Sunday, June 30, 2019

Monday 30th June 1969:

French oral exam. Mrs Reed falls over!!!!!!! (Elsewhere in diary: Mrs Reed is a Roman Catholic, and she has strange ideas. Fat, and old, she is eccentric.)

Tuesday, June 25, 2019

Robert Sheppard: An Abandoned Poetics Response to The Robert Sheppard Companion

Form. Re-form, not reform. De-form, un-form, in-form, out-form. Etc.
            All the forms of forming.
            All forms of forming. Not just Form, not ever form, but forms.
            Not just forms, but all the forming and re-forming the social can form.
            ‘Poetry is the investigation of complex contemporary realities through the means (meanings) of form.’
            An hypothesis. An hypothesis to live by?

If tradition is made longer by this persistence, does it not simultaneously become attenuated, an ever-lengthening strand beaten, almost, to airy thinness?

The verbs are all active, though the life they describe seems mainly passive from the inside.
            Though maybe like reading itself, it is both action and event, something the insider does and yet it is simultaneously something done to them.
            Tradition, life, reading: forms of form forming.

The hinged door swings. Pressure.
            Once he thought language might be his content. It can’t be form.
            If Olson looks less clear that’s because it’s not been seen clearly, the practice that is, not the poetics.
            Appeals to the reader (in a poem) are not of themselves social; they have to be made so.

To respond to the call of the social, with the difficult, the half-thought. Unfinish, I suppose.
            On two sides of an equation (or some relating or copulative principle), stand the ‘matter of history’ and the ‘manner of poetry’, the writer (this writer, situated in time and space) rests, both slippery platforms sliding under him, and (in peril) away from one another.

I read a young poet promising that, when he is old, he’ll show generosity toward younger poets, acknowledge their ‘difference’, from his senior ‘privileged’ position.
            There’s at least one bold assumption that the poet betrays there.

Note: This was an attempted ‘writing-through’ of The Robert Sheppard Companion (eds. James Byrne and Christopher Madden, Bristol: Shearsman, 2019), using the same method I’d used for Pulse: It’s All a Rhythm, which I hope will be published soon as a pamphlet. (And which I shall be presenting to the Edge Hill Poetry and Poetics Research Group on Thursday.) This critical writing-through, though, was doomed to abandonment, of course, but not before I’d written the above, in response to Charles Bernstein’s ‘Preface’ and the beginning of James Byrne’s ‘Introduction’. The first paragraph I copied into my poetics notebook, probably for its pithy (if obscure) reiterations of the hypothesis of my critical book The Meaning of Form in Contemporary Innovative Poetry (New York: Palgrave, 2016), which I quote: ‘Poetry is the investigation of complex contemporary realities through the means (meanings) of form.’ (Sheppard 2016: 4) There's more on that book on this blog: see here. The rest of the text I’ve just recovered (I found it on the back of a draft of a poem) and thought enough of it to place it here.

There is a hubpost for The Robert Sheppard Companion here, with links to buying the book, and to another response, which is more general and in the manner of thanks to the authors. Thanks again to the authors!

Wednesday 25th June 1969:


Geography, Science.

Sunday, June 23, 2019

Jamie Toy's Versopolis essay: Moving but also Staying the Same: Crisis, Poetry and the Temporality of Brexit

My project Bad Idea is a re-working of Michael Drayton’s sequence Idea; that’s 64 poems. I’ve been at it since July 2018, writing one a week (more or less). But not only writing them. 

I’m posting the poems temporarily, so there is only ever one at a time on this blog, once a week at the moment. You'll find one hereabouts (click onto Home). Jamie Toy writes about that periodicity here, in Versopolis :

Toy is a poet currently living in London, whose work has featured in the RiPPLE anthology of poetry and has spoken as part of the Kingston Writers Centre on multiple occasions. His research field involves avant-garde and contemporary poetics in relation to political crises today and technology. Most interestingly, he says:

A poem does not only slow down time, but it also slows language down and summons its presence in the face of an other. As Paul Virilio writes, ‘speed finally allows us to close the gap between physics and metaphysics’. That is, Sheppard’s verses, ‘start again’ every time they are posted and taken down, replaced by another in the series. For Sheppard, time, namely temporality, is the method in which we may approach the historicity and the instantaneity of our current crises, closing the gap between the very physical and material implications of Brexit with the very metaphysical and symbolic implications of Europe and Britain’s relationship. 

All that is true, very true, but it is also part of my physical, procedural, method to date the poems, and to (temporarily) blog them, as I've said, but there's more to it: I use the rhythm of posting and uploading to break from writing the poem, usually accomplished in the morning, started (say) at 9.00 and being finished usually by 12.00. Reading the poem to Patricia when she comes in (from work in the old days, from volunteering in the current days) is also part of the ritual, one that goes back to the writing of the transposed sonnets in Hap (see below for links).

(There are plenty of other goodies in/on Versopolis here: )

The poems don't just disappear, as Toy suggests. Rather, they have a habit of re-appearing! Either online in magazines or in print.

The most recent print instalment of it in print is Hap: Understudies of Thomas Wyatt’s Petrarch which is available from Knives Forks and Spoons here:

I am pleased to say I have six poems published in BlazeVOX 19, edited by Geoffrey Gatza, four of them poems from ‘The English Strain’ project, versions of the Sussex sonneteer Charlotte Smith, called Elegaic Sonnets. You may get straight to the pages here:

Another from this part, another Charlotte Smith variation may be read in Smithereens 2, on page 15:

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

Some older ‘English Strain’ poems, using Milton's sonnets,  may be found here:

You know, if you’ve seen those temporary posts, that you may read about the whole ‘English Strain’ project in a post that has links to some other accounts, and earlier parts, of this work: hereThat was 100 poems long. 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.

Monday 23rd June 1969:


Maths, English.

Wednesday, June 19, 2019

Thursday 19th June 1969:

Number One: The Ballad of John and Yoko, The Beatles.


Friday, June 14, 2019

Thursday 14th June 1979 (for a change)

Yesterday I got Veronica Forrest-Thomson’s Poetic Artifice out of the library. I shall be delving into this soon.
                                                                  Journal, Thursday 14th June 1979

Saturday 14th June 1969:

Got reply from my jumble sale story. (Too good.) Went on beach with John.

Wednesday, June 12, 2019

Thursday 12th June 1969:

Number One: The Ballad of John and Yoko, The Beatles.


Saturday, June 08, 2019

Robert Sheppard: Twittersonnet published in NOON: An Anthology of Short Poems ed. Philip Rowland

I am pleased to say that I have a very strange (short) sound poem in NOON: An Anthology of Short Poems, edited by Philip Rowland, which presents a carefully arranged and strikingly diverse selection of poems from the issues of NOON: journal of the short poem that appeared in Japan between 2004 and 2017.

Focusing on poems of less than fourteen lines, Philip Rowland has assembled a richly suggestive, renga-like chain of over two hundred poems by almost half as many poets, at the same time showcasing, he says, 'some of the most interesting minimalist poetry being written in English today'. Nice cover!

My contribution is one of my ‘twittersonnets’, ‘hammerhead’, and it's one of three published in Issue 12 of Noon,, ‘hammerhead’, ‘lucretius’ and ‘micrographia’. They were written for the ‘Life is Short’ day at Bluecoat, Liverpool in November 2015. (See here). I write about them here:

The original twittersonnet (and other twitterodes) may be found in the works of René Van Valckenborch in my A Translated Man (Shearsman, 2013) and the second in my Petrarch 3 (Crater Press, 2016). The (then) constraint of 140 characters was distributed across the 14 (8+6) line frame of the sonnet, 10 characters or spaces per line. You can see the original here:

More publishing news. All of my new ‘Twittersonnets’, including the one in NOON: An Anthology of Short Poems, will be published shortly in my small, limited edition of short poems, Micro Event Space coming from Red Ceilings Press.(Notice that word 'shortly'.)

Click here to read Philip Rowland’s Introduction to the anthology, plus a full list of contributors to the anthology.

The book is published by Isobar Press.

Click here to buy it from Amazon in Japan; click here to buy from Amazon in the UK; click here to buy from Amazon in the US.

Sunday 8th June 1969:


Friday, June 07, 2019

Saturday 7th June 1969:

Got loads of records. Moonlight Serenade. etc…………………….