Wake Narrow The Naked Phrase 2016
by Sissy La Rap
Word from Peter Murphy from W.N.T.N.P.
A couple of years ago, at the launch of Rob Doyle’s first novel, I met Kevin Nolan, an intense young musician and writer who’d just released an album entitled Fredrick and the Golden Dawn. In the space of about two minutes he gave me one of the most persuasive pitches I’d ever heard. He didn’t do it in a pushy advertisements-for-myself way, nor did he pretend to be doing any thing other than what he was doing, which was soliciting my attention on behalf of his art.
This spiel, delivered hushed but rapid-fire, alluded to everything from Federico Garcia Lorca to the Birthday Party. Here was a Dublin musician taking inspiration from art and movies and literature in the same way our heroes – the Velvet Underground and David Bowie and Lydia Lunch and Tom Waits –had in their own time. A precious thing in an era when pop music seems self-referential to the point of inbred.
I listened to Fredrick and the Golden Dawn on the trip back to Wexford. It was a brilliant record, assured and teeming with ideas. Kevin and I stayed in contact, played some shows together, even collaborated on a poem or two. One morning in the National Gallery we had long talk about the nature of identity and art and all that stuff, and I was interested to learn that Kevin had co-written a book –Schizo Poetry: Fragments of the Mind – with German visual artist Susanne Wawra.
Susanne’s work is a self-professed exercise in reconstructing her identity by transmuting fragments of her own past into art. But her images are not the sepia tint of faded Kodak snaps: they’re loud and vibrant. It’s like she’s some magpie who’s been vaporised by alien gamma rays and is attempting to piece herself back together from memory.
In this second collaboration Kevin and Susanne employ a ping-pong approach to collaboration, writing words in turn, each word a response to the last. The process results in an erasing of identity, burning away flesh and bone, leaving only the fumes of art.
You hold in your hands the result of their second collaboration, published under the name Sissy La Rap. I love the name. It reminds me of Theresa Stern, the pseudonym under which Richard Hell collaborated with Tom Verlaine. In the afterword, Sissy confesses that she does not exist. But she does exist, as a separate consciousness, the Third Mind of Gysin and Burroughs’s conceptions. Her poems are holistic cut-ups, surreal and jagged, organically hatched but jarring in their discontinuity. Mongrel poems, orphan poems, poems that have learned to survive in a hostile world, hardy as bacteria.
I want never to be completed, they say. That would be death.
Cursed Murphy (Peter Murphy, Author of John The Revelator and Shall We Gather at the River and Cursed Murphy Versus The Resistance)
THE HOT PRESS HAIKUS (2006 - 2012)
by Kevin Nolan
Starting in April 2007, Kevin Nolan, a poet and musician from Dublin, contrived to have a haiku unwittingly published in the classified section of Hot Press magazine every fortnight. He did this for several years. Following the traditional 5-7-5 syllabic structure, the haikus were published in the guise of musicians' adverts. For the near half-decade that Nolan submitted his camouflaged haikus to the unsuspecting magazine, he had to continually provide new contact email addresses and phone numbers - often those of friends and family members unaware of or uninterested in his project - to prevent the editors from becoming suspicious. As the years went by and his haikus continued to appear regularly, Kevin told nobody about what he was doing. Because the magazine permitted many of the ads to run for several weeks before retiring them, Kevin would sometimes buy the latest issue of Hot Press and find that his fictive musicians had fully colonised the music-ads section.
The Hot Press Haikus are clearly the doings of a man with too much time on his hands. Nolan, now in his early thirties, has spent a large part of the last twelve years as a patient in St Patrick's mental hospital, over a series of lengthy stays. Diagnosed at nineteen with schizo-affective disorder. Projects such as the Hot Press Haikus, he says, are a way of both allaying and contemplating that sense of detachment. (Another project saw him taking photographs, over a period of years, of thousands of individual passing clouds, which he imprinted with the date and time at which they had been taken.) The haiku series, he says, is a reflection on artistic obscurity, transience, and obsolescence.
The following is a selection of the haikus, which appeared in Hot Press from 2006 until 2012, and whose total figure ran into the hundreds (Nolan himself has lost count).
Hot press Haikus were published in the Irish experimental journal, Colony, with the above introduction written by author Rob Doyle.
The Hot Press Haikus
Lambeg drummer seeks
based in Mayo Balla *
saw-man Joe aesthete
seeks musicians and poet
to form Dublin band
in Tralee. Prefer rock, Eels
Steve Stills. Contact Steve
Tea chest bass player
wants musicians for jamming
2I live in Dublin
‘Burmese Violin’ looking
for cello player
required for Dublin band
Beefheart meets The Fall
for punk rock band ‘The Hicoos’
for Dublin based gigs
Drummer seeks to join
Dublin band for summer gigs
Love Cohen, Cave and Waits
Need a bass player?
or a piano player?
well then I’m your man!
starving for Dublin rock band
been playing ten years
back from travels in Queensland
seeks to play with band
Seeking Christmas gigs
know loads of covers
seeks Tipperary rock band
Didge player searching
for like-minded musicians
Loves no-wave music
Musician seeks band
Proficient with keys and bass
Loves Christian music
looking for Dublin jazz band
Can start right away
Musician seeks band
seeking barbershop quartet
Playing ten years now
looking for CD art work
for debut release
Captain Beefheart fan
Looking to form tribute band
Based in Galway West
* This is the first of the haikus that Kevin Nolan ever had published in Hot Press magazine.
"This is a very unique
concept the likes of
which have not been seen before in Ireland
and could cause a new trend of collaborative poetry here"
- Pure M Magazine, Shauna Golden
FRAGMENTS OF MIND 2013
by Kevin Nolan & Susanne Wawra
Fragments of Mind is a volume of poetry written by two authors. Poly-medum artist Kevin Nolan and visual artist Susanne Wawra. The word 'schizo' means 'split'. Here the two authors coin their own poetic process Schizo-Poetry. This process is realised in poem pairs with the same title that split each individual viewpoint into two perspectives. Thus book is the first of a collaborative trilogy by the duo, exploring schema, process, device and conceptual collaboration.
The starting point and title for each poem is a colour, from which the poets write into their own direction. The resulting two interpretations are presented aside each other in this book.
These poems reach from light to dark, bliss to despair, humour to sincerity. They are brimming with sensations, emotions and sentiment in their exploration of life, feeling and meaning. While each individual poem tells a story and provides us with a fragment of mind, it is the juxtaposition of both renditions that takes on its own dynamic. It is an invitation to compare, combine and construct a greater layer of connotation, interpretation and significance.
Colours evoke associations, moods and memories. Each takes on other forms, doubled by the exploration of both poets. Dive into the waves of glaucous (blue-green-grey), catch the rays of flavescent (yellow) and experience the depths of melanic (blackest black). A "tsunami of colour" has been built up by Wawra and Nolan's willingness to address the diverse spectrum of life and mind in poetic form.
The first poem in each set is written by Wawra and the second by Nolan and the first letter of each poem title spells out 'Fragments Of Mind'. For this collection, the foreword was written by poet Patrick Deeley author of The Hurley Maker's Son, Doubleday Ireland and an introduction by John Saunders, Director of Shine.
Fragments of Mind is published with Shine Arts.
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Nolan's debut volume of poetry. The book's
foreword was written by Irish poet Patrick Deeley.
VIBRATIONS OF THE SOUL 2010
by Kevin Nolan
In this, his first collection of poems, Kevin Nolan chooses ‘the road less travelled’ and sends back to us his brave, fresh take on the world, in collaboration with the artist John Nolan.
Whether plain-spoken and direct, or offering delicate lyrical flourishes, or tilted at an oblique or an abstract angle, these meditations stay true to the impulse that prompts them.
They make a quiet yet ardent appeal. Their insights come of close observation of nature and humanity both under duress, of hard experience in face of which the poet remains open and attentive to what the day – or the dark – may bring.
Here they stand – what K.J. calls his “prayers of a poet” – alongside and intermingling with the startling hues and shifting dimensions of John Nolan’s sumptuous colourscapes. We gather round; we lean in, looking and listening.
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