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: https://www.shearsman.com


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