All 27 entries tagged Poetry

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July 18, 2007

Cyberbrain haiku

my new cyberbrain
weighs only one kilogram -
i feel lightheaded

my heart is replaced
with a quantum computer -
i voyage the stars

May 14, 2007

Garbage In Garbage Out

“i wanted to create something truly disgusting
and useless, that no-one would like,” said the conceptual artist

whose latest work is a world map rolled into a cylinder
suspended above a wire mesh waste paper basket
containing a dead crow.

“i invite people to drop their own waste through the map
and into the basket. mostly the response has been negative.”

“you have no idea how long it took to procure
the dead crow,” the artist added,
pulling a string of filthy pearls from his rectum.

May 07, 2007

Grid of Learning

or: Please refrain from sleeping in the Grid.

Student advisors are here to help you –
Please give groups priority.

Can I eat in here?
Where do I find?
I’m lost…
Can we talk here?

Please Eat Hot Food in the Atrium.

It doesn’t work!
Look for the Blue Shirts.

Please clear your work-station.

November 23, 2006

b e d

bed in darkness, the

earth to my loneliness, keeps

dust, and lovers’ breath

July 18, 2006


Have spacious room
w/ empty white walls
and items placed
in several drawers.

WLTM girl
w/ similar mind,
spacious body
and tidy grey eyes.

April 25, 2006

Night Clearing

I'm back at home now. You've heard a bit about it –
I'm with two good friends, examining the light.
It's late but light diffuses from the clouds
filling up the empty field below and beyond us –
and further out, Basingstoke shimmering under smog.
No camera would record the light, at least not as we see it:
the blank air, the blossom petals, the closeness.

Moments like these exist – and you know as much, you said so –
in a brief, frail instant, before dying
on the wave. We cannot save them. We can only
recognise their life and mourn their passing.

You absence, though, is so particular
that it frees up the sky and lets me spin there,
rapt in intellect, in my own solitude.
The stars fold themselves into petals the colour of skin
with all the symmetry of your personality;
the balance of mystery and familiarity;
the phrases that your movements suggest.

I hope to walk with you like this when we meet again
and in the shrinking light, to offer you these moments of feeling,
boldly plucking the words like the loose heads of flowers.

But I'm reduced to imprecision, to things that will fit in an envelope.
I want you like these shimmering lights, cloudless, clear and close.

April 06, 2006

Notes towards "Practice of Poetry" commentary

Notes towards a poetry commentary…

working towards an aesthetic that revels in the beauty of language – both in sound and meaning – rather than priveleging one over the other. An aesthetic similar to that expressed by WCW: “a lightness and a light full of / words upon a paper sky, each a meaning / and all a meaning jointly.” NOT, therefore, to callously abandon meaning like the L=A=N=G=U=A=G=E poets, nor to pretend to write “plainly” or in any sort of common language like for instance (imho) Larkin does.

There is a basic aesthetic at work when we appreciate music. Alan Watts points out that music and dance are the two truly pointless art forms. The aim of the dance is not to get somewhere, but to enjoy and revel in movement; similarly with music, musical forms and patterns are appreciated for their own beauty, not because they stand for anything. This is what we mean when we approve of a poem as being musical. We usually think that musicality can be applied only to the sound of the poem, but why not the meaning too?

I'm unsure what musical meaning would entail. Something indeterminate, that's for sure. Combining different textures into a pleasing whole. The orchestration of different – even contradictory – meanings. Those poems that are saturated in beautiful ambiguity tend to have a similar effect on me to great jazz music – an trancelike absorption in the work (involoving, with poetry, close rereading), a sense of freedom and openness. So I advocate blending meanings as harmonies are blent in music.

To blend meaning is not to devalue meaning itself, to abandon Truth as an possible goal of poetry. On the one hand, we have what comonly passes for political poetry: a dull drone. On the other hand, we have postmodern or poststructural abandonments of meaning: discordant honking. But I like harmony :))

Unversal voice vs dialects

There is an opposition between Yeatsian universality: “I hated and still hate with an every drowing hatred the literature of the point of view. I wanted…to get back to Homer…I wanted to cry and all men cried, to laugh as all men laughed…

and the idea of a poetry of dialect (which poet in Strong Words talks about this?)

The debate over the value of confessional / personal poety is related but not the same. We are thinking more about the use of language here, and the problems of poetry as communication.

We think in dialects – words and categories that we have learnt from our cultures and social circles. But we are not absolutely conditioned by culture – every good poet can project some of their unique pattern through their modification of their received dialect. This is how and why dialects multiply. In such a fiercely individualistic world as our own, one could argue that this process is destablising language and inhibiting any chance of communication between individuals.

But no: the creation of a unique personal dialect (which writer was it who coined this idea?) is necessary to writing poetry. To write in this dialect is to share a sense of yourself, even if your poetry is not at all confessional. It is also to share your culture, to make it inhabitable by others. [Example of Linton Kwesi Johnson.]

Poetry written in a particular regional/cultural dialect – e.g. LKJ, Tom Leonard – is not challenging because you can't understand it, but because you can :D

I am not lionising the use of particular dialects like in these examples. This is only one of many ways in which unique dialect can be expressed. Much good poetry that appears to be standard English (or the Queen's english, or middle english…) in fact expresses dialect through idiomatic turns of phrase, use of sound or other poetic technique, or the use of colloquailisms and various registers of language.

This flexible expression of culture and self is what I really admire in language, and constitues the aesthetic beauty of langage.

Other Topics to cover:
My “cultural background”
Why Yeats May Have Been Right
Romantic Idealisation
Theories of Inspiration
Language as organic entity or process…

April 05, 2006

Calling Erato

No more putting it off. I'm cold and hungry
and my voice will sound like porridge, lumps and all.
Still, you deserve some expression of how I am,
a notebook scribble to find when you are bored.

Back then, you were closer than my retinas,
the dark of my eyelids.
I would go to bed kissing you and wake up alone.
Oh! morning kisses – half awake, nuzzling into dryness!

Of course, you're the sort who knows but doesn't mention.
You're the sort who – closer to me than myself – is just there.
Capricious spirit, you deserved every moment I gave you –
every drop of attention, every tear.

Do you remember being by the lake that time,
when lateness and love were pressing on my mind?
To you I was alone, though our friends were there.
You threw your dusky blanket into the air.

You whispered uneven songs into my ear.
I wore your big wooly jumper, bobbled with stars,
breathing moonlight as if it were just a gas.
I realised then that you never loved me,

and that I loved another of my friends.
My cold feet kissed the grass. And when you left,
I wrote it all out in a stretch of dry coherence.
My best work yet. It's not for you. I breathe.

This anniversary is hard. It's the little details:
like finding your words there in my handwriting,
or your crumpled jumper in the corner of the evening.
I don't want to ask for emotional favours,

but we should meet again, soon. Coffee is fine.
I'll wait at dusk in the garden. Take your time.

March 29, 2006

No Animals Were Harmed…

When spilling your heart
for the sake of your art
it's hard to be clear
when it touches so near.
If you don't dot your "i"s
it can melt into lies;
your words may offend
and cause friendships to end.
So here's my disclaimer:
it's just a persona.

March 24, 2006


News from the halls of the powerful:
The secret chiefs of the order, in ceremonial
suits and ties, have spent months in a
boardroom visionary trance. It is engendered.

By the forest of Arden, in a nook near Coventry,
they will bury it: the DNA of a hermit crab,
the seed of the Prime Minister, some voodoo
free marketry and a dash of "dynamism".

Months later, they dig it from the ground:
a plate glass exoskeleton, a monstrously
postmodernist splice of ideologies. It must be fed
with a thousand fresh young things from the suburbs…

We have become its blood and shit;
its cells, its instincts, its secret urges.

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