Monday, February 28, 2022

Reflections on Fictional Poetry and Fictional Poets part 3

 [A hubpost for this sequence may be accessed here: Pages: Reflections on Fictional Poetry and Fictional Poets (1 and hubpost for the sequence) (robertsheppard.blogspot.com)] 

The third volume of the fictional poet project, as I am assembling it (see links below to other parts, and to the hubpost for this sequence, above) offers glimpses of writers, both hoaxing and hexing, and of impossible and improbable oeuvres. (Poppmeier appears in all three parts, indeed is the link between them, importantly. Here’s another link about her: Pages: Sophie Poppmeier says Don't Leave the EUOIA (robertsheppard.blogspot.com) )

In her perceptive essay, ‘European Fictions’, Zoë Skoulding describes A Translated Man and Twitters for a Lark as ‘the first two of [Sheppard’s] planned trilogy by fictional poets’. (Skoulding 2019: 176, in The Robert Sheppard Companion: see here: Pages: The launch of The Robert Sheppard Companion (set list)) This was news to me when I read it. It must have been something I said! In any case, it had been Zoë’s insistence that we develop one of René Van Valchenborch’s own fictional poets, Cyprus’s Gurkan Arnavut (for an ‘Enemies’ collaborative reading in March 2012) that had kickstarted the processes of conducting and composing the second book, so there is some justice in this. (All the poets of the EUOIA are listed (with videos) here: The Poets - European Union of Imaginary Authors (EUOIA) (weebly.com))  Here’s Zoe reading our collaboration at that event:

 


 She warns, ‘The use of heteronyms is often a high-risk enterprise, breaking the conventions of authorial guarantee and shifting the habitual grounds of reading.’ (Skoulding 2019: 176) Indeed, announced on a poster (see below) as Van Valckenborch himself, I performed (uneasily) at the North Wales International Festival in 2013, see here: Pages: Reflections on A Translated Man (set list) (robertsheppard.blogspot.com) but not everyone was amused: ‘an audience member took exception to the perceived colonialism of a project that would invent poets of other languages’, and Skoulding notes that ‘heteronymic play does not replace the need to attend to perspectives that are offered by translation’, though in this third part of the trilogy, as I piece it together (and then take it apart for posting on this blog) I am largely bypassing the ethics of translation, but not ethics itself. (Skoulding 2019: 180) Skoulding, after a complex investigation of both books, concludes that their ‘poems ... are speculative, conjectural unsettlings of identity that resist damaging simplification. They imagine unknowable viewpoints and explore imagined frames of reference, but they also lay claim to a shared European vision that has shifted, since the first poems were written, towards something that can less easily be taken for granted’ after Brexit (a subject that is confronted in the translational poems of my other trilogy, ‘The English Strain’, in which I largely offer intralingual transpositions of traditional English sonnets). (Skoulding 2019: 188) (See here: Pages: Transpositions of Hartley Coleridge: the end of British Standards (and of The English Strain project) (robertsheppard.blogspot.com)

 


For Sophie Poppmeier’s lockdown journal, begin here:  https://robertsheppard.blogspot.com/2021/10/a-fictional-poets-notebook-entry.html

A related piece begins here: Pages: One Off Episode: Transient Global Amnesia and the Fictional Poetry Project (EUOIA and all that) (robertsheppard.blogspot.com)

All these entries may be thought of as the working notes towards the third book of my fictional poets project, after A Translated Man and Twitters for a Lark, which has its own website, EUOIAEuropean Union of Imaginary Authors (EUOIA) - Home (weebly.com) ; this contains a page about Poppmeier too: Sophie Poppmeier (1981-) Austria - European Union of Imaginary Authors (EUOIA) (weebly.com) ) I have no idea whether this will appear in print as a third book, but I'm working on that assumption.

Books one and two are described here: Pages: Celebrate Belgium’s Independence Day with European Union of Imaginary Authors poet Paul Coppens and with Rene Van Valckenborch (robertsheppard.blogspot.com)



Sunday, February 27, 2022

Reflections on Fictional Poetry and Fictional Poets part 2

 [A hubpost for this sequence may be accessed here: Pages: Reflections on Fictional Poetry and Fictional Poets (1 and hubpost for the sequence) (robertsheppard.blogspot.com)]

Different Lines (the fictional anthology) is a chimera and will remain so, the invisible mirror of the Movement’s New Lines. It shall never be written, beyond its sample title poem. Its poets – Elaine Jackson, Joshua Henderson, Perceval Lynam even (he has one poem written for him, by me!), Tristram Garner, Keith Ashville, M.C. Evans, James Johnston, Rupert Collyer, and Manxman Reginald Killip – remain spectres of its hauntology.

 


Its single review – the one ‘produced’ by ‘Shexit’ Sheppard – also remains unfinished, beyond its opening volley: ‘Rather than review this anthology,’ Archibald Pratt is supposed to have opined, writing in The Witness in early 1956, ‘I propose to walk it up and down, as one would an intoxicated stranger, but I will refrain from taking it home with me, to impose upon wife and servant.’ The title of the anthology is an own goal: Pratt surely would have called his riposte ‘Indifferent Lines’! Rather than form its content (as I thought I might) I propose to set it free, like a mythical beast, a phantom or rumour of implication. Or like Prospero, releasing Ariel, drowning his books. If that isn’t a far-fetched analogy.

Of course, something (or somebody) inside me wants to write such poems: all 78 prospective contributions to Different Lines, (imagine!) as well as Sophie Poppmeier’s innumerable new poems, but I need motivated impetus to propel me, or compel me. A Translated Man already traces the complexities of an author function – René Van Valckenborch’s – haunting its own bibliography. Rene Van Valckenborch - European Union of Imaginary Authors (EUOIA) (weebly.com) Twitters for a Lark expands on that, through literary collaboration, across a continent, into multiple biographies. (See here: European Union of Imaginary Authors (EUOIA) - Home (weebly.com) All the poets of the EUOIA are listed (with videos) here: The Poets - European Union of Imaginary Authors (EUOIA) (weebly.com))   

)

 


In my essay, ‘Doubling Up: Modes of Literary Collaboration in Contemporary British Innovative Poetry’, composed after completing Twitters for a Lark, I define the activity: ‘Literary collaboration is the co-creation of a literary work or works by two (or more) writers by whatever method.’ More importantly, I wonder if ‘the possibility that a writer’s most important work might be that which is produced collaboratively may be seriously entertained.’ (Sheppard 2021: 247) While privately reflecting on my own experience of making fictional poet translations with a dozen or more other writers, I remark of others' collaborations: ‘One of the frequent traits of this kind of to and fro-ing coauthorship is what we might call diversive responsiveness,’ (Sheppard 2021: 250) and I conclude: ‘Collaboration … produces a double entity that the single author could not have produced by other means… It is something we experience as growth.’ (Sheppard 2021: 264) See  Pages: My piece on 'Collaboration' is published in The Yearbook of English Studies 2021 (robertsheppard.blogspot.com)

and the ‘Collaborations’ posts out of which the essay emerged: I assembled 14 posts (with links to one review on Stride and another on Litter related to it). You can find all that here:

  https://robertsheppard.blogspot.com/2020/01/robert-sheppard-thughts-on.html

For Sophie Poppmeier’s lockdown journal, begin here:  https://robertsheppard.blogspot.com/2021/10/a-fictional-poets-notebook-entry.html

 A related piece begins here: Pages: One Off Episode: Transient Global Amnesia and the Fictional Poetry Project (EUOIA and all that) (robertsheppard.blogspot.com)

 All these entries may be thought of as the working notes towards the third book of my fictional poets project, after A Translated Man and Twitters for a Lark, which has its own website, EUOIAEuropean Union of Imaginary Authors (EUOIA) - Home (weebly.com) ; this contains a page about Poppmeier too: Sophie Poppmeier (1981-) Austria - European Union of Imaginary Authors (EUOIA) (weebly.com) ) I have no idea whether this will appear in print as a third book, but I'm working on that assumption.

Books one and two are described here: Pages: Celebrate Belgium’s Independence Day with European Union of Imaginary Authors poet Paul Coppens and with Rene Van Valckenborch (robertsheppard.blogspot.com).

 


 

Saturday, February 26, 2022

Reflections on Fictional Poetry and Fictional Poets (1 and hubpost for the sequence)

It seems a different world, doesn’t it, in which my piece of fictional dirty burlesque performed by the fictional poet Sophie Poppmeier called ‘Pegging Putin’ could be thought of as quite funny. And it was funny, but its resonances seem a little unreadable now, as the Russians invade Ukraine. For Sophie Poppmeier’s lockdown journal, to which this piece refers, and of which it is a sequel, and to which this new sequence of posts is a sequel, read here :  https://robertsheppard.blogspot.com/2021/10/a-fictional-poets-notebook-entry.html

 

Danny/i the talking amnnequin

A related ‘transient’ piece begins here: Pages: One Off Episode: Transient Global Amnesia and the Fictional Poetry Project (EUOIA and all that) (robertsheppard.blogspot.com)

 Now you are ready to move on.

*

This story (as largely told in the serial posts of Sophie Poppmeier’s journal; see link above) bifurcated as soon as she sold Danny/i. (Again, you can read about Danny/i via the links below: it was a poeticising mannequin dressed in Russian military uniform. Again, that seemed quite funny at the time it was written.) It was collected by a collector of such remains. 

a.      In England, Jason Argleton concocted his fiction. During a house clearance, he explained, to whom isn’t entirely clear, the manuscript Different Lines, that strange re-write of the canonical Movement anthology New Lines, was discovered in the loft of an elderly English teacher on the Isle of Man. It fortuitously found its way to Jason (and to his mentor, that’s some version of me) in Liverpool, who realised its value. Only they knew this bevvy of English poets was fictional, and their poems are fictional too, so fictional that they need not exist (the poems, that is). There was no need for them to have been written. But there they are, attempting to re-write literary history. A temporal-spatial transposition, to which is added Sheppard’s single ‘lead’, a hostile review of Different Lines, purporting to come from a reputable journal of the time. (Of course, that’s only a fiction too, but you’ll have to wait to read the wee fragment of it that exists.) 

b.     ‘In Berlin,’ Sophie Poppmeier wrote in the last entry to her lockdown diary, ‘my silence proved temporary, once Danny/i had gone. I sat brooding no longer over the file of scribbles, Book Five, or the inviting empty notebook, Book Six. I may yet cross the threshold of lyricism into something beyond. : Sophie Poppmeier (1981-) Austria - European Union of Imaginary Authors (EUOIA) (weebly.com) Even if the post-Covid world (and Jason too, judging by his silence) had no use for me, I deserved a projected future, as did every creature emerging from lockdown with a vaccine pulsing in the muscles. I would come into my own, by coming out of my own.’

 

See the next instalment for an update. As usual, this post will become a hubpost for this sequence.

Part two: Pages: Reflections on Fictional Poetry and Fictional Poets part 2 (robertsheppard.blogspot.com)

Part three: on the political pitfalls of fictional poetry: Pages: Reflections on Fictional Poetry and Fictional Poets part 3 (robertsheppard.blogspot.com)

Part four: on cultural appropriation: Pages: Reflections on Fictional Poetry and Fictional Poets part 4 (robertsheppard.blogspot.com)

Part five: on the distinction between fictional poets and fictional poems: Pages: Reflections on Fictional Poetry and Fictional Poets part 5 (robertsheppard.blogspot.com) 

Part six (final post): on my first fictional poet, Rene Van Valckenborch; some reminders and lessons: Pages: Reflections on Fictional Poetry and Fictional Poets (part 6 - the final part) (robertsheppard.blogspot.com)

A further section was written after posting the six parts above, and may be read here: Pages: A further thought on fictional poetry and imaginary authors (robertsheppard.blogspot.com)

All these entries may be thought of as the working notes towards the third book of my fictional poets project, after A Translated Man and Twitters for a Lark, which has its own website, EUOIAEuropean Union of Imaginary Authors (EUOIA) - Home (weebly.com) ; this contains a page about Poppmeier tooSophie Poppmeier (1981-) Austria - European Union of Imaginary Authors (EUOIA) (weebly.com) ) I have no idea whether this will appear in print as a third book, but I'm working on that assumption.

Books one and two are described here: Pages: Celebrate Belgium’s Independence Day with European Union of Imaginary Authors poet Paul Coppens and with Rene Van Valckenborch (robertsheppard.blogspot.com).



In addition to my work with fictional poets (there are lots of links to that on this blog, and on this post, actually) I have been part of a Malley ‘centenary celebration’, that you may read about here:
Pages: Ern Malley 1918-1943: Celebrating the centenary in his place of birth Liverpool (set list) (robertsheppard.blogspot.com)

But there's more to say about Ern. An essay on the Ern Malley affair and its Liverpool celebrations may be read here:

https://robertsheppard.blogspot.com/2022/05/robert-sheppard-my-essay-on-ern-malley.html

An essay on the Ern Malley affair and its Liverpool celebrations may be read here:

https://robertsheppard.blogspot.com/2022/05/robert-sheppard-my-essay-on-ern-malley.html

Tuesday, February 15, 2022

Seventeen Years of Blogging. A look back and the best of the last year

The little block of four raw links below will take you to the posts I made after merely 10 years of blogging, trying to make lists of 1, the best, 2, my favourites (one for each year), 3, the most neglected, etc., and, 4, plans for the (then) future. It was all quite fun, quite a lot of work, and is still fun to look at now. 

http://robertsheppard.blogspot.co.uk/2015/02/ten-years-of-pages-best-bits.html
http://robertsheppard.blogspot.co.uk/2015/02/ten-years-of-pages-one-post-year.html
http://robertsheppard.blogspot.co.uk/2015/02/ten-years-of-pages-ten-posts-nothing-or.htmlhttp://robertsheppard.blogspot.co.uk/2015/02/ten-years-of-pages-plans-for-future.html

 My annual accounts of blogging all link (up). In fact, they are a sort of guide to that year’s ‘best’ posts (though it’s only my estimate). Here’s 14, 15, and 16 years…

Pages: Robert Sheppard: My 14 years of blogging

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

Pages: Sixteen Years of Blogging! (links to the best of the blog) (robertsheppard.blogspot.com)



 I am now celebrating 17 years of blogging, but I only propose to look back at the past year (another reason to plunge into the linkages provided, in various directions, above!). As in previous posts, I shall refrain from posting images to distract from the work of linkage (from me, to you).

Many of my posts in the past year concerned ‘The English Strain’ project, both the two published books and the, as yet, unpublished third volume that is often featured on this blog, indeed, in a sense, written on the blog. And why not? Tracing the hubris of Brexit hitting the curse of Coronavirus (as we used to call it), and the capering of my comic creation Bo, in sonnets short enough for the little videos I can make with my new(er) laptop, seemed to demand temporary publication, though there are some longer posts left up, which are actually versions of those temporary posts, for example, this one,

Pages: The final sonnet transposition from John Clare (thinking about the set of 14) (hub post) (robertsheppard.blogspot.com)

which narrates my ‘transpositions’ of John Clare’s sonnets. This post celebrates the publication of all of the 'Tabitha and Thunderer' poems from British StandardsPages: My 'Tabitha and Thunderer' is published in Blackbox Manifold (robertsheppard.blogspot.com) Here's a video of the first verse:


I thought the Clare poems might be the end of the project, but it wasn’t, because I moved onto the surprisingly accomplished sonnets of Hartley Coleridge:

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

This post records the end of ‘The English Strain’ (book three), though not quite, because I wondered about writing a FOURTH book, and I muse on that possibility:

Pages: Should I write a fourth ‘book’ of The English Strain project? (robertsheppard.blogspot.com)

only to reject that, here:

Pages: No need for a fourth book of The English Strain, I've decided (robertsheppard.blogspot.com)

Though you will see that I’ve written one last poem (and there might be another if Bo actually resigns!) and here’s a post to celebrate that last work being published on International Times: Pages: 'The Shepherd's Brow' (the final poem of British Standards (probably)) appears on International Times (robertsheppard.blogspot.com) There’s two videos on that one.


Meanwhile the first two books The English Strain and Bad Idea were published and were reviewed:

By Steve Hanson here

Pages: BAD IDEA reviewed by Steve Hanson in The Manchester Review of Books (robertsheppard.blogspot.com)

By Billy Mills here

Pages: A review by Billy Mills of 'The English Strain' and 'Bad Idea' (robertsheppard.blogspot.com)

By Alan Baker here

Pages: Alan Baker reviews 'The English Strain' and 'Bad Idea' in Litter (robertsheppard.blogspot.com)

There are others. Before we leave ‘The English Strain’, here is a post about some online texts (and videos) of me reading my wild takes on John Keats, which you may read and see:

Pages: Three Keats transpositions posted on Pamenar Press (with videos!) (robertsheppard.blogspot.com)

Two works of poetics (relating to the transpositions of sonnets) were published separately, here: Pages: Robert Sheppard: My Poetics of the Sonnet in 'The English Strain' / excerpt from 'Idea's Mirror' in The Lincoln Review 

and here: Pages: Playing my Part in the New Defences of Poetry project (the poetics of British Standards: Shifting an Imaginary: Poetics in Anticipation (robertsheppard.blogspot.com) . These are both links to further links.

Away from that project, I have announced when other texts appear in magazines, and here are a couple of online ones to link to:

‘Flight Risk’ was published by The Mechanics’ Institute (on line): Pages: Robert Sheppard: A new poem 'Flight Risk' published today on MIRAonline

Another poem from the same sequence as ‘Flight Risk’, which is called ‘Adversarial Stoppage’, was published here: Pages: The Poem ‘Adversarial Stoppage’ from FLIGHT RISK is published in Mercurius (robertsheppard.blogspot.com)

An academic piece on literary collaboration was published this year: 'Doubling Up: Modes of Literary Collaboration in Contemporary British Innovative Poetry', Pages: My piece on 'Collaboration' is published in The Yearbook of English Studies 2021 (robertsheppard.blogspot.com).


Older works made their reappearance, first a wonderful BOXED reprint of my own collaborations with Bob Cobbing, from Veer:
Pages: COLLABORATIONS (Bob Cobbing - Robert Sheppard) published in a box by Veer - out now . And an even older piece, from 1980, appeared in an anthology celebrating the country house: my much-reprinted ‘The Blickling Hall Poem’ was rolled out again: Pages: Robert Sheppard: A poem published in Hollow Palaces: An Anthology of Modern Country House Poems .

Also taking me back was a short piece on my time on UEA’s MA in Creative Writing in the late 1970s: Pages: Robert Sheppard: Some memories of the Creative Writing MA (cohort 1978-1979) at the University of East Anglia .I happily got back in touch with one of my old classmates through this post (which I updated with some information on  her).

Another blast from the past was my typing up of a poetics journal entry from 1983. Originally for a poetics volume, I think I’ll leave it here, online, with its little introduction: Pages: Robert Sheppard: ‘So, now to the poetics’: from a Journal Entry, 22nd December 1983 .

My only in-person reading of the year was videoed, a collaboration with Joanne Ashcroft, as part of the European Poetry Festival in September:  Pages: Untitled by Joanne Ashcroft and Robert Sheppard performed at the European Camarade 2021(video and links)

Recent stirrings on the ‘fictional poet’ front (I am attempting a third ‘volume’) are recorded here: Pages: A Fictional Poet's Notebook (entry one)(hubpost to other parts) (robertsheppard.blogspot.com)

AND here: Pages: One Off Episode: Transient Global Amnesia and the Fictional Poetry Project (EUOIA and all that) (robertsheppard.blogspot.com)

Looking forward, I introduce Lee Harwood’s New Collected Poems (which I am editing with Kelvin Corcoran) and introduce a small selection of poems from it for Daniele Pantano’s Abandoned Playground magazine. It includes a couple of Harwood poems that have not been seen for a while:

Pages: Lee Harwood: 4 Poems (and a note on them) in Abandoned Playground, ahead of NEW COLLECTED POEMS edited Corcoran and Sheppard (robertsheppard.blogspot.com)

AND, last and not least, is the silliest post of the 17th year. It is another video, this time not of a poem (my sonnets are just short enough for me to record them and post them), but of my polyps:

 Pages: POLYPS (robertsheppard.blogspot.com)).

 ENOUGH – or too much!

 

Wednesday, February 09, 2022

Another 'final poem' to The English Strain Project / British Standards (temporary post)


 My previous post asserted:

The final poem, an 'Afterword' even, of British Standards – maybe – has been published on International Times (as have quite a few of my shorter poems from ‘the English Strain’ project). Thanks to poetry editor, Rupert Loydell, once again. 

That poem, it is worth repeating, may be read here:  https://internationaltimes.it/the-shepherds-brow-fronting-forked-lightning/

and you can see me read it on a video here, on that previous post: Pages: 'The Shepherd's Brow' (the final poem of British Standards (probably)) appears on International Times (robertsheppard.blogspot.com) .

But I also averred:

I say ‘maybe’, not because I think I might write another book, the fourth, but because I wonder if our political moment will drag just one more poem about the body politic (or the Bo Politic) from me. That depends on the Sue Gray report, of course. Until then, this is the last.

And, today, another poem presented itself. It is a version of an Arthur Symons poem. See the posts below about that possible, but rejected, fourth book, and for the story of my rummaging around Decadent Sonnets. It is called After Image, Improvisation upon Idealism by Arthur Symons, and begins with the reminder: 'We now know that Bo has no/conscience (we always knew)The ‘speaker’ is the Conservative Party. Surely some of them at least think like this. This is a temporary posting of the poem, and I have removed it. I'll leave this stub to speak for itself - and to direct interested readers to other places on this blog and outside it that relates to this project.

No sooner did I write the poem, blog it, and leave it for a while, than this appears, on the same day:



See these posts for the ruminations on the fourth book or not: Pages: Should I write a fourth ‘book’ of The English Strain project? (robertsheppard.blogspot.com) and Pages: No need for a fourth book of The English Strain, I've decided (robertsheppard.blogspot.com).

BUT, there's yet another 'final' poem to the book here: Pages: Another 'final' poem of the English Strain sonnet project: looking eastwards and to the Ukraine (robertsheppard.blogspot.com)

Read about the first two books (now both available, published I mean) online.  

The English Strain here, which features sonnets from Petrarch (via the Symbolists) to EBB : http://robertsheppard.blogspot.com/2018/04/robert-sheppard-petrarch-sonnet-project.html

and Bad Idea which features only versions of the sonnets of Michael Drayton, here: https://robertsheppard.blogspot.com/2019/09/on-bad-idea-and-reference-to-earlier.html

and about the unpublished third book, British Standards, which features Romantic Era sonnets only: here: https://robertsheppard.blogspot.com/2021/04/transpositions-of-hartley-coleridge-end.html

For the best of this blog, see: Pages: Seventeen Years of Blogging. A look back and the best of the last year (robertsheppard.blogspot.com) 

But I really DO think I've finished this project: Pages: If The English Strain is finished, what next? (Reflections and Loose Poetics) (robertsheppard.blogspot.com)