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Sunday, 7 December 2014

Copy That Quizmas #1: Kirsten

In the run-up to the festive season, we're feeling somewhat self-reflexive. Over on Sidekick Books, the press run by myself and Jon Stone, this has taken the form of a daily advent calendar, jingling with poetic delights. 

Here on the Copy That blog, we're taking more of a quizzical approach, with each CT crow giving their tuppence on the year. I'll kick off, shall I?

This Christmas, I am asking Santa for...

The splendidly gloomy Perpetual Disappointments Diary from Asbury & Asbury.
The antidote to the inevitable motivational-poster-fest that New Year will bring. Share your champagne with Chamfort.

Samurai Ghost and Monster Wars by Utagawa Kuniyoshi
This one is research for a novel, but Utagawa's artwork is stunning full stop. Edo-era woodcuts and vibrant colours bring these diverse and bizarre Japanese monsters to life.

Transvestism and the Onnagata traditions by Minoru Fujita
More research but generally fascinating study of female impersonators in the theatre, from kabuki to Elizabethan England.

My favourite new word this year was...

Callypgian (adj), meaning "Having shapely buttocks" 

(Thanks to Free Word Centre for that gem.)

My top three books of the year were...

Things To Make and Break by May-Lan Tan (CB Editions)
Brutal, tender short stories that swoop from intense sexual exploration to family alienation. Touches of Lorrie Moore and Mary Gaitskill, but distinct and different from both. Compelling.

Aquarium by Michael Conley (Flarestack)
Incredible poetry.  Dark, detailed, downright weird. Don't be fooled by the simple title. This book will take you inside the penguin enclosure, lose you in its machinations then throw you out without your coat.

Tree Language by Marion McCready (Eyewear)
Winner of the Melita Hume and Edwin Morgan prizes, Marion McCready paints in bold, dark red strokes. Motifs of blood, children and uncertainty run through Tree Language. It's often uncomfortable, but always gorgeously written and dizzyingly potent.

My tip for surviving Christmas is...

Cheap Irish cream. In hot chocolate, over ice, as a poultice for your aching head...

If I were a Christmas animal, I would be...

Zero, Jack Skellington's dog in The Nightmare Before Christmas. You get to hang out with the Pumpkin King and fly. Two dreams, one ghostly form.

If I could destroy any Christmas tradition, it would be...
Christmas music playing non-stop in shops. So suffocating it actually makes me turn on my heel and leave. As a teenage retail worker, I would dread this time of year, and nowadays, I seek out and embrace shops playing non-seasonal tunes between November and year's end. Ahhh...

I would like Krampus to carry off in his sack...
Self-proclaimed 'pick-up artist', and noted sex pest, Julien Blanc. Not least for the irony of him being picked up and carted away by a demon with an overlong tongue. 

You can see mine and Harry Man's poetic collaboration on the subject of Blanc here.

My proudest achievement this year was...
Becoming a guardian, along with fellow crows Rebecca and Seb, to Mitchell Wigmanirv, the resident Copy Cat. He's a Battersea boy and apparently part-meerkat.

Other highlights included:
  • beginning to write my first solo poetry show;
  • continuing to write my novel;
  • collaborating with the excellent Harry Man on several weird and wonderful poems;
  • winning (along with Jon Stone and illustrator Cliff Hammett) a Saboteur Best Collaboration Award for Riotous, a hand-sewn collection of tropical animal sonnets.

Next year, I am looking forward to stretching my vocabulary with...

26 (and their incredible annual bash Wordstock), all of our lovely clients and my fellow CT crows Jon, Seb and Rebecca, to whom I will now hand over!

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