Emily in her new bare cell

imageFirst glimpse tonight of where I’ll be reading Subect Index over the next 5 days. Emily D and me are going to be having quite an intense time, I think!

Mehringdamm U-Bahn penal chic.

Iain Morrison and Colin Herd: Berlin reading 28/5/14

Just a quick post to say the reading at Das Gift bar in Berlin is confirmed for Wednesday night, 8.30pm. More details here on Facebook. Hope to see some Berlin faces!

Me and Colin Herd, doing our thing German-style!

Emily Dickinson texts

Picked up two important books for performing Subject Index at the Berlin SOUNDOUT! Festival next week, today.

1) a very beautifully produced volume of selected Emily Dickinson poems in German translation from the Carl Hanser Verlag


2) a new copy of the Thomas H. Johnson edition, ready for me to break into it with 5 days of live reading.

Emily and Reverse copy

I wanted to start with a fresh copy, to give me the feeling of first walking on fresh snow again as I begin to read, and although I won’t be reading from the German, I thought it might be handy to have up my dress-sleeve for any conversations with German speakers about Emily D which arise.

Actually, I think Colin Herd and I might attempt some bilingual presentation of Emily D at our night at the Das Gift bar on Wednesday, as he’s a German speaker. More details to come on that.

Ben Kopel – a sutra!

Love this poem tonight: http://www.poets.org/poetsorg/poem/iscariot-rising-sutra The page shows weird on my browser and hides the title: Iscariot Rising Sutra

I guess I went looking for other poems called something or other Sutra in the wake of writing and performing one (Birthday Sutra) at a really beautifully hosted and satisfying reading at The Sutton Gallery in Edinburgh the other night. It was today’s diversionary exercise, seeing whether there was a recognisable ‘sutra form’ coalescing in or deducible from poems so-titled by various authors. I kind of feel that there is. I come back to the wikipedia article sentence on sutras as a religious text, involving a sequence of aphorisms intended for teaching. The ones that I have dipped into, seems to be loose, long (although Ben Kopel’s isn’t) and following a sort of free-wheeling journey of good advice/aspiration/vision ranging through different specific subjects. The context is the moment they’re addressing. A tentative thought, this, I admit.

Anyway, I also, literally just now and this is quite embarrassing, realised that the sutra in ‘Kama Sutra’ is the same meaning of sutra, of course. I didn’t really think of the Kama Sutra as two separate words consciously before now, and I might have been thrown by thinking about it while writing my poem. But of course, the association totally fits, it’s there, and I’m glad for that and whatever mechanics of brains allow these subconscious sleights of meaning to get into the poem before you second-guess yourself and change your mind.

Here’s a wee excerpt from mine, from my Birthday Sutra:


love love love

the elisions of you

the slow boilings of your clouds.

Not not not like

Sochi Sochi Sochi.

More of a creeper than a rhodeddendron

Sochi where Brodsky visited the Cascade Restaurant on new year 1969, ten years before I was born

Osho Osho Osho

A bad Jazz musician with jazzed bad skin

It’s an old school

an old school

sutra sutra sutra

tantric Male power and stalk energy

suture suture suture

self second-guessing always makes me wrong in the

Future Future Future

bewhiles I have time

hoopla hoopla hoopla

for good ideas to come in the bath

youthlike like youth you thlike

Aren’t I an idea now, having an idea? Aren’t we all so

Sufi Sufi Sufi


Reuben Sutton's photograph of Sutton Gallery, Edinburgh reading by Iain Morrison 21/5/14


Hope you enjoyed that excerpt. Now I’m turning my attentions to focus on Berlin, and my Emily Dickinson readings at SOUNDOUT! festival… Heading there on Tuesday. Whee!