was born in Glasgow, Scotland. His poetry, fiction and translations have recently appeared or are forthcoming in Evergreen Review, The Cortland Review, Envoi, Ekleksographia, Rakish Angel and the anthology The Return of Král Majáles: Prague's International Literary Renaissance 1990-2010.|
He is currently living in Ho Chi Minh City working on his manuscript of poems, Divorcee Disco Music.
When I was around eleven or twelve years old, some of the local kids would play in a dirty wooded area by a stream. During this time I had big problems coming to terms with the inevitability of death. I have always remembered the absolute terror of dying on this other child's face, as if he understood something for the first time.
When I wrote Wash My Mouth Out With Whatever You Like, I was thinking of the throwaway things that people say to each other such as "I'll kill you!!" and how life would be if we meant all that we say. This idea combined with some of the terrible acts that truly happen within relationships.
Poem 1981 came out of a conversation I had with friend and fellow poet Stephan Delbos about Jack Spicer's "poetry of transmission" as Delbos calls it, whereby the poet tries not to control what the poem is saying, rather he or she trusts the poem to do its own thing. I had been re-watching the film Boogie Nights and thinking about the superficial glitzy sheen that covers the psychological trauma and violence that underpins the film. This came together with images that flashed into my mind of the brutality of my home city, Glasgow, in the early 80's. Honestly, at the time of writing, I had very little conscious control over what I was typing.