‘Limbo, a queer nightclub in 1933 Berlin, with Germany under Nazi rule, is where we first meet B and the dazzling array of characters who inhabit this episodic narrative sequence, almost a film noir in verse: singers, dancers, comperes, shopkeepers and secret policemen rub up against each other with suspicion, complicity, love, betrayal and freedom never far from their minds. A study of paranoia, tyranny and perseverance. And tension that will keep you guessing until the final line.’
The heart of the collection is a cabaret club, Limbo. This poem was loosely inspired by Otto Dix’s 1925 ‘Portrait of the Dancer Anita Berber’. The painting captures the atmosphere I wanted to create for Limbo.
You can listen to a recording of the poem below.
‘Auto Da Fe’
In addition to the club, Limbo’s fictional characters, B and the Professor, can also be found at the Institut für Sexualwissenschaft. The Institute advocated for lesbian, gay, transgender and intersex rights. In 1933, the Institute was increasingly censured by the Nazis, culminating in the burning of the Institute’s books and patient records.
Audio recording of ‘Auto Da Fe’, a poem about the burning coming soon.
‘The compelling narrative is a page turner on first read, and then the distinct voices of the watched and the watching, the hunters and hunted…These are poems about queer life as performance, as a way of life, as escape and ultimately survival.’
— Jay Whittaker
‘[Limbo‘s] coherence is impressive and it delivers a great read as well as being a tender and clear-eyed rendering of an often hidden aspect of human experience and of the universal search for self-knowledge.’
— Angela Graham, The Cardiff Review
A sample poem from Limbo is available on the Blue Diode website. If you’re tempted by what you’ve read, the book is for sale there too…