Wednesday, July 31, 2019

Thursday 31st July 1969:

Number One: Honky Tonk Woman, The Rolling Stones

Went down John’s. Phillipe climbed tree. We wouldn’t let him down. Hajo threw a tomato at him. While he was washing Phillipe’s shirt, Ian threw a tomato in the window (later we all cleared it up!!) After dinner, I couldn’t find John, and after a long time, we found him in Peter’s cupboard. Later, Peter smashed one of John’s windows. We recorded We shall Overcome for Splod. Also got No 1, Honky Tonk Woman for 5 shillings! and Monkees for 10 shillings off Peter because he is broke. In afternoon went down beach.  

Tuesday, July 30, 2019

Wednesday 30th July 1969:

Splod Music Festival. Recorded Schoolhouse Blues (fake out of doors).

[Note: Splod was what we called our insufferable low-fi low-skill noise. It made skiffle sound positively symphonic.]

Monday, July 29, 2019

Tuesday 29th July 1969:

Recorded Baby, You’ve Got what it Takes and Hey Jude with John.

Sunday, July 28, 2019

Monday 28th July 1969:

Recorded Diamond Ring Blues and Oh Freedom with students. At night recorded with Laingchilds.

[Note: the first song is by Brownie McGhee, my first introduction to the blues, taped off the Mike Raven programme the night before, along with a Blind Lemon Jefferson, ‘Black Snake Moan’]

Friday, July 26, 2019

Saturday 26th July 1969:

Recorded Boing Dinkety Donk with Phillipe Deloine (French). [Note: this was a ‘splod’ version of ‘Shake Rattle and Roll’.]

Thursday, July 25, 2019

Friday 25th July 1969:

John brought up his students, Peter (Swedish) and Hajo (German).

Wednesday, July 24, 2019

Thursday 24th July 1969:

Number One: Honky Tonk Woman, The Rolling Stones.

Landing on Earth. Started story on Unified Field Theory.

Tuesday, July 23, 2019

Wednesday 23rd July 1969:

Broke up, Bean (Mr Hind; derivation of Heinz) drunk. Convinced him it was Christmas (me, personally), I started singing White Christmas and so did he. I found a Christmas card, and a carol service sheet. Gave to him. Got the whole class singing carols. Spud (Mr Little), our form master, was drunk most afternoon.

Sunday, July 21, 2019

Robert Sheppard: Micro Event Space launched in a series of micro-readings in micro event spaces

More details on the book and how to buy it from Red Ceilings Press HERE

Reading to an audience of fewer than one

Reading in the alleygate micro event space

Reading in the micro event space of a modern telephone box

Reading in the micro event space of a less than modern (and urinous) telephone box

Reading in the strange micro event space at the back of a new hybrid bus

Reading in the acclaimed micro event space of the bus shelter

A brief reading outside the micro  event space of the Gents in the Belvedere (that's Brian and Dougie)
All photos taken by Patricia Farrell

Monday 21st July 1969:

Man footprint on moon. ‘One short step for man, one giant leap for mankind.’ – Neil Armstrong. Got up at 6.30. Did Tape.

Saturday, July 20, 2019

Robert Sheppard's Micro Event Space is published by Red Ceilings Press NOW

I’m pleased to say that a short book of my small poems and sequences of brief lyrics has been published by Red Ceilings Press: Micro Event Space. I’ve long admired these small format black books and at last I have my own. Thanks to Mark Cobley, the editor.

Buy it HERE.

In it, I play around with a variety of forms. James Byrne in The Robert Sheppard Companion (see here) says: 'One of the ways Sheppard has extended the poetic tradition in England … is via a complex reworking of poetic forms – or, rather, a “reforming” of forms.’ I hope that is true of this book. (I say it’s ‘little’ but there are over 50 pages of it!)

So what’ll you get? There are the haiku, a form which I’ve inherited, but refunctioned into prose paragraphs, so that they become haibun. The text ‘Haibun: 52 Haiku’ is the result and may be read as a taster, here.

I invented the Twittersonnet with my little fictional friend Rene Van Valckenborch:  the (then) constraint of 140 characters was distributed across the 14 (8+6) line frame of the sonnet, 10 characters or spaces per line. The ones here are focussed on very small things: the flea, Pluto, a Mayan dwarf, and more (or should I say less?). We recognise that they are diminutive in relative ways. ‘Minute Bodies’ was written for The Life is Short Festival, a celebration of the miniature. (See here). I write about these Twittersonnets here

Collaborative glyph-like micro-poems from my collaboration with Pete Clarke celebrate the constant destruction-construction of Liverpool. See some of Pete’s images here (there’s another detail on the cover!)

‘Working Week’, a sequence of curt discursive trackings of perception show that ‘small’ or ‘short’ need not eschew voice. A little detail like a Klansman’s hat peeping through a car roof has monstrous potential.

There is an even more voluble ‘Poem’ about poetry itself. There is a poem ‘Leeds’ gathering art-perceptions of that city’s art, inside and outside the gallery. There is a ‘Burnt Journal’ birthday poem for Simon Perril (the only poem with lines long enough to have to be drop-lined!)

The micro event space of the poem is one of miniature responsibilities.

Once its contents are spelt out like this, it doesn’t seem a SMALL BOOK at all. If there’s a world in a grain of sand, then there are universes in minute bodies:

broken horizons
torn into blades
of light

sink to the hardhat

Links (Hub-Post for Micro Event Space)

See some more of Pete’s images from our collaboration here

HERE for images of my short-notice micro-launch of minimal duration for only a few people in various micro event spaces.

Here for the first review of the book by Alan Baker on Litter. Also posted HERE.

HERE for Ian Seed's micro review on the micro blogging platform Twitter.

Mike Fergusson also realised 'micro' is the way to review it: HERE

Martin Palmer writes about the book, and mentions Alan Baker's new twittersonnets too, HERE

The source of my title 'Micrographia' and of one of the twittersonnets
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). You can see the original here

Sunday 20th July 1969:

Landed on moon. 9.18 BST.

Wednesday, July 17, 2019

More 'English Strain' poems (overdubs of Charlotte Smith) published on the Anthropocene platform

Three more overdubs of the eighteenth century Sussex poems of Charlotte Smith, part of 'The English Strain' project, have been published at Anthropocene, a new online platform run by Charlie Baylis. Thanks to him. The first, ‘To the River Adur’, features a line or two from a letter from Lee Harwood. The second, ‘Written at a Church-yard in Middleton in Sussex’ is an overdub of her most famous poem (of that title), and ‘The sea-view’, which is a fully gender-bending Brexit-madness poem from later in the 14 part sequence: 

Big Bo-Beep is having his kip, his flock nibbling
the soft turf where my emigrants once panted
towards the French coast squeezed between sea and sky,
now locked in detention centres, milking the NHS.

Read them HERE.

Of the six poems published in BlazeVOX 19, edited by Geoffrey Gatza, four of them are more versions of 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:

So that’s 8 of the sequence you can read online. I wrote a little about them here:

These poems form part of a longer set called ‘The English Strain’. 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:

Some older ‘English Strain’ poems may be found 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. The most recent instalment of it, Hap: Understudies of Thomas Wyatt’s Petrarch is now available from Knives Forks and Spoons here:

Book One of ‘The English Strain’ project, The English Strain, is available from Shearsman Books here:


Book Two, Bad Idea is available from Knives Forks and Spoons, HERE:

Thursday 17th 1969:

Number One: Give Peace a Chance, The Plastic Ono Band.

Apollo 11.

Monday, July 15, 2019

My Guest Editing of STRIDE magazine Summer 2019 (links to all items)

I have guest-edited a fortnight of posts for STRIDE magazine. I thought it might absorb some of the energy I still had in reserve for a poetry magazine that I was thinking of starting myself, called 3 famous aviators, and which, like a number of other assumed ‘ambitions’ waiting for ‘retirement’ (that which is not one), passed me by.
Rupert Loydell at work
Rising to editor Rupert Loydell’s kind invitation to guest-edit for a couple of weeks over the summer, I decided not to cast my net out widely into the world, but to call upon the local resources of the Poetry and Poetics Research Group at Edge Hill University, which I started 20 years ago this autumn, and which is now coordinated by poet and poetry organiser Joanne Ashcroft. This wide-ranging body of writers presents work in poetry and poetics (and occasionally criticism), but isn’t a workshop. (It has also published its own ‘Journal’ which will be available soon.)
Here I call upon current members and, although I received an overwhelmingly male (and white) response from its mixed membership, and that was a disappointment, at least one of the two reviews I freely commissioned is of the work of a woman writer.

My own contribution was an interview with a former member of the group, so that seems appropriate.
Why has Rupert done this? He explains: ‘I am hoping it will introduce some new writers and readers to Stride.’ I hope so too, although former members Andrew Taylor and former and present member Matt Fallaize (neither represented here) are frequent contributors as poets and reviewers for Stride. (So am I, as it happens.) There's more about Andrew here from a decade ago, and here from earlier posts on this blog(zine), and a post about Matt here.

I haven’t set out to prove anything by my selection. I hope you like it. It’s probably cured me of wanting to run a magazine full time, but doing the interview with Scott Thurston (short, focussed on one issue) has stirred a desire to continue this avenue of talking poetics, as it were. It is a bit of a shock that I’ve only conducted four interviews (for publication), and so long ago: With Robert Creeley: ‘Stories: Being an Information: An Interview,’ in 1984; with Roy Fisher: Turning the Prism (Toad’s Damp Press, 1985) (those two were conducted within a fortnight of one another!); Lee Harwood: ‘So It Shifts’, in The Salt Companion to Lee Harwood ed. Robert Sheppard, Cambridge: Salt, 2007; and now this one with Scott Thurston, 2019! There are huge gaps of time there. Here's an old (but not the oldest) post about Scott.

I shall post a link to each contribution as it is posted. But of course they may all be found on Stride, here.

Monday 15th: Adam Hampton, 'Tongue': here. (And an earlier Pages post here.)
Tuesday 16th: Hampton again, 'Atom', here.
Wednesday 17th: Christopher Madden reviews Sarah Crewe's Floss here.
Thursday 18th: Joanne Ashcroft, 'Emptied Cradles' (part one, Autumn, here)
Friday 19th: Ashcroft, 'Emptied Cradles' (part two, Winter, here)
Saturday 20th: Ashcroft, 'Emptied Cradles' (part three, Spring, here)
Sunday 21st: Ashcroft, Emptied Cradles' (part four, Summer, here). More on Joanne here.

Monday 22nd: 'Writing Poetry and Dancing: An Interview with Scott Thurston', HERE
Tuesday 23rd: Roy Bayfield: 'Train Lines Angled to a Shimmering Horizon', HERE.
Wednesday 24th: Roy Bayfield: 'Staffage' (a new word for me, usefully defined) HERE
Thursday 25th: Roy Bayfield: 'Suburban Homecoming' HERE. 
Friday 26th: Roy Bayfield: 'Confetti Arrives from Other Times'. Read that here.
More on Roy Bayfield (my fellow Sussex poet) Here. And my role in his leaving do here.
Saturday 27th: Another concise review: Tom Jenks reviews Marcus Slease's The Green Monk, HERE. (There's more on Tom here.)
Sunday 28th: Patricia Farrell: from 'Rime'. Patricia’s website is but also see here.

Note (Sunday 28th July 2019): It's been a pleasure and an honour to present this work over the last two weeks. I have enjoyed both seeing the work daily, and spreading news of it through social media. I think I was right to limit my 'pool' of writers to the PPRG; how else to select down a selection to a select two dozen slots. I think I've also proved that I wouldn't want to run a magazine full time, but I do have an editorial urge that is worth cultivating now and then. And I did enjoy conducting the interview, foccussed on one aspect of Thurston's work. And thanks again to Rupert for letting me loose on his Stride site! 

Andrew Taylor and Angela Keaton from the early years

These links take you to earlier PPRG activities, particularly the Going Public talk series we organised to celebrate ten years of literary activism in 2009. Around that time the membership consisted of:  Andrew Taylor, Scott Thurston, Neil Addison, Bill Drennan, Dee McMahon, Matt Fallaize, Daniele Pantano, Steve Van Hagen, Michael Egan, Colin Harris, Patricia Farrell, Angela Keaton, Alice Lenkiewicz and me.

This post celebrates 25 years of writing at Edge Hill (now 30 by the way) and features 25 Edge Hill poets:

My most recent publication, Micro Event Space, is available now. Details here!

My website may be found here.

Saturday, July 13, 2019

Monday, July 08, 2019

Pete Clarke and Robert Sheppard: 'Area Arena' collaboration and Sheppard's Micro Event Space

Here are some of the small canvases made by Pete Clarke from the text of (very) small poems I wrote following our walk around Liverpool in January 2018. There are about 24 of them, and almost as many small poems. Like:


the jud
These photos were possible covers for my forthcoming book Micro Event Space from Red Ceilings Press, containing these poems, 'Arena Area' (along with other short and very short poems, including the 'twittersonnet' anthologised recently and written about HERE). They give a good idea of the collaboration from which they are drawn. Micro Event Space may be read about here.

Pete was recently a runner-up in the John Moores Painting Prize and here he is standing in front of the painting (now on show in the Walker Gallery Liverpool, part of its permanent collection).

Pete Clarke has collaborated with me (I have collaborated with him) on making a number of prints over the last few years and I posted images from our Edge Hill exhibition here and here. A later work for the Print Bienniel in Krakow may be viewed here and in Dusseldorf here:

James Bryne and I also used a painting of Pete's for the cover of Atlantic Drift: See HERE. 

Tuesday, July 02, 2019

Robert Sheppard: 4 new BAD IDEA poems published in International Times (link)

Four consecutive poems from Bad Idea (XLV-XLVIII) are published together in International Times. Thanks poetry editor Rupert Loydell. HERE!

They come from my current ‘English Strain’ project of overdub sonnets, ‘Bad Idea’ which is working through Michael Drayton’s 1619 text Idea. They take Brexit as theme, one might say. 

You can check out these versions’ models here: Drayton, Michael. ‘Idea.’ in Arundell Esdaile, ed. Daniel’s Delia and Drayton’s Idea. London: Chatto and Windus: 1908. 67-141; online at Luminarium:

I’m pleased to say three other poems from Bad Idea have now appeared online in Monitor on Racism. Patricia Farrell’s two images of Bo (now he’s an important figure again!) accompany them. Find those here.

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. But I didn’t stop there though. The most recent instalment of it, Hap: Understudies of Thomas Wyatt’s Petrarch (the title describes how it is like Bad Idea) is available from Knives Forks and Spoons here:

'Last Look', from The English Strain, also appeared in The International Times: here.

See a previous sonnet in International Times here:
(‘Avenge’, another sonnet, a contrafact on Milton’s ‘Avenge O Lord…’, and featuring elements concerning the (female) Yasidi resistance to IS, belongs to a connected sequence, 'Overdubs'.)

(I am also posting a new poem weekly, and temporarily, on this blog. There will be one in an adjacent post. Click onto ‘home’ and then scroll!)

Victor Merriman - dedicatee of one of the quartet of poems in International Times

Monday, July 01, 2019

Tuesday July 1st 1969:

In the afternoon, we saw an antiquated film and the investiture of Prince of Wales.