Friday, July 23, 2021

Playing my Part in the New Defences of Poetry project (the poetics of British Standards: Shifting an Imaginary: Poetics in Anticipation

The reading of 'Defences' and live discussion about poetry and poetics (Shelley's and our own) last night worked well, even over Zoom, as we connected the seagulls of South Wales with the fogs of Northumbria. Olivia McCannon’s piece on ‘ownership and the cooperative mind’ dealt with translation as exchange and relationship, while Philp Gross dealt with ‘Words, Listening’, which focussed upon listening, silence and that noisy world of dissension that we all seem caught up in. I presented my ‘Shifting an Imaginary: Poetics in Anticipation’, which I wrote in the middle of writing book three of The English Strain project, British Standards, but is also a ‘defence’ of some kind, perhaps more of poetics than of poetry itself. I also revise my definitions of poetics! (Revised from those offered here.

Thanks to David O’Hanlon-Alexandra, the convenor of the discussion and the onlie begetter of the ‘New Defences’ project, who got us all to say more. His 'hidden' introduction to the project may be read here: Editor’s Introduction – New Defences of Poetry (

2021 marks the 200th anniversary of the composition of Percy Bysshe Shelley’s ‘A Defence of Poetry’ (1821) – one of the boldest and most profound statements on the power of poetry to act as a social and political force. In celebration of this seminal work, the Newcastle Centre for the Literary Arts invited submissions of short prose essays responding to the theme of ‘A Defence of Poetry’ from practicing poets. See; Essays – New Defences of Poetry ( 

Last night that was down to us three. How do you think we did?

See here…


The works selected (not just our three) are now published on the NCLA Archives website (as of July 2021), with the possibility of a print publication to follow.

You may read all of the pieces here:

You may find my piece, which I probably only read half of on the evening, here:

Information about ‘the English Strain’ project abounds on this blog (the poems were blogged as they were written, the progress fully recorded. This link will take you to all the others!

Pages: Transpositions of Hartley Coleridge: the end of British Standards (and of The English Strain project) (


I plan to add this poetics to Book Three, as an appendix. I think it will work, since it is anticipatory (and points beyond the book and project). 

A further poetics (on my use of the sonnet in this project, a kind of shadow to this one) may be linked to here: