Five poems of mine are published online in the latest issue of The Harlequin. Here’s the optional commentary track:
Ash is the third of four ‘between-element’ poems to be published. The first two were Dust in The New Statesman and Steam in The White Review. Ash is the element between fire and air, and like the others, she’s personified as a vagabond-girl. The form in all these poems is based around a final consonant sound that repeats at the end of every line, and a set of four penultimate consonant sounds arranged in a pattern. The title/name also repeats at the start of each stanza, and the whole sequence even fits into a bigger over-arcing sequence! This is because they’re all written by a persona of mine who is obsessed with organisation and patterning.
‘Nothing, that is, but the mind of man’ is the first in a sequence of insomnia poems that take place throughout the course of a single night. This one focuses on the initial moments after lights-out. ‘The band really cut loose for this one’ and ‘Not to be loose or hump-shunted’ are the last two poems in the same sequence, when it gets to morning and begins to get light again. The titles are supposed to evoke the kind of fragmentary, drifting thoughts that present themselves momentarily while you’re lying awake trying to think of nothing.
Defeat is the sort of self-indulgent poem I let myself write occasionally if I feel like I’ve paid my dues in technically adventurous, concept-focussed work. There’s nothing tricksy here – it’s about defeat, and frustration, and the feeling that you can never work hard enough, do enough, learn enough, armour yourself enough to not be broken down again at a moment’s notice.