Author Archive

Review of my forthcoming book ‘The Liquid Metropolis’ by Dom Gabrielli   Leave a comment

Petra Whiteley’s defiant latest tome, The Liquid Metropolis, (to be) published by Erbacce Press, sets about a ferocious dismantling of the persistently flourishing Social-Christian tenets. Frame by frame, poem by poem, stone by stone, look by look, in a challenging long-metrage between diary and diatribe, poetic epiphany and novelistic dystopia, Whiteley walks the amazed reader through the post-apocalypse metropolis of misguided affects. The gaze of leering masculine eagles, the seething anaesthetic of cowardly hatred, did not waylay her from her task. No stone is left un-turned. This is a work of unabashed pride. To walk with these words is to understand the meaning of standing out in the rain, resolutely outside, where the rains do not feel the same, where something ripped from ugly becomes beautiful. From within the tree, poetry never abandons the reader throughout a thrilling conversation with the myths of cherished lies. Poetry emerges victorious as mind and body, as the seconds which exceed Time, as the bare statement which kicks and shouts as it is, in silence, as the nothing that lived and breathed, even these words, even the sun, even its fire, even the unattainable, which crawls ‘as a syllable on a promised tongue/ forever no/thing.’

I imagine this enterprise was not without risks and that therefore first it is our role as readers to salute the bravery of this author, who has paid no heed to fashion nor to commodity, but to has listened to her deepest sentiment and revealed with such harsh and beautiful invective, the bare bones of the post-capitalist predicament. ‘The clock hands/ of my practical suicide turn/the light backwards, no outer/limits…’ Since Artaud, the necessity to un-live and un-think the colonial powers of Christian absurdities has been paramount. Here the manual to exist outside continues, in the rain and without lying. ‘(God’s) endless fingers of words claw suicide/into the everyday smell of my flesh and its throbbing/is the only life left.’ Or better still:

‘I was there, playing dead for them, the oak of silence growing
into my lungs. Was noise a bruise that spread whitely into me?
Yes. In that poisoned room within the tree, I left traces of death,

lived backwards, the slow drip of birthday butchery.

So long to language and its pain!

Breathe to break the hush of words into music,
unconstrained and unshattering.’.

Hope is for the misguided but love entertains the brave, a love you build between the slow suicides of souls whose de-mystified sexualities can start to sing a song of muscle and beauteous, poetic bone. Disillusions many ripped from the misfortunes of previous identities can be stripped in a kind of ritual post-mortem of manners and realities. Can one say, following such adventurers in the domains of the Spirit such as Artaud that another body is possible:

‘I wanted you to watch
Me die, to watch the trees growing from my hands
Into the stark digits of night and be the monument
Of my liquid sex. To
Witness the opiate orgasms
In my resurrection.’

What for convenience sake we still call man or woman suffers here a keen and rigorous un-thinking. ‘I am the void, the pain and the whiskey lie, a sucked bone, a flute,/and as I,/you will/(desc)end softly as a barren rattle sound.’ The Liquid Metropolis is a book-machine in the great tradition of radical thinking, a book for new lover-thinkers, into the hope-less beyond of the naked end of the world. For those who, dare I say, have never bent their knees to kneel nor sheltered their eyes from the glaring truth of society’s founding lies. This is a resistance song, a remarkable bottle hurled into the ocean of nought. To collect its messages is to accept that a book requires the reader to work, to pause for moments to collect one’s whole intellectual history, to agree to be challenged, to be hurt, to be attacked by the anger of the author, to travel with her to the trees and the colours which sing on the other side: ‘our laughter will echo like hard rain when we finally slip away.’

We have become accustomed to Whiteley’s unstinting intellectual rigour, to the beauty of many of her poems, but never has her true instinct been able to express itself with such uncompromising clarity and fire. The Liquid Metropolis is what the burning libraries of 2012 will need, an at times brutal poetic pamphlet whose language prepares the audacious for the trees which will grow from their hands, for a new laughter for the living who do not wish to postpone their desires and abdicate their enjoyments. ‘I dream of Thames at midnight, where at least a rabbit can choose/ the softness of one’s own never ever after and push hard towards/the dawn in the city.’
Dom Gabrielli studied literature at Edinburgh and New York Universities and prepared for his doctorate in Paris and New York. Gabrielli’s passion for French literature and thought led him to begin writing, translating, and teaching. He translated widely including published works by Bataille, Leiris and Jabes. In the early 1990’s, he left the academic world to travel and devote himself to writing. He has published two books to date. The Eyes of a Man (2009), his first book of poetry, and The Parallel Body (2010), which earned considerable praise. Several new books are on their way. Gabrielli has also published several individual poems and interviews, notably at Leaf Garden Press, The Poetry Bay, Vox Poetica and Real Stories Gallery.

(The Liquid Metropolis should be out in Feb-March this year, dates to be updated)


Posted January 8, 2012 by Petra Whiteley in Articles/Reviews

A Review of “Exhibition of Defined Moments” by Petra Whiteley – written by Tara Birch   Leave a comment

If you are looking for soothing, easy to read, nostalgic, romantic or sentimental poetry filled with visions of the wonders of nature or with allusions to classic myths of the “great poets” then Petra Whiteley’s book of poems, “Exhibition of Defined Moments” is not for you. If you enjoy New Formalist poetry, or confessional poetry, or the metaphysical elusiveness of poets such as John Ashbery, then pass by Ms. Whiteley’s book. On the other hand, if you are open to poetry that defies convention, poetry that explores the boundaries of existentialism and nihilism, poetry written in a neo-gothic style with structural elements reminiscent of abstractionist art, then you need look no further, nor will you find a poet more attuned to her generation than Petra Whiteley, as demonstrated in the poems compiled in her book, “Exhibition of Defined Moments”. Petra Whiteley is not a poet to read on at the beach while you lie languidly on a towel listening to the ocean surf, relaxing under a bright sun. Her poems demand and require your full attention, and invariably a second or even third reading. Her poetry is intense and demands much of its readers, yet the reader who engages her poems with the same intensity and close attention with which she wrote them will be amply rewarded. “Exhibition of Defined Moments” will (to use an old slang term from the sixties) blow your mind. Though original in scope and design, her poems remind me of the ancient sibyls issuing prophetic warnings in riddles and mysteries. Syntax is twisted, diction stretched to its limits, and paradoxes abound, yet behind her method an underlying intention and worldview exists, comprehensible to those who read them closely and with patience. Her poems express and expose the dark underbelly of our new century, one in which religion corrupts, science fails; and the unholy alliance between multi-national corporations and governments actively denies the dignity and humanity of all those who are not members of the new aristocratic elites. It is to those of us who live on the brink to whom she speaks. She is our oracle and her poems express visions of both the present times and the times to come in stark yet compelling language, language such as these verses from her book’s very first poem, Melding Armature From Ice :

Traces, vapours

emerge in scraped out palm –

the mirror of touch-lost lines of concaved

ribs,the fist pushing the rope, the echoes

shuttering; constantly separating the living

from the dead. The oratories spell out swans,

biting themselves to stave off the unknown nights.

Here, we see the template for what is to come: the paradoxical use of language (“mirror of touch-lost lines” and the “echoes shuttering”) and images from the natural world at war with itself (“swans, biting themselves to stave off the unknown nights.”) Ms. Whiteley takes us to the ragged edge of our times with allusions, imagery and metaphors that are both fresh and yet feel as if they had been lifted from ancient scriptures. It is the language of apocalypse and revelation, when even words break down and we see in them the ruins of the world to come. Her abrupt twists and idiomatic usage of the English language both create a new way of seeing, one that astonishes and frightens us, yet we cannot look away. The word awe, in its original sense of dread and wonder, is the proper response to her poetry. Her verses are that of a lyrical poet, but one that embeds with them not only the quality of beauty, but also those of with horror and bewilderment. This is a calculated effect, however, as exemplified by these verses from “Moving Sketch in Dark Green and Sepia:”

   I am

a girl again, and always, chiselled by shreds, scarlet pounding

umbilical cord of contusion clouds. Rain

sounds as fingernail hits glass, pushing, turning, picturing, word unsaid.

Behind the eyes, far, far, looking, looking is


A contrapuntal texture is created in these lines, of destruction (chiseled by shreds) versus connection (umbilical cord). Not a healthy connection, however, but one expressed in an image of pain and a great wounding of the spirit (contusion clouds). The dissonance created by this use of language pushed the reader past the point where words are adequate to convey meaning, leaving us with the ambiguous and synesthetic effect of the ending lines: “Behind the eyes … looking is / (silence).” Petra Whiteley is not satisfied with the traditional means of conveying emotion in poetry. She splinters reality and forces us to examine the raw bases from which consciousness and feeling are formed. She seeks to convey the experience of our post-modern society through the eyes of a seer who is also one of us, sharing the same sorrows and the same confusion, the same slivers of joy mixed with the same numbing desensitization caused by the constant and overwhelming influx of new information that assails each of us. Thus, she is a poet of her generation, but also a poet who uses ancient sources for inspiration to define the experience of our confounding and nightmarish era. You would be remiss in not taking the opportunity to read her work, for her future reputation as a voice for our generation, but also as a poet whose poems encompass the universal themes that will always be with us as a species, will only grow as her poetry becomes better known. Her book “Exhibition of Defined Moments” is an excellent introduction to this new and still evolving artist.

You can purchase this book on these links



Posted July 5, 2011 by Petra Whiteley in Articles/Reviews

A review of my novella ‘The Silent Quarters’ by Tara Birch   Leave a comment

‘The Silent Quarters’ is still a work in progress by me, but hopefully will be ‘out there’ one day. This is a review of it by Tara Birch.

A review of “The Silent Quarters” by Petra Whiteley (written by Tara Birch)

It’s rare that a great poet is also a great writer of prose.  It is even rarer when a writer can infuse a prose narrative, fiction or non-fiction, with the language of a lyrical poet.  Yet, that is what Petra Whitely has accomplished in her breakthrough novella, The Silent Quarters.

Her story, set in a dystopian future, begins in the year 2099.  Some of you might stop right there and say to yourselves, “Please not another SF apocalyptic story.  It’s been done to death.”  If you are one of those people you would be making a grave mistake in my opinion and depriving yourself of an experience rare in these days in which commercial, genre fiction dominates the marketplace.  Petra brings the sensibility of a poet to a story is a work of prophecy that ultimately may prove to be our destiny of its warnings our not heeded.

As a cautionary story, The Silent Quarters is as relevant to our times, as Orwell’s 1984 was to his.  Orwell described in detail the consequences of an all-encompassing authoritarian state based on a political ideology.  Orwell inhabited a time in which Fascism nearly destroyed the world, and states putatively based on the utopian ideals of Marx, Lenin and Mao crushed individual freedom and killed or ruined the lives of countless millions because those ideals could not survive the desire of their leaders to obtain and maintain power.

Petra, though, lives in a world in which an economic ideology, neo-liberal capitalism has combined with the philosophy (and I use that word in the broadest sense possible) of Ayn Rand to justify and sanctify unfettered greed and selfishness.  The Silent Quarters examines the inevitable consequences of such an unholy alliance through the lives of its characters, men and women forced to dispense with common decency and morality in order merely to survive.

She shows us this horrific future through the eyes of her main protagonist, the enigmatically named Three Miles Suede a/k/a TMS.  TMS is, for all intents and purposes, a slave.  The Silent Quarters shows us his struggle to find a way to live with integrity in a world burdened by the weight of corporate tyranny. Through his eyes we experience a world where elite neo-feudalists who live in their isolated palaces of luxury and pleasure while the vast majority suffers under a crushing poverty.   What is more, she shows us how this relentless poverty, brought about by the soulless workings of degrades their physical and spiritual well-being in equal measure, as the first paragraph from the Prologue to her book demonstrates:

In the silence of this troubled night, his thoughts were overcome by the song of birds just before the break of dawn. The wind gently whispered as a chorus rose out of the darkness. Trying to catch his breath, he clutched his chest and felt the dampness of the sheets against his skin. Another nightmare… His thoughts reeled over and over like an old film left in broken camera, stuck on one single exposure.

In effect, Petra brings to life a world where a person’s status and the manner in which or she is permitted even the smallest of liberties is defined solely in terms of class.  A world where the “divine right of kings” has re-emerged, bringing with it all the barbarity and soulless destruction of the human spirit that we associate with the Dark Ages.

That she accomplishes this feat of imaginative power with such subtle grace is evidence of the fusion of her poet’s intuition and a hard, clear-eyed view of the ever-growing menace of globalization.  Her story focuses on the fate of individuals trapped in a society that does not recognize their humanity. It takes our current situation, where profit is the highest good and the criminals who loot and demolish the economic well being of entire countries, are increasingly a law unto themselves, and allows us to envision the inevitable end of freedom and equality these modern day Masters of the Universe wish to bring about.

I urge you to read her story if you, like I, see the dark path that unregulated, monopolistic capitalism is taking us down.  The best political manifestos often come not from those well versed in economics or public policy or political science, but from great artists.  Artists, with their imaginative powers, their skills of observation of the human condition and their empathy for others can say more, and galvanize more people, through a work of fiction than any “public intellectual” or academic can ever hope to accomplish.  The Silent Quarters, though a work of fiction, is also a call to arms for all humankind.  We should heed the lessons to be gleaned from it even as we read Petra Whiteley’s book for the sheer joy that only great literature can provide.

Posted June 27, 2011 by Petra Whiteley in Articles/Reviews

My Review of ‘Messages To Central Control’ by A.D. Hitchin   Leave a comment

My Review of ‘Messages To Central Control’ by A.D. Hitchin 

(Paraphilia Press, 2011)

In 2009 Shadow Archer Press released A.D. Hitchin’s chapbook ‘The Holy Hermaphrodite’. It was an impressive and promising introduction of his works to those who haven’t discovered it through the scores of publishing entries in many webzines and magazines or on his writer’s pages on the internet, not to mention a great opportunity to revisit the work and find new facets on each new read for all those who already knew his work or just found it.

There are many who had tried to adopt the cut-up technique, originating with Tristan Tzara and developed by Burroughs and Gysin, but I believe that Hitchin adopts it, rejuvenates it and recreates it in a most original and natural way and elevates it even beyond the intentions of its first inventors. Within his considerable talent it evolves into a new form in its entirety. It is not a mere chance that his work has been studied by scholars – Edward S. Robinson examined it in his book ‘Shift Linguals: Cut-up Narratives from William S. Burroughs to the Present (Postmodern Studies)’.

 Hitchin’s new book, a whole collection this time, ‘Messages To Central Control’ shows the quantum leap in this evolution of artistic endeavour, ever growing complexity of ideas and observations done with even more laser-like focus and concentrated direction of this probing and searching work, not to mention its linguistic and existential urgency and artistic intent.

The book consists of thematically diverse and yet unified parts. The very first is the book-titled ‘Messages To Central Control’ where Hitchin focuses on a place of a human being under the political, social and religious domineering machineries. ‘What is its and one’s role?’, ‘what does it do’, ‘what are its manifestations within the psyche’ are listings of only several questions posed here. Foremostly it’s a superb protest against a human being forced and/or acquiescing into a role as an object of the society which extols the price for one’s existence in it by expulsion of the very core of being, life and self-determined identity in order to persist as a controlled and controlling mechanism keeping in check each and everyone and able to modify itself only in terms of its efficiency to keep the status quo.

Thames water Britain. Tapping torment contortions. Closet hymns. Balding, fifty-something, middle-executive etcetera, etcetera.

I was happy on 3rd July, 2009.  Biting a fresh Apple I thought: ‘I am functional’

Eating my fat belly considerations of suicide.

This I had anticipated.  Night brings it like lights in major cities.

(excerpt from “Messages To Central Control”)

Unlike so many poets out there Hitchin doesn’t fall into the need to preach or to patronisingly present all the answers, rather he takes the reader right with him as his passenger so to speak and they ‘look’ and examine, experience together and each finds their own conclusions. Conveying art this way is not only an enriching experience for the reader, but freeing the writer – whoever writes in this way is more interested in their art and searching existence than building a tower, a statue for their ego – which is inevitably a considerable burden – for both sides. This enormous possibility of freedom of the quest afforded to the reader is a persistent gift of Hitchin’s work beyond this chapter – even though we will find that the ‘Central Control’ will permeate all the other facets.

Another focus lays in examination of cults and relationship within patriarchal religion, if we were to use Freudian terminology, the focus is on Oedipal complex – enter the Man/Son Cycle. Yet there is no accusation but a deep psychological insight. The unexpected, startling astute poetic phrases that cut to the core abound.

You’re looking ever learned

but I never came to learn lessons

just to ever love you, pretty lonesome

love you and

cease to exist


walk with me and you’ll see I’m your kind, I’ll place my palm in yours, share one final kiss, drown in each other’s arms until we

cease to exist.

 (Man/Son #8: Cease to Exist)

‘Dead Prophet Graffiti’ section is an achingly precise observation of living in today’s urban labyrinth. They are vivid, tangible and pulsating shots of life in a city/society, with all its turmoil of alienation and neurosis, lives neutralised to numbness and empty social gestures. At times a touching portrayal, at others a lacerating irony where firm intelligence delivers a visceral kick when you expect it the least and performs a living autopsy of a human condition and shreds the surface paint of social structures to expose their distorted face and rotting flesh. The next chapters examine the issues of identity with a language that fits the theme so precisely; their tone evokes the feeling of the modern loss and narcotic (and other mind/heart-numbing) escapes chillingly. The poet’s voice is not only a camera but it is a microscope, nothing escapes the focus. He discloses not only the structures, the techniques and methods but the very mindsets that allow the existence and the shaping of them. Behind all this you can sense an aching call for aliveness and for humanity restored, but again Hitchin does not preach, the reader is shown and drawn to make his/hers own realisations, consider their own thoughts and their own resonances.

Hitchin’s language and images work in an inexplicable way – it works like for example Hans Holbein the Younger’s Skull in his painting ‘The Ambassadors’ – which from a direct view yields as a distorted shape between the two male figures and the paraphernalia of their professions and interests (the symbols thereof) that becomes a skull in its proper dimensions when seen from a side view. What Hitchin’s sexual language role is can be said to be equivalent to this visual anamorphosis.  Many might be trapped and seeing the first pattern – the sexual images and phrase turns but Hitchin’s work goes way beyond that, they serve to deliver the larger picture of what living and relating in a modern world has come to, the deeper crevices of fragmented psyches, relationships, emotions and lives.

‘Messages To Central Control’ is a visionary work, highly original and piercingly intelligent. It’s a work of great importance. Hitchin has confirmed himself as one of the essential contemporary poets and artists.

The book is available from here:

Posted June 13, 2011 by Petra Whiteley in Articles/Reviews

Articles by Petra Whiteley   Leave a comment

These are some of the articles I have written for the literary magazines.

On Authors and Poets

Jean Genet – The Criminal and the Saint

French literature has always been considered as one of the best, its writers some of the most colourful and adventurous characters infusing their work with intriguing edge. Many would mention Arthur Rimbaud as an example, but when it comes to it, Jean Genet’s life was not only twice more so interesting, but also more prolific and diverse in literary and artistic output, and dare I say it, could be turned into a great movie. It certainly was a great source for inspiration of his impressive oeuvre as a poet, novelist, essayist, playwright and film maker.

Genet was born in 1910 to a young prostitute, who gave him up for adoption in his early life, Genet’s first adoptive family turned out to be loving and attentive, but with the second one he was turning out to rebel, disappearing on adventures in the night, dressing up in women’s clothes and squandering money given to him for the family’s shopping. Finally at sixteen he was sent to Mettray Penal Colony for thieving. This reform institution was meant to prepare the apprehended misfits for their future as field hands, soldiers and labourers so it prohibited any studies so not to give ideas to them about bettering their socially determined lot. Genet, who was a voracious reader, disobeyed and came across Ronsard, a poet from the times of Renaissance, who influenced many of his erotic writings. When his confinement finished three years later he signed up with the Foreign Legion to shorten his time in the penal colony, but since he kept on with his adventurous side, Genet was ‘dishonourably’ discharged six years later when he was caught in flagrante with another man.

Read more in the Glasgow Review (Opinion section)

A Trip to the Ice Palace with Tarjei Vesaas

 Scandinavian literature and art that emerged in last century especially has a minimalistic touch and yet it can create vision in which even silence is so pregnant with meaning that the art is not just only the axe to break the frozen sea within us as Kafka wrote, but the rapturous explosion within to open us inside and out.

“Nature is not only that which is visible to the eye–it also presents the inner pictures of the soul–the pictures on the reverse side of the eye” – Edvard Munch, On the Frieze (1918).

Munch’s observation could be applied in particular to Tarjei Vesaas (1897 – 1970) – one of the most original modern writers, poets and playwrights of Norway.

Vesaas was born and spent most of his life in the province of Telemark, he wrote in the New Norwegian (Nynorsk), formerly known as landsmål, “rural language” and had been translated into many other languages. He gained recognition in his native country before WWII as well as abroad after it, and had been nominated for the Nobel Prize for literature three times. Although he was first inspired by realism and several influences could be traced in his early work, after his first books he became undeniably original, with only few indirect influences.

read more in The Osprey

Sylvia Plath – the White Goddess of poetry

 If we define the term genius as distinctive talent influencing an era, we shall find Sylvia Plath to be an undeniable genius of the poetry of the 20th century.

The autobiographical facts of her life have proved to be a morbid fascination to many and the reading and analysis of her work has been placed into the framework of her failed marriage to Ted Hughes, and her depression and suicide. When the movie industry decided to turn Plath’s life into a cinematic feature, her daughter, Frieda Hughes, objected to this constant portrayal of her mother as a suicide doll icon.

No other poet has sparked so much controversy and challenged definitions with the same force. Analysis of her work has often been confined to autobiographical interpretation and limited by political correctness and she has been branded as a confessional poet alongside Anne Sexton and Robert Lowell.

Yet neither Sexton’s nor Lowell’s work yields the same haunting power. The united imagery of a mythical system of inner landscapes Plath maps out and the outer landscapes she critiques, surpasses the method of confession and scopes of their poetry.

Read more in The Osprey

One of the political articles

Liberty In UK?

Twenty five years after George Orwell handed in the manuscript of 1984 to his publisher’s office, several bombs exploded in the City of London, it was 1973. The IRA launched its campaign of terrorism, and together with the 9/11 attack of al-Qaeda on the Twin Towers in New York twenty eight years later, it has infected governments with a state of paranoia.

Those acts serve our governments as a justification of ‘by any means necessary’ policies and thus the power to strip people of their rights to privacy and the ongoing corrosion of their liberty. When our governments lie or exaggerate about the threat of terrorist attacks, we have indeed entered very dangerous times.

Read more in the Glasgow Review(Opinion section)


Poetry And Revolution

Poetry has not been so often associated with the Moon in vain, for like the Moon, it accompanies people’s lives and struggles and reflects them, like a waning and waxing witness. It is thus no surprise that it has been a loyal companion during the times of history’s biggest turmoil, upheavals, conflicts and revolutions, its poets the loud speakers announcing injustice, the voice-givers to the victims and the rousers of opposition to status quo.

Except of the primal poetry’s prerogative of preserving tradition, poetry as a part of culture often served as means to battle and settle conflicts. The poet thus was not only also a historian, but the prototype politician and leader too. During the poetry recitals, ties of kinship were stirred up. The skill as a poet was crucial in gaining followers and sympathisers by such means as the power of intonation, expression or imagery set aflame with visions of betterment that the advocated ideas would bring for the poet’s audience. These are some of the skills that many poets have used for serving the establishment as well as employing those very same methods against it.

One of the earliest, important poets that we can associate with changes towards democracy and revolution we’ll find in Greek history in Solon of Archaic Athens. His struggles in political arena to establish democracy failed in his lifetime which was reflected in his elegiac poems, however, his ideas although too far ahead of his contemporaries, whose apathy he lamented, were preserved in his poetry, lived on and helped to instigate the changes later on.

Read more on in Eleutheria (Articles Section, issue 2)


On early lyrics and the lyricist of Manic Street Preachers:

Richey James Edwards and The Holy Bible of the Manic Street Preachers

Why would a musician merit an article considering him as a poet? Because Richey J. Edwards was well read and loved poetry and literature, and it showed in the lyrics that made Manic Street Preachers distinctive from the other British bands of the time by their high poetic nature and political awareness. Although MSP were more mellow in sound and more European regarding the connection to literature, the other comparable major band that tackled politics in such a way was Rage Against the Machine over the other side of the Atlantic.

Edwards was born in Blackwood (Wales) to Sheryl and Graham Edwards, theirs was a household of devout Methodists. Richey grew up as a quiet youth, disappointed by the culture which he perceived as empty and apathetic, conditioned by uninteresting teaching or more to the point as he saw it – the indoctrination. He turned to educating himself with the works of poets such as Philip Larkin, Primo Levi, William Blake, Siegfried Sassoon , Sylvia Plath, Arthur Rimbaud and T.S. Eliot instead.. Other writers he was passionate about included Albert Camus, Fyodor Dostoevsky, George Orwell, and William Golding. Although he was dismissive of the schooling system, he studied in Swansea University for a political science degree – politics being another influence over his lyrical output resulted in MSP being classed as a ‘socialist’ group (as well as MSP supporting the miner‘s strikes and playing in Cuba).

Richey started as a driver and roadie for Manic Street Preachers but soon became their fourth member, although his guitar playing was more showing-off than real skill. His answer when confronted with this lack of guitar playing skills was as follows: “Why is everyone hung up on an ugly piece of wood and metal and strings? I can‘t play guitar very well, but I wanna make the guitar look lethal.” His real skill was lyric-writing after all. He co-wrote them with Nicky Wire and also designed the artwork for MSP‘s albums and promotional materials.

By 1993 his problems reached such high levels that he had been hospitalised and had been frequently undergoing spells in rehab. The Holy Bible is seen by some as his suicide note since on the morning of 1st February 1995 he walked out of the London Embassy Hotel and drove to his home in Cardiff, where he left his credit card, passport and Prozac and drove off. Leaving behind his car with signs of being lived in and a flat battery, he has not been seen since except for mysterious sightings, and thus confined or defined himself as another modern legendary figure shrouded in mystery. In November last year he was pronounced legally dead – although no body or evidence of his whereabouts had been found.

Read more in Eleutheria (Articles sections, Issue 1)



Posted June 1, 2011 by Petra Whiteley in Articles/Reviews

Books by Petra Whiteley   2 comments

The Nomad’s Trail (Ettrick Forest Press, 2008)

“Petra Whiteley’s first collection “Nomad’s Trail” is immersed in Gothic realism. She takes us on a literary ride through the highs and lows of the human condition; from melancholy to love; from modernism to beauty and from tragedy to hope. In her poetry we recognise the frailties of life that we all know and see in the mundane world; yet she transposes this with potent imagery and a fantastic range of language which brings a certain richness to her work.

“Moonchild” and “Train tracks” add a touching poignancy to this collection and “Sunday afternoon” and “Journey’s End” show the poet at her technical best. Finally as a poet Whiteley is an alchemist turning moments, feelings and thoughts into poetic gold.”
The Glasgow Review

also available from amazon

The Moulding Of Seers (Shadow Archer Press, 2009)

“The dark intensity of Petra Whiteley’s work cuts with such depth and fervency that it almost leaves a metallic taste in the mouth. She rips apart the cycle of existence with original, devastating imagery and a power over language so skilled that she is one of the most outstanding and exciting poets anywhere. Not only do these poems deserve to be read they are essential reading for anyone wishing acquaintance with the current benchmark of contemporary poetry.

Gillian Prew, author of Disconnections (erbacce-press) and In the Broken Things (Virgogray Press)

“Petra Whiteley is a poet who galvanises the sprawling chaos of pain and sorrow. She does it in such a way as to make it beautiful, to make it oblivious to the suffering of others and too preoccupied with the shallow indulgence of material wealth and aspirations, that we forget our spirit. Petra in her new collection “Moulding of Seers” show us this spirit in language both dark and powerful. Yet at times she expresses with great poignancy the gentle love within us all. This is a must read for any poetry fan!”

Graham Hardie, Editor of The Osprey Journal, The Glasgow Review and Eleutheria: The Scottih Poetry Review

Exhibition Of Defined Moments (erbacce-press, 2011)

The poetic landscape often feels barren. Where is the new that Pound demands? What has happened to language as a beautiful tool of expression? Why do so many render imagery obsolete in favour of a pedestrian realism that is tediously overdone? These are questions I want addressed. These are questions to which I wish to find an antidote. Enter Petra Whiteley with her latest and fiercely brilliant chapbook, Exhibition of Defined Moments. Whiteley has outdone herself with a collection of poems which are not only influenced by art and philosophy but by the darkness of shadows and the brightness of love. The poems are layered and beautiful, thought-provoking yet emotive, but what makes this book a must-have is the quality of writing, the attention to craft, the possibility of language as can only be realized by a visionary few. This poetry has to be recommended. This book has to be read. Poetry is not dead and we must thank Petra Whiteley for her contribution to, not just its survival, but the vitality of its blossoming future.

Gillian Prew, author of Disconnections (erbacce-press) and In the Broken Things (Virgogray Press)

I consider Petra Whiteley one of the greatest contemporary poets, yet still ‘Exhibition of Defined Moments’ stuns in all its depth and richness. Rarely during the reading of one book have I found myself pausing so often for breath. Whiteley is consistently brilliant, but now she has surpassed even herself. Read ‘Exhibition of Defined Moments’ and experience the very best of modern poetry and artistry.

A.D.Hitchin , author of ‘Messages to Central Control (Paraphilia Press)

The Liquid Metropolis  (erbacce-press 2012)

Imagine a congealed mass of personalities such as Kafka, Dali, Breton, Lang, Freud and Jung; you may just come close to this surrealist masterpiece of allegorical abstractions. Here, Whiteley defines every spectacle/debacle of man with an eye and voice that so alluringly castrates the foundations of a modern (albeit, debatably, a dystopian) society. Whiteley transcends into realms of the flesh and mind, discoursing the ignorance of the rage with what man so terribly consumes. It is without a doubt that, here in this collection, she has unnervingly embodied a testament that testifies against the twisted ideas of what civilisation has immersed throughout its evolution in a whole. The Liquid Metropolis deconstructs (also re-constructs) iconographies of theological characters as well as the metaphysics of mankind and its true weaknesses. This collection traverses more than just the typical scopes of poetry, the pages here within will bite and provoke profound thoughts; thoughts and imagery that will stain the back of your mind. This is phenomenal work that should make most other modern poets cower due to its brilliance. This no lack lustre performance, a tour de force of spectacular words that conjure paintings of an immense grandeur.

Craig Podmore, author of I am Gun, The Abattoir Heavens And the Holy Ghost, Love Notes from a Soldier’s Dieary and The Symmetries Of Pain.

The Watchmaker’s Quartet And The Shattered Pendulum on Kindle:

Description: A surrealistic adventure filled with unusual beings. A shy girl, a peculiar harlequin, a hilarious and boasting dog and a man with calm mind with secrets are joining their forces to cross a parallel world, inhabited by animals with clocks instead of eyes, hills that are alive, ghostly fair ground ship, snail army and many more unusually usual beings and things, in order to find an ancient object to restore time to how it should be…

Reviewed as:

Typically speaking this is a book about an adventure that happens inside a collapsing and mysterious world. A girl Izzy, a dog Cozy and some truly unforgettable characters are set forth to establish an equilibrium by saving the Turtle of Time from the hands of the Roots, a tribe that has its own plans for the world domination. The plot sounds like a young adult fiction yet the paradox is that this characterization does a huge injustice to the book. The cinematical imagery is like driven out the best aspects of Surrealism, the language used is rich and lyrical and the metaphors are dense and striking. From that point of view it would be more appropriate to characterise it as an adult fiction, of the most unusual kind; the kind let’s say of Jonathan Swift’s “Gulliver’s Travels” and of Antoine de Saint-Exupéry’s “The Little Prince” . I hope that my analogy illustrates the aspects of the book at least in terms of the metaphors. Yet Mrs Whiteley manages not to be a clone of the aforementioned authors but actually to produce something unique and damn beautiful.
This book is a rare jewel to enrich everyone who happens to be reading it.

Ray Dunkle (Polymeris Voglis), author of ‘Where the Sun Blossoms the Sea is Singing’

Posted June 1, 2011 by Petra Whiteley in Books

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Petra Whiteley was born in Czech Republic but England has been her home since 1993. She now lives in North Dorset with her partner, her daughter, and from July (2011) with their newborn son. Obsessed by the world of literature, music and art she writes poetry, fiction and non-fiction which appeared in many webzines and print magazines.  Three of her poetry collections have been published by independent press, a surrealistic adventure novel on Kindle. She writes articles on political and literary themes on regular basis for The Glasgow Review, Osprey and Eleutheria. Whiteley’s reviews of CDs and interviews with musicians  regularly appear in Reflections of Darkness, a dark music webzine.

Posted June 1, 2011 by Petra Whiteley in Bio