Here’s a swift impressionistic glimpse of my short ‘Doppelgänger’ poetry-film project with film-maker Jack Wake-Walker, made to accompany an event at King’s Place in London with composer Roberto Rusconi.

The Q&A below is from a longer interview on Poetry Spotlight in 2016. Click for the full text of the interview, and you can read the whole ‘Doppelgänger’ poem sequence in my collection Bearings (Nine Arches, 2016), along with another sequence from a collaboration with Roberto Rusconi, ‘Dark Matters’, also referred to here.

Q: Bearings also contains a cosmological sequence ‘Dark Matters’ which was commissioned for the premiere of composer Roberto Rusconi’s De Materia Nigra et Obscura. Can you give a bit of background on how you came to be involved in the project and what it was that drew you to the subject? 

A: I love commissions and collaborations, for the fruitful pressure of the deadlines, and the way you’re stretched to think beyond your own immediate concerns and inclinations. A friend put me in touch with London-based Italian composer Roberto Rusconi, who was looking for a poet to work with in providing complementary text for a couple of commissions. 

‘Doppelgänger’ was the first of these, which is also in Bearings, written to accompany his new work De Imago (Materia) Sonora, performed at King’s Place in London by the Kairos Quartett and EXPERIMENTALSTUDIO des SWR, Freiburg. Jack Wake-Walker made a short film of the poem, Döppelganger, without Rusconi’s music, which was shown at the premiere in April 2013. 

When Roberto then told me about his next project, De Materia Nigra et Obscura, about dark matter, I leaped at the chance to collaborate again – with a science-teacher father and a love of astronomy myself, it was a pleasure to dive into some new science reading. There’s great poetry in the language of cosmology anyway; rich pickings for poets. 

If you’re interested and want some insight into the history and politics of the field, I recommend Richard Panek’s The 4-Percent Universe: Dark Matter, Dark Energy and the Race to Discover the Rest of Reality. Enlightening and entertaining. I read ‘Dark Matters’ at the premiere of Roberto Rusconi’s work, which was performed by Klangforum Wien for Music in the Space–Time Continuum at King’s Place in June 2013. 

On the science front, right now I’m preparing for an event on poetry and the Periodic Table (I have poems called ‘Mercury’ and ‘Carbon’ in my pamphlet The Leonids, with more to come). And musically, I’m looking forward to working with American composer Stephen Montague on some of the poems in the Birds, Beasts & Flowers project. 

- Extract from an interview in Poetry Spotlight, 2013.