Thursday, June 29, 2017

Atlantic Drift: pre-ordering and sign up

Follow the link to Arc’s website:

You can pre-order the book there!

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In other news: Atlantic Drift: A Transatlantic Anthology of Poetry & Poetics (co-edited by James Byrne and Robert Sheppard), EHUP & Arc Publications, 2017, is now OUT! See here:

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Robert Sheppard: writing blurb-matter for Twitters for a Lark (EUOIA anthology)

I have today (Sunday) been working on the blurb-matter for one of the two anthologies I am editing at the moment, this one being the fake anthology of fictional poets (the EUOIA poets), which is called Twitters for a Lark and which is scheduled for publication by Shearsman. Here’s what we have about the book so far. More about the EUOIA here.  Read 'Robert Sheppard''s resignation speech (!) from the EUOIA here. And Hermes' ungrateful response here.

Somehow, although I have been doing other things, this seems to have taken the whole day. Trying to be brief. Trying to explain the conceit of the book, its accidental post-Brexit (or are we pre-Brexit?) context. Trying to locate quotations that give a flavour of my work, without too much detail. It’s not easy, but I have at least done enough that I will post it on my blog, scheduled for a couple of days’ time. Here goes:

Conceived as a continuation  of the fictional poems Robert Sheppard ventriloquised through the bilingual Belgian poet RenĂ© Van Valckenborch in his A Translated Man (2013), the complete 28 poets of the EUOIA (European Union of Imaginary Authors) presented here take on a variety of new meanings in Brexit Britain. [sentence too long]

Working in collaboration with other writers, Sheppard creates a stylistically various anthology of these European writers, whose works range from the comedic to the political, from the imaginatively sincere to the faux-autobiographical. History may not be argued away by the fictive. Accompanied by biographical notes, the poets grow in vividness until they seem to possess lives of their own. There is no resultant ‘Europoem’ style, but a variety of styles that reflects the collaborative nature of their production.

[I've already reversed the order of those two paragraphs.]

Ian Davidson in Poetry Wales called Sheppard’s work Complete Twentieth Century Blues ‘a major poem of serious intent’. Alan Baker in Litter dubbed Warrant Error ‘political poetry of the first order’.

On A Translated Man

Urgent, melancholy, whimsical, hard-bitten, the voice of Sheppard/Van Valckenborch is also a force of rackety elegance which revels in the production of richly imaged often surreal phrase-extravaganzas…This is a dazzling addition to Sheppard’s oeuvre, witty, poignant, and endlessly entertaining.
Lyndon Davies, Poetry Wales

Robert Sheppard is now as Belgian as moules-frites and Herman Van Rompuy.
Tom Jenks, Tears in the Fence

On History or Sleep

Robert Sheppard’s selected poems from Shearsman Books, History or Sleep, is threaded with a sense of the other. Not ‘The Other’ with its sense of a doppleganger but the other which exists in a type of absence, an ‘autrebiography’ or ‘unwritings’. ….Sheppard’s poetry-frame sets up that haunting … {and what was becomes seamlessly what is and the ‘punched hollows’ of the gone are filled with a lyric intensity that twists ‘into a thin-throated flower’ that ‘wavers in the vibrant gulf.} probably omit the last part? 
Ian Brinton, Tears in the Fence

Since Robert Sheppard’s previous volume of fictional poems, A Translated Man (Shearsman, 2013), new creative work has appeared: an autobiography, Words Out of Time (KFS, 2015), a book of experimental prose, Unfinish (Veer, 2015), and his selected poems History or Sleep (Shearsman, 2015). His critical volume, The Meaning of Form was published by Palgrave in 2016. With James Byrne he edits Atlantic Drift: an anthology of poetry and poetics (EHUP/Arc, 2017). He is a professor at Edge Hill University, where in 2017 a symposium was held on his work. He lives in Liverpool.

Friday, June 23, 2017

Atlantic Drift : the back cover, the contents, poetics

Here's the full cover, with the the left hand panel of Pete Clarke's diptych which we have adopted for the back and front cover.

This also lists the poets selected for the first time, a public unveiling of the 24 poets. Each is represented by a generous selection of poetry, PLUS a piece of poetics, sometimes directly related to the poems, sometimes more general. In a sense, the poetics constitutes a second anthology (if only in my head), one that demonstrates what I have said (in this book, on this blog, and elsewhere about poetics as a speculative, writerly discourse). See here for my takes on poetics....

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To purchase a copy of Atlantic Drift follow the link to Arc Publications’ website:

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

An Anthology for Robert (Hampson) link

An Anthology for Robert : digital edition
June 2017 RHUL Poetics Research Centre Electric Crinolines Editions.

Here's a link to the digital edition:

I have a poem 'Hap Hazard' in it, the last of my Wyatt sonnets, with a nod to Robert's re-workings of Shakespeare's, hence my reference to his 'Shakespearean Drag'.

Watch him read them here, and me reading some of my Wyatt poems here.

Other contributors include Wills Montgomery and Rowe, Harry Gilonis, Frances Presley, Carol Watts, Paula Claire, Simon Smith, Nisha Ramayya, Peter Barry, Adrian Clarke, Scott Thurston, Peter Middleton, Sophie Robinson and many many more... There are some prose pieces too, including a memoir by one of Robert's oldest friends, Ken Edwards...

Well done Redell Olsen for getting this together. In secret, I believe!

Oh yes, he's retiring... Not shy, but retiring...

Friday, June 16, 2017

Set me Free (At the Grave of Asa Benveniste)

I've been posting my latest versions of the Earl of Surrey's sonnets as I write them, because of the topicality of their subjects. But I've only left them up temporarily, during the composition process. I posted no more than 4 at any one time on the blog. So Set Me Free - one of the poems - has been and gone, but I want one revision to be acknowledged. The poem originally carried a reference:

Or up Hepstonstall’s winds with Benveniste or crashing below Hebden’s floodline.

Unfortunately this mention of Asa disappeared from the poem in the next draft. (But he's not out of mind.) That day it's 'about' was the one when we, editors and interns, went to visit Arc about the anthology Atlantic Drift. I did place a stone on the grave, in the Jewish fashion, and read one of his poems. (Asa of course was a friend of the legendary printer-publisher of Arc, Tony Ward.) Photograph taken by the excellent young poet Brendan Quinn. On the coach back James Byrne read Roy Fisher's poem 'At the Grave of Asa Benveniste'). We were there. 

Atlantic Drift : front cover image by Pete Clarke

Here is the cover of Atlantic Drift the anthology of trans-Atlantic poetry and poetics James Byrne and I have edited, which is to be the second book published by Edge Hill University Press, in association with Arc, the well-known poetry publishers.

This image is by Pete Clarke, the painter I have worked with in collaboration, see here and here and here for more images and links.  We think it is striking. Soon I shall start mentioning its contents. (Of course, I am editing two anthologies at the moment, one of fictional poets and this one, of real poets. For the former check here. See here for more on the EUOIA.)

To purchase a copy of Atlantic Drift follow the link to Arc Publications’ website:

Sunday, June 04, 2017

Robert Sheppard and Patricia Farrell: Poetry from the Stage (Coventry) Saturday night

Courtesy of Leanne Bridgewater and Colin Scott, Patricia and I read in Coventry

Poetry from the stage, poetry night in Coventry at Albany Theatre on Saturday 3 June (7pm - 10pm)

The night promised what Leanne called ‘a massive  twist of taste, from an infusion of Indian dancers, various poetry voices, maybe some visual screening, topped with a pro-disability stance, featuring two poetry plays from Shaun Fallows and Jackie Hagan’, the last of whom topped the bill.

Edited highlights of the evening. (I am caught reading 'Rainshine...') Poetry from the stage, Albany Theatre Sat 3rd June '17 (

The city alive to the roaring engines and burning rubber of the Moto Fest, the Albany Theatre alive to that ‘variety’ Leanne mentioned.

I read: 

‘for Stephen’
‘Berline Bursts’
‘Prison Camp Violin, Riga’,

all from History or Sleep. Purchase details here: See various posts on my blog Pages about the selection  here. The first review may be read here.

I sold one copy (which wasn’t bad because they weren’t on display) to Raef Boylan who runs Here Comes Everybody. See here

Patricia read ‘(From within) a narrow vase’.

 It was good to talk to friends old and new after... Although yet again the unthinkable is unfolding on the TV set in the bar. I'm glad I'd read from the sequence 'Warrant Error'.

Friday, June 02, 2017

Ian McMillan and Robert Sheppard text and video of February's perfomance now available on 3 am

For the Leeds Enemies gig I was paired with Ian McMillan and we decided we would write a piece simultaneously and then perform it simultaneously, which we did on February 9th! I write about that here and you can also view the video of the performance there.

Steven Fowler kindly offered to publish a combination of the texts in 3 am Magazine. That proved tricky, though it has appeared in a final version alternating the lines of our texts that I devised (it's lost the bold type that was used to distinguish between the two text-voices, if I may invent that term)!

Read it here - and you can also see the video of it to compare what I've done (with Ian's permission by the way!).

We hope you enjoy it!