical pop star in a vapid posture suited best for the rebellion of youth. On my laptop there are 1000's of recursive files, like something Nash from 'A Beautiful Mind' might get up to in his madness; and my quality-control is as a dodgy as my objective, editorial overview - so I have decided for now - as I write - to only posit the 12 poems I had relatively recently published by Snakeskin. Now I am going to go off and work on another poem - one about a buzzard. * Afternote: I have decided to actually posit the whole of a pamphlet I have submitted for Magma's pamphlet competition. It is called 'On Time' and contains 16 poems all of which you can find here for free!
THE EMOTIONAL CONDOM OF THE WORLD I heard we grew our great brains by eating meat and, needing to spread information about it, about farming, hunting, killing, eating things developed words for birds that sing with their wings... now, the pre-verbal, the thought-pattern, translated into words, via the mechanics of meaning, is diluted. Language is the emotional condom of the world, into which we are all so traumatically hurled. One day we may learn to eat language, but for now I’ll settle for the rump of the local farmer’s cow.
All poems are copyright of the originating author. Permission must be obtained before using or performing others' poems.
CONFESSIONAL POEM (05/08/2022)
ON MY LIST (05/08/2022)
WHEN I WAS A CHILD (01/08/2022)
THE SEA (29/07/2022)
THE RIVER ESK (29/07/2022)
TO REDEEM A DREAM OF FREEDOM (29/07/2022)
EMPTYING THE INBOX (29/07/2022)
A FACT ON TIME (29/07/2022)
LOOKING CLEARLY AT MY SADNESS (29/07/2022)
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