Published: Versopolis Poetic Articles #2 - Animals as Humans, can only monkeys laugh?


The second in my series of articles that are prose poems that are anti-opinion / anti-conclusion / anti-journalistic. It’s an interesting challenge, a long form poetic reflection, for an English person anyway. This one, following the theme of Drugs, is on the theme of Animals.

“Things obviously to be regretted in the future. The way humans educate their children. The way humans treat and consider their own planet, their own environments, their own place. The way humans treat and consider animals, as meaningless, stupid, brainless nothings. As food, to be made and unmade for a belly that might be full of whatever it likes. 

What the bloody hell is this massive weapon? It protects us, splits us homidiae from the pan pongo interface. Yet we cannot know each other’s self-consciousness, let alone that which lies in the grey brain of other creatures. A funny assumption begins a history. 

The octopus compared to the human. The chimpanzee compared to the human. The otter compared to the human. The bear compared to the human. 

The human glad in misadventures, harsher and more ravenous than anything you ever heard, anything in all other creatures born days.

Dogs. That perpetually dogs the footsteps of humans. Dogs as a verb. Dogs a best mate. Dogs as a fetching machine. Dogs who need defending. Dogs who defend homes. Dogs eaten in China, South Korea, Vietnam, and Nigeria. “

Published : my essay The Online Empire : on sex and poetry on Versopolis

Nice to have this essay on sex and poetry published, forever locked onto the internet, readable in perpetuity, appropriately, by Versopolis, and the european review of poetry books and culture. It was written for my book Aletta Ocean's Alphabet Empire, which is tangentially about pornography and will feature in an upcoming volume of my selected essays too.

"The whole business of eroticism is to destroy the self-contained character of the participators as they are in their normal lives.            Georges Bataille

You can never discover for yourself what you’ve been given. Bodies and knowledge, both. The primary purpose of this book is to worry about the division between the experienced and the perceived, and what is lost between that ever expanding gap.

Bataille suggests that you try to imagine yourself changing from the state you are in, to one in which your whole self is completely doubled. He means this to be a disturbance. He reminds us, you would not survive this process since the doubles you have turned into are essentially different from you. Each of these doubles is necessarily distinct from you as you are now, as while you’ve split into two new versions of yourself, you cannot be the same, twice over. A kind of procreation is what he is suggesting and the metaphor is about writing, I think. To mark the pages then release them is to indulge oneself, fundamentally, in a productive onanism. Cells dividing, with some of that division escaping you. No wonder it feels sad, a let down, to release things into the world......"

Mount London rises

Twenty-three London writers launch an ascent of the vertical city 
Mount London: Ascents in the Vertical CityForget the skyscrapers: an invisible mountain is rising above the streets of the capital - and at over 1,800 metres, it is Britain's highest peak.
This ingenious new book is an account of the ascent of 'Mount London' by a team of writers, poets and urban cartographers, each scaling a lesser hill within the city - from Stamford Hill (36m) to Crystal Palace (112m). Ascents of natural peaks are offset by the search for 'ghost hills' in the back streets, a descent into the deepest part of the Tube, and expeditions to the city's artificial mountains - The Shard (306m), the chimneys of Battersea Power Station (103m).
Helen Mort (Division Street) goes cross-country running up Parliament Hill, Joe Dunthorne (Submarine) tackles Europe's tallest building as a metaphor for gentrification, and Justin Hopper (Old, Weird Albion) discovers Doctor Who at the summit of Horsenden Hill. Many of the expeditions in this book reveal mountainous follies, their rubble strewn across the city from Northala Fields to Stave Hill to the ruins of the Crystal Palace. Ghosts of the city emerge from the pages: John Bunyan; the Sydenham Hill Giant; Margaret Finch, Queen of the Gypsies. From the folly of man to reach ever higher, to the effort of the climb, Mount London explores not only the physical topography, but also the psychological experience of urban hill walking.
Mount London is the latest anthology from award-winning independent publisher Penned in the Margins. Conceived and edited by poet Tom Chivers and academic Martin Kratz, this pioneering collection brings together twenty-three contemporary writers to document navigations of the city through essays and stories that are humorous, enlightening and endlessly imaginative.
Launched on 28th May to coincide with the feast of St Bernard of Montjoux, the patron saint of mountaineers, this dynamic collection brings the dense terrain of the city ever closer, immersing the reader in the environments and folk histories that Londoners encounter every day. Mount London unpeels London's history and geography, reimagining the streets as mountainous terrain and exploring what it's like to move through the contemporary city.
Full list of authors
Matt D. Brown, Sarah Butler, Tom Chivers, Liz Cookman, David Cooper, Tim Cresswell, Alan Cunningham, Joe Dunthorne, Inua Ellams, Katy Evans-Bush, SJ Fowler, Bradley L. Garrett, Edmund Hardy, Justin Hopper, Martin Kratz, Amber Massie-Blomfield, Karen McCarthy Woolf, Helen Mort, Mary Paterson, Gareth E. Rees, Gemma Seltzer, Chrissy Williams, Tamar Yoseloff.

Mount London & Penned in the Margins in 2014
2014/02/announcing-the-springsummer-2014-programme/ Very excited to be part of the 2014 Penned in the Margins program through an exciting anthology of new writing, a collection exploring the experimental essay form, about the hills of London. From Tom Chivers "Our publishing programme kicks off in May with Mount London, an anthology of essays that collectively attempts to ascend an imaginary mountain above the streets of the capital." My contribution is about Hampstead Heath and is a long awaited chance for me to further explore the ideas of consciousness and exhaustion in the written word. It's really about hill sprints, and the physiological meeting the phenomenological, and about conditioning, rather than exercise, as a lifestyle. Or something like that that isn't that. More to come on this project, and I sincerely recommend you get a copy of the Penned program to see the other great stuff they are producing with Caroline Bergvall, Chris McCabe and many brilliant others.