Monday, 31 January 2011

Thanks Anyway

Don't you love it when all of your friends and acquaintances are writers or musicians or artists of one kind or another and the only time they ever contact you is to try to sell you their latest product? Oh, hey there - sorry I haven't been in touch for 18 months! What's that? Your aunt died? That's too bad. You know what would cheer you up, though? I've just had a new sequence of poems published and it's a delightful mandarin colour.

There's a launch event if you're not too grief stricken. What's that? Your aunt left you her filofax and her SatNav? Well they would both be ideal for recording the following information and helping you find the venue, respectively:

This Thursday, February 3rd, 7pm at The Priory Rooms, 40 Bull Street, Birmingham, B4 6AF

So I'll see you there, right? What's that? Your new band's EP is laucnhing later that very same night? I'm afraid I'll be mourning your aunt. Thanks anyway, though.

Tuesday, 25 January 2011

Glockenspiel Kennard

This is Loch Kennard, which I was named after (sub: please check) when my fore-fathers acquired eighteen bolts of material from a Scottish cloth merchant and failed to pay the bill, way back in the 17th century. The deal was that in three hundred years time, their descendants would have to name their first born something which sounded like Loch Kennard, their favourite fishing retreat. Had I been a girl, I might have been named Glockenspiel Kennard or Callista Flockhart Kennard. In the event it was more simple and Luke Kennard, me, was born. Thus, while I am not Scottish enough to wear a kilt at a wedding, I am Scottish-by-association enough to enjoy haggis and single malt. Happy Burns Night, all.

Thursday, 20 January 2011

"This time covered in oily hair."

LUKE: I have a long-ish prose poem about eye infections and the internet called 'Soft Second Serve' in the second issue of Some Ways to Disappear, a beautiful journal of new writing and photography edited by Michael D. Brown and Josepha Sanna.

CHORUS: We don't care.

LUKE: Curses!

CHORUS: Why would you assume anyone cared?

LUKE: As part of my NY's resolution to waste more time on the internet, I'm also planning to post some 500 word pieces (on this here blog) about some major 20th century short stories I haven't read yet. Stories by people like William Trevor and William Maxwell and at least one other William. There will be 30 stories in total and I plan to alternate MAN WRITER / WOMAN WRITER / MAN WRITER / WOMAN WRITER, like that. I was going to do one a day for the month of January, but it's already the bastard 20th of January and I've accomplished precisely squat / goose-egg / bupkiss / zilch.

CHORUS: About this we care even less.

Tuesday, 18 January 2011

"Anyway, like I was saying, the hermit."

Does that strike you as a good line of poetry? (NOTE: Comments are disabled. Just answer the question in your head like a normal fucking human being, okay?)

Well, whether it does or it doesn't, if you ever get interviewed and the interviewer asks if you know any poetry off by heart, you can reply, "Anyway, like I was saying, the hermit." And the interviewer will be all, 'Wow! What does it mean? What CAN it mean?'

All of this is because it is a line from a poem from a collection I'm currently proof-reading (Ha! Which evenings are spent playing with Mensa wooden puzzles and eating a whole multipack of Wotsits now? Not this evening): my new collection, a narrative sequence in pamphlet-form, shortly to be published by the splendid Nine Arches Press (

It has the same title as this blog. There is a reason for that which I will come to RIGHT NOW. About three or maybe two years ago I did that one-poem-a-day thing for the month of April. Sometimes I did it properly, and sometimes I did it disingenuously, making some of the pieces out of scraps and half-finished things I'd already written. Why am I even admitting that? Still, a kind of narrative emerged and I enjoyed it, and I enjoyed the results more than the collection I'd just published, which was a sorry state of affairs. For a few months the frenzied media bulldozer that is my writing career shook lustfully onward, and I answered lots of interview questions like, 'Do you like to use a pen or a computer when you write?' and 'Do you keep all your poetry money in a little wallet or just stuff it into your garter-belt?', all the while nurturing a wound, and that wound was that I preferred the work I'd written (or self-plagiarised) and presented as off-the-cuff, casual Friday, Little-Pig-Robinson pocket fluff. Preferred it, indeed, to the work I'd written (or self-plagiarised) and presented as a book of fine and brilliant things. Several disappointed reviews of the book (one critic was so upset he refused to review it altogether, presenting instead some factoids about earthquakes: "At the Earth's surface, earthquakes manifest themselves by shaking and sometimes displacing the ground", etc.) only exacerbated my concern. A little while later I lifted the poems from the blog in the hope that everyone might forget I'd ever put them up there in the first place and started shilling them about the place. Given that I'm so famous I sometimes get asked for an autograph by the postman, it didn't take long before literally the only press I'd sent it to all but bit off my hand with an 'It needs quite a lot of work.'

So after cutting the whole thing in half and painstakingly re-writing every poem so that gems like "Anyway, like I was saying, the hermit" really sparkled like the gems they are, the journey was completed. And I, like so many journeyists before me, was left to realise that the point of the journey had been the journey itself and not the destination. Bah!

A chilling insight into the 21st century poet's studio. I know, I know you're thinking
All contemporary poetry is shit, and you're the worst, posh-voiced, repetitive, irrelevant nosebleed of them all. You're a product of the insidious industrialisation of culture via Creative Writing course. You squat in your comfortable little red-brick "job" conning your proteges out of thousands of pounds. You have a pathological desire to be liked by everyone, you're a terrible lecturer and a fraud of a writer and even the people who've said ludicrously nice things about your work in the past are having second thoughts.
But I've disabled the comments, so you'll have to take it out on your loved ones instead.

This blog will be running exclusive bonus content for the whole month of February (Just press a signed copy of the pamphlet and your face to the screen and whisper, 'I love you, Luke Kennard' six-to-eight times to unlock). In all likelihood this will prove so popular that I shall "monetise" the blog and start raking in the kablingy. OR, my null hypothesis will be proven correct: that one's web-presence isn't worth a damn in a cultural buyers' market and that not only poetry, but the novel, the movie, the short story, the singer-songwriter, the computer game, the casual computer game, driving licences, fruit salads, pop music, the high brow, the low brow and the middle brow are all dead and we will be remembered as the generation what killed them. Sadface.