Out of Bounds: Adam Lowe

The Out of Bounds Poetry Project presents a new map of Britain written by Black and Asian poets ‘who have lived and lingered in, who have passed through or been born into, its landscapes’. On Windrush Stories, you can view six poets of Caribbean heritage reciting poems that trace the length and breadth of Britain, from the Edinburgh of John Edmonstone (the freed Black slave who taught Darwin taxidermy in 1826) to Manchester’s gay clubbing scene and the Dorset coastline. Together they balance the ‘rich and manifold attachments to place, region, city and landscape’ with the feelings of dislocation that many Black people have experienced’.


To learn more about the project, visit Out of Bounds.


© AHRC-funded Out of Bounds Poetry Project based at Newcastle University and Stirling University.

[Title: Out of Bounds poetry project. http://outofbounds.digital]

[Adam Lowe standing and speaking in front of a microphone]

Adam Lowe: Before we get out the next poet, Pete has told me that I should do a poem. I, I don’t know if that’s a good thing for you guys, or a bad thing, but you’re gonna get it anyway. Umm, I’m gonna start off, cos I always need to get myself in the mood when I do a little bit of poetry so, I like to centre myself with a little prayer. Um, so, if we could just have a moment’s silence, please.

[Adam closes his eyes and holds his hands in a prayer position]

[Adam quickly moves his left arm into the air as he starts to read his poem]

Our hardcore, art of the Haçienda,
acid be thy name. Thy disco come,
thy pill be done, at home as it is in Sanky’s.
Give us this rave, our daily sweat,
and give us our guest passes, as we
forgive those who’ve queue-jumped ahead of us.
Lead us deep into temptation, and deliver us
[sings] from boredom, for thine is the dancefloor,
the basement Morning Glory, forever
and ever – gay men! In the name of the
big fish, the little fish, and the cardboard box.

[Audience laughs]

This next poem is called ‘Afterlife @ Aftershock’.

Pass the dry-ice strobe-stare of the
three-headed bouncer there, pass
the hellhound with six black shoulders.
Descend with me into a bruise-lit underworld.
Anna Phylactic, our Queen Ishtar, rules
with eye-patch, hoop-skirt, wig.
Cyclopean giver of dreams
collects payment from all to lift them,
[sings] high spirits, to heaven;
and the DJ, hand cutting tunes like
a scythe, ferries us to the shore of the next
blue dawn. [sings] Bass rumbles, the displeasure
of life against ecstasy; then the drop comes
and we’re wing-swept to rapture as one.

Thank you.

[Audience applauds]

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