Swarming is a waspish debut of strange voices and unsettling moments which jostle at the border of individual and collective experiences: a holy fool lurks uneasily in an abattoir; a host of angels go to work in the Israeli post office; a tiger wanders through London, blurring the lines between dream and reality, the atomised individual and the possibilities of the social. Meanwhile Mesolithic voices emerge in a spell from the depths of the north sea and eclectic presiding spirits from Ivor Gurney to Jim and William Reid haunt poems which are deeply personal and quietly political – poems which hope, fiercely, for a remade world and rage that it is not so.
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'Variety is the watchword, in terms of style, subject and approach, but the collection is made to cohere by sheer force of will, and talent... Mackay can do tenderness ('Yours'), politics ('Isles of Dogs') and even concrete poetry ('Wales') without betraying his emphasis on feeling, thoughtfulness and precision.'
'His work is drive, ego, passion, curiosity, and cultural pluralism projecting itself outward ‘like a Johnny Cash bassline down the Old Kent Road / stopping to show its paws – heavy in their absence of claws – to question mark women / who nod as they pass.’ His projections comprise broad and transient influences from DC Comics, raw mythology, Leviticus, or John Peel. While sometimes vivid and personal, like a ‘Phantasy of Flesh’, or ‘red rings drying in a wine glass’, Mackay’s projected subjectivity takes steps back, giving room for the reader to take man size gasps of thoughtfulness and reflexivity... Swarming [has] a post-modern intellectual precision, and [is] politically tuned-in while not ideologically exuberant.'
'Edward Mackay's poems always deliver surprise: his formality is jagged and irreverent; he re-envisions the lyric in the edgy fringes of east London. He takes on many guises – cannibal-lover, death-knell raven, restless traveller. This is an extraordinarily confident and beautifully crafted debut from a poet who is going places.'
Forthcoming - Of or Pertaining to a Raven will be republished in Birdbook III from Sidekick Books.
Forthcoming - RSVP and The Size of Wales will be republished in Domestic Cherry 3.
October 2012 - We Can Meet Love Always and Afterword (for Tsutomo Yamaguchi) was be published in Shearsman 93/94
September 2012 - The Size of Wales was published in Poetry Review.
July 2012 - Afterword (for Tsutomo Yamaguchi) was released from a helicopter as part of the 'Rain of Poems' by Casagrande as part of Poetry Parnassus - the Southbank Centre's international poetry festival. It was translated as Epilogo by Rodrigo Olavarria.
June 2012 - The Fall Alone has been published in Magma 53.
May 2012 - Self-portrait as swan with gaffer tape was published with a recording in Toe Good.
April 2012 - Dandelion Clocks was published in issue 13 of Fourteen Magazine.
October 2011 - The East Coast Line has been published in The Rialto 73
October 2011 - Constable has been published in What Do We Want? a printed and online collection edited by Sian Robinson Davies and Emma Leach during their Creative Lab residency at the Centre for Contemporary Arts, Glasgow.
July 2011 - The Abbat and Of or pertaining to a raven will be published in Ambit 205
June 2011 - The Letters to God Department and Against Simile have been published in Clinic II.
May 2011 - Afterword has been published on Days of Roses to celebrate the quashing of the 1975 conviction of George Davis.
November 2010 - Unwound has been published on the Picador Poetry Prize website.
April 2010 - Insomnia and Beneath have been published on London Grip.