I began work on what I’ve entitled British Standards in pre-Covid 2020, but post-Brexit Independence Day. Both of those ‘issues’ are important. And the first will still remain so, even with today’s news (too new even for my poem, where news stays news) that a vaccine is probably on its way. The first section was finished late March, just after the (first) lockdown was belatedly announced. For this, I transposed poems from Wordsworth’s ‘Poems Dedicated to National Independence and Liberty’. I write about that sequence here: https://robertsheppard.blogspot.com/2020/03/the-last-of-my-wordsworth-versions-in.html
Then followed ‘14 Standards’, the lockdown poems. See here: http://robertsheppard.blogspot.com/2020/05/robert-sheppard-14-standards-from.html .
‘Tabitha and Thunderer’, interventions in the sonnet sequence ‘Sappho and Phaon’ by Mary Robinson, followed, and they may be read about (with video) here: https://robertsheppard.blogspot.com/2020/09/my-transpositions-of-mary-robinsons.html
Now I have turned to Keats. I had some trouble getting going; you can read about that struggle here: http://robertsheppard.blogspot.com/2020/09/an-overdub-understudy-version-of-keats.html
I’m thinking of calling these poems ‘Weird Syrup’. The subtitle ‘contrafacts and counterfactuals from Keats’ is the title of the first seven, now complete. These were written using couplets, 14 of them. Now I am at work on a very different grouping called ‘Curtal Song-Nets from Junkets’, and they are curtal sonnets (a weird but unsyrupy combination of the stanza developed from the sonnet by Keats for his Odes and from the curtal-sonnet invented by Hopkins).
Here’s the fourth, and the ‘tail’ has got shorter again. (The 3rd consisted of a lecture on negative capability!) Of course, Trump’s refusal to concede has to be poeticised. Absolutely necessary. The poem and tail ended with the words:
(whatever that means
Yesterday I blogged about all the Trump poems in ‘The English Strain’ project (see the link below), and it must have sunk deep and erupted up into today’s poem. I was planning to do some of my Bangor University moderation today. It’s my last word on Trump. Dump Trump. I thought of using this exchange in the tail (which is true, really really true):
He still Tweets: I WON THE ELECTION, GOT 71,000,000 LEGAL VOTES. BAD THINGS HAPPENED…
I Tweet back: Shhhh!!!
Yesterday, I also tweeted to Donald J. Trump: LOSER! I SHALL MISS YOU & THE RIDICULOUS CLOWN YOU’VE PLAYED IN MY SONNET SEQUENCES THE ENGLISH STRAIN.
That last comment in the poem (to get back to the POEM) about Trump being ‘well on his way to decompensating’ is a quote from niece Mary, and you can access her saying that here.
I have a post on my previous ‘Trump’ poems (he’s only on-stage now and then), here:
British Standards is book three of my ‘English Strain’ Project.
On this blog, as I’m guessing most regular visitors know, I’ve documented ‘The English Strain’ as work has progressed through to its third book. Here are two comprehensive posts to check out, one that looks at Book One, The English Strain here and another at Book Two, Bad Idea here .
I am delighted to say that Book One and Book Two are now published, The English Strain from Shearsman, and Bad Idea from Knives Forks and Spoons.
Three poems from Weird Syrup: Overdubs of sonnets from John Keats and ‘Sheppard's lively readings of them’ on video, as they are described there, have just appeared on Parmenar. Read them and hear them here: