MW Bewick

MW Bewick is an Essex, England-based poet and co-founder of the small indie publisher Dunlin Press. He has lectured in creative and professional writing, works as an editor and journalist, and has performed regularly as a singer and songwriter. For a long time he worked in record shops. His poems have appeared in journals including Dreich, The Lonely Crowd, The Cormorant, Under the Radar, The Mechanics’ Institute Review and The Stinging Fly, as well as anthologies including The Cottongrass Appreciation Society (Maytree Press) and Tempest (Patrician Press). His first collection of poetry, Scarecrow, was published in 2017. The Orphaned Spaces, a collaboration with his wife, the artist Ella Johnston, was published in 2018. A second collection of poetry, Pomes Flixus, is also out now. He nearly always wears black.

cover image by @EllaJohnstonArt

Online launch vide at the end of the page.

Introduction to The Zircon Ferries by MW Bewick

The poems, writings, texts – I’m not too concerned with definitions – in this short collection of recent work is purposely heteroglossic. Or maybe that’s polyphonous, or dialogic, in its multifarious registers of language. It encompasses instances of office jargon, marketing strategy terminology, symbols lifted from popular culture, references to continental philosophy, Marxist theory, art theory and critical studies, old documentary footage, movie-star biographies, science texts, Elizabethan drama, nature writing, local observation, memoir, dreams, overheard conversations, below-the-line comment from websites, phrases altered sequentially through an online thesaurus, the occasional neologism, slang… and more. Quite usually, the variousness of the parts collide in quick succession during the course of a single small work. I don’t think we experience the world in straight lines. I mean, there may be a beginning, types of mid-points, and then a disappearance that we may wish to see as some kind of an end, but how we get from one to another is never even. 

(Outside, as I write, it just started to rain. Now it has stopped again, and this sentence is already too late. And now…) 

Preview The Zircon Ferries by MW Bewick

Some History Revision

Perhaps towards the end of the Napoleonic Wars
and the early years of EastEnders,
with Pat Butcher sailing back to Cannes from Elba
where she’d exiled alone in a replica edition of 
The Queen Vic,
and the call to arms was simply to
pour some pints, wave some flags,
and the bends in the river went on and on.

Even then we felt something needed to give
as Prussia was restored to its former borders,
Britain sized up its economic power and
Bono considered a cowboy hat.
The Congress of Vienna,
delivered by Walls or Lyons Maid
sustained us through a decade of hot summers
foreign films on Channel 4
and European football bans.

Let’s not forget
in the analogue of days,
that hayfever found us in any green room.
It meant a day off books, revision time
for abdications at Rochefort,
Murat confused with Marat, 
Wicksy merging with Curly Watts,
channel-hopping again
as we lived through deconstruction.

We never knew enough. Still don’t.
It would be easy to cry about it, and maybe tempting,
all of us waiting for plot twists, following
the narrative arcs of characters
who now seem little more than clichés.
Don’t start, some facts persist
and somewhere some new coalition is polishing the optics,
seeking its brief period of costly domination,
waiting for the drums to kick things off.

Praise for The Zircon Ferries by MW Bewick

“The teddy bears have barbecued the picnic again and the birds have taken over the white house, no word from Ashbery as he’s at sea while MW Bewick’s fishing in the local traffic light shop, such is the filtered escapism of these poetic works of mo-po* punkish language – distortion and expansion. More!”

  • Michelle Moloney King, poet, editor, Beir Bua.

*mo-po is a play on po-mo (postmodern poetry, as we are not postmodern poets but a new century using language in the way they started.)

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