Sunday, May 28, 2017

Robert Sheppard: On recent sonnets from ongoing sequences (and links where published online)

A previous general piece on my sonnet-writing may be read here

I have a green folder on my desk marked ‘Song Nets’, the abandoned title of the collection of sonnets I am building up (and building up to, it seems, constantly). I am toying with the title Lost Sonnets now. Some other sonnets (such as the ‘Empty Diaries 2000-14’ known as Wiped Weblogs) seem to have migrated to the end of the folder: in but not in, a section two of a book, or possibly another book altogether. The first eight appeared in The Literateur. Find them here or here.  The final six appeared in a wonderful edition of Blackbox Manifold. See here.

So that leaves an accumulating sequence of sequences (a 'corona of coronas' as Richard Parker called it):

‘Petrarch 3’ (published) Read more about 'Petrarch 3' and how to buy it here. And about about my Petrarch obsession... The first review of Petrarch 3, published by Crater Press, may be read on Litterbug, here. It is by the excellent Alan Baker. Here's one of the poems.

‘Overdubs’ (responses to some of Milton’s sonnets; read one here; my poem for the Yazidi)

Two poems for Lee Harwood (published in Tears in the Fence 65, along with a third which is part of the next sequence);

‘It’s Nothing’, a series of poems that tries to write the self and fails miserably. (There are some online here and here, and here, and recently four in Molly Bloom here, and one printed below.)

‘breakout’ (a return to the 100 word sonnet, none published yet)

‘Hap: Understudies of Thomas Wyatt’s Petrarch’, of which three have recently been published in International Times here… They are what they say they are, but Wyatt appears in them as himself and as his modern analogue, a foreign office spy on a secret pre-Brexit mission… (They were great fun to write..)

(The last two sequences I read at the Sheppard Symposium, 'breakout' at breakneck speed, and ‘Hap’ as far as I’d written it on March 8th, and in an unrevised state, obviously). Below:

Then I stopped (to write other things). Now the question is; where does this go next? I wondered about contrafacting 5 poems by Surrey. Time has passed and I might get round to them, a counterpoint to the 5 ‘breakout’ poems maybe. Or maybe not… I really don’t know, which feels rather good. Anyway, here is one sonnet from ‘It’s Nothing’. It’s a poem for Peter Hughes’ 60th birthday that appeared in a special volume for him. But I’m not very clear how many people saw that excellent collection. (See his poem for Patricia Farrell’s 60th here.)  

 A general piece on my sonnet-writing may be read here.

The Book of Names or: Late at the Tate
The bullseye breasts of the Matisse nude
follow us across the room to where his Inattentive Reader
smoulders. She’s irritated and has turned from
what looks like raw pastiche of David Miller’s Visual Sonnets.

Patricia sees the play of colour, the balance of form;
I see that frown. Later, someone calls me Richard
Patterson; he’s checked on the web so that’s non-negotiable.
No ogleable odalisque can help me lose this self now.

Fortuity I endorse, the strong noun Peter Riley uses
of your patient projects and restless forms.
But my dictionary gives it a wide berth. It offers

‘fortuitism’ instead, another ism we don’t need.
We don’t believe in chance; it happens. Then we choose.
Sonia Delaunay knocked up Tristan Tzara’s pyjamas.

(to Peter Hughes at 60)

21st February 2016

Note: the new Molly Bloom also has new work by Amy Evans, Louis Armand, Wanda O’Connor, Rahul Gupta, Peter J King, Mark Goodwin, Mark Young, Laura McKee, Joshua Weiner, Carole Coates and Tim Allen, plus tributes to Tom Raworth and Roy Fisher, here.