A note on : an interview with Charlie Baylis


Why do you write? Chance discovery that writing was. And then as a job. For meaning in my days, with some guilt and great doubt. For a way of being in the world, in my brief opening in the world, before it closes shut on me and Im dead like everyone else, that is nice and full of mostly good and kind folk. And to pursue problems of the mind and language itself, for the challenge of writing itself, to feel less alienated, when most ways of working and passing time are dominated by people who want things simple comforting sentimental selfrighteous careful cautious. That is saddening and some poetry aint. Good reasons but also stupid. I could do better with my life but Im not hurting anyone really so thats a fine baseline I reckon.

How would you define the relationship between poetry and film? Depends on our definition of the former. If its just a word used as a metaphor and not a concrete artform then whatever anyone wants. If poetry is an actual thing that operates on and through language for spmething other than direct info or emotional confession then the relationship is scant. Film can utilise a kind of poetic cinematic grammar which is very exciting and poetry can explore image realisation without realism. There are filmmaker poets all over but its all a bit tenuous.

What do you feel are the limitations of a poem? All language is fundamentally approximated but that’s good. That’s a beautiful and wondrous grounding with which we can begin to play not only with semantic content and grammatical convention but also with infinite contexts like the unsaid unseen page shape colour neologism sound shape mispelled etc. Poetry is the place we can make new languages and understandings and world codes which are new to each reading ape. Brilliant but limited because of this, because of the limits of knowing other consciousnesses. We cannot know another mind. Poetry is confined only by our mental experience but thats a prison well enough.

Who are you reading/what are you watching? Do you rate the contemporary poetry scene? Is it any better than previous generations? Why? Not reading much poetry. Only books sent to me by friends and connections and publishers as that is a lot / enough and is my job so has its limits, busmans holiday. 

Yep I rate it. Internet has created democracy of access and Im plugged into english translations literally across the globe. The 21st century is the best time ever for poetry. The world population has doubled since 1970s, everyone online and world travel. Amazing time, so much work happening its just the best isnt the famous work in the UK. The most exciting poetry in most countries seems to rise in most nations but not always in England because we can be, on one side, anti intellectual for fear of being elitist, throwing the baby out with the bathwater and trying to be populist for no well investigated reason, maybe straying into being patronising etc, and on the other side, being way too insular academic (?) keepung to coteries and exploring only one furrow of conveyor belting all intelligence and knowledge. But wow when you read I dunno stephen emmerson lucy harvest clarke tom jenks prue chamberlain eley williams karen sandhu ryan ormonde david berridge john catherall chris mccabe astra papachristodoulou jacqueline ennis cole paul hawkins and 100s of others. blows your mind the quality 

and previous generations, who knows, i cannot (yet) travels the times

Do you fear Rihanna’s best work is behind her? I know who she is but I genuinely have no working knowledge of her oeuvre. I saw her not act in luc bessons shite sci fi film with those two models and given how wooden she was I reckon not.


I Stand Alone by the Devil and other poems on films is out now from Broken Sleep Books

Read 3 of the poems up on Anthropocene.