Friday, August 11, 2023

Two new poems published in Tears In the Fence 78

 Tears in the Fence 78 is now available at 

It features reviews by others as well as poetry, prose poetry, visual poetry, translations and fiction by: Mark Dickinson, Ian Seed, Eliza O’Toole, Lisa Pasold, Lizzi Linklater, Mark Goodwin, Blossom Hibbert, Morag Kiziewicz, Kate Noakes, Kenny Knight, Matthew Carbery, Pratibha Castle, Lesley Burt, David Ball, Toon Tellegen translated by Judith Wilkinson, Chrissie Gittins, Carla Scarano D’Antonio, Siân Thomas, PQR Anderson, Elizabeth Wilson Davies, benjamin cusden, Basil King, Janet Hancock, Melissa Buckheit, Benjamin Larner, David Miller, Steve Spence, Amber Rollinson, Beth Davyson, Claire Watt, David Harmer, Sue Johns ,Kathleen McPhilemy, Robin Walter, Michael Henry, Elizabeth Parker, Alice Tarbuck, Joanna Nissel, Sarah Watkinson, Mandy Pannett, Charles Wilkinson, Valerie Bridge, Jane Wheeler, Alexandra Corrin-Tachibana Naoise Gale, and me!

I’ve got two (unrelated) poems there and now my copies have arrived (why does everybody else seem to be tweeting about the issue before I even receive mine; it's the same with Jazzwise too, so it's not to do with the journal itself?) I want to introduce them. 

One is one of the latest ‘Empty Diary’ poems. This is a sequence that formed the backbone of Twentieth Century Blues – and kept on growing after the blues, as it were (as well as appearing in its earlier stages as the Stride book Empty Diaries). Books in print are featured here: Pages: Robert Sheppard: seeing what's in print and what's not! So it runs from 1901-2022 (so far). 

This one is ‘Empty Diary 2021’ , ‘Squeezing the spray’!

Empty Diary 2022 will appear in a masculinity anthology from Broken Sleep early next year. You can find others here:

 Pages: Robert Sheppard: The last two Empty Diary poems are published on Stride

I don’t mean ‘last’, of course, but ‘latest’. The ‘diaries’ for 2019 and 2020. I read both of them on video, and link to the texts (on Stride). I write about the sequence in some detail there and won’t repeat that here, but you can have a look. Additionally, there are further links to ‘Empty Diary’ poems of various kinds.

I am thinking about one for this year. I think I might take on anti-vax piss-drinkers.

The second poem is ‘Turns Return’, which is a poem for Scott Thurston. It’s a nudge for him to make the next move in our ‘collaboration’ Turns – but he hasn’t taken the hint/bait yet. Watch out soon for his Selected Poems from Shearsman.

I say the two poems are unrelated, and they are at the level of content, but they are connected by having been written at the same time, and they are two of a number of poems (the others are oddly in two editions of Junction Box) where I deny myself capital letters at the start of lines and any punctuation at the end of lines. I adopted this convention for a couple of months, I'm not sure why, which I'm sure is why I discontinued it!

I want to thank David Caddy again for publishing poems in Tears in the Fence this year (and in others).

I was last in issue 75 (video here too):

Pages: Two more sonnets from British Standards (from Keats) in Tears in the Fence 75 (

 Before that in issue 73 (video again):

Pages: Two new poems from British Standards published in Tears in the Fence 73 (

 And 68 (a poem in memory of Roy Fisher)

Pages: Robert Sheppard: 'Between' a poem for Roy Fisher published in Tears in the Fence

And 3 poems to the memory of Lee Harwood (now collected in The English Strain; see here: Pages: Search results for The English Strain ( :

Pages: Robet Sheppard: 3 poems to the memory of Lee Harwood in Tears in the Fence (

There are loads of reviews too in issue 78. It’s time to read it now. Feet up: new glasses on, and away we go!


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