Wednesday, August 19, 2015


Holidays are for people who want to get away from where they are or from what they do when they're not on holiday. Since I don't usually want to get away or to stop whatever I'm doing, holidays are not really my thing. But this was a late celebration of my sister's significant birthday a couple of months ago so we met up in a place she knows and loves and where I've never been.

Vezelay, in Burgundy, a tiny village with a troubled medieval history, the whole of which was enacted by the townsfolk themselves, in period costume, in a full son et lumiere performance (visually impressive but verbally too long to endure). The village consists of one steep uphill street with a scattering of atmospheric shops and restaurants, a small but perfectly designed museum which houses the Zervos collection of modern art, and at the top of the slope, the legendary St. Marie Madeleine Romanesque abbey, unbelievably serene in spite of its violent buried past. The Vezelay hillside is planted with heavy dusty pink stone walls and ochre red roofs like some kind of indestructible vegetation.

 Wonky table for eating baguettes on the terrace outside our hotel room.

  Birdsong and the crunch of footsteps on a back road (all roads are back roads).

Medieval insects? Anyone know what species they are and what they are doing on that tree trunk?

 A victim of medieval torture, imprisoned in a tree?

 Ma boutique? Who knew

Enchanted Soul - wondrous bookshop and gallery. Looks kitschy outside but isn't inside. Brilliant exhibitions of calligraphic art from around the world.

Settings change, tourists stay the same.

Coffee break.

Doorway of Sylvie's house near Vezelay.

Lunch at Sylvie's table, Swiss (or Dutch) doll presiding.

Below, Sylvie von Segebade-Marty at her house near Vezelay. I met her at the Paris Salon du Livre last March, she came to my stand, bought the Trans-Siberian book and we spoke for about ten minutes, became friends for life. She is an extraordinary person. Thanks to Sylvie we met another extraordinary person: Pierre Etienne Breguet, and re-connected with yet another extraordinary person, Jean-Claude Bel, whom my sister had met on one of her previous visits. Vezelay is the kind of place where such connections happen. I trust we'll stay connected with them all.

Blinking in the birthday sun, reflected in the hotel room window, c'est moi on 7th August 2015, Vezelay.

One more thing to pack into this post: before I went on holiday I made a photobook from pics of some of my books and boxes, a partial catalogue. It arrived when I got back home and I am very pleased with it. Here you can flip through it online (best on full screen).

Monday, July 27, 2015


Sudden nagging urge to write some poems, interfering with the dozens of really necessary things I must do before going away in a couple of days. Anyway, here goes. The image is from My Life Unfolds (and today is not my's on 7th August.) Back soon.


Those 2 souls
I terminated...

We can argue about souls
you'll say fantasy
I'll say fact

But those 2 souls I terminated
before knowing who they were
before letting them surprise me

Those 2 souls I terminated long ago
by that act
it's a fact

They'd be here today
for my birthday.



A neighbour's cat
Often comes to see me
We are in love this cat and I
He reads my mind
I read his eyes
He is demanding
Moody, jealous
That's fine
He's not mine

I give him undivided attention
Careful caresses, food.
His owner cleans his litter
Takes him to the vet
He sleeps in her bed.
That's absolutely fine
I'm so happy
He's not mine.

Monday, July 20, 2015


Dick Jones has posted on his Blaise Cendrars FaceBook page a report of our 6th July launch of Trans-Siberian Prosody and Little Jeanne from France at the London Review Bookshop.

I've uploaded my original video, the one that was projected onto the screen at the bookshop, to my FaceBook page (file too big to post here). The soundtrack is only a test recordings of Dick's reading and lacks Doug McGowan's music but it is the complete sequence of images I stitched together as a movie.

We were very glad to have Bill Garnett filming the live event. His version, which I've now also uploaded to FaceBook, focuses mainly on Dick reading and Doug playing, only occasionally turning the camera towards what is happening on the screen. This intimate view of the 'performers', if not a complete record of the 'performance' itself, gives a great sense of the ambiance and character of the evening.