Thursday, October 08, 2020

Gambit (short story, flash fiction)


Here's a piece of flash fiction for you. It's about Edinburgh, psychogeography, chess, and a few other things.


Brian intended to turn into Wendy at the Camera Obscura at noon. Leaving the pawn shop, the old trouble returned: after two blocks he compulsively veered off at the next left. Then he jaywalked diagonally across Holy Corner, nearly colliding with a churchman in full robes.

The shadow of a great black bird fell across him. Brian knew evasive moves were called for, but the Castle now loomed ahead, blocking his path.

He was trapped. His only option was to knock over a Greene King. Taking a deep breath, he made a beeline for the bar at the World’s End.

© Seán Martin 2020

Sunday, September 13, 2020

'Certain Events in Blackburn, Lancashire, 1967' shortlisted at Wells


My poem 'Certain Events in Blackburn, Lancashire, 1967' has been shortlisted for the Wells Festival of Literature's Poetry Competition. This year's judge is Sean Borodale. Prizes are announced on 22nd October. I'm hoping to attend the prize-giving ceremony - Johnson be damned - as Wells is a great place. A magical part of the world. And, of course, it's a great festival!

Friday, September 11, 2020

'Variations on a Theme from Isaac Holland' receives Notable Mention in Poetry London Competition

My poem 'Variations on a Theme from Isaac Holland' has received a 'Notable Mention' in the 2020 Poetry London Prize, judged by Ilya Kaminsky:

Thursday, September 10, 2020

Robert Bird 1969-2020

Robert Bird, who wrote a two books on Tarkovsky, and who I had the pleasure of meeting at the 2013 Zerkalo Tarkovsky conference in Ivanovo, Russia, has just died. He was only 50. A very sad loss.

Here is Robert's last essay, detailing Tarkovsky's last year, and his thoughts on his own - and Tarkovsky's - cancer.

Monday, July 13, 2020

Marching Season

Marching Season

He had no truck with the Billy Boys, my dad.
When cameras cut to Drumcree
and the crowds on Garvaghy Road,
he would leave the room, ignoring 

the brass band pomp and TV holler,
hectoring preachers and speech of fury.

He escaped at twenty, but was drawn back

at sixty-five. We went over, me and him.

I was given a new first name.

‘I might have to call you John,’
he said, as we called on distant kin.

Small talk disturbed a living room

in the shade of the shipyard.

Pleasantries strained, an old boy 

waving his cane: ‘Is he Catholic, your son?’ 
My father would not be drawn 

on his son’s Fenian name. 

He didn’t give two figs for the Orange 

or the Boyne. Let the bloodied hand 

of Uí Néill glad-hand the parasites. 

He had no time for the Twelfth
and left this world on the eleventh

as if to make a point, I’ve always thought, 

to sneak the last word.

© Seán Martin 2020

Monday, June 08, 2020

Blues for James Whitney at Experiments in Cinema, 1-22 June 2020

A film-related post, for want of any literary news. My new film, Blues for James Whitney, screens at this year's Experiments in Cinema. This festival, usually held in Albuquerque, New Mexico, this year is online for obvious reasons. The films are screening 1-22 June, and are FREE TO WATCH.

My film is part of a programme called Anxiety and Invocation: Artists' Films from Scotland, and is curated by Richard Ashrowan. The programme also includes new work by Rachel McLean, Duncan Marquiss, Alex Hetherington and others. It's an honour to be part of such a line-up!

You can see the programme here. Select 'Experiment 13'. My film starts just before 30.00, but please watch the whole programme if you can.

Here is some more info about the film:

After completing the series Film Exercises in 1944 - made in collaboration with his brother John - James Whitney (1921-1982) renounced everything but the dot. This radical shift reflected James's interest in Eastern philosophy, where the dot can be interpreted as the fixed point of attention in the meditator's mind (among other things). This new approach to filmmaking resulted in his landmark 1957 film Yantra. Blues for James Whitney is made in response, both as a tribute, and an investigation. 

Sunday, May 17, 2020

'The Silence in the Hall' shortlisted for 2020 Fish Poetry Prize

My poem 'The Silence in the Hall' has been shortlisted for the 2020 Fish Poetry Prize. Two other pieces, 'Alderwood' and 'Ghost House', made the longlist. The judge was former U.S. Poet Laureate Billy Collins. For more about Fish Publishing and to buy their poetry anthologies, go here.