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.
Having spent a good week absolutely not writing, I’m just updating this to say I completed the NaPoWriMo challenge. 30 poems in 30 days. Done! I would say the first 15 poems were enjoyable to write, and the second 15 felt like passing something bulky and painful out through my brain. Time to hermetically seal myself in bark, and leave you momentarily with an adorable picture from Mystical Ninja.
The pin-wheel dusk comes round again; now it’s time to bid farewell.
Farewell to my familiar home town,
ramshackle as dishes piled in the sink, all congealed memory.
I’m leaving you behind, ghost vault, you scale model of sadness;
bidding farewell to citadels, to slums and very slow trains,
gasping wind-swept hello! to the pale-buttocked clouds.
Ahead of me will only be the treacle lamp-lit and snow globe-sized
houses, the steaming cobbled lanes and sawdust-welcome of taverns.
These bittersweet towns and their dream Lego.
There will be strangers there, and friends, swapping
ghost stories and tragic histories by the crackle
of mathematical fire, the clay kettle’s fake burp.
How many tiny fires in the tiny grates of tiny homes?
How many miniature blue-painted doors with hanging baskets standing
ajar, the little mantlepieces inside, picture frames showing
long-lost family members’ pixel faces that never existed.
The ice plains and airships dissolve their constellations through me
but it is those rooms I think of, their pianos with no one to play them.
Unlike any liquid you’ve seen. It does not lollop
or ooze in effusive, realistic
pools but quakes like solid gelatinous blocks;
shaded in onion cells of aquamarine.
It gives no dance or sluggish pull
but hangs, still as glue or glass,
only the jerking chalk squiggles drawn across
its blue skin to mark it real.
Surely, it was the artifice
that excited us – the strangeness of water
witnessed when made crystalline by some designer’s dream.
and fell in the feeblest flurries;
the hard, programmed flakes, no two alike,
whirlitzing across an Arctic base.
The consoles bettered us.
We could not engineer weather as they did,
we had no discreet space inside of us
from which popped the pearlescent thought kernels
of a Tibetan whiteout.