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Friday, November 27, 2009

GOING PUBLIC/going private/Afterword to Series Five




To celebrate a decade of the discussion of speculative, writerly poetics at Edge Hill, Robert Sheppard organised a talk series entitled Going Public this autumn and turned over this now concluding fifth series of this blogzine to the work of his group. (Above you can see Stephen Sheppard, Scott Thurston and Matt Fallaize in the earliest photograph of the group during a contemplative moment at one of its summer meetings, probably 2003. Photo courtesy Andrew Taylor. And above that a photo of group members Robert Sheppard, Angela Keaton, Matt Fallaize and Cliff Yates at the recording of the group's CD, Points of Reference; available £5 including p+p from Robert Sheppard, Deaprtment of English and History, Edge Hill University, Ormskirk, Lancashire, UK. Photo courtesy Andrew Taylor.)


The whole series launched the Salt poetics anthology Troubles Swapped for Something Fresh (edited by Rupert Loydell from Salt Publishing); four of the group are featured in this volume. On 8th October Scott Thurston discussed his book Internal Rhyme to be published next year by Shearsman, sharing with the audience the two ways of reading the text (horizontally and vertically). The discussions, as on all the evenings, were detailed. This was also a chance to celebrate the new Journal of British and Irish Innovative Poetry, co-edited by Sheppard and Thurston, the first issue of which was on sale.

On 15th October, two former PhDs of the university, also founder members of the group and contributors to Troubles Swapped for Something Fresh, and widely published poets, presented their poetics: Cliff Yates: ''Flying' and the gap between intention and outcome in the act of writing,' and Andrew Taylor on ‘The Poetics of Absence – part two’: a continuation and reflection upon the work in Troubles Swapped for Something Fresh. Andrew spoke of how a poetics is never finished just because a document of poetics is complete, but continues to evolve, in his case developing his sense of a topologiocally-inscribed 'Poetics of Absence'. Cliff outlined his development from a poet who writes about experiences to a poet who allowed the writing of the poem, in the act of writing, to become the experience. (Again, see his contribution to the Salt anthology.) More recent pieces explore a translatorese-ish estrangement of language, refracted through broken forms such as pseudo-pantoums.


On 29th October Dee Mc Mahon spoke of the poems published on her CD Stories of the Line under the title ‘Provocation, Process and Product’. Dee described her sequence of prose pieces that springboard from quotations 'Stories of a Line', in which - Klee-like - she takes a 'line' for a walk. Robert was talking about his latest project, the fictional poems of Rene Van Valckenborch, and the double fictional poetics by which they are permitted, and by which he is permitted to by-pass his self.

On 5th November 2009, Daniele Pantano addressed the title "Living in Translation: A Discussion of Exile, Translingualism, and Writing Your Way Home" by speaking of his own original work and his work as a literary translator. Michael Egan meanwhile invited the audience to share his recent ‘Motivist’ poems in light of his Motivist Manifesto. If it catches on, you heard of it here first!

To complete the series on 11th November 7.30 in The Rose Theatre, Cliff Yates launched his new book Frank Freeman’s Dancing School (which is out from Salt: www.saltpublishing.com/books/smp/9781844715039.htm) The speakers from the talks series became the support act for Cliff, who read well and contextualised the writing of his book.

On 27 November we ‘went private’ again by meeting up at the delicatessen Source in Ormskirk run by PPRG member Matt Falliaze (pictured above, even then sampling the wine) for an excellent meal. It made the group feel more like Oulipo (I had Queneau's Elemental Morality in my bag) but I suspect we'll not become a dining club, though I'm sure we'll return to Source. We were there to celebrate not to discuss, but we did touch on the subject of how to proceed as a group, and how to avoid the banalities of the 'workshop method'. Present were the founder members Cliff Yates and Andrew Taylor and myself (I think it was only a joke when they voted me out of the group!), Dee MacMahon, Michael Egan, Patricia Farrell. Everybody seemed relaxed and enjoyed themselves. Great Works currently features three of the group. And everybody round the table has been published there. Thank you Peter Philpott!

We have two official journals registering the group’s work: Pages online published work from the group members Erbacce published a print edition dedicated to the group (which may be bought at http://www.erbacce.com/)

Edge Hill Poetry and Poetics Research Group members past and present include Robert Sheppard, Cliff Yates, Andrew Taylor, Scott Thurston, Neil Addison, Dee McMahon, Matt Fallaize, Daniele Pantano, Steve Van Hagen, Michael Egan, Colin Harris, Tony Cullen, Patricia Farrell, Angela Keaton and Alice Lenkiewicz.

Here ends the Fifth Series of Pages. Check the archive between May and November 2009 to read the series whole. (For a quick look, the bulk of the meetings occured in October 2009.)

Robert Sheppard
PS Sixth series?

Introducing Robert Sheppard














Robert Sheppard reading at the Costa Coffee Poetry Venue in Liverpool (photo courtesy Tim Power), recording the Edge Hill Poetry and Poetics CD at Edge Hill, and reading at the Liverpool Tate Gallery Credit Crunch reading (both photos courtesy Andrew Taylor).
I am a poet-critic, and recent volumes of poetry include Tin Pan Arcadia, Cambridge: Salt Publishing, 2004,
Complete Twentieth Century Blues from Salt as well, and
Warrant Error from Shearsman.

My critical work includes The Poetry of Saying: British Poetry and its Discontents Liverpool University Press, 2005)
and Iain Sinclair (Northcote House, 2007).

I am editor of the Journal of British and Irish Innovative Poetry {link to http://www.gylphi.co.uk/poetry } and this blogzine.
I also edited the Salt Companion to Lee Harwood, and most recently The Door at Taldir: The Selected Poems of Paul Evans.I am also an advocate for the way writers write about writing, a speculative discourse that is often misread as literary criticism or as autobiographical writing, but which is really a mode of writing quite distinct. I encourage students to read it and produce it, and I am working on a study of this. Part of my thinking on this may be read on PORES journal as The Necessity of Poetics’ .


Poems from Warrant Error, may be read here

Complete Twentieth Century Blues was reviewed by Todd Thorpe. Read the review here
Warrant Error has been reviewed by Alan Baker. Read his review at www.leafepress.com/litter2/litterbug02/litterbug-sheppard.html

I can be seen reading my poems from Twentieth Century Blues at

http://otherroom.org/videos/%e2%80%94-or-2-june-2008-videos

as part of the Other Room Readings in 2008. (On the first clip I read ‘A Dirty Poem and Clean Poem for Roy Fisher’, ‘From a Stolen Book’ followed by a selection from ‘Empty Diaries’, the sequence with which I continues on the second video.)

If any of these links are broken, this one isn't: here!

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Robert Sheppard: Three Riga Poems

Mentzendorff House, Riga

an extra Ordinary Rendition

The bearded woman with amber eyes
makes him tie elfin aprons to his shoes
which glide like galoshes over the polish
of the timbers while the bride’s stilettos
tap-tap up the stairs without reproach or restraint

The woman scraped away these walls
to reveal layered fauns and fountains
but when he plucks the harp that waits for him there
it lets of a slack dead sound. Escaping

their scrutiny he secrets himself in the mock
‘Poet’s Room’. The desk: a quill still rests across
parchment by a notebook embossed Poesie

He lifts the feathery pages loose from the flaking
leather spine and finds that they are blank

July/November 2006




Riga Duet

Prison Camp Violin

A brittle fiddle someone
Turns this on a lathe

Of the spheres where
Replica becomes the real

Thing thin
Birch treated knocked up

Catches an unhuman
Voice in its hollow

Thumbs moulded to pegs
Skewered into splintering holes

Tune the stolen wires a
Mollusc curled at neck’s end

Fingernails
Pluck the kinked tune free

Out of itself a
Collapsed bridge

Sabotaged by
Time mittens

Grapple
The soup-bone bow-grip

Horse hair human
Hair taut straight like a well

Brushed bride’s
Bends the tamed twig

Tucked under your chin the violin
Splinters against your jaw

As you draw the grinty
Voice out from the mechanics

Of survival: extinct
Livonian love song


Mute Piano

This box could house
A stethoscope or

Paintbrushes its
Leather strap sags

A conspiring smile
Unclip the lid in

A double-thumbed
Ritual of rhyming

Clasps and prop
It open a jack-

In-a-box grin of black
And nicotine octaves

Three there potential
But one key escaped

Gives the game away
A peep-hole to the void

Imagined
Mechanics beneath

Coal-grained
Half-frozen fingers that

Soothe the smooth keys
And then in a furious

Double-fisted cluster
Rattle them with the

Padding stealth of
Rats upon boards

Stealing moist bread
From mute mouths

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Introducing Tony Cullen


Photo: Patricia Farrell. Tony Cullen, the newest recruit to the Poetry and Poetics Research Group, attending one of our meetings, minutes after hearing that he'd received a Distinction for his MA in Writig Studies at Edge Hill. The PhD beckons.

Some of his poems are due to be published in Great Works soon: check the November issue at www.greatworks.org.uk

Here are some others:


Grande Arcade

It has a cathedral quality
high roof and hush yet
somewhere someone speaks
echoes flutter against

skylight windows looking
for escape consumers on automated
glide-by wear Picasso expressions
chameleon eyes swivel

and shift with the passionless
sanction of a broken contract
lock-jawed doorways reveal
gapping throats into which

shoppers simply vanish
feminine fragrances and magic
music lure the curious
with a crooked finger

schoolgirls skittle in awe
old couples merge together
for comfort children rattle
with excitement while mothers

browse for bargains through
glass plate and plastic
a hackled mechanical spine
winds methodically toward

an upper level escarpment
where coffee clouds mass
above the Casino Café
sipping latte or mocha

Olympians examine the synthesis
below bristling with the promise
of profit drowning soul
in a redeveloped see

buried in a wooded
half-moon pelt where
the homicide of Harlem
John plays out








Tippler

Here’s George’s little sally,
embedded in the huge stone
shoulder of a cobbled bank.

On a gable opposite, a stick
rattles inside a swill bucket.
The original went for scrap

the year they exiled
Trotsky. This is a replica,
reinvented for tourists

still feeding on Eric’s
unhealthy diet served up
in the pub\restaurant they

named after his reinvention.
It’s a narrower gauge
than standard and tips

nothing more than nostalgia
and an admiration of a hardship
enacted in their comic playhouse.








Marsh Green Marsh

The sun quivers to cross
it. Not vast, but empty
and deep; it’s silent air
trimmed of alibis
and waiting.

Grasses army the surface,
gangling adolescent stalks
crowding to the river,
where rushes bull
the margins.

The ground there, three
quarters water, will
never let them go.
Things scurry
at root level,

only squeak and rustle
announce their attendance,
a splash of black water,
their shun. Tussock
grass stumps on sturdy ground,

short and sharp as teeth.
Each footstep injures moss
to weep over boot leather
and lace as the earth
gives. It’s the river,

reaching from beneath,
where clay prisons
hold tight in.
After sun-fall,
a lacy cloak

of ghosts hover there,
thickening to a nightdress
of nature’s shy cloud,
behind which, the dark
world disappears.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Chris McCabe reading at Edge Hill last year

Photo: Tim Power

Chris read in the Rose Theatre last year, and this picture seems to capture something of the charm of his performance.

Monday, November 09, 2009

Introducing Steve Van-Hagen

I was appointed at Edge Hill in 2006, having previously taught at The International Study Centre, Herstmonceux Castle (Queen’s University, Canada, in the U. K.), the University of Kent, and Canterbury Christ Church University. I have taught most periods and genres within English and American literature, but have tended to specialise in eighteenth-century literature, Renaissance drama (especially Shakespeare), and modernism and post-modernism.


My edition of selections from Woodhouse’s The Life and Lucubrations of Crispinus Scriblerus was published in 2005 (Cheltenham: The Cyder Press) and I have recently completed a book entitled The Poetry of Mary Leapor for the Focus On series published by Greenwich Exchange Press. I am currently writing an article for The Literature Compass on the life, career and reception of James Woodhouse, as well as writing The Student Guide to Jonathan Swift for Greenwich Exchange. I am also researching a critical biography of Woodhouse.

My other interests include literary representations of obsessive-compulsive disorders (and particularly in the work of the American novelist Chuck Palahniuk), and the life and career of the American eco-anarchist Edward Abbey.

Poems have appeared in a number of magazines (see links at the end of this post)





Die Sönne Scheint Noch(with thanks to Jason Whittaker)

I

Barbarians are coming, they sing, crawling
from the East. He wears a leather skirt East
European hat, metal cross
draped over his bare chest. Aryan, Wagnerian
ice maidens who study postgraduate
English in their spare time sing
harmonies wearing black vests, blonde
pigtails tumbling from their fezes. Banners
depict a thick cross within a cog though no
White Rose. Seeming swastikas that know not
seems adorn album covers passed round, sleeve
notes by Žižek, film projectors
beam streams of images. The crowd
chant in tandem “Tanz
mit Laibach”, singing of American
friends and German comrades dancing
in Baghdad.

II

Most likely this was not what
Sophie and Hans and Christoph went
to the steel blade for but you never know
what you’re living or dying for till
later as they’ve told Tomasz as
they look down, unlike him, bemused. Dropping leaflets
from University stairs can be for some
what a concert and exhibition at the House
of the Workers is for others. It is many years
since the threesome took that last
unprecedented cigarette, but Sophie is a nation’s
heroine. At least the website says
Tomasz’s influence lives on.

III

Outside in the Trbovlje evening, where Tomasz
ended twenty three years before, the audience files
out, waves passports in the air that helped some
escape Sarajevo. The Kum mountain lodge houses
some as the NSK philosopher declaims, and they drink
Laibach wine, deep into tomorrow until

the sun comes up.



Der Papierene
the streets of Favoriten are quiet
now, a suburb of a city
of shadows, secrets, whispers, though they
weren’t quiet that day in January ’39
when they laid you to rest some say
twenty thousand thronged the streets

whisperers whisper still
about you; you were a jew, a
nazi, a gambler, when you were found
with Camilla in the Anagasse
they whispered too: you were
murdered, committed suicide, Camilla
killed you, politics
killed you

there is no memorial, even the cafe
you bought from Drill is gone,
demolished, “they did not want it there
as a reminder of him”, they told me,
when I asked

I look for you, I find you only
in the memories of the reunification
derby, the pride of
Osterreich, not Ostmark, waltzing
around grinning before the box
full of dignitaries, at full time

grainy images on You Tube
narrated in Spanish
are the only sight I find but
it is not a bad epitaph: “the new club
president has forbidden us to talk
to you, but I will always
speak to you, Herr Doktor.”




Emily warned me it would be like this
There is only one truly philosophical problem
wrote Albert, a problem I solved
one winter’s afternoon

At the last there was the little
not so much
the King in the room
as the mundane in the gloom

It ended
not so much with a whimper
as with an unavoidable bang
or two, on the head

As fumes swirled, the thoughts:
did I feed the cat?
did I turn on the gas (enough)?





the taciturnity of amorous encountersi don’t bring you flowers

we meet in hotels

i don’t bring you chocolates

we mouth neither hellos nor farewells

we pass the same anonymous receptionists and bellboys

this month room twenty six next month ninety four

after, i trace the outline of your nose

in my mind as you lie

face up turned away on sweat-soaked sheets

perhaps one day we might speak







Links to poetry:

www.anonpoetry.co.uk/anon1.html


www.greatworks.org.uk/poems/svh1.html

www.greatworks.org.uk/poems/svh2.html

www.greatworks.org.uk/poems/svh3.html

www.greatworks.org.uk/poems/svh4.html


www.nthposition.com/analienisforlife.php

www.nthposition.com/author.php?authid=940

Two North West Events

TWO WEDNESDAY EVENTS

1

Cliff Yates Reading at The Rose Theatre at Edge Hill, Ormskirk on Wednesday 11th November 2009; 7.30, £3.50.


The launch of Frank Freeman’s Dancing School:
http://www.saltpublishing.com/books/smp/9781844715039.htm

his new Salt book.

Cliff Yates is the author of Henry’s Clock (Smith/Doorstop) which won the Aldeburgh First Collection Prize and the Poetry Business competition, and Jumpstart Poetry in the Secondary School (Poetry Society). He teaches at Maharishi School, where his students are renowned for winning poetry competitions, and runs courses and workshops in the UK and abroad. His latest collection is Frank Freeman’s Dancing School (Salt).

www.cliffyates.co.uk


(This is part of the GOING PUBLIC series at Edge Hill: see www.robertsheppard.blogspot.com for details.)


2

Following the popularity of the Birkbeck launch in October, Gylphi Limited is pleased to announce:

The launch of the Journal of British and Irish Innovative Poetry

Ed. Robert Sheppard (Edge Hill) and Scott Thurston (Salford)

at the University of Salford with guest speakers Christine Kennedy, Allen Fisher and Ian Davidson (Wednesday 9 December at 4 pm)

There will be speeches and discussion of the journal, as well as an opportunity for readers and contributors to the journal to meet with editorial board members.

Speakers:

Christine Kennedy, Leeds Trinity & All Saints

Allen Fisher, Manchester Metropolitan University

Ian Davidson, University of Wales at Bangor

Followed by discussion and drinks.

All Welcome. Free entry.

Directions here: http://www.salford.ac.uk/travel

To register for this event on Facebook, please visit:
http://www.facebook.com/event.php?eid=169385893578

You can also become a fan of the Journal of British and Irish Innovative Poetry at:
http://www.facebook.com/innovativepoetry

To receive your copy of the Journal of British and Irish Innovative Poetry before the launch subscribe online: http://www.gylphi.co.uk/poetry

Friday, November 06, 2009

Talks: Daniele Pantano and Michael Egan

(photo courtesy of Patricia Farrell)

A game of two halves last night: Daniele Pantano (left) and Michael Egan (right) answering questions after their presentation. (Who's your smiley friend, guys?)

Dan spoke to the title 'Living in Translation: A Discussion of Exile, Translingualism, and Writing Your Way Home'. Home might or might not be Switzerland, in Dan's case, and he explored the polylingual background of Switzerland, his sojorn in the United States, his writing in English and his translating from the German. He quoted Richard Kearney on Ricoeur's On Translation: 'The idealist romantic self, sovereign master of itself and all it surveys, is replaced by an engaged self which only finds itself after it has traversed the field of foreignness and returned to itself again, this time altered and enlarged, "othered".'

Michael introduced us to the tenets of 'Motivism', a style of poetry (or a schema for generating a long sequence of poems), based around a verse form of 1/3/3/1 lines and a series of guiding principles for each stanza: initial image, wandering, connection, and return.

This is final talk in the series but Cliff Yates (supported by the team of 'talkers') will read at the Rose Theatre, at Edge Hill University on Wednesday 11th November at 7.30: tickets £3.50 for the launch of his book Frank Freeman's Dancing School (Salt).

Wednesday, November 04, 2009

Introducing Daniele Pantano (as translator): Georg Trakl


Georg Trakl (1887-1914) is commonly seen as the most prominent figure of Austro-German literary Expressionism.




IN RED LEAVES FULL OF GUITARS . . .


In red leaves full of guitars
The yellow tresses of girls flutter
By the fence where sunflowers grow.
A golden tumbrel wheels through the clouds.

The elders in a peace of brown shade
Become silent and hug each other like fools.
Orphans sing sweetly at vespers.
Flies buzz in yellow palls.

At the stream the women still wash.
Hanging linens sail.
The girlchild I long fell for
Comes again through the evening gray.

Sparrows plunge from balmy skies
Into green voids filled with rot.
A bread smell and pungent spice
Cheats the hungry one of recovery.



Translated from the German by Daniele Pantano












TRUMPETS



Beneath mutilated willows, where brown children play
And leaves drift, trumpets blare. A graveyard shudder.
Scarlet banners plunge through the maple’s grief
Horsemen along fields of rye, empty mills.

Or shepherds sing at night and stags enter
Into the circle of their fires, the grove’s ancient sorrow,
Dancers rise from a black wall;
Scarlet banners, laughter, madness, trumpets.


Translated from the German by Daniele Pantano




Introducing Daniele Pantano (as poet)

(photo courtesty D. Pantano)


7 JULY 2005 (NOTE FOUND ON A LONDON SUBWAY CARRIAGE)


What I enjoy about chaos is the guarantee of creation
The rapid unexpected







EVERY MOMENT OCCURS AFTER A SEQUENCE OF LOOKS


1.

Anticipate the whipping beauty of these southern women
Accustomed to euphoria within the word.

2.

Inform them that they’re unable to solicit the final embalming.

3.

Language consists of minute fractures near each climax.

4.

Confirm the impossible: to fully comprehend any experience.

5.

We can die at once and laugh about it.

6.

Proclaim days are dominated by sex, verbs, red paint.

7.

Witness the death of a praying mantis as her black hair finally settles.






BEYOND THE STOP SIGN: SWISS LANDSCAPE



Fictitious. This green. Like no other. This blue. Conscious.
Spectators. We agree. Language at birth. The rush. At once.
Forever. Scourged by origins and locutions. We find ourselves.
Back to it. The octagon. Its base. Like a senate of fatidic ants.
Ready. For the scouts. To move. From red. To white. To red.






Daniele Pantano is a Swiss poet, translator, critic, and editor born of Sicilian and German parentage in Langenthal (Canton of Berne). His individual poems, essays, and reviews, as well as his translations from the German by Friedrich Dürrenmatt, Georg Trakl (see next posting) and Robert Walser, have appeared or are forthcoming in numerous journals and anthologies, including Absinthe: New European Writing, ARCH, The Baltimore Review, The Cortland Review, Gradiva: International Journal of Italian Poetry, Italian Americana, The Mailer Review, and 32 Poems Magazine.





His next books, The Oldest Hands in the World (a collection of poems), and the translations The Possible Is Monstrous: Selected Poems by Friedrich Dürrenmatt, and The Collected Works of Georg Trakl, are forthcoming from Black Lawrence Press, New York. He teaches at Edge Hill University.





For more information, please visit his website at http://www.danielepantano.ch/.

Friday, October 30, 2009

Dee McMahon and Robert Sheppard




Photos courtesy Scott Thurston and Andrew Taylor


A sanp of part of the audience, plus Dee McMahon and Robert Sheppard answering questions after their presentations to the Poetry and Poetics Research Group meeting in the GOING PUBLIC series. Dee was talking about her sequence of prose pieces that springboard from quotations 'Stories of a Line', in which - Klee-like - she takes a 'line' for a walk. Robert was talking about his latest sequence, the poems of Rene Van Valckenborch, and the double fictional poetics by which they are permitted.







Next week the last in the series: Daniele Pantano and Michael Egan.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Robert Sheppard: Sudley House



Here are two shots – the bottom one by Andrew Taylor and the top one by Tim Power – of Robert Sheppard performing his ambulatory/site-specific text Sudley House at Sudley House in November 2004. The performance text may be read at:

http://www.greatworks.org.uk/poems/sh/rs1.html

Click at the top from the page you find here to Preamble to Instructions before you reach the First Room (and continue until the Ninth). Then read the Notes.

There is also a (later) 'reading' copy of the poem, which may be read here.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Introducing Dee McMahon




Dee McMahon is a former student of the MA at Edge Hill University and she has a CD of her work published, which she will be selling at the Poetry and Poetics session tomorrow night (I’m on too). She is currently working in the Library at Edge Hill, where I saw her about half an hour ago, but she didn’t see me, scuttling in to return the CD of Jerome Rothenberg that I was playing to this year’s MA full timers. Previous work on Pages may be seen at (link and then scroll a long way down to Page 451):

http://robertsheppard.blogspot.com/2005_02_01_archive.html

Robert Sheppard
Photos above coutesy Andrew Taylor; Dee at the Neon Highway reading in the Walker Gallery and Dee waiting in the recording studio.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Introducing Patricia Farrell


Photograph of Patricia with her friends in Neumarkt Square, Amsterdam; Robert Sheppard, and reading in the Tate, coutesy Andrew Taylor

Patricia Farrell is a visual artist, art historian, writer and student of philosophy, and has taught philosophy and creative writing. Published in New Tonal Language from Reality Street. The Zechstein Sea is available from Ship of Fools. She lives in Liverpool with two fools.


TRAVELLING ON ONE TICKET

(outbound)
pointing shifters
another object
previously verbal
a finger towards
and says
also denoting
pointed out something to it

“It will be better” –
and when I say that
a finger can live
without people
she means

all right is plain and heavy
a care-lined face
a heavy face
want her
not
used to beauty

“I think you are like a painting” –
this time takes it from her purse
and leaning out she talks simply

how such columns these heads might be
copying an older maxim not properly understanding
a series of heads and the spaces between

in the case of a butterfly less decomposed
he invented the image
as it were
with the viewer

the connection whatever the argument
and the manuscript of hybrid monsters
characteristics of initial capitals

this sentence is a possible
central theme now
romantics of structure
that’s what mountains are
a winter’s summer’s Christ fulfils itself

hinted at an orchestral piece,
a superb current falls into the irretrievable
and that’s just gentle by the inclusion

to seep in you a first time
a diversity of closes with
will leave you in the wind
sophisticated

idea of resurrection
animation
but from the angular sinister

with a stiff-backed
trying to get any you can see why this intelligent saved the sexed-up but nasty chivalry

(return)
a difficult word being
recalling not a little
disrupts or myths
worked out
several versions interested
in the form updating on
struggle
by those peaceably involved.

levels broad units
in what coup
would reference guarantee
operated by
or at least
some sense its typographical space

to lead them out
that we are bound to fail
just counterfactual
precious as confirmation
or two things
to make a company evidence of
what the weight of
for example
gone on longer
desperation advanced by years
by design of it
of it in the areas
worst is much more
have turned
there were clear signs

frightening again
maybe
pure incarnation
done in usual panic
consistent
our ethic unique enough

there is no object
purpose behind
unpersonal purpose
intimately fade all this
but to make the world
ultimate
indeed for no other reason
to argue
for to do so
prompted
if at all lasting
without reward

playing became
betwixt-and-between
visit the house
the window that she missed
options locked
when with her arm

reach the window
iron bars are up
turned his back on
turned himself
from that day on
- “I am your enemy”

were out and relied on
who turned framed by rivers
of those converging
deposited
nevertheless convinced
that the judgement
who reads the left in any document
indeed questions convention’s epidemic
a number who at a time
freed
from them to invite
so that witnesses come forward
for all that although


 


 
Hear her reading at The Other Room (Manchester) at


Her website is here: http://patriciafarrell.weebly.com.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Introducing René Van Valckenborch





This is an incredible story.

In the autumn of 2002 two youthful translators met at a conference I organised on Translational Spaces held at Heidelberg, not in itself an auspicious thing to happen. When it is revealed that one of the translators’ specialisms was to translate from the Dutch language group and that the other was a specialist in Francophone literatures, it might have been expected that, other than the theory of translation, there would be nothing to hold them together. They were both participating on a panel on the literary translation strand themed with contemporary poetry and a remarkable thing happened, as I knew it would, having read their detailed abstracts in advance and paired them. Martin Krol, who was from South Africa, and who was an authority on Flemish poetry, and Annemie Dupuis from Quebec, and who was interested in Walloon literature, discovered not only that they were speaking about translating the poetic work of that most linguistically and bitterly divided of modern European nations, Belgium, but that they were speaking about the work of the same poet, René Van Valckenborch. This, again, is not in itself unusual, but what they discovered – and what had apparently been kept hidden from the literary schools of that country, separated as they are not just by language but by culture and regional autonomy – was that Van Valckenborch had written in both languages and had published two distinct bodies of work, one initially in Canada and the other partly in South Africa, as well as in Europe, Rouen and Amsterdam, as well as in Belgium.

Both translators had imagined that they were the first to apply themselves to Van Valckenborch’s small output. There was surprise and laughter for, after Krol had delivered his paper ‘Aprosody as Cognitive Mapping’, Dupuis declared herself unwilling to read her original paper, ‘The Return of the Mind to Things’, and extemporised a series of fascinating challenges to herself and Krol about this extraordinary circumstance. After initial mutual suspicion, and diplomatic manoeuvres on my part during a coffee break, they agreed to work together to solve what they regarded as the central mystery: how could, and why would, one writer produce two discrete oeuvres? Their initial answers required them to engage in further translations, email exchanges across continents, and occasional meetings over the next few months. This is not the place to enquire further into their liaisons, but after Martin took up a post in Brussels, interpreting for the EU, Annemie moved there too, to work as freelance translator. They lived together, and married in 2006 (but separated in 2010, about the same time this story unravels).


One of the delights – but occasionally one of the disappointments – of translating contemporary works, is meeting their author. As soon as the couple settled in Brussels, they insist, they set about searching for Van Valckenborch. It had not been unusual for his publishers abroad and at home to only deal with him by email and post – but neither cybernetic nor street addresses yielded a reply, nor did ringing on suggested doors reveal the man. Stalking the noisy dope-hazed bars in rue de Flandre – a ‘clue’ from one of the poems Krol explained – asking crag-faced bikers after a man of whom they had not even the vaguest description proved fruitless, as did hushed enquiries at the Poeziecentrum, located at a forlorn corner of a forgotten square in Ghent. The man had vanished, or as in one of those Magritte paintings that seem to encapsulate Belgian surreality, his figure offers his back to us, as does his reflection in the mirror beyond him: an appropriate image also for his double oeuvre. For not only did the man – his traces – disappear, his work stopped appearing. The bookshop at Ghent was to furnish the last substantial chunk of his work in Flemish, A Hundred and Eight Odes, and a final Walloon fascicle, emoticon, was reportedly picked up by Dupuis in a sale in a sunny bilingual shop in rue Antoine Dansaert in Brussels, not far from their apartment. A website, no sooner clicked onto by me then deleted, left an address without host, a single link to his last Twitter stream of enigmatic condensation. There was, about that time, some controversy about the existence of a few poems in German, Belgium’s third language, which purported to be by Van Valckenborch – they circulated privately under the title The Salad in the Wardrobe – but these are considered apocryphal if not fraudulent.


The idea that this extraordinary body of work was a hoax naturally arose. Perhaps it was a counter-hoax, some commentators suggested, to the one perpetrated by RTBF when it broadcast spoof reports of Flanders’ declaration of independence from Belgium in December 2006, and which caused a reaction of an Orson Welles magnitude. (Incidentally, this occurred four days after our translators were married and the processions of monarchists in the capital interrupted their extended festivities, to which I had been invited!) The existence of a genuinely bilingual contemporary poet in Belgium seems too good, or bad, depending on one’s perspective, to be true. However, someone had to compose these verses and although suspicion has fallen upon the two translators – critics speculate that the confrontation in Heidelberg was staged, the original poems written backwards from their double ‘translations’, charges I refute as Byzantine absurdity – the fact remains that the poems exist, and demand to be read. (Of course, suspicion has fallen upon myself also, particularly since Dupuis and Krol seem not to answer calls or reply to letters, indeed seem to have left Brussels, if not Belgium, if not Europe….) I am not denying that the poems’ ontological status is unchanged by questions of what would once have been called ‘authenticity’, but it remains a truth that these poems face us uncertainly with this lack of facts – again, not unlike Magritte’s canvasses, which often offer us monumental but obscured central enigmas. The unease which this situation evokes, cannot be willed away by transferring these texts into Gerald Bruns’ convenient category of ‘fictional poems': ‘To be sure, the difference between a poem in a novel and a poem in an anthology is apt to be empirically indiscernible. To speak strictly, a fictional poem would be a poem held in place less by literary history than by one of the categories that the logical world keeps in supply: conceptual models, possible worlds, speculative systems, hypothetical constructions in all their infinite variation – or maybe just whatever finds itself caught between quotation marks, as (what we call) “reality” often is.’ (Bruns, Gerald L. The Material of Poetry. Athens and London: The University of Georgia Press, 2005: 105-6.)



Erik Canderlinck
Institute of Literary Translation, Heidelberg

Read the update as part of the introduction to A Translated Man.)

Monday, October 19, 2009

Alice Lenkiewicz and Neon Highway

Currently busy with her own art projects Alice is editor of the poetry magazine Neon Highway and is the author of Men Hate Blondes. Above, she is performing at the Neon Highway 'Credit Crunch' reading at the Tate Gallery in January 2009. Read her earlier work in Pages here (scroll through the month's postings).


Neon Highway
Avant-garde literary journal

PUBLISHES:
POETRY and ART

Submissions of innovative poetry to be sent to the editor:
Alice Lenkiewicz: 37, Grinshill Close, Liverpool, L8 8LD

Neon Highway is available bi-annually, with 2 issues costing £5.50, or a single Issue available at £3.00. Order your next issue by sending a cheque made out to Alice Lenkiewicz.

Subscription details and further information can also be found on:
http://www.geocities.com/poetshideout/Neon.html

email: neonhighwaypoetry@yahoo.co.uk


Men Hate Blondes
Poems
by
Alice Lenkiewicz
ISBN 978-0-9562433-4-8 £8.00

original plus

£8.00



‘Alice Lenkiewicz's inaugural collection of poems, Men
Hate Blondes, is a tight exploration of the political as
seen through the personal. Her frequent line
enjambments, startling images and sometimes
deceptively nonsensical-seeming word combinations
will make this book a challenge for some readers, but
what makes these poems worth reading is the author's
refreshing trust in her audience, that they do not need
to be led by the hand.’ Joanne Merriam



‘Alice Lenkiewicz, a modern alchemist, effects the
transmutation of lived experience via the intimate
crucible of her rare, poetic imagination – informed by
an artist’s visual sensibility. ‘ A C Evans



‘Men Hate Blondes is a kind of poetic bildungsroman,
it offers up its insights in a savvy use of montage,
dreamscapes, cityscapes and fantasias all matched
with Lenkiewicz’s dispassionate itinerant observation;
this is a refreshing, developing new voice testing out its
boundaries in a world still forming and reforming
around us.’ Chris Hamilton-Emery




If you would like to order an advance copy before November, you can send Alice £8.00 via paypal to poetshideout@yahoo.com

Angela Keaton performing and constructing





Angela Keaton (top left) performing at the Walker Gallery as part of the Neon Highway reading, Angela reading at the Rose Theatre (Ormskirk), Angela displaying some of her 'object poems' to the Poetry and Poetics Group (Dee MacMahon reading the object).

Introducing Neil Addison

Neil -pictured her as he is now - lives in Berlin.

See his web presence at flyingpigfoldingchair.blogspot.com

and at

moremodernlore.blogspot.com

and at


ruby-island.blogspot.com







New Jack Fling



I

Am in the employ of apple.

They instruct me

To visit café nero with my sony vaio

And pretend to be a shit

Who harbours choice.



In the snow-globe of hyperbole

The bearded despot pumps his fist

Hand in glove like a dreary valve

And death rains down

Like the only way is up.



It is raining clowns

on the brain. They

are wearing out

Their insolence. I am

writing up Their

fridge poems

I repeat after me.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Talks: Cliff Yates and Andrew Taylor

Photograph of Cliff (left) and Andy (right) answering audience questions courtesy of Scott Thurston

Andrew Taylor spoke of how a poetics is never finished just because a document of poetics is complete, but continues to evolve, in his case developing his sense of a topologiocally-inscribed 'Poetics of Absence' (a formal presentation of which is contained in Rupert Loydell's excellent Salt poetics anthology Troubles Swapped for Something Fresh, which we were also launching).
Cliff Yates outlined his development from a poet who writes about experiences to a poet who allowed the writing of the poem, in the act of writing, to become the experience. (Again, see his contribution to the Salt anthology.) More recent pieces explore a translatorese-ish estrangement of language, refracted through broken forms such as pseudo-pantoums.

Both are founder members of the group, which first met on 21st October 1999.

Details of the next two talks evenings may be found here.

Read Cliff's review of The Poetry of Saying by Robert Sheppard here.

posted by Robert Sheppard @ 5:45 AM

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Introducing Cliff Yates


Cliff Yates is the author of Henry’s Clock (Smith/Doorstop) which won the Aldeburgh First Collection Prize and the Poetry Business competition, and Jumpstart Poetry in the Secondary School (Poetry Society). He currently teaches at Maharishi School, where his students are renowned for winning poetry competitions, and runs courses and workshops in the UK and abroad. His latest collection is Frank Freeman’s Dancing School (Salt). He is a founder member of the Edge Hill University Poetry and Poetics Research Group.

See his website at www.cliffyates.co.uk

More on Frank Freeman’s Dancing School:
http://www.saltpublishing.com/books/smp/9781844715039.htm

Read his Guardian interview
http://www.guardian.co.uk/education/2008/oct/07/poetry.english.teaching

More online poems may be read at

http://cliffyates.wordpress.com/links/

including his review of The Poetry of Saying here:


LEAVES ARE JUST THIN WOOD

No, I don’t read French.
Do you have a translation?
I’m from Birmingham.
Let’s go for a walk in the woods. It’s raining.

Bring the billiard table.
I have the balls in my trouser pockets.
Can you manage?
Here, let me hold the door.

Yes I agree, the rain. Did I mention
the importance of parks in the black country?
It’s not that interesting. Mind
the rosa rugosas, their thorns,
and the climber with the orange hips.

All the other woods are memories
preparing us for this one.

If I tell anyone she’ll kill me.
No, really – a dart through the forehead.
Look at my hands – people call it stigmata
but really it’s darts.

We quarrelled in the autumn.
We quarrelled about the milk.
In the morning she left, took the bed with her.





L’HERMITAGE AND A BIRD

head back, a single drop of blood from its beak
on the concrete like a red coin. Dead eyes
white feathers. It flew into the window and life left it.

I keep doing that. I’m covered in bruises
but amazingly still alive...

Vittel’s autumn gold and red. Strange
after the mountains, the pines, snow,
the sky’s unbelievable blue
from the train crossing the border…

Drums, drums for the bird in flight.
A different sound when it hits the window.





RETURN

He unzips his jacket, freeing first one head,
then the other. Three necks stretch this way
and that, eyes squint in the glow from the fire.

Rain hisses on the brazier. I pull up my hood,
take off my gloves, rub my hands together.
He looks at me. ‘Why’d you come back?’

‘Curiosity. Time for a change.’
Earth beckoned. A speck of dust
in the eye of the sky.

‘Where are the others?’ ‘Early yet.’
They’ll come with their bottles
and stories. There are no secrets here.

The noise of the city. Orange fog
across the waste. No clouds. Stars.
Kevin dreams of pond weed and fish

the hollow drumming of a heart
the sky through a few feet of water.





10 EASY PIECES FOR PIANO

*
Everyone watches the child walk
through security and spread out her arms.
Today she’ll fly. You can always tell an Italian.
*
The Cuban landlady sings ‘when you’ve had black
there’s no going back.’
Her Slovakian cleaner has no papers.
We have an appointment, remember?

*
My hearing went and my head exploded I’ve never had that before.
Remember Klaus? He sent a postcard, hey British how you doing.

*
We missed the headlines on that day
man with backpack on CCTV.

*
In Hintersee Gasthof the framed cartoon
the king, the farmer, the bishop, the worker
and top of the pyramid the man in black
‘Der Jude - er nimmt das Geld’.

*
Where does the roof end and the wall start?

*
She said she found herself joining in
throwing flowers at Hitler. When he’d gone
she rushed into church, feeling
she’d slept with someone she shouldn’t have.

*
Anna went to collect her rabbit
‘that’s not my rabbit’ she said.
He held it by the ears, back legs spread-eagled
and put his hand around its balls.

*
This is my second favourite café in Vienna.

Cliff will be reading at the Rose Theatre, Edge Hill University on 11 November 2009. Tonight he is speaking with Andrew Taylor at the PPRG Tenth Aniiversary series Going Public.

Friday, October 09, 2009

Scott Thurston at the Poetry and Poetics Research Group

At Edge Hill last night, Scott Thurston launched our series of talks with a glimpse of the working processes behind Internal Rhyme, his book-length sequence of poems which can be read horizontally as well as vertically. After reading some of these poems (some in both ways) there followed a general discussion of this method, questioning how and why the poems manipulate temporal and spatial relations, or whether there is an assumed simultaneity in the method. The Journal of British and Irish Innovative Poetry enjoyed its first launch, the special edition of Erbacce featuring work by Scott and members of the group was launched, and many group publications were on sale.

(photo: courtesy of Scott Thurston (camera) and Patricia Farrell (photographer))

Wednesday, October 07, 2009

Scott Thurston and Cliff Yates at the Tate

(photo: Andrew Taylor)

Scott Thurston, and (right to left) Cliff Yates, Ailsa Cox, Matt Fallaize, Patricia Farrell... as far as the eye can see, at the Neon Highway reading at the Tate Liverpool, January 2009, organised by Alice Lenkiewicz.

Monday, October 05, 2009

Introducing Scott Thurston

Photo of Scott Thurston in New York courtesy of Scott and the unfortunate traveller who was accosted to take it! Hold on there author of Hold!



SCOTT THURSTON

My creative practice as a writer attempts to steer a course between an awareness of the material nature of language whilst acknowledging its capacity to communicate directly or indirectly. I tend to work in an improvisational fashion, often writing short poems which respond to experience and memory in spontaneous ways. These poems build up into sequences which become records of processes of thinking and development over time. I am fascinated by how thought and language move, and the capacity of the poem to track and trace this subtle energy.

I did my PhD in Poetics at Edge Hill 1997-2002. I now run the MA Creative Writing: Innovation and Experiment at the University of Salford and co-run The Other Room reading series in Manchester. I live in Liverpool.

See my pages at http://www.archiveofthenow.org/

BIBLIOGRAPHY

Momentum (Shearsman: Exeter, 2008) 106pp
Hold: Poems 1994-2004 (Shearsman: Exeter, 2006) 113pp
Of Utility (Spanner: Hereford, 2005)
Turns (with Robert Sheppard) (Ship of Fools/Radiator: Liverpool, 2003)
Two Sequences (RWC: Sutton, 1998)
Sleight of Foot (Reality Street Editions: London, 1996) (Selection)
Fragments (The Lilliput Press: Norwich, 1994)
State(s)walk(s) (Writers Forum: London, 1994)
Poems Nov 89 - Jun 91 (Writers Forum: London, 1991)

SELECTED ONLINE MAGAZINE APPEARANCES:

· Stimulus Respond (2009)
· Greatworks (2008)
· Dusie (2006)
The Argotist Online (2006)
Shadow Train (2006)
Intercapillary Space (2006)

SELECTED CRITICISM etc

In press, ‘Accreted Statement’ in Troubles Swapped for Something Fresh (Salt, 2009)
I edited The Salt Companion to Geraldine Monk, 2007.
My interview with Tony Lopez is published at The Argotist Online website.
'Ulli Freer: Space is the Place / Ulli Freer and Scott Thurston: An Interview', in Poetry Salzburg Review 9 (Spring 2006), pp. 169-187.
'Allen Fisher -- Reading "Mummers' Strut"' in volume 4 of Eseje o wspólczesnej poezji brytyjskiej i irlandzkiej, (Essays on Modern British and Irish Poetry) ed. Ludmila Gruszewska and David Malcolm, (Gdansk: University of Gdansk Press, 2005), pp. 119-134 (ISBN: 83-7326-288-1).
Interviews with Ira Lightman, Maggie O’Sullivan, Adrian Clarke, John Wilkinson and Allen Fisher published in issues 3-7 of Poetry Salzburg Review.
See also my article 'A Tribute to Bob Cobbing 1920-2002' in Neon Highway 3 (2003)

ON-LINE REVIEWS

‘Lisa Samuels: The Invention of Culture and Carrie Etter: Yet’ Stride Magazine (2009)
'Robert Sheppard: Tin Pan Arcadia and Hymns to the God in which My Typewriter Believes' (2006) Stride Magazine
'Dell Olsen: Secure Portable Space' (2005) Readings
'Miles Champion: Three Bell Zero' (2004) Readings

On-line reviews and articles on my work

Ira Lightman ‘On Weightedness in Poetry: An Approach to Scott Thurston’ at The Argotist On-line
Joseph Brooker 'The Needle and the Language Done' at Pores
Melissa Flores-Bórquez's review of Hold at Intercapillary Space
Luke Kennard's review of Hold at Stride Magazine
Tim Allen's review of Hold at Terrible Work.
Video
See Scott reading Momentum at The Other Room, Manchester, my favourite venue of the moment. http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=5917314106143182998&hl=en#

Friday, October 02, 2009

Pete Clarke: Looking Back: Facing Forwards

Last night to the opening of Liverpool painter Pete Clarke's exhibition. He and I are hoping to collaborate. The catalogue may be viewed here.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Introducing Colin Harris

A long-time member of the group, and a former student of Edge Hill, other work by Colin may be seen in Great Works and Shadowtrain.



Neither Film nor True
stunning shorts
just keep them on
again he voiced his mother’s coastline
why the wry privatisation
could it be from actors
I couldn’t find a writer
came down from observation
spilt my coffee
it ran between floorboards
drenched carpets
rose up the walls
filled the television until it
turned to liquid
it didn’t begin this way
I had a different story in mind
it was supposed to start with an image
and end in a moment filled with fear
instead I am the destroyer of the human race
the purveyor of rare coffee beans



Calling for the Lawnmower
friend whose work subverts
I have shocked since the premiere
but my nightmares move into castles
myth is updating
I called love
glossed over the underworld
a reconciliation feast
but deceptively simple
the idea holds
the fight against cancer
is not romantic
I have become a target
for household tyrants
my old resurrection
obliterating the new one



The Photographer’s Heroine
fans stop waving

he is amused by you
hate temporarily dispelled
you know it could change again
but the moment is the stronger force

sounds outside disturb the wood
signifiers of people who don’t decide to laugh

what could you do

the spot at the corner of vision isn’t enough to grab your attention



The Vacancy Alter Ego
looking narrow
still lost
framing forced decision
a court
filling the emptiness
ambushed by inadequate models
creativity
when you get there die
investigation
evolutionary inevitability
idiots and liars
chased by their own creations
warm animals
shooting themselves
this planet rolls away
the false dreamer
will never know giants
in the hand
happiness in the confusion
the reality of suicide
on public transport
the truth
of humankind
every time

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Malcolm Lowry: From the Mersey to the World









Celebrate the Centenary of Wirral-born writer Malcolm Lowry at the Bluecoat in Liverpool.

Their celebration of Malcolm Lowry (1909 - 57) features a special centenary exhibition and a programme of performances and events.

His Under the Volcano, set in Mexico and written in Canada, is considered one of the most significant 20th century novels, and has influenced painters, filmmakers, choreographers, musicians as well as writers.

This exhibition brings together artists from Merseyside, the UK, Mexico and Chile, each relating to Lowry in different ways.


An illustrated book, Malcolm Lowry: From the Mersey to the World, published by Liverpool University Press in collaboration with the Bluecoat and edited by Helen Tookey and Bryan Biggs, includes images from the exhibition and texts by Lowry's biographer Gordon Bowker and others, and was launched on Thursday. It includes two Edge Hill writing staff, Ailsa Cox and Robert Sheppard. Ailsa has written a short story. I've submitted an account of visiting Lowry's grave (in my native Sussex). See the image taken at the launch event at the Bluecoat on Thursday, above right, featuring Ailsa, Mark Goodall, another contributor to the book, and me holding up the specially-brewed Wapping Brewery Malcolm Lowry Golden Ale so that yet another contrubutor, Colin Dilnot, could snap it for his Lowry website, link below.


In 1979 I visited Lowry's grave in Ripe, Sussex, and wrote a long poem about the event, which I never published. Returning to the text thirty years later (it was part of my MA in Creative Writing at UEA) I have 'written through' it, commenting on the poem, and in particular on the unused notes left out of the piece (which seem to me more revealing). Adding to this, descriptions of photographs taken on the day, and several quotes on and about Lowry, it amounts to a celebration and critique of the 'clinker-built brilliance' of Lowry's writing, and a reflection upon writerly process, a poetics.

For further investigations of the local origins of Malcolm Lowry and its influence on his writings see Colin Dilnot's extensive blog Malcom Lowry At The Nineteenth Hole.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Iain Sinclair at Edge Hill

(Image (c) Tim Power). Tim Power's photograph of Iain Sinclair relaxing in the Buck i'th'Vine in Ormskirk was taken after Iain's reading at Edge Hill a year or so ago. Read previous postings:

Sinclair's long poem Patrick Hamilton.

And Robert Sheppard on the Social Poetics of Iain Sinclair which is accompanied by another photo of Iain, taken by Tim Power, at the reading itself, and is followed by Sheppard's writings on Sinclair's early poem Lud Heat.

Here is an account of Sinclair's later visit to Liverpool to help celebrate the work of Malcolm Lowry.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Introducing Andrew Taylor

Andrew Taylor reading at the Walker Gallery in Liverpool as part of an Edge Hill Poetry and Poetics Research Group group reading as a warm up to Allen Fisher (visible, seated left), at a Neon Highway event organised by editor and PPRG member Alice Lenkiewicz. photo: Andrew Taylor.



Andrew Taylor is a Liverpool poet and co-editor and founder of erbacce and erbacce press. He has had six collections of poetry published to-date. The latest, Make Some Noise is published by Original Plus. An e-book is forthcoming from Differentia Press. Recent poems have appeared in journals and e-zines such as Calliope Nerve, The Exuberant Ashtray, Willows Wept Review and Full of Crow. Poetics - ‘A Poetics of Absence – part one’ has appeared in Otoliths and is re-published in Troubles Swapped for Something Fresh: Manifestos and Unmanifestos, ed. Rupert Loydell, (Salt), which we are launching soon.He has a PhD in Poetry and Poetics from Edge Hill University

He has a PhD in Poetry and Poetics from Edge Hill University.

See his blog here.

A Poetics of Absence Part II

The Permission to Continue

How dull it is to pause, to make an end,
to rest unburnish'd, not to shine in use!

A life's work? Writing after the fact

tasked to reflect from tower block
balconies

like an empty colour slide I'm black and white inside

Industrial heartland wasteland
regeneration the smell of the docks
college of further education
of higher education

university status university

poetics as exploration

poetics as continuance

When I sleep alone I hear the sound of your breathing

re-visitation evokes memories
If I stand here long enough will you appear?

Such diversions – they test Take Courage

Wars. It's the forgetting. The peril of loss.

Without trace
a red double-decker bus sits idle
in the middle of the street a blackbird hello blackbird
stands amongst the debris

A visit to Test Place
River now merely penthouse background
we consume much more nowadays
the boats carry shit
or sightseeing passengers

Bates Salve cures wounds & sores

Stops, station buffets, road links

to walk the river's edge at twilight
offers new perspective
watch the greyness fade

Poetics as memory
Poetics as provider

London's outmoded DNA –
workmen's cafés, dingy pubs –
disappears. If anything survives from
post-war newsreels of civic improvement, it is
heritaged, squeezed between commas.

Liverpool your public land too
is being sold to private developers

place [your] feet in the deep tracks they make

poetics for now

Because we love to look at them [the stars]
we hope maybe they love to look at us

across such landscapes fairy lights predict
the glow

poetics says: look back, look forward, look straight ahead and cross the page.

follow Mail Train lines
Queens Park and Kensal Green

company alters routine
morning making
matters better
resting after exercise

poetics as investigation
poetics as sound

such sweet piano chords
the melody weaves a quiet voice

poetics as consolidation

The recovery of a memory is a present day
activity. It's not the past. Memory occurs in the present.


It should all become clear

from Cumbrian mountains to York stone pavements

the letter K carved
an indication

I don't know why I am tied to the winter

exit from Bankside
point me towards Eros

All through the storm, the frost, and the snow,
Death on our black horizon pulses clear

off the route
and mast head of the evening paper

I idle the thoughts of Woking

Last night I dreamt that outside Melling Church
I told you that I still loved you

Poetry as lifesaver as life giver















To A Fox II
Autumn falls lanes
drop darkness
hedgerows trimmed
fields ploughed

in preparation

Roadside awareness
flash of white
twilight nocturne image
of a moment

nice moment actually, dusk was falling,
lovely watery sunset which was very enigmatic
amongst the overgrown runway strip......
also managed to locate abandoned buildings
that formed the old hospital site on the airfield
in amongst some woods......very, very scary though.

En-route accompanied
chatter of engine whistle
of rack scratched inside
journey reinterpretation

Sleek tell-tale signs

Unhexed through lanes
a darkened memory
trimmed hedgerows
ploughed fields an escape route


(With thanks to Antony Harding)













Signboards: old type of writing

Transparency adaptation
siren insight

intersection and sodium highlights
present a few streets away

Future plans

every so often
it all becomes clear

source a manipulation
an epic example

context over content
such tasteful digitized blurs





























Why Do You Come Here When You Know It Makes Things Hard For Me?

Ever presence followed
like the first star that guides
as night falls

across the hills and into
the bay the turbines stand
firm as that

day the wind ate my face
icily from the end of
the pier

These tracks that lead
to you lay cold while
steam rises

from railway station waiting
rooms this moment this
passing where

does it come from?

***

To here knows when
phased like worn tape
through patio

doors washed cars
stood path bound soap
pools gathered

capturing the light
through the orchard
where memories

are fixed as the day
you stood photographed
in the white

of your wedding dress



Saturday, September 12, 2009

Frank Sinatra and Antonio Carlos Jobim - Erbacce interview

Over the last week I've been interviewed, via email, by Alan Corkish, the co-editor of Erbacce magazine, which is to publish an edition dedicated to the Edge Hill Poetry and Poetics Research Group. Alan asked me what colour I would recommend for the cover, and I replied 'Blue', which led to a mild Frank ('Old Blue Eyes') Sinatra reference. So here he is, with Antonio Carlos, in exemplary relaxed mode. If you can't see the connecction between this and poetry may I point you towards the fact that this bossa nova song (like many others by Jobim) features the lyrics of poet Vincius de Moreas. Additionally, readers are directed to the anthology Sinatra, but buddy, I'm a Kind of Poem, edited by Gilbert L Gigliotti, and published by Entasis Press, Washington DC (2008), to see the range of contemporary poets who have written about Sinatra. (It includes my own 'Angel at the Junk Box', which appears in Complete Twentieth Century Blues.)

However, all of the above is a just a chain of excuses unrolled to justify keeping this extraordinary clip from a test run to link to YouTube!


Tuesday, September 08, 2009

GOING PUBLIC Autumn 2009

(Cliff Yates and Angela Keaton waiting to record the Edge Hill Poetry and Poetics group CD: Points of Reference) (Photo: Andrew Taylor)

Celebrating a decade of poetics at Edge Hill


1. Talks and Launch Series (in the Education Block)

Open Meetings of the Poetry and Poetics Research Group (free – all welcome) all at 6.30-8.30
The whole series will be launching the Salt poetics anthology Troubles Swapped for Something Fresh (edited by Rupert Loydell) (four of the group are featured) http://www.saltpublishing.com/books/anth/9781844714711.htm

This is an eclectic and exciting gathering of poetry and prose-poems that try to understand what poetry is and who or what it might be for. It is also about what writers might want or demand from poetry, in either a general or personal way.

8th October 2009: Scott Thurston will discuss his book Internal Rhyme to be published next year by Shearsman.

This will also be a chance to celebrate the new Journal of British and Irish Innovative Poetry, co-edited by Sheppard and Thurston

15th October 2009:

Cliff Yates: on poetic, tba

Andrew Taylor: ‘The Poetics of Absence – part two’: a continuation and reflection upon the work in Troubles Swapped for Something Fresh.

29th October 2009:

Dee Mc Mahon: ‘Stories of the Line - Provocation, Process and Product’


Robert Sheppard: ‘Fictional Poems and Fictional Poetics: the double oeuvre of René Van Valckenborch’

5th November 2009:

Daniele Pantano:
'Living in Translation: A Discussion of Exile, Translingualism, and Writing Your Way Home.'


Michael Egan: poetics, tba.


2. Reading and Launch

11th November 7.30 in The Rose Theatre £3.50

Cliff Yates will be reading from Frank Freeman’s Dancing School (out from Salt now: www.saltpublishig.com/books/smp/9781844715039.htm)


Support act: members of the poetry and poetics research group


Official journals:

Pages online, here, of course!

And Erbacce will be publishing a print edition dedicated to the group (details online at http://www.erbacce.com/)

Edge Hill Poetry and Poetics Research Group members past and present include: Robert Sheppard, Cliff Yates, Andrew Taylor, Scott Thurston, Neil Addison, Bill Drennan, Dee McMahon, Matt Fallaize, Daniele Pantano, Steve Van Hagen, Michael Egan, Colin Harris, Patricia Farrell, Angela Keaton and Alice Lenkiewicz.

Wednesday, September 02, 2009

Journal of British and Irish Innovative Poetry

The first issue is out now, 112 pages in length and the contents are as follows:

EDITORIAL: Scott Thurston and Robert Sheppard

Dragging at the haemorrhage of uns : Maggie
O Sullivan s excavations of Irish history
Mandy Bloomfield

Democratic consensus in J. H. Prynne s Refuse Collection
Ian Davidson

Veronica Forrest-Thomson s Cordelia , tradition and
the Triumph of Artifice
Gareth Farmer

Expectant contexts : Corporeal and desiring spaces in
Denise Riley s poetry
Christine Kennedy and David Kennedy

BOOK REVIEWS
Tony Lopez, Meaning Performance
Reviewed by Robert Sheppard

John Wilkinson, The Lyric Touch
Reviewed by Scott Thurston

Learn how to subscribe at http://www.gylphi.co.uk/poetry

If you'd like to sneak a peak inside the issue and view article opening pages, abstracts and keywords then these have been uploaded to Scribd.com: http://www.scribd.com/doc/18479585/Journal-of-British-and-Irish-Innovative-Poetry-Abstracts

Anthony Levings, Managing Editor, Gylphi Limited

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Robert Sheppard: Poetics 4: Some British Poetics

Herbert and Hollis’ Strong Words: Modern Poets on Modern Poetry (Tarset: Bloodaxe Books, 2000) and Poets on Writing, edited by Denise Riley, (Basingstoke and London: Macmillan, 1992), and some of the anthologies referred to in the previous three postings on this subject, can be used to provide a limited guide to British poetics of the avant-garde. I have formed from them a representative cluster of texts, though with a number of important exclusions that result form this decision: for example, the poetics work of Allen Fisher, that of the apparently tight-lipped Tom Raworth, and that of the senior experimentalist Christopher Middleton. Indeed, I compare Allen Fisher’s Necessary Business (1985) to Charles Bernstein’s ‘The Artifice of Absorption’ (1986) elsewhere to assess both the contents and forms of the poetics of the North American and British avant-gardes. These two formally hybrid works constitute exemplary poetics and demonstrate its faculty of keeping its arguments open by its very disposition in form. Middleton's poetics I speak of in my inaugural leccture. Doubtless my method throws up other exclusions, but the effort is worth the risks.

A link with the North American tradition is immediately apparent in D. H. Lawrence’s ‘Preface to New Poems’ (1920), which is quoted a great deal in American poetics, and was, in any case, the preface to the American edition of his poems; it compares the poetry of rigid finished thought, which he associated with metrical form, with the fluid poetry of the future, which Lawrence predicted would embody itself as a process in an organic free verse. (Cook 2004: 106-110) Mina Loy, though of British birth, thought of herself and of the subject of her essay ‘Modern Poetry’, as distinctly American by the time she wrote it (1925), despite her earlier close involvement with European futurism. Her review essay focuses upon rhythm as a metaphorical quality of attention and – less fashionably - as an imprint of the poet’s own nature (which is a constant of her various poetics). (Cook 2004: 131-34)

W.S. Graham – a Scottish poet who has a growing reputation as a precursor to recent innovative poetries – prefigures the imagery of his later poetry by figuring language as a beast (as well as material) in his ‘Notes on a Poetry of Release’ (1946). Though a made thing, the poem is not static, as it is taken on board by the reader, again suggesting one of the later themes of his verse, which developed into a poetics-medium of its own, like Wallace Stevens’. (Herbert and Hollis 2000: 117-121) Graham’s first mentor, Dylan Thomas, in his ‘Notes on the Art of Poetry’ (1951), actually an epistolary answer to questions from a student, covers a number of unrelated issues: from his early love of the sound of words to his decision as a craftsman to use any or every element of poetic artifice; from his denial of the non-rational method of the Surrealists to his refusal to define poetry (which, in poetics, is as common a theme as the attempt to define it). (Scully 1966: 195-204) Thomas’ fellow-Welshman, David Jones’ ‘The Preface to The Anathemata’ (1952) is an apologia for his great epic poem in terms of the author’s linguistic, cultural and religious inheritance, and his making of this into an artefact of signs. (Scully 1966: 205-236) Basil Bunting’s ‘The Poet’s Point of View’ (1966) is loquacious by Bunting’s standards of self-commentary, which he normally kept to the acerbic minimum. He affirms the primacy of sound over sense, beauty over meaning, or rather his notion that meaning is in the sound of the poem read (well) out loud. This is a good example of where poetics is both a guide to the work, but it is best read against it. (Herbert and Hollis 2000: 81-2) Pure sound, though, has been theorised well. Bob Cobbing’s ‘A Statement of Sound Poetry’ (1969) is one of his rare excursions into poetics, outlining the abandonment of lexical items in sound poetry (but reminding us that the uniqueness of his own work was that it was also visual). (Rothenberg and Joris 1998: 426)

John James’ ‘A Theory of Poetry’ (1977) is an ironic poem that plays with the kinds of interpretations that entered Britain on the back of continental theory in the 1970s, as I show elsewhere. (Riley 1992: 249-252) Veronica Forrest-Thomson knew some of that theory well but abandoned it for the development of her own strategies of dealing with the processes of naturalisation and for a theory of reading that respected both meaningful and non-meaningful elements of poetic artifice in her book Poet Artifice. ‘From Poetic Artifice’ (1978) combines her theoretical introduction with a portion of the book where she uses her own poem as an exemplar of her poetics, which derives from her theory of artificial devicehood. (Riley 1992: 222-233; see another excerpt in Cook 2004: 456-463). By contrast, John Riley’s ‘What Are You Going to Call It?’ (1980) is an impressionistic narrative of creativity that resists critical thinking, or rather resists the embracing of those ideas by a true poet. He or she had better abandon bogus ideas in favour of immersion in the rhythms of the earth. Not surprisingly, the short piece deliberately turns into what appears to be a species of prose-poetry. (Riley 1992: 83-4) Michael Haslam’s ‘The Subject of Poems’ (1992) is an ‘outsider’ poetics that opens poetry to notions of truth and purity, and the transcendental ego which patterns itself into poems. (Riley 1992: 70-80) Peter Riley’s ‘The Creative Moment of the Poem’ (1992) is an attempt – at some length – to grasp that moment and to reflect upon it. (Riley 1992: 92-113)

Ken Edwards’ ‘Grasping the Plural’ (1984/1992) is a text deriving from an American language poet-style ‘talk’ on the use of ‘we’ in poetry and elsewhere. (Riley 1992: 21-9) John Hall’s ‘Writing and Not Writing’ (1992) is a variety of non-poetics, since it concerns the act of renouncing writing poetry altogether; I examine Edwards’ and Hall’s contributions elsewhere. (Riley 1992: 41-9)

Nigel Wheale’s ‘A Curve of Reading’ (1992) is an impressionistic account of the growth of the poet’s sensibility, peppered with quotations from poems, popular songs, and sound-bites of poetics. (Riley 1992: 124-134) Geoffrey Ward’s ‘Objects That Come Alive at Night’ (1992) similarly traces influences but sees poetry, via the poetics of both Shelley and Bernstein, as a utopian critique created by alternative images. (Riley 1992: 135-39) John Welch’s ‘Two Poems’ (1992) is a text in poetry and prose that meditates upon, mediates between, the signs that appear in writing and those that appear in dreams. (Riley 1992: 151-3) John Wilkinson’s ‘Imperfect Pitch’ (1992) combines poetry and prose in the classic format of Dante’s La Vita Nouva, alternating poetry with ‘commentary’, though here the prose is as elliptical as the poems. At one point it theorises lyric poetry (the poetry between its prose, it implies) at once as a strict binding of representation to poetic presentation, as an excessive projection of a doomed pretentiousness, and as abundant exploding of space and a freeing of itself from nature. (Riley 1992: 154-172)

Kelvin Corcoran’s ‘Sometimes a Word will Start it’ (1992) demonstrates these titular words about poetic genesis that Corcoran has borrowed from John Ashbery; a prose passage dwells on three ‘favourite’ letters and then seems to segue into a resulting poem about his father. (Riley 1992: 173-77) Ralph Hawkins’ ‘A Period of Gestation’ (1992) opens up his poet’s notebook to the way randomly interesting quotations trigger poems. (Riley 1992: 253-259) Roy Fisher’s ‘Poet on Writing’ (1992), also sees the notebook experience as primary to the development of poetic ideas. Indeed, it argues that the multitude of notebooks he keeps sometimes seems to be his major occupation. (Riley 1992: 272-75) Carlyle Reedy’s ‘Working Processes of a Woman Poet’ (1992) also spells out a number of writerly methods in a practical poetics. (Riley 1992: 260-271) Tom Lowenstein’s ‘About Filibustering in Samsāra’ (1992), on the other hand, is a direct statement on his poem (printed alongside it in the anthology Poets on Writing) and its ethnographic sources and borrowings from native Inuit poetics (Riley 1992: 207-8). Douglas Oliver’s ‘Three Lilies’ (1982/1992) is an offshoot of his study Poetry and Narrative in Performance (1989), about prosody in action. Prosody is the life beat of poetry, and his account of it is combined with a personal consideration of the thematics of his work, including the implications of real-life emotions becoming transfigured in poetry.

Edwin Morgan, on the verge of his eightieth year, reflects on his long career in ‘Roof of Fireflies’ (1999). He considers the poems he did not write (another species of non-poetics), but also justifies his own extraordinary stylistic range as a kind of poetic diversity modelled on the necessity of its ecological cousin, bio-diversity. (Herbert and Hollis 2000: 190-194) Elaine Feinstein’s ‘A Question of Voice’ (2000) also looks back on a long career, and on her turn towards the tradition of American poetry described above. (Indeed as a student her enquiry had provoked Olson to write his statement of poetics ‘Letter to Elaine Feinstein’. (Allen and Tallman 1973: 158-161)) Perhaps under the influence of her work on Russian poet Marina Tsvetayeva, she confirms her position as a lyric poet, and poetry’s function in making us feel alive. (Herbert and Hollis 2000: 188-9) As against this earnestness one may pitch Scottish poet Robert Crawford’s ‘Cosmopolibackofbeyondism’ (2000), which argues for a regional internationalism, a parodic manifesto in typical postmodernist style, (Herbert and Hollis 2000: 262-4) as is John Hartley Williams’ ‘A Manifesto’ (2000) which argues for ‘extilism’, a neologism compounded of the words, ‘Exile, extricate, extrapolate, inexplicable and ectoplasm’, whose tenets amount to a poetry of denial and a vanishing of the poet! (Herbert and Hollis 2000: 287-8)


Even allowing for the relative sizes of the countries involved, poetics as a conscious practice flourishes (often under that name) in the USA and Canada, while it only appears intermittently, and with some resistance, in Britain and (on the evidence I have gathered) hardly at all in Irish avant garde poetry (although the poetics of a poet of trenchantly Irish ancestry, Maggie O’Sullivan, are fulsome and worthy of comment elsewhere). One exception is Randolph Healy’s ‘Uncertain Questions’, collected in 99 Poets/ 1999: An International Poetics Symposium, an issue of the journal Boundary 2, which confessedly caricatures the stultifying nationalistic consciousness that Irish people – and poets – felt obliged to indwell, but shows its gradual undermining by the progressive epistemologies of the twentieth century, particularly in science and mathematics, to provide new models of the world, capable of countering the simplicities of identity politics and poetics. This very essay perhaps suggests the difficult conditions that Irish alternative poetries have in articulating themselves. Of course, one of the influences on the avant-garde writers of the British Isles is precisely the poetics of this American verse, so the inheritances are not clear-cut in national terms (and, on occasions, run the other way, a precedent set by D.H. Lawrence in 1920).


Herbert and Hollis’ Strong Words: Modern Poets on Modern Poetry is a book of two halves, presenting a wide selection of avant-garde poetics of the first half of the twentieth century in its own first half. It is less useful for the poetics of recent work. This is also true of its coverage of British and Irish poetics, my account of which makes use of this anthology and the essential Poets on Writing, edited by Denise Riley. The pages on British and Irish poetics also call on Scully and Rothenberg and Joris and 99 Poets/ 1999: An International Poetics Symposium.

The recent anthology, edited by Rupert Loydell, Troubles Swapped for Something Fresh (Salt, 2009), may also widen the potential list of anthologised poetics. The use of anthologies, as in my other accounts of poetics, necessarily omits certain texts, but it heightens a cumulative sense of poetics as a discourse of contrasts.

A Note on these poetics posts.

These lists – partly because they are lists – have been excluded from the study of poetics I have bveen working on. Reference to the use of poetics in creative writing may be seen in my piece The Necessity of Poetics which can be read in one version on Pores: www.bbk.ac.uk/pores. It is this sense of poetics that is explored by the Edge Hill Poetry and Poetics Research Group and what will are celebrating this autumn. Four of our members or ex-members are included in Troubles Swapped for Something Else - and we shall be celebrating this fact.




This post was part of an abandoned book on poetics (or rather, a re-distributed book; parts of it became When Bad Times Made for Good Poetry, and others await their day, such as this one.). Here are others:

Part One: Poetics and Proto-Poetics
Part Two: Through and after Modernism
Part Three: North American Poetics