Painting 1946, Francis Bacon


  1. Francis Bacon said: ‘all painting is an accident. But it’s also not an accident, because one must select what part of the accident one chooses to preserve.’[1] My accident is using too many strong images in a draft. I remind myself that nothing is ever wasted.


  1. I am moved by strangeness and deviance with a common thread of extreme emotion. The complexities of human behaviour; vulnerability to violence. I ask myself: What’s the most important thing for you in a poem? My response is: I want to be moved by a poem.


  1. Writing poetry is a personal process. An alchemy of production. I extract my ideas for poems from a vast number of raw materials (art, music, films, novels) and stitch them together to create new bodies.


  1. Colour seems to pervade my drafts literally and metaphorically. I understand I have been enacting colour to shape a reader’s experience aesthetically and emotionally.


  1. There are particular images and ideas that I want to interrogate before preparing to write. I usually begin writing a poem by jotting down one powerful phrase in a notebook. This could be a first line, concluding line, or the beat from a poem’s heart.


  1. In early drafts I try to place prominence on softness and silences. These disarmingly careful moments spatter my drafts: my objective is to create a disturbance of distinction. My drafts play with repetition for claustrophobic effect.


  1. At times, my poem- patients are reduced to automata – mechanical matter. I cut off limbs and transfuse blood from what has previously been the life of the poem. As my drafts develop, I become compelled by how words function and how they can operate in shocking and strange ways; an explicit preoccupation in my poetry. My actors assert themselves, demand a life force.


  1. By the end of my drafting there are still lines to be written. My poems pulse.




[1] Francis Bacon, Interviews with Francis Bacon, 1962-1979, ed. by Francis Bacon and David Sylvester (London: Thames and Hudson, 1980), p. 16-17



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