Paul Holman has been engaged for some twenty years upon The Memory of the Drift, a shifting but ultimately circular work which is both a record of operations and a process in itself. Four previously issued sections were gathered in paperback by Shearsman Books in 2007. Tara Morgana is Book Five, but stands alone as a work.
He co-edited the Invisible Books imprint with Bridget Penney through the 1990s, publishing work by Bill Griffiths, Stewart Home, Veronica Forrest-Thomson and others. He has read in the SubVoicive, Blue Bus and Xing the Line series, at the Cambridge Conference of Contemporary Poetry, and Scarlet Imprint’s Pleasuredome. A setting of his writing has also been performed by the loop-based vocal group Askew and Avis.
He has been working intermittently on a side project based around contemporary expressions of the oracular: while some of this material has been separately published, rather more than he intended has been absorbed into the mainstream of his writing. He is a long-standing member of the Field Study mail art group. Much of the material contained in The Memory of the Drift has its origin in Field Study manifestations, which have both supplied an occasion for his work and offered it a testing ground. His website can be found at: http://taramorgana.com
“This is a poetry of returning, returning from the occult subterranean as a kind of echo. It requires to be read as a kind of translation, as if everything in each word echoes a place from which the word is coming back in a different language that nevertheless sounds the same. Like an echo, it is imperfectly rendered, misheard sometimes, headless at other times. There is no possibility of tidying the thing up, of housekeeping it into a finished, rounded up equation. It has the quality of sounds reverberating with other powers, places, tongues yet these occur without the taint of overblown rhetorical flourish that can sometimes ruin occult poetics and turn them into obscurantist rantings and self regard. This is a poetry that is tempered and disciplined but by energies that are older than the poet’s own experiences and knowledge.”
Richard Marshall, 3:AM Magazine
“His poetry is indefinable but is laconic, occultist, and attached to the line of revolutionary and subversive yearnings.”
Andrew Duncan, Angel Exhaust
“… it’s the worlds of magick and of Late Modernism, apparently diverse, yet both system-dependent operations. What brings them together is that also both employ the language of speech-acts – spells or rules – language that effects the world. Or can. Both sets of actions, magic and art-making, derive from the obsessive rituals we need in a fragmented world to hold it (or don’t I mean ourselves?) together. The fragmentation is integral to Holman’s project – a wonderful variety of forms, of fluid voices and characters. … we create our rituals with what is there: the cultural detritus and the ground it’s placed on. We don’t do ‘traditional’ of course, and I include Holman with his resort to bricolage and fragmentation in that. We’re out of the Neolithic, in some age of vast cultural flux, ethnogenesis and confusion, a weird repeat of the ‘Dark Ages’.”
Peter Philpott, Geometer Magazine
“Bold, modern and really rather English with a hint of the gothic/pagan.”
Nick Telfer, PN Review