XING THE LINE hosts the London launch of 5 new poetry titles from Boiler House Press.
Thursday December 14, 7pm. £5/£3.
TIM ATKINS: ON FATHERS < ON DAUGHTYRS
EMILY CRITCHLEY: TEN THOUSAND THINGS
COLIN HERD: CLICK & COLLECT
JEFF HILSON: LATANOPROST VARIATIONS
MARIANNE MORRIS: WORD/WORLD
Tim Atkins is an internationally-published and reviewed poet and translator. He is the author of many volumes, including To Repel Ghosts, 1001 Sonnets, and Horace. His 600-page Petrarch Collected Atkins was a Times Literary Supplement Book of the Year for 2014, and was a selected book of the year on the widely-read American literary site Salon.com. Folklore was one of the Daily Telegraph’s poetry books of the year for 2008. His work has been anthologised in The Reality Street Book of Sonnets, Faber’s The Thunder Mutters, and Foil. Since 2000, he has been editor of the online poetry journal onedit, which was selected by The British Library as one of the key poetry websites in its poetry archive. In 2013, he was a member of the summer faculty at The Jack Kerouac School of Disembodied Poetics at Naropa University. Other projects include the creation of a sound installation for the Science Museum’s Exponential Horn show: this was also broadcast on Resonance FM. His play The World’s Furious Song Flows Through My Skirt was performed at the PolyPly Innovative Writing series and was published by Stoma in June 2014. A celebration of his work at which 24 writers read took place at The Rich Mix Arts Centre in East London in July 2014. A film collaboration with Graeme Maguire, Mother, was a finalist at the Rabbit Heart Poetry Festival. His work has been translated into Latvian, Japanese, Spanish, Arabic, and Catalan. A novel, The Bath-Tub, is due out from Boiler House Press in 2018.
What does it mean to be human? Poetry asks this question. The answer, if one looks in any anthology—from any country or era—would appear to be that humanity consists of hopelessly doomed romantics, variously-religious spiritual seekers, or soldiers. It takes a lot of searching to find a poetry about the most universal and human of activities; that of parenting or of being parented. In recent years, poets such as Bernadette Mayer, Alice Notley, and Anne Waldman have all written long celebrations of motherhood, but there has never been a poetry written by fathers about the father-daughter relationship. Tim Atkins’ ON FATHERS < ON DAUGHTYRS changes this.
ON FATHERS < ON DAUGHTYRS is a long poem which rolls up its sleeves, puts on a waterproof apron, and dives head-first into this messy world. From being thrown out of museums for throwing too much paint around to marching through London (repeatedly) on political demonstrations, Tim Atkins casts a warm eye on the many and various pleasures of being the father of two daughters. In a brand new poetics of the transcendent domestic, which combines the styles of The New York School and Britain’s Tom Raworth, slapstick and tragedy coexist on every page.
Philip Larkin wrote that your mum & dad fuck you up. ON FATHERS < ON DAUGHTYRS is a poem with plenty of fucking around but very little fucking up. Poet George Oppen asked the question; “My daughter, my daughter, what can I say of living?” Atkins’ happy poem is a 120-page answer. “Come down here right now/ & get your snot off the ceiling.”
Emily Critchley has poetry collections with Barque, Intercapillary, Corrupt, Holdfire, Torque, Oystercatcher, Dusie, Bad and Arehouse presses and a selected writing: Love / All That / & OK (Penned in the Margins, 2011). She has also published critical articles on poetry, philosophy and feminism and is the editor of Out of Everywhere 2: Linguistically Innovative Poetry by Women in North America & the UK (Reality Street, 2016). Critchley is Senior Lecturer in English and Creative Writing at the University of Greenwich, London.
TEN THOUSAND THINGS is about motherhood. Also it is about the equipmentality of woman in/to society in general. It is about parenting as labour; poetry as labour; labour as poetry; poetry as thought; thinking as poetry; protest as labour; poetry as protest; and our perennially changing, perennially stuck hereditary lines. It is for warrior-women. It is for girly-men. It is for all persons, animals, plants in between. It is about love. It is about fear. It is about doubt. It is about hope.
It is against misogyny, even of the well-meaning kind that tells people how to be in the short term or when to sacrifice themselves for everybody else’s good. It is against the mythopoesis of mother as stand-in for all creation, and also, of course, it carefully recognizes this careless summary. It is against purity and divisive lines. It is against destruction – of any persons or animals or plants on this planet, which also happens to be the home that sustains us. Duh!
It wishes that in the future there would be other ways of loving, living, pro-/creating and dying. It hopes humans might find out what these are before it’s too late.
Colin Herd is Lecturer in Creative Writing at the University of Glasgow. His previous collections include too ok (BlazeVOX, 2011), Glovebox (Knives, Forks and Spoons, 2013) and Oberwilding – with SJ Fowler (Austrian Cultural Forum, 2015). In 2016, he was part of a team who organised Outside-in / Inside-out: A Festival of Outside and Subterranean Poetry in Glasgow. www.colinherd.com / @colinjherd
CLICK & COLLECT is a sequence of poems that explores the shape and shaping of consumerism, internet culture, queerness and emotion. How do we brand the world around us and how does it brand us? Across lyrics and half-story-poems, CLICK & COLLECT gives advice on how to frighten your friends, weighs up the pros and cons of cream jeans, questions the efficacy of algae as a face mask, gives dental hygiene tips and ideas for floral arrangements. There’s even a poem from the perspective of the crocodile on Lacoste-branded clothing. If click & collect is the new cause & effect, how can realignments of brands-as-objects and objects-as-brands create queer spaces for new orientations and arrangements?
Jeff Hilson wrote stretchers (Reality Street 2006), Bird bird (Landfill 2009) and In The Assarts (Veer 2010). He also edited The Reality Street Book of Sonnets (Reality Street 2008). He runs Xing the Line reading series in London and teaches Creative Writing at the University of Roehampton.
Beginning with an extended riff involving the glorified music search engine Spotify and ending with the ongoing and ignored tragedy of European migration, the prose poems [sic] of LATANOPROST VARIATIONS address a range of historic and contemporary particulars including the entertainer/paedophile Rolf Harris, ripoff payday loan sharks, English football grounds, world shipping, the endangered flora & fauna of the British Isles and singer-(not)songwriter Art Garfunkel.
Punctuationless and insistently lower-case, and employing repetition and the list as forms of subterfuge, nothing in LATANOPROST VARIATIONS is quite as it seems. There’s something wrong in every poem which is turned over and over, again and again, so that the whole is effectively a diagnostic report from the back-to-front. The title refers to a topical eye-drop used for the treatment of the chronic eye condition glaucoma which if left untreated leads to loss of sight. This book is a plea not to turn a blind eye.
Not being a doctor himself, the author has no advice except never to forget that on 17 May, 2017, the day Rolf Harris was released from Stafford Prison after a brief internment, Donald Trump announced a $110 billion arms deal with Saudi Arabia and a small boatload of migrants awaited rescue off the island of Lampedusa. As one of the poems reminds us: “the men of war are difficult to ignore shaking hands with them does not mean they are not men of war.” Or as another concludes: “thank you art garfunkel thank you after all the eyes are fine.”
Marianne Morris studied literature at Cambridge University, and has a PhD in poetry from Dartington College/Falmouth. Her first full-length collection, The On All Said Things Moratorium, was published in 2013. She lives in Toronto, where she was born.
WORD/WORLD is a book of three registers. The collections Alphabet Poems, Apples and Origins, and then the Word/World poems themselves, comprise the contents of this book. These three constitute a progression, through language, from the unruly, abstracted language of trauma, into a more integrated and embodied approach to a language that inhabits an awakened body in the present tense.
The fabric of WORD/WORLD spans heirloom seeds, police murders, witch burning, Ayahuasca tourism, shamanism, the asteroid Chiron, soul mates, alchemical principles, plant medicine, tantric sex, gangster rap and the end of American Apparel. It is an attempt to heal divisions and static states, and looks towards a world that exists outside of duality.
Building on the work of Morris’ first book, The On All Said Things Moratorium, WORD/WORLD firmly establishes poetry as its own language, a language which borrows from but is not like other language, and in which ideas can be held, examined, questioned from different angles, and exploded.