I am elated to announce that I have been placed second in the Streetcake Experimental Writing Prize for Poetry ages 22-26.
My poem dogwalkslowly has been published as part of the winner’s anthology. You can read it over on my Twitter feed.
I’m actually really proud of this piece, not just because it somehow managed to be awarded something but because it really shows a progression in my writing style. I’m working on using more straightforward language in a less straightforward way, and trying to take up more space on the page in a way that is meaningful.
I ended up deciding against attending the award ceremony out of my own preference, but the organisers were very understanding (and also offered to make accommodations for me, which I appreciated enormously even though they weren’t solutions for me personally). I came away with a copy of the anthology, a selection of KFS books, a feedback letter from the judges, and a mini cupcake with the Streetcake logo on.
Read more about the Streetcake Experimental Writing Prize here.
My micro-chapbook ræfs has been published with Ghost City Press.
A conceptual poetry sequence, it consists of twenty three short segments comprised almost solely of nouns. As there wasn’t the option to include a blurb or similar I decided to take advantage of this and only disclose the subject of the writing at the end of the book in an attempt to allow for a more authentic experience.
This was the first time I was permitted to design a front cover beyond colour selection, and I genuinely enjoyed it so much. The design was inspired by an instructional shadow puppet illustration in a French Encyclopaedia from 1885, prompted by some curtains I’d seen while walking around a nicer neighbourhood one day (odd to get inspiration from a stranger’s curtains I know). I played around with colours and settled on a greenish tinge, though other iterations can currently be seen on my Twitter banner. I’ll include them here actually, as they have their own charms.
All of the books in the summer micro-chap series are available to read for free and accompanied by an optional button to donate directly to the author, so I encourage you to check out the other publications in the series as it’s really wonderful to have so much work at your fingertips.
ræfs is now available on the Ghost City Press website.
Twitter and a lovely email tell me that I am one of the top three prize winners for the Streetcake Experimental Writing Prize in the age 22-26 Poetry category.
I’m unsure of how to post about this kind of thing, so here’s some information from the website:
the streetcake experimental writing prize will be one of the first of its kind, aimed at young people (18-26 years old) who are creating writing that extends the possibilities and boundaries of the contemporary literature mold. we want to recognise and develop writers in this age band, who will shape the future of experimental writing and bring new ideas to the genre.
I normally avoid writing competitions because I don’t find that my writing style fits with what the judges are looking for, but seeing ‘experimental’ and ‘Streetcake’ I figured why not have a go? It was only £1 to enter a single poem too, which made me very happy considering entry fees are also one of the main reasons I don’t enter many things. So the whole thing felt accessible to me in every sense.
There’s an awards ceremony in September that I’m supposed to be attending, but it also feels very formal and I don’t know how I’ll feel near the time. I decided against attending my graduation for the same reason (and no regrets honestly). Hopefully even if I decide not to attend I’ll be allowed to go to the workshop beforehand though as I desperately want to meet Sascha Akhtar.
The poem I submitted is called dogwalkslowly and will appear on the Streetcake Magazine website and in a hardcopy anthology.
My poems collective consumption and field study have now been published in Volume 3 of Tentacular.
another problem eels don’t need.
cracks in the riverbed becoming
how to harvest a rabbit
from powdered sugar. moon cut
if the lamb was left
like this pacify quite quick
not counting crows or dogs
Four lines from each for perusal. I suppose the link between the two is countryside imagery and eating, though it sounds quite dull put that way. To make it less tiresome: the last few lines of collective consumption reference my being told several times my several different people that if they had to choose another person to eat they’d pick me because apparently as I’ve never eaten meat my flesh would be the most “pure”, and field study was inspired by the proposal that brambles are in fact carnivorous and sheep get caught on them so that they’ll die in place and their bodies will provide nutrients for the plant in question.
Full versions of the poems are available to read here.
My visual poem tongue 83 has been published in issue 10 The Projectionist’s Playground.
I’ve been told that it’s difficult to read, and though I’m happy to have multiple strange readings of it, part of it was intended to be read a certain way
what is the thing that connects the tongue
over a matter / doesn’t matter / over a fondness / are we enemies?
are we enemies was borrowed from one of Kafka’s letters to… Max Brod? I’m not sure, it’s been a while since I wrote my essay on him.
Aside from the Sidekick Books Headbooks this is my first visual poem in print. I’ve posted pictures of it on Twitter though plan to upload a copy of the original image at some point.
Copies of The Projectionist’s Playground are available here.
I was so excited to be able to be involved in the Battalion launch for Sidekick Books, held at Westminster Reference Library. There will be more writing on this than usual as compensation for my not having filmed it.
I read out some superstitions around bats and buildings, some real and some I’d made up myself, while applying temporary bat tattoos to my skin. Someone in the audience generously offered to hold my mirror – I’d bought it earlier the same day, a black-rimmed circle, moon-shaped. When I first took it out of the bag I discovered that it had broken in transit, a thumb sized fragment dislodged from the edge, but I explained to the audience that I think that it is only considered to be unlucky to break a mirror as they used to be made of silver, and since this one was from Poundland I would have a pound’s worth of bad luck if that.
I set about applying my tattoos and adlibbing around the superstitions, one being where I’d written down something along the lines of “woe be unto the bridal couple who should marry” and over the page “in a church with bats in the belfry” (a real superstition, in case you’re curious). I genuinely had a lot of fun doing this actually, and it seems like the audience did too, so I’d really like to do more of this kind of thing. Not that I get much opportunity, but still.
This is the first performance I’ve done that has gone unfilmed as I didn’t think to ask anyone to do so. I’m trying to tell myself that this gives a special fleeting (flitting) feeling to it, as if it was some sort of intentional artistry, but if I’m honest I just keep feeling little pangs of regret whenever someone who wasn’t at the event asks if there’s a video. I guess it’s a lesson in being more proactive in documenting things.
It was a lovely evening filled with so many charming performances and just really affirmed how happy I am to have been involved with the anthology.
The Battalion anthology is available for purchase here.
Photograph borrowed from @stevenjfowler.
My contributor copy of a queer anthology of sickness arrived yesterday from Pilot Press.
It features my poem selvhjelp, an abstraction and muddling of the cognitive diamond that my friend Madelen sent me after having kindly translated it from Norwegian.
It’s not something I can copy and paste part of easily, but I posted pictures of it on my Twitter.
I’m really trying to work on making poetry that takes up more space on the page, and this poem was an arguably symbolic way to start.
The anthology is available for purchase here and may also be found in Tenderbooks.