Through exploring the psychopathology of Capgras syndrome, in which a patient mistakes a loved one for an imposter, The Echo Maker offers a sustained meditation on the ways in which we project our own problems onto other people. As a reflection on the mysteries of consciousness, the novel offers some interesting if not especially new insights into the fuzzy boundaries between scientific and literary interpretations of the mind. Read more
If poetry begins when the voice is raised, then what I wrote during my time at university (much of which is contained here) cannot be called poetry, since it I always wrote it covertly, with a slight sense of shame. I think this was because I was daring - presumptuously - to do something with language which emulated that practised by Donne, and Shakespeare, and Lowell and the other poets who I was at that time privileged to be learning about as a literature student. Thus for a number of years I told no one except those closest to me that I did write.
I've since come to realise, though, that the internet allows one to bellow one's feelings to an empty room, without making any demands upon anyone's time except those who choose to listen, most of whom will be entirely anonymous to me. Whilst I would not claim that any of my writing is any good, I am at least happy to raise my voice just a little, and can only hope that poetry has begun as a result.
The poems appear in roughly chronological order, though where two poems seem to resonate with each other in their subject matter I have placed them side by side. Please browse the collection now, starting with:
Pennine grit, rough sandstone forms
The skin of earth, waiting soft hands to work
Into its stony shapes: a labour of
Sustains possibilities within a wood
Two hundred years, a mottled, moss-worn
Until fresh wood and stone works renewed
Completes the circle, peoples the stone
I have not commented on every poem, as I believe that if a poem needs explanation of what it is about it hasn't achieved its aim; and if it has achieved its aim, the poem will lose by my describing precisely how I feel any ambiguities or meanings should be resolved within it. I want to avoid making such acts of despotic interpretation. Nevertheless, I have sometimes commented to provide relevant autobiographical contexts, or where I felt I would gain an understanding of my own technique by self-critically evaluating how well the poems fit the circumstances and emotions in which they were written. These are describable far more easily in prose, though without the emotional harmonies that subvert or support the words of the challenging poem. If you feel the poem has worked, or not, please let me know by completing the comments section below each poem.
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