Three Versions of the Dead Man

Saint Martin Brings a Dead Man to Life

I’ve been neglecting to post here the latest pieces on the Dead Man as published in RIC – I also failed to meet the deadline for the March edition of RIC, first issue I haven’t contributed to in quite some time. However, the Dead Man never goes away – he can’t, that’s his problem. April piece is being finalised as we speak, and see the other recent contributions below. With thanks, as always, to Saudamini.

Untitled (The Dead Man Plays Poker)

The Dead Man and the Joke

Brief Portrait of the Dead Man’s Father

On ‘The Quadrant of the Dead Man’

My piece The Quadrant of the Dead Man has been published in the January 2022 issue of RIC Journal.

Bit of a story behind this one.

Last year, I wrote a Dead Man every month for RIC, January through to December. I had absolutely decided to take a break from that output and not write a Dead Man for January 2022 at least – maybe even beyond. But three things happened.

A friend, Mimosa Shah, sent me How a Gray Painting Can Break Your Heart, an interactive essay by Jason Farago on the work of Jasper Johns, specifically the painting ‘In Memory of My Feelings — Frank O’Hara’. I appreciated the gesture of having an essay sent my way; the piece is lovely and rich and exactly the kind of thing that you want from a discussion of art, especially that which does not comfortably reveal itself. But hidden in the artwork in question is a reference to a dead man, which got me thinking.

Secondly, at the time of writing, I had Covid-19. I have, for most of my adult life, framed my experience in or through writing, so it seemed important to mark this, somehow – because it is something we as a species, or at least I as an individual, have been trying to outrun for the last two years, but also because the Dead Man has evolved during the pandemic, taken on a new meaning or role. It made more sense to try to write something at the time, not less.

And, finally, once I started, the writing came easily – clearly, there was more story to tell.

Thanks, as always, to Saudamini.

Midnight Grotesques announcement

I am excited, surprised, befuddled – but mainly excited – to be able to announce that Midnight Grotesques will be published by Sublunary Editions in 2023.

What is Midnight Grotesques? MG is a project that US-based artist Michelle Lynn Dyrness and I worked on in a hallucinatory, cross-border collaboration in year two of the pandemic, which will manifest next year in book-object form. In these strange and uncertain times, it really does feel like a small miracle when something like this comes together in the way you’d secretly hoped for.

I don’t delight easily, but I can say I am absolutely delighted to be working with Josh and the Sublunary family again – my book 926 Years, co-authored with the great Kyle Coma-Thompson, was published by Sublunary at the beginning of 2020; they also produced a postcard featuring a poem by Kyle and I with Michelle’s work on the front, and my first major collaboration with Michelle, A Personal History of Attention, was published in Vol. 1 No. 3 of Sublunary’s print journal Firmament. Everything Sublunary does is done with care, professionalism and the weight that each work deserves – MG could not have been given a better home.

More soon.

On ‘The Dead Man’s Circumstances’

My piece The Dead Man’s Circumstances has been published in the final edition of RIC Journal for 2020.

The Dead Man has again accompanied me through the year, guiding me through the madness of 2020 like Virgil. I’ve said it before, but it’s worth repeating: I couldn’t have continued to write The Dead Man without RIC’s support. Though I need The Dead Man – and, this year, needed him more than ever – without RIC there would no need to write on him.

With thanks, as always, to S.

On ‘Ueno Zoo’

Very pleased to be able to share that my piece Ueno Zoo has been published at Fugitives & Futurists, an exciting new lit journal out of the UK.

Wrote this while watching nature documentaries and reading Kafka’s Lost Writings but also while holding in mind a couple of pieces I wrote a few years ago, specifically Then God and Economies of Scale. I love the image that accompanies the piece, it matches the intent perfectly.

With thanks to Andrew.