Patrick McCabe’s Poguemahone:

Patrick McCabe Poguemahone book

As The Guardian says in its review

Broadly, Poguemahone is a story of possession – of hatreds, obsessions and souls – and of what cannot be possessed, such as friends, lovers, children, even a home. Its narrative is mainly spoken by Dan Fogarty, who attends upon his 70-year-old sister, Una, who has dementia and is in a care home in Margate. Through fractured prismatic recollections …

and it really is a story told through fractured prismatic recollections that range from the 60s music scene through an abortive commune in London to run down Margate on the coast and some sort of home that the sister lives in, the truth of her ‘brother’ Dan and their history is slowly revealed.

The 600 page book is told in some form of free verse, all lines fractured into short parts, all narrative fractured. It takes some getting used to but becomes natural.

Although described as a prose poem I saw it was formatted text matching the narrator’s sometimes disordered thoughts.

Non-fiction can take any form

Osmosis press pitches themselves squarely where I’ve been aiming to end up. I’ve never known how to describe this, and I’m not sure a long description is useful in most circumstances, but I love this descriptor, especially the last line about nonfiction.

Osmosis Press was established with an aim to muddy the boundaries between categorisations of contemporary writing practice. We publish work that resists the definition of poetry, novel, short story, non-fiction, memoir, and everything in-between. We publish poetry that does not map onto the expectations of what poetry can be. We publish fiction that reconsiders the possibilities of prose – or resists prose entirely. We believe non-fiction can take any form.

I don’t believe in poetry

When you start writing in Twine what comes out seems like poetry and it is easy to fall into a belief that you are writing poetry.

Maybe you are, but I don’t believe that there is a separating line between poetry and all other forms of text.

In fact, I don’t believe there is or should be a dividing line between any forms or genre of writing.

It is all the production of a text. The aim should be to write and merge and erase and edit until you have a palimpstext containing the traces of all the texts that preceded it, all the texts that exist, all the texts that have ever been or can ever been.

Of course, maybe this is a poem or an essay or a short-story of a news article, but they all become the same, otherwise we get nowhere. Tam Lin’s 11 Minute Painting uses the aesthetic of a desktop presentation combined with automated speech and data visualisations to create a hybrid text that ‘speaks in the name of a poem and the form of a slide show’.

The Instant

The fragmented, the destructured, the constellated – that’s my new territory!  Reading a review of Amy Liptrot’s new book, The Instant, in The Guardian it strikes me that she’s going somewhere new for her and that there’s more to this than I thought,  perhaps.

 It is a fragmentary, episodic account of Liptrot’s time in Berlin, which took inspiration from poetry and song lyrics, from the internet-led alt-lit movement …

“A lot of books that have been published in the last five years or so are quite fragmentary,” Liptrot says. “And I definitely think that’s a product of living on Twitter, and being distracted and how our attention spans are. But also the way that we’re sophisticated enough as readers to process different information in parallel.”

Process different information in parallel. Having just read Rebecca Watson’s little scratch, which certainly processes different information in parallel, I’m interested to see how far Liptrot goes down this road with her new book. I’ll be talking about The Instant and Little Scratch and a lot more related stuff soon.

example of text layout from Little Scratch
Little Scratch interior