video game poetry


I saw mention of Hit Points, an anthology of video game poetry edited by Matthew Haigh and Aaron Kent, when I was reading Edge magazine last year. I never, ever read poetry. But I ordered a copy because I felt like poetry might help. I’ve been gradually letting my own writing get closer to fiction. Slippy, weird, a little unclear. I’ve been excited by the shift - - I just feel like I keep hitting a wall and it’s almost definitely because I don’t read nearly enough. I thought Hit Points might be encouraging in that sense; see how other people have done it because even if they’re not writing reviews, we’re starting from the same points and they’ve gone somewhere else with their words.

I enjoyed it. Fast, neat. At times prickly, vulnerable and salacious. A few of the poems were kinda surface level stuff that I couldn’t get into (too typical in choice of language, like cherrypicking a vocab list of game-stuff and stitching them together to be very much a Video Game Poem). When it wasn’t like that, when the writing was descriptive in a mystical and overly specific way / or self-reflective, confessional, embarrassing / or when the writer had totally become an entity inside the game world, with the sort of POV immersion we all know from playing games, that’s when I liked it best. I’ve included a picture below of an example of that balance, a poem called Outrun by Samuel Tongue. I hope you enjoy! + maybe if you do you should pick up a copy for yourself. It’s a good present or you kno, stocking filler for next christmas if you are that organised. it’s a skinny book.

You can buy it here:

a poem by Samuel Tongue reads: Those unreachable mountains, thunderheads massing, the pop-up orchards and instant rocks, and the grey track unspooling beneath our squealing tyres. However fast I drive, my thumbs deep bruises on the controls, we shall never reach it, that dream of an horizon, a vanishing point of perfect cities and oceans cinema-blue. I'm learning the dynamics of this illusion. I turn to you between checkpoints, ask about the people you've lost, share my hope of a finishing line beyond this stalled traffic. I accelerate past the empty fields and we play the oldest clichΓ©s: time is against us and the road is unforgiving as hell

by Samuel Tongue