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Adrian Clarke

Adrian Clarke


First published by Eric Mottram in the Poetry Review, winter 1972-73 issue, Adrian Clarke resurfaced in the mid 80s with two collections from Paul Brown's Actual Size press. Then began a long association with Bob Cobbing and Writers Forum which included co-editing And magazine from 1994. He also co-edited Floating Capital -- new poets from London with Robert Sheppard in 1991. Fom 1986-91 he performed as StrèsS with poet and musician Virginia Firnberg. Since Cobbing's death in 2002 he has been running Writers Forum jointly with Lawrence Upton. Scattered critical pieces over this period have earmarked items for a loose-leaf manual of literary guerrilla tactics, whilst seeking not to compromise the instinct that led him approvingly to condense some remarks of Clark Coolidge to "About is not to the point".


Stamford Hill, North London, 2006

This recording was made on 6 March 2006, at a house in Stamford Hill, north London.



  • Imperfect Copies, Bran's Head Press, 1981.
  • Reading Reverdy, Actual Size, 1985.
  • Ghost Measures, Actual Size, 1987.
  • Shadow Sector, Writers Forum, 1988.
  • Spectral Investments, Writers Forum, 1991.
  • 2 Dark Draughts, Microbrigade, 1992.
  • Obscure Disasters, Writers Forum, 1993.
  • Doing the Thing, Writers Forum, 1997.
  • Automatic, Mainstream, 1998.
  • Millennial Shades & Three Papers, Writers Forum, 1998.
  • Five Doubles & a Chaser, Writers Forum, 1999.
  • ParadiseGardens, Writers Forum, 2000.
  • Phantom Returns, Writers Forum, 2001.
  • Skeleton Sonnets, Writers Forum, 2002.
  • Former Haunts, Veer Books, 2004.
  • Possession at

Anthology Appearances

  • Floating Capital, Potes & Poets Press, 1991.
  • Foil: defining poetry 1985-2000, Etruscan, 2000.
  • On Word: an anthology of contemporary poetry and method, Writers Forum, 2001.

Critical Responses

  • Robert Hampson, "Producing the unknown" in New British Poetries, ed. Hampson and Barry, Manchester U.P., 1993.
  • Robert Sheppard, "Collossal Fragments: the work of Adrian Clarke," Far Language, Stride, 1999.
  • Scott Thurston, "Adrian Clarke: Cutting through Closure + interview with the poet in Salzburg Review No. 5, 2003.
  • Robert Sheppard, The Poetry of Saying, Liverpool U.P., 2005, pp 203-8.

Sample Text


one missing stochastic effect
dose level decay pathway
traffic and pedestrians measurement
bivouacked disintegrates luxurious foliage
power block concrete slabs
unstable in the forests
could be the relativity
of circular inertia CLOSED
in the distance half
life treated if necessary
particles the new results
low energy was rising
as the crow flies
wisps of smoke observation
atmospheric a kilometre away
language found myself collapsed


dispersed in
the ashes
with strategic
plans THE
Your government
where targets
failed zonal
dispersal home
to rabbles
a gun
spins flagging
statistics the
onus farmed
out granted
hindsight three
bit real
estate evidence
pending further
research this
landscape's mustard
yellow rendered
safe Capital
sources mercurial
departures under
black budded
trees oil
seed rape
stone a
mosaic of
forest mosses
our parish
rolled back
gunmen chanting
from gaps
and cracks
marine corps
security bulldozed
at high
cost in
a healthy
mind "what
they do"
led home
silently from
the green
misty heart
a last
message collapsed
into fact

                                                            for Arundhati Roy

Peter Riley: If poetry were an actual power on the earth wouldn't it be interested in collaborating with global commerce for ethical ends?

fluids spill in the eruption
called woman Single Authority
computer water upholding
custom and tradition cost
of drainage not included
cleavage between use
and exchange values pressure
on the seminal duct

in the mind the on
stream concept liquidifies
"intellectual substance"
                                our village our Rule
the "M" dematerialised Hampstead
economically a headache in the cycle
Hollywood renders Spread'em



                              ... je morde en riant ...

gorged on satire
whose tongue's in your cheek?
Which one's the butcher
which one the steak?

" ... whether flesh be bread,
or bread be flesh ... "
- Difference in opinions
from the corpse's mouth

Goya's Saturn? paternal;
Oedipus Marxist:
two corporate ethics

both dead meat
In a deregulated market
you are what you eat




marsh gate
platform grass



premonitory scent hint
lent derelict emerald brilliance

meaning as bleached
to vibrate speech reed
at primrose signpost
sniff crystal glimmer

rut truck junction sheered

lungs blued enough


"Clarke's poetry is dizzying in its momentum, constantly shifting linguistic focus with a stream of constant attention to contour (line) as outer edge of a probing, probational activity..."--Charles Bernstein

"At moments Clarke appears to be replacing the reviewer. This style can't be impersonal, because it's very easy to recognise poetry as Clarke's - athletic, speed-obsessed, agnostic, covered with dark gloss, scornful, low-affect - when set beside that produced by similar generative and exclusive rules..."--Andrew Duncan

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