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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 : https://www.versopolis.com/arts/to-read/792/moving-but-also-staying-the-same

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: https://www.versopolis.com/about )

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:


https://www.knivesforksandspoonspress.co.uk/product-page/hap-understudies-of-thomas-wyatt-s-petrarch-by-robert-sheppard-26-pages

   
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.