#3: A.B. Jackson
Fruitmarket Gallery, Friday 15 August 2014, 8 pm.
Every year I look forward to returning to Edinburgh at Festival time – because I’m half-Scottish and studied at Edinburgh University, because I love the Book Festival and other festivities there, and because it’s one of the truly splendid cities of the world.
And for the last few years the Fruitmarket Gallery has given added reason for delight, providing the setting for a fine evening of poetry, whatever the festival weather. Hosted by the Fruitmarket’s inimitable Iain Morrison and local host poets Andrew Philip and Rob Mackenzie, the night alone’s been worth the trip north.
I’m very happy this year to be joining Andy and Rob again, along with Simon Barraclough, Chrissy Williams and AB Jackson, and to be hosting here, virtually, a small introduction to their brilliant work.
And we’re very happy to have A.B. Jackson returning to Scotland from Sheffield for this reading.
A.B. Jackson won the Forward prize for best collection in 2003 with Fire Stations (Anvil), and published a limited edition pamphlet, Apocrypha, with Donut Press in 2011. In 2010 he won first prize in the Edwin Morgan International Poetry Competition, and is currently studying for a PhD at Sheffield Hallam University.
The clemancie of Elephants. How elephants
breed and how they disagree with Dragons.
How they make sport in a kind of Morrish dance.
The elephant who wrote Greeke and read musicke.
The elephant who cast a fancie and was enamoured upon
a wench in Egypt who sold nosegaies and wickerishe.
Their hornes, or properly Teeth, of which men make
images of the gods, fine combes, wanton toies.
Who march alwaies in troupes. Who snuffe and puffe.
Who the troublesome flie haunts.
Who cannot abide a rat or a mouse. Who are purified
by dashing and sprinkling themselves with water.
Who, enfeebled by sicknesse, lie upon their backes,
casting and flinging herbs up toward heaven.
Who adore and salute in their rude manner that planet,