The title Crap Ghosts amuses me no end. In a way the complete output of the Living Channel could fit the description Crap Ghosts, as could the majority of recent ghost stories, when stripped of their humour and other contemporary padding. There is a philosophical difference between a crap ghost and a proper ghost, you know, and it is all in the telling. A crap ghost is not a crap ghost story; it’s just that in our spiritless times, all ghosts are to an extent crap, unfashionable as they are. Crap Ghosts is first and foremost the title of a Gavin Inglis book that I bought a long time ago, and have just pullled out to read again. I'm glad I did.
By John Aberdein
What is it about Aberdeen that brings this out in writers? This isn’t the first time that Aberdeen has been described through the sort of cracked futuristic lens best reserved for a cortex jamming Japanese comic. And I feel it may not be the last. But somewhere in this review, I want to find out why Aberdeen in Scotland lends itself to satirical, future-specific madness.
By Colin Herd
Within poetic form, poetic forms and terminology, from abecedarian and acrostic toTanko and Whitney, labour too many poets, who fly too fast from form to form.
The result is that a fair amount of the poetry albeit in pamphlet, booklet and stapled structure, sticks to forms which obscure its content.
Now this is ok, but not too ok, because it's how the poets learn their trade, but more often than not I stop reading, which is not too ok, because the form is good and the content is nil, or is just ok.
I had better not speak for you... but if you want to know what the difference is, then read too ok, by Colin Herd. It's both ok and too ok too.
By Ross Wilson
My God it’s been too long since we had a boxer-poet in our midst. I’m thinking of Arthur Cravan, whose tireless quest for attention led him up and down Europe until his mysterious disappearance and presumed death in 1918; and I’m thinking of Vernon Scannel, who died in 2007, and who published nearly 65 books and often wrote about what he called in 1975, The Loving Game of boxing.
Boxing and poetry are a great combination, largely I expect due to the contradiction between the most intangible and intellectual of pursuits meeting the most violent and visceral, and this is hugely evident in The Heavy Bag, by Ross Wilson.
By Craig Duffy
I’ve been collecting poetry pamphlets, chapbooks and other assorted independent publications since the 1980s and I always get interested when I see something different. It meant that seeing The Colour Books for the first time was a moment of pure excitement — in a sea of A5 chapbooks, here sails something different, something new, something that someone has spent some time considering.
Fugitive Bullets, you can tell from the cover, is out for fun. This you spot from the fact that the writers are together described as electrophalluciphysicians, (one of the few search terms on the internet that throws up no less than zero results) and may refer to the fact that aside from their other commonalities, the writers here published are all experimentally or underground minded Scots blokes.
By Angus Calder
There is a muckle amount of blether about Scotland, Scottish identity and culture at the present time, all instigated by the SNP’s 'I Agree!' / 'I Do Not Agree!' referendum. Due to the pressures of the Internet age, much of that discussion is reduced to point-scoring and slaggings-off conducted in website comment forms. People have produced articles in the press on the subject, but the majority of campaigners have dug themselves in, popped up their defences, and with nothing else to debate other than personality, the tone can become fairly vituperative. This kind of censure was not something that interested Angus Calder much, and in this, as in everything, he cast his net much wider than most. In the case of Scotland and our Scottish identity, Angus Calder discovered that there is a world of difference between Irn Bru, the Old Firm, castles, festivals and the many other things we feel all Scottish about. It isn’t a simple debate, and better still Angus Calder asks in Scotlands of the Mind, if there is any debate at all. I love that.
By The Two Brothers
Lurid Critical Document and Bad Press. Finite Love proves that whatever you write you can’t help but meaning something. Finite Love also proves that ‘all / pez doth emerge from a salsa / fez oracle,’ (PREFACE).
By Graham Brodie
The poet Brodie bares himself. All poets bare themselves and their poems sit at a certain balance, between how much the poet is baring, and how much of it we can enjoy or stand looking at it. Brodie shows us the edges of his sanity, his demons and his feelings, and with a healthy disregard for how much of it we want to see. It’s his decision, and we are going to see it all, and it’s brave.
by Posie Rider
Once upon a time poets could chose to punctuate or not, or they could choose to drop the capital letters if that was their inclination, in the style first associated with poetic caps cop ee cummings. The more IMS and irrupted text that passes before us, the more crazy possibilities arise, and the poets tap into this in seconds and produce polygluttonous inventions like Posie Rider.
Summer 2011 Number
You must not allow yourself to be fooled by the spooky cover. There are no words on the cover and although that puts you off, you are more afeared of the David Lynch styled image anything anymore anywhere presents; dark, empty, foreboding. Whose camera took that? It must be the editor’s flat. Why is the picture even there at all?
by Colin Donati, Red Squirrel Press
This is the exercise every poet must try: translate Lewis Carrol’s Jabberwocky into your own dialect. Or in Colin Donati’s case, a precision Scots that is as reminiscent of Henryson as it is of the contemporary Scots we are used to. Tags? Spirituality; history; language; nature. Zen sits well with poetry, and Scots poetry too, sometimes in the traditional forms of haiku, and sometimes in the classical Zen ‘surprise’; as perfected in the poetry of Ancient and Now. I have never noticed before the / brambles which hang over the drop / to the single railway track.