forthcoming: Rewilding Anthology

My piece floral mimicry subtypes in humans will be featured in the forthcoming Rewilding anthology, published by the Crested Tit Collective. It involves visual aspects similar to those seen in my whynow illustrated responses, as well as handwriting as opposed to typography, aiming to give the impression of reworked field notes.

The anthology will be “on the topic of ecology, including but not limited to: poetry, essays, ephemera, objects and art”. Other poets featured, as well as CTC members, include Astra Papachristodoulou, Karen Sandhu, CA Conrad, and Aaron Kent; the full list of contributors can be found here.

frames per second

My poem frames per second has been published by Re-Side.

in that sense / sense that in creating
the figure an attachment forms

between forms in claymation

Part of the sixth issue and on the topic of connections, each writer was randomly assigned a word from a list to be included in the first line, and the final line had to include the following word in the list. My words were “replaceable” and “sister”. It was the latter that I struggled with most, so I focused on the former, and ended up writing a poem about stop-motion puppetry. More specifically, I mainly wrote about Blood Tea and Red String by Christiane Cegavske. I was ill a lot when I was younger and I often found myself watching the film on my laptop while laying in bed, dozing in and out to the adventures of the strange creatures therein.

The issue is available to be read in full here.

CTC & Friends Earth Day reading

I was invited to take part in a Crested Tit Collective Earth Day reading of Unnamed Dragonfly Species by Juliana Spahr.

From the video description:

To mark Earth Day, the CTC and friends present a community recording of Unnamed Dragonfly Species by Juliana Spahr. We read as a reminder of two crucial things at this moment in our history: – That more and more of the Earth’s vibrant species are becoming extinct or endangered all the time. – That we humans DO CARE, that we all feel hopeless and helpless at times, but that we are capable of doing more.

In different times I would have gone around the Fens filming different sections of river and perhaps some fields to voiceover. I did try to use an orchid as a prop to reintroduce some of the nature aspect but it was not to be, though I did end up using a candle in the short version (“melting”) after weighing it up against an ice lolly shaped like a watermelon slice. Not pictured: the number of times I stumbled over the phrase “plants in containers” and said “plants icotainers” instead.

It was lovely to be included in the reading, an international one at that, especially in current times where it’s so easy to feel distant from others, and also to mark something so timely.

CTC also held a live poetry reading on the day, which I unfortunately missed but is able to be watched here.

inflection points

My poem inflection points has been published by Permeable Barrier.

it prequelled it ~ tearing red thread
; a void calls at train tracks
the station drawn out as a circle

Written after Noriko’s Dinner Table (紀子の食卓) with a focus on Tokyo Ueno Station, also incorporating my own experiences.

Not featured: on my last day in Tokyo, I walked around every set of coin lockers in the entire station looking for somewhere to store my suitcases for a few hours before I got the overnight bus back to Osaka. They were all full, so I ended up going to a manned luggage drop-off instead. The following day I checked the news for whatever reason and found out that a few hours after I’d left, a body had been found in a large suitcase that had been left in one of the coin lockers. Exactly the size of locker I was seeking out.

The poem is able to read in full here.

Poetry under self-isolation: virtual readings

I’ve been self-isolating since March 17th as that is when I found out that I was classed as high-risk. I was aware of it prior but it hadn’t been official before then, at least as far as I was concerned, and after it was I did a final shop before not setting foot outside for five days straight out of concern for my wellbeing. By the end I felt like I was going a bit mad, leading me to realise that it was important to find a balance, and that balance involved taking walks down side streets – which would sound ominous if they weren’t so painfully quaint. Though there is also much to be done indoors, and while it may be more difficult to poet (v.) in these times, poeting has continued and adapted nonetheless, and wonderfully so.

I recently contributed to the International Poetry Circle, started on Twitter by Tana Skurtu, in which I read a poem from Mouth: Eats Color by Sawako Nakayasu and Chika Sagawa, as well as my own dogwalkslowly from the streetcake experimental writing anthology. Featuring subtitles/CC, a builder’s laugh, and an unmade bed (apologies, it’s comfier that way):

The collective of works is really wonderful, with readers sharing both their own writing and the writing of others. I actually found it quite refreshing to read someone else’s work aloud. You can find a lot more readings under the hashtag on Twitter.

I also experienced my first virtual poetry reading as part of Stay At Home Fest, reading for streetcake magazine. My observations of virtual readings, at least via Zoom, are as follows:

  1. Normally during a reading you only feel like people are looking at you when you’re reading, because people are looking at you when you’re reading, as you would presumably hope. But in Zoom, even when you’re not reading you’re in a small box above the person who is, and as such may feel like you have to be more of a person than you would usually in these settings.
  2. While you’re reading, everyone else’s mics are muted. This means that if you’re like me and tend to talk around your poems a bit and make moderately terrible jokes, rather than polite to sincere laughter you will be met with silence. Unless you happen to catch a glimpse of a fellow reader smiling from their tiny video feed, you will have no idea whether it went down well or if people are hoping that your WiFi connection fails. The first time I realised this I did take a moment to process that silence was not (necessarily) disapproving, and I was able to carry on as I normally would, but it is something that might be helpful to know ahead of time.
  3. Before readings started, there was this guy who came in twice to shout things. It was a very uninteresting performance.

But overall I genuinely enjoyed reading and being present for the readings of others, even though I did feel a little impolite sipping my cup of tea in my tiny segment of the screen.

I’ve got two more performances scheduled in May, but at the moment it’s uncertain as to whether they’ll be able to be carried out in person or not. One of them definitely has a virtual option, and honestly I’d be more than happy to do many more online readings.

I actually feel a lot more connected to the poetry community since the pandemic than I did prior. It feels a lot more inclusive at the moment. I really hope this feeling will be maintained even after we’re able to interact in person again.