THE BIRD KING
MY ANALYSIS OF JAMES KNIGHT IN 13 PARTS
When I read James Knight’s poetry, it reminded me of the first time I was taught about death.
The Bird King’s call hits you immediately. He will awaken your mind like a rude horny bird at 4am. James dances on the page with the flair of a fire bird. You can’t look away, gobsmacked at his word and image show.
There is such emptiness in his visions, that is, they are so clear nothing penetrates the thoughts he projects. They move in a deep, sleep deprived hallucination, a medicated infected haunting.
James’ digital art scapes are slick, raw and stirring keyholes to look into. He understands life’s miracle but also its absurdity and inconsequence. He makes you turn, squirm, reject and laugh loud. The Bird King will lull you with idyllic projections, pleasant thoughts, then fucking rip off your head. Although his lines are economical, he has the ability to cue you to tears if you let him.
When I have trouble sleeping, I take the Bird King to bed with me. Not to send me to slumber but to make the most of my sleeplessness. Days Of The Snowman creeps me like a staring ventriloquist doll so I avoid him in dark hours.
I love how he blames something else for his prose, his superb empty dramas. Scenes become super-real, you can hear your own heart beat, light bulbs crack and explode. I walk through the mindscapes with a lit cigarette and a stiff drink at times. Echoes smack, caressing shaken heads and close open jaws.
His Frank Kafka/ Lewis Carroll mashup is worth the price of entry on its own. 13 Deleted Scenes From A Film needs to be made, his directors eye avi stares at me and I’m glad there are no razors in sight.
James occasionally psychoanalyses his own work as he goes along, using these insights as part of his prose. At first I thought it would be better to keep his motivation a secret but I love this exposed part of the author. I often see him lying naked on a table in an empty room, I sit in a velvet chair looking at his Freudian discomfort, watching his Jungian dreams.
Thought snippets catalogued in long drawers. A library of heart wrenching, confronting and intelligent scenes. His hands turn heavy rusted wheels, opening secret vaults, imagined and real.
Simplicity is perfection, imaginings of youth should never be forgotten, his British bites nostalgic. I refuse to repeat a sentence, no tasters for all his work I’ve seen is line by line heaven to me, hard edged punk poetic brilliance.
Illustrator Diana Probst contributes visuals on two tomes. Her watercolours should be interwoven with rice paper – a delicate potency, pastels illuminate the words, black interspersed with vibrants, a shadowy disturbia – a chocked leg of a chair, ventricles and arteries, surreal steampunk cogs whir in a mechanised pantomime. I love her vision of his blue roses.
James Knight is The Bird King, he may be plucked, but he will keep you warm in his nest. You will find comfort in his madness, his dark milieu piercing fine bones that will lodge in your throat forever.
This review was inspired by James Knight’s Instructions For The Assembly Of A Junk Poem, I have utilised his theory for my review of his work – which is part homage, part slobbering sycophantic rant. Everyone should have a quick taste of his books. Eat from his open beak and he will nourish and feed your psyche. I have accessed his mind accounts in Head Traumas, The Small Hours, Days Of The Snowman, The Death Of The Bird King, and 13#. You can purchase all his work here . And his latest work MONO via Lulu. His anthology of Twitter writers – Timelines – is exceptional with its extraordinary collection of poetry held within its pages.