Down the Rabbit Hole



A short account of the gorse no. 4 launch, including the introductory speech.

Joan Didion said that writing is a hostile act. “It’s hostile in that you’re trying to make somebody see something the way you see it, trying to impose your idea, your picture,” she says. “It’s hostile to try to wrench around someone else’s mind that way. Quite often you want to tell somebody your dream, your nightmare. Well, nobody wants to hear about someone else’s dream, good or bad; nobody wants to walk around with it. The writer is always tricking the reader into listening to the dream.”

Dreams, and dream-writing, haunt issue four of gorse, the editorial especially: Finnegans Wake, Salvador Dalí, Jan Svankmajer, The Beatles, Marcel Duchamp, Alfred Hitchcock. But really it’s a love-letter to Alice in Wonderland. Alice, according to Lewis Carroll, was intended to be ‘trustful, ready to accept the wildest impossibilities with all that utter trust that only dreamers know.’

So we would say that writing, and reading, is perhaps not a hostile act, nor a trick (or indeed a slight of hand), but one of trust, to follow that rabbit straight down a hole.

We were joined by six contributors from the issue, and Hugh Fulham-McQuillan started the evening with an extract from his story ‘Spiral Mysterious,’ a piece influenced by film-maker Dario Argento; Dominque Cleary read from her essay on American photographer Wallace Nutting; Orla Fitzpatrick from her essay on nonplus editor and writer Patricia Murphy; Jona Xhepa read from her story ‘Pike Hoses;’ and Suzanne Walsh from her essay ‘Symptoms of the Subterranean.‘ Introducing Patrick Chapman, who read from his Hitchcock sequence ‘The Film of My Death,’ Christodoulos Makris spoke of his editorial process in selecting the work for the issue:

There are thirty-two pages dedicated to poetry in issue 4 of gorse, but you’ll notice that it comprises work from only four poets. There’s visual poetry, fractured narratives, erasures and various other mainly non-traditional material, while in previous issues we’ve had collaborations and graphic poetry among other contributions. What I want to do as poetry editor of gorse, whether through commissions or, as in the majority of cases, through publishing work from open submissions, is to provide space for poets to explore themes, forms and processes, to encourage an interrogation of what poetry can do, and an expansion of its definition.

Finally, Gar Cox played us out with tunes from his ‘Support Your Local Bookshop E.P.’


Thanks, again, to Paula Meds for the photographs. More can be viewed on our Facebook page. Thanks also to Chandrika and The Liquor Rooms for being brilliant hosts.