I have written a feature on the literary culture of Hebden Bridge in this weekend’s Yorkshire Post: ‘Aside from the proliferation of alternative lifestyles, its hordes of tourists, flooding incidents, or the title of ‘UK’s lesbian capital’, the small market town of Hebden Bridge has become renowned as an unlikely centre for literary culture in the North of England…’
One of my poems, Sacred Heart, makes an appearance on Smagghe & Cross’s new LP, 1819, via Offen Music later this month. It is taken from Cigarettes in Bed (Blackheath Books, 2008), and was recorded at Air Edel studio with Ivan and Rupert. The first installment, Cock of the North, featured on their previous album release, MA. This new spoken word track, From Sacred Heart, is available to purchase from 27/01 as a download or on vinyl through Offen Music, and Rough Trade etc.
You can listen to a preview on Juno. It sounds nothing like me at all; which is just perfect. It’s a dark, drone-like excursion into the mind’s swampy sewer. Beelzebub in Pigalle.
Here’s the official blurb…
“This second LP on Offen is an ajar window overlooking a phantasmagoric world; a remembrance of days that never were. The music is sparse, the past is forever: ghosts of industries are conjured through the English countryside, fading memories play static with an idea of romance, the sun breaks through the iron clouds. A record free of uncouth nostalgia but laced with ethereal melancholia…”
Described by Resident Advisor as a track that ‘snatches you out of the water’, Cock of the North appears on Smagghe & Cross’s new album MA (Offen Music). It’s a short prose piece about Tadcaster in the nineties. Certainly not a track for Blue Mondays but I think it’s turned out well considering the subject matter…
It was recorded at Air Edel in London last year with Ivan and Rupert. The original poem – Big Weekend – is taken from my 2012 poetry collection Dark Corners of the Land. I’ve had a few emails about it since the record was released, sadly the book is out of print and in the hands of collectors. The poem features in the PUSH anthology, which is still available from East London Press (for those who really want to read it).
Cock of the North can be listened to on soundcloud or youtube. Or you can download it, or order a copy on vinyl here, complete with an existential football scarf. Linear notes are by Andrew Weatherall, who writes that the album contains “brief flashes of gold [that] disturb the murky slit of memory…”
Beulah Devaney has written a retrospective of The Brutalists in Vice Magazine this week:
“Adelle Stripe, Ben Myers and Tony O’Neill; three Myspace-centric Northern writers who wrote poems called things like “Piss Town” and opened their January 2007 manifesto with: “We are the brutalists – fuck you”. Brutalism rejected what its founders considered the homogenisation of mainstream publishing, calling for “raw”, “honest” fiction and declaring that; “[The] only maxim we adhere to is an old punk belief, which we have bastardised for our own means: Here’s a laptop. Here’s a spell-check. Now write a novel…”
In late spring I started researching a new poetry project, inspired by a framed family tree in my grandmother’s hallway. She had spent 20 years of her life researching our family history in records offices, historical archives and libraries across East Yorkshire. I remember spending long afternoons with her, back in the 1980s, and often accompanied her as she flicked through reels of microfilm on big screens in darkened rooms. I was a bored child, whose task was to write down dates of birth and causes of death as she squinted at blurred newspaper articles.
My grandmother’s great grandfather, Matthew Gains Mudd, lost his life at sea in 1894. His name stands out on the framed family tree, and I started to wonder what the story was behind his death. He was from a long line of mariners who lived and worked in the Hessle Road area, where my grandmother was born and grew up.
In her back room, buried beneath piles of old magazines, was a series of boxes that contained clippings about his death. She pulled out folders of documents, including the List of Lost Trawlermen, fragile baptism certificates from the Seaman’s Bethel, and faded photocopies from the Hull Daily Mail. Her handwriting drew maps from name to name, with cross references to other files in the box. Over the course of an afternoon we started to piece together the story of one of Hull’s biggest maritime tragedies in the nineteenth century.
The story we uncovered formed the roots of my new poem, Beyond the Silver Pit, which makes its debut at Enlighten Festival in December, at Manchester Central Library. I have spent the past four months researching and writing the poem based on the life of Matthew Gains Mudd, and his final, fatal voyage on to the Dogger Bank on 22nd December 1894. Matthew lost his life with 107 other men, in a violent storm that destroyed eight smack boats and five steam trawlers from the Great Northern Fleet. They were hauling the catch before heading home to Hull to see their families for Christmas.
This tragic event began on the winter solstice, around the Silver Pit fishing area, approximately seventy miles north-east from Spurn Point. This region is known for its lucrative fishing grounds but also suffers from hazardous conditions in its shallow waters. It was once known as ‘The Cemetery’ due to the amount of wrecks on the sea bed. In the pre-Ice Age era Dogger was the piece of land that joined Britain to mainland Europe. Fishermen have been known to pull up oak trees, mammoth skeletons and peat soil in their nets when fishing in the area.
The narrative poem tells the story of Matthew and his battle against the tempestuous nature and savage beauty of the North Sea. Drawing on local folklore and superstitions, oral histories, hydrographic maps and archive material from Hull History Centre, Beyond the Silver Pit captures the atmosphere of Hessle Road in the nineteenth century, and the harsh realities of working-class life in the area.
At almost 11 minutes long, this is the longest poem I have ever written, and it has recently been recorded as a spoken word piece by the Hull author Russ Litten, who originates from Liverpool Street, just one street along from where Matthew lived. His accent is distinctive and hearing him read the poem has really brought the subject to life.
I’ve also collaborated with Curated Place, Factory Records’ typographer Trevor Johnson and lighting designer Nick Malbon to create the piece. You can hear the poem as part of a captivating audio/projection installation at Manchester Central Library from 10-12 December 2015, tickets are free, but you’ll need to book. The festival runs from 5-8pm each evening.
For more information on the Enlighten Festival visit: http://www.enlightenmanchester.co.uk/
Listen to the poem here: https://soundcloud.com/adellestripe/beyond-the-silver-pit
This project is supported using public funding by Arts Council England.
During the summer of 2014 I worked with publisher Michael Curran (Tangerine Press) on a new selection of tanka poems by one of the most famous and controversial poets in Japanese literature, Akiko Yosano.
Aged nineteen, Akiko Yosano (1878-1942) fled to Tokyo from her sleepy hometown of Sakai to join her lover Tekkan, poet and editor of the journal Myojo. Akiko wrote him adoring letters and poems, even threatening suicide if he didn’t divorce his wife. This formed the basis of Akiko’s debut collection Midaregami (Tangled Hair) which became a literary landmark and is one of the central works in Japanese Romanticism.
Sweet is the Taste of Tears is a new selection from Midaregami created and handsewn by Michael at his Sick Tangerine workshop. Akiko is one of my favourite female writers of all time and exerts a large influence on my writing. It was so difficult to make a decision on what not to include. I could have written a novel on Akiko’s life, but could only manage an afterword for this edition. I hope it provides a good introduction to her work.
The chapbook is work of art. 6″/150mm wide x 300mm/12″ tall. Recycled 350gsm Cairn Almond stiff card covers; front cover design hot foil stamped in black ink. 100gsm Heritage Book White text paper; 60gsm Katazome-Shi endpapers, with a base colour of Fuchsia with symmetrical patternation in various colours: all hand printed in Japan (one side only). 16 pages and only 23 in existence.
It’s also worth mentioning that it’s part of the Sick Fly Chapbook Series 2014. Other titles include William Wantling’s Heroin Haikus, Mick Guffan’s Twenty Six Letters Scattered Sorted Loved & Unleashed, Stanley Cooperman’s Cappelbaum’s Lament, and Weldon Kees’ 1926 & other poems.
Visit Tangerine Press for further details.
It has been a year in the pipeline so I’m delighted to finally share Bad Blood – a collaboration with filmmaker Martha Jurksaitis (Cherry Kino) and C.A.R. (Chloe Raunet).
The poem is taken from my collection Dark Corners of the Land, it was recorded by Chloe in her studio at home in Dalston, and was mixed in Paris. This is the first time I’ve done a spoken word track, it reminds me of Mogwai. Chloe recently appeared on Gesaffelstein’s LP, and she’s about to release a new single ‘Spitfire’. Check out her video HIJK. It’s quite special.
The analogue film was made on Super-8 by Martha, with footage shot in Finland. It was developed in the dark room at Patrick Studios. It’s quite Watcher in the Woods. Martha is the Queen of Wondermental Cinema, and lives in Shipley. You can see some of her films here. Enough to set your mind alight. The film has just made the official selection for the 10th Berlin International Directors Lounge [DLX], Feb 6-16th, 2014 at Naherholung Sternchen. More details can be found here.
Dark Corners of the Land was named ‘Poetry Book of the Year’ in the 3:AM Awards 2012. Thanks to all at 3:AM for voting. It joins winners Keith Ridgway’s Hawthorn & Child (Granta), Christine Schutt’s Prosperous Friends (Grove/Atlantic), Simon Sellars & Dan O’Hara’s Extreme Metaphors: Interviews with J.G. Ballard (4th Estate), Chris Ware’s Building Stories (Jonathan Cape), David Byrne & St. Vincent’s Love This Giant (4AD/Todo Mundo), The Turin Horse dir. Béla Tarr, The New Inquiry, Sylph Editions, and Los Angeles Review of Books.
There are only a couple of copies left of Dark Corners – it will be going into a second edition shortly. Blackheath Books’ Manufactory will be creating something special, look out for the new design on their website…