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Monday, July 27, 2015

Lee Harwood 1939-2015: in memoriam

Lee Harwood died yesterday, Sunday 26th July at 12.10. I'm glad that I saw him on Friday, however briefly, however distressing it was.

Life, like a dome of many-coloured glass
Stains the white radiance of eternity
Until Death tramples it to fragments.

                Shelley (another Sussex poet)

My review of Collected Poems in two parts here and here. On later works here; on recent works here.

Friday, July 24, 2015

London Reading: Zand Farrell and Sheppard: 18th August 2015

London Reading

Michael Zand, Patricia Farrell and Robert Sheppard (18th August),

7.30 at The Lamb (in the upstairs room), 94 Lamb’s Conduit Street, London WC1.

This is the 103rd event in THE BLUE BUS series. Admissions: £5 / £3 (concessions).

Michael Zand is the author a wonderful book lion; the iran poems. Published by Shearsman, as indceed we all are:
Michael here
Patricia here

Me here.  

I'm going to read something from my new book Words Out of Time, but also something new. See the new book here.


Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Storm and Golden Sky at the Caledonia : July 31st: Robert Hampson and Eleanor Rees

NEXT UP: Storm and Golden Sky at the Caledonia

Up the stairs (at the back of the barroom, above the pub name, above) at the Caledonia pub, Catharine Street, in the Georgian Quarter, Liverpool, £5, 7 pm spot-on start!

July 31st: Robert Hampson and Eleanor Rees

Eleanor Rees graduated with a BA in English Literature from the University of Sheffield in 2001, and a MA in Creative Writing from the University of East Anglia in 2002.[2] She has a PhD from the University of Exeter. She has published three collections of poetry. She received an Eric Gregory Award in 2002. Andraste's Hair was shortlisted for the Forward Prize Best First Collection and the Glen Dimplex New Writers Award for Poetry. Her second collection is Eliza and the Bear from which the band take their name. Her third collection is Blood Child, Pavilion Poets/Liverpool University Press, 2015.

Read the article in The Skinny with Eleanor on local poets, politics and her new collection Blood Child.


Robert Hampson is Professor of Modern Literature in the English Department at Royal Holloway, University of London. During the 70s he co-edited (with Ken Edwards and Peter Barry) the magazine Alembic which, among other things, was instrumental in introducing North American LANGUAGE poetry to England. More recently, he has edited another poetry magazine, purge. He also co-edited (with Peter Barry) New British Poetries: The Scope of the Possible.His collections of poetry include: Degrees of Addiction, A Necessary Displacement, A City at War, Seaport, and C for Security, and An Exploration of Colours (Veer 2010). His selected poems, Assembled Fugitives, was published by Stride in 2000.

August: no reading

Back in September folks!
Storm is run by Nathan Jones, Eleanor Rees, Michael Egan and Robert Sheppard.

Saturday, July 11, 2015

Pause for Thought. Derek Attridge on the Creative Act-Event

Most of the wisdom I derive from the work of Derek Attridge has been of a literary-critical or theoretical nature, (see here and, more recently, here) but just now and then he offers something for the poetics of writing, as when he describes ‘invention’ towards the end of his new book The Work of Literature.

‘The inventive artist is one who is fully in command of the materials and conventions of his art-form, or techne, but rather than simply producing a rearrangement of that material finds a way of making a space for the new, the other, the hitherto unthinkable or unperceivable. The scenario is exactly that of the hospitality of visitation: rather than inviting some already known idea or formal arrangement or quality of feeling into the work in progress, the successful artist finds a way of destabilizing the fixed structures of knowledge, habit, and affect, so as to make a visitation possible, and seeks to welcome the other, the arrivant, in a work that does justice to its singularity. Innumerable accounts by writers, painters, musicians of the way their best achievements happened testify to this process. In ‘I Have a Taste for the Secret’, Derrida uses the notion of hospitality to talk about the writer’s responsibility to future readers – a responsibility not to give the reader something that is wholly and immediately intelligible, but to leave a space open for individual interpretation. (31-2). Most philosophers would no doubt disagree, but most writers of literary works would have no difficulty with this idea.’ (Attridge 2015: 304)

Attridge. Derek. (2015) The Work of Literature. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Access The Meaning of Form project here.

Tuesday, July 07, 2015

Robert Sheppard: Deselected Poem: Byron James is Okay (7th July 2005)

Here is the last of the current batch of de-selected poems from History or Sleep, my Selected Poems. 'Byron James is Okay' comes from the end of Warrant Error. I talk about it in my interview in The Wolf (read here; the interview is also de-selected from the book, similarly because of space). 'It's grim stuff, the blackest impaction of societal depression, with flashes on utopian parkways desperately trying to compensate,' I say. Then I recall the day I wrote this poem: 'I remember first reading Nate Dorward’s review of Tin Pan Arcadia and he quotes that line from 1984 about a foot stamping on a face forever, and says that’s the effect of reading my book. I put The Gig down and switched on the radio. It was July 7th 2005 [i.e., ten years ago today.] Bombs had gone off all over London, it seemed, at the time. I made notes. I wrote "Byron James Is Okay" ... with that criticism ringing in my ears and thinking, yes, this is the world, but also grasping for more positive human values (not that they are not there in Twentieth Century Blues, I hope. At least the blues ring out true.)' What I don't say in the interview is the more interesting human story of being later contacted by Byron James, who had sent the message that appeared on Sky News and that I had quoted in my notes and subsequent poem's title, who asked to see the rest of the poem (Paul A. Green had published a portion of it, from his account of the 60th birthday bash for Allen Fisher, which passed by the site of 7/7, at which the poem was first read, hence its dedication. See that celebration here too, and here).

Byron James is Okay (7th July 2005)

                                    for Allen Fisher

Text phone no-name news-clips
Shatter the showered details. If
Was whened in the burnished air, a tin-
Can chrysalis formerly a double-decker bus.

Only the city has a name. It’s calm.
Fluttery police tapes. Shivering faces
Covered with soot. Lacerations of sand-
Grain particles. Who walked over bodies; others,

Dismembered, still in their seats. Anon-
Ymous heroes beside pockmarked walls patch up
No bodies ‘burning in fear’ – above shaky sounds

Of movement under ground. Police fumble with a
Geodesic tent funnelled to the mouth of the Tube.
They call the unnamed names back to the world.

Warrant Error may be purchased here, from Shearsman Books. A few more of its poems appear here to 'welcome' the readacted report on the 'War on Terror'.

Thursday, July 02, 2015

Robert Sheppard: de-selected poem from History or Sleep: Putting Claws on the Glove (for Joan Brossa)

Tony Fraser has asked me to shave off some pages of my forthcoming 'Selected Poems' and I'm afraid this one has to go, the only section selected (then de-selected) from a poem 'writing through'/'translating' Joan Brossa's visual poems ('from the Catalan', I say, although there are no words in his poems). I thought some of the thoughts embodied in the poem are handled elsewhere, but I regret losing this gesture to a great literary figure. The full poem may still be read in Hymns for the God in which my Typewriter Believes.

from Putting Claws on the Glove: Poemes Objecte by Joan Brossa

from the Catalan

This mask is only off
by being on

You are behind it
and only through it
can you be before us, saying:

See my eyes,

I have made them for you
through what I say

See my mouth,
its tongue

flipping the letters to and fro,
back and forth, up and down

Let me say: there is a mask
placed upon an open blank page

We shall wear it together

Image result for joan brossa poema visual