Iain Morrison reading at David Faithfull’s exhibition

A busy week this. Just on the off-chance that any of you are near Haddington, or fancy travelling, I’m delighted to be reading at artist David Faithfull’s Earth, Wind & Fission exhibition. It’s happening in approximately 18 hours from posting at the event in the eflyer below. So that’s 7pm for the reading.

David Faithfull Earth Wind & Fission

Am really excited to be doing this. I’ve known David Faithfull and enjoyed his work for some time, and I’m flattered to get to share a bit of what I do in the context he’s creating here. I’ll be reading with Sam and Jow Walton. Sam and I have been writing a sequence of poems called ‘Four For Forth’ and it’s getting its first outing tomorrow. Think estuarine realism meets arch-emo in a filmed dream sequence.



Just looked up the definition of the word “allopoeisis” after attending the Allopoeisis night at Inspace last week, but only just now thought to wonder what the word meant (doh!). Came across this earnest young man. He’s like a young Al Filreis!

Enjoy. Hope everyone’s well and stimulated, but not over stimulated out there. Will have more news soon about my forthcoming residency at the marvellous Forest Centre Plus. First, #brainrelax.

New CAESURA date – 29th June

Hello! Things have jigged around a bit with the CAESURA reading series dates. I’m now reading on 29th June, a month earlier than before, so I guess I’ll get my poetry skates on because it’ll surely be upon me before I know it.

It’s a different line-up that night too with, excitingly, Peter Manson on it. See a recent example of his poetry here in this Hydrohotel issue.

Am feeling like I’ve earned some creative stripes today as PiP, the Poetry in Progress group I delight in being part of, regrouped last night for the first time in 2012. Much Prosecco and ink were spilled in the pursuit of ideal poetry. Interesting dreams followed – usually a sign for me that the creative tectonic plates are usefully on the move. I’ve been thinking a lot recently and processing the feedback I got over the last year about my writing and working through my reaction to the obstacle course of new reading I took myself over. It’s been daunting to work out where to direct my pen, but I’m going to throw caution to the wind and trust some new steps out again.

Very Small Kitchen. I AM NOT A POET

The title for this blog post isn’t as nonsensical as it seems. Or rather, it kind of is in a delightful whimsy of naming as it’s what David Berridge, poet and avant-gardist based in London, calls his wordpress blog. The blog covers, as he says,  ‘Connections of language, writing, reading and art practice, inside and outside the VerySmallKitchen.’. That’s better than what I’ve come up with, isn’t it? This isn’t a competition, though, luckily for me, although some poets out there seem to be treating poetics as social warfare. Good luck to them etc. …cans of worms… where was I?

Oh yes, David Berridge. Look at the beautiful haikuey thing on his blog’s About section: ‘Let’s ban gravity/ Let’s ban the moon and/ Read all our spam’. That’s the kind of genteel aspirational anarchic spirit I enjoy.

I’m talking about David Berridge because he organised a season called I AM NOT A POET last Edinburgh Festival-time (Aug 2011) with Mirja Koponen at the sadly missed Total Kunst Gallery in the Forest centre. My friend Colin Herd was doing a durational performance in the gallery over 3 days which he invited a different poet into each day for a short reading. I was very grateful to be one of the poets alongside Jow Walton and Samantha Walton, in what was really my first public solo-reading venture of my own poetry straight-up. It was ok, my reading*, but one of the nice and unlooked-for bonuses was that David Berridge invited me to contribute, along with all the other artists involved in the season, a double-sided page of A4 to what he calls an ‘assembling’ publication – basically a sort of loose leaf folio with a title page at the front in pink (fortuitously enough for my blog :-)).

People submitted wonderful and diverse things. My contribution was a playful landscape of columns of text in which I was experimenting with mainly one-word lines with obvious rhymes. It was an early part of something I’ve developed further since (c.f. the three silly pillars reference in my earlier blog entry for those paying close attention!). I thought I’d share the publication link here as I loved and love being part of such a cool venture which felt like a welcome opportunity for a bit of spontaneous and carefree experiment. It’s a free download on issuu:


Colin Herd’s page, by the way, describes what he was doing for his installation, so if you read that, you’ll have an idea of the scene for my reading and for the sort of event I AM NOT A POET was. Which is to say, it’s own thing!

the first page of my poem in the assembling

*I admit, I did find it quite embarrassing that I’d chosen to start my reading by reading one of my fave poems by Colin –  in context with Colin having just intro-ed me, it seemed kind of strange and impudent! Colin said ‘nice one Iain, well done, liked the poem’ at the end, or some such nonplussed retort. It’s weird what you do in life that you think is a good idea. I guess you eventually hope you convince people you’re not a freak. I spend a lot of time back-pedalling away from social death when I first meet people, I’ve noticed….

Short Thought About Words

So, I was thinking today that I can’t avoid the choice of which style of language I can write in. Once you realise that you are using a closed set of words because you have assumed them to be the ‘acceptable’ ones, or the traditional ones, or the cool ones or whatever, then it’s hard to stick to them without feeling that somehow you are not using fresh thoughts, because the words are so bound up in the thoughts.

It also can feel artificial, though, to take a whole new set of words off the peg. I mean, then what does that do to your identity as a voice? It changes it of course – and that’s the dizzying power of words. They’re literally the bricks of thought. LITERALLY. Ok, literally is debatable….

I really can’t remember why I was thinking about that just now. Could be one of several things. I’m starting to try to read Marx’ Das Capital for a reading group and realised quickly how many of his terms have entered the language – that was one thing.

What’s the alternative to sticking within the comfort vocabulary? Using every trick in the box? Then do you end up with word soup, as my friend the poet Sam Walton terms some poetry? I can’t help but think that words embody much more hidden freight in them than most people suspect.

I’d like to let the words in my poetry steer me and my thought sometimes, as well as me trying to herd them.