'Notes': A queer Black South London love story by Kevin Morosky
The Soho Works member and poet's latest body of work was created in response to a bygone relationship. Here, he explains how he preserved his memory of it through prose
Words by Anish Patel
Queerness has always been present in poetry. All you have to do is delve into the worlds of Sappho and Plato to see how ancient writers spoke of loving others of the same sex. Or, more recently, flick through the work of Allen Ginsberg to discover declarations of carnal male desire. Yet, throughout poetry’s long discourse, there has been a notable absence of queer Black and brown voices within the standard canon that queer underrepresented groups can celebrate and connect with.
Hoping to redefine this is poet and film-maker Kevin Morosky, author of Notes – a self-published body of work that retells his experience of love, heartbreak and healing through short, poetic vignettes. Or, what he likes to call ‘cut and paste prose’. With it, Morosky hopes to move the narrative away from the violence that so often surrounds Black storytelling to focus on work that is for Black people, by Black people. ‘If you are Black, brown and queer, there’s no space for simply being; these types of adventures [on relationships] are never fully documented,’ he tells us.
Beyond the words, Morosky wanted the book’s aesthetic to celebrate Blackness, too; its brown tone is designed to mimic his own. ‘This book is a true “heart on sleeve” moment in publishing and it’s important to make clear who I’m celebrating and representing,’ he explains.
We caught up with him at Soho Works – where it all came to fruition – to hear more about his latest project.
Tell us about Notes.
‘Notes is a collection of observations from a past relationship – just the things I felt and thought at the time. I kept them in my head for a while, then put them to paper to make this book. We don’t have great representation for love, specifically from my Black, queer, Croydon point of view.’
How did you feel growing up as a young, queer Black man without representation?
‘Tired, constantly discovering at points turns from adventure into purgatory, and it’s painful.’
What exactly is ‘cut and paste prose’?
‘I don’t think these notes live in the same space as poetry. They also don’t have any behaviour when it comes to the rules of prose – they’re memories, and like memories they skip around. They drop in and out of rhyme; they don’t finish thoughts, they just draw from the moment and the feeling they were born from, cutting and pasting their way to existence.’
Was putting this collection of work together a cathartic process for you?
‘Yes 100%, from a space just as a creative. I made peace with that old relationship years ago – this was more about setting a creative goal and making it happen. Turning your thoughts into real objects is real magic, and its healing qualities sit across all areas of your life – not just the subject matter of the project.’
What did you learn about yourself when putting Notes together?
‘That I’m a don at love. I have a big capacity for it. And after those events, I didn’t shrink, my capacity for it got bigger.’
As the title indicates, you’ve written these poems as if they’ve been rediscovered on an old phone. What was the thinking behind this?
‘They were thoughts in my head at the time that I memorised. It’s something I’ve always done. I’m a documenter, in film, photography, everywhere. So there was no thinking behind it, they’re exactly as described – memories put to paper with no self-preservation.’
What do you want people to take away from Notes?
‘For Black and brown queer people, we have happy endings and amazing love stories. Anyone else, whatever they like.’
What’s next for you?
‘Working on a feature-length film and a few TV projects, and other creative work. But mostly anything that my imagination pushes me to do. I just want to create stories that are really representative.’
How valuable has Soho Works been to you when working on this project?
‘It’s been a great place to work in peace. I like my own company, so to find a quiet place to be left alone in is a top priority for me, and you get that at the spaces.’
'Notes' by Kevin Morosky is available to buy here.