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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.


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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.


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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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