Friday, October 27, 2023

Doubly Stolen Fire (a new book of hybrid texts) is now OUT

My new book Doubly Stolen Fire is now available. Buy it straight from the publisher: HERE:Robert Sheppard: Doubly Stolen Fire – Glasfryn Project

Cost (plus postage and packing) UK £13; Europe £15.00; USA and the rest of the world £17.00 

To buy click here to pay by Paypal: 

or send a cheque - made out to Aquifer Books - to

Aquifer Books, Glasfryn, Llangattock, Powys, NP8 1PH

It looks great, and I’d like to thank Lyndon Davies, the publisher of Aquifer, for his hard work, and recommend all the books he’s published to date. (See the website for a full account of his many activities: Glasfryn Project: a hub of literary/artistic activity in rural Powys )

Mixing and matching hybrid modes – memoir, essay, creative non-fiction, fiction, fictional poems, psychogeographical derives, footnotes, poetics and even jokes – Doubly Stolen Fire examines authorship, real, fictional, hoaxing, as well as my own, from multiple viewpoints.

Whether a woman named Anonymous, or a mongoose called Gef, a fictional Austrian poet whose lockdown diary records her poeticizing mannequin, or some version of me in 1979 tracking the paths taken by novelist Malcolm Lowry, the book hosts a cast of unstable actors. Yes, I know that means that I’m one of them, and I acknowledge my attack of total global amnesia in one of the many labyrinthine footnotes. The characters keep returning to the scenes of their literary crimes, Liverpool mainly, though their guilty fictions float out to Berlin, the Isle of Man, Sussex and even to Ern Malley’s Australia.

You can re-write the history of post-War British poetry if you listen to your mannequin, it seems. You can put in a call for ‘creative literary history’ and all manner of alternatives appear. You can make Larkin and his crew disappear! All this in a volume bulging with mercurial humour and wily wit, and crawling with my creatures! What more could you want?


 Introduction: by Jason Argleton (he’s a fictional poet; he seemed appropriate)


Anonymous (a true short short about meeting a woman of that name)

Doubly Stolen Fire in his Prosthetic Voice: The Ern Malley Hoax and Fictional Poems in Liverpool (an essay coming out of the difference between hoaxes and fictional poems, and about some Ern Malley celebrations in Liverpool)

Thirty Russell Road (essay-poem-collage-piece about a strange event on the Isle of Man in the 1930s; previously unpublished)

Vestigial Gestures: The Fictional Poetry Project (in which Sophie Poppmeier communicates with her mannequin and produces English language fictional poems from the 1950s to rival Larkin and That Lot; and then I meditate upon current and previous fictional poets (who have appeared in the two books mentioned below. But also check out the EUOIA website for details of them: European Union of Imaginary Authors (EUOIA) - Home ( )

The Novel (not a novel but another short short about (not) writing a novel; a fable of (non) creativity.)

Two: Malcolm Lowry’s Land

The Lowry Lounge (a short poem concerning Lowry or the Lowryesque, short enough to read on video, as I do here):

Malcolm Lowry’s Land (an account of visiting Lowry’s grave in 1979, mediated through attempts at a poem on that subject written then and read in the ‘now’ of the poem, 2009; previously published in the pioneering LUP/Bluecoat volume Malcolm Lowry: From Mersey to the World)

 Cablegram to Dale St (a fantasy poem about Lowry and Liverpool)

 Circle of the City: following in the steps of Chapter Five (All of the pieces in Part Two have been performed at the annual Lowry Lounge events held in Liverpool every year: I write about those meetings AND about this poem, a recent one; there is a link to the text there too: Pages: Circle of the City published now on Osmosis/New book coming soon (

Read about the Liverpool launch of the book, here:  Pages: Launch of Doubly Stolen Fire at the Lowry Lounge 2023, Liverpool (


 Doubly Stolen Fire is a visionary glimpse into Robert Sheppard’s ‘inventory of the invented’. To begin with he is King Hoax, trickster offspring of Pessoa and Enderby with a smatter of W.C. Fields and Alfred Jarry. Curator of a fugitive archive of writings by and about imaginary authors, Sheppard is shapeshifter, saloon huckster, cabaret comedian, laugh out loud funny. The second part is a Firminist investigation into the Malcom Lowry labyrinth –psycho(somatic)geography, raw response, fragmented memory recovered. The work is imbued with loss, inky with fingerprints, words like haunted Kodaks.

so says Jeff Young, author of Ghost Town, A Liverpool Shadowplay

Robert Sheppard’s curiosity, brilliance and mischief are entwined as closely as ever in this gathering of poetry and prose. Continuing his excavations of poetry from perhaps-parallel universes, the first part explores the potentialities of fiction in and as poetry (or vice-versa), with the famous Ern Malley hoax as a touchstone for further inventions. In the context of this probing of authorial identities, the second part, with its focus on the apparently real Malcolm Lowry, shimmers with alternative possibilities. However, what holds the double construction of this book together is the character of Liverpool, its street names and gossip and half-heard stories haunting the fragmentary speculations that unfinish themselves, here and elsewhere at the same time. Behind the dissolving characters, there’s a committed sociality in Sheppard’s writing that makes it thoughtfully open to others as well as to language’s scintillating play of otherness.

so says Zoë Skoulding, author of A Marginal Sea

Here's me opening the box of books.

I write about the first launch of the book, at the Lowry Lounge 2023 here:  Pages: Launch of Doubly Stolen Fire at the Lowry Lounge 2023, Liverpool (set list) (

This book is (or parts of it are) the third part of my ‘fictional poetry’ project. Although you don’t need to know them, they are also available, A Translated Man, which features the Belgian fictional poet Rene Van Valckenborch, and Twitters for a Lark, in which I collaborate with a number of other writers to create European poets. (See European Union of Imaginary Authors (EUOIA) - Home ( for info on that; or see the two books here: Shearsman Books buy Robert Sheppard - A Translated Man and here: Shearsman Books buy Robert Sheppard (ed) - Twitters for a Lark, where you may buy those.

The availability of all my book-length publications may be accessed here: Pages: Robert Sheppard: seeing what's in print and what's not!


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