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for Sophia

this fury and sorrow
is of the icon
emanating from the icon

who works for pharaohs
is seen in falcons
and carvings of falcons

there is no tomorrow
for man or woman
but in the woman

who in her burrow
a mind is making
an intelligence is making

as bow-and-arrow
its target is seeking
its tip is seeking

to pierce the marrow
of the living token
and the dying token

the falcon is furrowed
its god is forsaken
its cosmology is forsaken

for ones and zeros
the images are broken
the icon is broken

Niall McDevitt b/w (2010)

A luminous custodian of the great poetic mysteries. The shamanic poems are the thing itself. b/w is superb.

Jeremy Reed

The Netherworld Hotel blew me away. I loved it.

John Cooper Clarke

This is a very good poem

Patti Smith on ‘Rimbaud’

There’s a lot of meat on the bone. The man has talent.

Heathcote Williams


ISBN 978-1-906742-11-9


Irish poet Niall McDevitt confronts taboo subjects such as unemployment, alienation, poverty, immigration etc. not with confessions but with parables. Art—and the artistic genius of London—is ringingly affirmed. Here we depart from the ‘whatever you say, say nothing’ school. McDevitt is a maverick in the David Gascoyne/John Wieners/Michael Hartnett line.

b/w is politico-religious, a 100 page temple. Not only is a super-eloquent voice given to the underclass—‘major religions cultures histories in their bloods’—but to the McWorld vs. Jihad era. The poems are always about more than they are about, suggestive of the zeitgeist. His is not a brick-by-brick London but a London of the psychosphere, densely populated with genies, spies, artists, prostitutes et al on their chosen edges. A suite of mystical songs to ‘Sophia’ offsets the eviscerating satires. The Queen’s English is shadowed by Pidgin English. Political correctness is trashed, not from the right but from the left. Shakespeare, Blake, Rimbaud, Yeats are the city psychopomps. This is a unique book: Judeo-Apache, avant-folk, urban sha-manic. Read it with drum.

The Telegraph - Shakespeare's London: summoning the spirit of the Bard, Thursday 10 February 2011 by Nigel Richardson

Read reviews:
'The Metaphysical Squinting of the Psyche of London; Five Journal Entries in Lieu of a Review of Niall McDevitt’s “b/w”' - The Fiend Journal review by Andrew O'Donnell, October 2010

'Phillips on McDevitt' - review of b/w by Tom Phillips on Todd Swift's Eyewear blogspot, September 2010


Niall McDevitt travelled through 23 European countries with a guitar and tent, including Corsica ‘The Island of Beauty’. Returning to London, McDevitt worked as an actor/ musician in Neil Oram’s 24-hour play The Warp, Ken Campbell’s Pidgin Macbeth, and John ‘Crow’ Constable’s The Southwark Mysteries.

For radio, he was resident Pidgin poet/translator on John Peel’s Home Truths, and has featured in Bespoken Word, The Robert Elms Show, The Verb, The Poet of Albion, and also such Resonance 104.4FM shows as Mining for Gold and Lost Steps.

As activist, McDevitt has campaigned to secure the future of the Rimbaud/Verlaine House at 8 Royal College Street, and for the release of poet Saw Wai from Insein prison in Burma. He leads epic psychogeographical walks through London esp. Shakespeare, Blake, Rimbaud, Yeats.

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