Blacking Out

Bristol, a collection of poetry and experimental prose edited by Paul Hawkins (who publishes our buddy Hiromi Suzuki) includes the kind of formal play we live for over here at ETTO.

David Turner offers us satirical glances at Turner prize winners and their work going slightly wrong (Hirst shouting “Flatten its snout and bang a load of teeth in it” when presented with the wrong kind of marine life to pickle) or getting caught in having to run a charade (Emin having to sneak the homeless into the Tate to ensure My Bed is as authentic as possible during a retrospective).

The poetry in the collection is along modernist lines — floating images tethered to one another in a non-linear form — giving us a sense of a city reflected in broken glass. Alternatively, there are the opening pieces by Sarer Scotthorne which are laid out in the syntax of computer code. The computer code suggests a hierarchy of meaning through items “called” before others — meaning there is a kind of dependency on the former for the latter to have any mean.

Lizzy Turner later in the collection gives us blackout poetry, transforming the meaning of the text by removing/blotting out various parts of the section. Here’s a snippet of before and after, there’s also another panel between:

I like the presentation of this because here we’re served the text being chipped away it to find meaning. It is designed to say that the whole text you are provided with does not contain the fullest meaning.

The collection focuses on these ways of relaying information to the reader — whether you need to cut away at structure and assume there is no canonical connection between images in a poem, cut away at a text to highlight meaning by obscuring others, or present a hierarchy of meaning through syntax and form. Each comes with their drawback — none can be truly be presenting something canonical. Even in the short satirical stories are about suggesting that the presented authorship of a piece of work is not to be trusted in itself.

The collection, called Bristol, is published by Dostoevsky Wannabe and can be purchased here.




Greying Ghost are looking for things currently, and as they previously published Judson Hamilton’s No Rainbow — which we covered all the way back here, we think they’d be good for an interesting chapbook project.

In similar news, Broken River Prize is still open, and I have enough poetry to submit to it. Maybe you do too?


Today’s song is this live Grandbrothers’ session on someone’s decking. Grandbrothers as an act has yet to grow on me fully in their studio releases, but as with everything, if I feel I am somehow seeing how it works it pleases me a great deal more.

As an aside, this is the band that I call bloodfathers because the person who introduced me to them couldn’t quite remember the name. This is also my next band’s name, so please don’t steal it.


Thanks for reading Etch To Their Own, it’s been a warm, frustrating week this week and I am glad to be able to slip into the weekend where there isn’t quite as much atmospheric pressure. I assume she fed 1000 Elisabeth Ingram Wallace’s into an artificial intelligence to make this tweet. This is what self care looks like. Sometimes we want a thing more than we can admit we want a thing. Other times we deny ourselves things because it’s the right thing to do, like not having three double cheeseburgers, and only having one. In personal writing news, I am very happy to say I have been collecting things together like a pseudo-literary Smaug and have 20k worth of short stories ready to edit and 40 pages of poetry to make poetry shaped. It’s nice to see that little things add up.