The wonderful Ma Bibliothèque have published a short story of mine entitled The Ten Superstrata of Stockport J. Middleton.
This is the blurb: In the spirit of Philip K. Dick, The Ten Superstrata of Stockport J. Middleton reworks the first page of Dick’s mind-bending novel The Three Stigmata of Palmer Eldritchinto ten alternative illusions, retaining, in each case, the fundamental syntactic code of the original text. ‘He’ becomes ‘she’, ‘she’ becomes ‘they’, ‘they’ becomes ‘robot’, ‘robot’ becomes ‘tiger’, ‘tiger’ becomes ‘it’. Such gentle mutations flip the picture yet also leave uncanny traces, generating weaves and trails similar to Eldritch itself.
There are so many great covers of The Three Stigmata of Palmer Eldritch, making it difficult to choose a single one. A lot of them have a humanoid figure on them. The one pictured above is part humanoid, part outer space and part spaced-out, and therefore represents Dick’s book pretty well. The lead character in my re-write is eponymous Stockport J. Middleton, not Palmer Eldritch. Eldritch doesn’t make an actual appearance in my re-write but I’m sure he’s lurking in there somewhere.
My kids are called Middleton, their surnames. It’s a name we preferred to mine, Davies. A yarn then. Because they are called Middleton when abroad the border control think I'm not their dad; an oversight when registering their names. The security guards size me up and imply that I’m a kidnapper. They tell me I should have a letter from the mother of the children (I tell them that would be easy to fake, which doesn’t go down well at all). Stockport Middleton of course is of course inspired by that great name of our age Brooklyn Beckham. It also has the ring of the Grease actress Stockard Channing for good measure.
N.B. Neither of our children were conceived in Stockport nor are they named after the town. One may have been conceived in Bury St. Edmunds but that hasn’t got the same ring to it.
The Ten Superstrata of Stockport J. Middleton is available here, priced at £5 - https://mabibliotheque.cargo.site/James-Davies-THE-TEN-SUPERSTRATA-OF-STOCKPORT-J-MIDDLETON-2020
I'm looking forward to running this course on March 14th. Below is a description of the course and information to sign up if you're interested.
Get things in order and explore the many uses of the list form with James Davies.
The notion of the list, or the list poem, goes back to our earliest writings, in texts such as the Iliad and countless religious volumes. From poems that we might call “simple cataloguing” to the list’s appearance as a structural device in complex forms, like the sonnet, you’ll find that it’s everywhere in poetry. Indeed, if we take the word to mean that one thing follows another and that what follows is related to what’s passed, and also that most lines in poems can be placed into categories, then the list is ubiquitous to all poems…
In this day workshop you will explore the multiple possibilities of the form through close reading, writing, and some in-class collaborations to see that, in poet and critic Larry Fagin’s words, in order to write a successful list poem, you need to find ‘a poetic bump in the road’.
While exploring this simple, yet endlessly playful and inventive approach to writing poetry we will take inspiration from contemporary poets, including Caroline Bergvall, Miles Champion, and Matthew Welton, as well as a whole host of poets from the past, and by the end of the day you will have produced a diverse batch of new list poems, covering a variety of different forms and subjects, that will rivet your readers.
Saturday 14 March, 10.30am – 4.30pm.
All classes will be in our offices at 1 Dock Offices, Surrey Quays Road, Canada Water, SE16 2XU. The venue is a 2-minute walk from Canada Water Station. Take the ‘Lower Road’ exit from the station onto Surrey Quays Road, then walk straight ahead, crossing over Deal Porters Way, and the Dock Offices come up on the left. The door for the school is at the far end of the building.