Thursday, September 28, 2023

Four poems from British Standards published in Shearsman 137/138


I have four poems published in the latest handsome Shearsman, for which many thanks to editor Tony Frazer. They are from British Standards, the third part of my ‘English Strain’ project, mainly sonnets transposed from the ‘English’ tradition. This part contains versions of Wordsworth’s sonnets, but they also ‘document’ the transition from the hubris of brexit (exemplified in the four poems here) to the criminal incompetence of the mismanagement of Coronavirus (exemplified in the later poems of the sequence, though the subject is raised in the last poem here, as on the videos you may link to below). The motif that Britain (particularly Kent) has been converted into a huge dogging site as a brexit 'benefit' is one of the comic recurrences of the sequence. It seems history now, but here's a post from that happy time: Pages: Happy Dogging New Year via a statement from Go and a transposition of a Wordsworth sonnet (

Shearsman 137/138 published October 2023. Paperback, 102pp, 8.5 x 5.5ins, £9.95 / $17

ISBN 9781848619104

The second double issue of Shearsman magazine for 2023 features poetry by Serena Alagappan, Wendy Allen, Mark Byers, Elizabeth Chadwick Pywell, Peter Dukes, David Dumouriez, Marie-Louise Eyres, Dominic Fisher, Mark Goodwin, Amlanjyoti Goswami, John Greening, Finn Haunch, Neal Hoskins, Fiona Larkin, Peter Larkin, Rupert M Loydell, Valeria Melchioretto, Eliza O’Toole, John Phillips, Amber Rollinson, D’or Seifer, Natalie Shaw, and Judi Sutherland; plus translations of Kjell Espmark (by Robin Fulton Macpherson), Attila József (by Ágnes Lehóczky & Adam Piette), Lutz Seiler (by Stefan Tobler), and Roelof Ten Napel (by Judith Wilkinson). And my sonnets…

You may buy it here: Shearsman 137 / 138

Lots to enjoy here. I’ve had a quick read and a poem by Trevor Joyce and translations of Lutz Seiler are good. Both favourites of mine. 

Back to my dark pages, and to other of my sonnets.


Here’s a video of another Wordsworth transposition, and a text about it: Transposed! Robert Sheppard – Zwiebelfish

Here’s two more: Pages: Robert Sheppard: Two transpositions of Wordsworth from British Standards published on International Times

And a post (with a video) about the last of these 14 poems based on Wordsworth’s 1802-3 sonnets. I write about all of them, and how they fit into the (still-unpublished) volume British Standards, here: Pages: Transpositions of Hartley Coleridge: the end of British Standards (and of The English Strain project) ( – and how the ‘English Strain’ project fits together. See The English Strain (Shearsman, 2021) and Bad Idea (Knives Forks and Spoons). I’m over it now! Hope you enjoy them!


Locating Robert Sheppard: email:  (don’t use the Edge Hill or the supanet emails); website: Follow on Twitter: Robert Sheppard (@microbius) / Twitter  latest blogpost:


Wednesday, September 06, 2023

Cocaine Hippos Project (and my part in it): posts and updates

In April this year I was asked by Rupert Loydell to contribute to a gathering of poems about the ‘Cocaine Hippos’ of Colombia, and to help the invitees, he sent this wonderful link:

 I had already read about these beasts, bobbing along at the top of their human-directed food-chain, escaped from Pablo Escobar’s private zoo. I’m sorry that they are a ‘problem’, but I caught a feature about them on TV and rather delighted in their health, profusion and general invasion of the jungle. Of course, they are an ecological aberration, acknowledged in the title of the poem I wrote, ‘A Kink in the Anthropocene’, but not in the substance of it, for it reminds me of poems by Edwin Morgan (Patricia of Bill Griffiths) so it’s in no way a typical poem by me! (Good!) I speak in the voice of a hippo. (See links below.)


I thought it only fair (and interesting) to link to the whole project as it appears, every few days, on Stride:

Sept 7  #1: Thirteen Ways of Writing About a Hippo: Eric Eric Cocaine Hippos 1: Thirteen Ways of Writing About a Hippo | Stride magazine 

Sept 9  #2: dead on the road: Geoff Sutton: Cocaine Hippos 2: dead on the road to Colombia | Stride magazine

Sept 11  #3: Wildlife Sanctuary: Rupert Loydell (our editor): Cocaine Hippos 3: Wildlife Sanctuary | Stride magazine

Sept 13  #4: Dead or
Alive: Mélisande Fitzsimons: Cocaine Hippos 4: Dead or Alive | Stride magazine 

Sept 15:  #5: Hippos on Cocaine (visual poems): Mike Ferguson: Cocaine Hippos 5: Hippos on Cocaine | Stride magazine

Sept 17  #6: poem #02-12-1993: Blossom Hibbert: Cocaine Hippos 6: poem #02-12-1993 | Stride magazine

Sept 19  #7: The Paradox Engine / Sober Noises of Morning: Andrew Darlington: Cocaine Hippos 7: The Paradox Engine/Sober Noises of Morning | Stride magazine

Sept 21  #8: boy says nothing: Charlie Baylis: Cocaine Hippos 8: boy says nothing | Stride magazine

Sept 23  #9: Magdalena: Andrew Taylor: Cocaine Hippos 9: Magdalena | Stride magazine

Sept 25:  #10:  Humans Into Animals: Rupert Loydell (our editor, again, and it's a good one):  Cocaine Hippos 10: Humans Into Animals | Stride magazine

Sept 27  #11:  ‘A Kink in the Anthropocene’; that’s my poem. And it’s the last in this anthology. Read it here:  Cocaine Hippos 11: A Kink in the Anthropocene | Stride magazine . I hope you like it; I hope you like all of them. 

Watch a clip from CBS News about them. (The ‘Rhino News’ in my poem is a hint at a rather different US ‘news’ network.)


Pablo Escobar's hippos keep multiplying and Colombia doesn't know how to stop it - YouTube


Locating friend of the hippo Robert Sheppard: email:  website: Follow on Twitter: Robert Sheppard (@microbius) / Twitter  latest blogpost: