Notes on the poems

  • “The Department of Emotional Projections” is a phrase lifted from a long list of technical credits at the end of a film using extensive CGI. Or so I thought. But several film industry experts say they’ve never heard of such a thing … .
  • A “wold” is an open, uncultivated piece of high land in Britain;  it’s from the Old English “wald”  and may be related to “wild”.
  • When “Currents” first appeared in Popshot (the Power issue), there was a wonderful illustration by the artist Tim McDonaugh.
  • The phrase “Health Tips For the Year Ahead” is the subject title of an email that flew into my mailbox hidden in a flock of spam.
  • The artwork “Proyecto para un Memorial” is a haunting video installation by the Colombian artist, Óscar Muñoz, shown at the Venice Biennale 2007.
  • According to Bill Jay, in 19th-century Europe it was commonly believed that “the last image image seen by the eyes of a person would be ‘fixed’ on the retina for a considerable period of time.” Some tried to photograph such images to aid criminal investigations.  For many fascinating stories, see “In the Eyes of the Dead” in Cyanide & Spirits: An Inside-Out View of Early Photography by Bill Jay, 1991.
  •  The British Astronomical society has campaigned for darker skies since 1989, with the goal of preserving and restoring the beauty of the night sky; their fact sheet “for busy people”  is clear, concise, and the source of the title for the poem.
  • The artwork Aire/Air, by Mexican artist Teresa Margoles, was shown in the “Invisible Art” exhibition at the Hayward Gallery, London, in 2012. Her work evokes the many dead and disappeared in northern Mexico, victims of drug cartel related violence. For a description of the visceral effect of another Margolles piece using morgue water, read the first paragraph of this review in Frieze. In 2012 she received the ArtesMundi 5 International Prize; you can find a description of her winning work here, and see the artist in a video here.
  • “Soundtrack” is written with thanks to George Foy and his search for the quietest place on earth.
  • The Flat Earth Society, formed in the nineteenth century, is still alive and kicking on the internet.
  • “Dear Mr — ” is not about my father.
  • “On Wednesday” draws on events reported in The Whitby Gazette and other North Yorkshire newspapers during the spring of 2011. Here are a few links for the whale, the ferrets and the bouncy castle.  Yes, bouncy castles can be dangerous.
  • The great plains of the midwestern US are a well-known hub of UFO sightings.  For North Dakota, UFOs, and the history of their special relationship, try this.

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