Thursday, January 21, 2016

Robert Sheppard: new pamphlet The Drop published by Oystercatcher Press

The Drop is published by Peter Hughes' Oystercatcher Press, and may be ordered here. Thanks, Peter, for publishing it.
The first poem ‘Standing By’, also appeared on Pages, in my father's memory, but is also for him, as though he had yet again succeeded in his ‘foxtrot with death, trying not to tread on her toes’, as I put it in an earlier poem for him, ‘Schräge Musik’, from The Flashlight Sonata (Twentieth Century Blues 6). Here's one section of 'The Drop' the second, long poem:

And pumas on the sheet
Of night cats

Padding down sloped shed roofs

Scheduled across
Cupped palms between

Tasks against sloping willows

Surfeit of joy at the sticky
Sap nothing

Brings this is to obscurity thought
Drops into darkness bats a whole

Here's the blurb:

A brilliant and vivid elegy that suspends the last breath (‘Oh!’) of a father in mid-air. Orphic yet compact and bursting with what Blanchot called the ‘patience of pure impatience’, Sheppard approaches his subject—the death of his own father—with linguistic dare so as to ‘transmute the nothing said / Into the nothing that could’. Death is woken up, transfigured, reactivated through language. The Drop is relentlessly tense and intensely affecting. Reading it is like eavesdropping between the worlds of the living and the dead.

                                                                        —James Byrne

Read Ian Brinton's 'hot off the press' review here.
And Alan Baker's new review here.
My prose eulogy to my father, Claude H. Sheppard (1924-2013), may be read on Pages here.

See news of the Oystercatcher launch in Leicester on 12th March 2016 here.