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 Dreamer I + II’

My pieces The Dreamer I and The Dreamer II have been published in MAP Magazine.

These essays are part of the series A Year of Carte Blanche and Other Chimeras, commissioned by my impossible friend Daniela Cascella who is guest editor at MAP. I told D that lockdowns and an indefinite pandemic were killing my lit vibe, and she invited me to write about this. The crux of the essays, then, is really: reading for pleasure is great > finding delight or the richness of life in reading is even better > but it only gets you so far.

They were hard essays to write but it seemed important to write through – write into – the moment. If nothing else, I think I have done that.

Both essays feature original images made by my good friend and frequent collaborator Michelle Lynn Dyrness – it always feels like a little bit of magic to have her work respond to and accompany mine.

On ‘A Personal History of Attention’

My piece with Michelle Lynn Dyrness, ‘A Personal History of Attention’, has been published in Vol. 1 No. 3 of Firmament, Sublunary Editions’ print journal. Michelle did the images, I did the words.

This is a real thrill for me for a few reasons – firstly, it’s my first piece in a print journal (!) for a long, long time. How good is paper.

Secondly, it’s always great to work with Josh and the crew at Sublunary who are performing small press miracles.

Thirdly, I really, really like this one as it was the first official collaborative piece Michelle and I did together – we also, with Kyle Coma-Thompson, made a postcard which Sublunary printed off and dispersed, but that came together in other ways. For this, we bounced prose and images back and forth till we had something we felt coalesced into a single piece worth your attention. Since then, we have done more work together, all of which I pray sees the light of day.

If this sounds like your thing, do order a copy, subscribe to Sublunary or check out their backlog.

On ‘The Dead Man Did Bad Things’ and ‘Untitled (The Dead Man Must Come Back)’

The pandemic continues, we are in lockdown and the Dead Man stays dead. As I write this, the state government of Victoria tells the residents of my state we cannot enter. I cannot leave my home without a mask; I cannot go beyond a 5km radius. Calasso died today. It is 2021.

There is little left to say.

Read The Dead Man Did Bad Things.

Read Untitled (The Dead Man Must Come Back).

With thanks, as always, to Saudamini.