Follow by Email

Saturday, January 19, 2019

Friday, January 18, 2019

Saturday 18th January 1969:

John and I hope to make tape for Radio Veronica, the first Pirate.

Thursday, January 17, 2019

What a Week: Another Brexit poem modelled on one of Drayton's IDEA sonnets (temporary post)

WHAT A WEEK!

You can read about the whole ‘English Strain’ project in a post that has links to some other accounts, and earlier parts, of this work: here

But: straight to today’s addition to the project. The second book of The English Strain is entitled Bad Idea and it is a re-working of the whole of Michael Drayton’s sequence Idea, that’s 64 poems by the way (with the addition of its ‘Address to the Reader of these Sonnets’).

As regular returnees to this blog will know, I am posting one sonnet at a time, when they are finished (but only if I feel it appropriate in terms of topicality). And temporarily. so there is only ever one at a time on the blog. This one has an epigraph from Clare, which seems right. The day after I came across it, I read a poem by Simon Smith that has similar sonic play:  politician parrot patriot or partisan/ no one knows who’s in charge. Nearly used that too, or thought about making those two lines the concluding couplet. Mine rhymes (irregularly) because Drayton's ending: 'cause/laws' in modern English, is weak. And what a week, I’ll say again: this is my take, courtesy of Drayton. He was a difficult trellis to wind the weeds upon today, but I did it. (I think.)

XXVII

… I fear these tory radicals these out of place patriots (or parrots) who are so loud in their insults against the present ministry only want to make paddles of the people to sail into their harbours of old sinecures …
                                                                        John Clare

That blue folder is suspiciously like the one I'm putting these poems in. He looks like he's been reading them. Unless he's being controlled by the wooden figure next to him? But then, who controls him? And who controls whoever controls him?

Do other nations face calamity like this?
(Several do.) Political virtue is lost with the vote.
That a sincerely held bad deal is put to death
by bad faith doesn’t make it good, though Bo
asserts May is ‘fortified by rejection’! These
islands sink under such mad amendments!
Can she return to Europe to express no deals
or no-deal? Or, with respect, to agree that Brexiters
love the country most? In ‘one last heave’,
are we to leave our father’s imperial sins
to our sons’ and daughters’ remains? Or (as
Go says) will we take back control of our fish?
History (their logic runs) must be on their side,
since you alone, on yours, violate their laws.
           
18th January 2019


OR in revised form (after a long walk in the sun along to Mersey, and to buy books: two Sinclairs and Tonks).


Do other nations face calamity like this?
(Several do.) Political virtue is lost with the vote.
That a sincerely held bad deal is put to death
by bad faith doesn’t make it good, though Bo
asserts May is ‘fortified by rejection’! These
islands sink under such mad amendments!
Can she return to Europe to express no deals
or no-deal? Or, with respect, to argue that Brexiters
love the country most? After ‘one last heave’,
are we to leave our father’s imperial sins
to our sons’ and daughters’ remains? Or (as
Go says) shall we take back control of our fish?
History (their logic runs) must be on their side,
since you alone, on yours, violate their laws.
           
17th January 2019 (that's the correct date!)



Unpalatable truths

Drayton is largely out of print at the moment, though I have found a ‘Poly-Olberon’ project online, (the whole epic is online, which is refreshing), and his fine sonnet sequence ‘Idea’ is available online, including the one I’ve just translated above; have a look at both, the latter being:

Drayton, Michael. ‘Idea.’ in Arundell Esdaile, ed. Daniel’s Delia and Drayton’s Idea.
London: Chatto and Windus: 1908. 67-141; online at Luminarium:  http://www.luminarium.org/editions/idea.htm

Although I am using

Tuley, Mark. ed. Elizabethan Sonnet Cycles: Five Major Elizabethan Sonnet Cycles: by Samuel Daniel, Michael Drayton, Sir Philip Sidney, William Shakespeare and Edmund Spenser. Crescent Moon Publishing, Maidstone: Kent, 2010,

a careless book that even misses one sonnet out! 

There are more excerpts from The English Strain coming up in PN Review in the future, and in the current Poetry Wales. There’s another on Smithereens as I outline on this blog. I’ve not sent any of these Bad Idea ones out yet. They are amassing if anybody wants them.  


I shall be reading them at Edge Hill, where I am reading with Forrest Gander and Rachael Allen on 15th February 2019. More information available soon.

The English Strain is complete. The latest instalment of it, Hap: Understudies of Thomas Wyatt’s Petrarch is now available from Knives Forks and Spoons here:

https://www.knivesforksandspoonspress.co.uk/product-page/hap-understudies-of-thomas-wyatt-s-petrarch-by-robert-sheppard-26-pages

https://www.knivesforksandspoonspress.co.uk/new-titles

This review of Wretched Strangers isn't irrelevant either:

 http://stridemagazine.blogspot.com/2019/01/multiple-threads.html


Wednesday, January 16, 2019

Tuesday, January 15, 2019

Robert Sheppard: Old and New poems published in Molly Bloom 18 (and MB2!)





is out (so is Issue 2 again!) Let the editor Aidan Semmens, explain this conundrum:

Since its inception as an online magazine in 2013, Molly Bloom has been living a lie, at least an implicit one. The implication, if not the overt statement, was that Molly as a printed magazine was born and died with the first issue, in November 1980. Recently, however, going through a box of old pamphlets and magazines left more or less forgotten in the attic, I came across the hard evidence that this was not the case. For there was a surely rare copy of Molly Bloom no.2, a duplicated, hand-stapled issue put together in May 1982 by my good friend Ged Lawson.

As I’ve explained to Aidan (who I met with Ged, who was also a friend of mine in Norwich at the time), I thought it odd, when I looked at the first issue online, because I had clear memories of being in it. I was wrong; for I was in this mysterious Issue 2, and I too came across a copy of it recently, assembling the bibliography with Chris Madden, for the Robert Sheppard Companion. As Aidan continues to explain:

Having launched Molly Bloom online with a reappearance of most of the contents of the first print issue, it seems only right now to bring the work from the second to the light of the online world, where most if not all of it now appears for the first time. Peter Riley's ‘Weekend’ is newly edited by him; the rest appears here exactly as it did in 1982, while some of the poets included then also provide new work exclusive to this online issue.

As I do. ‘Of Appearances: Of a Naked World’ was a 1981 collision between phenomenology (which I have recently returned to in my critical-creative piece Pulse) and objectivism, which as a critic has also re-occupied me recently (see my piece on John Seed, who is also a contributor to the new Molly Bloom here). See here: https://mollybloom18.weebly.com/robert-sheppard1.html

For my own new invited contribution to the new Molly I decided to send my recent condensing (into prose, like a haibun, but with a desire to juxtapose the three 17 syllable sentences into a paragraph) the best of the haiku I was writing about a year ago. (I write about three of them here.)This piece seems somehow to be consonant with the earlier poems. Read them here:
https://mollybloom18.weebly.com/robert-sheppard.html

I will reprint here, the slightly-revised version ‘Of Appearances: of a Naked World’ to demonstrate how I edited it for publication in Returns (published in 1985). And also because the text was a near-candidate for inclusion in my selected poems History or Sleep. I hope you enjoy either or both versions.


OF APPEARANCES: OF A NAKED WORLD

                        (pub: Returns. Southsea: Textures, 1985)

Purple
                & deep pink
along the ridge of dusk

                                & below
                the ranked squares of latticed
                factory windows, each lit

                The hard exterior
of appearances

                fading

                The flesh of night

it may well be
this obvious, but can never be

simple


*


Men singing in the factory
its blocks of light
fractured upon the river's surface

Moon
its lesser light also there
ruptured
healing

                in fluid uncertainty,

full. Men singing

in the factory: unseen voices
under the waste of the sky
& its slow moon



*


The brittle
transformations of
settled snow

affirm, deny

a river glazed
with ice
glinting

shattered light

frozen steam
on opaque glass
in the bathroom

spiked nebula

arctic
fur


*


Flesh-in-firelight
moving upon a body

clothed in a way of
being looked at

touching

the pulse
under the skin

touched

something in the speechless
coming across the horizon

of a naked world


*


black touching

statues

shining

eye

empty streets, emptied

flowing

mouth place

dirty snow


*


Black tyres
peeling
hissing strips
trace-trails
from the wet road

The shift
workers
exchange places
bolting to
safety, risk

Surfacing
from the other
element
a pair of amphibious
​blind eyes


1981



Monday, January 14, 2019

Tuesday 14th January 1969:

Did propaganda raid in our class.

[Note: I've no idea what that means.]

Sunday, January 13, 2019