My new poetry collection - The Wrestlers - due out this summer

I'm happy to say my next poetry collection will be out with Kingston University Press this summer. The Wrestlers brings together poems written over the last five years but finds it origin in a commission I was lucky enough to do for Tate Britain online, thanks to Sarah Victoria Turner - a suite of poems responding to Henri Gaudier-Brzeska's eponymous relief and the nine consequent copies.

In a sense these poems, when I wrote them in 2011 and 2012 were a pivotal moment in my writing, a rejection / acceptance of Poundian modernism. Moreover they were about wrestling itself, something that was the primary activity of my childhood and teenage life, as well as the relief, and written upon request, that felt / feel strangely autobiographical (though you wouldn't be able to tell that by reading them).

I've revised these and then added many other works where wrestling has become an action verb in the mechanics of the poems, often just in the title. In a sense wrestling becomes a concept of imposition that acts like a dialectic between ideas or opinions. 

Like my last book, The Guide to Being Bear Aware, I think The Wrestlers is pretty traditionally poetry, its literary, because like my last book, it has come into existence while, organically, I have found other mediums to be the place of my experiments, like in art books, theatre or performance. So my natural instincts have changed too, in poetry, something I'm glad about, to always be changing tastes. If it was those European poets of the post-war new lyric tradition looming over me for my last book, now I'd say it has been a revisitations to pre-war poets which have influenced me. Mallarme, Mayakovsky, Apollinaire, Wat, Cummings have become ghosts in my new book, a bit. Reading them again, seriously, for a second or third time has of course disturbed some bones in my own work.

The book will have a London launch on June 30th at Rich Mix with other readings to follow.

Poems in the collection have been previously published, in one form or another, by Gorse Magazine, Test Centre magazine, 3am magazine, The Wolf, Poems in Which, The Honest Ulsterman, The Bohemyth, Wazogate and the anthologies The Long White Thread: poems for John Berger (Smokestack Books), The Other Room 4, Millets (Zeno Press), Dear World and Everything In It (Bloodaxe Books), Hwaet: Ledbury Poetry Festival (Bloodaxe Books) and Shifting Ground (J&L Gibbons). It also features the suite Poems in which César Abraham Vallejo Mendoza wrestles Ricardo Eliécer Neftalí Reyes Basoalto (Pablo Neruda) which was commissioned by The Hay Festival : Arequipa, Peru in 2016 and a number of the poems in were created as part of The Green Infrastructure – a residency with landscape architects J&L Gibbons.

London Review Bookshop - new & recommended poetry

http://www.londonreviewbookshop.co.uk/on-our-shelves/on-our-tables/new-and-recommended-poetry

New and Recommended Poetry

Our pick of poetry. Here are six of our current favourites, as chosen by our poet in residence, John Clegg.
The Rottweiler’s Guide to the Dog Owner

The Rottweiler’s Guide to the Dog Owner

S. J. Fowler
From the publisher:
A groundbreaking, aberrant but ever ebullient love letter to those who deserve it, The Rottweiler’s Guide to the Dog Owner refracts marriage, death, friendship, violence ...

The Wrestlers for the Tate

Happy to say my commission for the Tate has now been published online, as part of their In Focus series and thanks to the amazing work of Dr Sarah Victoria Turner, who has curated an extensive response to the 1914 Henri Gaudier-Brzeska plaster relief The Wrestlers, of which my work is only a small part.

There are ten poems, 9 for each cast of the relief and 1 for the original, as well as two short essays, one on the wrestling depicted in the piece and another on Ezra Pound, who was a close friend of Gaudier-Brzeska and a conduit between his work and my response.


Sarah Turner’s remarkable work on this project is immense, well worth checking out

The large plaster relief Wrestlers was made in London by the French artist Henri Gaudier-Brzeska (1891–1915) at a time when he was forging a reputation as one of the most radical and innovative sculptors of his generation. Gaudier-Brzeska was killed fighting in the First World War, and his achievements slipped from view in subsequent decades. In the mid-1960s, however, curator Jim Ede had the relief cast in an edition of nine to help make Gaudier-Brzeska’s work better known, and he gave a cast to Tate.

This project explores the circumstances of the making of the relief and the posthumous cast. Drawing on material in the Tate Archive and early twentieth-century sports periodicals, it includes previously unexamined material about Gaudier-Brzeska’s interest in wrestling and asks new questions about representations of sport and physicality in modern art and poetry at the beginning of the twentieth century.”