New serial book announcement- This Was Meant to be the Future

Blimey, it’s the year Twenty Twenty, a year that sounds incredibly futuristic. We’re past the setting of Blade Runner. The world is different and weirder in ways we couldn’t imagine before.

With that in mind, I’m announcing my next book of short stories, called This Was Meant to be the Future. I’ve been working on these stories for the last couple of years and it feels an appropriate time to release them.

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Complications

This essay from Jack Underwood blew me away, because he nails down thoughts I’ve had before but have struggled to put into words. He describes poetry as a necessary counterpoint to the simplification of stories we are being fed today:

They know that nostalgia for simpler configurations and categories is a symptom of fear and frustration. They know that as everything gets worse through deliberate inactivity the more frustrated and scared we become. “The answer is simple,” they tell us: “We must simplify!” Then: “You do not cohere to simplicity. Why are you making this so difficult? Everyone else is so tired of this difficulty. Hey everyone, aren’t you tired of this? Vote for me if you’re tired!”

So many times I listen to or read poetry and it complicates my view of the world in some new way. Each new wrinkle of language provides a new perspective. This is undoubtedly a good thing. Because once you reject the simplicity of simple stories everything becomes more interesting.

Writing poems, I find myself more and more unsure, more lost to the confusion as simplicity is stripped away. I struggle to know what they are about. I know what impulse I started with but the end result is often a mystery to me. Maybe this is a good thing as well. Who can say?

Go read the whole essay, it is magnificent.

Inhale

Taken from Bristol Sounds interview with pet Shimmers, January 2020.

As a Friday bonus, have this song by Anna Meredith.

I was lucky enough to see her and her band last night and they were incredible. 1 So much energy and joy. It’s the most interesting and exhilarating music that is unable to be defined. It goes in so many directions and all of them are excellent. Plus at the gig they finished with a medley of cheesy songs, including Daniel Bedingfield and ABBA. What’s not to like?

On the radio

I was very lucky to have a poem on BBC Radio Bristol’s Upload show. The poem is called Encrypted and was written for Tonic, which is an amazing night. You get given a prompt and you have a month to write a piece for it.

The prompt I got was “threw postcards in the shape of airplanes hoping they get to where they meant to”. It pushed the poem in strange new directions I never would have thought of if I was just sitting down to write without a prompt.

Thanks to Chris Beale for recording it and Upload for broadcasting it. It is nationwide across the UK and is a fantastic initiative. I’d really recommend sending something in.

Listen here. My poem is about an hour and a half in. It’s on BBC Sounds until 23rd February.

(Now this song is in my head.)

Assorted news and links

  • Theres a new poem of mine up on Fevers of the Mind. Its called Failed Hypothesis, go here to read it.
  • I love these cold clear winter days. Here’s a photo I took yesterday by the harbour:

  • If you’re writing anything in any capacity you should take some time to read this amazing essay by Kali Wallace. It’s something I’ve touched on before, the pressure to keep working, but articulated so beautifully and painfully:

Write something else. Write it faster. And network more, because those failures are your fault. You don’t follow enough writers on Twitter. You don’t read enough agent newsletters. You don’t go to enough conventions. You don’t know the right people.

Oof.

  • Philip Levine reads Let Me Begin Again. Just a stunning poem.
  • On poetry, here’s readings from the recent T. S. Eliot prize. UK poetry is in a great space at the moment.

Sirens

Just before the door swung open, Amber was certain she could hear voices. When she walked into the small office, they had lapsed into silence. It had sounded like Tom. Great. He was meant to be the only friendly one. He sat at his desk, pretending to concentrate on work, music on as usual. Derek and Robyn ignored her as well. All three of them wore headphones, lost in their own world. Amber shuffled over to her desk, clutching her cup of tea, trying to ignore the tension in the room and failing. She wasn’t paranoid any more, she was certain.

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