Sunday, January 21, 2018

Robert Sheppard; Mini set list: Rodge's party

Even a little reading is a reading: even a private reading is a reading.

Rodge Glass invited a number of writers (Alan Bissett, his wife, whose name I didn't catch, Billy Cowan, Caroline Bird, me, James Byrne, in that order) to read. Everybody was positive and succinct.

Happy Birthday!

I'd asked what he wanted. He said: 'Oh, something mid-lifey, Brexity'. He got it:

'Parade: Burnt Journal 1978', for him, specially written; plus 3 of the recent sonnets, 2 Wyatts,

'Hap 13' about the 'almost most' who voted Remain.
'Hap 15' which does have a line about 'mid-life crisis'...,

and 'Sea View'. I spoke of how post-Brexit will leave Britain a huge dogging site run by Michael Gove: he spoke recently, walking into my tropes, of wanting to 'get people more active in the environment'. I said - judging from some Twitterfeeds - they already are! 'Little Bo Peep' of the poem is a Sussex dogger (or he says he is; I take people at their word: Trump, Boris Johnson, all of them....I entertained. I haven't mastered pausing to let people laugh (a new experience for me).

I write about the Earl of Surrey sonnets here . See here for one reference to my last sequence, which 'Sea View' comes from, feeding off of the sonnets of Charlotte Smith.

Thursday, January 18, 2018

Robert Sheppard: A Quick Shag for Alan Halsey' in ...

I am pleased to say I've a poem in Fugue & Subterfuge : A Festschrift for Alan Halsey. Edited by Nigel Wood, it contains poems and essays and images for Alan - and looks a good read (I've only dipped in so far).

Email Nigel for details at:

My contribution is a poem, 'A Quick Shag for Alan Halsey', which uses Google translate (very unsystematically) to work on Aretino's first sonnet. I had planned to do some versions of some of them in my on-going sonnet series, BUT Alan got there first. See his 'An Internet Sieve for Aretino's Positions' in his Rampant Inertia, available from Shearsman. But that at least left Aretino open for my homage to Alan. Readers may be alarmed to find Aretino saying, in my poem, with no textual authority whatsoever, 'Blow in her face and she'll follow you anywhere', a highly charged and sexist remark. The source is a 1960s cigarette advertisement. Above.

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Rupert Loydell: How do we use autobiographical material

in the twenty-first century? Rupert answers this question well, and he quotes some of my poetics, which is gratifying (and I hope useful):

The piece sent me back to the 'conversation' Rupert and I conducted via email, that may be read here. They seem to overlap in terms of poetics. 

Rupert is one of my fine collaborators on Twitters for a Lark, and he has conducted another interview with our creation, Hermes...  here.

See the hub post about the book here.

Sunday, January 14, 2018

Atlantic Drift launch in London: 5th February 2018 (some photos and a few comments)

Event / Atlantic Drift: Andrea Brady, Sophie Collins and John James

You can see some other photographs AND some short videoes, HERE

@ the LRB Bookshop, Central London

Andrea Brady taking a trans-Atlantic turn with some excellent new poems

John James reading both from the anthology and from beyond. He did read the teasing 'A Theory of Poetry' (it's anything but) in response to my introduction on poetics as a speculative writerly discourse...

Sophie Collins reading from the anthology and from new book, published this week, Who Is Mary Sue?

John James reading, me watching, Pete Clarke's cover design on the Edge Hill banners!
Atlantic Drift (Arc/Edge Hill University Press) is a new anthology featuring 24 poets from Britain, Ireland, the USA and Canada. It seeks to highlight both new and established writers from both sides of the Atlantic and in between, defining and redefining the various ...By developing a dialogue between English-speaking traditions, Atlantic Drift includes some of the most exceptional poetry and poetics written in the 21st century.

But also visit this page HERE for the various posts I've made concerning the book, its editing, including videos and photos. Or, outside London, follow this link to Arc’s website to buy, here.

Thursday, January 11, 2018

Robert Sheppard: Petrarch 3 published a year ago

My Petrarch 3 was published a year ago today! It's still available too!

Petrarch 3 is Crater 36: buy here. Scroll down and find the publiscation.

The Complete Petrarchs of our time and poetics are splendid, but what happens if you dig down and realise version after version of just one sonnet (Petrarch’s third in this case), stuttering in repetition, re-staging it for voice and situation, from a Scouse dog at Christmas (see below) to Jimmy Savile beyond the grave; a twittersonnet or a lengthy semantic poetry translation; a French Symbolist version or a Middle English sonnet? This.

These poems came about writing a chapter on Peter Hughes’ and Tim Atkins’ Petrarch collecteds.See here (and read my notes on the Petrarch variations by Peter Hughes and Tim Atkins here, ).

Read the 'original' translation (if you see what I mean) and the doggie version here.
There’s even one in the style of Wayne Pratt here.

And you can watch me read some of my 'Petrarch' variations during a reading here.

BUT you’ll still need to buy the new unfolding/folding 'pamphlet' to access the additional delights of the BDSM Petrarch (see below), the mysterious 1401 sonnet (before Wyatt!), a semantic poetry translation in the style of Stefan Themerson, a twittersonnet, ‘Empty Diary 1327’, Jimmy Savile’s last love poem, a sonnet for a Babestation Babe, not 1, not 2, not 3, but 4 French Symboliste versions, and even a National Poetry Day poem. Versioning gone mad.

At the point I wrote these I guess I had no idea I'd move onto Milton, Wyatt, and Surrey; (see three of the 'Wyatts' here.
takes you to what came next:  Hap:Understudies of Thomas Wyatt’s Petrarch (though the first, introductory, poem ‘Perhaps a Mishap’ is not a version of Wyatt’s versions of Petrarch).

Since it's been Charlotte Smith, the great Sussex miserablist sonneteer (see here).

The next step is possibly (since I've transitioned gender, textually speaking) EEB... 

Read the only review by Alan Baker here. And a response to the response (and a link to the response itself) of Martin Palmer here.

I'm sorry. I didn't mean to start this 'thing'
I have a post with some links about my sonnet writing here
I write about the completed 100 sonnets of The English Strain here

My 'English Strain' sonnets Hap:Understudies of Thomas Wyatt’s Petrarch is now published;

see here:
and is available from Knives Forks and Spoons here:

Taking only the sonnets Wyatt ‘translated’ from Petrarch, but adding a few of my own, I’ve merged the historical Wyatt with his hysterical contemporary analogue, a reluctant civil servant of a corrupt administration.

Monday, January 08, 2018

Little Albert returns for one night only

Here's Steve and me taking some tentative steps with Lou Reed's 'Perfect Day'. Our only rehearsals are actually playing at Maggi's New Year's (and other) parties, i.e., performing. Here we are at about 3.30 in the morning!

‘My Funny Valentine’, recorded croakily after too many hours singing, and a version of ‘Motherless Child Blues’ recorded earlier in the evening, in summer, 2015 may be viewed here.

New Year 2013 we also recorded ‘Motherless Child Blues’, this time BEFORE Maggi’s piano had been re-tuned. Here!

Steve was the keyboard player and founder member of the Liverpool band The High Five in the 1980s and his latest band is gigging under the name Cat Sundies. I was the singer and harmonica player of Little Albert Fly. No expense was spared when Tony Parsons and I played the Shakespeare's Head in Hove: they didn't pay. But here's a sideways photo of me and Tony in 1977 or 1978, taken by M. Foy.

Tony and I may be glimpsed here when he was fifty performing 'Motherless Child Blues' with me reading a bit of my poem 'Smokestack Lightning', in 2006. I also performed the poem as a song-piece at the Bluecoat in 2008: You can access that here. The event was filmed by musician and poet Ade Jackson, who has worked with Steve. Small world!

Monday, January 01, 2018

Twitters for a Lark: First Review!

It's a review of sorts. Rupert Loydell is one of my fine collaborators, so he has conducted an interview with our creation, Hermes...  here. He's not being entirely honest (Hermes, not Rupert), since, as far as I can see, he openly campaigned to replace me as President of the EUOIA (and he was the only EUOIA poet to think Brexit was a good idea).

I am pleased to say the the whole EUOIA anthology, Twitters for a Lark appears from Shearsman

See the hub post about the book here.