Monday, September 28, 2009

Introducing Colin Harris

A long-time member of the group, and a former student of Edge Hill, other work by Colin may be seen in Great Works and Shadowtrain.

Neither Film nor True
stunning shorts
just keep them on
again he voiced his mother’s coastline
why the wry privatisation
could it be from actors
I couldn’t find a writer
came down from observation
spilt my coffee
it ran between floorboards
drenched carpets
rose up the walls
filled the television until it
turned to liquid
it didn’t begin this way
I had a different story in mind
it was supposed to start with an image
and end in a moment filled with fear
instead I am the destroyer of the human race
the purveyor of rare coffee beans

Calling for the Lawnmower
friend whose work subverts
I have shocked since the premiere
but my nightmares move into castles
myth is updating
I called love
glossed over the underworld
a reconciliation feast
but deceptively simple
the idea holds
the fight against cancer
is not romantic
I have become a target
for household tyrants
my old resurrection
obliterating the new one

The Photographer’s Heroine
fans stop waving

he is amused by you
hate temporarily dispelled
you know it could change again
but the moment is the stronger force

sounds outside disturb the wood
signifiers of people who don’t decide to laugh

what could you do

the spot at the corner of vision isn’t enough to grab your attention

The Vacancy Alter Ego
looking narrow
still lost
framing forced decision
a court
filling the emptiness
ambushed by inadequate models
when you get there die
evolutionary inevitability
idiots and liars
chased by their own creations
warm animals
shooting themselves
this planet rolls away
the false dreamer
will never know giants
in the hand
happiness in the confusion
the reality of suicide
on public transport
the truth
of humankind
every time

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Malcolm Lowry: From the Mersey to the World

Celebrate the Centenary of Wirral-born writer Malcolm Lowry at the Bluecoat in Liverpool.

Their celebration of Malcolm Lowry (1909 - 57) features a special centenary exhibition and a programme of performances and events.

His Under the Volcano, set in Mexico and written in Canada, is considered one of the most significant 20th century novels, and has influenced painters, filmmakers, choreographers, musicians as well as writers.

This exhibition brings together artists from Merseyside, the UK, Mexico and Chile, each relating to Lowry in different ways.

An illustrated book, Malcolm Lowry: From the Mersey to the World, published by Liverpool University Press in collaboration with the Bluecoat and edited by Helen Tookey and Bryan Biggs, includes images from the exhibition and texts by Lowry's biographer Gordon Bowker and others, and was launched on Thursday. It includes two Edge Hill writing staff, Ailsa Cox and Robert Sheppard. Ailsa has written a short story. I've submitted an account of visiting Lowry's grave (in my native Sussex). See the image taken at the launch event at the Bluecoat on Thursday, above right, featuring Ailsa, Mark Goodall, another contributor to the book, and me holding up the specially-brewed Wapping Brewery Malcolm Lowry Golden Ale so that yet another contrubutor, Colin Dilnot, could snap it for his Lowry website, link below.

In 1979 I visited Lowry's grave in Ripe, Sussex, and wrote a long poem about the event, which I never published. Returning to the text thirty years later (it was part of my MA in Creative Writing at UEA) I have 'written through' it, commenting on the poem, and in particular on the unused notes left out of the piece (which seem to me more revealing). Adding to this, descriptions of photographs taken on the day, and several quotes on and about Lowry, it amounts to a celebration and critique of the 'clinker-built brilliance' of Lowry's writing, and a reflection upon writerly process, a poetics.

For further investigations of the local origins of Malcolm Lowry and its influence on his writings see Colin Dilnot's extensive blog Malcom Lowry At The Nineteenth Hole.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Iain Sinclair at Edge Hill

(Image (c) Tim Power). Tim Power's photograph of Iain Sinclair relaxing in the Buck i'th'Vine in Ormskirk was taken after Iain's reading at Edge Hill a year or so ago. Read previous postings:

Sinclair's long poem Patrick Hamilton.

And Robert Sheppard on the Social Poetics of Iain Sinclair which is accompanied by another photo of Iain, taken by Tim Power, at the reading itself, and is followed by Sheppard's writings on Sinclair's early poem Lud Heat.

Here is an account of Sinclair's later visit to Liverpool to help celebrate the work of Malcolm Lowry.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Introducing Andrew Taylor

Andrew Taylor reading at the Walker Gallery in Liverpool as part of an Edge Hill Poetry and Poetics Research Group group reading as a warm up to Allen Fisher (visible, seated left), at a Neon Highway event organised by editor and PPRG member Alice Lenkiewicz. photo: Andrew Taylor.

Andrew Taylor is a Liverpool poet and co-editor and founder of erbacce and erbacce press. He has had six collections of poetry published to-date. The latest, Make Some Noise is published by Original Plus. An e-book is forthcoming from Differentia Press. Recent poems have appeared in journals and e-zines such as Calliope Nerve, The Exuberant Ashtray, Willows Wept Review and Full of Crow. Poetics - ‘A Poetics of Absence – part one’ has appeared in Otoliths and is re-published in Troubles Swapped for Something Fresh: Manifestos and Unmanifestos, ed. Rupert Loydell, (Salt), which we are launching soon.He has a PhD in Poetry and Poetics from Edge Hill University

He has a PhD in Poetry and Poetics from Edge Hill University.

See his blog here.

A Poetics of Absence Part II

The Permission to Continue

How dull it is to pause, to make an end,
to rest unburnish'd, not to shine in use!

A life's work? Writing after the fact

tasked to reflect from tower block

like an empty colour slide I'm black and white inside

Industrial heartland wasteland
regeneration the smell of the docks
college of further education
of higher education

university status university

poetics as exploration

poetics as continuance

When I sleep alone I hear the sound of your breathing

re-visitation evokes memories
If I stand here long enough will you appear?

Such diversions – they test Take Courage

Wars. It's the forgetting. The peril of loss.

Without trace
a red double-decker bus sits idle
in the middle of the street a blackbird hello blackbird
stands amongst the debris

A visit to Test Place
River now merely penthouse background
we consume much more nowadays
the boats carry shit
or sightseeing passengers

Bates Salve cures wounds & sores

Stops, station buffets, road links

to walk the river's edge at twilight
offers new perspective
watch the greyness fade

Poetics as memory
Poetics as provider

London's outmoded DNA –
workmen's cafés, dingy pubs –
disappears. If anything survives from
post-war newsreels of civic improvement, it is
heritaged, squeezed between commas.

Liverpool your public land too
is being sold to private developers

place [your] feet in the deep tracks they make

poetics for now

Because we love to look at them [the stars]
we hope maybe they love to look at us

across such landscapes fairy lights predict
the glow

poetics says: look back, look forward, look straight ahead and cross the page.

follow Mail Train lines
Queens Park and Kensal Green

company alters routine
morning making
matters better
resting after exercise

poetics as investigation
poetics as sound

such sweet piano chords
the melody weaves a quiet voice

poetics as consolidation

The recovery of a memory is a present day
activity. It's not the past. Memory occurs in the present.

It should all become clear

from Cumbrian mountains to York stone pavements

the letter K carved
an indication

I don't know why I am tied to the winter

exit from Bankside
point me towards Eros

All through the storm, the frost, and the snow,
Death on our black horizon pulses clear

off the route
and mast head of the evening paper

I idle the thoughts of Woking

Last night I dreamt that outside Melling Church
I told you that I still loved you

Poetry as lifesaver as life giver

To A Fox II
Autumn falls lanes
drop darkness
hedgerows trimmed
fields ploughed

in preparation

Roadside awareness
flash of white
twilight nocturne image
of a moment

nice moment actually, dusk was falling,
lovely watery sunset which was very enigmatic
amongst the overgrown runway strip......
also managed to locate abandoned buildings
that formed the old hospital site on the airfield
in amongst some woods......very, very scary though.

En-route accompanied
chatter of engine whistle
of rack scratched inside
journey reinterpretation

Sleek tell-tale signs

Unhexed through lanes
a darkened memory
trimmed hedgerows
ploughed fields an escape route

(With thanks to Antony Harding)

Signboards: old type of writing

Transparency adaptation
siren insight

intersection and sodium highlights
present a few streets away

Future plans

every so often
it all becomes clear

source a manipulation
an epic example

context over content
such tasteful digitized blurs

Why Do You Come Here When You Know It Makes Things Hard For Me?

Ever presence followed
like the first star that guides
as night falls

across the hills and into
the bay the turbines stand
firm as that

day the wind ate my face
icily from the end of
the pier

These tracks that lead
to you lay cold while
steam rises

from railway station waiting
rooms this moment this
passing where

does it come from?


To here knows when
phased like worn tape
through patio

doors washed cars
stood path bound soap
pools gathered

capturing the light
through the orchard
where memories

are fixed as the day
you stood photographed
in the white

of your wedding dress

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Frank Sinatra and Antonio Carlos Jobim - Erbacce interview

Over the last week I've been interviewed, via email, by Alan Corkish, the co-editor of Erbacce magazine, which is to publish an edition dedicated to the Edge Hill Poetry and Poetics Research Group. Alan asked me what colour I would recommend for the cover, and I replied 'Blue', which led to a mild Frank ('Old Blue Eyes') Sinatra reference. So here he is, with Antonio Carlos, in exemplary relaxed mode. If you can't see the connecction between this and poetry may I point you towards the fact that this bossa nova song (like many others by Jobim) features the lyrics of poet Vincius de Moreas. Additionally, readers are directed to the anthology Sinatra, but buddy, I'm a Kind of Poem, edited by Gilbert L Gigliotti, and published by Entasis Press, Washington DC (2008), to see the range of contemporary poets who have written about Sinatra. (It includes my own 'Angel at the Junk Box', which appears in Complete Twentieth Century Blues.)

However, all of the above is a just a chain of excuses unrolled to justify keeping this extraordinary clip from a test run to link to YouTube!

Tuesday, September 08, 2009

GOING PUBLIC Autumn 2009

(Cliff Yates and Angela Keaton waiting to record the Edge Hill Poetry and Poetics group CD: Points of Reference) (Photo: Andrew Taylor)

Celebrating a decade of poetics at Edge Hill

1. Talks and Launch Series (in the Education Block)

Open Meetings of the Poetry and Poetics Research Group (free – all welcome) all at 6.30-8.30
The whole series will be launching the Salt poetics anthology Troubles Swapped for Something Fresh (edited by Rupert Loydell) (four of the group are featured)

This is an eclectic and exciting gathering of poetry and prose-poems that try to understand what poetry is and who or what it might be for. It is also about what writers might want or demand from poetry, in either a general or personal way.

8th October 2009: Scott Thurston will discuss his book Internal Rhyme to be published next year by Shearsman.

This will also be a chance to celebrate the new Journal of British and Irish Innovative Poetry, co-edited by Sheppard and Thurston

15th October 2009:

Cliff Yates: on poetic, tba

Andrew Taylor: ‘The Poetics of Absence – part two’: a continuation and reflection upon the work in Troubles Swapped for Something Fresh.

29th October 2009:

Dee Mc Mahon: ‘Stories of the Line - Provocation, Process and Product’

Robert Sheppard: ‘Fictional Poems and Fictional Poetics: the double oeuvre of René Van Valckenborch’

5th November 2009:

Daniele Pantano:
'Living in Translation: A Discussion of Exile, Translingualism, and Writing Your Way Home.'

Michael Egan: poetics, tba.

2. Reading and Launch

11th November 7.30 in The Rose Theatre £3.50

Cliff Yates will be reading from Frank Freeman’s Dancing School (out from Salt now:

Support act: members of the poetry and poetics research group

Official journals:

Pages online, here, of course!

And Erbacce will be publishing a print edition dedicated to the group (details online at

Edge Hill Poetry and Poetics Research Group members past and present include: Robert Sheppard, Cliff Yates, Andrew Taylor, Scott Thurston, Neil Addison, Bill Drennan, Dee McMahon, Matt Fallaize, Daniele Pantano, Steve Van Hagen, Michael Egan, Colin Harris, Patricia Farrell, Angela Keaton and Alice Lenkiewicz.

Wednesday, September 02, 2009

Journal of British and Irish Innovative Poetry

The first issue is out now, 112 pages in length and the contents are as follows:

EDITORIAL: Scott Thurston and Robert Sheppard

Dragging at the haemorrhage of uns : Maggie
O Sullivan s excavations of Irish history
Mandy Bloomfield

Democratic consensus in J. H. Prynne s Refuse Collection
Ian Davidson

Veronica Forrest-Thomson s Cordelia , tradition and
the Triumph of Artifice
Gareth Farmer

Expectant contexts : Corporeal and desiring spaces in
Denise Riley s poetry
Christine Kennedy and David Kennedy

Tony Lopez, Meaning Performance
Reviewed by Robert Sheppard

John Wilkinson, The Lyric Touch
Reviewed by Scott Thurston

Learn how to subscribe at

If you'd like to sneak a peak inside the issue and view article opening pages, abstracts and keywords then these have been uploaded to

Anthony Levings, Managing Editor, Gylphi Limited