Monday, December 18, 2023

My poetics piece 'My Own Crisis' is published by Futch

As anybody who knows anything about my work knows, I am keen on the writerly discourse of poetics. This has been the subject of my academic work (see, e.g., ‘Poetics and the Manifesto’, comparing the poetics of Pierre Joris and Adrian Clarke, here: Poetics and the manifesto | Jacket2), an important part of my creative writing pedagogy (see, e.g., my manifold links that I have provided students with, via this Pages post: Pages: SHOP TALK (TO) POETICS: about the forms of writing - presentation to MA Creative Writing, Edge Hill University (, and it is an integral part of my thinking as a writer. On occasions, I write poetics for myself and others (while keeping a more fragmentary poetics journal going to capture practical poetics alongside more abstract, conjectural and probing poetics). 

Probably the last big piece was the poetics behind the third part of my ‘English Strain’ project, British Standards. It could also be regarded as a ‘covid’ poetics, too. That piece may be read online here, Shifting an Imaginary: Poetics in Anticipation – New Defences of Poetry (

Before that I developed the associational paragraph style I used for that piece in ‘Pulse’, a treatise on poetic rhythm that may be read, in part, here: It was produced by a strange method. The first draft was made by ‘writing-through’ Tiger C. Roholt’s Groove: A Phenomenology of Rhythmic Nuance. New York and London: Bloomsbury, 2014, between August 2016-February 2017. Throughout this process, contingency is its rhythm, a pulse that matches the varieties of montage, de-montage, that I attempt in my own practice, with interruption as structure, with transformation and transposition, formal resistance, creative linkage, ‘imperfect fit’, near-perfect fit, all kinds of multi-form unfinish.

So, it moved between creative prose and critical writing (say the ‘straight’ critical writing of The Meaning of Form. See here for that tome: ). It’s the sort of writing called Creative-Critical writing these days.  (There's a rougher piece that follows on from 'Pulse' here, which I notice not a lot of people have accessed: Pages: Re:Pulse – on pulse and Richard Andrews’ A Prosody of Free Verse: Explorations in Rhythm (

My most recent piece (I will get round to it) perhaps moves between politics and poetics in a way that surprised me. I sought – but didn’t complete – a poetics writing-through of Mark Fisher’s Capitalist Realism, a book I felt drawn to for its brevity, its cultural focus and (since Fisher, like me, had moved from teaching in Further to Higher Education) for its feeding off of that (shared) pedagogic experience.

'My Own Crisis' eschewed the paragraph units of the previous pieces, and I went for a more impacted discourse, adding difficulty to the thinking. But then difficulty, or people’s difficulty with difficulty, is part of the thematics.

Image by Patricia Farrell to accompany the piece. One of her recent paintings. (See Patricia Farrell - Home ( )


I’m very glad that the good folks at FUTCH (a journal much committed to that ‘creative-critical’ hybrid About | Futch Press) saw fit to publish this piece. And it may be read whole here, so I won’t say any more about it.


Re-reading an intermediate set of notes (partly poetics, partly critical thinking) before posting this post, I realised that they not only fed into 'My Own Crisis', the post actually refers to writing it (due to the gap between writing the notes and typing them up for posting. Inconclusive as they are, they might be of interest; I need to return to them, I know, as I feel critical, creative and poetics muscles flexing; See here: Pages: From a Poetics Journal 2023: notes on two critical volumes: Betteridge and Kaufmann (

I think I'll take my winterval break from blogging for a few weeks. 



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


Sunday, December 10, 2023

Two British Standard sonnets are published in Anthropocene - notes, links and a video

 I’m pleased to say two poems from the last part of ‘The English Strain’ project, British Standards have been published in Anthropocene. You may read them here:

 2 poems by Robert Sheppard (

Thanks to the dedicated editors!

‘British Standards’ is best described here: Pages: Transpositions of Hartley Coleridge: the end of British Standards (and of The English Strain project) ( where you will find links to other magazine appearances of parts of the book. I transpose sonnets by Wordsworth, Mary Robinson, Shelley, Keats and others, as well as Clare (but not Arthur Symons, my second model here).

The first poem on Anthropocene, ‘The rich-brown umber hue the oaks unfold’ is an ‘overdub’ of John Clare, one of 14 such poems, written late 2020/early 2021. I write about the Clare poems here, with videos,: Pages: Robert Sheppard: Four new versions of John Clare published in Talking About Strawberries (plus videos and links).

And here is a video of a reading of the poem:

 The second poem is ‘After Image: Improvisation upon “Idealism” by Arthur Symons’, which comes from the ‘After…’ poems that I amassed in serial attempts to end my three volume trek through the English Petrarchan sonnet tradition, particularly the end where the subject matter was tracking the hubris of brexit colliding with the mismanagement of Covid. I wrote about this version at the time, here:  Pages: Should I write a fourth ‘book’ of The English Strain project? ( This one dates from early 2022, though this video dates from this afternoon, late 2023!


For the record, I did finish the project, and it is great to publish in magazines a few of the poems that weren’t published nearer the time of composition, particularly as there remains no collecting volume to finish the job!  

Read about Book One of ‘The English Strain’, The English Strain here . Book Two, Bad Idea, is talked about here . Both are available for sale.

Three poems from The Engliosh Strain book were published in a very early post of Anthropocene, here: 
3 poems by Robert Sheppard ( - versions of Charlotte Smith. 



Monday, December 04, 2023

Poetic Evidence for the COVID Inquiry from British Standards (temporary post, with videos)


December 2023 Update:

Bo (Boris Johnson) appeared at the Covid Inquiry, and waffled and confirmed that he remembered that he couldn't remember anything. I watched it, in the knowledge that my friend was there watching it in person. I felt that some of the poems I was writing at the time of Covid in British Standards – they carry dates – might be offered as contemporary evidence, like Chris Whitty’s un-witty diaries. This group of poems, that transpose some of the 1802-3 sonnets of Wordsworth (though I added one using Shelley), and (as I’ve said here before) they chart how the hubris of brexit (which I now choose to spell with a lower case b) collided with the mismanagement of Covid. A few had accompanying videos, only the Shelley differing from the printed text. A bit.  

I left them here till 'the end of the year', and today will do nicely as cut off date. (More details on British Standards may be accessed at the end of this post.) They are now deleted, like Number Ten whatsapp messages, though I've kept the videos here. So here's the remains: at the end I'll say some more about what evidence I shall continue to poetically gather, if Bo is ever returned to office. 

From Poems of National Independence


                        liberties with Wordsworth: from British Standards



Toussaint, the most unhappy man of men!


Flat-Battery Bo, rusticated man’s man!' the poem begins!

O Friend! I know not which way I must look


13th March 2020



One might believe that natural miseries


England! The time is come when thou shouldst wean


Mine begins: 'Britain, the time is now to wean yourself from

hoarding fancy food or panic buying bog rolls.'...

Vanguard of Liberty, ye men of Kent


'Vanloads of libertines, playboys of Kent,' my transposition begins!


 And, as promised, a Shelley transformation: 

Political Greatness: an overdub of Shelley


25th May 2020 (all the dates are important to placing poems against 'evidence', as more 'evidence'). 


British Standards is the still-unpublished third part of my ‘English Strain’ project. There are loads of posts on this blog about the process of writing them. ‘The English Strain’ is in three books, two of them published so far, The English Strain (Shearsman, 2021) and Bad Idea (Knives Forks and Spoons, 2021; see above). I talk about thinking I’d finished the project (I had a few more poems to add, in fact, as I shall point out:

There are lots of links to the other parts of the project. I was ‘doing’ Wordsworth (some might say ‘doing Wordsworth in’!) in this first part of the British Standards of the ‘English Strain’ project. (I’ve written about that a lot on this blog, but here’s a handful of links specific to the 14 sonnets from 1803 by Wordsworth that got the Sheppard treatment, some of them with videos of the poems, as above):

Pages: Poem from 'Poems of National Independence' talking to the dead (Wordsworth) on STRIDE today (

Pages: Robert Sheppard: Two transpositions of Wordsworth from British Standards published on International Times

Pages: ON THIS DAY 2020 I wrote my final transposition of a sonnet by Wordsworth (

Pages: Robert Sheppard: my recent 'Wordsworth' transposition is published by New Boots and Pantiscracies

Pages: Real beginning of new series of 'liberties' taken with Wordsworth's sonnets (temporary post of The English Strain' series) (

 If Bo is ever returned to office I have this plan afoot: Pages: The Horrible Thought that Bo mioght be back: only The Bard could save me now! ( Actually, I've had a few more thoughts. On Boxing Day 2023 I read ALL of Shakespeare's Sonnets which, as that last post will tell you, I've have hidden away for possible use on the return of Bo (the post has some other crossovers between Bo and the Bard). But I think now that The Passionate Pilgrim might be the more appropriate vessel to transpose, for the following reasons: it was a pirate edition with Shakespeare's name on the cover. It does contain some of his works and versions of his works, even 2 sonnets from the later 1609 volume, BUT it has a lot of stuff clearly not by the Bard. Somehow this FAKE volume, padded out with printers' illustrations and blank pages, extra title pages, is somehow comparable to Bo's disposition towards, not just Shakespeare, BUT EVERYTHING. I wouldn't mind betting that if he ever did write that book about Shakespeare, one of his 'revelations' or 'discoveries' will be that he did indeed write all the poems in the book (20 of them).