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Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Robert Sheppard: The Cambridge Companion to British Poetry, 1945-2010 (me, it, and a writing exercise)

As an antidote to the subject of this post, I was pleased to find myself mentioned in dispatches in a new critical volume, edited by critic (and passionate anti-Brixeteer, if you follow Twitter) Edward Larrissy, called The Cambridge Companion to British Poetry, 1945-2010, as a critic (The Poetry of Saying and When Bad Times Made for Good Poetry both get listed, and I'm quoted once, and as an editor (Floating Capital: New Poets from London) but also as the Main Thing, as a Poet. (Capitals mine.) Simon Perril, in his compressed piece ‘High Late-Modernists or Postmodernists? Vanguard and Linguistically Innovative British Poetries since 1960’, mentions both Twentieth Century Blues in terms of the problems of the long poem, and Warrant Error (at last) is listed with other works that deal with the Gulf and Terror wars and he concludes that ‘it is a little observed fact that British vanguard poetry since the eighties has offered some of the most insightful and adventurous war poetry’… Thanks Simon. (Read about his creative work here.)

Sweeping the index I found no references to Lee Harwood, which was saddening and Bob Cobbing only gets one mention as bookseller and publisher. But otherwise, the coverage looks wide. As I said, it’s a new book, and it’s only just arrived. But by the evening I'd read half of it. Some great chapters, although Cornelia
Gräbner's piece on performance is the one in which Cobbing gets not much of a mention even though he is absolutely crucial to the development of performance and sound poetries (no ABC in Sound!) (despite there being a list of later women poets, like Maggie O'Sullivan, who directly worked with Writers Forum - note no apostrophe). There was no cultural mandarin called Brian Mills. The critic means Barry Miles - and Dave Cunliffe's Poetmeat (I thought Tina Morris was also involved) hailed from Blackburn, not Blackpool... (See Geraldine Monks' Cusp, which Simon mentions.) These are localised irritations in an otherwise great book.

See my takes on Cobbing here and the British Poetry Revival here.

More details on the book here. Odd: it says it was published 2015: my paperback says 2016.

Today's Writing Exercise (I'm gearing up for a bit more fiction-writing)

Even though he'd declared himself the Scott Walker of criticism, the Greta Garbo of reading, the Howard Hughes of literary theory, he couldn't believe his eyes. Barry Miles - the 1960s hustler and diarist - had become Brian Mills in this account of the Indica Bookshop, Dave Cunliffe's Blackburn had become Blackpool, and Bob Cobbing merely ran a press whose name had acquired an apostrophe that had been typographically dispensed with in its earliest years.

He threw the book down. (Actually he didn't; he placed it down gently. There were more precious pages than these in it.)

How many other mistakes did the article contain? To not realise the role of Cobbing in 'performance', the ostensive subject of the chapter, was more than the carelessness suggested by the first two errors - this was a woman who couldn't read her own handwritten notes was his most generous construction of the disaster - it was a dereliction of the duty of the critic.

Had he never made such errors?

He had, but never so egregiously, and he'd always noticed in time. 'The role of the critic is a holy office at the altar of books,' he found himself writing on his blog.

Come on, he didn't believe that, surely? In fact, seeing his own book through the press (somewhere he feared there was a de Bollas' he skimmed doing the index that he couldn't remember correcting in the proofs), he realised that this was the last book of literary criticism he intended to write (excluding collecting fugitive pieces). It was the last book with a thesis and theme. Walker, Garbo, Hughes.

Saturday, July 23, 2016

Storm and Golden Sky summer reflections

Storm and Golden Sky last night was a great success: Lauren De Sa Naylor and Nathan Walker.  This reading was part of the 2016 Liverpool Biennial Fringe (though none of us is quite sure how that came about).

This is the last reading of the season. Back in September with Susan Bee and Charles Bernstein: Friday 30th 2016.

I usually delete the posts/adverts for the readings once they have been , but I want to preserve Nathan Jones' excellent image for this gig: 

Another task is to assemble a list of our readers to date. I have false memories of people reading and who haven't and I also think some people haven't read yet and they have. It's to get a sense of history... How long have we been doing them? I'm not even sure.

Monday, July 18, 2016

The Wolf 33: EUOIA poem and review of History or Sleep plus other pieces

See here for details of The Wolf 33, which contains a poem by Eua Ionnou, the European Union Of Imaginary Authors poet Kelvin Corcoran and I invented. (Read her biography here.)

There is also another review of History or Sleep: Selected Poems by Nikolai Duffy (which I like a lot). Details here, on the Shearsman site, and an account of the launch here (with links)

And (I haven't finished reading this issue yet) there's Christopher Madden's extended piece on addressibility, 'Lyric Voice and You' (which can be read on The Wolf website here).

So thanks to James and Sandeep and Nikolai and Chris.

Thursday, July 14, 2016

Robert Sheppard's Avant Garters on sale in the Zimzalla Avant-objects Series

Robert Sheppard doesn’t often design garters nor does he usually compose monostichs. But he saw a pair of eighteenth century garters in a Lancaster museum with mottos embroidered on them and thought he could produce monostichs (one line poems) for a modern pair. He hadn't thought of them actually being manufactured. Neither had he realised that this ancient garment/moral instrument had endured into the current age in wedding lingerie.

No matter: he offered the erotic poems to Tom Jenks for his Zimzalla series and Tom (ever the resourceful craftsman as he has proved with this varied series) set to work. You can just about read some of the words in the photo above.

This is the result:

Robert Sheppard – Avant Garters poetic hosiery wrapped in gold paper and sealed with wax.

buy here or visit Zimzalla page here.

£6 within UK; £8 elsewhere.

Other recent and, frankly, more orthodox Sheppard publications (books of poems mostly) may be read about here

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Robert Sheppard and Pete Clarke: Images of Exhibition in Duesseldorf

Am Ende ist es Poesie: a recent exhibition of art relating to poetry at BETONBOX in Duesseldorf (deep in the heart of Europe)

Pete Clarke has collaborated with me (I have collaborated with him) on making a number of prints over the last few years and I posted images from our Edge Hill exhibition here and here. A later work for the Print Bienniel in Krakow may be viewed here and Pete's own website is here. One was a runner-up for the Adrian Henri Prize.

In der Betonbox positionieren sich zeitgenössische Standpunkte mit eine Perspektive auf die Poesie. So stellt sich im Rahmen der Düsseldorfer Poesietage auf dem Dach des alten Hochbunkers die Frage, was ein aktuelles Verständnis von Poesie sein kann. Am Anfang der Veranstaltungsreihe steht die These 'Am Ende ist es Poesie'[..]
From Georg's photos these seem to be three exhibited (or versions of them; remember they are prints)

Vernissage: Samstag, 11.06.2016, 20 Uhr
Performance Abend: Montag, 13.06.2016, 19 Uhr
Finissage: Sonntag, 19.06.2016, 11 - 17 Uhr

Pete Clarke submitted some of the pieces he and I worked on and Georg Gartz, a fine Cologne artist with whom Pete also collaborates, kindly took these photos of the prints shown above in situ:

Pete's three exhibits

Other participants (with links) include:

Sunday, July 10, 2016

Robert Sheppard 'Untitled' from the sequence 'It's Nothing' published in the International Times

Read the poem, 'Untitled' here.

This sonnet (a domestic poem with a political edge) comes from a series of 14 called 'It's Nothing'. Another poem from the same (the first published poem with the word 'Brexit' in it? Maybe, but not the last, despite its title), 'Last Look', also appeared in The International Times: here. (Here are some other poems that use the word 'Brexit'.)

Thanks to the poetry editor, Rupert Loydell. And to the illustrator Claire Palmer.

See my previous sonnet in International Times here:
(‘Avenge’, another sonnet, a contrafact on Milton’s ‘Avenge O Lord…’, and featuring elements concerning the (female) Yasidi resistance to IS, is not from 'It's Nothing', but belongs to a connected sequence, 'Overdubs'.)

And the one before that, not a sonnet (!) here:
(‘Workless Washday’, a birthday poem for Frances Presley).

Thursday, July 07, 2016

BREXIT poetry magazine online now

A new pdf BREXIT magazine, BORDERS KILL, edited by David Grundy and Lisa Jeschke, is now available at the following link. I have a (rushed, unfinished, onlyhadamorningtodoit) poem in it; so do many others.

There's always this, here, for those who missed the EUOIA (European Union of Imaginary Authors) build-up to the vote.

(The interesting crossover with the Chilcot Report on the Gulf War released yesterday and BREXIT is that both were national governmental acts with no plans laid down with a thought to what might occur after: and there are several other links between them, despite the obvious differences.)

It's also 7th July, so here's reminder of so-called 7/7 here, a poem 'Byron James is Okay', that comes from my war on terror book Warrant Error.


Update: BORDERS KILL is reviewed here, in foreign. My poem turned out to be the draft of a 100 word sonnet (a form I'm returning to after 20 years or so to write another sequence of sonnets for an amassing project, not now called Song Nets).