Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Robert Sheppard published in Best British Short Stories 2016 (and The Only Life revisited)

Best British Short Stories invites you to judge a book by its cover – or more accurately, by its title. This series aims to reprint the best short stories published in the previous calendar year by British writers, whether based in the UK or elsewhere (that includes Europe). The brief of editor Nicholas Royle (a Belgophile) is wide ranging, covering anthologies, collections, magazines, newspapers and web sites, looking for the best of the bunch to reprint all in one volume. Here it is.

It is the Guardian book of the month. Buy it here.

I'm pleased to say I'm in it. It contains my story 'Arrivals', a short narrative capriccio from my autrebiography Words Out of Time. It works well on its own, I feel, as an allegory about adoption.There's a review of Words Out of Time here.

This new anthology also includes stories by: Claire-Louise Bennett, Neil Campbell, Crista Ermiya, Stuart Evers, Trevor Fevin, David Gaffney, Janice Galloway, Jessie Greengrass, Kate Hendry, Thomas McMullan, Graham Mort, Ian Parkinson, Tony Peake, Alex Preston, Leone Ross, John Saul, Colette Sensier, DJ Taylor, Greg Thorpe and Mark Valentine.

Words Out of Time may also be obtained here.

The question of my fiction-writing is an interesting one. I have another Knives Forks and Spoons book containing three stories, The Only Life. Edge Hill is famous (through its annual Prize) for its support of the short story form, and something rubbed off a few years ago, and I found myself developing ideas for stories, and some survived. The three stories in The Only Life are about writers: Keats on his 80th birthday, the life of the Esperanto poet Tropp, and a bloke from York who writes poems about the Gulf War (probably the best of the three, though Tropp was a dry-run for A Translated Man). 

The Only Life may be bought here.

I'm hoping that there might be a bit of interest in this on the back of my appearance amid the august company in the Salt book. (And it's great to see former MA student Trevor Fevin (see here) there rubbing shoulders with Gaffney and Galloway and Evers and Mort, to pick out some names.)

There is a sort of fiction in A Translated Man and another fable in Unfinish but these four stories are my first attempts at writing fiction since I walked into Malcolm Bradbury and told him I wanted to enter poems from my MA. (I was the first.) That was 1979. Pre-Thatcher, probably. But that's another story. A guide to other recent publications may be read here. My next publication consist of garters (really!) 

Saturday, June 25, 2016

EUOIA’s Hermes Poised to Take Over : Out is Out ‘Sheppard’ Told

As the EUOIA’s institutions scrambled to respond to the bumbite of Britain’s ‘Shexit’ (as it has been dubbed by Scott Thurston) Europoetiosceptic Estonian ‘bongo poet’ Hermes said uncertainty was “the opposite of what we need”, adding that it was difficult to accept that “a whole anthology is taken hostage because of an internal fight in the British Poetry Party”.

“I doubt it is only in the hands of the poets of the United Kingdom,” he said. “We have to take note of this unilateral declaration that they want to wait until The Sheppard Symposium, but that must not be the last word.”

Hermes’ comments were partially echoed by the president of the European Translation Committee, Matúš Dobeš, who said that there was no reason to wait until next March 8th to begin negotiating Britain’s departure from the European Union of Imaginary Authors. “Evoke Particle 50!” he cried, guzzling Diesel.

“Britons decided yesterday that they want to leave the EUOIA, so it doesn’t make any sense to wait until The Sheppard Symposium to try to negotiate the terms of their departure,” Dobeš said in an interview with Germany’s WELL ’ARD television station. “I would like to get started immediately.” (He forgets that 48% of voters wanted to stay in. Where can they go? Shouldn’t there be some organisation they can join? A fraternity of the “ashamed” and “embarrassed”, to use words that one can find repeatedly used on social media.)

'What will the EU do for the 48% who wanted to remain? What will the EUOIA do for the 48% that want a refrain?' asked Sheppard, enigmatically. (See here.)  

There are now just two poets to complete co-creating, Ireland’s Sean Eogan (1969-), who is being concocted with Steve MacCaffery; and Hungary’s Ratsky József (1970-), who requires stitching together with Jeff Hilson. “I will continue in the English way, as if nothing has happened,” “Sheppard”, declared, even though the anthology has been re-paginated, with his work firmly in the appendix with the Frislandic and Icelandic contributions. He shrugged off suggestions from Hermes that he might be removed altogether, with the book continuing to be the work of the remaining 27.

This ends the Referendum Bulletins of the EUOIA. (You hope!)


I am pleased to announce that Shearsman Books will be publishing the EUOIA anthology.  It will be called Twitters for a Lark and will appear in June or July, in time for the EUOIA evening at The Other Room, Manchester.

Friday, June 24, 2016

President of the EUOIA (European Union of Imaginary Authors) resigns

'Robert Sheppard' in Brussels
Good afternoon everyone: the EUOIA has just taken part in a giant democratic exercise, perhaps the biggest in our literary history.

Over 33 million people from England, Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland, Gibraltar and the Isle of Wight have all had their say.

We should be proud of the fact that in these islands we trust the people (who were wrong) for these little decisions, and the poets who sing them.

We not only have a parliamentary democracy (with an unelected upper house and a hereditary monarchy), but on questions about the arrangements for how we've made stanza breaks and enjambements, there are times when it is right to ask the people themselves (although they are not sovereign as they are in a country like Ireland) and that is what we have done.

The British people have voted with their poetic feet to leave the European Union of ImaginaryAuthors and their will must be respected. I’m off.

I want to thank everyone who took part in the campaign on my side of the argument, including all those who put aside national differences to poeticize in what they believe was the national interest and let me congratulate all those who took part in the Leave campaign for the spirited and passionately murderous case that they made. (This doesn’t include Hermes, of course, or Matus Thingybobby from Slovakia, who could at least have got out of bed for the vote. More here.)

The will of the British poets is an instruction that must be delivered. And re-delivered at a convenient time, if there’s nobody in.

It was not a decision that was taken slightly, not least because so many rhymes were said by so many different poets about the significance of this decision.

So there can be no doubt about the result. (Hang on, what was the result?)

Across the world people have been watching the choice that Britain has made.

I would reassure those literary markets and editorial investors, publishers and poetry lovers, that Britain's poetry is fundamentally strong and I would also reassure British poets living in European countries and European poets living here there will be no immediate changes in your circumstances (but make sure you have sturdy suitcases and rolls of US dollars in pairs of socks).

There will be no initial change in the way our poets can write, in the way our poems can move, or the way our books can be sold. (Well, you don’t actually sell poetry.)

We must now prepare for a negotiation with the European Union of ImaginaryAuthors.

This will need to involve the full engagement of the Scottish, Welsh and Northern Ireland poets to ensure that the interests of all parts of our United Kingdom are protected and advanced.

But above all this will require strong, determined and committed leadership of the EUOIA.

I'm very proud and very honoured to have been president of the EUOIA for six years, since the disappearance of Rene Van Valckenborch (into drift-sands according to the latest theory).

I believe we've made great steps, with more people in work as poets than ever before in our history, with reforms to poetic hygiene and creative writing education, increasing people's life story chances, building a bigger and stronger anthology, keeping our promises to the poorest people in the book and enabling those who love each other to get married whatever their sexuality or poetic orientation, but above all restoring Britain's poetic strength (while stamping out doggerel and rhyme).

And I'm grateful to everyone who's helped to make that happen.

I have also always believed that we have to decide to confront the big ducks.

That is why we delivered the first collaborative poetic epic in 70 years, to bring our body poetic back from the ceasura.

It's why we delivered a fair, legal and decisive referendum in Scotland (where the makars voted to stay in; whoops: news just in: they want another referendum).

And it's why I made the pledge to renegotiate Britain's position in the European Union of Imaginary Authors and to hold the referendum on our membership and have carried those things out. (Maybe that wasn’t my best decision, but there you go.)

I fought this campaign in the only way I know how, which is to lisp tuneless numbers directly and passionately about what I think and feel - head, heart and soul. My head is a sponge, my heart is a pump and my soul is the man-made part of a toy cat (as Roy Fisher says somewhere).

I held nothing back, not even my unbent tummy banana: I was absolutely clear about my belief that British poetry is stronger, safer and better off inside the European Union of Imaginary Authors and I made clear the referendum was about this and this alone - not the future of any single poet including myself (or Hermes).

But the British people have made a very clear decision to take a different path and as such I think the Union requires fresh leadership to take it in this direction.

I will do everything I can as President to steady the spaceship over the coming weeks and months but I do not think it would be right for me to try to be the cosmonaut that flies our poets to their next inter-planetary destination.

This is not a decision I've taken slightly but I do believe it's in the literary interest to have a period of prosodic stability and then the new laureateship is required (please don’t vote for Hermes).

There is no need for a precise timetable today (whoops: news just in from Brussels: they want me to go immediately) but in my view we should aim to have a new president in place by the Robert Sheppard Symposium at Edge Hill illUniversity, on March 8th next year. (That’s not imaginary, by the way: see here.)

Delivering stability with hemstiches and balanced periods in duple rhythm will be important and I will continue in post as president with my not so-solid crew of literary co-productions for some while. I expect to be removed from the main body of the anthology to the appendix, which, since I am at the end of the book anyway, effectively means simply moving the border (I mean section break) between the main body and the appendix.

The 27 remaining poets (including those deceased) will meet on Monday, the Governor of the Blank Verse of England is making a statement about the steps that the Blank Verse and the Literary Golden Treasury are taking to reassure poetry markets.

We will also continue taking forward the important legislation that we set before the meeting in Malmo of the Imaginary Authors in the European Laureate’s Speech. (That’s SophiePoppmeier, who is also professionally known as Angela Merkin, but that's another story.)

And I have spoken to Ms Poppmeier this morning to advise her of the steps that I am taking.

A negotiation with the European Union of Imaginary Authors will need to begin under a new president and I think it's right that this new poet-shaman takes the decision about when to trigger Article 50 and start the formal and legal process of leaving the EUOIA.

I will attend the EUOIA council next week to explain the decision the British people have taken and my own decision, and I shall remind them of the slim margin of victory for the Brexiteers.

The British people have made a choice, that not only needs to be respected but those on the losing side of the argument - myself included - should help to make it rhyme.

Britain is a ‘special’ country - we have so many great advantages - a parliamentary democracy where we resolve great issues about our future through peaceful debate, a great trading nation with our science and arts, our engineering and our creativity, respected the world over, and UNPOP testifies to that. (That is: the United Nations Platform of Poetry (UNPOP), which is drawn from the approximately 200 nations (and disputed territories) of the world.)

And while we are not perfect (though we have perfect beauty and perfect pitch) I do believe we can be a model for the multi-racial, multi-faith democracy, that people can come and make a contribution and rise to the very highest that their writing talent allows.

Although leaving the EUOIA was not the path I recommended, I am the first to praise our incredible writerly strengths. It's back to a thin slice of parkin and a slim vol by Larkin! (See here)

I said before that Britain can survive outside the European Union of Imaginary Authors and indeed that we could find a sonnet or two to ennoble ourselves.

Now the decision has been made to leave, we need to find the best way and I will do everything I can to help, so long as Hermes is not elected as my replacement. (Read his effusions here.)

I love this country house and I feel honoured to have served it and I will do everything I can in future to help this great anthology we have assembled together to succeed. We are marching forward to the completion of the project very shortly, and nothing Hermes can do will wreck it now. Be assured we stand firm.

Thank you very much for the Aintree Iron. Thank you very much, thank you very very very much.

Robert Sheppard’, president of the European Union of Imaginary Authors. (Read about the other Robert Sheppard's books here.)

Read Hermes' response to this post here.

PS Read Tom Jenks' post-Brexit poem here.

I am pleased to announce that Shearsman Books will be publishing the EUOIA anthology.  It will be called Twitters for a Lark and will appear in June or July, in time for the EUOIA evening at The Other Room, Manchester.

Thursday, June 23, 2016

EUOIA: UK's 'Robert Sheppard' sings Bremain!

United Kingdom’s 'Robert Sheppard' (1955-), was co-created by myself, and he sings BREMAIN! (Why should 'Brexit' have the sole neologism?)
Robert Sheppard

If Britain votes to leave the EU (European Union) today, Robert Sheppard, the British representative of British imaginary authors, may have to be excluded from his own anthology, EUOIA, which he is conducting and collaboratively writing with other writers; the Rimbaudian initials refer to his European Union of Imaginary Authors (although it was set up - invented - by Rene Van Valckenborch, another of his fictional authors (see here)); at the very least he will be moved to the Appendices with fictional island Frisland’s fictional poet Hróbjartur Ríkeyjarson af Dvala (whom he created with Icelandic poet Eiríkur Örn Norðdahl).

He hopes exit doesn't happen and all the arguments have been exhausted. He had no idea his caprice of posting these biographies of fictional poets for about a month before the vote would be conducted against a backdrop of a campaign for the EU referendum with so many beliefs and so few facts on display, and one that would involve a murder of a public figure in the Remain camp. (See my thoughts on the death of Jo Cox here.)  

To find out more or less about the EUOIA check the EUOIA website which is still live at http://euoia.weebly.com, and there are multiple posts on the subject of the EUOIA on this blog (use the keyword EUOIA to see them all displayed, and then check). See here for his Eastertide realisation of what might be about to happen. Read about all the EUOIA poets here. But just who is this 'Robert Sheppard'? 'Patricia Farrell' tells you:

Robert Sheppard was born in West Sussex, and began to write at the age of nine, inspired by copies of Angry Penguins he found lining a drawer in his grandmother’s house.  His distinctive abilities to extract the semantic potentialities of language –which have uniquely made him Britain’s foremost linguistically-enervative poet – were already evident in Biggles Bombs East Sussex (1965; self-published). This was soon followed by challenging works: Mutton-Shunters!  (Leg it; 1975), There was no Quail-Pipe, though (Raspberry; 1987), Crinkum-crankum (a rare foray into sound poetry after he attended one of Bob Cobbing’s Writers Forum workshops (Sheppard was subsequently barred for drunken behaviour)) (Tallywags; 1994), and Tight as a Boiled Owl (Bags of Mystery; 2001).  Sheppard’s startling resemblance to Rimbaud led in 2002 – by which time Sheppard had developed a resemblance to Jack Nicholson (by way of startling resemblances to Charles Manson and the proprietor of a Surrey fish-and-chip shop) –  to an invitation to collaborate with the Argentinian narco-poet and phonetico-kinetic-tango artist, Seňor Rita de fforrest-Mann on the multi-disciplinary work,  cuidar una banana. The two poets’ production led to a bi-lingual transliteration into Rioplatense and West Sussex dialect of the epic chan fhulaing Seumas cularain by the ancient Gallic female bard Ceit Cailleach, published as all of a glawming dishabill - cuidar una otra banana (Long Plum; 2008). Although critically acclaimed at the time, controversy followed the pair, when it emerged that de fforrest-Mann had been using the family firm of fruit importers as a cover for gun running, and that the works of Cailleach were a literary fraud by the eighteenth century conman and backgammon cheat, James Buggy Park.  Sheppard has since concentrated on solo projects, including a volume of acronymic versions of Tang Dynasty poems, Come Home I’m Naked Already (Spicket; 2011), Working the dumb oracle (Cracksman; 2013), Exercising the Armadillo (Sconce; 2014), and his magnum opus, Cupid’s Kettle-drums (Taturtrap; 2012). His most recent collection is an autobiography, Making Magic with Leftovers (Waxed Giraffe; 2016).  Sheppard is currently Professor of Verse and Vertigo at the online University of Ashgabat, from which platform he has campaigned for Turkmenistan’s entry into the EU.  He lives in Liverpool with his partner, the German opera singer,Bertram Kaninchen, and their Rottweiler, Cecil. (Patricia Farrell)

A guide to his 'other' publications here. Read about all the other EUOIA poets here. But read of his post-Brexit fate here.
Harold Hare: 20:48; 14:11:2015

I am pleased to announce that Shearsman Books will be publishing the EUOIA anthology.  It will be called Twitters for a Lark and will appear in June or July, in time for the EUOIA evening at The Other Room, Manchester.

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Sweden’s Kajsa Bergström says Stay in the EUOIA

Sweden’s Kajsa Bergström (1956-), co-created with SJ Fowler, a Nordic man himself, is one of the finest of modern, modest Northern European poets. Born into a gentrified family 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. She can't help any of this, but she still says Don't Leave the EU or the EUOIA.
SJ Fowler has his own EUOIA post here. And here is a list of all 28 poets and links to biographies and poems.

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Spain’s Cristòfol Subira says Don't Leave the EUOIA

Spain’s Cristòfol Subira (1957-), co-created with Wales' Alys Conran, says Don't Leave the EUOIA (European Union Of Imaginary Authors)..

Cristòfol Subira was born in 1957 in Barcelona. He worked for many years as a street performer and living statue in the tourist districts of the city. Between 1980 and 2007, Subira produced four collections of poetry, alternately in Catalan and Spanish, but since then, his poetry has not appeared in print except for several unattributed poems inscribed on the paving of cul-de-sacs in Barcelona, recently acknowledged as his work. There was one doubtful sighting in Brussels in the summer of 2010.

Our writing of Cristòfol Subira, part of Gelynion Poetry (Bangor), on May 26th 2015, may be seen below and at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kVOfQEMoss4.   

Also see: http://robertsheppard.blogspot.co.uk/2016/04/euoia-cristofol-subira-by-alys-conran.html to read about the text as it appears in the latest (Desire) issue of Poetry Wales. 

Here is a link to the biographies of all 28 EUOIA poets. 

Monday, June 20, 2016

Slovenia’s A.B.C. Remič says Don't Leave the EUOIA and thoughts on the murder of Jo Cox

This daily caper (posting the biographical notes from my collaborative European Union Of Imaginary Authors) was intended as a joky (but ultimately serious) plea to Remain in Europe. (We have many posters in the window in the real world to that effect.) It arose out of the realisation that if the EUOIA were real (it couldn't be), and if Britain votes to leave the EU this Thursday, then 'Robert Sheppard', the British representative of British imaginary authors, will have to be excluded from his own anthology, EUOIA. Which is quite funny. Or was. But the campaign has turned nasty, and resulted - I use the word deliberately - in the death of Jo Cox MP. Of this I have no doubt. Look at Brendan Cox's twitterfeed. (here) One day he is complaining that the LEAVE flotilla sprayed river water over his children on the Thames, which is unpleasant; two days later Ms Cox is killed by a man shouting the same ugly phrase used by a UKIP campaigner in Wales (though he was suspended).

I have continued to post these daily announcements (new one below) of the 28 poets (all scheduled in advance, and partly unstoppable) and will do so until the campaign is over and the fate of the country decided (or not decided, because, despite all the predictions on all sides, no one knows what will happen). That all this is determined by a power struggle in the Tory party is lamentable. But these 'fictional' poets don't seem so made up, fabricated, as they used to be, in some unexplainable way. The circus animals, far from deserting, are amassing, protesting. Campaigning was been suspended as a mark of respect, and I stopped tweeting about these posts for a bit, but the issue of the political connection I've raised above has not been raised (much) in the mainstream media. 

So in the spirit of democratic debate, carried out by fictional means, here's today's collaborative European poet (and links to the actual poems this time, so you can get a good idea about how it's done or, certainly, what has been achieved):

Slovenia’s A.B.C. Remič (1958-), recently co-created with Alan Baker, says Don't Leave the EUOIA.

Read ABC's poems here on Stride magazine. Thanks for publishing, Rupert, and thanks for the co-creation Alan!

Read a guide to Alan's work here.

ABC Remič was born in Lubljana in 1958 in what was then Yugoslavia. She studied Ancient History in Belgrade, then returned to Lubljana, where she still lives. Remič’s experience of the fall of the Soviet Bloc and the conflict in the Balkans marked her poetry with a cynicism towards nationalism (she'd have no truck with 'Brexit') and authoritarianism, as well as a disenchantment with Western consumerism (no, the EU isn't perfect). She modelled herself on the American Beats in their opposition to war and authority, and translated Ginsberg’s Howl into Slovene. She has worked for many years as a copywriter for the Slovenian tourist industry. The wine is very good and very cheap, she tells me.

To find out more or less about the EUOIA check the EUOIA website which is still live at http://euoia.weebly.com, and here is a list of all 28 poets with links to their biographies and sometimes the poems too. 

Sunday, June 19, 2016

Slovakia’s Matúš Dobeš isn't sure about the EUOIA either

Slovakia’s Matúš Dobeš (1959-), co-created with Joanne Ashcroft, isn't sure about anything.

Between periods of involuntary detention, Matúš Dobeš has published 49 books of poetry, many of them illustrated by his characteristic spindly ink drawings (for which he is best known in Slovakia). Inspiring a certain trepidation in the viewer, these drawings are symptomatic of deTrump Syndrome, a periodic and collective form of insanity characterised in its manic periods by auditory and visual hallucinations of rational absurdity, similar to those brought on by heavy and prolonged consumption of Diesel.

If Britain votes to leave the EUOIA on 23rd June, Robert Sheppard, the British representative of British imaginary authors, will have to be excluded from his own anthology, EUOIA, which he is conducting and collaboratively writing with other writers; at the very least he will be moved to the Appendices with Frisland’s Hróbjartur Ríkeyjarson af Dvala. To find out more or less about the EUOIA check the EUOIA website which is still live at http://euoia.weebly.com, and there are multiple posts on the subject of the EUOIA on this blog (use the keyword EUOIA to see them all displayed, and then check). 

Some thoughts on the murder of Jo Cox will be posted tomorrow. These EUOIA posts are concocted well in advance of the dates of posting, by many weeks, in fact.  

Joanne on a later appearance here.http://joanneashcroft.weebly.com/joannes-blog/matus-dobes-of-robert-sheppards-european-union-of-imaginary-authors  http://joanneashcroft.weebly.com/joannes-blog/matus-dobes-of-robert-sheppards-european-union-of-imaginary-authors

Saturday, June 18, 2016

Frisland’s Hróbjartur Ríkeyjarson af Dvala says don't leave the EUOIA

Frisland’s Hróbjartur Ríkeyjarson af Dvala (1948- ), co-created with Eiríkur Örn Norðdahl, says Don't Leave; we're trying to get in!

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 metrics 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 the University of Argleton 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.

Friday, June 17, 2016

Romania’s Mirela Nemoianu says Don't Leave the EUOIA

Romania’s Mirela Nemoianu (1960-), has all the vowels in her surname and she says, Don't Leave the EUOIA, at least not before I've joined it. Adopted by Robert Hampson, Mirela is rather taken by the work of Herta Muller, such as these collage-poems, and she has written in honour of them. (See my previous collaboration with Robert Hampson, Liverpool Hugs and Kisses, here )

Thursday, June 16, 2016

Portugal’s Ana Cristina Pessao says Don't leave the EUOIA

Portugal’s Ana Cristina Pessao (1961-), co-created with Jessica Pujol, says Don't Leave Me and Don't Leave the EUOIA (European Union Of Imaginary Authors).

Ana Cristina Pessao is a grand-niece of Nympha Negra who, when young, was a collaborator on O Palrador, 1902, and a forgotten author of charades. Pessao’s ‘Letters to Nympha Negra’ shares the Gothic streak of her dead relative’s work and is notable for a certain self-revelatory excess. ‘This is dark writing with a layer of skin missing,’ writes the leading Portuguese critic, Joao Pacheco, with some distaste.

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Poland’s Jaroslav Biały probably says Don't Leave the EUOIA

Poland’s Jaroslav Biały (1962-), co-created with Anamaria Crowe Serrano, probably says Don't Leave the EUOIA!

Jaroslav Biały, perhaps best known as an artist, archivist and maker of installations (in particular his ‘Museum’ series), has been, under the influence of his wife, Jadzia Biała, increasingly committing his ideas to paper (or screen), though he has yet to publish a dedicated full length volume of this work. He is known world-wide as the principal authority on Leon Chwistek, Zonism and the demise of post-Zonism. Chwistek’s influence on Biały can be seen in his early nonad compositions, which appeared as home-made pamphlets, where Biały challenges principles of formal logic, asserting the existence of nine levels of reality from which we interpret the world, including the abstract categories of invisireversibility and the incognifarious. Wisława Szymborska’s seminal essay, “The nomadic-nonadic of Jaroslav Biały” (Literatura na Świecie, nr 07-08, 1987, p. 416-421) was instrumental in bringing Biały’s poetry to the attention of the literary world. To this day, Biały leads a nomadic life. In an interview with Jocelyn Goos broadcast on Polskie Radio Program II (also known as Dwójka) on November 13th 2003, he famously justified his lifestyle by saying, “Walls are unnecessary.”
Half of our collaboration and a nice note by Anamaria may be read on The Bogman’s Cannon: http://bogmanscannon.com/2015/05/06/poetic-fictions/, and more on her own work here.

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

The Netherlands’ Maarten De Zoete says Don't Leave!

The Netherlands’ Maarten De Zoete (1963-), co-created with God’s Rude Wireless (a cut up machine), says Leave OI Don't Athe EU.

Maarten De Zoete has published several books of poetry, including Orphic Voices and Walk On Parts (2015) and has a Selected Poems in preparation. In 2013 he made the TV documentary Where is René Van Valckenborch? for Danish Television. With Erik Canderlinck he is the editor of a critical volume on Van Valckenborch, The Transliterated Man (2014), which can't be ordered anywhere insdie the EU (or outside).

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.

(I thought I should collaborate with a machine.)

If Britain votes to leave the EUOIA on 23rd June, Robert Sheppard, the British representative of British imaginary authors, will have to be excluded from his own anthology, EUOIA, which he is conducting and collaboratively writing with other writers; at the very least he will be moved to the Appendices with Frisland’s Hróbjartur Ríkeyjarson af Dvala (whom he created with Eiríkur Örn Norðdahl). To find out more or less about the EUOIA check the EUOIA website which is still live at http://euoia.weebly.com, and there are multiple posts on the subject of the EUOIA on this blog (use the keyword EUOIA to see them all displayed, and then check). 

Monday, June 13, 2016

Luxembourg’s Georg Bleinstein says Don't leave the EUOIA

Luxembourg’s Georg Bleinstein (1965-2046) co-created with Tom Jenks (and with a little help from a sausage), says Don't Leave the EUOIA (European Union Of Imaginary Authors). He can see trouble ahead, as related in his short biographical note:

Georg Bleinstein was born in Grevenmucher, Luxembourg, in 1965 -

(France Gall - Poupée de cire, poupée de son - Eurovision 1965 - Luxembourg - Winner!)

- and by the age of six he’d published his first volume, based on the bilingual (German and Lëtzebuergesch) voices he claimed to hear in his head. Subsequently dropped from the Bleinstein canon, these hallucinogenic and hypnogogic poems, entitled The Transitional Object Speaks of its Subject, were greeted with derision and amazement in equal measures. (The title was provided by Bleinstein’s father, the controversial TV psychotherapy guru, Georg snr.) The Hollywood actor Tom Cruise mentioned the poems in an interview with Oprah Winfrey in 1999, describing them as ‘off the hook inspirational’. Cruise triggered unprecedented demand for Bleinstein’s work in general and The Transitional Object in particular which the publishers, having long since been liquidated for financial irregularities, were sadly unable to satisfy. Plans to turn the poems into a film starring Cruise were reportedly shelved when the actor learned of Bleinstein’s views on Scientology, which he memorably described as ‘all salad, no sausage’. Bleinstein famously used this evocative phrase as the title of the hit song on the first (and only) album Euro Autobahn Dance recorded by his retro-Krautrock-cum-Ceilidh band, KraftCheese. A copy of this was sent into orbit in 2001 as part of the Luxembourg government’s later abandoned space programme. Ironically, the name of the rocket was Schenk, in honour of Tatiana Schenk, a filmmaker, film producer and artist with whom Bleinstein lived in the early 1990s. Schenk and Bleinstein fell out over Bleinstein’s claim for a writing credit for her 1995 film The Sorrow of Canaries and did not speak again.
Three volumes of verse, Bleinstein’s General Theory, Bleinstein’s Specific Theory, and Bleinstein’s Next Theory, recycling familiar Luxembourgish tropes (eulogy to raw salmon, paradoxical encomium to poached hare, ode to black sausage and valediction to squirrel cheese) appeared in the 1980s. Bleinstein’s poetry reached maturity in 1989 with the publication of The Fall of the Whirling Ball, which embraced experimental techniques learnt from membership of the Benelux Euroulipo group. His light-hearted use of their ‘homophobic translation’ constraint (an entire anthology of gay love poetry was ‘translated’ into straight argot) was disastrously misunderstood by the Luxembourgish LGBT community, who burnt effigies of him (memorably sporting a fleshly saveloy) during their annual Gay Pride March in 1990. Tatiana Schenk’s support was vital to his rehabilitation and led to their short lived romance.
            Bleinstein changed tack with 13,333 Ways of Looking at a Sausage, a durational piece in which he wrote the same poem 13,333 times whilst looking at a sausage for 76 hours in an undisclosed location near Bochum. No footage exists and Bleinstein destroyed the poems at the end of the performance by plunging them into a deep fat fryer. The sausage itself is believed to have been purchased by Kenneth Goldsmith, who hailed 13,333 Ways of Looking at a Sausage as a proto-conceptual masterpiece.
Expelled from the Euroulipo for ‘conceptualist meanderings’, Bleinstein fell into a deep depression and a cave while hiking in the Swabian Alps. He took up false flag pseudonyms to produce a multi-faceted poetic oeuvre. Even to this day it is not clear how many of the 1990s Submergist Poets were in fact Bleinstein in disguise, transgressing the Grand Duchy’s motto: ‘Mir wëlle bleiwe, war mir sin.’ (‘We want to remain what we are.’) He is estimated to have been responsible for as much as 33% of Luxembourgish poetry published since 1995: from the works of Erwin Wertheim, Vampire Poet and schnitzel champion, to those of the minimalist enigma aurélian, author of w*rst case scenario!; from Jean Portante’s innovative investigations of loss of memory and identity in Le Travail du Poumon (The Work of the Lung), to Claudio Lombardeli’s nautical epic Lushaborg (the ancient Cornish name for Luxembourg), where the ‘old sausage trick’, as critic Titania Schenk put it, supposedly gave the game away. ‘Wherever there’s a sausage, present or absent, there shall ye find Bleinstein!’ she declared. Bleinstein famously misquoted his father in his defence: ‘Sometimes a sausage is just a sausage!’ (Titania Schenk is not to be confused with her older sister Tatiana, of course.)
Swedish Artisan Cheese
Even as late as 2014 when Anne Hoffman was commissioned by the Grand Duchy’s Office to celebrate the successful sequencing of the salmon genome, Bleinstein was widely thought to have been responsible for her contribution, a 3D work of breathtaking complexity that used the sequence as a matrix for re-telling the popular Luxembourg children’s story, Sammy the Salmon, in which the hero – catchphrase ‘Oh Flip!’ – navigates across land to Luxembourg by flipping to his spawning pond in Widow Martha’s vineyard. When the piece was permanently installed at Place du Poisson Mobile in 2018 its flipping tail, farting gills and grunting mouth were a particular delight for children and adults alike. However, on one occasion Bleinstein was forced to publicly deny his involvement in a poet’s work, when in 2001 Yann Lick was arrested for fraud in the Swedish artisan cheese market and further investigations led to accusations of his role in a poison sausage scandal in Ettelbruck (as well as plagiarism in all of his published works). Titania Schenk enthusiastically refuted Bleinstein’s denials.
Bleinstein caused controversy in 2002 when he handed back his Theodor Blank medal, awarded for services to literature in 1998, in protest at the Luxembourg government’s stance on commercial whaling. After this, he lived in Bitburg over the border in Germany, where, in 2007 a street was named after him. Bleinstein Straße has the added distinctions of housing the smallest branch of Kentucky Fried Chicken in northern Europe and accommodating no fewer than eighteen cheesemongers. In 2008 he narrowly missed being awarded Luxembourg’s Batty Weber national prize. In 2011 he again missed out on the prize, which is awarded, every three years, for a lifetime’s work, with many commentators blaming his intermittently colourful personal life for the slight, in particular his naming as a correspondent in the high profile divorce proceedings of Franco-German country and western singer and telecommunications heiress Aurélia Aulrich.
On 31 August 2012, Bleinstein made an infamously uncooperative appearance on the Luxembourg chatshow Heiße Kartoffeln (Hot Potatoes), sporting impenetrable sun glasses, a heavy beard and a t-shirt bearing the slogan Ich Schoss JR. Bleinstein began by stating that he had retired from poetry and would henceforth concentrate his energies on satirical ice sculpture. Bleinstein then proceeded to answer every question posed by host Ulli Ulrich with the word Pute (turkey). It later emerged that Bleinstein had been paying tribute to English comedian, singer, actor and variety performer Max Bygraves, who had died earlier that day, referring to an episode of UK game show Family Fortunes, hosted by Bygraves, where a contestant gave that answer to every question.

Bleinstein and Bygraves struck up an unlikely friendship after meeting on a narrow boat holiday in the Norfolk Broads in 1994, where Bleinstein was gathering primary source material for his uncompleted work of psychogeography Five Mile Drain. It is rumoured that it was Bygraves who introduced Bleinstein to the psyclobin mushroom.

Apparently serious about his retirement from poetry, Bleinstein spent Christmas 2014 in Greenland sculpting a likeness of President of the European Council Herman Van Rompuy into the east face of the Kangerdlugssuaq Glacier. The sculpture itself took seven days. Bleinstein then spent a further fifty-six days melting it very slowly with a succession of matches, using some 40,000 in all. The experience cost Bleinstein three and a half toes lost to frostbite and he was badly mauled by a walrus. It also brought criticism from environmental groups and celebrities such as Dame Angelina Jolie, Dame Helen Mirren and Carol Vorderman MBE.

Perhaps discouraged by the Van Rompuy debacle, Bleinstein made a volte-face and returned to poetry in 2015 with Snowflakes, a series of haiku composed entirely of asterisks. In 2016, he published Quantitative Easing, a complex work combining macro-economics, micro-economics and macrobiotics, which Bleinstein claimed had cured his much documented bowel problems. In an interview in that year, Bleinstein stated that he had not eaten cooked food since sharing a tapas-style starter with former British poet laureate Andrew Motion at a dinner in 2011 to honour Nobel prize winner Tomas Tranströmer, after which he became violently ill. News of the damage to Professor Motion’s trousers (and to his young female companion’s stockings) made Newsnight in Britain, where it provoked Jeremy Paxman to issue one of his signature smirks and a fatwa against all poets. Bleinstein’s presence at the dinner is mysterious given his much publicised dislike of Swedes. This is attributed by Bleinstein himself to being bitten by his father’s vallhund in early childhood and reinforced by an incident where he became trapped inside an Ikea wardrobe he was assembling for his mother and had to be rescued by the fire brigade.

 Image result for sabrina salerno
In 2018, in another appearance on Heiße Kartoffeln, by now hosted by former Italian pop star, glamour model and politician Sabrina Salerno, Bleinstein again found himself at the centre of controversy. Confused by the bright lights and struggling with hay fever, Bleinstein stumbled on his way to the stage and accidently pulled down the trousers of President of the European Commission and former Luxembourg Prime Minister Jean-Claude Juncker, a fellow guest on a special live broadcast to celebrate the centenary of former West German Chancellor Helmut Schmidt. Juncker’s underpants, a very brief blue affair emblazoned with the word Butterberg in gold, are credited with setting back the cause of European federalism some years. The episode made Bleinstein a hero of the Eurosceptic movement, with Nigel Farage quoted as saying that he would happily take Bleinstein to Sevenoaks for a sausage sandwich. Bleinstein replied gnomically that those who seek the sausage find only the chipolata. This remark proved to be eerily prescient when, during the UK general election campaign of 2020, Farage, riding high in the opinion polls, almost choked on a cocktail sausage in the green room of BBC Question Time, being saved only by the timely intervention of gardener and novelist Alan Titchmarsh,
who performed the Heimlich manoeuvre with the assistance of London mayoral candidate Dale Winton. The ordeal caused Farage to retire immediately from politics and establish his globally renowned mail order tropical fish business.

In 2019, Bleinstein again announced his retirement from poetry, this time to focus on ballet. His five hour long piece Donaudampfschiffahrtsgesellschaftskapitän, set, as the title suggests, on a Danube steam ship with Bleinstein himself playing the lead role, was premiered to equal parts acclaim and derision in Ulm in 2020. The production’s run was cut short when Bleinstein, attempting an ambitious, non-choreographed vault over a mooring post, sustained a serious injury that incapacitated him for the next four years and rendered him incapable of riding his beloved racing bike for the rest of his life.

 Bleinstein returned once more to poetry in 2024, when he narrowly won a bid against Anne Hoffman to compose a poem celebrating the Medium-Sized Hadron Collider built under Luxembourg City in 2021. It was entitled ‘When Time Bent over Backwards’, and was premised entirely upon the widely reported calculations of a Scottish scientist who had erroneously used Imperial measures instead of metric ones (‘of whisky!’ Hoffman sneered on Heiße Kartoffeln, as she infamously touched the bare thigh of Sabrina Salerno) to suggest that bright light was carried by dark light faster than the speed of light itself. When the sober re-calculations were released the funding body, the Schenk Foundation, demanded a re-write and Bleinstein produced a poem composed entirely of light in which, he claimed, as long as he bathed in its luminescence and he was visible, the poem was signifying. No wonder in 2026 he was shortlisted for the Batty Weber National Prize (though losing out to a scoffing Hoffman) but was awarded the prize at last in 2029.
Bleinstein became increasingly concerned with spiritual matters. In 2032, he joined the cult sect based around the life and works of renowned fishmonger and entrepreneur Harry Ramsden, spending six months in retreat in a restaurant in Guisely, West Yorkshire. The practices of the sect are shrouded in secrecy, with a number of former members being found dead in unexplained circumstances, often accompanied by a small pot of tartar sauce and a slice of lemon. Upon emerging from retreat, a morbidly obese Bleinstein was asked by a journalist what he had been doing and replied, in characteristically elliptical fashion, ‘Battering a sausage’. The experience inspired his 2033 conceptualist masterpiece Hake, a transcription of the complete Harry Ramsden’s menu on the reverse of a copy of the Maastricht Treaty. He followed this in 2035 with a companion piece Haake, a transcription of the complete Maastricht Treaty on the reverse of a Harry Ramsden’s menu. Both documents were written using mushy peas and were completely illegible.
General von Knyphausen
Now in his seventies, Bleinstein grew increasingly eccentric and was often accompanied on public appearances by General von Knyphausen, a tame puffin he adopted during a trip to the Orkneys. His later years were devoted to avian welfare and he ploughed his life savings into an ultimately disastrous owl sanctuary, whose collapse left him destitute. In The Transitional Object Speaks of its Subject, the six year old Bleinstein predicted the manner of his own demise in haiku form: ‘dead at eighty-one / black bread in a wooded copse / the nuthatch attends’. This prophecy came true when, in 2046, a traffic officer found Bleinstein slumped beneath an elm in a picnic area near his native Grevenmucher, a solitary passerine perched upon his outstretched finger, pecking at the remains of a piece of pumpernickel. His reported, but possibly apocryphal, last words were: ‘All things come to an end; except the sausage that has two ends.’
Bleinstein’s translation of Dante’s Inferno into asterisks, A Snowball’s Chance in Hell, appeared posthumously in 2065. Its single sentence is uttered by a Usurer in Canto XIX: ‘The one grace of being bald is that one/ Can hear the snowflakes landing on one’s head!’ which caused consternation among the community of follicly-challenged Inuit loan sharks who had sought refuge in Luxembourg following the melting of the Arctic tundra. The work may be apocryphal (or the work of Hoffman) but was included in  Collected Poems and Doubtful Poems which was published in 2086, coincidentally the year the first Luxembourger landed on Mars to establish Base Bleinstein. All Salad No Sausage was reprised as Luxembourg’s interplanetary anthem, but the book was pulped at the request of General von Knyphausen, Bleinstein’s literary executor, following pressure from the estate’s Alaskan creditors.
Image result for jeff nuttallDespite his colourful and eventful life Bleinstein is perhaps still best known in the Anglophone world as Dirk Bloodaxe. Along with Blinky Peet, he is the doyen of Luxi Noir crime fiction, with his Heft quartet, featuring the portly and asthmatic detective of that name. The first of the series, All Fat No Fun is about a serial killer who targets obese men, leaving at each crime scene an enigmatic KFC carton filled with lard and topped with a barely nibbled frankfurter. After an ill-fated trip to the gym, during which an exercise bike was pulverised, Heft realises that he is to be the sixth victim. (It was televised by Channel 5 in 1998, starring Jeff Nuttall as Heft and Peter Capaldi as the villain, under the title A Fat Load of Good.) The novel’s opening line set the sardonic and world-weary tone for the entire Luxi Noir genre: ‘Heft had a way with women – it didn’t work.’ Heft’s words have often been read as autobiographical, as Titania Schenk points out repeatedly in her study of Bleinstein’s work and life, All Gristle No Skin (from which most of the facts in this account are drawn). (Tom Jenks and Robert Sheppard)

Read now Tom Jenks' own response to the EU Referendum:

We have lost control of our borders the long one that goes past Hadrian’s wall piled up with peach stones and the ones with wet water in a trench like in show jumping that are called cliffs and the soil ones with loam and dandelions and the dandelion clocks you have to put them forward one hour because that is the time in Ghent and you can’t say anything about it because if you do you are a racist. We have lost control of our trees those trees they do what they want bending this way in the wind and bending that way in the wind and the wind they make it all in a factory in Poland now they’ve got a big wheel there and they’ve got these monkeys that spin it round and they burn them with hot croissants and raisins and you can’t say anything about it because if you do you are a racist. We have lost control of our birds it is all Chinese birds now Chinese birds like the Chinese woodcock and Chinese birds like the Chinese hooting owl and you can’t even understand what they say at the call centres it is all Chinese owls these days in the call centres and the British birds like the British mud sparrow and the British birds like the British stunted finch you can only get them on eBay now and they come flat and their nests are all full of Romanian butter and you can’t say anything about it because if you do you are a racist. We have lost control of our plumbing the lead pipes and the copper pipes now they are full of the salty mackerel that the Portuguese put there and the sausages the Germans put there and the green olives the Spanish put there and the black olives the Spanish put there the lead pipes and the copper pipes the French they fill them with perfume and the Italians send their spaghetti down the bends and you can’t even get the orange spaghetti anymore oh no it has to be the yellow spaghetti because it is isotonic and if you ask them for orange spaghetti in Tesco’s they say they haven’t got any and you can’t say anything about it because if you do you are a racist. We have lost control of our ports the crusty ports and the tawny ports going the wrong way around the dinner table and the cheeseboards we have lost control of our cheeseboards it is all French cheese on the cheeseboards now and there are no British cheeses now like the British river cheese or British cheese like the British divot cheese or British cheese like the British blue axminster cheese and if you ask for the British blue axminster cheese in Tesco they say they haven’t got any and you can’t say anything about it because if you do you’re a racist. We have lost control of our beer the foaming brown beer that came from the wells that the maidens used to draw up in their buckets down in the dingles and it’s all German buckets now made of iron and steel from the European iron and steel community not the old British buckets made of wattle and daub and you can’t get British beer now like a pint of British creeping treecreeper or a British beer like a pint of British furtive nuthatch or a British beer like a pint of British austin allegro and if you ask for a pint of British austin allegro in Tesco they say they haven’t got any and you can’t say anything about it because if you do you're a racist. We have lost control of our shandies the old British shandies made by hand down in the forest frothing up out of the ditches and they’ve filled in the ditches now all the old British ditches filled them up with Dutch rubble the old British ditches filled them up with Belgian waffles the old British ditches filled them up with Luxembourg squirrel cheese the old British ditches and if you ask for a British hand shandy in Tesco they say they haven’t got any and you can’t say anything about it because if you do you’re a racist. We have lost control of our waterways the rivers now they are full of algae and whitebait the British rivers and the whitebait they come up the pipes and lay eggs that are more whitebait and you can’t get rid of them because they are tapas and the algae it is invisible algae and it clogs up the sluices and the stopcocks and you can’t say anything about it because if you do you’re a racist. We have lost control of our otters they have to wear protective gloves now the British otters and they can’t live in the rivers anymore because of the algae the invisible algae and they have to live in special turrets now the British otters and they don’t even let them have a fast boil kettle in their turrets in case it sets fire to the Dutch elms and you can’t say anything about it because if you do you’re a racist. We have lost control of our salmon they can’t go upstairs to spawn now the British salmon they have to spawn downstairs now the British salmon just in the living room behind the sofa and you can’t hear the television all the salmon spawning and you have to clean it up yourself in a plastic bag and they charge you 5p for the plastic bag and you can’t say anything about it because if you do you’re a racist. We have lost control of our eels they can’t even go up a Spaniard’s trouser leg anymore the British eels like they used to straight up a Spaniard’s trouser leg the British eels and it was harmless and the Queen Mother had some at Balmoral in a big wine glass and Winston Churchill had one in his pocket for his speeches on YouTube and Henry VIII had one in his codpiece when he wrote the music for ice cream vans and they’re all gone now the British codpieces and if you ask for a British codpiece in Tesco’s now they say they haven’t got any and you can’t say anything about it because if you do you’re a racist. We have lost control of our currency the old British pounds and the old British pennies and the other ones like the old British florin and the old British half Nelson and the old British full Nelson that was fourteen and sixteen-seventeenths pence it was the old British full Nelson and you can’t say sixteen-seventeenths anymore when you go down the bakery now it’s all mozzarella puffs and gorgonzola yum-yums down the bakeries now and they’re all in decimal to ten significant figures the gorgonzola yum-yums and you can’t even put an old British full Nelson in a Christmas pudding anymore and if you ask in Tescos for a Christmas pudding with an old British full Nelson they say they haven’t got any and you can’t say anything about it because if you do you’re a racist. We have lost control of our piggy banks they’re all eighty percent water now the piggy banks and they’re all subsidised now the piggy banks and every piggy bank you get now the front right leg belongs to the Bundesbank which is the German for front right leg and they don’t run free in the forest anymore for acorns and filberts the piggy banks underneath the ash trees and every pound you put in a piggy bank eighteen pence of it goes to bacon growers in Denmark and it’s got no rind the Danish bacon they call it rindless bacon and you can’t get rindless bacon with rind anymore and if you ask for rindless bacon with rind in Tescos they say they haven’t got any and you can’t say anything about it because if you do you’re a racist. We have lost control of our bumbags they’re all fibreglass and Teflon now the bumbags not like the old British bumbags made from cured crackling and antlers made by craftsmen they were the old British bumbags down in the royal forest they’d whittle them by moonlight the old British bumbags then leave them to mature down in a ditch one of the old British ditches full of rain and stilton cheese down in the holly grove the old British ditches and they’d last a century the old British bumbags made from cured crackling and antlers and there are no deer anymore you can’t get the old deer meat like a hunch of deer or the old deer meat like a deer goujon or the old deer meat like a pulled deer nacho and if you ask for a pulled deer nacho in Tescos now they haven’t got any and you can’t say anything about it because if you do you’re a racist. We have lost control of our countryside the cows and the sheep they are all getting dismantled now the British cows and sheep the British cows like the British Colonel Mustard or the British cows like the British Captain Mainwaring and the British sheep like the British Albert Steptoe or the British sheep like the British Lionel Richie and it had such a soft yet durable fleece the British Lionel Richie perfect for a cardigan the British Lionel Richie perfect for a cape or a tabard the British Lionel Richie and if you ask in Tescos for a British Lionel Richie tabard they say they haven’t got any and you can’t say anything about it because if you do you’re a racist. We have lost control of our parks they are all getting dismantled now the British parks all the green grass and the white and yellow daisies they are all getting rolled up now the green grass and the white and yellow daisies and they take them all to Strasbourg the green grass and the white and yellow daisies and they put it all on the floor of the boutiques and brasseries and we want them back our daisies our white and yellow daisies can’t even get a proper cup of tea and a sausage in one of these brasseries a proper British sausage like the British frankfurter or a proper British sausage like the British schnitzel or a proper British sausage like the British winky and if you ask them in Tescos for a proper British winky they say they haven’t got any and you can’t say anything about it because if you do you’re a racist. We have lost control of our gardens they are all getting dismantled now the British gardens you can’t even put up a gun turret in your garden anymore or landmines you can’t even put landmines in your garden now because of the environment and there are no real buttercups in them anymore the British gardens just plastic buttercups because of allergies it is because of allergies and if you put a real buttercup in your garden now they come and arrest you like when they sent Jeremy Clarkson to Robben Island and if you ask in Tescos for a book about Jeremy Clarkson getting sent to Robben Island they say they haven’t got any and you can’t say anything about it because if you do you’re a racist.

A guide to all 28 EUOIA poets, and biographies and poems here.
I am pleased to announce that Shearsman Books will be publishing the EUOIA anthology.  It will be called Twitters for a Lark and will appear in June or July 2017, in time for the EUOIA evening at The Other Room, Manchester.