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“Voraciously experimental, precociously accomplished.” Poetry International

“Multifaceted, mega-fabricated, louche architecture.” Magma

Jon is a writer, editor and researcher who specialises in hybrid and chimeric works: rough fusions of form and genre. His poems often concern, or embody, the intermeshing of organic and constructed, human and non-human, real and unreal. They are frequently game-like, remade from fragments of other works, or take the form of micro-fantasies and intimate examinations.

Poetry London have called him a “poet of fantastic inversions”, but such inversions are just one way of rethinking the poem as an object of readerly play and investigation. His work has been published in The Sunday Times and performed on BBC Radio 4, as well as appearing in a number of British and international journals. He won an Eric Gregory Award in 2012 and the Poetry London prize in 2014 and 2016.

He edits multi-author books that muddle the genre of the poetry anthology with handbooks, catalogues, guides and treasuries. He has also published academic papers in the field of game studies. A monograph, Dual Wield: The Interplay of Poetry and Videogames, is due out in late 2021 from DeGruyter.

Nightjar

‘Du hast einen Vogel.’
German. Literally: ‘You have a bird.’
Figuratively: ‘You’re mad.’

What thing entered just now, its dive-knife head

quite sailing through the rucked sail of my ear? Jeer,

kettle. Ignite, would you, hob. Jingle or clack, spice rack.

My mouth is suddenly all moth – mind rigged and jigged,

that this torn urge, this tonnage, this project find me,

with a jink not a knock, jolt not a surge, siege or segue,

and then disappear again in a curtain-jog,

returning – or rather turning – to its nest. Little highjacker


charting junctures, you knot-chord of discord

earthing jaggedness, you whiskered nixer and jinx

thrawing Juniper Pug and Gem, I have you.

At last I have you.

Commentary:

‘Nightjar’ was originally written for the third Birdbook anthology. As commissioning editors and compilers of this series, Kirsten Irving and I permitted ourselves one poem per book, newly composed and looked over by the other. From the volume themed around moorland and heathland I reserved the nightjar – a species which nests on the ground, camouflaged. I set about hiding the word ‘nightjar’ inside the poem in as many ways as I could think of: anagrams, acrostics, similes, and so on.

The gestation period for the project was so long that I had time to enter ‘Nightjar’ into the annual Poetry London competition before it was published. It won first prize, and I was invited to read it at a launch event at London Zoo, near the emu enclosure.

Juniper Pug and Gem are species of moth (the main diet of nightjars), and ‘thrawing’ is a Scots word that means to twist or turn a thing on itself.



 

The poems accessible on this site are dispensed randomly from a digital capsule toy vendor, or gashapon machine. You could think of it as a broken jukebox that plays whatever track it likes. Or a lucky dip. Click in this box to pick another one.

More projects

Poems

On Toys

Ludokinetic
Literature

Sandsnarl

Unravelanche

School
of Forgery

I could kiss, say,

Headbooks

Scarecrows

Hybardrids

Tomboys

Birdbooks

Super Treasure
Arcade

Death Daydream
Season

Sidekick Books

Core Samples

Riotous

Superminis

The
Mechamorphoses

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