Friday, May 31, 2019

First review of The Robert Sheppard Companion by Clark Allison on Stride

 Clark Allison (as he has with a number of my publications) provides the first brief review of The Robert Sheppard Companion on Stride. You may read it here.

It’s not for me to comment on it, except to say I think he’d done a good job. He also takes good notice of the piece by Joanne Ashcroft too.

For more on the book and a hub-post to other posts and links (to my appreciation of the book, to details of the launch, that sort of thing): see here.

You may buy the book here:

Oh, and here's Clark's review of Hap:
One Side Ripening’, Stride, January 2019:


Saturday 31st May 1969:


Monday, May 27, 2019

Wednesday, May 22, 2019

Thursday 22nd May 1969:


poems from The English Strain (sonnets) and Empty Diaries (2017 and 2018) published in BlazeVOX

I am pleased to say I have six poems published in BlazeVOX 19, edited by Geoffrey Gatza, a press as well as a magazine ( Thanks Geoffrey!

The six poems come from 2 sequences, but they are linked by being somewhat excessive! Probably best way to navigate is via the editorial page/ index

and then you can see what other goodies are on offer, though you may get straight to the pages here:

You will see I have four poems from ‘The English Strain’ project, versions of the Sussex sonneteer Charlotte Smith, called Elegaic Sonnets.

Another of these may be read in Smithereens 2, on page 15:

BUT I also have two of the recent episodes from my continuation, into the 21st Century, of my Empty Diaries project. All the 20C parts are, logically enough, in Twentieth Century Blues,

where you can read the one for 1993, ‘Flesh Mates on Dirty Errands’.

On BlazeVOX you may read ‘Empty Diary 2017’ and ‘Empty Diary 2018’

The latter I read at the launch of The Robert Sheppard Companion, because it seemed to be the most cited work of mine in it, especially by Joanne Ashcroft ‘A Response to Vitality’. (see here for that night:

The 2015 one was published in India by Ranjit Hoskote at Poetry at Seagam. Empty Diary 2015

Other 21C 'Empty Diaries' may be accessed here; 

I write about my sonnets generally here, and here and see here and here for more on my Petrarch obsession, which ‘The English Strain’ project into motion.

Links to a number of the published poems from Non Disclosure Agreement (the last part of the proposed book of The English Strain) may be accessed here:

Monday, May 20, 2019

The Robert Sheppard Companion: My appreciation

I have written to all the people involved with the Robert Sheppard Companion, and said (at least) these words to each:

I want to semi-formally remark how much I appreciate the work that has gone into the editing, the writing and the publishing of this wonderful and substantial critical work on my writings. I provided the headache – to quote Beckett – but the contributors provided the aspirin. I also know, having edited a similar book on Lee Harwood, and having written literary critical chapters to similar collections (as the detailed bibliography, another wonder, shows!), just how much work goes into this kind of writing. It is good to see new essays rubbing shoulders with ones that were written in previous years (and decades), and to see some reminiscences alongside critique. Although I am the focus and occasion for the book, it is also a portrait of a collaborative poetry scene, and many of the contributors are poets also, and part of that.

For the record, I should say that I have read the book from cover to cover (and had so before the launch; see here for an account) and found it a fascinating read. Of course, I read the book as no other person can. But just as I believe that, as a writer, one mustn’t believe one’s own publicity, one mustn’t believe other people’s. Or rather: the essays should not function as publicity at all, so far as I am concerned, but as spurs for me to do better.

I do have a tongue in cheek reference to the book, in one poem from my current project, my Brexit versions of the poetry of Michael Drayton called Bad Idea. The speaker is partly MD, partly me, and partly a modern-day Drayton. While the first five lines allude to chapters in the book, the sixth is a certain modern critic’s negative characterisation of Twentieth Century Blues. I hope it amuses. 'XLII The Michael Drayton Companion (1619)' begins: 

Some like my multiform methods,
and commend my social poetics.
Some say I’m a funny old translator,
‘expanded’ like a supersized codpiece.
Some that I excel in explicit vitality....

For more on the book and a hub-post to other posts and links: see here.

 You may buy the book here:

Tuesday 20th May 1969:


Sunday, May 19, 2019

Thursday, May 09, 2019

Wednesday, May 08, 2019

Thursday May 8th 1969:

Number One: Goodbye, Mary Hopkins.

Sports. Our relay disqualified.

Tuesday, May 07, 2019

The Robert Sheppard Companion (ed. Byrne and Madden) is published NOW

This critical volume, which has been carefully edited by James Byrne and Christopher Madden, is now available. It offers a substantial review of my writing activities ‘to date’, a discrimination I like! Indeed, it offers essays on my earliest work to my latest (uncollected) work, from a range of writers. Most are newly penned, but a couple are revisions of pieces written co-terminously with the work with which they deal.

You may buy it here:

After a pithy, funny, playful preface by Charles Bernstein, and a generous introduction by James Byrne, there are essays by Joanne Ashcroft, Ailsa Cox, Nikolai Duffy, Patricia Farrell, Allen Fisher, Robert Hampson, Alison Mark, Christopher Madden, Adam Hampton, Tom Jenks, Mark Scroggins, Zoë Skoulding, and Scott Thurston (obviously not arranged in that alphabetical order; see full contents at the foot of this post).

The roundtable featuring Gilbert Adair, Adrian Clarke, Alan Halsey, Chris McCabe, Geraldine Monk and Sandeep Parmar, is a collection of shorter, looser responses.

There are two interviews with me, conducted by Edmund Hardy and Christopher Madden. Both detailed.

I offer some new poems to the mix, a long ‘toffee of the universe’ piece called ‘The Accordion Book’ and four sonnets from two parts of The English Strain. (See here for details of that project.)

There concludes a detailed bibliography of my work, initially compiled by myself but brought to completion (perfection!) by Christopher Madden. He visited (with cake) a number of pleasant afternoon that had me knee-deep in book-dust.

Patricia Farrell also provided the cover. And Peter Hughes wrote this generous endorsement:

This book shows how far-reaching and generous Sheppard's writing life has been. He has argued and sung for the benefit of an entire community, to keep opening the possibilities of poetry itself. He stands and stands up for the breadth and depth and future of modern poetry. He's written it, written about it, published it; theorized, organised and celebrated. It is not often that innovative practice, political engagement, a thorough knowledge of poetry, and wit are combined in one body of work. But this valuable Companion provides the necessary spread of insights and perspectives to do justice to the extraordinary range of Sheppard's achievements. And that is some achievement in itself.  – Peter Hughes

The result is a book that focuses not only on me, but the various literary contexts in which I have found myself, and I heartily thank everybody involved. I know how long all of this takes, having written critically for many years – and having edited The Lee Harwood Companion some years back.

The book itself (James Byrne and Christopher Madden (eds.) – The Robert Sheppard Companion) is available now; its details: Paperback, 9 x 6 ins, 296pp, £16.95 / $27.50
ISBN 9781848616257.

It is available here:

Or navigate through the Shearsman website:


Have a look at details of the Bluecoat launch in Liverpool on May 13th 2019:

Here's my appreciation of the book.

Here's the first review of the book, by Clark Allison. 

Here's a little fragment, an abandoned poetics response (by myself) to the book. 

There’s more information (and links) on the Edge Hill symposium and exhibition in 2017 that fed into the book on my blog here:

Full contents:

Charles Bernstein: Aesthetic Justice
James Byrne: Introduction: A Sheppardian Social Poetics
Robert Hampson: Convergences:
Robert Sheppard’s Early Poetry and English Traditions
Scott Thurston: “For which we haven’t yet a satisfactory name”: The Birth of Linguistically Innovative Poetry and the Practice of a Collective Poetics in Robert Sheppard’s Pages and Floating Capital
Nikolai Duffy: Unfinish:
The Politics of Literary Experiment in Robert Sheppard
Alison Mark: ‘Flashlights Around A Subjectivity’:
Melting Borders and Robert Sheppard’s The Flashlight Sonata
Christopher Madden: Mad About the Boy:
Robert Sheppard and Orpheus
Mark Scroggins: Where to Begin: The “net / (k)not – work(s)” of Robert Sheppard’s ‘Twentieth Century Blues’
Adam Hampton: Political Rhetoric and
Poetic Counterforce in Robert Sheppard’s Warrant Error
Tom Jenks: ‘God’s not too pleased with me’:
Robert Sheppard’s Poetics of Transformative Translation
Zoë Skoulding: European Fictions
Patricia Farrell: The Expressive Tension Between Text and Painting in the Collaborative Work of Robert Sheppard and Pete Clarke
Joanne Ashcroft: A Response to Vitality in Robert Sheppard’s
Empty Diaries and ‘Wiped Weblogs’
Ailsa Cox: But What of the Real Robert Sheppard?
Allen Fisher: Who is Robert Sheppard?
The Robert Sheppard Roundtable: Gilbert Adair, Adrian Clarke, Alan Halsey, Chris McCabe, Geraldine Monk, Sandeep Parmar
Two Interviews
Robert Sheppard: Poems

Sunday, May 05, 2019

A new review of Twitters for a Lark in Dundee University of the Arts by Annie Runkel

There is a new review of Twitters for a Lark here

Or Annie Runkel, ‘Twitters for a Lark’, Dundee University Review of the Arts.

It is short but astute I thought. Of course, Brexit suffuses all the reviews (although, as Runkel notes, the poems were all written before Brexit happened, or seemed likely). She also reminds readers that this book, the poems of the EUOIA (European Union of Imaginary Authors) is related to one of my previous volumes, A Translated Man. (Which reminds me that there is a third volume, or part, of the project to write one day. I have some ideas.)

The sentence that amused me was: 

In the age of Brexit, getting a group of mostly British poets to pretend they were fictional European nationals can easily seem like a bad idea.

Why? because Bad Idea is the title of what I am writing now about Brexit. See here for a description of that latest project, here! Of course, it's Brexit that's a bad idea, although Idea is Michael Drayton's ideal woman (the sequence transposes Drayton's sonnets Idea).


Norman Jope’s review ‘Games Across Frontiers’ (Twitters for a Lark) appears in the new Tears in the Fence 69, Spring 2019: 122-127. See also Billy Mills: ‘Poetry after Brexit’ (Twitters for a Lark): Elliptical Movements (web), 13th May 2018.  Read this review  Here

There are rather a lot of references to the books and to EUOIA on this blog, so here are a few links to hubposts that have links to other posts and/or videos of the many performances by myself and collaborators (and sometimes not with me):

To find out more or less about the EUOIA check the EUOIA website which is still live at,