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Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Robert Sheppard: Poems in Poetry at Sangam (edited by Ranjit Hoskote)

I am pleased to say I have been published in Ranjit Hoskote’s special poetry editorialship of the Indian online journal Poetry at Sangam. See here for the July 2017 edition with links to all contributors plus Ranjit’s Curatorial note.

In his note, Ranjit Hoskote says: ‘These marvellous writers re-affirm that poetry, at its best, is a protest against fossilised habits of thought, against the instrumentalisation of language by slogan, formula, cliché; against the amnesia, the fragmentation of attention, and the constriction of sensibility that are encouraged by the demagogues and hypnagogues who dominate public life. Sheppard, Robert Sheppard, Byrne, James Byrne, Srilata, K. Srilata, Edwards, Rhian Edwards, Miller, Alice Miller, and Sagar, Arun Sagar, reclaim memory, time and intensity of focus for us, their readers – and these are immensely precious gifts.’ I hope that I live up to that.(The links above take you to their contributions and biographies.)

I decided, partly because I’d checked the format of presentation to provide a selection of six discrete poems, but they do form a nice set, one I could imagine reading together one day. They are:


The Fugger of Wonderful Black Words

One of my Milton’s ‘overdubs’, dedicated to Tim Atkins, a sonnet. Another one here: ‘Avenge’, another sonnet, a contrafact on Milton’s ‘Avenge O Lord…’, featuring elements concerning the (female) Yasidi resistance to IS. And another here:

from Hap: Understudies of Thomas Wyatt’s Petrarch

This is fairly new, again sonnets, but from a sequence, 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…

Empty Diary 2015

Empty Diaries was a long sequence that ran through Twentieth Century Blues and into the current century: 2001-14. 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. This 2015 one has a touch of the bonna nova about it.

Burnt Journal 1978

This is from a series of birthday poems, in this case for the Liverpool poet Eleanor Rees.

Full stop ahead

A response to the art of William Kentridge, a brilliant exhibition at Bluecoat in Liverpool.

Quennet for the Artist Pete Clarke

A piece that Pete used for the print that was a runner up for the Adrian Henri Prize a few years ago. See here and here and here for more images and links. 

Ranjit Hoskote, whom I met, as he suggests, in a pub in Liverpool (this one, about which he has waxed lyrical here) after his wonderful biennial talk-poetry reading, is a poet, cultural theorist and curator. His collections of poetry include Vanishing Acts: New and Selected Poems 1985-2005 (Penguin, 2006) and Die Ankunft der Vögel (Carl Hanser Verlag, 2006). His translation of the 14th-century Kashmiri mystic Lal Ded has been published as I, Lalla: The Poems of Lal Ded (Penguin Classics, 2011). He is the editor of Dom Moraes: Selected Poems (Penguin Modern Classics, 2012), the first annotated critical edition of a major Anglophone Indian poet’s work. Hoskote’s poems have been published in many anthologies. Hoskote has curated or co-curated numerous exhibitions, including the 7th Gwangju Biennale (Korea, 2008); he curated India’s first-ever national pavilion at the Venice Biennale, under the title ‘Everyone Agrees: It’s About to Explode’ (2011).

New Poems by Ranjit Hoskote (from the July 2017 Issue itself)

Natural History
The Swimming Pool