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Sunday, March 29, 2015

Robert Sheppard: Empty Diary 1990 (number 2): Re: History or Sleep, Selected Poems

There are two 'Empty Diary 1990' poems, and one probably had to go from History or Sleep - and it would always be this one, because the other is also a 'coda' to all 90 poems of the sequence, and this one also is similar to others in the final decade. But that doesn't mean I think it's bad. On the contrary, it got in the original selection, and its deselection is a matter of context rather than content. Here it is.

Empty Diary 1990

for Adrian Clarke

HUMAN DUST against the
dark night This Degrades
now bleached into the
ecstasy of image she
holds a Bible filofax
steroid flare hoboes her
puppets blondes in the
sex shop coo into
vacant dummy leather militia
turned fan club she
wears his eyes tightly
fixed on sidewalk scripture
WHITE PUSSY EASY MEAT
cocksucker choirs shit peckers
praise her ‘legendary guts’
her TV astrologer’s tattooed
fists so hard to
make a man weak
in this APOCALYPTIC CUT
mannequin’s wig trails the
gutter (slave gang’s fetish

 

Saturday, March 28, 2015

Robert Sheppard: Schrage Musik and The Lores Book 2 (Re: Selected Poems: History or Sleep)


Two long narrative texts telling fragmentary tales of the 1930s and 1940s have been reluctantly de-selected from History or Sleep, my 'Selected Poems'. The first was the long poem 'Schrage Musik', which deals with both the RAF and POW situations, as well as addressing the utopianism of the New Apocalypse poets (or that generation). Even as I'm typing, I'm thinking it should be there but it's too long and doesn't work in excerpt at all well. It is, in the words of a wartime song, 'All or Nothing at All'. It is already posted on Pages though without italics, where it appeared i.m. my father, whose experiences very generally influenced the text. So that's here.

The second text is one of the 'books' of The Lores. This I call my haiku novel and I am pleased that this 1930s history of a fictional Blackshirt can be intuited from the 12 word verses. Something about it didn't work between two impacted pacey anti-fascist 'books'. (The voice of apologetic, self-admiring ex-fascists is unpleasant here, too, because it doesn't operate through irony.) Of course, I might change my mind about using it. But here's that one. Read it verse by verse. Slowly.





Book 2: Bolt Holes

 

They are bleeding this

country, secret Whitechapel gutter

rites. Bolshevik bolt holes

 

 

Terrors traversed autumnal ethics.

Our fresh Lordship negated

introspection over sherry decanters

 

 

Bronchial children cough, three

to a bed; crystal

voices from its frame

 

 

Protocols kicked, shattered Yiddish

on jagged glass. Mongols.

Tomorrow, our promised land

 

 

Marching between tramlines, tight-

necked blackshirts claw the

air. Lightning bolt salutes

 

 

Solutions, hands raised, stopping

stones. Your face, a

jewel, crowd-fleshed; crowned

 

 

You kiss my scars,

our struggle. Emotion retreats.

Anarchs copulate with Queens

 

 

Bolshevik jazz, jungle nights

in Pimlico. Jerusalem in

England’s green and pleasant

 

 

Old Gang rich bitches

stoke the engine for

the Empire’s last Plantation

 

 

Her blackshirt bit of

rough, I serve. Dismissed,

savage dynamo, corporate individual

 

 

Wife hanged like a

ghetto Jew – obsessive simile

knots her suicide note:

 

 

‘Chasing skirt for the

Party ... Suffragettes licked your

stamps ... Man and master!’

 

 

Worthing) the stab of

the crowd one slice

of zeitgeist (broken windows

 

 

Uniform mind fills Olympia.

Regulated hearts, public health.

Public Order, embodied ideals

 

 

Venerable cigarette card image:

Mosley’s staff car; razored

Red along running boards

 

 

Saluting crowd, prickles on

a pelt, policies brushed

to the Centre, Leaderfear....

 

 

The limp swastika; Rundfunkhaus.

Schnapps and bitch sensuality:

Southern England in flames

 

 

The World-Soul clears

his throat; his plans.

The poetics of propaganda

 

 

Bent wire slipped back

into pocket: Jew bent,

bleeds over yellow Star

 

 

Brutish airman, parachute caught

in charred Berlin tree;

the people almost decide

 

 

Last drunken broadcast: ‘Final

phase of European history ....

What you must become

 

 

Shot her – and our

curled child. My manly

bullets, one fact unswallowed

 

 

The Bűro’s leather chair,

my dead microphones, lovers

wired in delirious parallel

 

 

How quickly the airship

slipped – band still playing –

firestorm roared through Ambrose

 

 

With horror I realise

these prison uniforms have

come from the camps

 

 

To speak; by way

of silence. Eloquent statuary.

Race suicide; condemned Men

 

 

Gives the fascist salute;

a blood-stain on

the cleared gymnasium’s floor

 

 

As Joyce drops, his

street-fighter’s scars burst;

clocks stop, valves plume

 

 

heart stops) The broken

promise to follow your

pregnant decoy (sentence begins:

 

 

I search my mask

for a face to

redeem me) Collective guilt

 

 

Passion and hatred flicked

your curls. Memory’s bones,

your scattered clothes; disposal

 

 

My slogans – for history

books and marble plinths?

Eyes tethered on stalks

 

 

Leaves drip, leave no

measure. Hermetic hut, camouflaged

with endless autumn leaves

 

 

Stench of burnt coil

from overheated wireless. Cell

fills with burning bodies

 

 

Posthistorical thunderclap, limp lightning.

Administration without Men, time

drifts, creaks. Self-shipwreck

 


 

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

25 Edge Hill Poets: Dee McMahon


Trad

 
Baby sweet full frontal lyrics launches successive sound of high notes and holidays, high notes and holidays, zingera’d to slither pierce a spirit found in clear transparent spinning on pure crystalline edge

 
Each finds its way in, synchronising, harmonising to juxtapose its own recessive being.  In time the newly found flute pulls to the fore an image of skirt lifting arms tossing twirling cross caught upwards a continuity of pulsing rapture with a harshness of breath long after supporting instruments have opened their closure

 
An upturned inversion rolled over

 
Tracing the cordant discordant roll creating hard-listening-found strangeness, identifying a change in the energy of sameness and strumming a background solo held low against the water when strings take over and accordion basses, rooting it all in a wash of fluidity until wind erupts a difference, rising white flecks crested out, the contrary motion opposing but forwarding in constant height, rise hanging hung crashing into pale streaming blue, tumbling down whiteness bubbling through to soothing ripples on the shore

 
A difference now in something more staid sea forgotten, less jumpy less sliding less less.  More the separate expression of a thought gaining speed as it races ahead of itself, elongated as energy is spent before reaching this land locked state, and finality overtakes as it spreads from the thought less sure shades more fallow  in slowing strummm

 
Now and now the hometown slides on mandolin, half note up a half note down, growing awareness of recurring bloodrush, first ever motif, then later, another.  Country-side comfort in an air neatly sewn and cross stitched together by care painted bleached worn wood.  Sometimes jigged or juddered sweated off springs in marginal well held frame 

 
Now fiddle me do

 
Then sprung into action hand on machine ear turned to outpouring foot tapping systolsis influenced by all I’ve ever known sharped to a higher state.  The constant chord austrial polkaed then building through continents, before skudding to a vodkaed finale

 
Reeling in the salmon it jumps and turns, gasps the momentary lack of tension, regroups below the flow of a well known tune before being rewound.  Playing second fiddle to the main man while pulling out the estuary to see.  All gaps are complexity filled and it almost escapes but constraint is applied it belies reigning in a seeming refinement with only the tune, the rhythm, the fracture in the run up to heightened pitch where all join in resolving to always stay, to always play together intertwine each others surround sound all movement complicit in filial found fullness




Poetics

My poetry has always focussed on using language and sound to mirror content. The above piece needs to be read aloud, I feel.

Meaning is less important than the flow of the piece; the flow of words, of thoughts almost captured, then disrupted, of tongue tripping vocals, of a language stream heard in a space where time ceases to exist, or ceases to matter.

 Streaming language reflects my consciousness, gathering materials from my Irish heritage, my childhood by the Atlantic sea, the wild winds of Donegal, traditional music festivals, and then, the encountering of many new cultures throughout my life. This has evolved into a poetry of storytelling in many cases

 Shape is important in my work. It offers a fullness on the page, or a terse sparseness, depending on the requirements of the poem. Rhyme is always present whether sound, meaning, or associative rhyme.

 My poetry offers movement, the promise of progression to another artifice, another consciousness, another concept, and sometimes it delivers.

 

At Edge Hill

 Edge Hill University was a fantastic place to study for my MA in Creative Writing. There were then, as now, the usual lectures, interesting assignments but also a variety of workshops, readings, and an opportunity to be with well established poets – Allen Fisher, Scott Thurston, Robert Sheppard - and authors. I remember specifically the time when I finally ‘got’ defamiliarisation, and when I, rather late in the day, realised that my understanding of others’ poetry was valid as anyone else's. As an Alumna of Edge Hill I was part of a poetry and poetics group for a long time, and continue to go to readings at the Rose Theatre.


 
Dee reading at the Walker Gallery in Liverpool
See another reading photo here. Read more work, 'Three Poems' here, one of the very posts, and 'Three Texts' from the same sequence as the one above, here,  and about a talk Dee gave at the Poetry and Poetics Research Group's tenth anniversary talks season, here, on Pages.

Recently updated details of the MA in Creative Writing may be read here.

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

25 Edge Hill Poets: Matt Fallaize


Partially recovered

Too slow morning starts
inaccurate my
state is shifting a
sudden occlusion before
partition obligatory sun
too bright tearing the
throat sliding intemperate
parchment for hide
recall recurrence monstrous
lineage parade of
gently stewing fossils
portraits settling
on the dark green
walls of the dark
green hall a
digestion too slow
the accretion of
a system tightly
packed congealing
the live studio
audience horned into
bucket seats if we
survive the day there’s
a shot at the grand prize
invoking memories
forty foot drops
parched bramble my
head too slow
inaccurate my
feeble morning and
dreadful maps
obscuring the timeline
killing the story
I thought I saw you
on TV
baying for blood
couldn’t be sure
doubting your steady
accretion of narrative
it’s unguent
impossible corrections
a steady balm of
too slow morningstarts
hello hello an
empty half I
thought I’d be like weather
seems better more
fitting come back
without you my
mouth is dry my
channels are scrambled
the air is ointment
too heavy with
blossom the grass
too soft to believe
afterwards you’d say
that’s what I call
direct treatment of the thing
swimming in out
too slow morning vision too
dry too
everything

Matt wine tasting (in Source, his deli in Ormskirk. Do visit! See here.)
~

It wouldn’t be unreasonable to say I owe a great deal of my working practices and the evolution of my poetics to my time at Edge Hill, both on the MA and further as a member of the Poetry and Poetics Research Group. The MA opened my eyes to some of the transformational practices which have become a part of my poetics, and simply spending time with dedicated and talented writers has driven my own writing further than I ever expected it to, and into some unexpected places.  It compelled me to take my own work seriously (not a lesson to be underestimated) and quietly nudged me in the direction of a little more intellectual rigour than I might otherwise have employed.
It gave me a permission to continue, and obligated me to take risks. It let me celebrate the mundane and then told me sternly to try harder, it tried hard not to roll its eyes when I got a bit too smug, and was always compassionate, warm and thoughtful. It also still owes me a fiver, but that’s another story.

Matt reading at the Walker Gallery, the Year of Culture
 
Two Books

Delete Recover Delete http://www.knivesforksandspoonspress.co.uk/deleterecoverdel.html
L39 http://www.erbacce-press.com/#/matt-fallaize/4538954968

Other web works

Some work in Stride http://www.stridemagazine.co.uk/Stride%20mag%202008/June%202008/matt%20fallaize%20poems%20may%2008.htm

Blog  http://coastaltown.blogspot.co.uk/

Recently updated details of the MA in Creative Writing at Edge Hill may be accessed here.


Matt reading at the Tate Liverpool
 

Saturday, March 14, 2015

Crowdfunding Yesterday's Music Today: an anthology of Music Poems from Knives Forks and Spoons

KFS are crowdfunding an anthology of music poems.

Details of the book and the 'Crowdfunding' process here.

Your support is welcomed between now and the end of the month!
-----------------------------
Editors Mike Ferguson and Rupert Loydell write:
 
This anthology came out a shared enthusiasm for and addiction to music, along with a certain middle-aged nostalgia which emerged as the result of failing to be moved by so much of the music we have greedily devoured over the last few years, and thankfully being intenseley moved by some. Music can excite, delight, goad, amuse or bore the listener – it also has the capacity to lodge itself in your brain and be heard in the imagination at the strangest times.

This anthology is about that, about spiralling back into memories, about yesterday’s music today: music that has lodged itself in these poets’ hearts and souls, and which never fails to move them when recalled or listened to anew.

It has to be said, we didn’t get the work we expected when we sent out our call for submission. Whilst we share a taste for 70s rock and have differing individual tastes that lean more towards blues and west coast rock or free jazz and post-punk respectively, our contributors here are moved by different things. Squat bands, contemporary and romantic classical composers, singer songwriters, improvisers, glitch artistes and trad jazzers all get a mention here in this fascinating and engaging cornucopia which we hope will surprise you as much as it surprised us as the work arrived.

The poets anthologised are:

Roselle Angwin,

Susan Birchenough,

Elizabeth Burns,

M.C. Caseley,

Mike Ferguson,

David Hart

Paul Hawkins,

Sarah James,

Norman Jope,

Jimmy Juniper,

David Kennedy,

John Lees,

Rupert M. Loydell,

Stephen C. Middleton,

Ester Muchawsky-Schnapper,

Sheila E. Murphy,

Mario Petrucci,

Jay Ramsay,

Robert Sheppard,

and Angela Topping.

My poems are:

Round Midnight: Stan Tracey: tribute to Thelonious Monk (newly re-discovered for History or Sleep, indeed to open that volume; read it here)

Improvisation Upon a Remark of Gil Evans for Miles Davis (1926-1991) from Twentieth Century Blues

Angel at the Junk Box im Frank Sinatra (also from TCB)

The Hippest Man to Walk the Planet (London Road Odeon 1964) about Ray Charles;

and the unpublished

Spectres of Breath (in honour of Philip Jeck, famous 'turntable wrangler' (who we saw last night at the launch of Angie Clarke's exhibition, and had a drink with in Pi after). New album out soon, we heard.