Wednesday, March 29, 2023

Two new poems published on Stride

Stride (or rather Rupert Loydell, Stride’s long-term editor) has selected two of my poems for the magazine, published on 23 and 29 March this year respectively. (Stride is also permanently on my blogroll (right).) 

The first, is here: Robert Sheppard resists | Stride magazine

This is ‘Song for the Eye’ which I wrote as an ‘excitation for Steve Boyland’. I have two other ‘excitations’ – the idea was to write poems for creative artists in the hope that they might pick up on the poems’ oblique inciting to creative action – and this is the third, for the singer and sound artist Steve Boyland. He and I worked briefly together with Jo  Blowers (one of the other excitations was for her), on a vocal piece that we performed a couple of times (and I write about one of those occasions here:


The poem (which I read on the video above) is a collage of images, although singing is mentioned, hence the title. The odd – weird – thing is that after sending Steve the poem he was hit by a motorbike, a bit like in the poem. The excitation still stands, though I doubt he’d rise to it after that! Based in Liverpool, before the Pandemic I saw Steve – and saw him perform – often, solo and with others. Less so in recent months. There’s a video of him performing on the weblink above.

The excitation to Jo Blowers was published in Unfinish as ‘Excitation for Jo Blowers’ and was written for a 2013 performance at the Bluecoat, Liverpool.

The excitation to Pete Clarke, the third one, was published in English.


Steve, Me, Jo performing...

The second poem in Stride is from the birthday series Burnt Journals (which I write about here Pages: Robert Sheppard: Four Burnt Journal poems published on Litter (links) and here: Pages: Robert Sheppard: For Lee Harwood Burnt Journal 1939 (from Berlin Bursts), poems written using images of the dedicatee’s birth year. This one is for Geraldine Roberts-Stone, a former student of mine, who lives and works in Liverpool. She is an expert in women’s poetry of the Second World War, though that is not particularly relevant to the poem. More relevant is the fact she is proudly of Welsh heritage and she sings. There are a couple of private jokes embedded in the poem, but it is still a public fantasia of her year of birth (which, of course, I remember, unlike some other years treated in the series; 1939, for Lee Harwood, for example! See link above).

This poem is a bit too long for my brief videos, but by reading it fast (and with some appropriate animation, I hope you'll agree) I've done it. 

Read 'Burnt Journal 1970' here: Robert Sheppard sees the future in the past | Stride magazine

I hope you like these two poems, both dedicated to Liverpool friends. Indeed, I saw Geraldine the other Friday. Both poems involve or suggest singing. There the resemblance ends – and that’s no problem. 

Thanks to Rupert, as ever, for publishing. He also selected two poems from the related 'Empty Diary' sequence (as well as years before publishing my book of that title!) here:  Pages: Robert Sheppard: The last two Empty Diary poems are published on Stride

Around the same time as my two, Patricia Farrell had another of her 'troubadour' poems published on Stride: it's here: Patrica Farrell is neither error nor the other fellow | Stride magazine


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Thursday, March 16, 2023

Paul Evans' Selected Poems and Lee Harwood's Collected

Writing a post about another book that I’m editing, I remarked on the difficulties of selection, and I made reference to the Selected Poems of Paul Evans that I edited in 2009: The Door of Taldir. What I realised for the first time was that I hadn’t mentioned this book on this blog at the time, only recently. The process of getting this book together (I don’t mean the selection) was somewhat fraught and I think I was happy to let the book appear and find its way – there were a few appreciative reviews, and there should have been more.

What do I want to say about it now? Well, I think anybody buying the New Collected Poems of Lee Harwood, which Kelvin Corcoran and I have just edited (see a hubpost here to a variety of posts on, and around, the book and its launch: Pages: Lee Harwood New Collected Poems (2023) Some of the new things we found to put in it (, or indeed buying the Selected Poems of Lee Harwood, might think of buying Paul’s book as well. Then, both men would have agreed, you have the ‘Brighton School of Poetry’ whole! That is a joke they shared – but, of course, they shared a lot more in their poetry. They refer to one another, though they never collaborated. More sadly, Lee writes a number of elegies to Paul, who died in a mountaineering accident, while climbing with Lee.

I’ve said a lot about Lee’s work on this blog (again, check out Pages: Lee Harwood: 4 Poems (and a note on them) in Abandoned Playground, ahead of NEW COLLECTED POEMS edited Corcoran and Sheppard (, but not a lot about Paul (although I did publish some pre-digital reviews of his excellent Tourneys book, and included him on my cassette tape magazine 1983). What I found myself writing (this morning, as it happens, but I am posting this comment (again) on a different, future, day) was: ‘This book, which I don’t mention on this blog until a post of March 2023, meant I had to balance the already-published poems (possibly the stronger ones, definitely the ones I liked most) with the poems in an unpublished manuscript in the possession of Lee Harwood. I knew that any poem from this manuscript that I didn’t pick – and these I liked less than the early free verse poems – would never see the light of day. It’s a position of some responsibility.’ Whereas the ethic of editing Lee’s New Collected was about getting everything in, the ethics of selection, which I’ve only hitherto had to think about in terms of my own work, which is easy (the work's mine and the decisions are mine!), was finely balanced in terms of Paul’s work. My simpler problems on my own account were discussed here: Pages: Robert Sheppard: How I selected History or Sleep: Selected Poems.

As an enticement for both books, I’d like to point to the online publication of their Introductions.

The Door at Taldir: The Selected Poems of Paul Evans, Exeter: Shearsman 2009, is still available: Shearsman Books buy Paul Evans - The Door of Taldir — Selected Poems.

That link shows you another link to my Introduction, or you can go straight there: paul-evans-the-door-of-taldir-selected-poems-SAMPLE.pdf (

 Lee Harwood, New Collected Poems. Bristol: Shearsman 2023, is available: Lee Harwood - New Collected Poems (

That link shows you another link to our Introduction, or you can go straight there: lee-harwood-new-collected-poems-sampler.pdf (

Any difficulties, go to and search.

The question of why Paul took up a traditional lyric style in later work after a deft non-metrical lyricism is another question, one which I’m not sure I can ‘answer’, though I could explore it. Was it a great swerve from the influence of Harwood, I wonder (with my Harold Bloom hat on)? I make good use of a 1982 interview I did with Paul in which he explains his stylistic changes in the Introduction you can access above. Andrew Duncan has a few thoughts about Evans (embedded in this long post): angel exhaust: british poetry revival.


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Friday, March 03, 2023

Robert Sheppard: seeing what's in print and what's not!

My post on The Anti-Orpheus (Pages: Robert Sheppard The Anti-Orpheus (pdf available online) got me thinking about how much of my work was currently available and how much wasn’t. I’ve concluded that a surprisingly large amount of it is, in a way that would have surprised earlier authors – earlier than the advent of Print On Demand technologies about 25 years ago, I mean. It was part of the life-cycle of a book to go out of print – and for the secondhand market to come into play. Add to that that I have a number of copies of officially o/p books stacked away, thus making them ‘available’, means that the number of books and pamphlets bearing my name that you might get hold of is quite large. Some texts (like The Anti-Orpheus) are available online (both officially and unofficially, of course), but I intend to not dignify the latter sources in this listing. And some books, of course, have been digitalized (or were in an electronic form anyway, as pdfs (like The Anti-Orpheus)).

Let’s examine the books. I am going to go through them and demonstrate whether they remain in print, or have been absorbed into other in-print books. As I go I expect to surprise myself, but it might be useful for anybody who wants to catch up with these. I’ve taken the list from my website, where there is a full list of my publications: Full Bibliography - Robert Sheppard (



Full Length Poetry and Creative Prose Collections (including a few pamphlets)

Daylight Robbery, Exeter: Stride, 1990: o/p but some of its contents are available in History or Sleep (see below). 

The Flashlight Sonata, Exeter: Stride, 1993: o/p but this book is reproduced entire in Complete Twentieth Century Blues (see below). However, I still have some copies of this book (which I’ve always rather loved).

Empty Diaries, Exeter: Stride, 1998: o/p but this book is reproduced entire in Complete Twentieth Century Blues and in part in History or Sleep (also below). However, I have some copies of this book left.

The Lores, London: Reality Street, 2003: o/p but this book is reproduced entire in Complete Twentieth Century Blues (see below)

Tin Pan Arcadia, Cambridge: Salt Publishing, 2004: o/p: but this book is reproduced entire in Complete Twentieth Century Blues (see below)

The Anti-Orpheus: Exeter: Shearsman Books, 2005: pdf online: see Pages: Robert Sheppard The Anti-Orpheus (pdf available online .

Hymns to the God in which my Typewriter Believes, Exeter: Stride, 2006: o/p.

Risk Assessment (with Rupert Loydell), no location: Damaged Goods, 2006: o/p but I have a large number of these left.

Complete Twentieth Century Blues, Cambridge: Salt Publishing, 2008: STILL IN PRINT here: Complete Twentieth Century Blues, Robert Sheppard - Salt ( It collects many of the books above. (And I write about it here: Pages: Twentieth Century Blues published ten years ago! ( )

Warrant Error, Exeter: Shearsman Books, 2009: STILL IN PRINT here: Sheppard, Robert (

Berlin Bursts, Exeter: Shearsman Books, 2011: STILL IN PRINT here: Sheppard, Robert (

A Translated Man, Exeter: Shearsman Books, 2013: STILL IN PRINT here: Sheppard, Robert (

Words Out of Time, Newton-le-Willows: Knives, Forks and Spoons, 2015: STILL IN PRINT here: 'Words Out of Time' by Robert Sheppard (108 pages) | Knives Forks and Spo (

History or Sleep: Selected Poems, Bristol: Shearsman Books, 2015: STILL IN PRINT here: Sheppard, Robert ( It also selects from all the books listed above (apart from Risk Assessment).

Unfinish, London: Veer Publications, 2016: STILL IN PRINT here: Robert Sheppard - Unfinish - Veer Books

The Drop, Hunstanton: Oystercatcher Press, 2016: STILL IN PRINT here: Robert Sheppard : The Drop - Oystercatcher Press

Twitters for a Lark: Poetry of the European Union of Imaginary Authors (with Others), Bristol: Shearsman Books, 2017: STILL IN PRINT: Sheppard, Robert (

Micro Event Space, New Mills, Red Ceilings Press, 2019: STILL IN PRINT: Micro Event Space - Robert Sheppard | Red Ceilings Press (

Charms and Glitter (with Trev Eales), Newton-le-Willows: Knives Forks and Spoons, 2020: WITHDRAWN! The sorry story surrounding this magnificent colour photo/poetry book may be read here: Pages: Whatever happened to the book Charms and Glitter? (

The English Strain, Swindon: Shearsman Books, 2021: STILL IN PRINT: Sheppard, Robert (

Bad Idea, Newton-le-Willows: Knives Forks and Spoons, 2021: STILL IN PRINT: 'Bad Idea' by Robert Sheppard (102 pages) | Knives Forks and Spo (

Collaborations (with Bob Cobbing): Odes and Diodes and Blatent Blather/Virulent Whoops, Veer Publications, 2021: STILL IN PRINT (pictured below): Bob Cobbing - Robert Sheppard - Collaborations - Veer Books

Doubly Stolen Fire , Aquifer Books, Flangattock: 2023: Pages: Launch of Doubly Stolen Fire at the Lowry Lounge 2023, Liverpool (set list) (


Short Fiction Collection

The Only Life, Newton-le-Willows: Knives Forks and Spoons, 2011: STILL IN PRINT: 'The Only Life' by Robert Sheppard (41 pages) | Knives Forks and Spo ( Three short stories about writers.   

Critical Books

Far Language: Poetics and Linguistically Innovative Poetry 1978-1997, Exeter: Stride Research Documents, 1999; second printing 2002 : o/p, But I have many copies left, so email me. (The whole book also appears on this blog, beginning here: Pages: Robert Sheppard: Far Language: Poetics and Linguistically Innovative Poetry 1978-1997: New Introduction and links to chapters)

The Poetry of Saying: British Poetry and its Discontents 1950-2000, Liverpool: Liverpool University Press, 2005, print o/p, but there are various online versions and second hand copies of the print version. Its introduction appears here: Pages: Robert Sheppard: The Poetry of Saying: Technique: The Poetics of Form

Iain Sinclair, Writers and Their Work, Plymouth: Northcote House, 2007 (distributed by Liverpool University Press: STILL IN PRINT and in digital form: ‘A unique insight into the history of British literary criticism’, Writers and Their Work now available as a digital collection | Liverpool University Press Blog.  

When Bad Times Made for Good Poetry, Exeter: Shearsman, 2011: STILL IN PRINT: Sheppard, Robert (

The Meaning of Form in Contemporary Innovative Poetry, New York: Palgrave, 2016: STILL IN PRINT and available online. I write about it here: Pages: Robert Sheppard: The Meaning of Form in Contemporary Innovative Poetry PUBLISHED. I also have a navigable pdf of the whole book which I can send easily. Contact me by email.


Edited Books


Floating Capital: New Poets from London, with Adrian Clarke, Elmwood, Connecticut: Potes and Poets, 1991: o/p.

News for the Ear: a homage to Roy Fisher, with Peter Robinson, Exeter: Stride 2000: o/p though I have a few copies left.

Salt Companion to Lee Harwood, Cambridge Salt: 2007: o/p. This out-of-printness hurts!

The Door at Taldir: The Selected Poems of Paul Evans, Exeter: Shearsman, 2009: STILL IN PRINT: Shearsman Books buy Paul Evans - The Door of Taldir — Selected Poems

Atlantic Drift: Poetry and Poetics, with James Byrne, Arc/EHUP, 2017: STILL IN PRINT: Arc Publications - Books

New Collected Poems: Lee Harwood, with Kelvin Corcoran, Shearsman, 2023: JUST GONE INTO PRINT: Lee Harwood - New Collected Poems (

For Me/On Me

An Educated Desire edited by Scott Thurston, KFS, STILL IN PRINT:

'An Educated Desire, for Robert Sheppard, at 60' Anthology (75 pages) | Knives Forks and Spo (

The Robert Sheppard Companion edited by Christopher Madden and James Byrne, STILL IN PRINT: James Byrne & Christopher Madden (eds.) - The Robert Sheppard Companion (

So there you have it. A lot of books are still in print, others are available in newer formats, for sale second-hand, and a few I have copies of. Email me for information.

It's clear also that Complete Twentieth Century Blues operates as a kind of 'Collected Poems', or a first volume of a pair, maybe. 

I thought I might go through the same process for pamphlets, but they feel too numerous (see my full bibliography - link above - or the summary form: Publications - Robert Sheppard ( So I have smuggled a few pamphlets that are still available into the listings above for good measure. I’ll leave the rest to fate; most are o/p, though some Ship of Fools pamphlets are around in very small numbers. (See here for an account and images of Ship of Fools: Pages: Ship of Fools press Exhibition Edge Hill 2017: Hub post (links) and Introduction (


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