Saturday, February 28, 2015

Liverpool Camarade 2015: general introduction (set list)

The LIVERPOOL CAMARADE took place on Wednesday 18th February 2015, at the Fly in the Loaf, Liverpool.

An evening of collaborative pairings and the launch of 1000 Proverbs by Steven Fowler and Tom Jenks.

Here's the running order and the order of Steven Fowler's videos that I have embedded for daily release as the next few posts on Pages (they will bisect with my 25 Edge Hill Poets and my serial posts about the EUOIA).

Part One

Michael Egan and Steve Van-Hagen here

Lindsey Holland and Andrew Oldham here

Scott Thurston and Steve Boyland here

Elio Lomas and Luke Thurogood here

Robert Sheppard and The European Union of Imaginary Authors (EUOIA) (with James Byrne, Patricia Farrell, Steven Fowler, Scott Thurston and Tom Jenks). See below. And here.

Part Two

James Byrne and Sandeep Parmar here

Patricia Farrell and Joanne Ashcroft here
Tom Jenks and SJ Fowler (launching their KFS Proverbs) here

Hosts: SJ Fowler and James Byrne
Liverpool Camaraders: (front row: Lindsey Holland, Elio Lomas, Joanne Ashcroft, Steven Fowler (tongue out), Patricia Farrell (in buuny-ears and corset), Scott Thurston; back row: James Byrne, Andrew Oldham, Luke Thurogood, Tom Jenks, Michael Egan (behind Steven Fowler), Steve Van-Hagen (behind Patricia Farrell's bunny-ears), me, Steve 'Blazes' Boyland. 

The Running Order for the EUOIA

Very Short Introduction (Robert Sheppard)

Robert Sheppard introduces
1. Croatia Martina Marković (1982-) with James Byrne
2. Bulgaria Ivaylo Dimitrov (1979-) with Patricia Farrell
3. Sweden Kajsa Bergström (1956-) with Steven Fowler
4. Malta Hubert Zuba (1964-18/2/2015) with Scott Thurston
5. Luxembourg Georg Bleinstein (1965-2046) with Tom Jenks

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

25 Edge Hill Poets: Janka Theisler

The link to my blog (which has some poetry on it amongst other things) is:

My time at Edge Hill:

Everything I hoped it would be and way more. In Scientia Opportunitas.

My poetics:

My writing ranges on a wide scale from experimental sound poetry to image-based poems. Eclectic with heavily nostalgic elements at times. I like writing about places (mostly cities) and collaborating with artists. Also, I'm influenced by my fascination for linguistics and in particular, phonetics.

Glock 19 (9mm)
Škorpion vz. 61 (7.65mm)
fully automatic
One Clip Duel
Tfft, Tfft, Tfft -
                                Fire -
Pshahh. Pshahpshahpshahpshah.
Duck again -
               Fire back
Pshahpshahpshah. Pshah. Pshah. Pshahpshah.
                         Get. Down.
Pshah Pshah Pshah Pshah
Tff-t -
fully automatic


Tea with milk, not lemon

The wrong side of the road

This is not my house.

My pillow is not continental

Neither is my breakfast

This is not my bed.

This is not my street,

These are not my things,

This is not my life

Tiny packs of crisps

Language barriers

It's okay, just sit there and do nothing.


This is just too strange

These are not my friends.


The tie, the shirt, the blazer, the shoes -

These are not my clothes.

Can I go home yet?

Just sit and say nothing.

This is not my time.

This is not my tongue,

This is not my home,

This is not my mind

No interaction

Just keep your mouth shut,

This is not my name.

Details of the MA in Creative Writing, of which Janka is now a student, at Edge Hill may be read here.

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Robert Sheppard: Poem in International Times

I have a poem in International Times. Yes, that International Times. It’s online now - and there is an archive of the ancient editions (I scrolled randomly to find a song for the magazine itself by Kevin Ayres, bless him, circa 1968). How I would have loved to have been in it in 1970; but I’m happy enough now to be a belated visitor. The new issues look pretty good. Here. And the archive here.

The poem is ‘Workless Washday: Burnt Journal 1952’, a birthday poem for Frances Presley (‘Burnt Journals’ is a special series of those). Read it here. I noticed they have tagged it 'Surreal poetry'.

IT from 1970

And thanks to Rupert Loydell, the poetry editor.

There is also an obituary to John 'Hoppy' Hopkins that includes some great photos of his world, as a countercultural organiser and co-founder of the journal here.

Monday, February 23, 2015

Ten Years of Pages: plans for the future

So, what are my blogging plans for the future? I'm not one to make grandiose plans (says the author of Twentieth Century Blues!). If anything, the posts I have assembled here and here and here and here and (yes) even here, on this page, about the past decade of this literary blog or blogzine Pages, teach me that it has found purpose as and when that has emerged.

1. I will finish posting the 25 Edge Hill Poets to celebrate the 25 years of Creative Writing at Edge Hill (and also it's 19 years since I was appointed there). 25 will probably number 28 or so by the end. Only one of them is fictional.

2. I will continue to post 'Set lists' of readings that I do. It's odd I haven't done this before (or maintained it consistently; I have found some earlier accounts). After all, I do make sure that every reading is different - and I put in as much energy for a small, amateur or a non-paying audience as I do for a large, knowing or paying one.

3. I will continue my practice of deleting out of date announcements of readings etc. Some are converted into set lists and re-blogged. (If you can have 're-tweet', and we know the person who first used that word, why can't you have 're-blogged'?)

4. I will post any more de-selected pieces from my selected poems History or Sleep. Or other works for that matter. There might not be any, of course. Here you can access one that carries links to all the others (to date).

5. I will post any more rough materials that emerge out of The Meaning of Form project. The book is now called The Meaning of Form in Contemporary Innovative Poetry. And scheduled for delivery in October 2015. Again, there might not be many (though one deleted passage is scheduled for early April, and another fascinating but clumsy account of how Allen Fisher used a crumpled collage of a book about Crewe as the commentary to the first Proposal is smuggled into the already existing, and much read, post on that book. That's here). I will of course announce the publication of the book, if I or it, gets there (I never count those chickens.)

6. I will do a lot of internal linking of posts (old and new), and not be afraid to update a past post, which is why you will find a post from 2006 offering a link to a later post in 2015. This practice of internal linkage was the only thing I learnt from a student's essay on 'how to keep a literary blog' (oh, that - and the suggestion that readers of blogs like lists like this list!). But then possibly it was also the working method of the network of Twentieth Century Blues, with its strands, lists and linkages.

7. I will announce all my publications, of course. 2015 looks like being a bumper year for book or pamphlet publication, as it happens. Liverpool Hugs and Kisses, Fandango Loops - both already out and announced here and here, Words Out of Time from KFS, The Drop from Oystercatcher, Unfinish from Veer, History or Sleep: Selected Poems from Shearsman....

8. I will possibly post some more critical materials that have slipped out of view.

9. I will start to track the progress of my ongoing collaborative project the European Union of Imaginary Authors, and the coming into being of my solo fictional poet Sophie Poppmeier. (Volumes two and three of the Fictional Poems Project, it occurs to me now, with A Translated Man as the first. See here too.) The Poppmeier posts are coming soon, and already written and scheduled for 13th/20th/27th March 2015.

10. I will try not to schedule posts months in advance (like that last one) although it has been useful for the form work as I churned it out, for the 25 Poets who needed to be one a week, and for the EUOIA posts (upcoming but written a while back). Indeed, these 'Ten Years of Pages' posts were started months ago, but - then - that's also why they are so detailed, as I've added to them over time. (So there is a place for scheduling, but it detracts from pure blogness - I want that word too.) I'm going to break this one. I'm wondering about celebrating a particular birthday with x important poems drawn from a list, leading up to or trailing away from that date. I don't know whether I will actually do that.

Saturday, February 21, 2015

Ten Years of Pages: Ten Posts Nothing - Or Little - to do with Poetry

There actually is very little that has nothing to do at all with poetry on Pages. It is a poet's blog, after all, so even the less obvious posts might be tangentally linked to poetry. But here, in order of posting, are the least relevant to the stated themes.

1. Django Reinhardt's Guitar: talismanic object.

 2. Tony Parsons: a friend celebrated

3. The Blind Lemons: Tony Parsons' band celebrated (there is another post which has a photo of me reading 'Smokestack Lightning' along to the band. They had used the text in performance, but this is the only time I read it myself, the band softening to allow my voice to be heard). Tony and I used to play the blues together as Little Albert Fly.

4. This is probably the first post where the blog is talking about itself, in this case its archiving by the British Library. I have put in a recent link to that. (Something I am doing a lot is augmenting earlier posts with new images and fresh links.)

 5. Frank Sinatra, a great clip of Frankie and Jobim. Or it was. The Estate snatches video off of YouTube quicker than you can say ‘FBI Tribunal!’ so it isn't there now. Go onto YouTube, type in Frank Sinatra and see what's up there for the next few days. Any way for now, try one of these. They seem to be identical adverts so may survive the purging for a while.

This post has little to do with poetry, but that 'little' is that the lyrics of the song were written by a poet, AND it's a curious fact that one of the de Campos brothers wrote a book on bossa nova and its opposition to the bel canto tradition. Which is why Sinatra is having difficulty holding back in a way the early, saintly Astrud Gilberto had no trouble achieving. Sinatra said: 'The last time I sang this quiet I had laryngitis'; the trombonist on the Jobim-Sinatra album said: 'If I play any quieter, I'll be playing out the back of my head'. It's hard (I've tried, a legend in my own bath time.) Here's the original post:

'What the hell's that hanging round the back of my microphone?'

6. An act of simple solidarity with Pussy Riot.

7. Another reminder of my Malcolm Lowry activities as a Firminist. David Markson is a good read in anything but the conventional sense. His novels made me never to want to read another novel, a great achievement and one I might manage to live by one day. Until then, plough on through the procedural tedium of so mcuh contemporary fiction.

 8. It's a shame that the only video of me singing (other than the 'Smokestack Lightning performance at the Bluecoat which involves a little vocalising ) is one of my inebriated New Year's Eve sessions with Steve on piano. At least this wasn't the new year some of the party spent the night in A+E! (That's another story, as they say.)

9. My funeral eulogy for my father. 

10. Memories of a good gig (even if the jerking bass player on this Later gig is not actually the one from the band). I have been subscribing to The Wire for a couple of years now and it is responsible for me finding all kinds of interesting bands and artists, mostly new: The Necks, Nicole Mitchell, Josephine Foster, The Glasgow Improvisors' Orchestra, the Fire Orchestra, Alasdair Roberts, Matana Roberts, John Butcher, The Thing, The Cherry Thing, Matsuo Butoh, Peter Brotzmann, Mary Halvorsson, Thumbscrew, Tyshawn Sorey, Steve Lehman and this group, The Bad Plus.

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Ten Years of Pages: One Post a Year

This is the Museum of Musical Instruments in Brussels where Veryon Weston performed on the Lutheal piano with Jennifer Cobbing and where Van Valckenborch claims, despite not having existed, to have witnessed the same (see 2014 choice number two below).

Here are posts (one a year) to celebrate the tenth anniversary of Pages. Each is a little something I've missed so far in my last two retrospective posts:

2015 so far: It was great to 'rediscover' the two Looking North poems from 1987, which Patricia and I published as a Ship of Fools booklet at the time, with her paintings. (The text was written using the same photographs of Hackney, where we lived, that Patricia used to make the images). It was a shame that one of the two had to go from History or Sleep, my selected poems. Here's the de-selected poem:

2014: This year I virtually lived (ho, ho) on my blog, thinking through the implications of poetic form for a critical work, but I particularly like this post about writing about poetry and jazz (there's a lot here about an abandoned critical work on the strange and manifold relationships between poetry and jazz):

Since it was a bumper year I'm going to pick a second, related post, on Veryan Weston, Patricia Farrell and Jennifer (Pike) Cobbing: oh, and the Weston-Cobbing show that the fictional poet Rene Van Valckenborch witnessed and wrote about! See image above.

2013: It was good to exhibit (or re-exhibit) some of the prints Pete Clarke made using some poems and (increasingly) in collaboration with myself. Here's some from the Edge Hill exhibition:

2012: Pages from 'Poet' presents an abandoned conceptual piece (or was it a satire on such?), then called 'Poet' and later called 'Plunderhead', after a character I have now moved to another work (where he becomes a very naughty boy), 'Wiped Weblogs', my 'Empty Diaries 2001-14' sequence. I like the photos. I've no idea why they are so huge but I like the fact you can read all the titles of the books (some named in the text itself) and also the array of images above my desk (at the time of the photographs, a January evidenced by the Kylie Calendar). I must alos have been assembling the books to write my critical book on form. The books are still there.

2011: A year dominated by my innovative sonnet posts, but this one about my trip to, and reading at, Amsterdam is a favourite, for its photos (memories) of reading with Richard Parker, Louis Armand, Jeff Hilson and Jane Lewty.

2010: Another lean year, with a squeezing in of the Rene Van Valckenborch 'twitterodes' at the end of the year one a day (I don't think I knew how to 'schedule' them then, so I must have literally posted one a day.) Here's one of my favourite photographs of Brussels (which I couldn't find for my other re-posts of these) with its twitterode. I'm picking it because only one person has ever looked at it, according to the useful 'stats' that the blog acquired at some point around 2010, in fact.

2009: These selected posts haven't acknowledged my role as a Firminist, that is: as a member of the dedicated band of mostly Merseyside-based enthusiasts for the works of Malcolm Lowry. This acknowledges the first of our now annual meetings (with photos and links) which we hold around the Day of the Dead, although we have plans for 2015, bigger plans for 2016, but our biggest plans yet are for 2017, the anniversary of both Lowry's death in 1957 and the publication of Under the Volcano a decade before. My piece 'Malcolm Lowry's land', appears in the book published in 2009 (and it is now a footnote to Words Out of Time, whose proofs I am currently reading for publication by Knives, Forks and Spoons).

2008: This year was (for the sake of a focussed set of guest posts) a lean one so there are only a few to choose from. However, the one by Tom Jenks is a good read. I didn't really know Tom then. Certainly I couldn't have foreseen I would be lucky enough to be co-supervising his PhD, nor that we would together be building the Luxembourgish poet Georg Bleinstein together and exchanging sausage gags. (Remember Tom: it's never too early in the day for a sausage!). Here it is.

2007: Not a bumper year, but this forgotten post surprised me. I called it a 'response to the Partly Writing 2006,' but added: 'I don't think, [ it] ever saw the light of day. I had wanted to include it as part of my inaugural, but cut it, and then recently I sent it to Susan Schultz for her collection of Rumsfeldisms. So here it is, crossing with a poetics of September 12.' It worries away at questions of 'borrowing' and 'transformation', issues that resurface in a more advanced way when I consider conceptual writing. I'd forgotten all about this post until now. So's everybody else.

2006: The launch of Hymns to the God in which My Typewriter Believes

Scott Thurston and I read above the Fly in the Loaf. Peter Griffiths took wonderful photographs (and he still does) and I offer an account of this Liverpool event. It's an early 'set list' post, in effect.

2005: Jeff Hilson's Bird Bird

One of our best poets here with a substantial showing and a photo from the Poetry Buzz (Lawrence Upton and Rob Holloway are also visible in the photo.)

Other posts celebrating a decade of blogging are:

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Ten Years of Pages: The Best Bits

Ten Years After

1. favourite images

My favourite image on the blog must be Django Reinhardt's guitar, which I saw in the Musical Instrument Museum in Paris. It is completely inconsequential as regards the point and purpose of the blog, but seems talismanic in some way. Here it is again:

I liked the photographs that accompany some of Rene Van Valckenborch's 'twitterodes'. These 'twitterodes' did appear on Twitter but I posted some on Pages - one a day - in order to show the photographs of Belgium that I'd used to write the poems (as here and here and here), though here is an interloper from a different source. This image of an open window (or vacant window, should I say) came to symbolise the very absence I'd invented in A Translated Man.

Images of a different kind, in the form of Patricia Farrell's A Space Completely Filled with Matter formed an underviewed series of images. Here's one. And another. But the whole will be available from Veer Books soon.

Of course, the collaborations with Pete Clarke are important, see here, about our 2013 exhibition.

I made plentiful use of photos I took in 2005 when the Poetry Buzz to celebrate Allen Fisher's 60th birthday toured London sites, both of the 'buzz' itself and of poets on it, not just Allen, but the rest of us too, from Ken Edwards and Lawrence Upton, through to John Seed and Patricia Farrell. Here are some that I didn't post at the time.

Waiting to board the bus. Allen at the centre. Jeremy Hilton in the foregound.

Mostly younger bards upstiars.

Harry Gilonis in his bus conductor's uniform!

2. favourite critical pieces

This has to be not one post, but the cluster, around the Meaning of Form project, partly because I was thinking online, wrote early drafts of the book project online, whereas some earlier pieces were re-writes and updates (though some of these, on Lee Harwood and Iain Sinclair, receive many hits). The whole cluster of 'Form' posts can be accessed here.

Since I am King Blog in this domain (and I can break my own rules) I'll pick another favourite: this long one on the British Poetry Revival seems pretty neat, particularly with the images of Cobbing and embedded movie by Jeff Keen.

3. creative pieces

Talking of embedded vids, here's one of me doing 'Smokestack Lightning' with obsolete technology like cassette tapes. Of course, it wasn't obsolete when I first performed it at Subvoicive in the 1990s, but I dug out the tapes and harps in 2008 for the launch of Twentieth Century Blues.

I am aware that I post offcuts and outtakes or reprise already published or never to be (re)published pieces on this blog, such as poems that won't make it into my Selected Poems, here and here. Here's another link here, a de-selected poem, with a link to all the others. (There are various reasons why they are de-slected, and not because I don't like them any more!) I offer tasters of my own work. It's not really publishing. If I have one favourite it's probably the garish colour version of Rene Van Valckenborch's 'Revolutionary Song', which could only be published online (without considerable expense). When Thatcher died I rolled out a few old barrels, and rolled them over her corpse.

4. favourite guest writings

I am glad to have hosted other writers on this blog, and for them it is publishing. Of particular interest are Allen Fisher's 'Mezz Merround', the last (and long) piece in Gravity as a Consequence of Shape; and Iain Sinclair's contribution, 'Patrick Hamilton', but it was also good to have 'captured' emerging writers such as Marianne Morris and Mark Mendoza. (MM and MM).

These are all good, but top prize has to go to the Bill Griffiths' Ghost Stories I posted, links here. They remain uncollected though, the stats tell me, happily not unread.

This transcription of a 1973 interview with George Oppen went unnoticed (for a while, it's properly transcribed and published now, and the editor did track me down to question me about the provenance of this text). These were from a talismaic set of notes I made about seeing this videoed at UEA sometime in the early 1980s. Here.

I am pleased too to have meshed the blog with my professional life, once in introducing the Edge Hill Poetry and Poetics Research Group to a wider audience (it was celebrating its tenth anniversary in 2009) here, and, as currently, with my posting of 25 Edge Hill Poets, which is explained here, and carries links in it to all the poets.

5. two favourite neglected strands of posts

1. Chris Hamilton Emery of Salt wrote an account of what he thought was happening in 2007 in British poetry. It was on a discussion list and I asked him to prepare a version for my blog. It's here:

He was answered by 5 posts that can be read together by clicking onto the ‘2008’ button to the right of this post. (The paucity of posts that year reflected my concern that the responses should be read together as contiguous posts, which I suspect was the way blogs were perused even those few years ago. Now readers and viewers zoom in on links to particular posts, one reason for the amount of internal linking that I do.) A sixth poet, Aidan Semmens, responded to the whole strand, the so-called ‘fourth series of Pages’. It's here:

After this time I abandoned the numbering as I learnt how blogging worked (though I’ve never quite abandoned the blogzine aspect of Pages).

2. I also want to highlight my own neglected strand of posts, on the history of poetics (as a writerly speculative discourse). They were parts of an abandoned book on poetics (or rather, a re-distributed book; parts of it became When Bad Times Made for Good Poetry, and others await their day, such as this one.). They are accounts of hundreds of works of poetics (cumulative evidence to be used against anyone who thinks that such a discourse, with its own flexible disciplines, doesn't exist). Here they are as raw links:

Part One: Poetics and Proto-Poetics

 Part Two: Through and after Modernism

Part Three: North American Poetics

Part Four: Some British Poetics

6. the worst bit

The worst bit was announcing the death of Dinesh Allirajah, poet and colleague, in December 2014. It is one of the most viewed pages. I added a Martha Reeves videoto it ('Heat Wave', as on the disc below) to capture something of the atmosphere of the funeral itself, well, the end of it, anyway. Dinesh is much missed. By sheer coincidence this month there is an obituary in The Guardian here.

Other posts celebrating a decade of blogging are: