Vale Royal Revisited

Yesterday we took the EDIROL recording device into the graveyard as we attempted to summon up the ghosts of Kings Cross from the past to the future. Aidan Andrew Dun gave a great shamanic performance aided and abetted by the whispering roar of the driadic trees that surrounded us and the hush and whoosh of apocalyptic aeroplanes overhead. Sometimes a distant siren played its part, but mostly it was Aidan revisiting old ground to unleash new magic.

aidan_in_mylar_by_ira_cohen_resizedAidan Andrew Dun spent a fantastical childhood in the West Indies and knew his calling for poetry from an early age. He returned to London as a teenager to live with his inspirational grandmother, dancer Marie Rambert.

After many years travelling the world AAD was drawn back to London to explore the psychogeography of King’s Cross, magnet to other visionaries before him. Vale Royal (Goldmark, 1995), written and recited in the form of a quest, dreams of transforming an urban wasteland into a transcultural zone of canals at the heart of London. Vale Royal was launched to critical acclaim at the Royal Albert Hall and earned AAD the title Poet of Kings Cross.

In following years AAD has recited at the Royal Festival Hall, the Cheltenham, Ledbury and Swindon literary festivals. Launching his second epic poem Universal (Goldmark, 2002) he accomplished an American tour, reading in New York, Santa Fe and San Francisco, (City Lights Bookshop). AAD has read alongside David Gascoigne, Ben Okri, Iain Sinclair and Andrew Motion. In 2008 he lectured at the British Library on ‘The Kings Cross Mysteries’.

Numerous short (and some longer) poems have appeared in The London Magazine, English, The Cortland Review, The Salzburg Review, Tears in the Fence, Resurgence et al. In 2005 AAD undertook a special commission for the Wordsworth Trust. The Uninhabitable City (Goldmark) was published in 2005; Salvia Divinorum (Goldmark ) was launched 2007.

McCool, a verse-novel, is due to appear from Goldmark in autumn 2009.

From the virtual world of Aidan Andrew Dun © Aidan Andrew Dun
The double-portrait of AAD (in mylar) by the New York poet and photographer Ira Cohen © Ira Cohen

About Vale Royal


The valley of the lost Fleet River in Kings Cross is surrounded by the old hills of London, the high places. Vale Royal is a geographical vessel, a symbolic container of the quiet mind, a perfect place to realise the vision of oneness.

Kings Cross has exerted a magnetic attraction down the centuries. The artists, the poets have made this forgotten place royal with their presence. And they themselves are royal because they are visionaries, in rebellion against the human condition and its suffering.

In the poem Vale Royal the cosmic lifecycle of the Sunchild, the Mighty Youth, born with a vision and dying an early death, reflects the exiled life and redemption of the artist. Chatterton and Blake play his role in the work’s two movements.

From Goldmark Gallery © Goldmark Gallery
Photo of Thomas Hardy Tree by the Italian photographer Francesco Guidicini © Francesco Guidicini

vale royal coverThis first edition of Vale Royal was designed by Martino Mardersteig, set in Dante and printed at the Stamperia Valdonega, in Verona.

The trade edition comprises 1000 cloth bound copies printed on Fedrigoni paper. The 130 pages include 35 pages of notes. The book also contains two compact discs of the poet reading the entire poem.

Vale Royal is available from the Goldmark Gallery.

The recording of this show is available on request.

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