Rob A. Mackenzie

Rob A. Mackenzie is a Glaswegian poet, reviewer and occasional translator who lives in Leith. He is reviews editor for Magma Poetry magazine and runs literary publisher Blue Diode Press. His poems, reviews and articles have appeared in  journals including The Dark Horse, Gutter, the Guardian and Shearsman. He has previously read and taken part in events at StAnza, Aldeburgh Poetry Festival and the Poetry on the Lake Festival (Orta, Italy). His most recent poetry collection is The Book of Revelation, published by Salt in 2020.

www.bluediode.co.uk

Rob A. Mackenzie

Photo: Ryan McGoverne

Events

Past & Present »

Rob A. Mackenzie on Miroslav Holub; Helena Nelson on Ruth Pitter's light verse

Thu 11 March | 11:00 - 12:00 | FREE | StAnza Online

Poem

Bagels

I read aloud from Priest Turned Therapist Treats Fear of God
Tony Hoagland’s poem, ‘Ten Questions for the New Age’,

about the friable subcultures we create to shield us from
a cut-throat world, ‘the hazards of playing at innocence’.

Norman MacCaig said he wrote two kinds of poem:
one-cigarette and two-cigarette. I don’t believe him,

but this was definitely a two-cigarette poem, at least in
the reading and, when I turned the page, halfway through,

you fled from the doorway and missed the ending;
the sesame bagels you were toasting had caught fire.

It was either art scuppering one of life’s primordial
transitions; or life sending art a poem in fukyu form.

You never got to hear the second half of the Hoagland,
its hope that new age values might grow tough enough

to be ‘successfully transplanted into the real world’.
Instead, you toasted more bagels and we ate them

listening in silence to Money Box on Radio 4, with only
the haziest notion of what anyone was talking about.

Rob A. Mackenzie

From The Book of Revelation (Salt, 2020)