Preorder ‡ Chris McCabe, Dreamt by Ghosts / Notes on Dreams, Coincidence, & Weird Culture


Tenement #14 / ISBN: 978-1-917304-00-9
275pp [Approx.] / 140 x 216mm
Edited by Dominic Jaeckle
Designed and typeset by Traven T. Croves

Preorder now; forthcoming 31.10.24

[Chris McCabe] is a man to be respected and enjoyed.

Ivor Cutler

[McCabe’s work is] an impressively inventive survey
of English in the early 21st century.

The Guardian

same thoughts
same things
been prowling these floors
looking for a loophole
been raging in my mind
and stuck behind glass
precise, like a cicada
dehydrating in prayer
been watching my son
become trapped in his loops
like a circus artist
practicing art in view of his critics
he’s on the same wire
but hasn’t learned to fall
been learning how to watch
without knowing what to say
seeing the extra minute of sunlight
make tracks across the floor
each evening


(8th February, 2021)

I have often asked reproachfully, “Why does this damned unconscious talk such a … difficult language? Why doesn’t it tell us clearly what’s the matter?” Now Jung’s answer was that it obviously can’t. It doesn’t speak the language of the rational mind. Dreams are the voice of our instinctive nature or ultimately the voice of cosmic nature in us.

Marie-Louise Von Franz, The Way of the Dream (1988)

McCabe's Dreamt by Ghosts is an effort to socialise the interior life, to take the wits for a walk, and all to defy the idea and determinism of our journeying toward any pre-set intellectual destination.

An act of autobiographical digression defying easy categorisation, Chris McCabe’s Dreamt by Ghosts is a fractal work of hauntology that, at its core, owes to a journal written between the Spring of 2020 and the Summer months of 2023. What begins its life as a porous pillow book—a private meditation on dreams—swiftly devolves to let its own organisational structure slide and glide to inform, instead, a facsimile document of strange coincidences, conniptions, and connivances to refract and reject a moment of enforced isolation. A singular, personal anthology of the wyrd and weird—of ghosts, of place, and of fractured perception—Ghosts maps and charters a perspectival prison-break in times of trouble.

Here, we’ve a paean to people—to strangers—and to the subaltern and subterranean life of the associative eye, the meandering ‘I.’ To the verge and border of genre, to the ever-eerie idea of a cityscape. From a silent London to the backstreets of Liverpool (be they remembered, revised, or revisited)—documenting the loss of poets, the perseverance of family, and the joy and jouissance of friendship and fraternity—this elegiac collation of McCabe’s ephemera and poetry exacts itself as an examination of the ever-percolating ideas. How the shape and length of a blank notebook is tilled to become a canvas for the dynamism of our diurnal lives.

We’ve imagined and citational cameo from Fassbinder, from Mark E. Smith—from Chika Sagawa, John Cale, and a myriad more—in a volume interspersed with new poetry, distractions and diversions—typewritten visual poems—and concentrated, coincident-rich, essayistic excoriations of our cultural moment. Ghosts is an effort to socialise the interior life, to take the wits for a walk, and all to defy the idea and determinism of our journeying toward any pre-set intellectual destination.

See here for a further word on this title.

Stickered editions will carry a cover adornment; a reproduction of a typewritten poem by McCabe Voiceover / Overlay (2022).

Chris McCabe’s work spans forms and genres, including poetry, fiction, non-fiction, drama and visual arts. His work has been shortlisted for the Ted Hughes Award and the Republic of Consciousness Prize. His latest poetry collection, The Triumph of Cancer (Penned in the Margins, 2018) was a Poetry Book Society Recommendation, and he is the editor of several anthologies including Poems from the Edge of Extinction: An Anthology of Poetry in Endangered Languages (Chambers, 2019) and, with Victoria Bean, The New Concrete: Visual Poetry in the 21st Century (Hayward Gallery Publishing, 2015). His novels are Dedalus (Henningham Family Press, 2018) and Mud (Henningham Family Press, 2019). McCabe is presently working on an epic series of psychogeographical books documenting the lost poets buried in London’s Victorian cemeteries, the latest of which is Buried Garden: Lockdown with the Lost Poets of Abney Park Cemetery (Penned in the Margins, 2021), a White Review ‘Book of the Year,’ 2022.