Relocating - please follow the link for new content

This archive will stay here - but you can find new posts (as well as this archive) at my new website which is at It's the new home for Stuart Eglin Online - including the blog, musings, and details of the publications and services which I have available. Take a look - it's worth a visit!

Friday, 26 September 2003

A week of ambling around

It has been one of those weeks beset with a heap of work. In the midst of it all, I have waded through a range of music and a bit of poetry.

On the music front, I'm still listening with interest to () by Sigur Ros which reveals new depths each time I listen to it. I've also read the write up on this album at which really helps with an understanding of what is going on. The fact that the packaging is so beautiful and so totally without words, is explained thus. Apparently the songs have no titles, and the words to the songs are in a made up language, so the CD booklet has no words, the pages are beautifully textured and designed, with space for the listener to write their own interpretation of what the music is all about. A marvellous idea!

Earlier in the week, I dipped into The Beatles 'White Album' which has some real gems on it. The high point, and there are a number of peaks, has to be the long experimental track 'Revolution 9' which has stood the test of time really well. It's a great example of studio experimentation meets avant-garde. Other listening includes a couple of free-to-download CDs from which are beautiful ambient and avant sounds. One is by Thanos Chrysakis and the other by Hinterlandt.

I travelled by train to and from London earlier this week and took the recently acquired copy of 'The Vein' by Tom Raworth. I really like some of the lines in this book, but as a free flow 'cut-up' poem I failed to get the complete point of it. I think the failing is probably mine rather than the poem's, but would like to find something which helps to explain what is going on with this text, and how to find a point of access to it.

I've read a review of 'Collected Poems' by Raworth on the website which helps a little, but there is only a passing reference to 'The Vein' - more help needed in this area. I've also found Raworth's own site, but that didn't really throw any more light on things. Help.

Monday, 22 September 2003

Blue Water Books - first books out, nearly!

Isn't it incredible how long it takes to do a simple task like print out copies of an A5 booklet and get them in the post? I was intending to have the first two booklets from Blue Water Books out and in circulation by the end of August. Well, that deadline passed. It is now nearly the end of September and I am nearly there. But printing out 10 copies of each booklet for the first mailing sounds like a modest task - well, it isn't!

Each booklet takes over five minutes to get through the printer. Then it needs folding, stapling and finishing. Then there is the little fact that some of these go wrong and need re-doing. I may be a bit of a perfectionist but I do want these booklets to be flawless.

The upshot of all this is that I should have produced 10 copies of the two booklets and they will be out in circulation by the end of this week. Then, I turn my attention to the next 10 copies and so on until I reach 50 which is the limit for the signed and numbered copies of the first edition.

Meanwhile, the content of the next two booklets emerges slowly....

Friday, 19 September 2003

Give the rabbit away

New covers for the two poetry sequences which I am in the middle of writing have emerged over the last couple of days. They have arisen from photos taken with a digital camera which we bought a couple of months ago. The fact that digital photos can be taken, deleted, retaken, adjusted, see there and then etc makes the medium so much more interesting to use than the locked box of photography with a film.

Today was another great post day. The new issue of 'The Wire' came complete with the new compilation CD which has some really interesting material on it. I have also been listening to an album available for free download from Antiopic ( ) which is called 'The Allegorical Power Series Vol. 4'. It is part of a monthly mp3 download project which presents some really fascinating abstract and experimental music. I particularly like the track by John Hudak. It is called 'rabbit2' and is a beautiful subtle piece of drone music that slips along and makes one feel all comfortable and cosy in an unsettled sort of way. Time to give the rabbit away I think, if we are to move forwards.

This morning's post also brought me 'a.m.' by Michael Ayres which I have been waiting for. It's a huge volume of poetry which I have had a brief dip into. I like the look of what I see. I also think the cover picture is wonderful - it's a painting (I think) by the poet himself. Nice stuff. Ayres lives in Cambridge which is the home of the press 'Salt' which produced the book. One gets the feeling that there is a strong Cambridge clique at work here. But then cliques and networks are what makes the world go around. Time for some more active networking I think.

Wednesday, 17 September 2003

The Wire Tapper and creativity

As I write this I am listening to the double CD given away with an issue of 'The Wire' magazine last year, Wire Tapper 9. There is a new compilation CD due out next week with the latest issue of the magazine, so I thought I would revisit the most recent one.

There is such a huge and broad field of creativity out there - most of which never sees the light of day in the mainstream. The big record companies don't take risks (when did they ever?) so music like this struggles to find an audience and be heard. There are some amazing exceptions, like the London-based radio station 'Resonance FM' - but that is only available via London or the internet (which with dial up like mine is pretty hopeless). There are also a large number of websites offering free mp3 downloads to increase exposure of some of these acts. It is interesting that the big companies are trying to kill downloading because they see it damaging their profits, whereas more imaginative people are seeing mp3 downloading as a way of reaching an audience. I'm not advocating naïveté here, but wouldn't it be nice to see music being about creativity and expression, rather than business, cash flows and stock markets.

Well, it is the middle of November, and I start a new job at the beginning of next month. I'm looking forward to the challenge, the excitement and the chaos that will ensue.

Last weekend I went with the family to Paris where we dashed around various places, and went to Versailles for Gail's Graduation Ceremony. In spite of plane delays, car hire companies messing up, roads closed for the French President to pass through etc. it was great fun.

My own poetical voice seems to have gone for a prolonged walk at the moment - there are no words forthcoming. I guess I just need to shock the words onto the page again, write free and openly, and not for the finished form. The words can always be thrown away - no need to be precious about these things.

In the absence of new words, how about some older ones:

poem without title, yet
bright by echo of bright recall
there is nothing more

only the neatness brought about when we tidy as we go along
turning everything into some sort of song

then there is the won mind-set
no idea why!

then there was the loss of a consonant in a clever
smug sort of whatever

and finally we let it all go
pretend that nothing has happened

seal the secrets in a small envelope,
light a candle,

hold the secret over it
until it ignites, then let go and

watch the paper turn to blackened feather
light, and fragment, into the air

gone forever, burnt out of existence.

Thursday, 11 September 2003

The Fountain

I'm one of those people who looks optimistically forward to the arrival of the post each morning - enthusiastic about what it might bring.

This morning I was rewarded with a late draft of a poetry booklet which Pete Presford is producing. It is called "The Fountain / La Fontana" and has an Italian theme to it. It includes two of my own poems from 'Umbrian Images'. It is beautifully produced - there is wonderful poetry and illustrations included in the booklet. Pete's Malfunction Press has produced some really interesting and attractive chapbooks over the years. One of my favourites is 'Terrazzo' by Bill Costley which was the inspiration for my own 'Umbrian Images'.

The arrival of this booklet spurs me on to produce the two booklets which are waiting in final form for printing ('zen words' and 'Umbrian Images') under my own bluewater books imprint. This was due to be completed by the end of August - the delay was caused by a combination of the general malaise and the fact that printing booklets is a rather tedious task. It must be done though - I feel really positive about getting into print, and getting things moving. Things are beginning to come together really well!

These two poems in Pete's booklet bring my total of poems published in magazines and booklets to 62. Time for the big push to get to 100!

On the subject of writing, the poems for the new sequence - 'the alice conversations' - are emerging slowly. Some more thought is needed about the underlying themes of this booklet to give it a clearer focus. This work will be carried out over the next couple of weeks.

Wednesday, 10 September 2003

Between then and now

I'm still waiting for delivery of the book by Michael Ayres. In the meantime, I have received three books which I am easing my way into:

1. Barry MacSweeney - The Book of Demons (and Pearl)
2. Tom Raworth - The Vein
3. Wendy Mulford - The abc of writing

The book by MacSweeney is a volume published by Bloodaxe - I've dipped into the poems in the Pearl sequence which I'm enjoying reading. On the back cover these poems are described as poems about Pearl, who was "the mute Northumbrian girl, whom MacSweeney taught to read and write on a slate in the rain, and was his first love in the high wild lead-mining hills of the desolate and deeply beautiful Allen Valley."

The other two books are chapbooks. It's a question of keeping up to date with the contemporary scene - getting a broadening understanding of poets writing today and in recent decades. MacSweeney died a couple of years ago, after fighting alcoholism for most of his adult life.

Music I am listening to has shifted slightly:

The Thrills - So much for the city
Sigur Ros - ( )
David Sylvian - Blemish
Porcupine Tree - in absentia
Eberhard Weber - Pendulum

Friday, 5 September 2003

Ayres and Graces

I read at least ten weblogs regularly, by a wide range of people who are musicians, poets and psychologists. Something is happening in the world at the moment. It seems I am not the only person to lose the plot over the last week or so - virtually all of the weblogs I visit have been inactive over this time period.

In my own case, the lack of any activity has been caused by a slip into uncertainty and inertia. I am about to change jobs, and am just drifting through the 'oh my god! I can't do that' phase before I grab the thing by the scruff of the neck and get moving.

Music in the meantime is very spread around…

As I write this I am listening to an album of Bach's Cantatas sung by Andreas Scholl which just purifies the soul and brings one back to the art of productivity.

I've been reading poetry by Michael Ayres recently and really enjoying it, available online at the website. The collection, which is free there as a pdf file, is called 'Recent Poems'. I am waiting for a delivery of poetry books from Peter Riley's Mail Order bookshop in Cambridge, England. Amongst these will be another Ayres book which I am really looking forward to seeing. His work is expansive, bold and uses repetition and rhetorical questions in a marvellous way. Many of the poems are quite long, and have a graceful pace to them. His essay at the end of the collection talks about the use of musical forms and theories to inform his work. This is something which I have experimented with myself, so I was particularly interested to see how he had achieved this. I particularly like the love poems in the pdf collection, which are tender and passionate too.

The Shearsman website is well worth a visit anyway. There is loads of great poetry there.

Other music at the moment: -

Eberhard Weber - Pendulum
Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers - anthology: through the years
Can - Landed
Madonna - American Life
Marcus Stockhausen, Arild Andersen, Patrice Heral & Terje Rypdal - Karta
David Sylvian - Orpheus 88 / Trauma / A Fire in the Forest (compiled from downloads)