Cold Fire – Poetry inspired by David Bowie
Sometime around the summer of 2013, we were in a pub in Lambeth with our poetry workshop group, listening to someone’s jukebox picks, and talking about David Bowie. Bowie was already in the news that year, with the V&A Museum’s ‘David Bowie is’ exhibition presenting an opportunity to look back at the mad spectrum of his career to that date. But for many of us, he had always been a figure of significance. We admired him as someone who was able to play with and subvert genre, language, gender. We admired him as someone who had creatively reinvented himself so many times, in so many ways. Someone who challenged the mainstream, became the mainstream, then challenged it again, flirting always with different styles and techniques. We decided it would be great fun to hold a poetry and karaoke night in honour of David Bowie, with commissioned poems on Bowie albums, followed by intoxicated singing. Costume would be encouraged.
That June, ‘Bowieoke’ became a reality. Clad in our best home-made Bowie costumes at The Betsey Trotwood pub in Farringdon, we could hardly be accused of being as cool as the man himself, but we did have an amazing time. And the poems that emerged from the night were brilliant.
This pamphlet contains those poems commissioned for the event (by Dai George, Abigail Parry, Jon Stone, Julia Bird, Amy Key, Kirsten Irving, Mark Waldron and Alex Bell), alongside some newer works, commissioned for this book. Each of the poets has taken on an album or soundtrack, the aim being to show the shifting personas, aesthetics and styles of Bowie, in neat juxtaposition with the contrasting styles of the poets themselves.
So whoever you are, tall-short, fat-skinny, nobody, somebody, we hope there’s a little something here for all of you. And while the poems stand as great works in their own right, we hope they also stand as a fitting and heartfelt testament to our love, respect and admiration for the man who inspired them.
Alex Bell and John Canfield
Features poems by Melissa Lee-Houghton, Jane Yeh, Francine Elena, Amy Key, Alex Bell, Julia Bird, Jon Stone, Rishi Dastidar, Dai George, Jemima Foxtrot, Mark Waldron, Simon Barraclough, Luke Kennard, Abigail Parry, Chrissy Williams, Kirsten Irving, Niall O’Sullivan, and John Canfield
Wire stitched pamphlet, 36pp including cover.