Katy Evans-Bush is the author of Me and the Dead (Salt Publishing, 2008), Oscar & Henry (Rack Press, 2010) and Egg Printing Explained (out today from Salt). She also writes the blog Baroque in Hackney, edits Salt’s online magazine, Horizon Review, and is a tutor for the Poetry School.
In a world where everything has more possible explanations than ever before, where no experience seems real unless it is refracted, this book examines love, loss, and time itself under a variety of lenses: these poems are made from other poems, from paintings, from songs, from spam emails, snapshots, jokes, dreams. We are the experts on our own existence, but what does it all mean?
Katy Evans-Bush has been praised for situating poetry in the heart of daily life, and her second collection is written in deep engagement with the sounds and colours of real and imaginative worlds. The French writer Nerval’s pet lobster takes us on a vibrant summer’s outing in nineteenth century Paris. Two playwrights in two centuries ponder happily on their unseen downfalls. A child dithers on a hot day, and a lover resorts to pure tactile expression at the moment it means the most.
A sharply-lit American childhood is seen as if through a telescope, from amid the mists of London and its layered lives. Ordinary objects act of their own accord; art speaks to us more than the person standing beside us; and the core of love remains the same while everything around it shapeshifts. One thing is certain, though: an egg is never just an egg.
“Egg Printing Explained is an immediately likeable, lively and readable collection. The poems crackle with invention. The book is a dance of language: dramatic, comic and exuberant. What is especially dazzling is the cavalcade of forms and registers. The poems shift in mood and music from plain song to baroque, from chant to rock, from blues to opera. Her phrases surprise and delight and no reader will ever forget the exhilarating and brilliantly sustained ‘The Love Ditty of an ‘eartsick Pirate’. This is a sharply-written book from one of our sharpest wits. But it is also one of the most generous and melodic books of contemporary poetry I’ve read in some time.”
– David Morley
Francis Alÿs, National Portrait Gallery
The day she has bitten her nails she goes to the Fabiola.
She is distracted and not inclined to look at pictures.
But imagine! When she arrives. A city in a room,
a whole city of similar sainted matrons,
all but a few faced in the same direction.
The same the same the same the same the same —
but with those minute variations,
such as being different, that get your attention.
Happy Fabiolas gaze doll-like all around: some luminous
in oils that sing like the dark that shines
through trees, conferring
a numinous seriousness. Stern, frowning
Fabiolas may be only confused, knitting their brows
in a variety of clumsy media.
About a dozen really are in stitches.
Fabiola is young and beautiful, or pretty or plain.
Seen from her good side, her eye
looks straight ahead into the future,
or down, or if poorly painted then nowhere:
a proper old-fashioned saintly gaze, or else
a bit cross. But then who wouldn’t be cross. O Fabiola,
whose headscarf is red, except for where it is green,
she whispered secretly among the scented patrons,
read to me the deepdown vertical
that folds like a waterfall down the side of your veil,
implacable as a wall, with the knack for shadow.
Beside, in front of, above, behind each other,
but anyway together, they face the future,
or was it the past? Where one is in reverse
she looks to another who faces her, and asks
the question. (Oh, do not ask what is it.) Look:
the fabulous Fabiolas in their red riot are minutely
different different different different different.
She speaks, but silently. Listen to the veil.
Observe like a ritual the careful dab of white
on her pupil. You see what she
would do. Not one,
not one Fabiola must be forgotten.
Portrait of Ida
Attentive and green, she sits alone,
wife of the painter,
daughter of the blue and the rose:
their ghosts. She immerses her spoon
and stirs her coffee, watching
her husband, the painter, paint her. Her cup
gives a glow with its pink palette.
Interior, With Coffeepot
The other chair is pushed away
as if the artist had been sitting on it;
a coffee pot hovers on the table.
There is a woman there, and one cup.
‘Not only is the artist,’ he says, ‘a child.’
‘He is an only child.’ His wife sits by herself.
He sits by himself. They are joined together
by the two ends of the brush.
On a Note by Louise Bourgeois
My memories are moth-eaten.
My memories are things I remember.
Things I remember are half-eaten.
My memories are the things I don’t remember.
The moths are full of my memories.
My memories are my mind.
The moths have eaten my mind.
My memories clothe the stomachs of the moths;
The moths’ wings are decorated with my memories.
My memories are infinitesimal tapestries:
My memories are the sails on which the moths fly.
My memories billow and stretch.
My memories are muscular against the wind.
My memories are of a green luna moth on the doorframe,
My memories sit like moths in a green doorframe.
Melodies of moths like butterflies all summer:
I remember the moths like butter, flying all summer.
My recollections are quiet as Melmoth in a brown garden.
Do you mind the moths like memories in the summer?
My memories are browbeaten as a moth garden.
I mind the moths, like mother flies they shimmered.
My memories are mouths. Mined.
My mammaries are lost in the
Mastery is my myth.
More enemies: clutter, Eden mirth.
My mystery is a moth.
Mrs Mary Morrie is a stitch in nine.
More mummeries than ever are mostly mime.
More trappists than moths have recently dined.
Monsters are loosened easily with sophistry.
I must get the sofa covers cleaned this summer.
My butterbeans are beaten oh travesty.
from Egg Printing Explained (Salt, 2011).
Order Egg Printing Explained.
Visit Katy’s website.
Visit Katy’s blog, Baroque in Hackney.
Launch with Tamar Yoseloff’s The City with Horns
Date: Thursday, 2 June 2011
Time: 18h30 – 20h30
Venue: Purdy Hicks Gallery, 65 Hopton Street, London SE1 9GZ