Clive on Rare Flesh

Touch the rod,
Divining waters:
From this spring
Come sons,
Come daughters.
Silk and bliss
From this, from this.
Save your slaughters;
Touch the rod.

"My husband's doing a book, I'm doing poetry to go with it. His book is a book of photographs, amazing photographs, and I'm doing prose and poetry pieces to go with it, to go with the photographs - so that's going to be amazing."

Nips And Tucks, Tits And Fucks

By Phil and Sarah Stokes, 10 July 2001 (note - full text here)

"What's happening is that Rizzoli are actually now doing a book of David Armstrong's work. Tar Babies was going to be a book of my other half's photographs, and there were some questions whether Gauntlet was going to do it or if Rizzoli was gonna do it. And it turned out to be Rizzoli. So they're doing a book which is in preparation right now.
"It won't be called Tar Babies what it will contain many of the images from Tar Babies."


By Craig Fohr, (i) Lost Souls at, 22 February 2002 (ii) Lost Souls Newsletter April 2002

"There will be a bunch of my poems, which are being used with David's images. There are a couple of very long poems a number of very short ones. They are complementary to David's photographs, rather than David's photographs being illustrative of my words, nor are my words illustrative of his images. So much hopefully, as they fit together as two parts of puzzles about love, which is basically the subject, love of one kind or another. I think Rizzoli is going to do an amazing job with the book. Michael Hadley designed it, and it looks beautiful. I think it is going to be an amazing thing.
"David's photography has been something that I've watched going on over the period of the last several years, often because my painting studio is right next door to his photography studio. If he was working in the evening with a model, I would be working downstairs painting so he'd bring the models in to look at the paintings I would go watch the photography. So I've watched this book being created over a period of time. I liked very much the idea of being inspired by photographs my other half was taking as a starting off place for words that seemed like a really interesting idea. Plus when you start to do it, it becomes much more of a challenge. "I agonized probably more over these words than just about anything else I've ever done, partly, because they needed to be very short. You don't want to spread too far into a page, which has got a photograph on it. So you need to have a kind of density of intention and a density of form, the words, and hopefully, a meaning so I threw away lot of drafts and a number of poems, which I agonized over and ended up not being good enough for the book. I just wanted to make sure that whatever was going beside David's pictures was the best that I could do.
"David had his views and shared them with me. We talked about the selection of photographs together. So that's been an ongoing discussion. It's been a long time to put this book together. The main reason because there are thousands of photographs. When David works with a model he may work with them for 6-8 hrs. Very often it will be the last roll of 36 pictures. David still works the old way with film, not digitally. It will often be the last reel that will produce the amazing picture because all the models anxiety about being naked, being honest about their emotions, about being there in front of the camera for 6-8 hours will suddenly be there. So there are very intense pictures in this book, and I did what I could to match it with my words. Since we had some pictures to choose from, it's been an ongoing thing of, 'Well here's this picture. How will these words fit? No, that doesn't fit very well. Let's throw those words away. Let me go back, and come back to you in a couple days, and see if I have something that fits.' Not every picture has a poem. Just a few poems scattered throughout the book. It's a way hopefully to stimulate a different kind of thought about the picture, or for perhaps, a series of pictures. So you don't simply look at the picture, you have a thought about the emotional content of the picture as well. There are a lot of emotions in these pictures.
"Hopefully we are bringing something to the picture, to enhance or enrich the experience. Obviously, the pictures are oftentimes very sexy. I think Rizzoli is a very strong advocate of the book as very legitimate publisher and they felt they wanted to find a line between the erotic and the artistic, and I think we found it. "One of the things that I think is fun is that over the years I've always had erotic content in my novels. Almost always, except obviously in the stuff for kids. It's nice now to put something of that into poems. I'm very excited about the book, and proud for David's extraordinary achievement."


By Craig Fohr, Lost Souls, 1 August 2003 (note - full text online at Lost Souls - see links page)

...other comments

Barry Hoffman (Gauntlet Press) : "Clive did the artwork for Silk, as you know and he's aware of our magazine which is a no-holds barred attack on censorship. With Silk I told Clive there are NO taboos. I think he appreciated knowing that. It gave him the freedom to do what he pleased knowing there would be no fool editor fearful of publishing something that might be controversial.
"So, then at the launch party for A Life In The Cinema, the short story collection by Mick Garris for which Clive did both the cover art and interior work Clive approached me with this fabulous idea. David had these cutting edge erotic photos with all the models painted black. We'd publish a coffee table size book which is tentatively titled Tar Babies. Clive would write poetry for the book as well as an afterword. He would also appear in some of the shots.
"The next day my partner, Buddy Martinez and I were invited over to Clive's and then looked at maybe a hundred or more images David had shot (since then he's shot many more). We're going to do the book in full color on glossy paper, so it will be quite expensive to produce. We're looking at some overseas printers. It's definitely going to be published in 2002 as both a mass market hardcover plus a signed limited. David's images are really visceral. Some are obviously going to stir controversy, but there are just as many that are just phenomenally erotic images."

Clive Barker And Gauntlet Press

By Barry Hoffman in e-mail to Revelations, 22 July 2001

Barry Hoffman (Gauntlet Press) : "With Barker it was setting no limits that has allowed us to form a working relationship with him. Our first book with his art was Silk. Another publisher was going to publish the book, but dropped out. So, we got the book. Barker hadn't yet begun the art. I gave him carte blanche to provide whatever art he desired (no taboos) and later surprised him by saying he would have final approval on proofs from the printer (you don't know how often the specialty press ignores the artist in this regard). He was happy with the final product and we've established a good relationship with him. As a matter of fact he approached me at the launch party for Mick Garris' A Life In The Cinema with a special project. We will be publishing a coffee table book of the photographs of David Armstrong (really powerful erotic images) with prose and poetry by Clive. He approached me because he knew I had no taboos. I wouldn't be scared off by material with strong sexual content."

Throwing Down The Gauntlet

By Diana Price, Terror, 24 December 2001 (Note - full text at

Barry Hoffman (Gauntlet Press) : "Tar Babies is history, unfortunately... All I can say for public consumption is that we will not be publishing Tar Babies."

Gauntlet Press and Tar Babies

By Barry Hoffman in e-mail to Revelations, 31 January 2002

Editorial review : "Distinguished from other male nude photography books, Rare Flesh presents a series of photo essays that each explores a different fantasy scenario that could have sprung from a Barker novel. Dozens of models of varying body types and backgrounds were chosen, and each was encouraged to act out his own personal dreamscape, working with the photographer. The images, fashioned with the latest digital technology, often play with the viewer's perceptions, as many of the models are covered entirely in black body paint or shot against solid-color backgrounds. The results transform the body and tease the viewer, showing us the male form as we've never seen it before. This dynamic work is an intensely collaborative effort between Armstrong and Barker, who are life-partners, as the text delves into themes of love, betrayal, loneliness, and redemption."

Editorial Review

By [ ],, October 2002

Rare Flesh bibliography...

home search contact Books