Had a fantastic launch for my third collection of poetry – Nekhau – on the 7th of August! My great poetry friend and colleague Bilal Hafda launched the collection; he’s a wonderful speaker all the time, but he spoke in a really moving way about the key ideas in the collection – love, and return, and the things that exist below every surface. He also had some great stories about the weird poetry-based messages we send each other at odd times of the day.
At the launch the audience contributed to a reading of the poem – Three fingers to my lips. The poem has a few lines that are repeated acting a little like a refrain or chorus. As the audience arrived, the audio artist Michael Moebus recorded people reading the lines and during the launch he mixed together the audience reading and my reading of the poem into a piece we listened to at the end of the launch. You can have a look and listen here.
I’m feeling incredibly lucky to have a third collection in the world, my publisher Recent Work Press has been very supportive. They gave the collection time to grow and always backed the decisions I made about how I needed to shape and arrange the poems. I’m lucky to work with them!
Anyway, here’s the blurb and endorsements…if you’re interested and couldn’t make it along to the launch you can get a copy of Nekhau here.
If you’re interested in reviewing the collection send me through a message and I’ll try to organise a review copy for you.
“The poems in this collection trace love and loss; they imagine a world where hawks fly from the arms of lovers and disappear into a dying world, where golden fish rise from rivers and tangle themselves in hair, where molecules and mist carry messages of love through cites. In this collection, beginnings and endings slice across each other, modern and mythic intertwine, the everyday is stirred into a world of metaphor and incantation. Individual poems chime off each other, creating strands of narrative which circle the collection’s central symbol, the nekhau — small fish-shaped amulets crafted by ancient Egyptians and plaited through the hair of loved ones to ward off drowning. In a contemporary and at times imaginary world, the poems become nekhau, articulating the fears and dangers underlying love in order to subdue them. In doing so the poems transform many tropes of love poetry, repositioning them in contexts both everyday and otherworldly. The bodies in these poems fight against the mortality of love, they borrow lore and build new myths as a way to protect love’s fragility. Glistening with musicality and precision, these poems twist and shimmer like fish leaping toward the fears that have shaped them.”
‘Rico Craig’s poems flit between what is washed up on the shoreline of human experience, and what is swept away. They are talismans wrought of memory, tender words told under breath, and new ways of being with, and while, beloved. In spite of their charm or warning, these are poems to drown in.’
Shastra Deo, author of The Agonist
‘Nekhau explores the deeper resonance of imagination and reality. Craig is a natural poet who isn’t afraid to bend, blend, repair, and hem a tapestry of language distinctive to him. It isn’t often that you come across a writer who knows how to bind lightning with the ground, tenderness with one gesture, and fear with immeasurable possibilities. These are poems made for the sea and its stars.’
Sam Roxas-Chua, author of Fawn Language, Saying Your Name Three Times Underwater, and Echolalia in Script.
And, finally some pictures from the launch!