Friday, 18 October 2013

Cover boy

The cover boy on the new issue of the Warwick Review is Dan O’Brien, author of the Aldeburgh and Forward shortlisted War Reporter. There’s a review of the book inside, plus two new poems by O’Brien in which the war reporter (Paul Watson) is in Syria. Also a fine review of D. Nurkse’s A Night in Brooklyn. And much more (194 pages) – it’s a shame this magazine doesn’t have a wider circulation.

I was reading the magazine yesterday lunchtime in Queen’s Park, where I’d gone to look over my poems and notes before a recording session for the Poetry Archive. Not exactly rehearsing – I don’t know how to do that: either it’s the thing, or it isn’t. Assuming the recording was going to be presented as continuous, I’d arranged the poems in a specific running order, balancing off-page life progress with on-page echoes back and forth, most of which had only become apparent to me when I started choosing. It held together, just about. But in the park I didn’t look at the linking of poems, I read the magazine instead.

This turned out to be the right thing to have done. John, in the studio, immediately relaxed me by saying that any intros to the poems shouldn’t use words like ‘next’ or ‘another’ because the poems would be offered as randomly accessible, not in sequence. As you would, perhaps, browse a book. So the pattern according to which I’d actually chosen many of the was rendered null. Fine. I read. Midway through one of the poems a friend called me on my mobile, which I’d forgotten to switch off. They’ll probably edit that bit out.

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