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Fugue State Press, New York, New York, October 2019.
Edited by James Chapman.
The novel also includes 21 black-and-white drawings
by Kathleen Bryson made exclusively for The Stagtress.
Once upon a spacetime, in a medieval forest still shuddering
from the Black Death, little Florentine busily grows her own set
of stag antlers as she comes of age, then falls in love, and then —
Once upon a spacetime, on grimy North London streets, blackened
helicopters buzzing overhead, amnesiac Jack undergoes toughlove
kokology to recall his old life, and then — Once upon a spacetime,
across a bombed-out future desert, Martin hikes naked with only his
walking-stick for company, and then —
The subparticles of the past, the present and the future elide and
crash together, reincarnating into a surreal folklore. Absurdist —
subversive — this fairy-tale mashup Jungian fever dream makes
perfect sense, but only if you follow the 0th Law of Submersibility,
Flanagan’s Third Principle of Carnivorous Wormholes and the
Twelfth Arboreal Theorem of Gnostic Eternalism to the letter.
The Stagtress is a holy book, a syncretic work of scientific, pagan,
xtian, gnostic, and folkloric imagery. The Stagtress is an anachronistic
novel and an ecofeminist novel and a reincarnation novel and a
quantum-physics novel and a medieval fairy-tale novel and a
contemporary phantasmagorical Jungian novel and a post-
apocalyptic Choose-Your-Own-Adventure novel and a Kate Bush
meets Carl Sagan novel. It also is about a little girl who begins to grow deer antlers.
"This book envelops us in the disrupted forest edge of Hackney (Haca's Ey) North London in the years following the Black Death - when the feudal system came apart and the surviving peasants, discovering their own value, began revolting. In a secluded valley live the Stagtress, a girl with uncontrollable and formidable powers of metamorphosis, along with her goat brothers. She and her pious and impious siblings wander around a fragmented world where the old religion coexists with an upstart christian patriarchy and heretic strains of alchemy. Unaccountably, strangers, who may come from the same place but a different time, knock on the door. Animistic and apocalyptic, we get visions of abandoned cityscapes and nuclear deserts. The main
characters, always travelling, are trying to get back somewhere or forward somewhere, surprisingly encountering each other despite inhabiting different centuries. The book is long, possibly too long, but how much time have you got? Sink into the lush, entrancing, mesmeric word tapestry. Possibly this is a manual for steering our way in the post-covid world.." – Dr. Camilla Power (RAG, Radical Anthropology Group)
"Like a psychedelic Angela Carter for the 21st century, Bryson takes us into the darkest reaches of the forest, only to pull us out again to catapult us into the future. Creation myths collide with apocalypse culture to dazzle the reader into an altered state. In this powerful, liberation paean to nature, the reader can wriggle free from the mendacious venom of the machine-code world and run wild with the horned goddess, where the tree is the first of all gods and suns are older than clocks.
On Florentine’s eighth birthday, she goes to the lake—the dangerous lake by her family’s woodland home—and sees her reflection in the silvered surface of the water. Two bumps are forming on the top of her head—vestigial horns...Like all the best fairy tales, Florentine’s world is not benign or cosy. Snows bring death, baying predators howl during the Wild Hunt, and too often there’s only chargrilled owl for supper. But if you are brave and curious, it is also a numinous realm where questing beasts share knowledge and UNcommon sense, and forest-dwellers remember the true meaning of sacrifice.”
– Kerri Sharp, author of Prada Sucks and Other Demented Descants
Girl On a Stick
She Devil Press (an imprint of Suspect Thoughts Press), San Francisco, CA, 2008. Edited by Ian Philips.
A floating blue apparition of the Virgin Mary. That's what Clementine Logan, jaded American, sees from the window of her No. 38 bus. This is the first in a series of alarming religious visions, triggered by her new relationship with fellow foreigner Per, a Norwegian undergraduate. Set against a backdrop of gritty East London streets and post/pop-everything academia, the relationship with Per grows more twisted, the miracles grow weirder, and soon something's gotta snap. As tension rises, it also becomes clear that – as a young teenager – Clementine was abused by the priest of her local parish, a priest whose greatest joy lay in tormenting Clem through the use of word-games, puzzles and rebuses. As the story progresses and the reader realizes that Clem's religious visions are slowly adding up to the greatest rebus puzzle of all, Clem finds herself in a world built on codes she never will crack. Clementine Logan needs a break.
Girl on a Stick is all about breaking: break-ups, nervous breakdowns, breakthroughs. Yet the novel is also about the aftermath of a break: what happens after the cracking and splitting; how you can grow new skins or maybe even extra legs. Both blasphemous and reverent – and ostensibly an account of a troubled relationship – the real target of this novel is not only patriarchal institutions such as the Roman Catholic Church, but also mindless masochism. A blister-black comedy.
"Sassy, clever, bright, dark, true, and, most importantly, alive. A huge book, and full of goodness." – Ali Smith, quadruple-shortlisted-Man Booker Prize nominee
“I think that there is more interesting experimentation going on these days as queer literature matures. Brian Teare, a gay poet from San Francisco, for one. Another is Kathleen Bryson and her book, Girl on a Stick. That book is fucking wild.”
– Rebecca Brown, author of American Romances; recipient of The Stranger’s Genius Award
“A cross between Tom Robbins and Francesca Lia Block… viscerally resonating … A solid grounding to Bryson's beautifully meandering prose… This story reminds us that both questioning and craziness are part of being human -- and the intertwining of sorrow, joy and confusion is precisely what makes love worth pursuing – or abandoning.” – The Oregonian
“At once boldly epic and profoundly personal…a lyrical exploration of love, loss, and the exquisite joys (and pre-fab idiocies) of contemporary culture.” – Jennifer Natalya Fink, author of Burn and V
“A smart, subversive read from a highly distinctive talent (four stars)” – Attitude magazine
“Bryson uses word puzzles, illustrations, newspaper clippings, and worsening hallucinations to lament the politics of war and to wax lyrical about the best/worst of London’s streets. An intelligent, often experimental book from a unique voice. (four stars)” – DIVA magazine
“Renaissance woman Bryson continues to push the envelope… A book that gets right into the blood and guts of a relationship with language that, like its central character, is sassy, knowing, vulnerable and often damn funny… Perhaps it’s time too that those who hadn’t previously heard of Bryson woke up to this delicious American talent.” – GCN magazine
“The phenomenally talented and go-gettin' Kathleen Bryson is not the kind of woman to let her life stagnate. At any one time she has a handful of exciting projects on the go, including novels like Girl on a Stick." – Gaydar Radio
“Kathleen Bryson brilliantly segues in between mediums without completely abandoning one for the other.” – i.d. magazine
“Girl on a Stick straddles two worlds, the profane one where love is all about stratagems and faux-semblants, deception and self-deception, and where men and women play out their relationships in the treacherous minefield of a patriarchal society - and another world, that of vision, of religion and of the all-powerful word. Kathleen Bryson has written an intriguing novel, where a dreamlike universe of the sacred merges with gritty descriptions of sex and life in London. Her universe is full of colours, both of the real world (the red of menstrual blood, of tomatoes and of sex), and of the surreal world of the religious vision (the blue of the Virgin's dress, the gold of her face). [She] brilliantly mixes the sacred and the profane, sex and religion, in a provocative way where the blasphemous and the reverent go hand in hand. Ultimately, this is a book about the power of the word. Wordplays are the underlying current running through the novel, they are omnipresent in Clementine's speech; the ritual words of remembered snatches of catechism intersperse the narrative like so many beads on the rosary. Clementine's obsession with code is the backbone of the story and shapes her vision of the world.
Girl on a Stick is an exciting and thought-provoking book, with its uniquely poetic and colourful approach of the interplay of the religious and the profane, and its unrelentingly honest depiction of obsession, both in the plane of the everyday reality and in the hypothetical realm created by imagination and words.” – Calyx magazine
“THE INTIMATE ART OF KATHLEEN BRYSON: Able to move with ease between mediums, Kathleen Bryson is one of those multifarious talents that Portland attracts like moths to a benevolent flame. She is binational, bisexual and bilingual, and she is or has been an author, editor, actor, director, painter, riot grrrl, model, anthropologist, linguist and abundant storehouse of arcane information... Girl on a Stick is subversive in that it's a love story in which the couple's ultimate break-up is the happy ending. Equally intriguing are the novel's stylistic innovations… There is extensive, semi-Joycean wordplay, and the text is enlivened with drawings, diagrams and crosswords that drive home the interconnectedness of its themes and the fact, alternately depressing and liberating, that our childhood remains with us forever.” – Just Out magazine
"A page-turner plot... A dark comedy set in London's East End." – Curve magazine
“A furious pace… as twisted as a Rubik’s Cube.” – GLT (San Diego)
“Sassy break-up novel hits the shelves" – Statesman-Journal
“Funny and charming, full of twists and turns… a wonderful book with a captivating story line that draws you in from the first paragraph... Truly a good read” – The Sun Star
Diva Books (an imprint of Millivres Prowler), UK, 2001. Edited by Helen Sandler.
Mush follows the progress of a sexual and emotional relationship between three Alaskan women. When Nicky and Carol meet Ellen in Seattle, the three women share an initially warm attachment. But the triad disintegrates as linked memories of the Alaskan wilderness turn simultaneously erotic and horrific. A haunting and lyrical first novel, Mush examines childhood ties and the dynamics of a ménage-à-trois, and weaves dreams and myths into a modern setting.
“Stunningly good... an atmospheric novel with a slow, filigree beauty and the
same gritty heart as the frozen tundra of Alaska in which it is set. Sharply
reminiscent of The Shipping News, and as rich in language-play, Mush uses the
savagery of a harsh landscape to evoke the cruelty inherent in the relationship
between its three women protagonists.” – Mslexia
“[Bryson] has immediate access to a unique, intense landscape that is
unsurpassed as a setting for eerie fiction. She perfectly captures the
never-ending, powerless quality of childhood.” – Time Out (February 2001)
“Intense” – Seattle Times
"There's nothing mushy about this first novel. Interspersed with dream sequences
which evoke the darker sides of children's fairy tales, it grows increasingly
strange - it's like being sucked into a maelstrom and spewed out at the other side."
– The Big Issue
“Bryson, an Alaskan writer now based in London, has brought this same, effective northern North American vision to her first novel, Mush. The snowscapes of Alaska are beautiful but dangerous, and it is precisely this sense of danger that Bryson captures so well when it comes to the intertwining relationships of three women who have tried to escape that cold, entrancing land… A lyrical, evocative and erotic debut from a most promising writer.' – Gay Times magazine
"Haunting and lyrical...Bryson writes eloquently about the savagery and beauty of the land, as well as the reality of living in such a place." – Rainbow Network magazine
“A striking ice-blonde Alaskan living in London and with successes behind her in music, painting, acting, and film, Kathleen Bryson's novel shows she's no mean poet and storyteller, either. She understates the sophistication of the book, hoping that readers will recognise in Mush that ‘where there’s the main thrust of the story, there’s also less definable stuff woven in that has to do with memory, subjugation and fluidity.’ There’s a lot more besides. Somehow you see Bryson, here in London, surrounded by Alaska. […] Bryson's narrative undertakes imaginative experiments with time and place and creates a world where the line between person and environment blurs, reforms and is blown away again. She remains in control of what could easily go wrong, teasing the reader with tricks and startling at several turns. Challenging, adult, poetic, erotic, by turns fleshy and glacial, well worth the effort a successful reading requires." – QueerCompany / FABLE magazine
"High quality – Libertas magazine
“Frightening. A severe, unforgiving view of growing up in small-town Alaska… There is a beautiful quality of the language which makes the pain all the more incisive, immediate and comprehensible.” –Essex Libraries & County Council magazine
"The prose is adventurous… a new departure for your reviewer” – Time Out (January 2001)
"A well-crafted tale...it has a dreamlike surreal quality, with a very real terror coming to the surface. I read this in one go. Excellent book for those long, dark winter nights." – G-Scene magazine
“A very atmospheric tale where the Alaskan wilderness takes almost a primordial role. I thought of books like Surfacing by Margaret Atwood and even Life After God by Douglas Coupland… The wilderness is there, always present. It doesn’t feel like just a background for the story of Nicky, Carol and Ellen but more like a mirror where you can see the strong pull of the characters on one another and also their dark side, which pushes them apart. Here we have Nature acting like a dreamscape, the bucolic on one hand and the Gothic terror on the other. There’s always tension.” – Libertas magazine (January 2007)
"Quite a creepy tale” – Forum magazine
“Promising… Bryson’s debut may hint at greater things to come in the lesbian literary canon” – Out in Greater Manchester magazine
"Like Margaret Atwood on acid.” – Little Sister’s (Vancouver)
“After a not-so-gentle start with childhood in small-town Alaska, this will side-swipe you into psychological damage and lesbian subculture with a force that left me reeling. I still don't know if the characterisation is consistent, but it has a truly cathartic tragic downward inevitability.” – Whichbook
“Kathleen Bryson creates an unforgettable landscape of emotions and youthful exploration of relationships in her complex web of magical realism and beautiful imagery.” – Opica H (reader review)
“A great first novel. Bryson writes of modern lives in a wide open landscape, with an eloquent imagination and yet careful tone. I very much like her work, certainly believe that she has a solid writing future ahead of her and very much look forward to reading her next book." – Stella Duffy, author of State of Happiness, longlisted for the 2005 Orange Prize
"This is a beautiful and compulsive book... Bryson has a marvellous capacity for lyrical, expressive prose. I found it engrossing, powerful and moving." – Clive Bradley, 1999 Pathé Screenwriting Winner and 2008 BAFTA winner, writer of Trapped (2016-2019)
"The Triangles”, published in 365 Tomorrows magazine, and can be read here, in June 2021.
Like Pulp said, mis-shapes.
"The Rebound”, to be published in Yellow Mama #87 magazine in August 2021.
The GIAG Syndrome.
"Mr. Adana's Lending Library", published February 2021, Vocal.com; and to be published July 2021, The Piker Press.
What is the anagram for “I love you”?
"Pseudokhristos”, published in The Impossible Voice magazine, and can be read here, May 2021.
A satirical sermon for dirty children.
"A Working Paper on Gaia and the Inter-Evolutions of Living Worlds: Abiogenesis, Our Divorce from the Daughters of the Plant People, Our Cousins the Mushrooms, Our Avoidance of the Trump-Pandemic Crisis and Ultimately Our Universe 2 Ostensible Natural-History Vacation Visits to Distant Midnight Galaxies”, published in the MASS magazine, and can be read here, 2020.
A bitter scientific pastiche.
"The Moon", published in 365 Tomorrows, and can be read here, 2020.
Not if you were the last person on Earth. Oops.
"We Only Travel at Night", published in 365 Tomorrows, and can be read here, 2020.
Time travel with some philosophical limitations.
"S2013A15B04", published in 365 Tomorrows, and can be read here. 2020.
Day trips to the sun.
“Falstaff Amongst the Machines”, published as part of Thinking Head, ed. Lara Favaretto for the 58th Venice Biennale, Venice, Italy, 2019.
A grumpy, fluffy AI takes long-anticipated revenge via Shakespeare when First Contact occurs.
The short story was published on Favaretto’s website post hoc as part of my participation as a Thinking Head regarding the word “Transhuman” for the Biennale: “Thinking Head (2017–2019) realised by Lara Favaretto for Ralph Rugoff’s 58th Venice Biennale, May You Live in Interesting Times, is the continuation of a project and artwork commissioned by Nottingham Contemporary in 2017, as part of the solo show Absolutely Nothing curated by the Museum’s director, Sam Thorne. Thinking Head is a nod to Alighiero Boetti’s sculpture Mi fuma il cervello (1993), an electrically heated bronze self-portrait whose head literally fumes. The project mirrors the functioning of the human brain as if it were a machine, a generator of thoughts and recognition, and then of definition and coordination. It is imbued with theoretical undertones of phrenology, in which the brain is the organ of the mind, and mental powers can be analysed as innate and independent faculties, each with its own place in a particular region on the surface of the brain.” (Thinking-head.net)
"Translation 7", published in The Enigmatic Message, ed. Sarah Wood for Beyond 2001 exhibition, London, UK, 2018, print.
I understand that you understand that I understand that you understand that I understand, in ever-increasing lake-rings of intentionality.
“In 1964 a team of sound recordists were sent to tape a community of chimpanzees as pre-production research for 'The Dawn of Man' sequence which opens Stanley Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey. A large box containing the resulting reel-to-reel tapes is now housed in the archive of Kubrick’s work. Some of the tapes are annotated. Some are not. Even with the clues the indexicality of the archive offers, even before the tapes are played, the tapes themselves are enigmatic objects. What message do they transmit? How do we make sense? This book is about the act of translation, about how we apply our individual human skills to the making of meaning. It was created for the Beyond 2001 exhibition, 2018. The Enigmatic Message – with translations by Ali Smith, Bridget Hannigan, Eileen Myles, Ian Patterson, Idit Elia Nathan, Joanne Macleod, Kathleen Bryson, Laurie Anderson, Lucy Harris, Lydia Davis, Meg Jamieson, Olivia Laing, Sharon Kivland, Woodrow Phoenix.” – Sarah Wood
“The Auto-Cannibal”, published in Twisted 50’s Evil Little Sister (book) by Create50, 2016; and in a different version in Necrologue: The Diva Book of the Dead & the Undead (book), ed. Helen Sandler, Diva Books, 2003.
Pretty much what it says on the can.
WINNER – Lambda International Literary Award: Best Science Fiction/Fantasy/Horror 2004 [collection as a whole].
NOMINEE: Gaylactic Spectrum Award: Best Collection 2004 [collection as a whole].
NOMINEE: Gaylactic Spectrum Award: Best Short Gay Fiction 2004 [‘The Auto-Cannibal’ as stand-alone short story].
“Well written and imaginative, particularly Kathleen Bryson’s terrifying futuristic vision.” —Time Out magazine
"[Kathleen Bryson is] a very talented young writer.” —Laura Hird, author of Hope & Other Urban Tales, Nail and Born Free
“As is the norm with such a compilation, subjective favourites leap out. For me, this happened with ‘The Auto-Cannibal’. It’s as gruesomely wonderful as the name suggests.”—The Gay Read
“The Boys I Mean Are Not Refined”, published in 2014 UCL Publisher’s Prize for Student Writing, UCL Press, 2014
Student Carrie is stuck on an isolated snowy college campus in Anchorage, Alaska, with an inattentive boyfriend whom she is not sure she is love with. Earthquakes rumble, volcanoes explode, the Northern Lights come out, the Berlin Wall falls down.
SHORTLISTED NOMINEE: The short story “The Boys I Mean Are Not Refined” was shortlisted for the 2014 UCL Publisher’s Prize for Student Writing, and appeared in the 2014 print anthology.
“The Evening & the Afternoon”, published in Haque magazine, 2014.
A young woman makes a decision to leave her lover, amongst a miracle of green snowfalls and Rudolph-the-White-Nosed Reindeers.
“Fashion Care Packages to Alaska”, published by Café Aphra in 2014.
The very opposite of fashion-forward.
“Girls”, published by Café Aphra in 2013.
The highly feminine main character glories in a pastiche of feminine fetishism, ending with her tearing out a fish’s stomach with her perfectly manicured fingernails.
In addition to publication in Café Aphra, the short story "Girls" was also selected and performed for the West End-based “Speakeasy: A Night of Extraordinary Monologues” theatrical showcase and played to sold-out performances in April 2011 in Covent Garden.
“The Stagtress” (novel extract), Haque magazine, Issue 2, 2013
A chapter excerpt from the novel-in-progress The Stagtress (novel later published by Fugue State Press 2019).
“Ghost Bikes”, published in Portland Queer: Tales of the Rose City, ed. Ariel Gore, Tin Star Press, 2009
A middle-aged, middle-class gay male couple sit and have brunch whilst one secretly reminisces about his adventurous, long-dead former lover.
WINNER – Lambda International Literary Award: Best Anthology 2009 [collection as a whole].
“The Happiest Graveyard in the World”, published in Diva magazine, 2007.
A young woman who has just fallen in love sits on commemorative benches in Hampstead Heath and contemplates the longevity of her new relationship. This short story was specially commissioned and published in Diva magazine.
SHOWCASED: 1 of 12 monthly stories by the UK’s “top lesbian and bisexual writers” (Diva magazine)
“So Cool”, published in Beyond Desire: Paranormal Erotic Stories, ed. Maria Pike, Magic Carpet Books, 2007
Magical realism of underwater cities and mermen with fins. Frosty descriptions of weird lakes. And, somehow, “erotica”.
“Perdichio’s Hat”, published in Sedition magazine, Issue 2, ed. Douglas Posey, 2006
The last days of grunge.
“[Bryson’s] writing is brilliant”—Doug Posey, Editor-in-Chief
“The Werfox”, Chiron Literary Review, 2005
A man turns into a fox while sleeping beside his lover one night.
SHOWCASED: Laura Hird’s Literary Website, 2005.
“Delighted to finally be showcasing this excellent story”—Laura Hird, author of Hope & Other Urban Tales, Nail and Born Free
“Sister Six”, published in Aesthetica: A Review of Contemporary Artists, Issue 7, ed. Cherie Federico, 2004
The sixth of twelve dancing princesses is fed up and breaking free.
“Worms”, published in Blithe House Quarterly, ed. Erik Karl Anderson, 2004
A dual-national archaeology student is wracked with guilt after splitting worms in half while on a dig.
"[A] wonderful story. I liked how beautifully [Bryson was] able to integrate themes of split national identity/gender with the details about worms’ lives… [Bryson’s] observations are very witty, sharp, and funny.”—Erik Karl Anderson, author of Enough
“Star Soup”, published in Groundswell, ed. Helen Sandler, Diva Books, 2003
A bullied thirteen-year-old fantasizes about making time go backwards, as she deals with mean girls and sanitary napkins alike.
“Helen Sandler has gone for excellence (few are less than good)… Outstanding are contributions from Americans Jane Eaton Hamilton and Kathleen Bryson, Scots Jackie Kay and Ali Smith and our own Emma Donoghue and Cherry Smyth” —GCN magazine
“Bryson’s wonderfully evocative short story”—Gay Times magazine
“The Day I Ate My Passport”, published in The Diva Book of Short Stories, ed. Helen Sandler, Diva Books, 2001
Not recommended prior to visiting the American Embassy.
WINNER: 2002 International Lambda Award for Best Anthology [collection as a whole]
"Bryson's ‘The Day I Ate My Passport’ is a classic example of how to drive a point home through the use of humour."—Lesbian Worlds magazine
"[‘The Day I Ate My Passport’] is plain fun."—QueerCompany / FABLE magazine
2022 “The Hard Side”, Eunoia Review. In this poem I provide a break-down of a break-up.
2022 “Oreopithecus”, Jalmurra magazine. O, humble noble hominin anomynin.
2022 “The Burial in Structure A”, Jalmurra magazine. The shaman and her foot.
2021 “First Person”, Bombay Literary Magazine. And the first shall be last. I. You. I.
2021 “Train from Brighton, Several Years Before We Broke Up”, Bombay Literary Magazine. The joys of shiny.
2021 “I'm Definitely Missing the Links Here”, Bombay Literary Magazine. A linking statement.
2021 “Eleven Minutes (Saying Goodbye in the Middle of a Pandemic” Ovid to Covid magazine. Well, good-bue.
2021 “Nikiski Midsummer”, Toasted Cheese Literary Journal. Give me that old-time solstice religion.
2021 “Smoking”, Toasted Cheese Literary Journal. I probably should have called this "The God of Alaska".
2021 “Sugar Dance”, spoken-word piece broadcast on "Movin', Groovin', Evolution", Wax on Wax (with DJ Claire Waxler) on OCD Radio, transmitted 13 March 2021). The sweet dances of the world.
2020 “We'll Run with the Dogs Tonight”, natural selection poem for the MASS magazine. Suburban gibbon infidelity.
2020 “The Marshmallow Test”, natural selection poem for the MASS magazine. An orangutan has better self control than you do.
2020 “Consumption”, natural selection poem for the MASS magazine. All vessels held in honour, from leaves to gourds to skulls.
2020 “Convergence”, natural selection poem for the MASS magazine. Also broadcast with a new final verse on "Movin', Groovin', Evolution", Wax on Wax (with DJ Claire Waxler) on OCD Radio, 13 March 2021). A slipstream course in dual inheritance theory.
2020 “The Patterson-Gimlin Reverse Shot”, natural selection poem for the MASS magazine. The Bryson School of Cryptozoological Science.
2020 “The Pharaoh Tutankhamun, Living Image of the God Amun, to Vicky, Specimen Number PA 357”, natural selection poem for the MASS magazine. Some animals are better than other animals.
2020 “The Ghosts (I & II)”, natural selection poem for the MASS magazine. On the shoulders of australopith giants.
2020 “Cold Luck” (poem lyrics by Kathleen Bryson, composition by Jessica Cheeseman, performed by Baked Alaska film ensemble, featuring Sophie Ottley, Will Tarzian & Venetia Elphick; Glass Women, UK, 3 min). Screened at I AM 2020 in Sable-sur-Sarthe, France (2020); and at the Magikal Charm Experimental Film Festival (2021). Got stuck in Alaska, cold luck.
2015 “Magic 8-Ball” (poem lyrics by Kathleen Bryson, composition by Jessica Cheeseman, performed by Kathleen Bryson & Jessica Cheeseman, video direction & screenplay by Kathleen Bryson; Glass Women, UK, 4.12 min). Screened at inHOUSE Film Festival in Manor House, London in 2015. Video can be viewed here. The crystal ball says yes.
2014 “Half Girl, Half Hound” (poem lyrics by Kathleen Bryson and Jessica Cheeseman, composition & performance by Kathleen Bryson & Jessica Cheeseman; Glass Women, UK, 3 min).Can be listened to here. A dance song about a regretful fox.
2014 “Moscow” (poem lyrics by Kathleen Bryson; composition by Kathleen Bryson; performance by Kathleen Bryson & Jessica Cheeseman; Glass Women, UK, 3 min). Can be listened to here. Once upon a time long, long ago, in an emerald city named Seattle, there was a deconstruction of Chekhov's Three Sisters called 'scapes (dir. EA Malone), for which Glass Woman Kathleen composed this paean to the onion-roofed allure of Moscow. And now, like a Cold War Russkie zombie, this electronica dance homage has risen from the rubble and the roubles.
2014 “Beltane Barbecue” (poem lyrics and vox by Kathleen Bryson; effects selected & mixed by Jessica Cheeseman with samples from Freesound; Glass Women, UK, 2 min 49 sec). Release your inner Wicca/wicker woman and plunder free samples, yay! A chant inspired in part by a springtime BBQ and in part by a quote by British journalist Stuart Jeffries: "Habermas took tolerance to be the key feature of liberal societies. In Britain, roughly, this means the following. I don't give a monkey's what you do in your own home, but if your barbecue smoke wafts into my duvet cover when it's drying on the line, I won't speak to you again but you will feel my frown through the net curtains for the next 20 years. Britons don't love their neighbours, but, so long as you keep the noise down, you can sacrifice goats to your God under the full moon as far as we're concerned. Indifference has become Britain's most widely practised civic virtue and is, quite possibly, a reason we adjusted to becoming a multi-ethnic society less painfully than one might have expected.” The song can be listened to here.
2014 “Sweet Violets” (traditional + poem lyrics by Kathleen Bryson; performed by Kathleen Bryson, effects by Jessica Cheeseman; Glass Women, UK, 3 min)
2014 “Lipstick Swirl” (poem lyrics by Kathleen Bryson; composition by Kimmo Moykky, performed by Emma Byrne and Kathleen Bryson, UK, 4 min).
2013 “The Pig & The Hare” (poem lyrics by Kathleen Bryson, composition by Jessica Cheeseman & Kathleen Bryson, video direction & screenplay by Jessica Cheeseman, Glass Women, UK, 2 min). Screened at inHOUSE Film Festival in Manor House, London in 2015.
2004 “Forest" (poem lyrics by Kathleen Bryson; composition by Harpoon Daisy, performed by Harpoon Daisy, UK, 4 min; 2014 remix by Kathleen Bryson for Glass Women with wolf effects by Jessica Cheeseman).
2014 “The Hallucigenia Flip”, Shot of Science magazine (science poems for Pint of Science). I am a rigid tubular organism who is really doing fine.
2014 “Space (Divorce)” Shot of Science magazine (science poems for Pint of Science). You asked for “space”? You got it.
2014 “Back Before Global Warming” Shot of Science magazine (science poems for Pint of Science), An Anchorage winterland fantasy where Bambi and Rudolph go on a date, stag.
2014 “The Day Grunge Died”, Haque magazine. The truth about grunge, shooting pool, Kurt Cobain; second-hand East German military jackets.
2013 “Grey Amanda” Haque magazine, Issue 2. A cut-up poem.
2012 “Camlet Moat, Epitaph”, Poetry Kit newsletter. HONOURABLE MENTION: “Camlet Moat, Epitaph” received Honourable Mention in the International Poetry Kit Summer Competition on the subject of “The Natural World” and was published in the October 2012 Poetry Kit newsletter.
“‘Camlet Moat, Epitaph’: this reminds me of some of Dylan Thomas’s poetry, where language tumbles into images. I especially like ‘angled violence’, and the last line that ends the poem so well.”—Lesley Burt (Poet & Judge, 2012 Poetry Kit Summer Competition)
2013 “Aliens”, Café Aphra. They have arrived and they look just like us.
2005 “The Muffins”, Mouseion magazine, Issue 5. Yum, yum.
2005 “He Sure Was Something”, Forever Underground magazine, Issue 1. Wasn't he?
2005 “We Travel to Hackney”, Open Wide magazine, Issue 15. And then we kept going.
2005 “L.S.D. on Bus Route No. 73”, Open Wide magazine, Issue 15.; also published in Twitching End, 1997. The title says it all. This has been rather a crowd-pleaser at open-mic nights, and I once got offered a line of coke from an appreciative audience member, which I declined. Yet I was flattered.
1997 Twitching End, a single-author poetry pamphlet by Krax Publications, Rump Books #29. Poems included in this collection were: “Hometown, Alaska”, “The Bird on the Chessboard”, “I’ve Insaned a Half-Year’s Night”, “Ken”, “LSD on Bus Route No. 73”, “small spring poem” and “Remote Control”.
1996 “Hometown, Alaska”, Magma magazine, Issue 7; also published in Twitching End, 1997, and in a different form in the novel Mush, 2001
1996 “Goldfinger”, Shrike magazine, Issue 2. And other golden body parts.
1994 “Your Cookbook, Mom”, NorthBiNorthwest magazine. Family recipes.
1993 “Arena”, NorthBiNorthwest magazine. They're looking at you.
1982 “Fallen Leaves”, Peninsula Clarion newspaper. My first publication ever, a very sophomoric poem about Sadat's assassination. I was 13.
JOURNALISM / ESSAYS
2010 “The Kids Don't Stand a Chance: Homophobia and the Young Adult Publishing Market”, Diva magazine
2009 “A Day in Portland”, travel article, Diva magazine
2009 “Alaska for Real Women”, travel article, Curve magazine
2009 “Korean Family Vacation: Life in the Fast Lane”, travel article, Curve magazine
2009 “10 Books Every Lesbian Should Read”, Curve magazine
2005 “Alaska: The Odds are Good”, cover travel feature article, Gay Times magazine
2003 “Growing Up in Moominland: A Tribute to Tove Jansson”, feature article, Diva magazine
2003 “Confessions of a Monogamous Bisexual: A Critique of Biological Essentialism”, cover feature, Diva magazine
2002 “Lapdogs, & Other Perversions”, Inappropriate Behaviour: Prada Sucks, and Other Demented Descants (book),
eds. Kerri Sharp and Jessica Berens, Serpent’s Tail)
“BOOK OF THE MONTH”—Dazed & Confused
“A scabrous new collection of feminist essays. When did you last read a book of feminist criticism for entertainment? If you like your rebellion spiked with a little arsenic, look no further.”—Sleazenation
“A collection of short essays from the world's leading feminist writers.”—Mayfair
“Now this is what I call a cool book. Or as the editors put it: ‘Inappropriate Behaviour is to women's studies what Naomi Klein's No Logo is to corporate culture – but a lot more fun’. Indeed, it's a collection of crazed, inspired rants by the likes of Tama Janowitz”—Sunday Herald
2001-2010 Fifteen separate book reviews for Diva magazine, including Forbidden Fruit: A History of Women and Books in Art
by Christine Inmann (Prestel, 2010), Couples: The Truth by Kate Figes (Virago, 2010), Bad Habits: A Love Story by
Cristy C. Road (Soft Skull Press, 2010), Plain Pleasures by Jane Bowles (Peter Owen Press, 2004), Dark Wor(l)ds by
Julie Travis (self-published, 2003) and Harm by Stephanie Luke (Wakefield Press, 2001).
1997 “Festival of Inverts: The Case for Minority Representation”, ed. Marco Zee-Jotti, cover feature article,
FEATURE SCREENPLAYS (for short films, see FILM-MAKING page)
Doctor Bitcoin Makes the Magic (feature, in post-production)
Baked Alaska (feature, written 2013, film released 2019)
The Viva Voce Virus (feature, written 2002, film released 2008).
No Child Left Behind (feature, in development)
Spaceships Over Corvallis (feature, in development)
The Wonderful Thing (feature, in development)
Bulgaria (feature, in development)
ADDITIONAL SONG LYRICS (For more about the group Glass Women, see FILMMAKING & PERFORMANCE page.)
2014 “Moscow” (lyrics, composition & performance by Kathleen Bryson, cello by Jessica Cheeseman, video direction & screenplay by Kathleen Bryson; Glass Women, UK, 4 min)
2014 “Klaus, I’m Such a Fool for You” (lyrics, composition & performance by Kathleen Bryson & Jessica Cheeseman; Glass Women, UK, 3 min)
2014 “The Bog Man” (lyrics by Kathleen Bryson; composition by Jessica Cheeseman, performed by Kathleen Bryson & Jessica Cheeseman; Glass Women, UK, 3 min)
2014 “Torture Garden” (lyrics by Kathleen Bryson; composition by Kathleen Bryson & Jessica Cheeseman, performed by Jessica Cheeseman & Kathleen Bryson; Glass Women, UK, 3 min)
2013 Editing of English, from the German into English, along with Ilka Weidig and Katharine Balolia: Human Evolution Hominids for Schools – Teachers’ Handbook Textbook by Hans Peter Klein, Friedemann Schrenk, Annette Scheersoi, Stella Reuter, Paul Dierkespoem, published 2013 by Shaker Verlag
2013 Editing of English, from the German into English, along with Ilka Weidig and Katharine Balolia: Human Evolution Hominids for Schools – Student Workbook Textbook by Hans Peter Klein, Friedemann Schrenk, Annette Scheersoi, Stella Reuter, Paul Dierkespoem, published 2013 by Shaker Verlag
2010 Editing of English, from the German into English, along with Volker Sommer for Apes Like Us – photography coffee-table book of the great apes with photographs by Jutta Hoff, text by Professor Volker Sommer, published 2013 by Shaker Verlag
2008 From the Swedish into English for the poem “Love” by Edith Södergran, Chroma magazine
2004 From the Swedish into English; précis for the novel Fair Play / Rent Spel by Tove Jansson; loose translation from the Swedish commissioned by Sort Of Books; translation for chapter “Fog” done with writer Ali Smith. Fair Play published 2007 by Sort Of Books/Penguin, translation by Thomas Teal.
2003 From the English into Swedish for an excerpt from the play “Big Bed” by Ali Smith, BBC Radio 4 Afternoon Play.
EDITED ANTHOLOGIES / JOURNALS
NB. As a commissioning editor, and then publisher, at Virgin Books and then the Millivres Prowler Group, respectively, I think I've edited at least 100 books. These two below are those with my name officially attached, however.
2021 The Posh Book: Pleasure, Performance, Parties and Pensioners. Published by Duckie Ltd.
2005 Suspect Thoughts: A Journal of Subversive Writing #15, Double Issue June - Dec 2005 (Guest-edited, Suspect Thoughts Press, San Francisco, CA). Included pieces by authors Ali Smith, Sarah Wood, Helen Sandler, Francis Gapper, Chris Madoch-Hughes, Deborah Espect, Michael Hely, Robin Whiteside.
Charles Darwin called on a broad and unusually powerful combination of critical thinking skills to create his wide-ranging explanation for biological change, On the Origin of Species. It’s one of those rare books that takes a huge problem – the enormous diversity of different species – and seeks to use a vast range of evidence to solve it. But it was perhaps Darwin’s towering creative prowess that made the most telling contribution to this masterpiece, for it was this that enabled him to make the necessary fresh connections between so much disparate evidence from such a diversity of fields. All of Darwin’s critical thinking skills were required, however, in the course of the decades of work that went into this volume. Taken as a whole, Darwin’s solution to the problem that he set himself is carefully researched, considers multiple explanations, and justifies its conclusions with well-organised reasoning. At the time of the publication, in 1859, there were various explanations for the changes that Darwin – and others – observed; what separated Darwin from so many of his contemporaries is that he deployed critical thinking to arrive at a significantly new way of fitting explanation to evidence; one that remains elegant, complete and predictive to this day.
Why We Struggle with Ambiguity:
The Quiddity Question
Co-written with Volker Sommer.
Ethics Press International, UK, 2023.
Black and white, human and animal, male and female, we and they: we tend to perceive our world in pigeonholes of either-or. Can such dualistic defaults be reconciled with increasing calls for more inclusivity and openness to fluidity? By looking at thousands of newspaper articles across a 16-year period, this study explores if and how the boundaries of classic binaries are shifting. The analyses show that we largely operate with categories of assumed immutable essences (quiddity), but they also uncover the potential for flexibility. This provides hope societies can accommodate more fluid worldviews and lifestyles, and avoid recapitulating old patterns.
A Macat Analysis of Charles Darwin's On the Origin of Species
Co-written with Nadejda Msindai.
Macat/Routledge, UK, 2017.