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Thursday, May 23, 2019

Tody's EU Election/May in Hiding Poem

The second book of my The English Strain project (see below for the first and for more details) is entitled Bad Idea and it is a re-working of the whole of Michael Drayton’s sequence Idea; that’s 64 poems (with the addition of its ‘Address to the Reader of these Sonnets’). I’ve been at it since July 2018, one a week (more or less).  

If you ‘do the math’ you can see that I’d run out of the poems at this rate of progress, in September, but the new Flexibretension is until 31st October. I need to call a summit of Drayton’s ‘thrice-three Muses’ to discuss possibilities. Another sequence? Or a sort of standing still by producing multiple versions of a particular sonnet on the way? Or could I locate more of Drayton’s ‘Idea’ poems not included in the 1619 edition? Or have a summer recess, like the MPs will: ‘time for a last visa-free Euro recess: British disdain amongst the scattered hegemonies,’ as the poem says! The idea of Bad Idea originally was that it would pass through Brexitday and onto the other side, where it might gather some positivities.

I’m posting the poems temporarily, so there is only ever one at a time on this blog. Here’s today’s. I’m pleased to say ‘West Kirby UKip I pointed and said “Fascist!”’ did happen, on Tuesday, as it happens.


XLV

Ministers sadly sit outside May’s bolted door,
yet she is deaf and will not hear their fears.
Ledsom breaks her news, panting with passion.
Since May distains to talk to the swivel-eyed,
the meme from Downfall can’t be re-mimed, yet.
She’s assured that tenacity will be her legacy;
every defeated Tory in the EU poll will tug her hearse,
wherein the world will soon entomb her name.
Senseless West Kirby UKip I pointed and said ‘Fascist!’
Idea cannot admit pleasure until desire has played out
the crisis of the nation amid trans-national Capital. Like
Orpheus I sing through the wood-wide-web, vote Green;
Idea yells at Yaxley-Lennon strutting in Bootle.
She’s kinder to a fascist than, silent, she is to me!

23rd May 2019


Poor old Drayton is somewhat out of print at the moment, though I have found a ‘Poly-Olbion’ project online, (the whole epic is online, which is refreshing), and his fine sonnet sequence ‘Idea’ (the 1619 version) 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! 

In fact, I’ve now bought

Evans, Maurice, ed. Revised by Roy J. Booth. Eizabethan Sonnets. London and North Clarendon: Phoenix Paperback, 2003,

a careful book that includes the 1619 Idea entire (with original orthography) and has notes.

You know, if you’ve seen these temporary posts before, that you may read about the whole ‘English Strain’ project in a post that has links to some other accounts, and earlier parts, of this work: hereThat was 100 poems long. But I didn’t stop there though. The most recent 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



I write about my sonnets generally here, and here and see here and here for more on my Petrarch obsession, which ‘The English Strain’ project into motion.

There are more excerpts from The English Strain in the current Poetry Wales. And another 4 in The Robert Sheppard Companion:



HERE'S SOME NEW POEMS ONLINE: I am pleased to say I have six poems published in BlazeVOX 19, edited by Geoffrey Gatza, four of them poems from ‘The English Strain’ project, versions of the Sussex sonneteer Charlotte Smith, called Elegaic Sonnets. You may get straight to the pages here:


Another from this part, another Charlotte Smith variation may be read in Smithereens 2, on page 15:


Links to a number of the published poems from Non Disclosure Agreement (the last part of the proposed book of The English Strain) may be accessed here:


Some older ‘English Strain’ poems may be found here:


I’m pleased to say three poems from Bad Idea have now appeared in Monitor on Racism. Patricia Farrell’s two images of Bo accompany them. Find them here. http://monitoracism.eu/from-bad-idea/

Friday 23rd May 1969:

Broke up for Whitsun.

Wednesday, May 22, 2019

Thursday 22nd May 1969:

Revision.

poems from The English Strain (sonnets) and Empty Diaries (2017 and 2018) published in BlazeVOX



I am pleased to say I have six poems published in BlazeVOX 19, edited by Geoffrey Gatza, a press as well as a magazine (http://www.blazevox.org). Thanks Geoffrey!


The six poems come from 2 sequences, but they are linked by being somewhat excessive! Probably best way to navigate is via the editorial page/ index


and then you can see what other goodies are on offer, though you may get straight to the pages here:


You will see I have four poems from ‘The English Strain’ project, versions of the Sussex sonneteer Charlotte Smith, called Elegaic Sonnets.

Another of these may be read in Smithereens 2, on page 15:


BUT I also have two of the recent episodes from my continuation, into the 21st Century, of my Empty Diaries project. All the 20C parts are, logically enough, in Twentieth Century Blues,


where you can read the one for 1993, ‘Flesh Mates on Dirty Errands’.

On BlazeVOX you may read ‘Empty Diary 2017’ and ‘Empty Diary 2018’

The latter I read at the launch of The Robert Sheppard Companion, because it seemed to be the most cited work of mine in it, especially by Joanne Ashcroft ‘A Response to Vitality’. (see here for that night: https://robertsheppard.blogspot.com/2019/04/the-launch-of-robert-sheppard-companion.html.

The 2015 one was published in India by Ranjit Hoskote at Poetry at Seagam. Empty Diary 2015

Other 21C 'Empty Diaries' may be accessed here; 


I write about my sonnets generally here, and here and see here and here for more on my Petrarch obsession, which ‘The English Strain’ project into motion.

Links to a number of the published poems from Non Disclosure Agreement (the last part of the proposed book of The English Strain) may be accessed here:



Monday, May 20, 2019

The Robert Sheppard Companion: My appreciation

I have written to all the people involved with the Robert Sheppard Companion, and said (at least) these words to each:


I want to semi-formally remark how much I appreciate the work that has gone into the editing, the writing and the publishing of this wonderful and substantial critical work on my writings. I provided the headache – to quote Beckett – but the contributors provided the aspirin. I also know, having edited a similar book on Lee Harwood, and having written literary critical chapters to similar collections (as the detailed bibliography, another wonder, shows!), just how much work goes into this kind of writing. It is good to see new essays rubbing shoulders with ones that were written in previous years (and decades), and to see some reminiscences alongside critique. Although I am the focus and occasion for the book, it is also a portrait of a collaborative poetry scene, and many of the contributors are poets also, and part of that.

For the record, I should say that I have read the book from cover to cover (and had so before the launch; see here for an account) and found it a fascinating read. Of course, I read the book as no other person can. But just as I believe that, as a writer, one mustn’t believe one’s own publicity, one mustn’t believe other people’s. Or rather: the essays should not function as publicity at all, so far as I am concerned, but as spurs for me to do better.

I do have a tongue in cheek reference to the book, in one poem from my current project, my Brexit versions of the poetry of Michael Drayton called Bad Idea. The speaker is partly MD, partly me, and partly a modern-day Drayton. While the first five lines allude to chapters in the book, the sixth is a certain modern critic’s negative characterisation of Twentieth Century Blues. I hope it amuses. 'XLII The Michael Drayton Companion (1619)' begins: 

Some like my multiform methods,
and commend my social poetics.
Some say I’m a funny old translator,
‘expanded’ like a supersized codpiece.
Some that I excel in explicit vitality....
 
For more on the book and a hub-post to other posts and links: see here.
 You may buy the book here:

Tuesday 20th May 1969:

Revision.

Sunday, May 19, 2019