Review of 2016: p.a. morbid

p.a. morbid is a name I’ve been familiar with for several years and, finally, earlier this year, I met the man himself for the first time at the launch of Harry Gallagher‘s pamphlet ‘Chasing the Sunset’. 

morbid is really well-respected and has furthered the careers of many poets so it’s a true pleasure to have him on the blog today. Thanks for taking the time to review your year, morbid. 

Vic x

Do you have a favourite memory professionally from 2016?
Professionally, with The Black Light Engine Room Press, it has been a rather good year, as we’ve published chapbooks by a number of great poets, inc Harry Gallagher. The high point though, was February, when we published Jim Burns as one half of the ‘Dark Matter’ chapbook (with Judi Sutherland). Jim’s one of the nicest people, and has been publishing since the 60s & is the closest thing I’ve got to a hero/father figure in the poetry world. I was a little nervous meeting him, but he was just so nice & exactly as he is in his letters & emails. He read ‘Easter In Stockport’ which the first poem of his I came across in the 90s. He stayed at mine & we spent 2 hours the next morning talking about art & poetry, which was just amazing! A true inspiration, in that he’s always ready to answer my questions & is so knowledgeable about poetry, bohemianism, modern art. Great interview with him here.

And how about a favourite moment from 2016 generally?
Its been a good year on the whole, but I think I’d have to go with having my first exhibition of paintings. Most people know me as a poet &/or local historian, so it was good to show my graphic side for a change, even if it was a little dark for some people.

Favourite book in 2016?
There have been a few, but the best have been: “Artists, Beats & Cool Cats” by Jim Burns – a collection of reviews & articles covering artists etc – the breadth of his knowledge is, well, wide! And he writes in such an easy going manner that you almost forget that you’re ingesting all that knowledge!

Jesus, Interrupted” Bart D. Erhman. Bart’s a New Testament scholar, ex-fundamentalist Christian, who’s a professor of religious studies North Carolina. The book covers the changes in the N.T., some accidental, others not, and again, is so easy to read…
Mercurius” Patrick Harpur. A detective novel & history of alchemy all rolled into one, this helped me express some of the things that were bugging me in a symbolic, pictorial way, feeding into my painting, as well prompting me to layer my prose with subtle esoteric references.
Hackney, That Rose Red Empire” Iain Sinclair. Although he writes, mostly, about London, I find Iain really inspires me to write about Middlesbrough. He has a very Beat way of writing, which I can’t handle in his fiction, but in his ‘psychogeography’ I find fascinating.

The Psalm Killer” Chris Petit. A poet, and mate of Mr. Sinclair, I picked this up in Waterstones & read it quickly, for me, over 4 days. Set in 1985 Belfast it combines a great story, and lots of the Irish-British army/ counter-intelligence of the 70s.

Favourite film in 2016?
Without a doubt it was “Byzantium“, which is, and I don’t usually gush about films, truly beautiful. A modern re-telling of the vampire myth, set in Brighton, it made me cry when I first watched it. I’ve seen it 4 times now, and it hasn’t lost any of its appeal. The best thing is I found it in Cash Generators & bought it on a whim. That, & watching “True Blood” for the first time, set me off writing a vampire story set in Middlesbrough.

Favourite song of the year?
It’s rare that anything new grabs my attention, but Mammoth Weed Wizard Bastard did. They’re a doom metal band, but with a female vocalist & this really makes them stand out. 

Any downsides for you in 2016?
Well, I suffer from depression, am a recovering alcoholic, so there’s always something ha ha. I have periods of total despair, which isn’t helped by being a poetry publisher, because, as much as I love it, it’ll never make me any money!

Are you making resolutions for 2017?

What are you hoping for from 2017?
To have the press grow, as well as the live events, We’ve got 7 chapbooks coming out between January & June of 2017, so I’m going to be very busy…

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