'The same people who are murdered slowly in the mechanized slaughterhouses of work are also arguing, singing, drinking, dancing, making love, taking to the streets, picking up weapons and inventing a new poetry.'  Raoul Vaneigem Over the past few years, during the months of late summer, I walk through the campus of a London university, … Continue reading Work

Trieste: Saba, Morris, and Harwood

'Trieste, new city That preserves a boyish adolescence.' Umberto Saba In July last year, around the time of my birthday, I visited Trieste with my daughter and my partner. It was the first real holiday we had taken together: a strange experience for us all, I think. Two halves of my life had been joined. … Continue reading Trieste: Saba, Morris, and Harwood


'Poetry is the one thing that isn't contaminated, the one thing that isn't part of the game.' Roberto Bolano Years ago, I knew someone with ambitions to be a writer. Like many of us, this friend - let's call him Felix - brimmed with curiosity and youthful ambition, and, as Fitzgerald writes of a novelist character … Continue reading Games

Gardening Through the Apocalypse

About eighteen months ago, I went for a drink in the Arts Café in Islington. I was taken there by a woman I had only recently met. You reach the entrance down an unpromising side street off Essex Road, and climb the stairs where photocopied posters for small gigs or poetry readings are tacked to … Continue reading Gardening Through the Apocalypse

Writing and Painting

'Yes, sometimes I think that all my writing is nothing more than the compensatory work of a frustrated painter.' J. G. Ballard In retrospect, I should have known I was in trouble when someone asked me to list the influences of my novel All The Dogs. I named William Blake, Flannery O'Connor, Michael Reeves, and Graham … Continue reading Writing and Painting


These cool spaces, always light and airy, retaining their silence through a fragile, communally agreed sense of order. The smell of paper, and plastic wrapping, which, for me, still remains an evocative association, almost painful in its intensity. My first library was a travelling yellow bus which stopped off every week in the village where … Continue reading Libraries

In a Marine Light: the poetry of Raymond Carver

'Cigarette smoke hanging on in the living room. The ship's lights out on the water, dimming. The stars burning holes in the sky. Becoming ash, yes.' - 'Tomorrow' Every poet is a critic, at least if you believe Harold Bloom. In The Anxiety of Influence, he imagined the great poets of the twentieth century wrestling … Continue reading In a Marine Light: the poetry of Raymond Carver