I am quietly pleased with this essay. It serves to not only bookend my new book UNFINISHED MEMMOIRS OF A HYPOCRIT, but also to cover a lot of ground in terms of my thinking, processing, methods and experiences around book making. I wish to do this accessibly (i want my articles to be clear, poems not so), concisely, but irreverently, with no real theory or fat language. I want this to be prose ish, snapshots, insights, ideas to share. I think maybe it lands, just about. Jonathan Catherall at Tentacular, a really fine publication, was generous to share it too https://www.tentacularmag.com/elsewhere-blog/new-prim-and-proper
“The book is contextualised thus:
It was written using a single pen and a single notebook of a very distinct colour. Bone coloured paper. It was a Christmas gift from a family member who doesn’t know what poetry is. No work included was made without these two instruments.
It was written between December 28th 2015 and June 15th 2019.
It was ‘written’ directly after reading Stendhal’s ‘Memoirs of a Egotist’. Throughout the years since its beginning, I have made my way through every work I could find by the 17th French novelist. (Seek out Lucien Leuwen, parts 1 & 2 if you can, it’s his best and too little known in English). I realise an Egotist is not the same as a Hypocrite.
It was made almost entirely in Spain, and because of that country. Specifically, in Gandia, a provincial town bifurcated on the east coast, near Valencia - part seaside trap, part old world abandonment. This was the home city of the Borgia family.
It was made knowing it would be published, on sight of initial works, in early 2016 (I think), by my fellow poet Paul Hawkins, who runs Hesterglock press, out of Bristol, with Sarer Scotthorne. I knew it had a proper home, a place where it belonged.
It was made as part of an overall project I have been running, called Poem Brut, and would be a publication in a series I have been doing exploring poetry’s potentials. I knew it had a role in that project and in that series.
It had three different titles before this one.
I was very taken also with book covers. My illustrations aren’t skilled, but I copied a few into this book, and this led me to other visual representations of existing artworks………………………….”