Fiddling on with film

Hey hey, how’s it going?

I have a new filmpoem for you to look at – it’s VERY amateurish, hooray. I filmed my shadow at Hartlepool station when waiting for a train one morning. (Pretty soon I’m going to have a collection of work entirely created at Hartlepool station while waiting for trains). There are two soundtracks overlaid; one is a free download of wind chimes, the other is my annoying voice being much more boring-intoning-typical-poet than I’d like. Anyhoo, give it a look if you’d like 🙂

Even Though I Looked, Even Though I Listened

Oh, and the poem itself was written in response to work by Louise Bourgeois, during a workshop led by the rather super Lisa Matthews.


For Holocaust Memorial Day


Ash Flower  (after Anselm Keifer)

The dead, who are thinner than gas,
might fit comfortably in their millions
in a simple cardboard box.

So why this desolate hangar?
Ankle-deep in guano and plaster-dust,
quiet as a sick forest –

(was Buchenwald once really a forest?)
Trees, acid-stripped and skeletal,
grow down out of a broken pane of sky.

Why has he painted such a mighty space?
Must we fit in there with them?
The millions whose last words

were a scrabbled cunieform on the inside
of the heavy chamber doors,
thickest where the handle should have been?


Ekphrastic – Agglomerations by Chun Kwang Young

images-1When the madness of the Edinburgh Fringe gets too much for me each August, I pop into art galleries to rest my brain from words. I especially like Dovecot Studios on Infirmary Street, which this year was hosting an exhibition of incredible mixed-media constructions by Korean artist Chun Kwang Young. Here’s a sort of prose-poem response to the exhibition – because you can run from words, but you can’t hide…


The master works on a cosmic scale. For brushstrokes read boxes, that are not boxes, but triangles of polystyrene clothed in paper. Mulberry fibre, mulberry twine, twisted by assistants, legions wrapping landfill in nostalgia. Medicine packages, tincture of indigo, tinted taupe, dappled with the boxy characters of Korea, swaddled by the acolytes. He chooses the ones whose half-moon nail-beds please him, clean and cool-fingered even in August, blotchlessly cornerfolding crisp, crisp yet downy, the myriad boxes crawl, large and small and smaller, stutter over canvases, mothsoft rubbleheaps, rust-bled stains on the pre-silk, charred impact craters in among the chorus of paper-bandaged apices. In the master’s mind, immense moons of ice revolve in the open space of international galleries. What does it matter, the boys bickering girlsoft at the trestles, but the amiable static of the atelier? Their fingers are white moths, opening and closing. They all eat kimchi with their plain white rice. Their beauty depends on such interlaced tensions.

Ekphrastic project – James Cowie’s ‘The Yellow Glove’


Oh my dear, it was too, too dreadful!

Mortal mind can scarce conceive –

At least, not yours, darling Vi,

Yours would have shrunk. Violets do shrink,

It’s an immutable law, like death, or gravity,

Or who sits to the left of the Bishop.

“Bother immutability” that silly boy would say,

And therein lies the drastic horror of the thing,

For Pongo positively pushed it this time!

Doubtless the dear old Duchess toot sweet

Snipped him merrily from the Will, singing

“Cold porridge to primogeniture!” So you see,

I simply had to pop back the jolly old ring

And hoof it hotfoot before the bean began blubbing.

It’s a rotten sausage, but there it is.

Now, do try one of mine – they’re Turkish.

Ekphrastic project – Conflict and Conscience

The second of my poems for art crit magazine Corridor 8 went live a couple of weeks ago, but I’d like to bring it back to your attention now. Why? Because it’s a response to the exhibition ‘Conflict and Conscience : British Artists and the Spanish Civil War‘, running at the Laing Gallery until 7th June, and May Day weekend seems an appropriate time to nod in the direction of socialist struggles past and present.

I’d really just like to encourage you to see the exhibition if you can. Not only are there some really strong works, including Picasso’s ‘Weeping Woman’, but it is full of inspirational women. Women artists who fought and died, women who served the rebel camps and fed the insurgents, women who were passionate political and military leaders, women who sewed vast celebratory tapestries in remembrance of their comrades, women who made the heart-wrenching posters that ensured aid went to the victims of the conflict, women who got off their arses and started charitable foundations to secure the safety of orphans when our pathetic government of men refused to take in refugees, women who learned how to run ambulance services in blitzed cities, women, women, women…

Atlas was a woman…