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Saturday, June 23, 2018

Celebrate Luxembourg's National Day with European Union of Imaginary Authors poet Georg Bleinstein





Celebrate Luxembourg's National Day with European Union of Imaginary Authors poet Georg Bleinstein who was co-created by myself and Tom Jenks. 

See here for more on Tom Jenks.

Georg Bleinstein has the longest biographical details in 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 the monstrously long biographical note that we wrote together (in effect, the real collaboration), appears in full and I’ve embedded some surreal and wonderful photographs and 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, pictured above. I think it takes about an hour (if you can bear Eurovision clips, sausage videos, the late Dale Winton, Group Captain Carol Vorderman and Sabrina Salerno, also pictured above).

After that, read more about the other European Union of Imaginary Authors here and here. All the collaborators are accessible via links here. Most of those are real.

Twitters for a Lark is published by Shearsman. More on Twitters here and here

In short, this collection marks a continuation of the work I ventriloquised through my solo creation, the fictional bilingual Belgian poet René Van Valckenborch, in A Translated Man (read an early account here; the book is also available from Shearsman here ). 'On this evidence, Robert Sheppard is now as Belgian as moules-frites and Herman Van Rompuy,' commented Tom Jenks... Tom is now as Luxembourgish as Jean-Claude Juncker!

I have posited a possible continuing fiction here, but I am unsure which way this will go now. Georg Bleinstein himself is perhaps an illustrative fiction about the madness of pursuing the fictional poetry project to its ultimate ends. We'll see (whoever 'we' turn out to be, or to have been).

Monday, June 18, 2018

Patricia Farrell's High Cut: My Model of No Criteria published by Leafe




Dedicated to the poet's mother, this single long poem uses the terminology of art, design and fashion to portray a character and to investigate both its own language and the process of writing poetry. The poetry is sensuous, playful, funny and dynamic, taking the reader along on a dizzying ride through the pleasures of language.

£6.50
  • Paperback: 18 pages
  • Publisher: Leafe Press
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1999945123
  • ISBN-13: 978-1999945121
  • Product Dimensions: 14 x 0.1 x 21.6 cm
Buy it HERE

Or from Amazon here.

You can read its first review, by Clark Allison, here.

Read more about Patricia's work here and on her website, here. She is also an artist: the cover design of her book is hers.

See a list of Patricia's publications here. And an account of the publication of her Shearsman volume The Zechstein Sea here. Some thoughts on the publication of her Veer score A Space Completely Filled with Matter here.

See here for 'Travelling on one Ticket', from this blog.

Hear her reading at The Other Room (Manchester) here. And here you may access her British Library recordings on the Archive of the Now.

See Patricia's 6 readings as part of the 2017 Enemies collaborative project here. And reading at Edge Hill University 2017 here!

Sunday, June 10, 2018

Celebrate Portugal’s National Day with European Union of Imaginary Authors poet Ana Cristina Pessao

Celebrate Portugal’s National Day with European Union of Imaginary Authors poet Ana Cristina Pessao who was co-created by myself and Jessica Pujol i Duran.

Jessica with Richard Parker, Amsterdam 2011, the day I first met them both (and the pirate elephant behind them)
See here for more on Jessica and here for more on Pessao (who is a footnote to one of Pessoa's footnotes, the great-niece of one of his lesser-known heteronyms, though we don't say so).

I worked in collaboration, over a number of years, with a team of real writers, to create a lively and entertaining body of work of fictional European poets. Read more about the European Union of Imaginary Authors, as I called them, here and here. All the collaborators are accessible via links here.

Accompanied by biographical notes, the poets grow in vividness until they seem to possess lives of their own; they are collected now in Twitters for a Lark, published by Shearsman.   

More on Twitters here and here. Billy Mills reviews it here.

This collection marks a continuation of the work I ventriloquised through my solo creation, the fictional bilingual Belgian poet René Van Valckenborch, in A Translated Man (read an early account here; the book is also available from Shearsman here ).

I see these two books as the first two parts of a fictional poetry trilogy. I have posited a possible continuing fiction here, but I am not sure I will pursue it, or this might be present in the background of some other scheme. In other words, I don't know.  


Wednesday, June 06, 2018

Lee Harwood's birthday : some thoughts

Yesterday I pondered whether I should attempt a lightly-revised second edition of the (Salt as was) Companion to Lee Harwood. I was surprised that the book was published in 2007, so long ago, it seemed. I like the book very much and think that it is an important collection on the works of a writer then happily still alive. I regret it being out of print, but I'm not sure it needs republishing. Perhaps one of the (younger? one hopes?) scholars who contact me as Lee's literary executor for permissions will thrust forward with a monograph soon. I have plans to co-edit Lee's prose, but this has been shelved, for a while.

I was surprised by my decision, because I thought it would be a positive one. I might, however, try to obtain some more copies.

I know, of course, that today would have been Lee's 79th birthday.

I don't want to just refer to obituaries on the day of his birth (remember 'Birthday Boy' in Dream Quilt?). Let's have an early photo of him,

and let's point to some writing by others. OK. These are good pieces, John Yau as a member of the Lee Fan Club (I guess i must be the secretary of that august body!) HERE, and (from this side of the pond), Ian Davidson's review of the 2004 Collected here.

My review of Collected Poems in two parts here and here. On later works here; on recent works here. And an earlier gift to him here. A later 'Laugh' with Lee Harwood may be read here.

And news of the developing British Library Harwood Archive here.

Celebrate Sweden’s National Day with European Union of Imaginary Authors poet Kasja Bergstrom (plus full bibliography and a new poem)

Yesterday was the Danish day. (See here.) Today celebrate Sweden’s National Day with European Union of Imaginary Authors poet Kasja Bergstrom, who was co-created by myself and SJ Fowler.

See here for more on Kasja (more than appears in Twitters) and here for more on SJ Fowler. We (actually it was Steve) concocted a longer biography than was finally published, so it seems the appropriate day to present that AND another of our works by Bergstrom that I had to omit from Twitters on length grounds. It follows on from the last sentences of the biography well:


Kajsa Bergstrom is one of the finest of modern, modest Northern European poets. Born into a gentrified family in 1956, in Ornskoldsvik, she is one of the last to follow the ecstatic revolution in Scandinavian literature, after the likes of Ibsen, Hamsun, Garborg and Strindberg, and on then from Ekelöf, Martinson, Tranströmer. The outpouring of reflective, burdened personal emotion, of self-analysis, of the destructive power of civilised discourse, marks out the early poetry, as though she were living the works of those who had come before her. Bergstrom is indelibly marked by her father’s death while she was a child. Her mother, a member of the petty nobility, still retained the Bergmanesque protestant hardness of her forebears, and seems to have been indifferent to her daughter and, as had happened with Schopenhauer, this emotional isolation surrounded by wealth produced a superlative gift for the imagination for the young poet. Like Schopenhauer too, this became directed toward the Oriental, the Eastern mode, in her turning away from Christianity and European parochialism.

After brief periods studying in London and Uppsala, Bergstrom became a student of music in Paris and became familiar with the work of the Tel Quel group. She forever maintained their influence on her was limited. Her first collection Flak (1977) was not received with any particular fanfare. She described its writing as suicidal, a process of poetry amidst emotional upheaval, and indeed her use of cryptic linguistic constructions, etymological tracings, repetitions, seems to hark to the best of European experimental movements and yet, almost by design, seem utterly impersonal, impenetrable to the reader.

As her work transformed, she returned to Stockholm, and her esoteric embracing of the poetic medium began to become tempered by more direct images in the text work that appeared to be increasingly offset by the remarkable use of typography, as though she were literally breaking apart the limitations of the Swedish language to express direct thoughts and images. The high experimentation left its trace in her use of materials and the ever present relentlessness of her images. By the time of Songbook (1996) and Noli Me Tangere (2005), when she had moved to Malmø, her oscillation between obtuse mysticism and deeply personal intellectualism had won her great acclaim.

from Noli Me Tangere

Elva

I     Manuskriptet

a write
             on her thought
       a flesh-filled  boka
                blue if we think differently and look
        taught then             one of them whistles they aren’t
essential seats are not guaranteed she sits on
        the bus and thinks her eye rests where she nests

lost grass as uniform as baize and three
     Jämthunds scrabble and bolt and the Asian horde
hunched with hair        thinks about our boka

           writing looking at her lips soft continually but her eyes are the softened
inviting him so horst        scarred up coiled
             towards them trained and savage in a film
       on her farm which seems neither mobile nor dark
                        she imagines writing            thinks there’s nothing
                      in rolls then the rolls are equal
                            measures you turn to notice and pray

           her hard drive next to her she imagines writing sorg
                     of this later she’ll say or write uncoiled
      and cut into neat squares to concentrate upon
                    crossing the road or covering the last vacant
feat of the journey



II   träsk

  Water and sand pillowing her advance past
                  its return in a way she’s returned and sold in multiples
             by the square you’re not sure which version
           of events in Master Johansgatan   a silent restaurant of sand
s          hut words past language into  
            with studium fat laws elsewhere today a pheasant                you
              prefer one
then tw
o the
n fou
r the
n unl
it clu
bs the a
ir fresh e
mpty
your interiority the woman in the suit processionally
                   detailed sunlight hops across the temporary
sward four rats swim the algae nod towards t          he




III            Imperium

Emporia
staggering ove
r to th
e sleepi
ng vagrant
wrapped in
fallen gold Harolden le
aves putting at the corner
they scuttle across the short g
rass but nothing impresses more
talk more get up you and sa
ndy buildings
redden though
walking alone
Hyllie Boulevard which has er
upted from below
the surface of the day da
mp cobbles dipping in
to countries  

Read more about the European Union of Imaginary Authors here and here. All the collaborators are accessible via links here.

Accompanied by biographical notes, the poets grow in vividness until they seem to possess lives of their own; they are collected now in Twitters for a Lark, published by Shearsman.   

More on Twitters here and here

This collection marks a continuation of the work I ventriloquised through my solo creation, the fictional bilingual Belgian poet René Van Valckenborch, in A Translated Man (read an early account here; the book is also available from Shearsman here ).

I see these two books as the first two parts of a fictional poetry trilogy. I have posited a possible continuing fiction here, but I am unsure which way this will go now.I talked about that yesterday too, on the Danish post.


SJ Fowler at the centre of the Manchester European Poets reading, with some EUOIA collaborators there too: Patricia Farrell, Scott Thurston, Tom Jenks - and me

Tuesday, June 05, 2018

The Meaning of Form reviewed by Gareth Farmer in Journal of British and Irish Innovative Poetry



I’m pleased to say there is a thorough review of my The Meaning of Form in Contemporary Innovative Poetry (Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, 2016) by Gareth Farmer in the Journal of British and Irish Innovative Poetry (the journal Scott Thurston and I dreamt up a few years back and which Gareth now co-edits with Scott). Read it here. He ends:

The Meaning of Form is a noble and necessary part of the enterprise of taking us closer to the complex dynamics of the characteristics and operations of poetic form. There is, in Jacques Rancière’s phrase, an ‘aesthetic revolution’ going on, and many critics are joining the party. If, as Sheppard contends in his final chapter, ‘paraphrase […] is amnesia of form’, this book offers powerful smelling salts to jolt us back to a present of attentive concentration on form.

The book was largely sketched out on this blog: here’s a hub-post leading to a summary and links to relevant posts.

For those who can buy the book, or order it for libraries, here are the places to go to (raw links):

There’s also a review, on that page, of a fraternal book, Poetry and Performance During the British Poetry Revival 1960–1980: Event and Effect by Juha Virtanen, by Sally-Shakti Willow.

Check out the whole online journal here.

You can read Joey Francis’ account of the Sheppard Symposium here.

When I was co-editor the journal was hard copy. I left at the right point really because the change of technology signalled change more generally. It had always been my intention to leave the journal to younger souls (even before I started it) and I saw my role in life as setting up ‘provisional institutions’ for the innovative poetries. After I left I became involved with Storm and Golden Sky, the Liverpool reading series, which I proudly catalogue here. That took up nearly 3 years of the impulse. Then I suppose I was very busy with the book reviewed here! So now? About two days ago I decided I would no longer think of myself as ‘retired’ but as a 'full-time writer and Emeritus Professor of Poetry and Poetics'. I don’t see myself writing another critical book like the one reviewed, though being reviewed reminds me of the worth of my long endevours. Such work had never been part of an academic ‘career’, but part of my critical and creative attempt to re-configure the national poetic culture. What next? Well, I have a ‘treatise on metre’, called Pulse: All a Rhythm.  

Celebrate Denmark’s Constitution Day with European Union of Imaginary Authors poet Trine Krugelund

Celebrate Denmark’s Constitution Day with European Union of Imaginary Authors conceptual poet Trine Krugelund who was created by myself. I mean: without a collaborator, since I mostly worked with others in this project, to create the volume Twitters for a Lark which is my most recent book. Collaboration was what made it enjoyable.

Krugelund in a rare photograph at the Louisiana, Denmark

Read more about the European Union of Imaginary Authors here and here. All the collaborators are accessible via links here.

More on Twitters for a Lark here and here. This collection marks a continuation of the work I ventriloquised through my first solo creation, the fictional bilingual Belgian poet René Van Valckenborch, in A Translated Man (read an early account here; the book is also available from Shearsman here ). 

Trine is one of the 5 fictional poets who actually appear in ATranslated Man and in (again) Twitters. That’s also why she has a page here on the EUOIA website. This quintet of poets forms the link between the books, and could be the link to a third part.


Denmark looking towards Sweden
Because I see these two books as the first two parts of a fictional poetry trilogy. (A trilogy never flew on two wings!) Indeed, Trine Krugelund has an important part in the post EUOIA poetry group, EUGE (The European Union of Generative Experimentalists) that I describe here. As a conceptual writer she clearly has a central role in putting their work together. Of course, the equally fictional 'Robert Sheppard' (the one featured in Twitters) might never translate that project into English (though Krugeland often writes in what she calls 'Google English'). My description of her as 'depositing on several platforms' was not just to express polymedialness, but to suggest her essential fellowship with the pigeon. Occupied as I am by other projects, it's difficult to project another project, as it were, at this time, but the way I work is by slowly drawing nearer to the right idea. When I get it it will be reported here (but so will all the interesting stages - even castoffs - on the way). Tomorrow is Sweden's National Day and I have a left-over collaboration from the book to share).

Saturday, June 02, 2018

Celebrate Italy’s Republic Day with European Union of Imaginary Authors poet Lucia Cianglini

Celebrate Italy’s Republic Day with European Union of Imaginary Authors poet Lucia Cianglini who was created by myself. What I mean by that is that she is one of the 5 fictional poets who actually appear in ATranslated Man as one of the 'fictional poets' of the fictional poet Rene Van Valckenborch: Belgian dolls, as I put it. That’s why she has a page here on the EUOIA website. This site was put together before I embarked on Twitters for a Lark which was mainly collaboratively written, except for the five poets.  This collection marks a continuation of the work I ventriloquised through Van Valckenborch in A Translated Man (read an early account here; the book is also available from Shearsman here ).

But the best place outside of my two books to read Cianglini is here.

Read more about the European Union of Imaginary Authors here and here. All the collaborators are accessible via links here.


More on Twitters here and here

I see these two books as the first two parts of a fictional poetry trilogy. One possible plan I have is to get the remaining 4 fictional poets in A Translated Man to continue Cianglini's epic poem &. I outlined that plan here, in a piece in which I intimate the existence of EUGE: The European Union of Generative Experimentalists is better. Euge! is German for well, well done.  Here’s an example from Cianglini's ‘Poem 5’, about the ampersand spotted in Cork that set her poem (and mine) off:

& an ampersand ghosted on the wall over from the coffee shop
is a hollow in a headlock with nothing to say to us
& there’s too much for the mind to do each second...
 
But maybe I won't do anything to follow up on the glories of the two 'fictional poetry' books. Perhaps that plan will be like a phantom limb sticking up numb and unfeeling from the corpse of the EUOIA. But documented in all its potentiality (which would be perfectly in keeping with the notion of 'genereative experimentation', wouldn't it?). The ideas here would be then part of the elaborate background to some other fiction, as yet undreamt... Billy Mills thinks I should walk away from these fictions. He might be right. See his review of Twitters here.