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Tenement Press is an occasional publisher of esoteric,
accidental, angular, & interdisciplinary literatures.

‘My head is my only house unless it rains’

Don Glen Vliet

‘Were a wind to arise
I could put up a sail
Were there no sailI’d make one of canvas and sticks’

Bertolt Brecht, ‘Motto’
(Bucknow Elegies)

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

Tenement Press #14
275pp [Approx.]



Publishing 31st October 2024

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

Ivor Cutler

The fourteenth entry in Tenement’s “Yellowjacket”
series, a rough-hewed dreamscape of haunted ideas,
ideations, & iterative ideograms from the poet, author,
& librarian. A broken bibliography of facts, phantasy, and
wyrd/weird arts & practices.

Alan Vega, Alex Chilton & Ben Vaughn, ‘Dream Baby Revisited’ (Cubist Blues, 2016)

Somewhere in London
In the middle of nowhere

Shane MacGowan & Sinéad O'Connor, ‘Haunted’ (1995)

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)

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—Dreamt by 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.

Albert de Rochas (1909)

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. McCabe’s 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.

Fernando Lemos (1950-&-Something)

McCabe / Plastic Language ℅ NTS (London)

Will René presents a regular programme via London’s NTS, Plastic Language, a show exploring spoken word across a variety of genres & recorded media. This volume—first broadcast on 21.02.24—features special recordings made on the Thames foreshore, at the foot of Wapping Old Stairs, where McCabe shared a palmful of poems.


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)

Praise for Chris McCabe

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

The Guardian

McCabe is a poet for modern times.

Cadaverine Magazine

This is a fine, achieved work, close-woven, elusive, engaged. A poet in another coat.

Iain Sinclair, on McCabe’s 
In the Catacombs (Penned in the Margins, 2014)

Chris McCabe fortunately has the talent to match his chutzpah... [his] invention never flags.

David Collard on McCabe’s Dedalus
(Henningham Family Press, 2018), Literary Review

One of the most original contributions to British poetry in quite some time.

Dai George on McCabe’s Speculatrix
(Penned in the Margins, 2014), Ambit

A formalist in a fresh way, Chris McCabe’s ‘play-poems’ are compactions of history and place, manifestations of the violent struggle for identity towards which many of us are impelled. This poetic work is long overdue. It's one we need. 

John Kinsella on McCabe’s Speculatrix
(Penned in the Margins, 2014)

McCabe writes poetry that puts the music of everyday speech first, sweeping up matters contemporary, ironic, profound and downright funny in language you want to get your mouth around. Voracious, incisive, encompassing and always fresh, Chris breathes life back into the English language for us all.

The Huffington Post

McCabe’s softly Liverpudlian narration of his ‘pomes’ is unassuming but, like his poems, has an understated strength.

The Observer

Chris McCabe’s work spans artforms and genres including poetry, fiction, non-fiction, drama and visual art. 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.



Tenement Press