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Monday, February 15, 2021

Sixteen Years of Blogging! (links to the best of the blog)

I’ve been blogging for 16 years! Today!

15 is undoubtedly a more significant number than 16 and, indeed, last year I selected some of the best posts of the previous 15 years, incorporating (via links, in what I call a ‘hub-post’) the extensive retrospective trawl I conducted on the 10th anniversary of this ill-named activity. That hoard may be easily exhumed from last year’s ‘big 15’ post here:

Pages: Fifteen Years of Blogging (A hubpost to all the hubposts and other goodies) (

I should like to select a few highlights from the last year, and a dreadful year it's been. Ten seems the right number. My practice of temporarily posting the latest poem from ‘The English Strain’ project (from the third book, British Standards, that I’ve been working on lately, and still am) makes the last year look quite sparse now, although the accumulating temporary posts do result in a few permanent posts pertaining to the section that has been completed, so it might be best to start with a couple of those. British Standards consists of ‘transpositions’ of Romantic sonnets, and in the last year this has resulted in:

 One: a detailed account of ‘Tabitha and Thunderer’, interventions in the sonnet sequence ‘Sappho and Phaon’ by Mary Robinson, followed, and they may be read about (with a video; more about those later) here:


Two: Overdubs of Keats! I had some trouble getting going; you can read about that struggle over the first poem of the sequence, here:


Three: Bad Idea, book two of the ‘English Strain’ project, is now available and there is a post about this (along with many links to postings of poems from the book on internet sources, and videos, here: Pages: BAD IDEA (versions of Michael Drayton's Idea) available now from KFS (

 Of course, the pandemic should be recorded here (it’s recorded or traced in the poems of British Standards, the third book of the ‘English Strain’ project, more fully). Four: I discovered, on buying a new laptop in December 2019, that I could make videos and, if short enough, they could be posted on this blog. This has become a regular part of my weekly ritual of writing a new ‘transposition’, BUT also when I look back at older poems, and write about them, I tend to read them quickly on video and post (often unseen). With no poetry readings at the moment, this seems apposite (though the practice started before the pandemic). So you may contrast my reading of virus (Spanish Flu) poem, ‘Empty Diary 1920’, written in 1993 or 4, with ‘Empty Diary 2020’, written in the year it relates to, about the contemporary virus:

Here  Pages: Robert Sheppard: Yes, like all the other poets, I have an old poem about a virus: Grippe Espagnole (from Empty Diaries)

and Five, here: Pages: Robert Sheppard: The last two Empty Diary poems are published on Stride


(that post gives you links to all the other ‘Empty Diary’ poems currently available online. Another sequence finished, incidentally.)

 Six: Although this ‘strand’ stretches past the temporal span of this selection, my multiple postings on the subject of ‘Collaboration’, which consisted of both explorations of my own efforts and drafts of a critical article on the subject, finished within this compass. The final post contains links to all 14 parts! See here: Pages: On Literary Collaboration part 14: some final thoughts and LINKS to all previous parts (hub post) (


I’ve had a fair amount of critical writings published during this year and I’ve posted about these. Theyt include:

Seven: An essay on Allen Fisher in his ‘Companion’ from Shearsman: here: Pages: Robert Sheppard: Essay included in the NEW Allen Fisher Companion

Eight: My chapters ‘The British Poetry Revival’ and ‘Lee Harwood’ appear in the massive Contemporary British and Irish Poetry, read about it here: Pages: My two pieces (British Poetry Revival & Harwood) & editorial exhibit in CONTEMPORARY BRITISH AND IRISH POETRY, 1960 – 2015 Edited by Görtschacher and Malcolm (


Nine: Part criticism, part poetics, and in part featuring the poems themselves, I write about my opening sequence of ‘The English Strain’, ‘Petrarch 3’ (published as a Crater Press publication) in Translating Petrarch, here: Pages: Practice-Led piece on 'Petrarch 3' from The English Strain published in Translating Petrarch's Poetry (Legenda) (


Ten: My (yes, my) poems appeared in Philip Terry’s Penguin Book of Oulipo (a great thing to happen, even if I had to let my Belgian alter ego, if that’s what he is, Rene Van Valckenborch, take the strain!). Read about that here. (And tell me what you think Hannah Maes is showing her detectives on that blackboard! Answers not on a postcard: Pages: 'My' Quennets from A TRANSLATED MAN published in The Penguin Book of Oulipo (


That’s enough to be inspecting! Thanks for reading everybody. Stay reading and watching. I shall be continuing to document the last parts of the third book of ‘The English Strain’ project, British Standards. Click onto the HOME button on the right and see what’s new.