ABOUT



Most of the poems in All Particles and Waves are drawing their energy from a visual medium: whether it's the films of Guy Maddin, the Quay Brothers, Roy Anderson and Andrew Kötting or the clandestine atmospheres of Joseph Cornell, it was often simply the desire to transfer that visual enchantment into, out of, and through language. This is not an illustrative desire to describe the visual or to prioritise ‘the image’, but a pursuit of exploring how the phenomenology of such visual experiences might be replicated or extended. This is why I am so committed to the ‘Light Glyphs’ series (also collected on this website) in which I interview filmmakers about poetry, and poets about film. It is why I worked at a cinema, why I researched all the films I could conceivably smuggle into my PhD and, ultimately, why I wanted to gather artists I have met during this time to respond to All Particles and Waves. All the artwork compiled mainly consists of individual responses to the book or works kindly contributed towards a curation of the book’s extended ‘climate’. This 'gallery' gathers together poetry, essay, photography, film, and collage. I am immensely grateful to all who took part. It is the friendship, underground / tangential inspiration, and enduring correspondence with such artists that I most value in poetry.



The following is a poem - written in this strange now of June 2020 - trying to relocate the coordinates of book and mind: what was misread, misheard and seen in passing.

On Reflection, I Can’t See

mirror some oceans tweezered

burrowed flights of it borrowing

where’s when and when’s where

does this leave us, in the book of

‘I’ was what i tried

but what i was trying is through

what ‘we’ and ‘them’ streams into

the out of ‘us’ as what i was

trying

to cake-eat & keep the what but

what was i trying

‘I’

reached through

to be but as

movement and its print

Muybridge frame of hoof

as levitating horse and gallop

dreamt t/race of light plays as

wave & particle, obscured by

the imposition of either or

to restore wave as particle

one in the other

to be one as the other

without other or one

but in looking

as spray of :::::

as sway of )))))

as say of seeing

interpret only as

knowing division

say

line / dot / rock / slide / air / the glass

racoon / moss / quartz / the building

bunched atomic or the tremor

is but only insofar as

and now trying to understand

how unknowing i a sigh memorialised

recording blink the breathing’s crystal

make me a film, it runs through

a cursory mind you, to project smokesong

netting a cathedral is how

the ‘I’ imagines it to be

its own vibration and i too, only

your reading of this as what is read,

you read your reading and any ‘I’

will stir the influence of ashes

of and after years of notes

to continue slinking triffid

of Dorothea Tanning

whose doors ajar another midnight

stalk a spellbound visitor, flowering

in a room, never yours – the petals jaw

photons, marbles, glass eyes, enchiladas

miracles of dust, aphid spires, jobless

milk of phloem, stuff and crows

her calling is of his my dereliction

farming somewhere on the edge is best

otherwise i frill the link

between Ned Flanders

and quaint modernism

gibbering

unsweetened nothings

in the crypt

and i doubt i

can write myself seriously –

‘I’ was what i tried

the play of it, worms

convulsing from a beak

the shape of each letter

in every word is a silhouette

of what is no longer there

but light pours through, the projector starts

the bulb needs changing and the angle’s off

a fly crawls across the lens

born-again Mothzilla on the screen

and we watch

screening :::))):::))):):):):):::)))::: |

below the self’s self-same selfless chapel

authored by vague stalagmites –

they dream towers from a leaking tap, i

somewhere in the spill, to be

of being’s gut labyrinth, the indigestion

of what is said and meant and taken down

in dedication to the search for dedication

the ground salt of hip-replacements

as worn by and down and out

turns warning –

it might scatter

ample dead cat

among the photons

like you ever were

what matters

Democritus: atoms sloughed off the surface of the sun

Aristotle: a disturbance in a fluid ether

Alhazan: emitted by all luminous objects

Descartes: an impulse across the material particles of nature

Huygens: waves explain reflection

Newton: corpuscular

Young: double split, the interference

Maxwell: propagating fields

Planck: discrete packets of energy called quanta

Einstein: quanta to explain the photoelectric effect

is to make light of what matters

wince unconvincing ‘hi’

you itch the fog a filigree

to laugh it off

and swan disingenuously

all nouns a verb predictable

(everything is movement)

the way you drop

from any ‘i’

and time that couples

unlit in corridors

leaving Dorothea’s hotel

into something more – ‘you’

like very depressed

but holding on to Blanchot

body-scans and Bergson

always foetal on the kitchen floor

why always the kitchen floor?

like very depressed Tao

and punching walls

in negative adrenaline

but loving rats

and hoarding DVDs

and maybe

this persona

my i for now

collects itself

around collecting

in waves particular

to how you see them

say them, say when

I ::::::: if i is as or

is as i if i is as

the same

difference and

so on if off from

is of what form

or by is why so

in how formless

is is as

like )))))))

now and now and now

i couldn’t find you

nothing is speaking me

nothing is speaking to me

there is nothing speaking to me

and i’ve never seen such noise


All Particles and Waves can be purchased here.

Links to versions of selected poems from All Particles and Waves


Essay and poems on Shuddhashar

'Anti-samsara' on Shadowtrain

'Fog to Almost See You' on Tentacular

'Dust Bath' [since retitled, 'Dust Choirs'] on Blackbox Manifold


'Not Quite Refined but Alive' and 'The Act, The Err, Its Stew And The Numbness'

on The Interpreter's House

'Starting to' and 'Bedroom Stethoscope' on LUNGS PROJECT

Reading in Ålesund (Norway, 2019)



CONTEXT OF RELEASE & LAUNCH


All Particles and Waves is my first collection of poetry and was published on January 11th 2020 by Black Herald Press. It took me a while to scramble into gear for a launch in March. And then… everything changed. Not as a meteoric result of the book’s release (and, sure, as an experimental poet of philosophically inflected and neurotic digressions fond of dust mites…this was of course, a huge surprise) but as a pandemic sent the country into a (too late) lockdown and the government proceeded to prove just how callous, incompetent and self-serving they had always been. It’s rare that careerist politicians stripped of any ideology save their entitlement and greed (an ideology of purest capitalism: SELF and BANK) are actually lent a daily death-toll to underline their brute disregard for humanity. After a decade of austerity (age of the food-bank, mass homelessness, child-poverty, rising suicides, spiralling of the mental-health crisis met with, and worsened by, lethal budget-cuts alongside a vast violation of disabled people’s rights, worker’s rights and essentially human rights leading to hundreds of thousands dying), the notion of a death-toll seemed upsettingly overdue.


Statistics were, as ever, manipulated and mishandled, and the country was repeatedly patronised and blatantly lied to; continually reminded that very little mattered except the economy, and that the ‘economy’ had been inevitably reduced to what would best serve the already astronomically wealthy. A society crippled by bailing-out the rarefied strata of the astronomically wealthy are then predictably ignored by that same strata when in literally dying need. Meanwhile, vapid celebrities take it upon themselves to share messages of hope and peace in the sing-along syrup of viral videos; people swarm to panic-buy toilet roll like diarrhetic lemmings of the apocalypse; Skype somehow fails to capitalise on the situation it was designed for; people get disproportionately excited by Tiger King; and as knee-jerk journalism pumps out think-pieces on the ‘great levelling’, a population enters drastically different versions of isolation, dictated by class, race, and social circumstance. Added to that delightful situation is the creeping death-knell ambience of Brexit and our own further economic collapse ushered forth into star-spangled trade-deals that will soon make chlorinated chickens look like a comparative blessing. On a global existential level, it also feels like a vital momentum for climate change demands have been distracted, and at a time when planetary mortality is accelerating towards its fiery endgame. All this was before the horror of George Floyd’s death made abundantly clear what should have been, and was already to many, so threateningly obvious: the scale and violence of institutional racism.


BLM protests sweep America, and then other countries including England, follow. And we are left (after the poetic dunking of Colston’s statue) with the turbulent reality of the extreme right superficially gesturing to statues as the excuse to violently prove just how racist, how madly drunk and raging, pissed and pissing, so much of this country is. All of which manifests the logical legacy for Rupert Murdoch’s toxic tabloid stranglehold, the increased BBC ventriloquism of Tory bias, and the hidden engines of social media’s plugholes. A climate of poverty, anger, and months of cooped-up pint lust straining at the leash to fight – or to, y’know, passionately demonstrate for the public right to throw Nazi salutes and still be treated with more media respect than peaceful protests striving for racial equality. The rabble of confused but self-designated defenders of ‘history’ riding the wave of an extremist balding spam buffet, sweating testosterone and ignorance; a demographic primed by mainstream media’s decision to give Nick Griffiths a platform and, at every opportunity, interview ex-banker and Trump-licking ‘everyman’ Nigel Farage. How to increasingly ‘legitimize’ the extreme right, as brought to you by various toad-weasel hybrids and the flailing broadcasting desperation keen to catch up with clickbait culture. Meanwhile, podcast gurus and youtube psychologists scoop up the angry white and male tide (those alienated and humiliated by an angrily self-righteous contingent of the Left that would rather score points on Twitter than risk a more difficult and nuanced conversation in the offline world) and then channel them into the gutters of regressive social politics, patriarchy as a biological right, and the entitlement that encourages grand erasures of cultural progress. A dark pyramid scheme of the soul.


After my own inability to leave social media alone to eat itself: the overwhelming barrage of crushing news, grief and advertised grief, and all the splintered arguments it incubates (like furious archives of the present that beget their own hourly sub-cultures, each one a violently trapped sneeze in virtual space), my agitated state led me into a limited vocabulary of anxiety, distracted gloom, and fatigue. For all of these reasons, and so many more, the online Ignota organised reading (‘Break into the Forbidden’) felt of great, soothing, and even historic importance - at least to someone who follows poetry. I found in one poetry reading more emotional intelligence, insight, hope, and release than anything else I’d encountered in the past few months…and for quite a time before that. I felt moved and driven: by the fierce intelligence and epic command that drove Canisia Lubrin’s phenomenal reading; through Fred Moten’s philosophical skip of breath and being, its powerful movement of thought, history and language as bodily rhythm – bringing with it blues and jazz and his deep knowledge of a Black Radical Tradition; by the devastating and oneiric resurrections of M. NourbeSe Philip, reading from Zong! ; and to finish, from Nisha Ramayya’s invocation of Sean Bonney as a much needed and sorely missed voice, followed by her own incantatory reading where mythic consciousness turns in on itself and is renewed. This ‘Zoom reading’, the first I’ve attended, managed to also be one of the most inspiring readings I’ve ever seen. It was needed.


Returning to poetry, in a kind of BC/AC split that evokes pre-Covid nostalgia, I can so vividly recall the launch of All Particles and Waves as the last time this year that I was surrounded by a large group of people. I was a grateful bundle of nerves. The generous venue was the welcoming NewbridgeProject; a space for exhibitions, artist's studio space, and the running of an independent art/photography/poetry book & zine shop. The night began with Newcastle noise act, Boy Latex, who dutifully confounded an audience expecting poetry with repetitive feedback and cryptic projections. This was followed by the calming and wise melancholy of Wendy Heath’s poems; a poet who has been such a supportive influence on my experience of writing in Newcastle and, more importantly, a wondrous friend. Following Wendy, I then read from All Particles and Waves and, to finish, we projected a series of short films. It was a warm-hearted and fortunately well attended evening full of artists, musicians, filmmakers, friends and collaborators. And it is in that spirit that I wanted to create an online bridge from that moment, a gallery of friends and inspirations shored up against the increased turbulence of where we find ourselves now. It has also been really meaningful to me that, amidst the right-wing rhetoric of borders, walls, LEAVE, and the generous lobotomy of Brexit, I was able to publish the book with a European press. Black Herald Press are a defiantly independent press based in France: publishing translations, essays and collections of European poetry and philosophy. They do incredible work, have re-published and translated amazing writers (David Gascoyne, Gregory Corso, Francis Bacon, W.S. Graham) and are very worth supporting!

All Particles and Waves can be purchased here.

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