Hubert Tsarko is the pen name of John Short. Born in Liverpool, he grew up on the edges of Lancashire and went from school to study Comparative Religion at Leeds University. Later he spent some years in the south of Europe working in fields and factories and as an English teacher in Spain before settling for a long period in Athens. At the end of 2007 he emerged from an obscure neighbourhood of Piraeus to get a laptop and submit work to magazines. These days he divides his time between Liverpool and Barcelona.
Liverpool poet, musician and cyclist, Hubert Tsarko has produced a collection of stories, part memoir and part fiction, the latter loosely based on his experiences of travelling in Europe in the late 20th century. They tell of love, lust, hedonism and hard times, moving through the underbelly of the Mediterranean, meeting a variety of eccentric and marginal characters, and living from day to day. This wonderful collection of heartfelt stories is profound, shocking, lyrical and above all honest. The Private Unmentionable Gargoyle is wide in scope and just a bit beautiful.
“There is a wonderfully fraught, thin-skinned stoicism in these stories, laced with a dark, survivor’s humour. Hubert Tsarko captures perfectly the professional drifter’s slant vision of the world, caught up in the ceaseless, shifting permutations of the self. Tales that flicker like a guttering candle.” – Professor Richard Gwyn
“The titles of these poems give us some idea of what to expect, but not everything: places (such as Riscle) remembered from the wanderings of an artist living the vie routiere are given a surreal treatment; curious incidents (The Cat Sat on my Glasses) afford us unexpected entry into a private world; dreamlike employment of stock phrases and skilful evocations of atmosphere take us by surprise.” – Dave Lee