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Wednesday, February 28, 2018

Meet the final and most important EUOIA collaborator: Rene Van Valckenborch

With Rene Van Valckenborch, whom I created, I created some of the poems for Twitters for a Lark: Poetry of the European Union of Imaginary Authors. You can read more about Rene here.

He also Tweets  here.

René Van Valckenborch is noted for writing in both Flemish and French. Publishing between the years 2000-10, his books (in French) include masks & other masks and glance poems. In Flemish, his projects include The Fuck Me Shoes Chronicles and the online European Union Of Imaginary Authors: 27 Translations. He was President of the EUOIA until 2010, when he 'disappeared'. A generous selection of his work, translated by Annemie Dupuis and Martin Krol, was published as A Translated Man (Shearsman, 2013) with an introduction by Erik Canderlinck and an authorial imprimatur from Robert Sheppard. Will he re-appear? 

Read more about the European Union of Imaginary Authors here and here

More on Twitters for a Lark here and here.

Actually: 



See also A Translated Man (also available from Shearsman here;




 which is a whole book of Rene's work: his separate oeurvres in Flemish and French... That's a long story, and the beginning of the EUOIA, and (possibly) the source of the next and third and last stage of my translated poetry project. Can't quite work out how to further (or even id to, really, if I'm honest). 


Read a piece of Van Valckenborch’s critical prose (not included in A Translated Man), an account of the cinema of forgotten Belgian film-maker Paul Coppens, here.



This is the last post of these introductions. All the collaborators are accessible via links here.

Tuesday, February 27, 2018

Meet the EUOIA collaborators: Philip Terry



Philip Terry is currently Director of the Centre for Creative Writing at the University of Essex.  Among his books are the lipogrammatic novel The Book of Bachelors, a translation of Raymond Queneau’s last book of poems Elementary Morality, and the poetry volumes Oulipoems and Shakespeare’s Sonnets.  His novel tapestry was shortlisted for the 2013 Goldsmith’s Prize.  Dante’s Inferno, which relocates Dante’s action to present day Essex, was published in 2014, as well as a translation of Georges Perec’s I Remember.  A new volume of poetry, Quennets, was published by Carcanet in 2016.  He is currently working on a version of Gilgamesh in Globish, the international business language.

Together we worked on the antonymic translations of Rene Van Valckenborch's quennets (which are available in A Translated Man) supposedly composed by Rene's exegete and friend Paul Coppens. We wrote them two words at a time, and insane method that took six months to complete.



Monday, February 26, 2018

Meet the EUOIA collaborators: Scott Thurston


We made up Hubert Zuba. We had ideas for more poems by the Maltese miserabliste, but they never came to fruition.  

Scott Thurston’s most recent poetry books are Figure Detached Figure Impermanent (Oystercatcher, 2014) and Poems for the Dance (Aquifer, 2017), which is reviewed here -  and a publication from Knives Forks and Spoons is due in 2018. He is co-editor of the Journal of British and Irish Innovative Poetry and co-organizer of The Other Room poetry reading series in Manchester. He teaches creative writing at the University of Salford. Scott read our poem at the August Other Room. See here.


Read more about the European Union of Imaginary Authors here and here

More on Twitters for a Lark here and here. See also A Translated Man (also available from Shearsman here.)

All the collaborators are accessible via links here.

Sunday, February 25, 2018

Meet the collaborators: Damir Šodan

While James Byrne and I were creating the Croatian poems of Martina Markovic for Twitters for a Lark: Poetry of the European Union of Imaginary Authors, James was in contact with the real Croatian poet and translator Damir Šodan, who was taken by the project and who (back) translated one of our poems into Croatian! Since Croatia had joined the EU (and thus the EUOIA it seems) after Rene Pelikan Van Valckenborch had drawn up his original EUOIA list, I placed Croatia at the head of his list, thus making Martina our youngest poet, appropriate for the newest member. This also meant that her poems were at the start of the book, and meant we could place the translation at the front, thus giving a bilingual flavour that lasts for long enough to feel that the reader is reading translations (I hoped).
Martina voting

Damir Šodan is a Croatian poet, playwright, translator and editor, who graduated from the Zagreb University with a BA in English Literature and History. He has published several collections of poetry and plays, as well as an anthology of contemporary Croatian ‘neorealist’ poetry, Walk on the Other Side. He has translated Carver, Cohen, Bukowski, Simic, O’Hara and many others into Croatian. Having worked for over twenty years as a translator for the United Nations, he is now a freelance writer and literary translator residing in the Hague, Netherlands and Split, Croatia.  

He is also the guitarist and singer of the blue band The Downsizers, whose CD Sitting on Top of the World is on my desk as I write this account. It combines some blues standards with some self penned work by the Hague-based band! He is the second of the contributors to the project who I've not met. Yet...

Read more about the European Union of Imaginary Authors here and here

More on Twitters for a Lark here and here. See also A Translated Man ( an early account here; the book is also available from Shearsman here.)

All the collaborators are introduced at links available here.

Saturday, February 24, 2018

Meet the collaborators: Zoe Skoulding (and how this project began)



With Zoe Skoulding I created the Cypriot poems of Gurkan Arnuvut written in Turkish for Twitters for a Lark: Poetry of the European Union of Imaginary Authors. You can read the little there is to know about Gurkan here. These collaborations were the first ones I wrote, at the suggestion of Zoe, as she explains here, when she was forced by my illness, to read the poems on her own in Manchester a few years ago. From then on it was a long sliding collaborative joy-ride.With Zoe, first;  then all the others I'm listing here.  All the collaborators are introduced at links available here.



Zoë Skoulding's recent publications include The Museum of Disappearing Sounds (Seren: 2013) and Teint (Hafan Books: 2016). She is Reader in Creative Writing at Bangor University and lives on Anglesey. She is anthologised in the anthology I co-edited with James Byrne (another EUOIA collaborator) and read recently at Edge Hill to launch it. See here.

Read more about the European Union of Imaginary Authors here and here

More on Twitters for a Lark here and here. See also A Translated Man ( an early account here; the book is also available from Shearsman here.)


Friday, February 23, 2018

Meet the EUOIA collaborators: Jèssica Pujol i Duran

With Jèssica Pujol i Duran I created the Portuguese poems of Ana Cristina Pessao for Twitters for a Lark: Poetry of the European Union of Imaginary Authors. You can read more about Pessao here. Note that the poems she writes are addressed to one of Pessoa’s lesser-known heteronyms! We had fun writing these!

Jèssica Pujol i Duran is currently a Postdoctoral researcher at the University of Santiago de Chile. She was Poet in Residence at the University of Surrey in 2013/2014 and edits Alba Londres (albalondres.com). She has written and translated in Catalan, English and Spanish, and her poetry and translations have been published in various magazines and anthologies such as The Dark Would: anthology of language art and Donzelles de l’any 2000. She has two chapbooks in English, Now Worry (Department: 2012) and Every Bit of Light (Oystercatcher Press: 2012); a book in Catalan, El país pintat (El pont del petroli, 2015), and one in Spanish, Entrar es tan difícil salir, with translations by William Rowe (Veer Books, 2016).

Read more about the European Union of Imaginary Authors here and here

More on Twitters for a Lark here and here. See also A Translated Man ( an early account here; the book is also available from Shearsman here.)

All the collaborators are introduced at links available here.

Thursday, February 22, 2018

Meet the EUOIA collaborators: Simon Perril

With Simon Perril I created the Latvian-poems of the Scott Walker-loving  Janus Raups for Twitters for a Lark: Poetry of the European Union of Imaginary Authors. You can read more about him here.

Simon took part in the first launch of the book at the Poetics at the Edge conference in Luton last year (see here for accounts)! I also write about his non-collaborative poems in my book The Meaning of Form (see here) AND here in detail…Posts below:



Simon Perril’s poetry publications include Beneath (Shearsman: 2015) Archilochus on the Moon (Shearsman: 2013), Newton’s Splinter (Open House: 2012), Nitrate (Salt: 2010), A Clutch of Odes (Oystercatcher: 2009), and Hearing is Itself Suddenly a Kind of Singing (Salt: 2004).  As a critic he has written widely, editing the books The Salt Companion to John James, and Tending the Vortex: The Works of Brian Catling. He is Reader in Contemporary Poetic Practice at De Montfort University, Leicester. And at Leicester we shall be launching the anthology on the 10th March. More information on this blog soon. 

There are two poems by Simon here, and an account put together for his last Edge Hill appearance, here.

Read more about the European Union of Imaginary Authors here and here

More on Twitters for a Lark here and here. See also A Translated Man ( an early account here; the book is also available from Shearsman here.)


  All the collaborators are introduced at links available here.

Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Meet the EUOIA collaborators: Sandeep Parmar

With Sandeep Parmar I created the French poems of Carde-Vitale for Twitters for a Lark: Poetry of the European Union of Imaginary Authors. Nothing is known about this writer except that that he/she/they reside in Paris. The reader should investigate the poem, not consult the biographies. However, here’s a biography for Sandeep!

She was born in Nottingham in 1979 and was raised in Southern California. She received her PhD in English Literature from University College London in 2008 on the unpublished autobiographies of the modernist poet Mina Loy. She holds an MA in Creative Writing from the University of East Anglia. She is the Reviews Editor of The Wolf magazine and edited The Collected Poems of Hope Mirrlees and the Selected Poems of Nancy Cunard for Carcanet Press. Her critical book on Loy, Reading Mina Loy's Autobiographies, appeared from Bloomsbury in 2013. Her poems are published by Shearsman Books.

Sandeep teaches in English Literature at the University of Liverpool, where she has just been made a professor. Congratulations from the EUOIA! Her essays and reviews have appeared in The Guardian, The Los Angeles Review of Books, the Financial Times and the TLS. She is currently writing a novel, which is partly set during India’s Green Revolution in the 1960s. She is a BBC New Generation Thinker and Co-Director of Liverpool’s Centre for New and International Writing, and was a judge for the 2017 Forward Prizes for Poetry.

Read more about the European Union of Imaginary Authors here and here

More on Twitters for a Lark here and here. See also A Translated Man ( an early account here; the book is also available from Shearsman here.)

All the collaborators are introduced at links available here.

Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Meet the EUIOA collaborators: Eiríkur Örn Norðdahl



With Eiríkur Örn Norðdahl I created the Frislandic poems of Hróbjartur Ríkeyjarson af Dvala for Twitters for a Lark: Poetry of the European Union of Imaginary Authors.  

Hróbjartur Ríkeyjarson af Dvala was born on Dvali, a small island (called Duilo on some maps) offshore of the larger island of Frisland in 1948. As a child he was deeply steeped in the folklore of Frisland, but after education at the University of Godmec in Historical Cartography, in 1976 he founded the Black Volcano Poets who abandoned the complex (and frankly inexplicable) metrics of traditional Frislandic verse in favour of open field metres and post-surrealist content, with an American Beat tinge. An accomplished jazz vocalist, he spent a year at Berklee School of Jazz in 1978, but dropped out to concentrate on writing poetry and experimenting with hallucinogens. He taught at various universities in the US and, after a time as Visiting Writer at Argleton University in North West England, he returned to Frisland, just in time to become principal spokesman for the Ashen Revolution of 2002, which dragged Frisland into the twentieth century. Ríkeyjarson af Dvala was elected to parliament, the Lagadag, representing Ocibar, where he is a passionate advocate of Frisland’s (apparently hopeless) candidacy for membership of the European Union. The poem here was composed just after he left Berklee.

Frisland you ask? Well, I’d already written the ‘Robert Sheppard’ poem that appears in the anthology, which is about Ern Malley (and his hoax), appropriate as we approach Liverpool-born Ern's centenary, and the last lines are:

shoulders a volcanic island
erupting into fictive cartography

as fresh as the isle of Frisland
its cities of Ocibar and Godmec

his panama tilts into a sun disk
or twitters for a lark
 
which, of course, lend their words to the title of the volume. Eirikur, who I met in Bangor, where I’d appeared as Rene Van Valckenborch, was interested in fictional poems – and when he suggested we forget the EU and deal with the mythical islands that appear (just below his native Iceland on Renaissance maps) I jumped at it. We wrote both an ancient poem

‘Joyful are boars when the swill is filled, and eager their eating.
Quarrelsome are bears, as Beserkers when fearsome in the field,
Once dairymen approach…’. etc

and the modern poem of Ríkeyjarson af Dvala.

Eiríkur Örn Norðdahl is an Icelandic poet and novelist. For his novel Illska (Evil, 2012) he was awarded The Icelandic Literary Prize and The Book Merchant’s Prize, as well as being nominated for the Nordic Council’s Literary Award. In 2012 he was poet-in-residence at the Library of Water in Stykkishólmur, in 2013 he was chosen artist of the year in Ísafjörður and in 2014 he was writer-in-residence at Villa Martinson in Sweden. Since his debut in 2002 he has published six books of poems, most recently Hnefi eða vitstola orð (Fist or words bereft of sense, 2013) and two collections of essays. Eiríkur is active in sound and performance poetry, visual poetry, poetry film and various conceptual poetry projects. Eiríkur has translated over a dozen books into Icelandic, including a selection of Allen Ginsberg’s poetry. He lives in Ísafjörður, Iceland, a rock in the middle of the ocean, and spends much of his time in Västerås, Sweden, a town by a lake.

He appeared on videotape at the August 2017 EUOIA Night in Manchester (he’d read the month before at The Other Room)



  All the collaborators are introduced at links available here.

Read more about the European Union of Imaginary Authors here and here


More on Twitters for a Lark here and here. See also A Translated Man which collects the Van Valckenborch poems ( an early account here; the book is also available from Shearsman here.)

Monday, February 19, 2018

Meet the EUOIA collaborators: Steve McCaffery


With Steve McCaffery I created the Irish poems of Sean Eoghan for Twitters for a Lark: Poetry of the European Union of Imaginary Authors. You can read more about him in the book itself, which of course is where his two poems are!

On the other hand, Steve McCaffery has been twice nominated for Canada’s Governor General’s Award and is twice recipient of the American Gertrude Stein Prize for Innovative Writing. He is the author of over 40 books and chapbooks of poetry and criticism. An ample selection can be savoured in the two volumes of Seven Pages Missing (Coach House Press) as well as in Panopticon, Tatterdemalion (Veer Books), Alice in Plunderland (Book Thug), Revanches (Xexoxial), and Parsival (Roof). His book-object-concept A Little Manual of Treason was commissioned for the 2011 Shajah Biennale in the United Arab Emirates. A founding member of the sound poetry ensemble Four Horsemen, Toronto Research Group, and the College of Canadian ’Pataphysics, he is now David Gray Professor of Poetry and Letters at the University at Buffalo.​ 



Read more about the European Union of Imaginary Authors here and here

More on Twitters for a Lark here and here. See also A Translated Man ( an early account here; the book is also available from Shearsman here.)

All the collaborators are introduced at links available here.

Sunday, February 18, 2018

Meet the EUOIA collaborators: Rupert Loydell

How could I not work with Rupert Loydell? Rather like S.J. Fowler he is Mr Collaboration (though I don’t think they’ve worked with each other (yet)). With Rupert, I created the Estonian poems of Hermes for Twitters for a Lark: Poetry of the European Union of Imaginary Authors. You can read more about (and see) Hermes here, and, yes, he is a bit of a dick. Twit for a lark. In fact, he’s responsible for ‘Robert Sheppard’ leaving the EU (OIA that is). See here for Rupert’s severe interview with the Beast!

Rupert Loydell is Senior Lecturer at Falmouth University, a poet and a painter. He has published many many books of poems, the most recent of which is Dear Mary (Shearsman: 2017).

Read more about the European Union of Imaginary Authors here and here.
More on Twitters for a Lark here and here. See also A Translated Man ( an early account here; the book is also available from Shearsman here.)

All the collaborators are introduced at links available here.

Saturday, February 17, 2018

Meet the EUOIA collaborators: Frances Kruk

With Frances Kruk I intended to create the German poems of Karla Schaffer for Twitters for a Lark: Poetry of the European Union of Imaginary Authors. Unfortunately Frances has been ill and convalescing for most of the time the book was being assembled. We decided to leave our page blank. This means we could re-visit it. BUT it means that we’ve also offered this enormous hole at the centre of Europe, which (I suspect) is not the way Germans want to see themselves. At least in our little universe, they are stuck with it!

Frances Kruk is a Polish-Canadian poet and artist whose work has appeared in various international media. Her most recent publication is lo-fi frags in-progress (Veer Books: 2015). This is an excellent book, which I first read when  it was part of her PhD: get it.

Read more about the European Union of Imaginary Authors here and here

More on Twitters for a Lark here and here. See also A Translated Man ( an early account here; the book is also available from Shearsman here.)

Frances wrote recently to say she liked the colouful cover. So here it is again, big!


All the collaborators are introduced at links available here.

Friday, February 16, 2018

Meet the EUOIA collaborators: Tom Jenks


With Tom Jenks I created the Luxembourgish poems of Georg Bleinstein for Twitters for a Lark: Poetry of the European Union of Imaginary Authors. You can read more abouthim here. I DO implore you to check out this link because it is the monstrously long biographical note that we wrote together (in effect, the real collaboration), but I’ve embedded some surreal and wonderful videos to illustrate a life that is (literally) not over yet! It's a work of web art in its own right, according to Georg's agent, General Knaphausen.He should know; he's a puffin!

Tom Jenks books include Sublunar (Oystercatcher Press), Items (if p then q) and The Tome of Commencement (Stranger Press). He co-organises the Other Room reading series and edits the avant objects imprint zimZalla.

And he read at the Other Room EUOIA evening the other month


Read more about the European Union of Imaginary Authors here and here

More on Twitters for a Lark here and here. See also A Translated Man ( an early account here; the book is also available from Shearsman here), a book which Tom opined made me as Belgian as moule frite and Herman Von Rompuy. So true.

All the collaborators are introduced at links available here.

Thursday, February 15, 2018

Meet the EUOIA Collaborators: Jeff Hilson



With Jeff Hilson I created the Hungarian poems of Josef Ratsky for Twitters for a Lark: Poetry of the European Union of Imaginary Authors. You can read more about Ratsky here.

Jeff Hilson wrote stretchers (Reality Street 2006), Bird bird (Landfill 2009) and In The Assarts (Veer 2010). He also edited The Reality Street Book of Sonnets (Reality Street 2008), which I responded to here (before writing about it in The Meaning of Form here). Two new books, Latanoprost Variations and Organ Music, are finished. He runs Xing the Line reading series in London and teaches Creative Writing at the University of Roehampton.
 


He appeared by video link (actually via tape) at the EUOIA Other Room night in Manchester in August 2017. Details here:

Read about our earlier collaboration here. Here we are laughing like drains!!!!

Read more about the European Union of Imaginary Authors here and here
More on Twitters for a Lark here and here. See also A Translated Man ( an early account here; the book is also available from Shearsman here.)



 All the collaborators are introduced at links available here.

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Meet the EUOIA Collaborators: Robert Hampson

With Robert Hampson I created the Romanian poems of Mirela Nemoianu for Twitters for a Lark: Poetry of the European Union of Imaginary Authors. You can read more about Mirela  here.

Robert Hampson FEA, FRSA was Professor of Modern Literature at Royal Holloway, University of London, from 2000 to 2016. He was educated at King's College, London, and the University of Toronto.He gained his BA and PhD from King's College, London, and his MA from Toronto (which he attended as the result of the award of a Commonwealth Scholarship). He was Director of the MA in Creative Writing 2016-17. He is currently Distinguished Teaching and Research Fellow.

Robert has an international reputation as a Conrad scholar and critic. His books on Conrad include Joseph Conrad: Betrayal and Identity (Macmillan, 1992), Cross-Cultural Encounters in Joseph Conrad's Malay Fiction (Palgrave, 2000) and Conrad's Secrets (Palgrave, 2013). Cross-Cultural Encounters was described in The Year's Work in English Studies (2002) as 'the outstanding contribution to Conrad scholarship this year', while Conrad's Secrets was described, in The Year's Work in English Studies (2013), as 'arguably the most striking and inventive contribution to Conrad scholarship in 2012' and, by the Times Literary Supplement, as 'an indispensable resource for specialists and enthusiasts alike'. He has also edited various works by Conrad ('Heart of Darkness', Lord Jim and Victory) and was the editor of The Conradian (1989-96). He has recently co-edited Conrad and Language (Edinburgh, 2016) with Katherine Baxter; he has also co-edited two collections of essays on Ford Madox Ford - Ford Madox Ford: A Re Assessment (Rodopi, 2002) and Ford Madox Ford and Modernity (Rodopi, 2003) - and works by Kipling and Rider Haggard. In January 2015, he was elected Chair of the Joseph Conrad Society (UK). Conrad's Secrets was the recipient of the Adam Gillon Award from the Joseph Conrad Society of America (2015) for best book on Conrad. In 2017 the Joseph Conrad society of America awarded him the Ian P. Watt Prize for Excellence in Conrad Scholarship for his lifetime's work on Conrad.

In addition to his work on Conrad, he has had a long-term involvement with contemporary innovative poetry as editor, critic and practitioner. He co-edited the magazine Alembic during the 1970s, and he and Peter Barry co-edited the pioneering collection of essays The New British poetries: The scope of the possible (Manchester University press, 1993). He co-edited Frank O'Hara Now (Liverpool University Press, 2010) with Will Montgomery and Clasp: late modernist poetry in London in the 1970s (Shearsman, 2016) with Ken Edwards. His own most recent poetry publications include Assembled Fugitives: Selected Poems 1973-1998 (Stride, 2000), the legendary Seaport (Shearsman, 2008), an explanation of colours (Veer, 2010), and sonnets 4 sophie (pushtika, 2015). Reworked Disasters (Knivesforksand spoons, 2013) was long-listed for the Forward Prize. He collaborated (with Robert Sheppard) on Liverpool (hugs) and kisses (2015). Read that collaboration with Robert, here

Watch him read his new sonnets here. 

There is information about the FOR ROBERT anthology published on his retirement here.

Read more about the European Union of Imaginary Authors here and here

More on Twitters for a Lark here and here. See also A Translated Man ( an early account here; the book is also available from Shearsman here.)

 All the collaborators are introduced at links available here.

Tuesday, February 13, 2018

Meet the EUOIA Collaborators: God's Rude Wireless

With God’s Rude Wireless, I created the Dutch poems of Maarten De Zoute for Twitters for a Lark: Poetry of the European Union of Imaginary Authors, though he also features in A Translated Man via an epigraph and as a presence in the translator’s diary at the end of that collection. See also A Translated Man ( an early account here; the book is also available from Shearsman here, as are a number of my recent works.)

I wanted to make use of a machine (I was at that time interested professionally in the machine-works Tom Jenks was producing, but I knew I had to use something simpler than his data-spreadsheet works). This seemed to work well. God’s Rude Wireless is ‘a new improved cut up engine’ at https://web.archive.org/web/20070927003008/http://www.godsrudewireless.co.uk/cutup/cutup.htm

You can read more about Maarten here, and see some interesting images of him (?) and Holland: here


and here is a second poem we wrote (which was left out of the book for space reasons): I had to cut my own creations first...

Read more about the European Union of Imaginary Authors here and here

More on Twitters for a Lark here and hereAll the collaborators, nearly all of the others nearly human, at least, are introduced at links available here.

Monday, February 12, 2018

Robert Sheppard: 13 Years of Blogging: Links to Posts

Yes, 13 years of blogging. 'New' technologies probably shouldn't acquire histories, but when I celebrated 10 years of blogging, I decided to look back a bit. I posted this interview with me about my literary blogging. Read it here. This little block of raw links will take you to the posts I made trying to make lists of the best, my favourites, one for each year, the most neglected, etc... It was all quite fun, and is still fun to look at now: 


Certainly since then I've been blogging fairly furiously, but I have also started tweeting my content, and this has increased the number of hits. See www.twitter@microbius.

The pre-history of the blog, as a print magazine, may be read here, on what was my first post (even though I moved it later).

So what are the most looked at posts on the blog to date? They are, by name (with links), date of posting, and the number of hits as of today:


2225








1811








1113








946








668








547








471








393








379








377