Genre and the Edges

'In the evening, I'd pour myself a glass of very strong rum on the rocks, and I'd write hardboiled poems...' Pedro Juan Gutierrez I've spent my writing life on the periphery. It's not only a matter of success, or lack of, although that certainly plays its part. You stand watching the dance floor with your … Continue reading Genre and the Edges

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

Vanishing Poets

'How hard to grasp a former presence' John Hoffman To write poetry is, for the most part, to make a continued and dedicated investment in the fact of your irrelevance. While many would recognize a few tricks of the form (probably more than would be able to name techniques for painting, for example) it remains … Continue reading Vanishing Poets

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