time for a blog name change!

***Welcome all to the Mists of Mania!*** After 2 years of being known as ‘the surrealist junky’ I felt it was time for a name change/blog rebrand. There were lots of reasons, but the main reason was quite simply that I got rather bored of it. Another reason – I’m just not quite so obsessed with the surrealists as I was when I first started the blog… we all have our ephemeral art obsessions / phases surely? And I also felt that ‘the surrealist junky’ felt overly heavy in some respects.. so anyway, there you have it! Expect more new posts in the coming weeks. Dec (nb: to mark the birth of the ‘mists of mania’ I included  Caspar David Friedrich’s iconic ‘wanderer in the sea of fog’, 1818, as the featured image)

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Cut-ups and Van Gogh kicks – the artistic techniques of William Burroughs

When it comes to the work of Beat generation legend William Burroughs, I’m conflicted. I’m conflicted because I love his non-fiction; his fascinating personal letters, and his experimentations with writing and art as epitomised in The Third Mind with Brion Gysin. But when it comes to his fiction, I find it an utter slog, crammed with purposely repetitive and repulsive descriptions and characters, and a black humour which I personally find quite cold and empty. Having said that his work is revolutionary in some respects, and has provoked real change which only the greatest literature can do. I put this revolutionary power down to his ongoing indebtedness to art, and even to junk, which, as Marshall McLuhan identifies, both enable one to ‘reprogram the sensory order’ (‘notes on Burroughs’ 1964). Burroughs had been drawn towards art from the very beginning, when he was still compiling scrapbooks and mottley collages of images and writings using newspapers and cut-outs from his journals. His writing was also uniquely visual, as Allen Ginsberg described, Burroughs’s ‘thinking process as primarily visualisation rather than verbalisation… [he] thinks in pictures’ (The Best Minds of Our Generation, pp. 179-180). When he was trying to describe his psychedelic experiences with various drugs, he endlessly expressed his burning need to paint what he saw… he craved art and what the ability it endowed the great artists. Lost in the abyssal whirlwind of yage, he wrote Ginsberg in the 50s whilst adventuring through the Peruvian jungle, of ‘This insane overwhelming rape of the senses… everything stirs with a peculiar furtive writhing life like a Van Gogh painting… if I could only paint I could convey it all’ (letters of WSB, ed Harris, p.180). He’d sought out these so-called ‘Van Gogh kicks before’ – “Did I ever tell you about the time I got on a Van Gogh Kick and cut off the end joint of my little finger?”, from ‘the finger’, 1954) – and, back in 1939 he cut off part of his little finger to try and impress a then love interest (Jack Anderson). Unfortunately, though perhaps understandably, the relationship was short lived and ill-fated. In later life he would create his own uniquely and characteristically violent, shocking and yet serendipitously beautiful ‘shotgun art’, this whilst going about town with art icons like Gysin and even for a time Francis Bacon.

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Burroughs – ‘screaming ghost’ (1982)

But Burroughs’s greatest artistic device was the cut-up.. that unique intermediary point between art and literature, between poetry and prophecy. In 1951, a pre-famous, junk-ridden Burroughs accidentally shot and killed his wife Joan Vollmer in a William Tell-style trick shot gone disastrously wrong… he was haunted, plagued by the idea that some part of his unconscious had deliberately shot and killed her. He once recalled a cut-up he made whilst in Paris a number of years after Joan’s death which read: ‘raw pealed winds of hate and mischance blew the shot’. He expanded that “for years I thought this referred to blowing a shot of junk, when the junk squirts out the side of a syringe or dropper owing to an obstruction. But Brion Gysin pointed out the actual meaning: it was the shot that killed Joan’ (Word Virus, p. 94). His haunting past was still ever-present.. lying, lurking under the thin veil of language, and only accessible by way of the cut-up. This movement of language into the realm of art by way of the cut-up, cutting up poetry and prose, restructuring them, and then stitching them back together, was thus seen not just as some ‘cheap Dada trick’ (as Kerouac termed it) in Burroughs’s eyes, but as a technique which provided genuinely prophetic, sometimes purgative and revelatory power…by harnessing its power, Burroughs could become something like a literary priest (he was obsessed with the Mayan priest’s power over language which came from their uniquely visual languages) …….. performing endless textual exorcisms..

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“mischance blew the shot”… by David West

Despite popular belief, the technique was not originally created by Burroughs, and was rather inherited from Gysin in 1959. Gysin had created the technique (which held affinities with the method of Dada superstar Tristan Tzara, who formed poetry using random phrases pulled from a hat) when he began cutting up sections from a newspaper and haphazardly reconstructing them into poetic lines. When he told Burroughs of the method, an author who was forever trying to escape Control, and especially the controlling systems of language on the unconscious, he immediately acknowledged its potential and significance, particularly to his own unique branch of fiction which so often worked at reforming consciousness in new and revolutionary ways. Burroughs called it a ‘painterly’ technique, and he shared Gysin’s view that ‘writing is 50 years behind painting’ in its capacity to tap the unconscious undercurrents in society, and so, to move writing into the realm of art through the cut-up, meant endowing his work with newfound, piercing properties. The cut-up is a method which exposes the frailty of language, and unveils the word (… “IN THE BEGINNING WAS THE WORD”… he so often quoted derogatively) as a flimsy structure, as facade which can easily be manipulated, taken apart, and rewritten. He later expanded his use of the method to other forms like sound and video recordings.. and these were methods he saw as means to reconstitute and rewrite reality itself. Burroughs and the cut-up influenced countless other iconic artists like Michel Basquiat and musicians like David Bowie (see here for Bowie using the technique to devise song lyrics), whose works have likewise absorbed the creative power of the method.

How to make your own cut-up.

In his instruction manual-cum-philosophical treatise with Gysin, The Third Mind, Burroughs talks us through the method in great detail, and reveals how he often cut-up other authors and poets and philosophers to form his cut-ups… writers like Rousseau, Rimbaud and Eliot, can be found peppered throughout the Nova trilogy in various hacked-up forms. There’s a set of instructions by Burroughs which can be found here, which talk you through exactly how to use the technique and form your own unique works. Below is a cut-up of my own formed using the method with 2 old 50p charity books. The first book was ‘the pelican guide to english literature #5’, from which I mainly used the William Blake passages (it’s like Blake was made for the cut-up!), and then a more obscure book by Carl Becker, ‘The heavenly city of 18th Century philosophers’. I cut-up words and phrases and rejigged them to create a kind of Nietzschean/Blakean philosophico-religioso text which has some serious bite…

—-DREAD THE CHAINS NO LONGER GRACE HAS FALLEN! – SO MANY A LAND OF POVERTY – POSE THEM TO SUBMISSION – SANCTION A FORMER AGE MYSTICAL OBSCURITY – HOW RICH A CLUSTER OF ATTITUDES – LIABLE TO FEEL BAFFLED – FORMIDABLE IN AWFUL FAITH – WHAT DEADLY TERRORS STARS NOW CLASP – IMMORTAL HANDS THREW DOWN SPEARS NIGHT DIVIDED FOR US – JUDGEMENT OF LORDLY ONES TWIST THE SINEWS THY HEART – COLLOCATIONS OF GRAVE DEVOTION – WHAT WINGS DARE SEIZE – ASPIRE THE FIRE JOSTLE AGAINST CHAOS – FIRST IMPULSE DISTINGUISHED TO MUTTER – STATEMENT OF COSMOLOGISED DISGUISE – ETERNAL REASON BE BORNE – ITS PROPER ACT AND END – ELABORATIONS IT INVITES BOOKS DOCTRINES TESTIFY TO THE PROFOUND – DREAD GRASP THE ANVIL – EXISTENCE AS A COSMIC DRAMA – THE GLOSS OF THE HUMAN STORY MUST DECAY – CREATOR SMILED WITH FEROCIOUS STRENGTH ARROGANCE UNBOUNDED LOST IN SHININ LIGHT – THE SMILE OF DAYBREAK BEYOND QUESTION – SPIRIT WATER’D HEAVEN CONVINCING DISTANT DEEPS OF THINE EYES – INSTINCT REVOLUTIONARY RESTRAIN THE CHILD MORTAL WORMS DULL’D AGE – PARADOX IMPREGNABLE WORLD ASTONISH’D HUMANISING TEARS TIME AND DEATH BREAK DOWN SILENT INVISIBLE – THY WELL OF BROKEN SENTENCE – INFANT SORROW IMAGINES FIRST EXPERIENCE OF DANGER WORD WALK’D BEWILDERING LAPSED SOUL WEEPING WOOING – SELFISH FATHER CHAIN’D IN NIGHT AFORE THY SIGHT OUTWARD EYES MIND DESCRIES – ABSORB’D VACANT MIND FEELINGS METAPHORS STILL FIRMLY VISION BESTOWS – VAST TEMPLE BURIED BENEATH ALL THINGS – UNIVERSE STRIVING GAINST GATE OF THE TONGUE DENOUNCING – PLUNGE INTO EMOTIONAL REALITY OF THE ANCIENTS ALL FOR FIRES RUINS IN NIGHT GLORY SPLENDOUR ABRUPT WORDS ECLIPSE GODS RELATION SEE LIFE ——

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section from my cut-up collage

***

Inventing the art of Buddhist exquisite corpsing… (say what now?)

Before you read any further I want to clarify that this post is (unfortunately) not about those shrivelled little monk corpses you often hear about… as fascinating as they are. No, this is a post about a class I taught yesterday.. and something I invented in that class.. but let me contextualise. I teach a class of undergraduates on a World Literature module and this week we were looking at Wu Cheng’en’s (1500-1582) Journey to the West (sometimes called just Monkey or Monkey King), which is considered one of the great classics of Chinese literature. It’s a greatly entertaining read, unlike anything I’ve read before… part fantasy and adventure novel, part philosophical treatise (esp Confucian and Buddhist), part real-life history (based on the great pilgrimage by the monk Xuan Zang (602-664) who travelled all over Asia to share Buddhist teachings), part folk-lore and ancient mythology, part political, religious and societal satire/allegory. It tells of Tripitaka’s (the English name for the central character) journey to find enlightenment, after being instructed by Buddha to find the sacred scrolls and bring them back to China. Along the way he meets various other legendary figures, including Pigsy (a pig-faced outcast who represents primal urges), Sandy (a quiet and contemplative river ogre), and most notably of all the inimitable Monkey King. The Monkey King, aka Sun Wu Kong (which means ‘awakened to emptiness’ – the Buddhist creed in essence) is an all-powerful simian trickster god who rejects heaven for its rigid, governmental structure (as well as simply for its being so unbearably boring). He is blessed with the ability to transform any single one of his copious bodily hairs into anything he can imagine on a whim, and is a symbol of the combined power of madness and genius within the novel. After many demon battles,hardships and glorious adventures, the group eventually retrieve the sacred scrolls, only to find that they are blank – symbolising this fundamental Buddhist idea of finding enlightenment by way of some deeper inner truth, inner acceptance, independence. In its original form the novel was written alongside a great many Buddhist poems: beautifully serene and tranquil fragments akin to meditations, which are fundamental to the philosophical underlay of the novel and evoking its true meaning. Here are a few examples:

‘One white rainbow arching
A thousand strands of flying snow
Unbroken by the sea winds
Still there under the moon …
A noble waterfall cascades
Hanging suspended like a curtain’

and more…

Emerald moss piled up in heaps of blue
White clouds like drifting jade
While the light flickered amongst wisps of mist
A quiet house with peaceful windows…
Exotic blooms all around

The most famous and still the most widely circulated English translation of Journey to the West, Arthur Waley’s 1942 translation, cuts out every one of these poems (booooooo), neutering this so crucial aspect. Though forty years later a number of translators reintegrated the poems in a similar vein to the original.

So anyway, we’d been discussing these prose vs poetic form translations, and the idea more broadly, and I decided it was time for my class to get in touch with their ‘Zen side’… and so, to their horror, I led them outside under the shade of our big majestic tree in the central quad of our Literature depnt building, and told them we would try to recreate some of the scenes of the novel in Zen Buddhist-style poetry… So this is where the ‘exquisite corpsing’ part of the deal comes in (I like to integrate elements of art into my seminars somehow). An exquisite corpse was a technique used by the surrealists which involved a number of artists contributing to form a ‘serendipitous’ artwork. Each artist would draw a small portion of an image, then fold the paper so as to hide it from the next artist, who would then continue to form the next part of the image, before hiding their own part and then handing it on to the next, before then… [etc etc.] until finally the paper was unfolded and the hybrid image revealed.. as with the one shown below:

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an exquisite corpse composed by Yves Tanguy, Max Morise, Joan Miro and Man Ray in 1927

So I decided to do something similar, only with poetry. I printed the students a copy of 2 fragments from the novel and they each read a sentence of prose, formed their own line or few lines of poetry from that sentence, then folded it over so that the next person could not see it, and passed it along (they also crossed out the sentence so the next person knew which they were to poeticise). As they read the text and formed their Buddhist poems under the shade of the tree, with a calming Zen (youtube) soundtrack playing softly in the background, I felt at one with the world… I felt serene in the extreme… Okay maybe I went a little far. But anyway, directly below is the piece of writing that the students originally read (i.e. Wu Cheng’en’s), and below that is the students’ poetic, exquisite corpse rendition of it. The first scene is from the very opening of the novel where the Monkey King is born from a stone egg, the second is from a scene in which the Monkey King is challenged by Buddha to leap accross the earth in one bound… but he only makes it as far as the Buddha’s middle finger (lol#):::

ORIGINAL:

‘There was once a magic stone on the top of this mountain which was thirty-six feet five inches high and twenty-four feet round. It was thirty-six feet five inches high to correspond with the 365 degrees of the heavens, and twenty-four feet round to match the twenty-four divisions of the solar calendar. On top of it were nine apertures and eight holes, for the Nine Palaces and the Eight Trigrams. There were no trees around it to give shade, but magic fungus and orchids clung to its sides. Ever since Creation began it had been receiving the truth of Heaven, the beauty of Earth, the essence of the Sun and the splendour of the Moon; and as it had been influenced by them for so long it had miraculous powers. It developed a magic womb, which burst open one day to produce a stone egg about the size of a ball.”

STUDENT POEMS:

***
A stone stood atop great spire
Shrouded in misty skies
Circumference visible to all
The great father rests
so tall as to touch the heavens
As earth revolves around his mount
He contemplates the cosmos.
At its summit, nine great palaces
Surrounded by glowing magic fungus,
Sweeping beds of orchids.
For all eternity the stone listens
Hearing whispers of truth
Watching the beauty upon the earth
Until the stone developed a womb
And from it came a stone egg

**

ORIGINAL:

“Yes, yes,” the Buddha replied, and he stretched out his right hand, which seemed to be about the size of a lotus leaf. Putting away his As-You-Will cudgel, the Great Sage summoned up all his divine powers, jumped into the palm of the Buddha’s hand, and said, “I’m off.” Watch him as he goes like a streak of light and disappears completely. The Buddha, who was watching him with his wise eyes, saw the Monkey King whirling forward like a windmill and not stopping until he saw five flesh-pink pillars topped by dark vapours.

POETIC VERSION:
“Relinquish your fear
Leap into the waiting embrace
Of the lotus leaf”.
That simian Great Sage
Divested of his weapon
Disappears in a streak of light.
Through Buddha’s wisened lens,
Who witnessed the Monkey King’s toil
Fruitful, and yet in vain,
Smiled that gentle, all-seeing smile…

***

THANKS FOR READING!!

Painting with words – J. G. Ballard and Salvador Dali inspired text/art/poetry

Some time late last year I designed what you might categorise as a kind of text-art / concrete poem which emulates a painting by Salvador Dali (I thought I had already posted it here on my blog but was shocked to find it sat in a forgotten folder in my google drive gathering dust…). I designed this piece using a similar style to that used by the dystopian author J. G. Ballard, who created a series of unusual billboards in the 50s which were made up of only text. He aimed to have these giant, text-only billboards put up all around London, in amongst the many other billboard ads by the consumer giants. But his would be in stark contrast to the others with their highly visual, eye-catching ads bearing sleek new cars and big breasted women, and would instead turn the well-known methods of advertising on their head… his were more like a strange encrypted message for the masses, which would make people stop and think.. each person who viewed them would draw their own unique logic in deciphering these works, much in the same vein as the surrealists. In short, Ballard’s ads were working at empowering the consumer, which is very different to most every other ad, which has one overriding goal… MAKE. THEM. BUY. So in the first year of my literature PhD I came accross these billboards and wanted to try and work out what they were… I couldn’t simply go along with the vast majority of critics who, because they could not understand them, concluded that they must be meaningless. But the odd thing is, the words and terms that these billboards were made up of are clearly not meaningless, in fact they are very meticulously placed, planned and designed. They were characters and scenes and objects and memories and other fragments which could be found in a great many of his other works… it was almost as if he was providing us with clues… So one day, whilst researching Ballard’s influence by Dali, I started to think on what a Dali painting might look like if it were made purely of words… these fragmentary characters and scenes and dream-like dialogues… and so then what if.. what if Ballard was doing exactly that with his billboards? I did some more research and found that this was a method also used by Magritte in a small few of his paintings, Magritte being another key influence on Ballard, and so this did not seem too far a stretch.. in fact it made much sense. So I began scouring Dali’s work to see if there was any works which might fit the bill. I focused on the central ‘image’ in Ballard’s billboard, ‘mr f is mr f’ (below), and, as I knew ‘mr f is mr f’ is a surrealist story about a man who slowly devolves, and is absorbed back into his mother’s womb (weird: I know), I started to look for something similar in Dali’s images… and lo and behold, I found ‘Geopoliticus Child Watching the Birth of New Man’ (1943), which similarly has this huge centralised image of Dali being absorbed into a globe-womb form.. it was just like Ballard’s image. When I placed the billboard and the painting next to each other, I saw that there was far more coinciding elements at play (see my previous blog post here and Guardian article here for more background / examples of crossovers). So, I thought, could this really be what the billboards were? Encoded Salvador Dali paintings? Well of course they are! What better way to undermine the consumer spectacle than to inundate it with surrealist paintings, paintings which work at reinvigorating the imagination! ALL POWER TO THE IMAGINATION! As the famed May’ 68 slogan went..

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one of J. G. Ballard’s billboards from the 1958 ‘Project for a New Novel’ series

Ballard hailed Dali as the greatest painter of the twentieth century and often expressed how his own literary work was heavily influenced by both the surrealist movement and especially Dali’s work and methods. He constantly repeated in interviews how he had always dreamed of being a painter rather than a writer, but never had the artistic skill to do so, which is probably why he decided to create a new method which would enable him to create art using the medium he knew best… the medium of words! So last year I decided that the best way to try to demonstrate Ballard’s process in creating these billboards was to do it for myself, to create my own billboard/artwork/poem using a Dali painting as the framework. So I of course decided to use my all time favourite Salvador Dali painting, ‘Metamorphosis of Narcissus’ (1937), as the underlying artwork. I was going to enjoy this…

Dali narcissus
Dali – ‘Metamorphosis of Narcissus’ (1937)

The truly amazing thing about this painting is how it manages to contain the entire Narcissus myth as told by Ovid in a singular image… this by way of a mergence of mythic imagery and his own personal symbology which recurs throughout his work (Dali’s autobiography, The Secret Life of Salvador Dali, is a kind of codex for all of these symbols and images which appear and reappear in his paintings). The two central images of the figure and the hand clasping an egg essentially denote Narcissus’s changing psychology as he gazes into the water. The left figure image is Narcissus as he famously gazes on himself in the lake’s reflection, and on the right is a metaphorical rendition of what he finds lurking there… he finds self-love, and so the egg, which represents blossoming love and fertility in Dali’s work, symbolises how, as he gazes into the watery depths, he falls in love with his own image.. How he drowns in his own image. The mirror image being a gigantic hand is particularly pertinent in that it represents at once this idea of an aggrandisement of the self (i.e. narcissism) but at the same time this idea of how love denotes, in psychoanalytic terms, the ego-ideal; the perfect and grossly augmented rendition of self (see Lacan’s – the best known and most influential follower of Freud – definition of love here for more clarity). So through these 2 central mirrored image we have a depiction of both outer world and inner psychology. In the distance to the left of the image are the cliffs, the cliffs into which famously the nymph Echo would be transformed, cursed for all time to only mimic the voices of others… but now onto my own Ballard influenced billboard..

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a Ballard style version of Dali’s ‘Metamorphosis of Narcissus’

So what was my method here and what do these words mean in relation to the Dali image? As Ballard does in his own billboards, I first limited myself to using only text, and then attempted to recreate Dali’s painting using allusive fragmentary headlines (many based on Ballard’s stories and characters) and scientific journal excerpts (in this case from a marine biology journal – i.e. ‘drowned world’ – as does Ballard), using the spacing and squared blocks of text to shape out the image. Let me begin to describe the various fragments of text and what they denote. In the top left appears ‘ravenous’ which is partially severed. There are multiple reasons for this and other truncated portions of text. Firstly, so as to urge the viewer to fill the linguistic or narrative void: the fact that the ‘R’ is partially cut-off suggests that there is part of the word missing, the full word being ‘intravenous’. The word itself contains, in homophonic terms, the word ‘ravine’, which is why it is situated in the same location as the ravine or gorge in Dali’s painting (the letter ‘V’ is dead centre within the word thus mirroring the shape of the ravine itself). It could also be seen to emulate the word ‘ravenous’ as in extreme huger, denoting the idea of either Narcissus’s hunger for himself of Echo’s hunger for Narcissus (as in Ovid’s classic myth). The use of truncated text in Ballard’s billboards often serves to emphasise the limitation in the viewer’s visual field and so is emulated here. The purpose of this is to imitate the effect when one views a painting, whereby the viewer, though limited to the framed image before them, nevertheless assumes the depicted image to go beyond this frame of reference (e.g. when a distant mountain range continues off the edge of a landscape painting). The jarring severance of text here also serves to emulate the overarching theme of mirrors, reflection and self-absorption.

So here like Ballard I’m able to generate a multitude of overlapping concepts through a single word, when I acknowledge it as one which stands in the void between language and image. A little down and to the right of where ‘RAVENOUS’, appears ‘The Drowned’ which could refer to The Drowned World or Ballard’s short story ‘The Drowned Giant’ (note the serif text – Ballard uses serif text when he’s alluding to specific short stories). I liked the idea of leaving the final word empty so that the specification of the story is ‘drowned’ in a sense. You’ll notice further down I use the word ‘giant’, this clearly referencing the story, which has been flipped upside down so as to emulate the reflection of the surface of the water. What this achieves is to recreate the duality rendered in Dali’s painting, in which we at once see a giant humanoid (Narcissus) hunched over the water and the hand of a giant figure underwater (i.e. why i use ‘the drowned giant’). The sense of scale in the painting is constantly shifting, in flux, much in the same way that I use text (‘THE DROWNED giant’), using capitalisation and rescaling. You might expect ‘THE DROWNED’ to be situated beneath the water, and ‘giant’ to be located above, but as we know from Dali’s work, the true ‘giant’ is located exactly where expected; beneath the water, exposing, in Freudian logic, the grossly aggrandised ego, or as Lacan would have it, the ego-ideal, the self-obsession which goes far beyond the scale of the painting itself.

To the left of ‘giant’ appears the words ‘SALINE: UTERINE’ which at once represents the location of the pool of water, but also tackles the Freudian implications of Dali’s painting: a narcissist gazes into the uterine depths longingly, this representing the dislocation of the self-obsessive’s ‘lack’. The ‘uterine’ thus designates the mother, the womb, which has been replaced with the self, this leading to a narcissistic self-love. But it also reinforces this presiding duality within Dali’s painting, especially between the inner and outer world, and the distortion between the gaze of the self and other. Above water, externality, otherness – below water, the self, the uterine truths. On the opposite side of the billboard, mirroring saline/uterine, is ‘canine’, situated in the same location as the dog in Dali’s painting, emulating Ballard’s method of locating certain objects and structures to create an overarching sense of the image. To the right of the centre, rotated 90 degrees clockwise, are the words ‘metacarpal antimatter’ denoting the fragmentation of the pieces of the hand in Dali’s image, in a similar vein to the many atomic themed images by Dali, created at a time when particle physics was a hot topic in scientific circles. The ‘0’ in ‘0.314…’ represents the egg, whilst the incorporation of pi is meant to represent the sense of inconsistent repetition which we see in Dali’s painting; note that in the distance of Dali’s painting, between the snow-capped mountains can be seen the image of another hand clasping an egg in an ‘echo’ of the central hand. The incorporation of pi here was also because I not only got a strong sense of the mathematical from the image, particular by way of the repetitions and the chess-board, but also the Greek statue on the right in front of the mountains, which I saw as harking back to Pythagorean devotion in some sense. As I explored with this method of creating art using using words, exploring this point of intersection between words and images, it became apparent just how many endless possibilities there were… It’s a method I’ll come back to some day, perhaps one day there might be a novel length series of them.. all based on paintings.. stories/poetry fashioned from great artworks, every one of them hidden and waiting to be deciphered by those who are the most inquisitive……….. thanks for reading x

 

Thrills with Daffodils – A Wordsworthian lovesong for Jeff (Warning: silly and exlpicit)

Earlier this year I went on a fantastic, unforgettable trip to France and Switzerland as part of an MA Romanticism course. As a group we gelled almost immediately, and one night, after a long day of roaming the Grasmere hills and reading and reciting Wordsworth’s genteel poetry, we got drunk and decided to write some of our own… needless to say our take on Wordsworth was a little more explicit than the original. We decided it should revolve around Jeff, who was our fantastic and friendly tour guide through Wordsworth’s life and work, whom we all liked and liked to have a laugh with. So here I give you our collective masterpiece by a bunch of drunk Romantic literature students.

***

‘Thrills with Daffodils – A Wordsworthian Lovesong for Jeff’ by a bunch of drunk Romantic Literature students

Oh Wordsworth, you surely cannot know what
your words are worth to me?
Was it for this?
Or was it for John Carter?
But know this, my Jeffrey:
When I read the prelude,
I feel the need to get nude,
to let loose, in the reclusion of you…
Surely there is no manuscript
without you and I?
And twere there a shortage of pages
I need only your sodden, emptied clothes
for this, my lovesong for the ages..
The way you so tenderly touch the books spine
O’ twas sublime! Might you do the same with mine?
And Lo! On a gentle Grasmere peak
I wandered lonely as a cloud
You made my dick stand tall and proud…
As a curator, you conserve the past,
and so I wonder how long you’d last…
would it be dream-like slow or rapid fast?
And wherefore would our clothes be cast?
In the midst of pleasure when you said “go harder”!
I cried back “NO! Pray but think on John Carter!”
I could arrange the objects in your museum
In a way that will make you cum…
We might near that beauteous Elysium,
If you’d but do me up the bum?
O’ Come inside my Dove Cottage!
Bind me! Stitch me! Hold me hostage!
Dorothy and William let us follow…
let us pick up those fallen pieces
and stitch them together, like you didst to me.
Oh Jeff pray take rest, I shall be your scribe..
As you share your love of Will
May I play with your quill?
But give me a moment, I need to refill.
You folded me over in every direction
Will you help me sustain this massive erection?
The way you unfolded the map
To my heart, twas but a trap…
I remember in the room that tranquil breeze
But rejoice in knowing it was only you I seek to please.
I worked oh so hard to form a quarto
But alas! all I could get was an erecto.
Your homemade ink hast left a stain upon my heart,
While these manuscripts of such delicacy,
Set my heart aflutter like a feathered quill.
I’m bamboozled by your love,
Oh Jeff, you make me feel like a first edition…

You ask questions aplenty, to make us smarter
But the answer of course, is e’er John Carter.
You impressed me with such erudition,
And ere with your permission
didst I move the book-bearing box,
and pray as not to make you cross.
You taught me to count,
Just know that you can count on me,
And while I know how much you like rough edges
To these gentle hands one pledges.
Grab the needle and stitch me,
Make surest that thy hands are clean,
and be my needle, tend my seem.
And with your permission, John Carter,
We shall get dirty after class,
Shalt thou take me up the Mer de Glace?!
O Pluck my dainty daffodil!
And know that ten thousand daffodils dancing
Cannot compare with the tender rhythm of our humping.
I think often on when you showed me the prelude manuscripts
and freely weep,
As we bang on sweeping hilltops like horny sheep.
Feed me your Grasmere gingerbread
Whilst you go about giving me head.
And when you taketh me to bed
Twould be no struggle to get Jerwood.
Ah, let it be known the Grasmere trust
Didst nothing but stoke the flames of my lust,
Why we could together wipe the dust from Will’s bust,
Then fuck, ever so thoroughly we must..
Through time we shall travel,
The deepest mysteries of your body must I unravel.
I will write you a lyrical ballad,
whilst you gently toss me like a salad.

Lancaster fireworks (concrete-sound poem)

..- – Pop booom pop- ..-
..- — Potpourriiiiii of light —..
..– – Spraying colours spryly spiralling skyward — -..
..- Sonic boooms smoky shadows sprites dancing irises iridescences – ..
..– streeeaking ‘splosionss stratospheric silver sliversss –…
-.- -Violet Plumes and violent BOOOOMs and soaring sapphire flares — .-
– ..- Crackling crimson inklings sprinkling castle spires afire-.. –
–.. -. -conjuring cosmic corpuscles – ..–. –
–.. -Tonight ceaseless stars– ..-.
..–Momentarily- –..
.. dwindle.. .
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