Last week I launched my new book Incarnation at Daunt’s Cheapside alongside the wonderful Antony Dunn’s Take This One to Bed. It almost went terribly wrong, given there was a same day clash with both the launch of Cold Fire, a Bowie-inspired pamphlet edited by John Canfield and Alex Bell at the Brixton Ritzy (what kind of fool tries to compete with Bowie??) and also the arrival of Storm Doris, which meant both my mum and Antony himself had fraught journeys from the North, strewn with electrical cables and threatened replacement buses, and only arrived the moment the launch began.
In the end though it was a lovely, memorable night. We drank lots of wine, sold lots of books and caught up with lots of friends who had braved the elements. Most of all, it was very special to be in the same room as Antony Dunn, Polly Clark, Owen Sheers and Matthew Hollis for the first time in many years – we went on the ‘First Lines’ tour together in 2001, and toured Hungary and Croatia with the British Council soon afterwards, and I think those trips were the most fun I’ve had in my whole poetry career. Hanging out with them all again was just brilliant.
If you missed this launch, I do have another coming up as part of the Essex Book Festival next week – Wednesday the 8th of March at 7.30 at the Art Exchange, University of Essex. I’m currently a Royal Literary Fellow there so it will be really nice to read to colleagues and students and I hope some other poetry fans too (the space has a photography exhibition on at the moment by Richard Billingham, if you need a further lure.) If you can’t make it but would like a copy, it looks like the best bargain online at the moment is £7.65 at Hive, which also supports high-streets and local bookshops.
The day after my book came out, I took its muse, Gruff, to the Science Museum, along with my mum and his baby sister Cate (who is now known as ‘Bleebs’ because Gruff has declared this her ‘alien name’). He’s very into space at the moment – we’re constantly having to pretend the basket-swing in the playpark is a UFO and duck to avoid asteroid storms, and last week we looked at the mind-blowing images of TRAPPIST-1 together: seven planets circling the ultra-cool dwarf star that is their outsized, peachy sun. So I really enjoyed showing him a Japanese robot, a rocket called ‘Black Arrow’, astronauts’ outfits, space food and an actual piece of darkly glittering moon.
Having children projects your mind into the future. As ever, Gruff is giving me ideas: quantum physics, black holes, space colonies, sci-fi. With Incarnation finally launched perhaps I can feel the dust particles of the next collection starting to swirl and form…