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Digital Poetics 2.8: Backlogues by Joseph Minden

With love and thanks to Dante Traynor (guitar), Gamaliel Traynor (synths), David Noble (bass), Matthew Barnes (drums).

Backlogues is a log of the tallwater backwash that filled my brain and stilled there, loaded with debris, during the first lockdown. Jetsam of histories I did not want, flotsam of histories I dreamt might burst into the present. Jetsam of hallucinatory recurrences, flotsam of spots of time. The cantankerous reactionary Brian is a ghoul of my own making or the mouth through which a toxicity I would disown speaks in my voice. The poem is enthusiasm as vomit, vomit as exorcism. An expulsion of the language and symbolic detritus of a certain rancid English imaginary. Hind eclogues vanishing into the Holinshed fringe. The king’s deer is for poaching and the blood cryeth in mine eares, vengeance, vengeance, vengeance, vengeance.

I used to play guitar in the band Sweat. After a long period of not playing together, lengthened by the pandemic, we came together to make music again in their tiny, airless studio in South London. I wanted to play this poem with them without rehearsal – a performance that would unfold the words by way of an exploratory collaboration, conjuring jointly the ecstasy required for exorcism. We ate pizzas from Oregano Leaf while England drew nil-nil with Scotland, listened to two songs – Night Comes In by Richard and Linda Thompson and Isi by NEU! – then recorded the whole thing in one intensely humid take.


Joseph Minden is a poet in Brighton. Backlogues is coming out with Contraband at some point in the not too distant future and another book, Poppy, is coming out with Carcanet late next year.


The moral right of the author has been asserted. However, the Hythe is an open-access journal and we welcome the use of all materials on it for educational and creative workshop purposes.

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