Blood. Flower. Joy!

Sweet Ladies, Good Morning! Speak of Wickedness. Wonderful Western Future. Comfort. A Season in Neo-liberal Heaven. Stars like Seeds and Swine will Fall. 42 Socialist Feminist Horoscopes. Away My Grievance. Talk. Ho! What Fiend Squatteth There? Bloody Wheat and Sweet Mercy. Practical Sunshine Witchcraft. Joy! Joy! Joy! Joy! Mothers of All Question. Many Marigold Salads. Sister Sorrow What
Sing You? Poems. Lyrics. Songs. A Sequence.


My second collection Blood. Flower. Joy!  (Knives, Forks and Spoons Press, 2019) is a sequence of short lyrics. Poems from Blood. Flower. Joy! have been published in Adjacent Pineapple, And Other Poems and Datableed. An earlier version of this project titled Away My Grievance won the 2018 Ivan Juritz Prize.

About this project

Work on this project began after the completion of the manuscript for my first collection, Sphinx; most of the poems in Sphinx had been produced in a very taxing way, under high pressure to achieve an exactness and magnitude which would do justice to the subject matter. Grueling might describe it. Not only was this draining (both of energy and joy) but attempts at writing post-Sphinx became sclerotic and anxious. Blood. Flower. Joy! was intended as a sort of antidote to the figurative wounds left by the labor of Sphinx. The mental procedure of writing it was far freer, as is the style.

The lyrics in this sequence are fun. They explore the comic and strange. The poems in this sequence are attempts at magical voicing, ritualistic addresses which possess magical action in themselves. They are positioned so as to offer themselves for re-voicing, as spells and rhymes and axioms are, and in that way they may both incorporate me the writing subject (the personal) and dissolve/expand/enlarge me (the communal). The poems are anti-individualist, ameliorative, socialist.


The sequence responds to a certain set of critical claims on the lyric subject; it represents action taken on Sean Bonney’s statement ‘whether it’s the avant-garde writing subjectivity out of poetry, or international capitalism denying realities that exist outside of their version of reality, it’s to be resisted’. Subjectivities are necessary, not subjectivities which pose as the individualistic index of all meaning, not so-called anti- or post- subjectivities, but subjectivities which give voice to struggle and solidarity in struggle. There’s no reason why this cannot be a joyful voicing. The sequence attempts a recouping of the fallen lyric subject to make her once more fit for purpose; it is set up as the playful voicing of what can be none other than an individual subject, but with one ear to the public language from which its voice is derived and the other poised to hear its voice in the mouth of another and be recognised. The individual is given less as an index of meaning and more as a node in a dynamic and enormous field of voicing. Accordingly, the attitude of the sequence is generous and cheeky. Read extracts below.

an organic, incantatory synthesis of voices ancestral and contemporary. Each poem is an earthy celebration and a woozy spell

James Knight

a brilliant, telling, teasing reanimation of what lyric can be for us now.

Lara Feigel

This irreverent, striking and bristlingly original collection of poems is unlike anything else you'll read this year.

Rebecca Tamas

breakfast be my idle bridle
when winter’s coffee
is soft as the lilly

i sidle out my bed of ivy
as from the pine
lets fly my nightly care

slim picking for finches

more tired than the dawn
that breaks you there
dead bulrush, dead penny

still i will be merry


a loafing sprig

solving the salve of solving

with the head of a pig


angry all the time

but the bad angry not the good kind


buddy, smugness is all i’ve got

free speech is all rightaroony but


i just can’t hear you over this frock


my kink is Socialism

and portraits of men with carnelian


listen up good now, comrade


dress sexy

see Tories

go pow pow


green green green

goes the ritual beast of Spring


feed the mare

her wormwood and grist


the cat is in

the pretty black stream


go home


you’re depressed


you there, you are a druid

of terrible portent


i ought to be sick

i ought to be oysters

and lamb fat


poor pebble


i hear humble thunder

killing snow

and more hot white claptrap


But now I have put away
the pepper and dirt

and have a mouth all full
of big yellow teeth

when I was banished
I spoke like the banished

my, my, my,
gardenia and gladioli

now it rains, rains and rains
like wheat in a wreath


it would matter tremendously
if in our midst
there were
a thresh of frost

werewolf vs amethyst
and I know where my money is

it matters whether
an iris grew
from that there drop of sweat
and a pumpkin from the blood

glad tidings of comfort and joy


bewilderment very much


here on the dark side

of the turtle neck


this word right here

can lay down a ghost


and you can thank Simon

and Garfunkel

for that


all I want

is to buy a good brown loaf

and I’ll see it

in hell


lingers his hyacinth
picking up what i put down


someone’s little blue
husband in the hawthorn

away my grievance

with his blushing blue

who needs her innocence?
when i die
i go to boy heaven



these green trousers

i’m in


no goblin turned heroine


Greta agrees

garish as a peony


for yielding redeeming


jump into the mountain

ass backwards and grin


Nobody should experience anything they don’t need to, if they don’t need poetry bully for them. I like the movies too.

Frank O' Hara