Sunday, September 09, 2018

Robert Sheppard: 'Between' a poem for Roy Fisher published in Tears in the Fence

My poem 'Between', a kind of elegy for Roy Fisher, appears in Tears in the Fence, now available from . The image below is relevant to the poem.

I say 'a kind of' because the story told in the poem is real. Before setting off for work I looked at Twitter and found a tweet announcing that Roy had died. That was upsetting. But having previously read a Tweet wrongly announcing the death of another poet, I decided to check again. But I couldn't find the tweet again. So I wasn't sure. I set off for work and the adventure in the poem occurred. Which could only occur in that 'between' state of uncertainty. Once I got to work I saw a tweet from Neil Astley, the publisher of Bloodaxe, and realised that the news was true. (None of this is a spoiler for the poem, by the way.) A few weeks later I attended Roy's funeral, by which time it felt all too real. As I write in 'Work' (the 2017 supplement):

We followed the ducks and rabbits to a humanist affair with wild flowers and jazz and – against Roy’s wishes – poems.

Tears in the Fence 68 is now available from and features poetry, prose, creative non-fiction and prose poetry from Ian Seed, Simon Collings, Melisande Fitzsimons, Anna Backman Rogers, Beth Davyson, Robert Sheppard, David Miller, Peter Hughes, Tracey Iceton, Jill Eulalie Dawson, Kate Noakes, Taró Naka Trans. Andrew Houwen and Chikako Nihei, Aidan Semmens, Mark Goodwin, Barbara Bridger, Alexandra Strnad, Daragh Breen, Andrew Darlington, Caroline Heaton, Peter J. King, Amelia Forman, Clive Gresswell, Steve Spence, Rebecca Oet, Sue Burge, Chloe Marie, Lucy Sheerman, Peter Robinson, Michael Henry, Wendy Brandmark, Abeer Ameer, Reuben Woolley, Kareem Tayyar, Sarah Cave, Angela Howarth, Norman Jope, John Freeman, Eoghan Walls, Jennie Byrne, Marcel Labine Trans. John Gilmore and Peter Larkin.

The critical section features Ian Brinton’s editorial, Andrew Duncan on Sean Bonney, Mark Byers on Jasper Bernes and Sean Bonney, Nancy Gaffield on Zoë Skoulding, Frances Spurrier – Poetry, resilience and the power of hope, Simon Collings on Ian Seed, Peter Larkin, Clark Allison on John Hall, Astra Papachristodoulou on Nic Stringer, Greg Bright – What Is Poetry?, Mandy Pannett on Seán Street, David Pollard on Norman Jope, Louise Buchler on New Voices in South African Poetry, Anthony Mellors on Gavin Selerie, Linda Black on Anna Reckin, Jonathan Catherall on Nicki Heinen, Richard Foreman on M. John Harrison, Morag Kiziewicz’s column Electric Blue 4, Notes on Contributors and David Caddy’s Afterword.

Good to see former Edge Hill MA student Jennie Byrne there! As she notes here: 

I have, of course, written about Fisher's work in my book The Poetry of Saying (see here) and elsewhere, but here are links to a number of posts on this blog that you might like to read, before you get a chance to read 'Between' in Tears in the Fence: 

My most recent piece is on Fisher's radicalism here.

I've been published many times in Tears and here is my announcement of a previous appearence, another poem in memoriam, this time for Lee Harwood. I believe they also published my i.m. to Barry MacSweeney.

Thanks to David Caddy for all these appearances and for his publishing tenacity: 68.