Very chuffed to have some work appearing in this anthology of poetry inspired by computer games, covering everything from Pacman and Zelda to Altered Beast, Resident Evil and Bioshock. In an inspired move, each set of poems is arranged into a Sonice The Hedgehog style “stage”, with an end-of-level boss poem to top it off. It’s difficult to describe just how lovely the book looks in reality, so hopefully this picture will suffice:
As you can (just about) see, the book comes in two different versions – a black and a white, much like Pokemon! But the cover art is only the start – everything inside is exquisitely produced, from the pixellated contributors right down to the arcade-style rendered typography. Editor Jon Stone’s introduction about the relationship between poetry and computer games always makes very interesting, illuminating reading.
As well as my own poem about Shadow of the Colossus, I collaborated with poet John Clegg on a few poems inspired by Final Fantasy-style RPGs, in which a party of characters (though not always human) is amassed. Very excited to have my work appearing in a book for the first time!
Coin Opera II can be purchased here.
While I’m posting poetry news, there is this:
Coin Opera 2: Fulminare’s Revenge is a sequel to 2009’s Coin Opera, from forward-thinking press Sidekick Books. It’s going to be a bumper book of poems all inspired by computer games. Personally, poetry and games are my two favourite things, so I had to be involved in this.
It will be my first appearance in an anthology, plus I’ve collaborated for the first time with poet John Clegg, too, so I’m extra excited. Lovely editors Jon Stone and Kirsten Irving need £1,500 to contribute toward the printing costs, and you can pledge money at the Kickstarter Website. There are levels of rewards for those who contribute, including the book itself, extra pamphlets, a poster, and a personally tailored poem based on a game of your choice. The project was recently featured on cult website and former article writing-haunt of mine, Den of Geek (thanks guys!).
Anybody who loves gaming and is curious to see their favourite characters/ levels and bosses appearing in literary form, or conversely, anybody into poetry looking for something different, should try this!
My sculpted body, my hair that is rock
and mounted on these ornamental wings;
my light armour, my mother of pearl frock
in which the next transformation begins;
my mahogany, the aching moondust
my face, a mouth that speaks but does not move
grilled within a bio-rigged portcullis,
an angel pilot for my neon womb;
my sinewy wealth, my concertinaed
abdomen’s aluminium buckle;
to pummel you down in this arena
my rocket rain, my pillars of muscle.
I’m flex-collared, bleeding fuel not blood.
I am summon, born-again, germ and Judge.
Push the little man through the lilting streets,
the snow-bluffed, identikit nothings.
Can you catch the fog in your throat
or breathe bonfire rot through the screen?
Why won’t these misty houses allow you
their doors, as if a glitched god set glue
to freeze upon his unfinished world?
And you shrugged, just accepted it.
These alleyways, these pipes, this rust,
even autumn’s menthol oblivion:
what do these actually smell like?
Forget pistols, batons and sharp sticks,
forget shotguns, sawn-off or otherwise,
forget hand grenades and hacksaws,
forget rocket launchers,
forget nunchucks and dybbuks
spooled fresh from a clay jar,
forget tasers, lasers and ball-breakers,
forget crossbows, however sweet.
To marines, intrepid explorers,
to blood-thirsty bombardiers,
to bison-backed, dungeon-wading femme-fatales,
this is without doubt your greatest ally.
This peppery gunpowder stick,
this shoulder-mounted, grinning, cigarette-rolled shark,
this heartburn tube, this blood toothpaste freshly squeezed,
this hissing, lazuli-eyed arsonist.
Whether for beast, zombie or final boss,
nothing beats the blanket heat,
the scatter-and-blast exploding citrus,
the raspberry cube shower,
the creamy eclipse of a dead star,
the all-out carnage, the furnace milkshake,
the glycerine shimmer-quiver of air,
this luminous braid from a sun god’s mane.
You embody more than women
slung booted through survival horror;
all shaded thighs and jaunty, navy beret,
those limbs the pink and yellow of mini
marshmallows uniformly stacked.
For certain, there is something so edible
in your microcosm,
the way you gleam against the mansion’s muddy
backdrop, all terracotta daubs
rendered as dung; as though your marzipan
skin were the cut and paste from a misplaced
world, a plywood-thin candy.
One glitched turn and your dreamt there-ness winks out.
Who said you needed to be smooth?
Who said cuboid hips are not beautiful?