Friday, June 25, 2021

How to buy The English Strain books one and two together


As is obvious from a lot of posts on this blog, The English Strain and Bad Idea – my two new more or less simultaneously published texts – are part one and two of the longer sonnet transposition project ‘The English Strain’. They belong together, are probably best both read together. Or can be. They certainly have been reviewed together. The best place to purchase both of the volumes in one or two clicks is not with the presses’ sites (which I would normally advocate), but through The Book Depository:

The English Strain (Shearsman) is available here:

Bad Idea (Knives Forks and Spoon) is available here:

(They have many of my other books available too, including the critical ones, and I noted 13% off the price of Twentieth Century Blues!)  

There are many inter-linked posts about ‘The English Strain’. Here are two comprehensive ones, each with further links to earlier stages of the project, one that looks at Book One, The English Strain here (written after I’d completed it but before it found its title!).

There’s another post on Book Two, Bad Idea here . (The final part of Bad Idea is slightly different; called ‘Idea’s Mirror’; that’s described here: ).

Book three, British Standards, remains unpublished, but may be read about here:


 Above: a composite image that wasn't used as the cover of The English Strain. This one has me in the composite, but I made it blurry. In the end the state before this one was used. I'm fascinated that Barrett Browning's eyes show through so strongly. The second is the image for the cover, as used, to Bad Idea. Patricia Farrell produced both of these startling images. 

 Read the first review of both volumes, by Alan Baker, in Litter here: Review - "The English Strain" and "Bad Idea" by Robert Sheppard | Litter (

 Read the second, by Clark Allison, here, on the Tears in the Fence website: HERE:

Read a third review, by Steve Hanson, of Bad Idea on its own, in the Manchester Review of Books, here:

Pages: BAD IDEA reviewed by Steve Hanson in The Manchester Review of Books (