As we call time on Dry January, Brighton based writer Joseph J Clark releases a collection of poems which reflect thoughtfully on his own love-hate relationship with alcohol.
‘Drunk With A Pen’ is a smartly produced 32-page small format book containing 14 pieces, each of which ruminate on a different aspect of drinking. This is not a moralising collection. The author acknowledges that booze can be both a joy and a drag, with the line between these two states forever blurred. Hence we have ‘Rocket’, a paean to the warming, escapist glow of wine, presented alongside ‘A Eulogy Of Empty Words’ – a semi-autobiographical poem which reflects darkly on the writer’s relationship with his father, and their shared fondness for a glass of the hard stuff.
Each poem is presented beside specially commissioned illustrations from local artists, whose differing drawing styles keep the book lively whilst offering a complement to the mixed tones of the poems.
A cut of the profits from ‘Drunk With A Pen’ will be going to local homeless charity The Clock Tower Santuary. “Homelessness is a huge and very visible problem in Brighton,” acknowledges Clark, “I approached CTS about the project and they’ve just been great – incredibly supportive.” The book, together with related events and donations, has already raised over £500 for the charity.
Check out Joseph Clark’s website for further information, including sample pieces and a fun ‘Drunk With Spotify’ playlist, which highlights the influence of Clark’s beloved outlaw country music on the collection. The book is also available to buy through the site, priced £3.
Book cover illustration and design by Rosa Carbó-Mascarelli, ‘Rocket’ by Alice Parsons, ‘Eulogy of Empty Words’ by Rasha Al-Najjar.
Words by Peter James Field