Monday, February 11, 2019

Robert Sheppard: Four sonnets from Non-Disclosure Agreement published on Stride (links)

One part of the unpublished manuscript ‘The English Strain’ consists of versions (‘overdubs’ is the term I use) of Elizabeth Barrett Browning’s Sonnets from the Portuguese. I read all of the Brownings' love letters, Woolf’s Flush, as preparation, and wrote them in two halves under the title Non Disclosure Agreement. Like others of these poems tracking politics in and around Brexit, the title (at least) was prophetic, but the speaker of the first half, ‘Brazilian Sonnets’, is the mistress of a Government minister during Brexit. The second half, ‘Cake and Eat It Britain’, has a variety of speakers; finally it’s Petrarch himself, coming back to claim his tradition (though not yet in the ones on display here).  

Four of the ‘Brazilian Sonnets’ appear online in Molly Bloom, Aidan Semmens’ fine  magazine, here.

I write about Non Disclosure Agreement here:

More recently, Rupert Loydell has published two of the ‘Brazilian Sonnets’ and two of the ‘Cake and Eat It Britain’ sonnets, but all from ‘Non-Disclosure Agreement’, this EBB extravaganza.. Here they are:

from Brazilian Sonnets

1. A Heavy Heart…: in which a love of bossa-nova invades his dreams; in which she confesses to have written his speeches for him. A grim ending.

2. I lived with visions ... in which there is an allusion to one of Churchill's most disgusting comments (at the expense of Bessie Braddock, Liverpool MP); in which she temporarily wins out over him. She gets the flat. (But of course there's an NDA (see poems below))

from Cake and Eat It Britain

3. First Time He Kissed Me (a poem which is about sexual assault, I should warn readers, a response both to ‘what’s happening’ in our times, and also to the very strange model in EBB’s sequence, which reads like an account of a sexual assault.) She's only a 'half-sister' to the #me too movement, since she's content with the terms of her NDA. Here:

4. Oh yes! They Love Through All this World of Ours: see here.

The mss of EBB's msot famous sonnet which I didn't overdub, thought it is alluded to

 I write about the completed 100 sonnets of The English Strain hereAnd about my sonnets generally here, and here ; and see here and here for more on my Petrarch obsession, which set this whole thing off, including how to purchase Petrarch 3, the stand-alone first part, from Crater press in its ‘map’ edition.

Sonnets from another earlier part of the 'English Strain' project Hap:Understudies of Thomas Wyatt’s Petrarch are now published;

see here:

and is available from Knives Forks and Spoons here:

I’m currently at work on the Idea sonnets of Michael Drayton for Bad Idea, what I think of as the second part of The English Strain. While I am still writing them I am temporarily posting them on this blog. But see here for an account of what’s going on in that one: