The silence of grammar. The silence of morning fog. The silence of a tiger’s paw. Wandering silence. The I told you so silence. The silence of violence. The silence of the catacombs contained in a sheet of paper. The shimmer of summer night stillness silence. The ruins of love silence. The silence of God.
“Jasmin started drawing in a sketchbook a few months ago,
specifically to describe her life’s story.”
photos & an experimental essay
by Amee Nassrene Broumand
It’s raining at the moment. Calling it rain might suggest a downpour or perhaps a steadiness of purpose, but this rain is too ambivalent for any of that relative cheeriness. This is slacker rain. This rain drizzles on and off all day, turning the landscape into a listless void. It’s hard to even tell the color of the light in such rain—is it grey, or is it a lurid shade of green?
I’ve never been sure, yet I know it well: as I child I stared out of myriad windows into this rain—into the glistening trees that slouched with waterlogged branches—and tried to imagine the sun. It didn’t work, of course; the rain had seeped into my mental eye. Instead of sunlight, the inside of my skull grew lush with moss. Forests sprang up, haunted by arboriform spirits and carnivorous umbrella monsters. Predatory ferns infected my temporal lobes and burst outwards in Medusa-like fronds, marking me as forever coiled, an absurd Beardsleyan grotesque.
The sun is out of reach. Continue reading “The Fire, the Eclipse, and the Spiders”
I find myself thinking about boredom. Boredom, is a feeling that seems to be prevalent amongst the modern world’s most dominant social experiences of fatigue, depression and various neuroses which are effected in today’s society. It is an inevitable consequence of modern technological advancement where the borders between work and life have become blurred, the world made smaller by the internet, and the news broadcast continuously twenty four hours a day, extending even further into our subjective experience.
On the release of her latest poetry collection – blud – Adrianna Robertson interviewed Rachel McKibbens for Burning House Press.
I first contacted Rachel McKibbens because I had been—as I often am—considering what it means to write about mental illness. I wanted to have more conversation about why it matters to write poems about mental health, how it factors into one’s identity as a human and a writer, and what it is to attempt to put the experience of it into words. At the same time, I was reading more and more of Rachel’s work (I picked up Pink Elephant and couldn’t put it down) and I felt like I had to tell someone—or as many people as possible, that these poems were opening a door. The new poems in blud left me with that same breathless feeling. Again, I found myself reading them aloud, handing them to friends and my students. Yet, when I sat down to type my questions for this interview, I knew it was impossible to say all I wanted to say—how to describe all that these poems bring forth in me: sorrow, heartbreak, awe, kinship…and always surprise. Finally, I settled on some questions and what follows are Rachel’s eloquent and evocative answers, though they would have been this regardless of what I had asked. And, perhaps more important than any perfect word I could come up with to describe this collection, is this: we need these poems and I am so grateful to Rachel for writing them.
All we misfits, weirdos, black sheep, outcasts and witches who have managed to crawl out of the mud and hold our faces up to the light are family.
Hi-Vis Press interviewed Burning House Press’ chief Arsonist Miggy Angel – Covering the subjects of art, recovery, class, mental health and addiction, and his journey from South London to become a writer and poet – check it out here! Xx
by Rebecca Bird
Rebecca Bird’s first poetry collection is a fierce, accomplished and empowering call to find your own identity.
What makes one writer different from another? As much as any poet is unique and their writing is particular to them, they still work within (and out of) forms and conventions.
For me, all writing bears the fingerprint of its author’s character, even though we are often using the same building blocks of language – and this is what I find most inciting and insightful in Shrinking Ultraviolet. Continue reading “Shrinking Ultraviolet by Rebecca Bird – reviewed by Adam Steiner”
Lydia Towsey interviewed by Trevor Wright for Burning House Press
We first met at the launch of the Refugee anthology, Over Land, Over Sea. Poems for those Seeking Refuge (Five Leaves Press 2015). What was that project like for you?
It’s been very positive – a great idea. As an ordinary citizen, especially, or even in our current political climate, it’s easy to feel powerless. Ambrose (Musiyiwa) whose poem The Man Who Ran Through the Tunnel stimulated the anthology) thought this would be a way to mobilise lots of voices, not just from Leicester but from across the country and the world. Continue reading “A Burning House Press Interview With Lydia Towsey”
By Fredric Nord
I realize how this obsession has gone too far. I’m in a bus cutting through Stockholm, it’s a smug city but easy on the eyes. I’ve dressed up for this. I’m on my way to see Morandi at Artipelag, beautifully situated in the archipelago. My expectations are high, feeling a bit too happy for paintings, a bit nervous. I’ve seen so few of his works in real life, only once before, and they affected me so profoundly that the big painting next door, some ceiling job by some dude named Michelangelo, left me cold and meh. I seem to have something at stake here.
And for this text, I will be Don Quixote de la Costanza.
by Amee Nassrene Broumand
Hello Florence! Thanks so much for agreeing to speak with me here on Burning House Press. I’m fascinated by your bio: you’re a PhD student in physics who also writes poetry. I’ve got to ask, why? What draws you to both physics and poetry?
Hi Amee! Thanks a lot for this opportunity. Oddly enough, the driving force was, & still is, the same in both cases: a thirst for equilibrium, the urge to build an extension upon my collage-like experience of the world; to challenge myself out of my comfort zone, towards areas left uncharted on my maps; to counterbalance an excess of centripetence; to overwrite certainties; to ride a Trojan horse within my own fortress, then to open the gates to cross-pollination.
“my favourite places to roam are borderlands”
by Fredric Nord
You complete me, he says. In the movie. Manufacturing swoon and meme for the masses. Romance aside: I stare at art. I’m stunned by some lines of charcoal on paper. I’m liberated. It completes me. A moment of Eureka soft as morning. An Oh Snap gentle as the night. Our habit is of completeness: Each irregularity will eventually be found by a being that seems born to complete it. Our habit is of individuality, and then overcoming it. Continue reading “What trumps love”
I don’t know how to write about Lol Stein. I’ll start there, with an admission of my own limitations, a confession that any review that I write will fail to encompass all that I felt while reading it and all that I feel all these months and years later. Anything I write about it will be mired in my own history and my own memories.
I hate writing reviews because words never touch the experience of reading a book. This review can’t make you feel what I felt, holding the book in my hands, discovering the words on the page, all the moments in which images and scenes have flashed in my mind. But I want to say something about this book. I have so much that I want to say.
May your world be cast
Into tiny shimmering pebbles
Set upon a bookshelf
Arranged in the chapters of your life Continue reading “‘Shimmering Pebbles’ by Martin Dean”
the following story contains content relating to self-harm which could be triggering to some readers
“Tell me what you know.”
“I don’t know anything.”
“Tell me how you feel then.”
“Honestly, I don’t feel anything. Please. Please don’t. Fucking hell. Please don’t do that.” Continue reading ““Tell me what you know.” – by Jonathan Taylor”
Between the years 1990 – ’93, the poet Paul Hawkins was squatter/occupier/protestor in one of the most contested of spaces in the U.K.’s recent and past history of place-and-occupancy wars. Claremont Road, in London’s East End, was an occupied site and scene for the protests of the ‘No M11 Link Road Campaign’. Paul Hawkins was there, and has documented what took place in his book, Place Waste Dissent, published by Influx Press.
In the foreword to the book, Alice Nutter refers to Claremont Road as ‘the symbol of resistance to the road-building programme of the early ’90s’ – Place Waste Dissent operates not only as flame held close as intimate torchlight illuminating that symbol, but as intravenous entry point into the sign itself. An immersive invocation of the sign and the times it symbolises, a border-shamanic reanimation act that brings Claremont Road back breathing bleeding spitting and bounding into the now. Into the Now that requires reckoning with what was and is still its Then.
Our girls walk with their hands in their pockets. Arms over bellies.
Slip through this city.
Stay soft, our girls are told. Stay quiet.
Our girls who drop their chins and gazes as they pass your boys.
Your boys who smile like they’ve never known sadness. Continue reading “‘Hush’ by Kate Berwanger”