Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Stephen Nelson: McGuire poem.

This was made for me by the inimitable Stephen Nelson over at afterlights. I asked for it.

I asked Stephen for a name/poem last year.
He said, Aye!
I received an email.
L.P scratched off abruptly.

What is this mess I was see before me, I thought? It was meaningless. Incomprehensible. Visual nonsense. Ugly. I didn't want to offend. I told him it was a bit harsh or something like that. Then he sent me the name/poem you see above. The original he sent is picture below in red.

I neglected it to be honest. Memory was provoked today when I read the review of his new book - Lunar Poems for New Religions -  by Claire Askew at One Night Stanza.   So with an element of sycophancy and a realisation that the above black and white name/poem is actually pretty damn good and suits my character down to a tee, I thought I'd air it on this here blog.

Stephen Nelson perplexes me. His concrete, visually poetry perplexes me. I look at it like a Doberman looks at a mathematical equation - completely oblivious of the importance of what lies before it, content in its ignorance. Recently I realised that he is pretty damn good, that his avant garde approach is designed to baffle. It certainly isn't for everyone. It's experimental. Yet even simply a visual thing, a 'picture', 'art' they are quite amazing. They beg you to ask questions. Decipher. Find out what they signify. At once playful. Visceral. Free-Associative.

My name/poem contains these ingredients:

*The letters of my surname. Upside down, inverted, some large, others smaller.
*Brackets (or, parenthesis) within which the letters of my name are guarded.
*Two upside down question marks flank either side of the letters and brackets
*Two commas lie beneath the question mark, again upside down.

This is all contained in a wee nucleus like cell which of course encapsulates my name. What does it mean? Nothing. It could be pretentiously put as indicating, the insufficiency of language to full explain the mystery of personal identity. I like that idea. It could be a visual metaphor highlighting the chaotic and baffling nature of McGuire and his slapdash approach to poetry and writing.

At the very least it has a visual riot that I have come to appreciate of recent more than I did when I received it. Have a look at afterlight, you will surely be baffled, intrigued, dismiss it all as preposterous, then notice one you would like on your wall.

With love X

Save the best/worst till last. This was the original Stephen sent but I wasn't that into it. Meaning, visually it did nothing for me. You might think differently. Look on.

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Nocturnal Questions.

When will the ghosts of eternity
clean my dishes hang up my washing
and rake the dry leaves in the back garden?

When will the ghosts of time stop knocking
on my window at three in the morning,
come into the light and smoke on the landing?

When will the ghosts of time do stand-up routines
in the graveyard under moonlight in front of the living
who have nothing but time for them?

When will the ghosts of time run out on us
with only the trail of wind or a door swinging
in the distance to leave us wondering?

A candle stands sentry at the window
smoke lingers and curls from incense
the universe rumbles like an empty stomach;
beyond that as always we are vigilant.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Burns Night Poetry Slam

Thanks to former Slam Champion and bastion of decency Graeme Hawley, there has been a Burns Night Slam organised for this Friday at the Scottish National Liboobry.

I managed to get the rabbit of my name pulled out of the magicians hat alongside a host poets, namely: Rachel Amey, Robin Cairns, Leo Glaister, Tracey Rosenberg, Steve Urwin, Jim Monaghan, George Wilson, Katherine McMahon.

There are a remaining 12 who applied to enter the slam but did not get their names pulled from the hat, these remaining 12 poets are invited to take part in the haiku elimination round, where 3 of them will be chosen by the judging panel to join the 10 (above) in the slam proper.

No more reformed alcoholics, literate dyslexics or mental health patients will be able to get in, I'm afraid, as the night is fully booked.

I'm looking forward to the night, though normally I am fert of the slam because it is competitive and a bit of a challenge. I am an anarcho-primitivist who prefers to live life in my log cabin, living off of the land and cultivating private skills in arts and crafts, don't you know.

Bring on the Slam! May there be no third degree Burns!

Wednesday, January 09, 2013

Craigmillar Burns' Night Reading

McGuire is reading at Craigmillar writers group on the 16th of January. It is also a tribute to Robert Burns. I look forward to it. I will be ranting for quite some time and there will be a host of other readers as well.

Come along if you get the chance. Enjoy. And if you can't enjoy, get drunk. And if you can't get drunk,  get uninhibited sober. And if you can't do either of them stay at home and judge from your armchair.

Starts at 7 p.m. until prison lights are off.

Cast a light
into the darkest corners.

Yours, absentmindedly,