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Monday, February 17, 2020

Latest transposition of Wordworth: Trev We streamed south to Charlton Athletic! (to see the Who)

My ‘English Strain’ project squeezes on. There are two posts about the background to it: one that looks back at Book One, The English Strain here and another at Book Two, Bad Idea here .

The final part of Bad Idea is called ‘Idea’s Mirror’, which is described, along with some of the prospective poetics plans I had before the general election in December 2019, here:

The third book may be entitled British Standards.

At the moment, I am using poems in a section of Wordsworth’s ‘Poems Dedicated to National Independence and Liberty’ retitled ‘Poems of National Independence’, and subtitled ‘liberties with Wordsworth’. Each will carry the first line as a title, for identification. The poems are easy to find (I am still finalizing my selection of 14 of them; Wordsworth wrote over 500 sonnets; I’ve read about 100 of them in the last few weeks).

This poem is different. No dogging sites. No Brexit (a theme that has to disappear as I go.) Wordsworth’s poem is dedicated to his university friend, Jones. I have written, addressing my university friend Trev. I am going to Lancaster to see him tomorrow, so he was on my mind, particularly because we are putting the finishing touches to our photo-poetry collaboration Charms and Glitter out very soon from Knives Forks and Spoons. You can read about that project here: Links to many poems and pictures here:

and here:

Straight to a paired poem and image here:

Here is the poem, which does not refer to that project, because I look back to the 1970s, before I come forwards to the present (and the current HE dispute; Trev worked for a different union, but there is a connection there too).

Jones! As from Calais southward you and I

Trev! We streamed south to Charlton Athletic
to see Pete Townshend skid across the stage;
we chanted, ‘Won’t Get Fooled Again.’ We were,
despite the pledge to ‘not reason and compare’.
On campus, Socialist Worker was hawked 
by a walk-on from Talcy-Malcy’s History Man.
There were songs and banners and dopy smiles:
the roach end of that revolution had cooled. 
‘Morning, comrade!’ a live man says at the UCU rally;
my genial spirits lift as we drift to St. George’s Hall.
Our well-heeled heels trip over the homeless
sleeping like birds under Amazon cardboard.
Now, focused on zero hours and pensions 
the only word that registers is No!

17th February 2020

And here is the Wordsworth original:

JONES! as from Calais southward you and I
Went pacing side by side, this public Way
Streamed with the pomp of a too-credulous day,
When faith was pledged to new-born Liberty:
A homeless sound of joy was in the sky:
From hour to hour the antiquated Earth
Beat like the heart of Man: songs, garlands, mirth,
Banners, and happy faces, far and nigh!
And now, sole register that these things were,
Two solitary greetings have I heard,
‘Good-morrow, Citizen!’ a hollow word,
As if a dead man spake it! Yet despair
Touches me not, though pensive as a bird
Whose vernal coverts winter hath laid bare.

7th August 1802

British Standards will present versions (or transpositions) of sonnets of the Romantic period (between those of Charlotte Smith, which I’ve already worked on here,

 and those of Elizabeth Barrett Browning, that I’ve also worked on, both in the final parts of Book One:

I’m thinking of poems to be ‘transposed’ as ‘Standards’ in two senses: I am listening to Anthony Braxton’s ‘Standards’ albums, where he plays those communally malleable tunes dubbed ‘standards’ by jazz musicians, but I’m also thinking of the ‘standards’ that British locks and other devices conform to, which seem, incidentally, to have survived the supposed uniformity of EU Regulations, and which Bo and others will doubtless champion.

You can access six poems from Bad Idea here:

Another eight online poems from Bad Idea may be accessed from this post:

Three sonnets from the last part of Bad Idea, ‘Idea’s Mirror’, may be accessed here:

In ‘Petrarch 3’, the opening part of Book One, the transpositions are achieved by having 14 versions of one translation from Petrarch. This first published part of Book One, ‘Petrarch 3’ is published under that title. Another part is published as Hap which ab(uses) the sonnets of Thomas Wyatt. Both pamphlets are still available.

Look here and here for more on my Petrarch obsession/project, including how to purchase Petrarch 3 from Crater Press in its ‘fold out map’ edition.

Hap: Understudies of Thomas Wyatt’s Petrarch is available from Knives Forks and Spoons, who will be publishing Charms and Glitter soon, here:

Occasionally my method of composition is demonstrated in public. Here’s a poem by the Earl of Surrey with my transposition of it: .

I contemplate the term ‘transposition’ at the end of the following post (that is mostly about collaboration, you can scroll past that bit). In determining that ‘transposition’ isn’t collaboration proper, I also demonstrate that ‘transposition’ isn’t translation, even of the fashionable ‘expanded’ kind.

I’m not only writing this sequence, by the way: my website is updated annually with life, writing, collaborations, criticism (by and on), etc. here:

Here is a link that links to all the links to the good things on this blog:

The Who: Won't Get Fooled Again...

Sunday, February 16, 2020

Liverpool poetry reading this week. I'm chairing the discussion

Other Cities/Other Lives
Thu 20 Feb | 6.30 - 8pm 
Three leading contemporary poets, Zoë Skoulding, Eleanor Rees and Helen Tookey read from their new collections exploring more-than-human perspectives on place and landscape. Cities, rivers, parklands and docks all come to life as these innovative poets re-imagine, for these complex times, what it is to be human.
I will be chairing the discussion!

Bar open from 6pm. 

Tickets: £6/£4

More info | Book now
About the Poets 

Zoë Skoulding is a poet, critic and translator who lives on Anglesey and lectures in Creative Writing at Bangor University. Her work includes The Mirror Trade (Seren, 2004), Remains of a Future City (Seren, 2008), The Museum of Disappearing Sounds (Seren, 2013) and her new collection Footnotes to Water (Seren, 2019).

Eleanor Rees's visionary poetry immerses you in another world from which you leave transformed. Her work includes Feeding Fire (Spout, 2001), Andraste’s Hair (Salt, 2007), Riverine (Gatehouse, 2015), Blood Child (Pavilion, 2015), and The Well at Winter Solstice (Salt, 2019).

Helen Tookey’s poems often focus on fleeting moments, dream-scenes and uncanny places, driven by ‘haunting transformative energies’ and by the pervasive sense of the present moment as threshold. Her work includes Missel-Child (Carcanet, 2014) and City of Departures (Carcanet, 2019).

Saturday, February 15, 2020

Fifteen Years of Blogging (A hubpost to all the hubposts and other goodies)

Fifteen years of Pages (online). I normally post a post (as they say) on the anniversary of my first one, the beginning of this blog. Appropriately, it relates the pre-history of the blog, as a print magazine, and may be read here:

The first series of Pages has been digitalised: see here for access.

To relive the early days of the blog, I will refrain from adding any images to this post (though you’ll find loads in the links!). And I’ll use raw links (a term I think I made up). This is what a blog looked like in 2005: all text and html!

Last year I posted this. It’s a longer post than I remember, with links to some earlier posts that I felt were more interesting:

Five years ago (that’s the tenth anniversary) I posted extremely comprehensive celebrations, that had the purpose of alerting readers to content that they may have missed. They are still worth viewing for that reason. Here there are:

1. This post has a long interview with me as a literary blogger, not a category of person that I consider myself to be, though I suppose I am one:

2. On this one I collected what I judged to the be best bits of the first ten years (my favourite image, my favourite post, etc):

3. I decided to list one important post per year that seemed not to be represented in the other selections:

4. Although this is mainly a literary blog, you may have noticed that I often include passages that have nothing to do with poetry. Here’s stuff about Pussy Riot (see below), Frank Sinatra, my father’s funeral, etc…Ten years of posts (thankfully, you might conclude) not about poetry:

This last post (ho ho) is less interesting I think, but I include it here for the sake of completion. These were my future plans:

I adopted (or invented, more likely) the term ‘hubpost’ to describe a post which is, at least in part, a list of links to other posts. I thought it might be interesting to list the best of them (that may include such posts from before I used the term). Although posts are dated, that doesn’t stop me updating, which is essentially what I am doing with hubposts. (It's also why some early posts have images; I added them later.) Currently I am writing a series of posts on ‘literary collaboration’ and the first post of the series is also the hubpost:

Read (and link from) the hubpost on collaboration here:

All six of Bill Griffiths’ ‘Ghost Stories’ may be accessed here:

Here's a hubpost on my 1969 diary, which I posted throughout 2019, though I'm not sure why, here:

A hubpost concerning 'The English Strain' book two, the ‘Bad Idea’ poems (with examples) may be accessed here:

A deliberately imageless post directs you to photographs and poems from my next (co-authored) publication Charms and Glitter (due from Knives Forks and Spoons) here:

This is a sort of hubpost concerning the generous book about my work, The Robert Sheppard Companion, here:

I guest edited Stride over the summer of '19 and here's a hubpost to all the items I selected (they were all connected to the Poetry and Poetics Research Group at Edge Hill): here.

A hubpost introducing all the collaborators of the EUOIA (that's the real people, mostly):

and another post, listing all the European poets my collaborators and I invented, here:

Here’s a guide to the Ship of Fools Exhibition held at Edge Hill University in 2017, showing slightly grey photos of many of the collaborations of Patricia Farrell and myself:

Here are routes to all the contributions to Patricia Farrell’s online 60th Birthday celebrations:

The Necessity of Poetics begins here:

(We are now among hubposts that didn’t use the term, edging back through time.)

For the complete text of my 1999 critical book, Far Language

For posts relating to my 2005 critical work, The Poetry of Saying hub here:

For links relating to, and dry-runs of, my 2016 critical work The Meaning of Form look no further:

Twenty Five Edge Hill University poets:

My lecture on the innovative sonnet was in 14 bite-sized parts, accessed here:

An inventory of poetics in four parts (research for a book on poetics that has still never quite come together):

My ‘History of the Other’ about alternative poetries begins here:

PLEASE note: this is now the earliest post on the blog because I moved (re-posted) the original post uploaded 15 years ago today, and linked to above.

The most interesting or important poetry post recently (for me) must be

Here’s some posts that I simply think were fun:

Two posts on retirement:

and the life-story (with lots of images and embedded videos, some now dead) of EUOIA poet George Bleinstein, which I composed as a shaggy poet story with Tom Jenks:

Here's a post I never dreamed I would have to write, in memory of the poet Sean Bonney.

To mark this day, annually, I usually post the most looked-at pages on the blog (according to blog statistics, which are at variance with the tally beside each post on the ‘inside’, as it were). I almost decided not to do that today, because those statistics are compromised by massive multiple hits that emanate from Russia (there’s a map showing clearly the origin of hits) and are clearly part of an internet harvesting project that is doing … what … exactly? I believe it started after I posted a fairly bland invocation to ‘Free Pussy Riot’, which you may see here. Why not look at it, it might excite 'them' if it received a few new hits? Or should I have a post called 'Putin Wrestles with a Bear'. Here:

OK. You'll only wonder. Here are the most 'accessed' posts:

10 Dec 2014