Sunday, 20 February 2011

PSH Bonus Content #5

is the PSH poem 'Pilgrimage' translated from the English by Claire Trevien

This is the poem about a detective trying to find a missing bead and searching every carpet show-room in the world. I prefer it in French.


Le cerveau est comme un stylo sans capuchon
laissé sur le duvet de quelqu’un d’autre.

Pendant que j’essaye de comprendre le projet d’art
je me souvient d’un polar :

un détective était embauché pour trouver une petite perle.
Et en gros, c’est ça l’histoire.

Il à dédié toute sa vie à cette recherche,
bousillant son dos et sa vue.

Après presque vingt ans, le détective,
un vieil homme à ce stade de l’histoire,

trouve la perle dans un magasin de moquette.
Il la cueille d’une main tremblante,

l’emmène au client qui l’à embauché
et découvre qu’il est mort depuis huit ans.

Les treillis de poule gâchent les pèlerinages :
il n’y à rien de moins transfiguré.

C’est comme essayer d’écrire avec quelqu’un
qui regarde par-dessus ton épaule:

la seule chose que tu veuilles écrire est :
arrêtes de regarder par-dessus mon épaule!

('Pilgrimage' by Luke Kennard translated by Claire Trevien, 2011)

Mirror Stage

PSH Bonus Content #4:

The final poem of PSH translated into French by Claire Trevien.

In the words of Wallace Stevens, "French and English combine to make one language" and, given that after decades of trying (not very hard) I am almost completley unable to speak French, I must conclude that I only speak half a language. Mercifully, I also know Claire Trevien, who is a superlative poet and translator. Claire also edits Sabotage (subtitled 'Reviews of the Ephemeral') which is important in at least 11 different ways, not least being that it calls editors and writers to account on journals and mags which usually escape any such close attention and can carry on doing the same 'We're only unpopular because society rejects our radical ideals' shtick without anyone going 'Hee hee hee!'

Claire has translated two poems from Planet-Shaped Horse. The first is the last one, 'Fin', about a cat (pictured) fighting its own reflection. The second will be posted when I can work out how to correct the formatting. Grr.


Un chaton joue avec son reflet
Mais s’arrête brusquement autour de son premier anniversaire.
Jusqu’à présent, je croyais que c’était parce que le chat
Avait compris ce qu’était qu’un miroir,
Mais maintenant, je trouve cette idée absurde.
Les chats ne comprennent pas plus les miroirs
Que la loi de la gravitation. Donc, ça doit plutôt être
Que le chat sait qu’il à intérêt à ne pas chercher
Ce chat en verre qui sait mystérieusement
Parer chacune de ses attaques.

('Fin' by Luke Kennard, Translated by Claire Trevien, 2011).

Sunday, 6 February 2011

PSH Bonus Content #3

Childhood friend and dronecore musician (it's like core, but more dronesome), Restful Sleep, has written a new piece inspired by poem no. 6 from Planet-Shaped Horse, 'More Sad News From Your Stupid Planet'. That's him up a cliff in the picture. This is particularly relevant as 'MSNFYSP' has a kind of mountain-climbing theme. In his own words, “It was recorded on my bedroom floor using a bad old yamaha keyboard, a loop pedal and three distortion pedals.” Click here to play it:

It makes me think of dropping televisions into old caves which turn out to be mine-shafts while a singer struggles to be heard over the gale. I particularly love the way, about 2/3 of the way through, the electrical noises, the buzzes and hums which surround us, get woven into the melody until the absolute certainty that the pattern you were teasing yourself by pretending to see is actually something present which you were trying to ignore and which probably isn't in your control anyway, whether you acknowledge it or not, and the loop you get stuck in becomes kind of unavoidable / unbearable. This is one of the seven subtexts of Planet-Shaped Horse. It is when I'm tired, anyway. Also, the piece has a gorgeous sinking-in-and-out of consciousness feel, which mirrors the poem perfectly.

Friday, 4 February 2011

Brio Vs. Elan

Sometimes a picture of an excellent person wearing an all-in-one cow suit reading a copy of Planet-Shaped Horse speaks louder than words. [Thanks to Kirsty Victoria Taylor, pictured, and Rosie Reynolds, photo]. My heartiest gratitude to everyone who made it out to the launch last night on such a Thursday of a Thursday. Also big thank yous to Jane Commane and Matt Nunn for putting on the event with customary brio and elan. There were heart-rending scenes of the book selling out and at least three people being turned away empty handed / full walleted. UPDATE: It is so blustery today that ALL COPIES OF PLANET-SHAPED HORSE have blown away.

It will shortly be available from the Nine Arches Press website, but the paper it's printed on is so lovely it has to be sliced up by hand with a tako hiki. Can't rush these things.

Once I've eaten enough grapefruits to quash my hangover [8], I'm off to help the good students of the University of Birmingham pick a team for their next Slam. That's right: a Slam! Because whatever you've heard about me (or inferred from my accent & snappy dress-sense), I'm not an elitist. I'm going away for the weekend, so bonus-subscriber-only-exclusive-DVD-extra-content for Planet-Shaped Horse will resume on Monday. This is better than me pretending my dehydrated old heart is really in it this morning.

Thursday, 3 February 2011

PSH Exclusive Bonus Content #2

In the prologue of Planet-Shaped Horse there is a reference to Client 1764's first collection of short stories, published by Charlie Horse Books. The question everybody [would be asking were the book available yet and they bought it and read it] is 'What kind of stories are they? What if this were an alternative universe where Client 1764 had written the pamphlet about you? How about you imagine that's the case, and you write one of them and then post it, having spent an embarrassing amount of time trying to format it so that it looks like a pamphlet and then photographing it? It would be delightfully whimsical and not a waste of time!' To which I respond: 'I'm actually quite busy.' And then everybody says, 'Oh, go on.' And I say, 'Okay then. I'll start with a made-up publisher's statement.' And then everybody says, 'HA! We tricked you! We don't care about your pamphlet, let alone an imaginary one you just made up.' And I say, 'Well, it's too late now,' and feed it to the vortex of your unintererst.


When the MS for TL/DR arrived, I realised I had found a rare and disciplined talent in ____ ________. These short-stories-in-verse or "poem proses" represent a slap in the face to anyone who believes that poetry needn't adhere to strict form. What ________ demands is not only that poetry shrug off the lacklustre dullness of vers-libre, but that prose also adopts the ten syllable line. And if it doesn't we'll both be REALLY UPSET.

For the first time outside of its limited print run, I present the opening 'story-in-verse' from TL/DR, 'The Drunken Navigator'. This is the last time I do this and the other Exclusive Bonus Content will be much more fun. That's a promise.

Wednesday, 2 February 2011

Exclusive Bonus Content #1

So, I cut myself shaving, my hair resembles a sort of jellied bird's nest, and I have three large, very red pimples on my forehead, nose and chin, respectively. All of which can only mean that I am appearing in public tomorrow to launch a new pamphlet! Yaaaaay!

On your left you will see a scary barn. It is near my friend's house and looks uncannily like the shed I had in mind for the Hermit who may or may not live on the time-based sculpture I Faked My Own Life which my narrator wanders into. Look how the upper panels are sort rotting out like plates of ice or slices of apple or, I don't know, a pornographer's soul or something. Therefore it is the first official piece of exclusive bonus content to accompany the chapbook. Don't say I never do anything for my 22 fans AND COUNTING.

In other news, my main publisher Salt are having a wonderful 3-day sale wherein you can get 75% off my 3rd collection, The Migraine Hotel. If you were thinking of getting it, but only wanted to pay a quarter of the price, the next three days would be the time to do it. It also makes a perfect 'Oh... Contemporary poetry... Thanks.' kind of a birthday / Christmas / Valentine's Day present (if you've already got said loved one an ant farm and a deerstalker hat in the last two years). Click below while marvelling at my foolish pride which bids me never to ask someone how to properly present hyperlinks within blogger:—-75-off-kennard-pidoux-pow-rees-offer-expires-5th-feb/

What you should probably do, though, is buy Eleanor Rees's extraordinary follow up to Andraste's Hair, Eliza and the Bear; Tom Pow's Dear Alice; or Andrew Pidoux's Year of the Lion which are part of the same offer.

In the interests of full disclosure: I'm not planning to include the poems of Planet-Shaped Horse in the next full-length manuscript I submit to Salt in whenever-I've-written-anything-worthwhile-year's-time. Ain't gonna lie: it's tempting to just bosh it in there and act like half the manuscript is already finished and get double 'research points' for exactly the same thing twice, it's not as if anybody ever actually bloody reads it anyway, grumble grumble grumble. But I'd also feel like kind of a jerk if I did that and, as in all things, my pathological desire to be thought well of wins out. So PSH is going to be exclusive and ephemeral like the panels at the top of that barn.

More exclusive bonus content to follow. You can read along with it in your book once you get it.