Sunday, July 02, 2023

Circle of the City published now on Osmosis/New book coming soon

I’m pleased to announce a couple of related things before I have a little summer break from blogging (and Twitter). One is the publication of a poem (today) and the other is the publication of a book (later).

The poem has been mentioned before on the blog, because it relates to the celebrations of the life, times and writings of Malcolm Lowry that are held every year in Liverpool. Indeed, it relates to this post about the 2021 celebration, here:  Pages: The Lowry Lounge 2021, Bluecoat, Liverpool (and my poem 'Circle of the City: following in the steps of Chapter Five') ( On that you will find references to my poem ‘Circle of the City’, which I read in the Open Malc (ouch!) section and which I also describe in my book (more of that later!) thus:

This poem is a series of interrupted haiku written (or drafted) while following the walk taken by sailor-revolutionary Sigbjørn and his shipowner father as described (in both senses of the word) by Lowry in his unfinished novel, written in the mid-1930s, In Ballast to the White Sea (ed. P.A. McCarthy, Ottawa: University of Ottawa Press, 2014). Their Liverpool walk starts (and ends) at Exchange Flags and skirts the docks, the shopping centre, and rests at a cinema to view a Russian revolutionary film. They discuss politics generally and, more personally, their culpabilities in the deaths of others. Like Lowry, I take in the messages of the urban environment I pass through: street signs, adverts, t-shirt slogans. There are, oddly, both in Lowry’s chapter and my poem, references to Melville’s Redburn (1849). The Liverpool guidebook Redburn carried was 50 years out of date. My ‘guidebook’ was Lowry’s novel itself, Bodega and cinema both long gone. The poem was first performed at the 2021 Lowry Lounge, Saturday 30 October 2021, The Bluecoat, Liverpool [as described in the link above].

I am now pleased to say this is published today on the 'Featured Writing' section of the Osmosis website HERE:

 Robert Sheppard: Circle of the City: following in the steps of Chapter Five – OSMOSIS PRESS

 Thanks to all at Osmosis for selecting this. They publish 'Featured Writing' every Sunday, and books, of course, every now and then (as a press). Check them out: OSMOSIS PRESS – where writing shifts and spills across boundaries

[Updatde: the book was launched at the 2023 Lounge: Pages: Launch of Doubly Stolen Fire at the Lowry Lounge 2023, Liverpool (set list) ( and may be purchase via this link.]

The post above to the Lowry Lounge 2021 also presents links to some previous years’ meetings. Of course, that won’t let you link with the 2022 meeting, about which I had some thoughts here: Pages: The 2022 Lowry Lounge - a few thoughts ( The 2023 meeting is in preparation: 28 October. A date for local diaries.

The poem is the final piece in my hybrid book
Doubly Stolen Fire, which is subtitled ‘authorship imaginary and real’ and will be published by Aquifer Press, which is run by Lyndon Davies. The second half of the book is indeed about real authorship, since it contains my writings on Lowry, a handful of poems including today’s, and my prose piece ‘Malcolm Lowry’s Land’, which is a psychogeographical exploration of walking to Lowry’s grave in 1979, imaginatively re-tracing my textual steps 30 years later (it's a sort of 'reading through' of a poem I never published). 

The first book of the fictional poetry project, A Translated Man.

The first half of Doubly Stolen Fire is about imaginary authors and is, in essence, the third part of my imaginary authors project. Read about the published first two books of it here: EUOIAEuropean Union of Imaginary Authors (EUOIA) - Home (

The second book of the fictional poetry project, Twitters for a Lark.

A long piece in Doubly Stolen Fire is culled from the lockdown diary of Sophie Poppmeier, my imaginary Austrian poet, who appears in each part. 
Pages: Reflections on Fictional Poetry and Fictional Poets (1 and hubpost for the sequence) ( BUT I also consider the Ern Malley Hoax, Pages: Robert Sheppard: My essay on Ern Malley and Fictional Poets appears in International Timesa famous talking visitor to the Isle of Man (not Lowry), a talking mannequin (of course) and a couple of other people who have lifted themselves into fiction. The writing weaves and matches and mixes hybrid modes: memoir, essay, creative non-fiction, fiction, fictional poems, psychogeographical derives, jokes and poetics. Oh, and a lot of footnotes!

Keep checking this blog for updates. And read my poem online as a taster (though there is no sample of the book that could be thought ‘typical’).  Nearly there! Here's me holding the proof copy:



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