Nancy Campbell 
Untitled, 1974,
 by Roger Hilton

                                                                after Jacques Prévert

There is no body.
The thing corkscrews
out of confusion
like an avian army knife,
all beak and wing. The brushstrokes
are the bold blue of the sky
the wings might fly through
if they were flying, but the sky
is pure white—it is as white
as paper, perhaps.
It belches a little
between gluts of paint.

Under a charcoal smudge
that suggests a crest
the beak forgets
the point of elegance.
The blue thing dips
its curious tip
as if to drink, but overbalances.
The eye—a target
not a tool—
slides down the face
then hesitates.

It watches him
striving to move within
those denser elements—
slurry of spirits,
the June night—
a recalcitrant brush
in his right, in his wrong hand:
painting feet as branches,
painting legs like nothing on earth,
painting the head a mortar, within which
grinds and grinds a pestle neck,
painting the thing all wing.

It watches him sign
across the fading halo
of a coffee ring.

Nancy Campbell’s books include How To Say ‘I Love You’ In Greenlandic (winner of the Birgit Skiöld Award), Disko Bay (shortlisted for the Forward Prize for Best First Collection 2016 and the Michael Murphy Memorial Prize 2017) and a memoir, The Library of Ice: Readings from a Cold Climate.

Try To Be Bette
r—edited by Sam Buchan-Watts and Lavinia Singer
is a multi-disciplinary engagement with the idiosyncratic creative practice of W.S. Graham, foregrounding experiment and process. Contemporary writers and artists respond to prompts Graham left in notebooks and letters to create original poetry, illustration, sculpture, painting, scholarship and more. Published by prototype earlier this year (see here), the collection collates works by Astrid Alben; Nuar Alsadir; Marianne Røthe Arnesen; Edwina Attlee; Tom Betteridge; Rachael Boast; Nancy Campbell; Thomas A. Clark; Holly Corfield Carr; Lauren Doughty; Bobby Dowler; Aisha Farr; Natalie Ferris; Isabel Galleymore; Callie Gardner; Christopher P. Green; Oliver Griffin; Will Harris; Lesley Harrison; Daisy Lafarge; Zigmunds Lapsa; Maureen N. McLane; Lucy Mercer; Aimée Parrott; Natalie Pollard; Paloma Proudfoot; Denise Riley; Ben Sanderson; Denise Saul; Lucy Stein; Amy & Oliver Thomas-Irvine; Nick Thurston and Donya Todd to realize a searching study of Graham’s work, practice, critical inference and poetic influence. 

The image is excerpted from the hardback “Archive of Modern Conflict” edition of Night Letters: ‘Blue Bird’
[Gouache, June 1974], p. 183.
Purchase the book from the publisher here.



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Hotel is a magazine for new approaches to fiction, non fiction & poetry & features work from established & emerging talent. Hotel provides the space for experimental reflection on literature’s status as art & cultural mediator. The magazine is bi-annual, the online archive is updated periodically.

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