"An extraordinary piece of writing. The only thing I know that I can compare it to is Gorky's The Lower Depths. I love the richness of the phrasing, musical and rhythmical, mixing the vocabularies of piracy, drugs, crime and homelessness. This is real poetry. Amazing" - By Andy Croft, Smokestack
"...the use of poetic imagery and verse (which to some extent calls to mind Dylan Thomas) is very effective in creating mood" - By Paul Taylor, Samuel French Ltd.
"...an ambitious dream-like play" - By The Guardian, Review
"...a beautifully clever, druggist parody of 'Under Milk Wood'" - By Colin Hambrook, Dada South
In 2000, Morrison first performed his play for voices, Picaresque, which was based on his - mainly bitter - experiences working in a Brighton night shelter that same year. The piece took its stylistic inspiration from Dylan Thomas's play for voices, Under Milk Wood, as well as from TS Eliot's modernist epic, The Wasteland. The play juxtaposed the residents of the homeless shelter with piratical alter egos whose names were based loosely on those of characters from Robert Louis Stevenson's Treasure Island. The original piece was written as an epic narrative with the ubiquitous Midshipman describing the various homeless inmates he worked for. But by its second public performance, the piece had evolved into a proper play for voices, the various characters being brought more to life through voicing their own stories in monologues and through dialogue.
Picaresque has gone on to endure through the years, having been performed a total of eight times to date, as well as an excerpt being broadcast on London's Resonance fm. It has collected much critical acclaim along its course, and was also given notice in an article in the Guardian Review supplement in 2005.
This is a newly re-edited version of the piece, with some recently added sections and characters, as well as extensive footnotes on phrases and allusions, provided for the first time in print.
Morrison has previously published three chapbooks of poetry, and a recent acclaimed volume, The Mansion Gardens. Between 2004-06, he worked for mental health poetry charity Survivors' Poetry as editor and designer of Poetry Express and the Survivors' Press imprint from 2004-6. During this time he edited and designed four issues of PE, highly praised by Terrible Work and New Hope International and advertised in the London Review of Books. He also designed and edited a series of pamphlets and three volumes of poetry, including David Kessel's O the Windows of the Bookshop Must Be Broken, which Morrison also prefaced.
Morrison's poetry has appeared in the following journals: Aesthetica, Aireings, Autumn Leaves (Canada), Awen, Bard, Candelabrum, Carrillon, Decanto, Echoes of Gilgamesh, Eclipse, Exile, Fickle Muses (USA), First Time, Great Works, Illuminations (USA), London Magazine, Monkey Kettle, The Once Orange Badge Poetry Supplement, The Penniless Press, Pennine Platform, The People's Poet, Poetic Hours, Poetry Monthly, Poetry Now, Poetry Salzburg Review, Poet Tree, Pulsar, The Seeker, The Select Six, Snakeskin, Softblow, South, The Strix Varia, The Yellow Crane and Voice & Verse and in the Sixties Press anthologies Real Survivors' Anthology and Orphans of Albion (in association with Survivors' Press) . His short stories have appeared in Beyond Stigma (Sixties Press), Headstorms, The Seeker, The Taj Mahal Review and the Writer's Muse. His prose, criticism and mental health writings have appeared in Poetry Express and in the anthologies Beyond Stigma, The Real Survivors' Anthology and The Overdose (Sixties Press).
Morrison is founder and editor of the new radical literary ezine, the Recusant, and is currently Poet in Residence at Aldrington Mental Health Day Hospital and Mill View Hospital, both in Hove. His epic poem on the theme of his Obsessive Disorder, O, is forthcoming from Chipmunkapublishing in 2008.
About the Author
Alan Morrison was b