I have just discovered that a poetics piece of mine, The Anti-Orpheus, is still online on the Shearsman site. It was written in 2001, and originally published by Tony Frazer in 2004 as a booklet and pdf. I think there were only a few hard copies, but I was always pleased to see that the pdf downloadable version remained online. I thought it had been removed in one of the revamps of the Shearsman site – but I was wrong. Possibly I’d missed it because I don’t often provide a link to the general page for my books and tend to copy links to pages with details of particular volumes.
Here's that general page (you can see all of my Shearsman books here too): Sheppard, Robert (shearsman.com)
There is a link to The Anti-Orpheus there (if the one below doesn’t work for you).
Here’s a direct link to the piece: https://irp-cdn.multiscreensite.com/12e499a6/files/uploaded/Sheppard_anti-orpheus.pdf
What is this piece, The Anti-Orpheus? It’s best to just read it (at least some of it) to get a fix on it, since it is multifaceted, and summary is difficult. Recently, I’d wondered whether I might collect it in a volume of poetics. I decided against it, since it seems too diffuse, needs its own space (or none). It enacts rather than argues. I wrote freely and ‘The Anti-Orpheus’ is the result. There may still be much to discover there; there may not. It was a machine for getting me away from Twentieth Century Blues and towards the other, later books that are represented on this Shearsman page, to that desired ‘else’ of its opening passage. There are fragments of daily writings, bits of poems, snippets of speculative poetics, enactments of an ethics of writing, and quotes from others. In fact, only one POEM from this strange, tidied-up notebook found its way into later books. The poem ‘A Voice Without’ is reprinted in Berlin Bursts and History or Sleep – a kind a teasing Levinasian riff on the saying and the said, which I do like. If I remember correctly, it was written straight out (a rare event for me!).
To say and not say at
the same time, or
at a different time to not
say and yet say –
neversaying so that it
closes into what has been
said… (I read it all on the video below) -
I like other parts of it too, but perhaps of what remains, only the haiku about Auschwitz could be published separately. I have just re-read the piece and found it suggestive and (I'd forgotten) fun and (in parts) funny! There is one useful part about enjambement ('creasing syntax with a (metrical) limit, decreasing sense in sound') and ceasura ('punctuating the metrics with a space for thought'). That could have come in handy in my recent post about free verse metrics: Here: Pages: Re:Pulse – on pulse and Richard Andrews’ A Prosody of Free Verse: Explorations in Rhythm (robertsheppard.blogspot.com) There are snippets of 'fiction', which I'd forgotten and the sinister epigram: 'Writing in ancient forms shits in the mouths of the dead'! Hmmm! The ethics of signature is a big theme. I like the central and final prose passages about Orpheus too; again it is a Levinasian reading of the myth (in terms of the saying and the said), and reflects the fact that I was writing my critical book The Poetry of Saying at the same time.
However, I wasn’t simply trying to cast the theory of that book (which may be accessed here: https://robertsheppard.blogspot.com/2015/09/robert- sheppard-poetry-of-saying-point.html, the ‘ethics’ part of the book, anyway) but was, as I said, trying to find a new poetics after having finished writing Twentieth Century Blues (whose own poetics might be thought to be expressed here ; another, 'Linking the Unlinkable', poetics of Twentieth Century Blues, may read here. (‘Linking the Unlinkable’ ends up in The Poetry of Saying too.)
I find that I have considered and introduced this piece before, in one of the earliest posts on this blog, by quoting the text I used to introduce a reading of it (at Great Writing 2005, the University of Portsmouth): Pages: Robert Sheppard: The Anti-Orpheus/Rattling the Bones. Before publication, I'd read it at the Edge Hill Research Forum and had read parts of it as part of a contribution to the Talks series, curated by Robert Hampson at Birkbeck College, London, both in 2001.
These days, I like to make poetics compressed like an old lemon: See ‘Shifting an Imaginary’: 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)
The quote from Derek Attridge towards the beginning of The Anti-Orpheus shows that my subsequent critical work on form, and the formal turn in my poetry, were entangled into the piece early on. The quote is from an article Attridge gave me at a conference in Salford around the turn of the century. The impress of that meeting may be felt on most things I’ve done since, The Meaning of Form especially, and a post such as this piece from 2015: https://robertsheppard.blogspot.com/2015/05/robert-sheppard-meaning-of-form-and.html
Enough! I’ll let possible readers find what they will in it. I know Sandeep Parmar used to use it with her students at Liverpool University at one time. Indeed, may it be of use still.
Nearly all of the posts about poetics as an anticipatory discourse, including definitions of it, may be accessed via this recent hub-post: Pages: SHOP TALK (TO) POETICS: about the forms of writing - presentation to MA Creative Writing, Edge Hill University (robertsheppard.blogspot.com)
Locating Robert Sheppard: email: email@example.com website: www.robertsheppard.weebly.com Follow on Twitter: Robert Sheppard (@microbius) / Twitter latest blogpost: www.robertsheppard.blogspot.com