27 November 2013

Ungrasped, all is holographic

Busy times. I gave a paper at the Bristol Poetry Institute's 'Translating Poetry: the Impossible Art' at the University of Bristol, organised by poet Rachael Boast and the University's Danny Karlin. It was a great event and some great papers were given. It was fascinating to watch Don Paterson in conversation with Robert Vilain, and other appearances from David Harsent, Sean O' Brien and Landeg White. A very eclectic conference with a nice feel that it wasn't purely academic but had a public and accessible face. I think the BPI will push this aspect of themselves over the coming months and years. It was also good to continue spreading the work of Leopoldo María Panero.

As usual, I drift through the cold with hardly a sense of myself, but there are intense flashes of light, innumerable glories, strange silences and muddled expression to be pondered. I stole the title from Balzac - cheers Honoré!

…de plâtras incessament près de tomber

Ungrasped, all is holographic, passing near to unseen.
A tissue paper proof inscribed butterfly         eye       iris       grey

We derive everything, plastic, old years streaked with paint’s
watermark. Loose, diaphanous slow diamonds,
dark optics ghosting around spheres of light              it doesn't matter

There's not much foundation left        chain    wind    gristle
Other visuals: bow-shaped accumulations of water to luminous arabesques of bone

strange latitudes, subsumed whorls. Progress is diagonalized,
whacked out of its plane                                                         a mimic.

O navigation. Bodies fat with water - fitful, vagrant potential                      as in sleep

04 August 2013

Badger Runs, holloways, stunted trees, hedgerows

I'm pretty obsessed with the badger runs that I have been finding around my family's place in North Devon.

I saw a badger the other night - snuffling its way self-importantly up the road at the back of the house. Noisy. Big. On a mission. During the day time these badger runs are just mysterious portals into a netherworld I can know nothing about. 

I also like weeds, or plants that behave like weeds, or aliens. Along the hedgerows of Devon they look like jewels.

I can't tell you the way to the badgers, but there is a beautifully-named town in the other direction. It overlooks the sea, and boats. There is a train station there. I locked eyes with a bearded Spanish man on the little train as we drew into the station the other day; he looked like he might have been a badger in another life.

Opposite this sign there is a stunted tree. Badgers worship here, and pass by into the netherworld.

These are old ways, after all. I've just received Robert Macfarlane's new book 'Holloway', and can't wait to read it.

18 June 2013

Really you


Text messages drain the sense
from the way the body flowered

into athelete’s limbs
in finishing positions

Hand-held candles are conversations
in themselves, can be heard above
the busy signals, busy fingers

I am a dead ringer for myself:
hyper, momentarily, then
quiet again, telling you
yes your new jumper is really you

© Andrew F Giles 2013

03 April 2013


There is sun. The corner of the wall facing me is peeling slightly. Above the scuffing is an invitation to a wedding. My speakers are covered in a slight film of dust. I have a jar of safety pins, the sign from a cask ale that reads 'Boxing Hare 4.1%/ Maxim Brewery - Spring Chocolate Ale', an empty cup, a pack of Golden Virginia, a whiteboard marker. I am surrounded by books: Carmen Laforet, Leopoldo María Panero, Proust, Blake, Pound, and a book called 'Disremembering the Dictatorship', about Spain. Then Duchamp, Bauman, Habermas, Lukács; further up poetry books - Duffy, Lochhead, Transtromer, Bukowski, Imlah - then some Iain M. Banks: he gives himself a year to live. Imlah already gone, and Donaghy. Quite a lot of writers die a bit too young. I'm reading Agatha Christie's 'The Secret Adversary', a welcome break.  Otherwise, I am listening to Keaton Henson, a lot of hip-hop, and writing. I have a poem out in the recent edition of B O D Y. About Tom Cruise, Nicole Kidman, scientology, Hollywood and the Real. You could see that here. All good.