11 May 2011

RUINED COTTAGE - poempoempoem

Among the hills
peaked sunshine mounted on a globe
splits shafts of ray through the slow glades
in crevices dewy still from morning intimacy
a local time lapse only a speaker knows to notice
to move between
in slits above nature a loftier freedom can be spied
places a soul might soar to if embattled clouds
oppressed less, if splattered hillsides offered less fast-moving
cavities of twilight and exposure
later, the developers have turned digital, &
the spots of light which were your artifice will be rationalised away
now, limbs unveiled through moss & mulch
cleave at half glimpsed & inflecting & counterflecting displays
of shade and pattern, seemingly inwardly but distant,
the unconsumable eye, for the pleasure of the
self-contained and concocting parcel of a man
a hierarchy of peace arbitrates, midges offend
& dry hillsides spiked with broom, jewelled with
rockford husks & creases where crime collects make me cautious
I love to walk
but in travelling, there are too many signs of MAN to
fit me too. i saw a stream of rubbish in Peru pour from a town
into the toothed gullet of a pig
he slowly mounted up the steep ascent of indiscriminate & familiar
need, stealing with silent lapse to join the road
where in our van the water we doused the engine with to
cool seemed before my eyes yet another, & the vomit
i passed from rum & dust & transport, seemed yet another stream
On I passed
there's pleasure in remembrance, in collecting
the ownership that comes from being discrete
& experience, that folds in pasture
inappropriate first love, deeper joy, delusions
& it's a takeaway, for the living to live now
beyond me i take as an offence
Thus did I steal
from climate peace & solitude & in place install
deeper dregs of soul, hoping to gain from this a
literal fuck, a communion or a sign,
i think in terms of a fishing line grazing the lake floor
or cadging from stars
superstitious only of wording & self-conscious in
immortal emptiness & the walking of dogs
recanting screens i've looked on & all indecent looking
pacing hours through shadows moving between
struts on breeze blocks through windows where you
are looked on in the looking
through the fifteen windows i now see i see
fifteen windows
standing on a chair i see hills i will drive to
follow a speck swallow through a thoroughfare &
ask what chase i hope to gain from this
greeting & inarticulate harp

recently published in the
Other Room Anthology 3, with thanks

7 Dec 2010

Girls Smash, Grrls Riotous!

I don't know if anyone saw this - The Daily Male's Hi-Larious reportage on last week's student protests in London: it went under the headline Young, bright and pretty: The day girl students went to war over tuition fees... and the pupils who just wanted a photo for Facebook

Yes, you can see where this is going. Some highlights:

"among the thousands of people who brought chaos to Westminster yesterday, a remarkable turn-out of well-dressed, well-spoken teenage girls swelled the ranks."

"If you had seen them in their short skirts and trendy scarves, you might have thought that a few chants and a bit of banner-waving would be the limit. But almost as soon as some mindless thugs began trashing a police van abandoned in the middle of Whitehall, the girls went into battle."

It wasn’t quite Cheltenham Ladies College, but several of these girls, it emerged, were from respectable schools and decent homes."

"Had this been a girls’ schools winter camp somewhere, it would probably have been quite fun. But somehow the backdrop of the Houses of Parliament – not to mention the police corralling these youngsters with thousands of hooligans, yobbos and criminally minded troublemakers – lent it a rather different beat."

"What made it different was the feminine touch, if that is the right phrase to describe so many young female faces joining the rebellion."

The reasons for the Mail's confusion can be isolated to three main issues. These are:

1) the class
2) the sex
3) and the attractiveness of the protesters.

"Why," asks the Mail, "would a pretty person be unhappy? Why, indeed, would anyone who had gone to the trouble to buy a nice scarf have cause for complaint? What luck if you are a girl, to have a fine face and bright disposition! Your parents are already proud of you, and one day they will offer you to a man along with a good dowry, and he will take care of you. But wait, you want to go to University first? I suppose Kate Middleton did it and it didn't do her any harm, she met a Prince after all, and she was only middle class to start off with! In fact, it is imperative for you to go to University my sweet."

"BUT WAIT! Government cuts slashing arts and humanities budgets??? My little dear, how will you take your Eng Lit degree now? You can't study the hard sciences, and you're not nearly pragmatic enough to earn a living after you graduate. I mean, I never intended you to work a day in your life. If you don't meet Mr Big Income, or Mr Royal, will Mummy and I have to fork out for your needless perusals of Shelley for the next twenty years? That seems deeply unfair, and we have been planning on retiring to the Caribbean for so long."

"No University for you, India, and damn the consequences. India? Oh my goodness, is that her, in her Cheltenham Ladies College blazer, with her arm around a man with Tartan trousers and dreadlocks, shanking a copper? Good god, little India has become a socialist while we weren't even looking!"

Middle class parents - I, Posie Rider, urge you to support the anti-cuts league, protect your daughter's futures! If she doesn't go to University somewhere like Oxbridge, Durham or St Andrews, and study a solid liberal arts degree, god only knows what could happen!



And better luck this week, girls! Keep smashing, keep looking great! xxx

9 Nov 2010

Poetry Openned - new poem!

Hello Readers! Some of you were lucky enough to see me and Francis Crot providing anarchist situational site-specific poetry gold at the intersection of white corridor a and white corridor b at the excellent relaunch of the Openned poetry reading, 27th October, Corsica Studios Elephant and Castle. Justin Katko made a gruesome video of the same (all up in my grille he was, both flattering and slightly shy-making, even for a seasoned performer like me!) For those of you who FAILED to attend, here's a poem from which I read on the night. Of course it was a collaboration so many of these lines were missed, intercepted or radically re-worked, so even if you were there this will be highly illuminating. xxx

lEEDs radio 1xTRA

if you want to know where the party is follow the search lights
and if you want to know where Leeds is
follow the search lights
and if you want to be close to me, well, I can't relax
while next door's floodlights cast your erection's shadow
across the bed and up the wall like greenhouse gases
it's not me
it's the planet i'm thinking about
don't hate on me if i ask you to express yourself less
or express less of yourself, i have stuff on, to get through
before the night comes and i take my daily nytol
perhaps my period will be over by then
the slit gunk that cleaves my mystery from you like the beef from its Wellington
the choice to dress everything i feel in mucous membranes is intriguing
but ultimately distressing
during his twilight crumbfast Tim Westwood introduced me to a more radical urban experience than i
had in ten years living in Brixton
now i live on the two red lips on my inner thigh clearence
we live in a small house
are charged tuna for rent
stapling milk to bread and through the postal vote i say
we should save ink and spend Thursday finding flowers
according to my coordinates there is samphire in Fort William
scratching the shore like deep fat, the row that will never erupt,
the significant ideological shift that is occuring right now but which I just don't, like, feel in my guts,
we both accepted the pretext that he was the Crow while you bit his head off
make a bullet hole in my heart for next door's bass player to rest his plectrum
i know what happened to the bees they are buried on Lindisfarne
an ad hoc braille for honeymooners feet from the earth's core that says
hey, tread soflty for you tread on my
women, beware women,
wear distressed denim and tight skirts
and riot for other people's pensions and avoid crash diets
live breath and die on candles, moonshine and white wine
give me a good dress allowance, tight lace and breathing space
let me upstage grime core djs and slip up on grammar school euphemisms
for people who aren't like, black white straight or gay
i'd have to say that my greatest poetic influences are Sister Nancy
the Presidents and the lines i steal from Jow Lindsay
baby, play those sexy tunes and get that birthday sex
baby, call the doctor, all my arms are legs
(hey, Mike, you think it's fucked up that today's anticapitalist twenty-something poets were
tweenagers when SClub7 were storming up the charts? Well, you were probably like 25 when McCauley Culkin got lost in New York,
how fucked up is that?)
backhandhing a bankerite across threadneedle street i note
a deleterous effect upon the crimson surfaces her dread steps expose
the incandescent finale to my protest the fleck of her eyelashes across the wax on
wax off taxpayer my flash mob rallied
it's not our domain they're mastering it's our friends they're slashing
it occured to me today that my aunt and that pervert in the cafe ARE the undeserving poor
gosh, i thought, that's sad but don't let them trap me in conversation
i am not dead while my bones are translating some of your vibrations
into a set text
your celebrated singularity invigorating the essayistic practice of great artists i know including chloe and bex
turn a new page, do the ps & qs, get righteous
open your neck and let me siphon two poisons for my thighs are glass rock
rob reed composed three hundred pages of moving poetry while travelling to norwich
he took the megabus via poland and now he's back in shoreditch
turn up bedtime at the corners
change the tampon, let it be
ask rob reed what he saw
by ipswich's golden mile
did the urbsurburbs break their banks
and weep barely forty minutes into their trial shift
some chance
cheryl cole has done all the crying
you'll ever need to do geordie girls
reed turns in his sarcophagus, why,
even now he is trailing in the polls

21 Oct 2010

Why can't we have a bloody revolution? Why not?

Friends, the cuts are disturbing and regressive! And I must say, I've been very disappointed by your lack of revolutionary fervour. Parliament still stands, Cameron is unhurt and nothing, I repeat, nothing, is on fire.
Can't we have a bloody revolution like in The Dreamers?
I attach some images to inspire you!

7 Oct 2010

Lara is so techno!

My good friend Lara Buckerton produced this amusing summary of me, which I thought I'd share with you. It seems to be some sort of website which assesses the words and tone of your blog and pronounces judgment on your age, sex and mood via the use of a complex algorithm no doubt - I don't know where Lara finds these things, she's so techno! I do of course take exception to a couple of points, well a number in fact:

a) it tells me I am a woman, but of course I reject all claims to the existence of a 'female' writing, whether that 'female' is located in a male/female/intersex/other body, although how they guessed in my case is beyond me;

b) it states that I am between the ages of 66 and 100 (gasp!) and though I refuse to make any complaint, seeing the discourse of 'women not wanting to age' as inherently sexist, I would like to point out that I am as yet in my early thirties and suspect that they assumed I was wise beyond my years due to my ability to spell and punctuate (often lacking in the young) and my delicious sentence structure - a clear consequence of having no formal schooling until the age of 8 and having learnt to read by pouring over Elizabeth Gaskell. In which case, please note me as a female of around 170 years of age and do me some credit;

c) my style is personal and not academic?? Have at you!;

d) it tells me that I am happy most of the time. This, I assure you, is not the case;

23 Sept 2010

SO busy

Lady readers, Darlings, apologies for my slack posting. I have been so busy working on my BOOK(!) A Year Off the Ward and culturing this season's batch of lovely psychedelic Morning Glory seeds (tee hee, don't tell my mental health case worker Lauren, she'd be furious as they'd *probably* send me back into a psycho-neurotic hell-hole, but who frankly cares?) that I've had little time to update my beloved blog. SO, a quick run down of activities, diary style.

Late August.
I attend Climate Camp, or The Camp for Climate Action, Edinburgh. Don't worry, I didn't get up to too much mischief - not! I attended some fascinating debates on the future of the green movement (it's looking very ropey, everyone is so obsessed with fixing our pointless economy that they've stopped worrying about the planet. Economy - planet = death of everyone (only we go and live in space or something, which, let's face it, would be awful. I can't even watch Star Wars, (which is a very accessible film) because it looks like 'space' (you know, grey walls, electronic panels, little windows looking out onto stars: bleak!) How would I cope if ecological meltdown forced me to live in space? I'd basically just have to give killing myself a proper go for once, which would be a shame). Why can't the bankers understand that? Anyway, here's a picture of Melody, Lara and I protesting with our new friend Rowan outside Gogarburn, the RBS' devious rural headquarters. Don't the police just look hilarious?

Even later August

I return to London. Emergency meeting with my agent Olivia Bloomsdale-Corfu. She tells me to get my bloody useless act together and get the book finished. My mind is in meltdown! I've never had to work before, not properly, this is beginning to seem like all too much.

Early September

I jet off for a week to sunny La Rochelle. I eat beef carpaccio with delicious tomato and basil ice cream. Resolve to buy an ice cream machine on my return and try out some exciting flavours. Garlic? Sorrel? Yum!


Olivia is back on my tail. The deadline fast approaches. I feel another breakdown coming on. I notice this article in last month's Guardian, on women in the workplace, and how they're too shy to ask for a pay rise. How ridiculous! I had no idea (having never worked) - is Olivia ripping me off? Should I ask for an advance? It would certainly inspire me to get going on the book...

This week

London Fashion Week! I rediscover HATS! Resolve to buy this season's entire collection of Hedonist Millinery. Winter 2010 is all about HATS!

I also Easyjetted up to Edinburgh for the launch of this lovely little magazine, Scree, edited by Lila Matsumoto. A review of the night is here by the lovely Colin Herd, there were ambient sounds provided by glitchy bloop darlings Conquering Animal Sound, shoegazing electromaestro Dead Leaves, the formidable Lamplighter and heartbreaking, wild-fen crying Illiop, which made me feel like the heroine in an Icelandic remake of Wuthering Heights, a feeling to which, you may imagine, I am quite, quite partial. Poetry was provided by ME, also nick-e melville, a cool political concrete poet who gave me a copy of his book and a hug - I like him, & I urge you to find his book. Francis Crot charmed the crowd as ever, but honestly he's such a wonderful and unpredictable performer he could basically just read us sections of last month's G2 at random and we'd be like "Oh how clever, ha ha ha!" He's that good.


19 Aug 2010

August - a Cultural Month

Hello lady readers.

Just checking in from the Edinburgh Fringe!. Tragically, my slot on the Poetry Takeaway 'slam' stage on the Royal Mile (due to take place now) has been cancelled due to gross mismanagement (cancellation notification through Twitter? I ask you Tim Clare) so I've taken a moment to fill you in on all my exciting going-ons in Edinburgh, city of arts, theatre and meddlesome twenty-somethings.

I began my tenure in Edinburgh (I'm staying at the Malmaison, no student hovels for me, sharing a bed with a sweaty Tamburlaine from the Cambridge ADC this decade, thank you very much) with a trip to The Kitchin, Edinburgh's only Michelin starred restaurant (can you believe it?) I ate fois gras at least twice, once in my starter and once in my main, and was unable to move by the time the lemon and sorrel tart was effortlessly deposited in front of me by another ninja sommelier. I would heartily recommend the experience, and the food, for anyone of appropriate incomes - don't go if you can only just afford it, it'll be 'a total bum-out', as Melody said when I refused her a second bottle of claret. I could (of course) afford it, it's just important to stall such dependency in one's middling income friends (Melody's landscape gardening company has been hit pretty hard by the recession, and with so many parties to go to on the weekend, she finds it hard to get started at the beginning of the week, and tends to write off all work until Wednesday. It is the Summer after all. Thank god I don't have a job!)

I digress. After stuffing myself silly with bulimic duck, I found myself in a late night stand up session by Dutch rude man Hans Teeuwen . The misogynist gaffaws some of his more risque jokes raised in the baby-testosterone emitting teenagers affront of me belied the complexities of his politics (he's a real defender of free speech and ranted against religion in a eulogy for assassinated Dutch filmmaker Theo Van Gogh - YouTube it I dare you), he is probably a feminist, after all, and made everyone who laughed sound very stupid indeed.

The next day I saw Paper Bird's production Others a play about how bloody easy it is to 'other' other women. For those of you who have just been born, or didn't take a degree in the humanities, 'othering' is a term found in Lacanian, postcolonial and feminist theory predominently. It is a way of designating someone as 'other' from yourself and shoring up your own fragile identity in relation, or against, how you perceive your other. My other, for example, is probably some kind of post-feminist, or, god forbid, one of those women for whom feminism is simply not an option. Yuk. And if this play taught me anything, it's to be extremely careful about who you other, because it's desperately important that women try to achieve solidarity rather than marginalising one another in order to feel good about themselves. The play script was put together from letters written by real women who the play writers/actors had previously designated as others. After having explained the concept of othering to these 'real' women (who obviously had not taken a degree in the humanities) they asked them questions like how they felt about themselves, what are they afraid of etc, in order to find ways to identify with them. It was a moving and inventive piece, I immediately liked the actors (not others) but did feel that too little was made of the texts sent up the real women. At moments it came perilously close to dance theatre, something which I will absolutely not abide, and there were a few too many scenes where they repeated the initial premise of the play (Hello, I'm going to ask you a few questions to find out how to understand you) instead of using proper dialogue, which seemed like wasted space (of course I had grasped the premise in the play's first moments, and didn't need it explained to me, although I am very intelligent...). I would ultimately recommend it.

I think now I must leave this computer. I ran into the delightful Armchair Books on West Port because it was raining and begged to use the computer to find out about the cancelled poetry reading (read his bloody tweet if you want to be shocked by human indifference. Too ill to text me Tim Clare? But have enough energy to recommend the play you saw last night you careerist fuck). Anyway, the bookshop people have just offered me tea but I don't think they mean it. Better leave soon.

More reviews to follow - I'm about to head to Climate Camp! Hunter wellies in tow.

15 Jul 2010

London Cross-Genre Festival!

Experimental women writers (and their multi-gender audience) crowded the halls of Greenwich University yesterday, and indeed they will be crowding it now, as I write this on my new mauve tortoise shell covered laptop in the back of Aunt Lily's Bentley. We're racing toward Hampshire to begin this weekend's celebrations in honour of the virgin saint, Marcellina, and if it weren't for my prior commitments and raging (although somewhat lapsed) Catholicism, I would have been delighted to stay for the entirity of the festival, which goes on until the last female poet finishes her noodles in a Greenwich eatery on Friday night. If you're not similarly occupied or don't, god forbid, have to work, I strongly advise you to 'tfl' your route at once and go along in time for the lunchtime recess. A menagerie of delights await you, and I'm not just talking about the sandwiches.

If you were there yesterday, you might not have seen me, as I was crouching in the back row behind Justin Katko who, thank goodness, is so tall that he didn't notice me! You'll excuse my reticence, fellow wordwrights, but due to an unfortunate incident involving a bottle of Frangelico, my face and the floor, I am partially disfigured at the moment (Emmeline says it is merely a 'largish bruise along one side of my face', but I won't let my fans down by letting them see me not 'at my best').

Amongst the wholly enjoyable performances, I was delighted by Caroline Bergval, who seems to be able to unmake and remake language at will, like an illogical egg, opening up all of its little foibles to scrunity and exploring its political and sexual connotations, like a comprehensible Derrida. Marianne Morris' utopian love and disgust soared in a delightful Canadian lilt above electronic beats like the thinking (and then thinking and then smoking and then some more thinking) woman's George Pringle, and if it is possible to want to take out a rental on a Brooklyn appartment with someone purely based upon their solo performance of a multi-voice play after a nine hour transatlantic flight, then Corina Copp would be the woman to do it with. I would simply like to have a conversation passing her in the hall to the bathroom in the morning, She has some of the best sentences I have ever heard.
In other news, Mike Weller was there with the best shirt I have ever seen (apart from one I have seen on Jow Lindsay which depicted a fountain) and Luke Roberts managed to field the most ridiculous questions I have ever misheard from an audience with a level of humility and restaint rarely seen in today's distopian times (ps. yes men were allowed to speak at the conference, we're feminists, not monsters!)
I am only sorry that I have missed (because it is probably taking place now) or will miss performances by fellow lady poets Sophie Robinson, Francesca Lisette and Frances Kruk who are as feminist as it is possible to be without being, well, me. Emily Critchely is a genius (she is the conference's organiser, along with Carol Watts) and will be given the keys to a feminist poetry city in the heavens when we all finally reach it.
Perhaps I will dedicate this weekend's celebration of St. Marcellina to female poets everywhere. If I had not been given freedom of my pen, who knows, maybe I would have turned to the spiritual life instead. There is clearly a connection between female creativity and faith, if only because a religious life was one of the few escapes from the mind-deadening baby-farm of marriage in the middle ages and beyond and before. Even though I suffered the perils of a Catholic schoolhood (and the subsequent breakdowns) I would happily consign my body to Christ to avoid hideous ownership by a patriachal Lord, or even worse, a peasant. Although I would look the part, in the citadel of my mind, I would be writing poetry!

12 Jul 2010

feminist wall chart

For all of you out there who just find the baffilingly high amounts of different feminist traditions a tad confusing I have included a link to a fabulous wall chart that explains it all for you! Life hasn't been this easy since Mummy forgot to pick me up from Tumble Tots one afternoon and the sports instructor drove me all the way home and gave me a drumstick lollipop to subside my tears.

Feminist Wall Chart (hang it on your pink Smeg fridge with pride)

Hugs and Pugs x

8 Jul 2010

Hitler's cat's mistresss

Emmeline and I have been looking through her old family photo album and we stumbled across this sensational snap of her old Aunt Ratzingher III, a mistress to Hitler's cat.

Look at this shot of her yawning on the pussy grave of Kempa, Hitler's pet.

Charming. Sometimes I think Emmeline's family herstroy might be more thrilling than my own, but it's not of course.

Will keep you posted with any more kitty shots.


4 Jul 2010

Pt 4: The fact that there are no women in the tournament

No one ever talks about the FIFA Women's bloody World Cup do they? Why isn't that covered more in the media? Sexism, that's why.

Toodles! x

29 Jun 2010

Pt 3: Racist World Cup Sexism

It didn't take long to spot another case of World Cup Sexism. This time, childish alcopop for infants WKD have charmed us with their 'women can't watch football' advertising campaign, of which I have found this shocking example.

A more shocking example, as yet not available on the internet (which recoils in disgust) says:


28 Jun 2010

Part 2: Wags

Yet more sexism in the World Cup! The Daily Male have taken it upon themselves to bastardly declare that calling WAGs WAGs is sexist; sexists.

A guide issues by the Equalities Commission says the term WAG is "now in danger of overuse and arguably sexist".

A spokesman from the Equalities watchdog said: "You could argue (that the phrase is sexist), in the way in which it was used, if it was being used in a particularly derogatory way or to pejoratively target a group of women."

True, it's just a shame these women happen to be strumpets.

Vagina sofa

just purchased this incredible sofa for my loo.

15 Jun 2010

Pt 1: Sexism and the World Cup

In celebration of the 2010 World Cup, Lynx have launched a series of 'patriarch' posters, each depicting a 'buxom babe' in a familiar celebratory soccer pose. These will be running in several countries, with the respective flag of each waving in the background.

How RUDE! This really is the final straw. Everyone knows sports bras look nothing like this, and that the woman photographed is probably a model, not a real lady footballer.

Once again, when we were tucked up safely in our beds, snoozing away, dreaming of equality, sexism has struck. Never relent ladies: we must maiden on, never surrendering to the so-called 'hand of man'.

To rebel I have decided to monitor the World Cup in close detail - looking out for any slurs against female kind. I am ready to strike!!

Posie and Out x

11 Jun 2010

Home sweet home....

You're probably all wondering where my life's intimations have disappeared to in recent months? Well.. I've been decorating!

That's right Lady readers, as well as throwing myself into my poetry, I have also moved house and decided to make yet another fresh start! Naturally I decided to resettle again in the N1 and I can assure that the area is impeccable. I live opposite an organic cheese shop and an Odbins, although there is admittedly the sad presence of a Sainsbury's Local in between them, like some cursed unstylish philanderer ready to come between you and your man.

And talking of men I cannot stress enough that this re-location has very little, in fact it has nothing at all to do with men, nor does my sudden immersion into the poetic scene (I all know what you're thinking: poesy + Posie / the cathartic forests of verse x genius = Depression). But my reasons for moving are purely theraputic. Spending most of my time penning that incredible literary object: A Year off the Ward, has brought back all kinds of memories that I could really do without.

Indeed, I shall be recounting some of them here on this blog. For instance, do you remember the chapter about my eating too much around Christmas time? Yes well that's just one part of my journey into the recreational boarders of insanity. Heaven.

So, I have been spending the last month or so putting the finishing touches to my new, much larger and opulent abode. I have included some 'design ideas' for your viewing pleasure below. But best of all Melody Wittgenstien has found me the most incredible workwoman's hat to wear as I paint, hammer and drill.

See above.

Isn't it charming? Why, yesterday I went to Hackney for some reason (to be honest I'd rather forget about the entire expereince- incredibly dirty place) and I wore it there as self defence. It worked a treat and some young people were rather complimentary.


2 Jun 2010


Not that I would ever take the Megabus of course. It would only be for 'research purposes'. Instead I've persuaded Aunt Lily to attend so we are taking the family's pink helicopter from London. Toodles!

ninerrors Newcastle poetry-fest and sleepover!

Yesterday, on Radio 4, I was listening to one of the 'culture' features (I forget which, although I think I was stuffing Spanikopita at the time, so perhaps it was Front Row). The presenter happened to mention that a lot of very interesting art is being produced in Scotland at the moment, and being exhibited in Glasgow to be precise. This was in relation to the new Saatchi exhibition in London, Newspeak, which, by the way, was described as quite uninspiring. The reviewer mentioned our friends in the Hebrides in order to point out that very little of this art ever makes its way to London, and for this reason, very rarely becomes popular in the Saatchi sense of the word. He also pointed out that the situation might be remedied if art critics from the London-based media ever actually bothered to leave their concrete-soaked environs and make the trek up North (that is, discounting the annual month-long binge that is the Edinburgh festival, in which the entire population of Hampstead is transplanted person-by-person to the leafy urb-suburbs of Stockbridge, leaving poor North London to deteriorate into a less squelchy landscape from Drowned World.)

Now, this London-centricity struck me as decidedly unsporting - bloody-minded perhaps - and got me thinking that unless we children of the Capital extend an stuffed olive or two up North soonish, our Caledonian compatriots might just as well devolve off entirely (aka claim independence from the English oppressor) and take all their desirable socialist principles with them, leaving Bohemians like me stranded on a mere bit of an island inhabited entirely by Tories. Clearly, this will not do.

Thankfully, these reflections chime with the exciting news that I will soon be heading up North - not to Scotland sadly, but better near than ... never - to the bustling industrial city of Newcastle, which Melody tells me is a cross between a Jules Vernesque cityscape and Reading: FUN!

The occasion is the launch of a poetry collection to mark ten years since the passing of Newky poet Barry MacSweeney, who also wrote a collection called Odes. The title of the new collection, complied by poetry wizard Linus Slug, is no coincidence, although following in MacSweeney's wake has proved tough (I myself am a contributor) due to the complex historical inheritance of the ode form, as well as MacSweeney's own unique interpretations. Some questions raised include what is an antistrophe? What would Sappho have done? Was Elizabeth I altogether fair to Spencer? To find the answer to these questions, you're just going to have to purchase the beautiful book aren't you?

There's a facebook group which contains a beautiful album of photos charting the books' creation, as well as ample information on Slug's ninerrors blog. Oh, and the reading takes place in Morton Tower in Newcastle on Sunday 27th June. Why not come and drink wine with us afterwards? They tell me its grim up North, but with a Megabus heading staight for Pimlico booked for 8am on Monday, who cares?

24 May 2010

Posie in public - reading success in Cambridgeshire!

I'm utterly refreshed having returned victorious from a visit to the playground of my late teenage mind, the University of Cambridge. As well as having enjoyed a nostalgic Dolmades Kebab at Gardi's (still standing! still counter-hegemonic!) and a vigorous cycle to Grantchester on a be-basketed bicycle, I had the utmost pleasure in giving a poetry reading to some keen young students who reminded me all too much of myself as a siren of truth circa 2001. The temptation to ink the JCR was quickly dismissed in favour of late talks into the night, over endless bowls of noodles & impossibly weak spliff, concerning Aeschylus, the Utopian potential of renga and the lyrical verse of Kool Keith. I've been so sad since I got back to N1 having left Cambridge's gentle shores that I've returned with a frenzy to the drama I began there as a second year - Put That Woman Down!: the life and times of Meredith Lynchfield, Cambridge Suffragette and Assassin, in three Acts. Emmeline is heartbroken - I promised to take her on a kitty voyage to Eel Pie Island yesterday to throw an effigy of King Charles VII into the Thames to commemorate the capture of Joan of Arc at the Siege of Compiegne, but I told her she'd have to wait until the 30th to commemorate her burning (I thought we'd torch the French Embassy). Needs must when creativity calls.

Here's a nice picture of me in front of a display created by clever techy Mike W-H to accompany a reading from my chapbook, tristanundisolde (Arthur [C]hilling Press (at the moment at least!)) It communicates how I feel better than I ever could do myself in words.

Helpful imp Joe Luna over at All Over the Grid / Fallopianyoutube had this to say about my collaboration that night with shouty-man poet and mere part-time patriarch Jow Lindsay:

"Posie Rider & Jow Lindsay’s reading on Friday night (21st May) assumed much less than it would perhaps be safe to assume a Cambridge Reading Series night of experimental avant-garde poetry would assume, but by this very play was able to open up a space in which the performance of the reading constantly flirted with, insulted, disparaged, castigated, comforted and barely became a means of effecting a communitas based upon what was already there, what we already have, and what we might possibly become. Recent national political discourse was both appropriated and mocked, but also re-constituted into the political space of the reading, tracing a line of constant watchfulness over the machinations universally predicated upon and in the name of the folk whilst at the same time tragically powerless to prevent those machinations from organising/mobilising satirical negations & refutations of constructed collective identity. The creation of the radical experimental "we" through such a gathering was tempered with a dangerously isomorphic "we" of satirical invective and absurdist comedy, the laughter of the audience perhaps the most realistic effect produced by the Wagnerian, mythological, polysemous diatribes flitting between the two barely realistic personas of the poets. The potential for a delineation of a universal WE to be reductive and obscurantist is enormous, and these are the precise means by which corporate advertising and party political affiliation seek to homogenise humanity into demographics and target audiences destined only for differences in the vagaries of their consumption and tactical voting preferences. To say, as I believe I heard Posie Rider say, that "we are the poets laureate" in the midst of an exhausting and increasingly overwhelming dialogic code is a re-appropriation of a political right and the creation of, or at least the exciting image of, a fragile community existing, fleetingly, in the heart of the multi-national flux of assumed identity. What is "assumed", that is, taken as given, a priori, implicit, hereby becomes inverted to be that which is passed over in haste, ignorance or ambivalence, and what must be attested in the act of the reading is the human capacity for engendering caucuses of radical community so that we may attain enough trust to assume in the positive sense once more. The figures of Jow Lindsay and Posie Rider are mythological tricksters, ever playing with our trust in assuming that we are assuming the same thing/s as the poets we heed. We are not simply given to assume that we can all trust each other and can therefore sing together the firmament of the new world, but rather the intimidation and awkwardness these trickster aspects produce in the audience (for example, naming specific people in the audience, something I’ve seen Lindsay do a number of times both in improvised performance and in published work) work to make the sense of place more malleable in order that we may mould new ways of listening to and being with each other. Those moments of joyous augmentation, (self-)plagiarisation and re-organisation result in a mixtape-like quality that presents not only a plurality of voice, but voices of real collective experience and instantaneous memory.

Only by carving difference into the universally reductive notion of humanity itself can we become truly human, and by dint of this, humane. That is the axiom at work on the macro-level of experimental poetry communities and the micro-level of the individual reading.

This is also how readings act theatrically without becoming theatre. The creation of such communitas is contingent upon its only lasting as long as the reading itself, its durational nature perhaps the key to the feeling of common endeavour, even if only articulated negatively. Lindsay’s exhaustive prose performances are, I think, a beautifully doomed attestation of the occasion of the reading as the productive mechanism by which communities are made, defining themselves against both an undifferentiated humanity-at-large replete with built-in sensors to detect love, companionship, truth & beauty as well as by more positivist means declaring a space for the activation of radical subjectivities inexpressible within the nexus of the everyday uses of language. The temporality of the reading as play is therefore the crux of the meaning of the performance in terms of its delineation of our time, our language, our wound, our response. It is the proper occasion of song which frames and therefore reveals the event itself as constitutive of a collective grand narrative forged from the desire of those for whom pre-packaged national, gender, ethnic or sexual identities have become useless and restrictive."

Instructive, n'est pas?