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Wednesday, August 02, 2017

Wednesday 23rd August at 7PM. Free entry: The Other Room, The Castle, The Northern Quarter, 66 Oldham Road, Manchester

The Other Room celebrates the European Union of Imaginary Authors, with readings in person from Robert Sheppard, Alan Baker, Joanne Ashcroft, Patricia Farrell, Allen Fisher, Tom Jenks, Scott Thurston and more. With some others on film. We are told that the EUOIA is the brainchild of Belgian bilingual poet RenĂ© Van Valckenborch, whose double Flemish and Walloon oeuvre can be read about here. But who believes that?

Conceived as a continuation of the fictional poems Robert Sheppard ventriloquised through the bilingual poems of Van Valckenborch in his A Translated Man (Shearsman, 2013), the complete 28 poets of the EUOIA (European Union of Imaginary Authors) presented here take on a variety of new meanings in Brexit Britain.


Working in collaboration with other writers, Sheppard created a stylistically various programme of these European writers, whose works range from the comedic to the political, from the imaginatively sincere to the faux-autobiographical. History may not be argued away by the fictive. Accompanied by biographical intros, the poets grew in vividness until they seemed to possess lives of their own. There is no resultant ‘Europoem’ style, but a variety of styles that reflects the collaborative nature of their production. The whole project will be published by Shearsman before we leave the EU... (Watch this blog for updates.) (But look here where I consider working on this anthology and on Atlantic Drift, which if you don't know about, you will be reading the link.)

Read more about the European Union (of Imaginary Authors) here and here.

Read Joanne Ashcroft's hopes for the evening here. And see our previous attempt to animate our creature, Matus Dobres of Slovakia here, and read about this fictional poet and find links to his texts here.

Luxembourg's George Bleinstein (co-created with Tom Jenks) has an interesting life (some of it still to come) and you can trace that life, with the help of embedded vidoes (Group Captain Carol Vorderman, sausages, that sort of thing), here.  

Estonia's Hermes (co-created with Rupert Loydell) is a bit of a dick: links to poems here

More about The Other Room here

Tuesday, August 01, 2017

The Earl of Surrey Buggers up Boulogne (Euroland)

I am posting these poems, writings-through of some sonnets by Surrey, as I write them, because of the topicality of their subjects. I shall also only leave them up temporarily, during the composition process. I'm thinking of posting no more than 4 at any one time on the blog. And eventually they will all disappear. See here to check for poems from other days. Scroll back and find the other three... Also note the beginning of this sonnet exploration, Petrarch 3, is still for sale and is the featured post to the right of this column. And one of my previous Wyatt poems is here: from Hap: Understudies of Thomas Wyatt’s Petrarch. And another, recently published in International Times here


I guide this warrior-poet from a renaissant land, who says:
They call me the beast of Boulogne. The enemy was well
dagged with arrows; my fellows brake their staves and maces
upon the blooded Frenchmen’s cracking Euro-bones!

But what of your flat-footed, crooked-ankled, squint-eyed, men?
Oh them! he said. Or your debts? Oh! those, he said. Your dad
would bury you alive to survive! (He did). My only enemy
- this is the poem speaking now – is within! (Not true.)

If battered Boulogne is rendered then daddy would push for Calais:
you’d be in charge of its dispersed refugees, its post-Brexit duty-free,
the English border! But you are in servitude to your fantasy of
yourself, pleasing pain, the biopic, the coat of arms, the portrait.

You’re going to bugger it up, moaning to your self
‘Glad to be Unhappy’ but ready for the ill-at-ease easy answer.    

OR:



I guided this warrior-poet from a renaissant land, who said:
They call me the beast of Boulogne. The enemy was well
dagged with arrows; my fellows brake their staves and maces
upon the blooded Frenchmen’s cracking Euro-bones!

But what of your flat-footed, crooked-ankled, squint-eyed, men?
Oh them! he said. Or your debts? Oh! those, he said. Your dad
would bury you alive to survive! (He did.) My only enemy –
this is the poem speaking now – is within! (Not true, my lord.)

If battered Boulogne is rendered then daddy would push for Calais:
you’d be in charge of its dispersed refugees, its post-Brexit duty-free,
the English border! But you are in servitude to your fantasy:
your self, its pleasing pain, that coat of arms, this portrait, my biopic.

You’re going to bugger it up, moaning to your self ‘Glad to be
Unhappy’ but, enrobed, easing towards the ill-at-ease easy answer.    

OR

Image result for tudor armour




I guide this warrior-poet from a renaissant land, who says:
They call me the beast of Boulogne. The enemy was well
dagged with arrows; my fellows brake their staves and maces
upon the blooded Frenchmen’s cracking Euro-bones!

But what of your flat-footed, crooked-ankled, squint-eyed, men?
Oh them! he said. Or your debts? Oh! those, he said. Your dad
would bury you alive to survive! (He will.) My only enemy –
this is the poem speaking now – is within! (Not true, my lord.)

If battered Boulogne is rendered then daddy would push for Calais:
you’d be in charge of its refugee camp, its post-Brexit duty-free,
the English border! But you are in servitude to your fantasy:
your self, its pleasing pain, that coat of arms, this portrait, my biopic.

You’re going to bugger it up, moaning to your self ‘Glad to be
Unhappy’ but, enrobed, easing towards that ill-at-ease easy answer.    


OR with horribly punning title, mishearing my own voice, reading the original, which is 'The fancy which I have served long':



Enemy to My Knees

I guide this warrior-poet from a renaissant land, who says:
They call me the beast of Boulogne. The enemy was well
dagged with arrows; my fellows brake their staves and maces
upon the blooded Frenchmen’s cracking Euro-bones!

But what of your flat-footed, crooked-ankled, squint-eyed, men?
Oh them! he said. Or your debts? Oh! those, he said. Your dad
would bury you alive to survive! (He will.) My only enemy –
this is the poem speaking now – is within! (Not true, my lord.)

If battered Boulogne is rendered then daddy would push for Calais:
you’d be in charge of its refugee camp, its post-Brexit duty-free,
the English border! But you are in servitude to your fantasy:
your self, its pleasing pain, that coat of arms, this portrait, my biopic.

You’re going to bugger it up, moaning to yourself ‘Glad to be
Unhappy’ but, enrobed, easing toward that ill-at-ease easy answer.    

I have now got Bo and Go and Dox and Fox in it: It's pretty truthful to the Earl of Surrey's predicament:



Direct Rule: Enemy to My Knees

I guide this warrior-poet from a renaissant land, who says:
They call me the Beast of Boulogne. The enemy was well
dagged with arrows; Fox and Dox brake their staves and maces
upon the blooded Frenchmen’s cracking Euro-bones!

But what of your flat-footed, crooked-ankled, squint-eyed, men?
Oh them! he said. Or your debts? Oh! those, he said. Your dad
would bury you alive to survive! (He will!) My only enemy – this
is the poem speaking – lies within! (Not true, chortle Bo and Go.)

If battered Boulogne is rendered then daddy would push for Calais:
you’d be in charge of its refugee camp, its post-Brexit duty-free,
the English border! But you are in servitude to your fantasy:
your self, its pleasing pain, that coat of arms, this portrait, my biopic.

You’re going to bugger it up, moaning to yourself ‘Glad to be
Unhappy’ but, enrobed, easing toward that ill-at-ease easy answer.    

1st August 2017

note: hubristic jingoism



Atlantic Drift Reading in Edinburgh: Brady: Collins: Bonney 19th August Book Now!

HERE www.ehu.ac.uk/AtlanticDrift

The book is now out. BUY it! 

Monday, July 31, 2017

Surrey on the Unmanliness of Rulers

Yes, it's President Tweet, but it has to be, if you look at the original Surrey poem! The theme is dictated.

I am posting these poems, writings-through of some sonnets by Surrey, as I write them, because of the topicality of their subjects. I shall also only leave them up temporarily, during the composition process. I'm thinking of posting no more than 4 at any one time on the blog. And eventually they will all disappear. See here to check for poems from other days. Scroll back and find the other three... Also note the beginning of this sonnet exploration, Petrarch 3, is still for sale and is the featured post to the right of this column. And one of my previous Wyatt poems is here: from Hap: Understudies of Thomas Wyatt’s Petrarch. And another, recently published in International Times here



In peacetime, no warriors in frillies will defy his decree.
These suicidal fairies can’t be trusted to blow things up
and kill people with overwhelming force, the spokesman said.
Gender’s agenda. But he’s all tweet and no sky-diving!

As far as Surrey’s Saradanapalus, he’s clearly a fop but
he’s still the sort to say, ‘I love balloons but nobody knows
what makes a balloon fly!’ But our man said: What’s the point
of nuclear weapons if you don’t use them? Kim Jong-Il laughs.

Inhuman masculinity is unmanly in my books (Books! Who
reads poetry these days? I can guess the answer.). Getting
your whore to piss on a Russian couch. (Who cleans up?)

Feeble and febrile, if he faces dishonour, loses the right to govern
the free world, out of his wealth in a storm of rage he’d rise,
thumbs on button and kill us all to show some ‘manful’ deed.    


OR:



Direct Rule: On the Unmanliness of Leaders

In peacetime, no warriors in frillies will defy his decree.
These suicidal fairies can’t be trusted to blow things up
and kill people with overwhelming force, the spokesman said.
Gender’s agenda. But he’s all tweet and no sky-diving!

As far as Surrey’s Saradanapalus, he’s clearly a fop and
the sort to say, I love balloons but nobody knows what makes ‘em fly!
As our man says: What’s the point of nuclear weapons
if you don’t use them? Kim Jong-Il is one to agree.

Get your whore to piss on a Russian couch! (Who cleans up?)
Inhuman masculinity is unmanly in my books (Books! Who
reads poetry these days? I can guess the answer, Henry.).

Feeble and febrile, if he ever faces dishonour, loses the right to govern
the free world, out of his wealth in a storm of rage, he’ll rise,
(thumb on button), and kill us all to show some ‘manful’ deed.    





Direct Rule: In Peace with Foul Desire

In peacetime, no warriors in frillies will defy his decree.
These suicidal fairies can’t be trusted to blow things up
and kill people with overwhelming force, his spokesman said.
Gender’s agenda in Tweets. But he’s all Tweet and no sky-diving!

As far as Surrey’s Saradanapalus, he’s clearly a sissy,
the sort to say, I love balloons but nobody knows what makes ’em fly!
As our man says: What’s the point of nuclear weapons
if you don’t use ’em? Kim Jong-un knows how to make them fly!

Filthy lust! Get your whore to piss on a Russian couch!
Inhuman masculinity is unmanly in my books. Books! Who
reads poetry these days? I can guess the answer, Henry, can’t you?

Feeble and febrile, if he ever faces dishonour, loses his right to govern,
I fear that, out of his wealth in a storm of rage, he’ll rise,
thumb on button, and kill us all to show some manful deed.    

 Let's take the !!!!!!!!! out ! It'll end up like a Trump TWEET!




Direct Rule: In Peace with Foul Desire

In peacetime, no warriors in frillies will defy his decree.
These suicidal fairies can’t be trusted to blow things up
and kill people with overwhelming force, his spokesman said.
Gender’s agenda in Tweets. But he’s all Tweet and no sky-diving.

As far as Surrey’s Saradanapalus, he’s clearly a sissy,
the sort to say, I love balloons but nobody knows what makes ’em fly!
As our man says: What’s the point of nuclear weapons
if you don’t use ’em? Kim Jong-un knows how to make them fly.

Filthy lust! Get your whore to piss on a Russian couch.
Inhuman masculinity is unmanly in my books. Books! Who
reads poetry these days? I can guess the answer, Henry, can you?

Feeble and febrile, if he ever faces dishonour, loses his right to govern,
I fear that, out of his wealth in a storm of rage, he’ll rise,
thumb on button, and kill us all to show some manful deed.    

31st July 2017: Passchendaele Centenary

(The date has to be added, I feel)



 getting there:


Direct Rule: In Peace with Foul Desire

In peacetime, no warriors in frillies will defy his decree.
These suicidal fairies can’t be trusted to blow things up
and kill people with overwhelming force, his spokesman said.
Gender’s agenda in Tweets. But he’s all tweet and no sky-diving. (that needs work)

Surrey’s Saradanapalus is clearly a sissy, the sort to say,
I love balloons but nobody knows what makes ’em fly!
As our man says: What’s the point of nuclear weapons
if you can’t use ’em? Kim Jong-un knows how to make them fly.

O Filthy lust! Get your whore to piss on a Russian couch.
Inhuman masculinity is unmanly in my books. Books! Who
reads poetry these days? Let alone a trans translation.

Feeble and febrile, if he ever faces dishonour, loses his right to govern,
I fear that, out of his wealth in a storm of rage, he’ll rise,
thumb on button, and whoosh us all to show some manful deed.    

31st July 2017: Passchendaele Centenary











Sunday, July 30, 2017

The Firminists: The Malcolm Lowry Conference: 70 Years On (a few thoughts)

The annual Malcolm Lowry celebrations oraganised by the Firiminists this special year included Under the Volcano, 70 Years On: A Malcolm Lowry Conference based at Liverpool John Moores University and Bluecoat, Liverpool. Firminist Helen Tookey worked hard on this side of things. 


It opened with a passionate and eloquent keynote address: ‘Lowry’s kindred spirits: 70 years and still counting’, Sherrill Grace (Professor Emerita, University of British Columbia) but I don't have the energy to precis every paper, but just to record how high the quality was. 

Sherill Grace talking about Lowry and Timothy Findley (on her screen as she speaks)

 This year’s Lowry celebrations commemorated not the Day of the Dead, as usual, but Lowry’s 100th birthday and 70 years since the publication of Under the Volcano. This year the Firminists decided an academic conference with a commissioned art work would replace the annual Lowry Lounge and it was a great success. Over the years I’ve recorded it variously on this blog here here and here.

Scholarship at its very best (and I am a poet-critic, never a scholar) involves a care and attention to the text, and an admirable collective responsibility to the community. Friendship over decades and – in the case of Malcolm Lowry – the strange comfort afforded by the professional acknowledgement that readers either ‘get’ Lowry or they don’t. These scholars and enthusiasts do. As they edit and evaluate, they make Lowry.

And the Firminists this year succeeded again in their aim to bring Lowry back to Liverpool.

Lots of good work from Bryan Biggs and Helen Tookey this year.

See postings of previous years' festivities herehere and here. With lots of good photos! And visit Firminist Colin Dilnot's detailed Lowry website The Nineteenth Hole here.) Here's a bit more on Helen too.


One always learns about something new at these events, whether (this year) the novels of Timothy Findley or the TV documentary maker, Tristram Powell (with whom I chatted a bit). See a clip from his Lowry documentary Rough Passage here



Poster from our first year!

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Earl of Surrey: latest overdubbing of his sonnets

I am going to post these poems as I write them, because of the topicality of their subjects. I shall also only leave them up temporarily, during the composition process. I'm thinking of posting no more than 4 at any one time on the blog. And eventually they will all disappear. See here to check for poems from other days. Scroll back and find the other three... Also note the beginning of this sonnet exploration, Petrarch 3, is still for sale and is the featured post to the right of this column.


Very first drafty this one:



Like a policeman on leave this poem can’t
shake off its look: it’s partly another (the one on which
I rest my writing pad so I can’t read it anymore): the poem
with Alexander the Great no less in it, which itself alludes to Wyatt’s Psalms.

But I’m referring (look!) to Wyatt’s Penitential Sonnets,
the ones I did relating Wyatt’s concupiscence and peccability.
The students gravely turn these poems into notes and define those terms
while Wyatt dies in his mistress’s arms, punning away like a Victorian jokebook.  

 OR

Direct Rule:

Like a policeman on leave this poem can’t shake
off its look: it’s partly another poem (the one on which
I rest my writing pad so I can’t read it anymore): the poem
with Alexander the Great no less, which itself alludes to Wyatt’s Psalms.

But I’m referring (look!) to Wyatt’s Penitential Sonnets,
the ones I did, you know them, relating Wyatt’s concupiscence and peccability.
The students gravely turn these poems into notes and define those terms for us,
while Wyatt dies in his mistress’s arms, punning away like a Tudorbethan jokebook. 

Even putting it on Twitter won’t get Bo and Go or Fox and Dox
to RT it or DM. Trump’s bitter fruit (sour grapes) hang like outsider art
on the wailing wall of his mirrored pout. Some of these bastards
are going to need a footnote soon if we’re lucky , like Darius and Uriah.

(They wern’t ;lucky. Click here to access an account of Sheppard’s ‘eassethic justice’.
Then act it out all over the show like it’s a metaphor for real justice. 

oR


Direct Rule:

Like a policeman on leave this poem can’t shake
off its look: it’s partly another poem (the one on which
I rest my writing pad so I can’t read it anymore): the poem
with Alexander the Great no less, which itself alludes to Wyatt’s Psalms.

But I’m referring (look!) to Wyatt’s Penitential Sonnets,
the ones I did, you know them, relating Wyatt’s concupiscence and peccability.
The students gravely turn these poems into notes and define those terms for us,
while Wyatt dies in his mistress’s arms, punning away like a Tudorbethan jokebook. 

Even putting it on Twitter won’t get Bo and Go or Fox and Dox
to RT it or DM me. Trump’s bitter fruit hangs like fake outsider art
on the wailing wall of his mirrored pout. Some of these bastards
are going to need a footnote soon if we’re lucky, like Darius and Uriah.

They weren’t lucky. Click here to access Robert Sheppard’s ‘aesthetic justice’.
Then act it out all over the show like it’s a metaphor for real justice. 

Finished it enough to risk making a cup of tea:



Direct Rule:

Like a policeman on leave this poem can’t shake
off its look: it’s partly another poem (the one on which
I rest my writing pad so I can’t read it anymore): the poem
with Alexander the Great no less. It alludes to Wyatt’s Psalms.

But I’m referring (look!) to Wyatt’s Penitential Sonnets,
the ones I did, you know them, relating Wyatt’s concupiscence and peccability.
The students gravely turn these poems into notes and define those terms for us,
while Wyatt dies in his mistress’s arms, punning away like a Tudorbethan jokebook. 

Even putting it on Twitter won’t get Bo and Go or Fox and Dox
to RT it or DM me. Trump’s bitter fruit hangs like fake outsider art
on the wailing wall of his mirrored pout. Some of these bastards
are going to need a footnote (if we’re lucky) like Darius and Uriah.

They weren’t lucky. Click here  to access Robert Sheppard’s ‘aesthetic justice’.
Then act it out all over the show like it’s a metaphor for real justice. 

I didn't make that cuppa. I'm still here and here's the result of my continued presence:

Then a dedication:




Direct Rule: Huge Power and Sinful Sleep

for Charles Bernstein

Like a policeman on leave in Liverpool, this poem can’t shake
off its look: it’s partly another poem (the one on which
I rest my writing pad so I can’t read it anymore): the poem
with Alexander the Great no less. It refers to Wyatt’s Psalms.

But I’m alluding (look!) to Wyatt’s Penitential Sonnets, the ones I did,
you know them, relating Wyatt’s concupiscence and peccability.
The students gravely turn these poems into definitive notes, while Wyatt
dies in his mistress’s arms, punning away like a Tudorbethan jokebook. 

Even putting it on Twitter won’t get Bo and Go or Fox and Dox
to RT it or DM me. Trump’s bitter fruit hangs like fake outsider art
on the wailing wall of his mirrored pout. Some of these bastards
are going to need a footnote (if we’re lucky) like Darius and Uriah.

They weren’t lucky. Click here to access Sheppard’s ‘aesthetic justice’.
Then act it out all over the show like it’s a metaphor for real justice. 

Click here for the actual link to aesthetic justice. It is a thing. Or watch the video of Charles during which it becomes a thing!

Monday, July 24, 2017

Tom Beau (my poem for Tom Raworth along with others' in Blackbox Manifold) and links to my other tributes


Blackbox Manifold has another fine issue out, number 18, this time with a special section of poems and prose to the memory of Tom Raworth; see the list of contributors below. I haven't read it all yet. But it's here.

My poem 'Tom Beau' is one of the contributions: here.

Earlier this year, I posted three pieces for Tom and linked to some even earlier pieces.

I have written critically of Tom's work a great deal but here's a relaxed take on his extraordinary 14 liners.

But read a decidedly unrelaxed 'On Tom Raworth: The Speed of Writing and the Poetics of What is to One Side' here.

And see my 1999 poem for him from Twentieth Century Blues, posted I.M. here.

But there's more (these posts and links were put of a tribute I put together here on Pages some months ago). How about a passage from my abandoned novel Thelma here which features Tom Raworth as a character? Thelma was my Scouse version of Breton's Nadja!

Tom Beau indeed. He'll be missed... He is missed!


The main section of Blackbox Manifold has work by:
Zohar Atkins, Louis Armand, Alan Baker, Charlie Baylis, James Coghill, Helen Charman, Aidan Coleman, John Goodby, Dominic Hale, Caleb Klaces, Daisy Lafarge, Robert Lietz, Medbh Mcguckian, Anthony Madrid, Kate Noakes, Mary Noonan, Karl O'Hanlon, Dan Raphael, Cal Revely-Calder, Aidan Semmens (who edited the Molly Bloom trubutes to Raworth), Paige Smeaton, Cherry Smyth, David Wheatley, and John Wilkinson.

The Tom Raworth memorial features work by:
Astrid Alben, Dorothy Alexander, Louis Armand, Kate Behrens, Charles Bernstein & Ted Greenwald,  Iain Britton, Robert Burton, Sara Crangle, John Latta, Ed Luker, Colin Lee Marshall, Drew Milne, Joseph Minden, Daniella Moritz, Jeremy Noel-Tod, Philip Byron Oakes, Ian Patterson, John Regan, Denise Riley, Peter Robinson, Kerrin Sharpe, Peter Jay Shippy, Ken Taylor, Jonty Tiplady, Lawrence Upton, Corey Wakeling, John Wilkinson. And me.

There is poetry by eight Chinese women poets translated by Eleanor Goodman. John Wilkinson reviews Poems by Verity Spott & Timonthy Thornton. Adam Piette reviews Keston Sutherland, Shara McCallum, Alan Halsey and Tara Bergin.
   
Redoubtable editors Alex Houen & Adam Piette, thanks for this issue.

Saturday, July 22, 2017

Martin Palmer on Petrarch 3

Read Martin Palmer's thoughtful response to my Petrarch 3 here.

He asks some pertinent questions about the effect of what we write when it hits individual readers. He says:

I'm not entirely sure, but I don't think it was Sheppard's original intention to give me work about love that didn't upset me. I might be wrong, but I think he just wanted to write good poetry. Well, he's done both, just in case you wanted to know, and I think it's a welcome change.

Petrarch 3 is still available (see pinned post to the right of this one) and I write about my ongoing sonnets here.


See here and here and here and here for more on my Petrarch obsession/project, including how to purchase it from Crater press.Read the 'original' translation (if you see what I mean) and the doggie version here. One respondee to Martin's blog post said she'd like to read the 'dog' sonnet. There it is: woof!


 

Thanks Martin.