Sunday, 21 June 2015

Disko Bay

I'm delighted to announce that my debut poetry collection, Disko Bay, will be published by Enitharmon Press in November.

The poems in Disko Bay are drawn from my experiences during a residency at Upernavik Museum, Greenland in winter 2010, and subsequent research and travel in the Arctic. The book is now in production: this week I returned the proofs (above) to the publisher. I hope this is the last time in my life I have to proofread Greenlandic!

 Here's a sample poem, as published in the current issue of The Interpreter's House:

I'm offering pre-order copies of the book (and extras including invites to the book launch party in London) as rewards for pledges to my current Kickstarter campaign: for more details see the campaign page.

Friday, 12 June 2015

Kayaking to Greenland...

… well, no actually. I don't think I'd quite make it around Cape Farewell, despite my training out on the placid waters of the River Thames. But I'm determined to get to Greenland to undertake my residency at Ilulissat Kunstmuseum this summer.

So to raise the funds to cover the substantial costs of flights on Greenland Air I have launched a crowdfunding campaign. There's a range of Arctic-themed rewards for supporters on offer here. Take a look (averting your eyes from the silly movie, in which I appear disguised in sportswear) and do spread the word if you can. Moral support is as gratefully received as the material kind.

Ilulissat Kunstmuseum
No jetty.

UPDATE 4 July: Thanks to the many generous supporters who pledged sums from £2 to £250, this campaign succeeded in raising the funds to cover transport costs to Greenland. Flights are booked, and I am looking forward to continuing my work about the north, in the north this summer.

Sunday, 7 June 2015

The Wine Breath

Yesterday I reread The Wine Breath, a short story by John McGahern that I first heard as a New Yorker fiction podcast, read by the author Yiyun Li. That was way back in 2009 (it is still available in iTunes: scroll down to 68) but I've returned to the story many times since, always finding in it a new brilliance  and sometimes an uncanny synchronicity with my own writing concerns.

Road to the Sky iv (2009) by Bill Jacklin RA
© Bill Jacklin

'The priest put his hand to the black gate, bolted to the first of the alders, 
and was at once arrested by showery sunlight falling down the avenue...'

My latest reading was instigated by a meeting with the artist Bill Jacklin. I was reminded of the story while looking at Jacklin’s paintings and monotypes in the Royal Academy Summer show after we’d concluded our interview. This is just an anachronistic fantasy, but McGahern's entire story could be seen as a wonderful response to Jacklin's paintings. Take a closer look at Jacklin’s work, and you’ll see what I mean. 

Tuesday, 2 June 2015

Latest Magazine Cover Art

This spring I've been preparing cover art for two fine poetry magazines. An old favourite, Oxford Poetry (based - as you might expect - in the UK, and established in 1910) and the relatively youthful Sundog Lit (based in the US, and established as an online journal in 2012 - this is their very first print issue). Thanks to editors Lavinia Singer and Justin Daugherty for commissioning my work.

Oxford Poetry can be bought here (£7 plus postage)
Cover art: 'Orsuarlerpaa' from How To Say 'I Love You' In Greenlandic
(pochoir print)

Sundog Lit can be bought here ($8 plus postage)
Cover art: 'One of the Russian dolls had disappeared' (linocut print)