Review, review…electric blue

With September just around the corner…**Presses earpiece**


I’m sorry, I’m told that somehow I’ve slept through the last few weeks, missing several posts in a row, and that it’s almost October…


With October just around the corner the nights are drawing in, my wood delivery is on its way. I’m looking forward to a log fire and using the dark as an excuse to drink whisky…**Presses earpiece**

I’m told it doesn’t need to be dark to drink whisky…Well, this changes everything.

I’m babbling..it’s been a few weeks since I’ve done this. No real reason, mainly a combo of being knackered on a Sunday, having nothing of any importance to say (NB no guarantees what follows is either).

I’ve not really managed to use the last few weeks for anything towards my own writing apart from a few hastily scribbled notes on some sheets of A4..they may turn into something, but we’ll see.

I have managed to get some reviews finished in the intervening weeks between posts, there was a period of three to four ways where I just cracked on and got three of the four I had left to do. I hope they are all up soon.

I have to confess I’m struggling with the last one though. It’s a selection of poems from across a poet’s career, but they are all translations. I can’t vouch for the quality of the translation, but I am sure it’s spot on. However, when it’s a pamphlet drawn from six collections it becomes hard to get a sense of something coherent to hang a review on in 350 words.

I’ll find a way in, I’m sure, but I’m glad I had that burst of energy before reading the interview with Les Robinson from Ignition Press over at The Friday Poem. He’s says lots of interesting things in the interview, but the one that seemed to stand out can be encapsulated in the tweet below.

I know there are issues with the reviewing world, that the review tend to lean towards white men writing about white men (yes, yes, not all reviews, etc, but the balance is still far from being even close to right, despite the amazing work being done by the likes of the Ledbury Poetry Critics.

However, whoever they are written about or by, if reviews don’t help sell then it’s hard not to think Well, what is the fucking point of them then? I know they are helpful for the writer of the review—well, they are to me. They help me to engage more. I suspect there is a massive difference in impact (whatever that is) between reviews in the national press (as column inches dwindle there). I know there’s an argument that reviewers pull punches these days, every book gets a prize like it’s some sort of primary school sports day….this article by Dorian Lynskey was an interesting read (and I am a big fan of Ted Lasso). I’m guilty myself of writing some puff, but it’s done trying to find something positive in everything….

I wonder who the audience is for reviews these days, in most types of art I suspect it’s largely fans and the like, but I suspect most poetry reviews are read by poets…I have no idea, it would be nice to think it’s non-poets as well, and that they are all likely to buy the books they read reviews of.

I hope so, this came into stark reality this week when a review I wrote of Patrick Cotter‘s Sonic White Poise was published this week in The High Window (I think I mentioned this a few months ago). Obvs go and read the others too, and the excellent poems in this latest release. However, I emailed Patrick to tell him the review was up and he replied to say thank you—which is lovely to hear, but that it’s only the second review the book has had. That’s quite scary and I guess true of so many books. This reminds me of this article I saw linked to this week, where an author talks about his book getting lost in the pandemic..Again, this must be true of so many authors/writers/artists, etc (and not just during the pandemic).

It’s almost enough to make you wonder why we bother, any of us. Thankfully we all know why. I’d love to hear about the books (or anything else) you’ve bought off the back of a review.

Anyway, must get on with that fourth review…I’ll just pop this on while I work on it. It’s by Lift To Experience. I remember buying their first, and sadly only, album off the back of a review in Uncut some time in the late 90s. It’s stayed with me ever since.

Also, I hope to see as many people as possible at The Rugby Tavern (Great James Street, London, WC1S 3ES) next Saturday (25th) from 6.30ish. I am the support act to two excellent poets. Neil Elder and Lorraine Mariner. It’s the launch of Neil’s latest pamphlet, Like This. I’m looking forward to reading in front of people again.


Come through, as I believe the young folks say.


THE WEEK IN STATS

4 weeks since the last post
1 pint of blood donated
1 downstairs of the house sanded and varnished (not by me)
1 MOT
1 gig: Bicep
1 child’s birthday
77k this month – 24 k today. Should have been 32, but that was too ambitious.
At least one massive hangover
0 x acceptances
1 rejections: Bath Magg
1 poem worked on: How’d You Like Them Apples
0 new submissions: Need to do something about that
16 poems currently out for submission.
68 Published poems*: Was 69, but one was not used in the end, having been accepted.
42 Poems* finished by unpublished
26 poems* in various states of undress
554 Rejected poems* Eg I’ve decided they are not good enough
3 Reviews: Gboyega Odubanjo: Aunty Uncle Poems, Richie McCaffery: Coping Stones and Joe Williams: The Taking Part
1 review to write (I’ve read two of the books)
1 week without cigarettes…
0 Days since drinking
8 more hours in the fucking car
1 more week that I’m not having an affair with Eva Green

* To date, not this week. Christ!!


TITLE GIVEAWAY

Tomato Protection Agency
ABBA Comeback
CucamelonsPre-emptive Pedantry
Collective Gallantry

READ/SEEN/HEARD/ETC

Read
The Dark Horse: #43
James McGonigal: In Good Time
Lavinia Greenlaw: Some Answers Without Questions
Rebecca Farmer: Not Really
David Morley: The Night of Day
Mike Barlow: The Promise Boat
Katherine Horrex: Growlery
Roger Garfitt: Selected Poems
Katherine Schmidt: Twenty Poems


Music
Lee Fields: Dreaming Big Time
The Everly Brothers: It’s Everly Time
Sparks: Angst in My Pants, Balls
Tindersticks: Simple Pleasure, The Something Rain, No Treasure But Hope, Falling Down The Mountain
Ishmael Ensemble: Visions of Light
Tintern Abbey: beesides
Casino Versus Japan: Echo Counting
Martha Wainwright: Love Will Be Reborn
Nathan Salsburg: Psalms
The Joy Formidable: Into The Blue
Joy Orbison: Still Slipping Vol1
Swervedriver: Raise
Rolling Stones: Beggars Banquet, Between The Buttons, A Bigger Bang
Nanci Griffith: Poet In My window
Lee Fields: Let’s Talk It Over
Steve Gunn: Way out Weather
Phoebe Bridgers: Punisher, Stranger In the Alps
Pictish Trail: Thumb World
The Prisoners: A Taste of Pink
Goat: Headsoup, Requiem
Massacre Massacre: 2 x singles
Big Red Machine: How Long Do You Think It’s Gonna Last?
Field Works: Maples, Ash and Oaks
Pearl Jam; 20 years of No Code
Steve Gunn: Other You
Nanci Griffith: There’s A Light Beyond These Woods
Deep Throat Choir: Be OK
Decoration: Don’t Disappoint Me Now, Flippant, Put Me Back on My Bike, See You After The War
Cowboy Junkies: Ghosts, Miles from Home, Remnin Park, Demons, Sing in My Meadow, The Wilderness, One Soul Now, Open
Suede: ST (25th Anniversary edition), Dog man Star, Coming Up
Dropsonde playlist
Saint Etienne: Tiger Bay, So Tough
Unwed Sailor: Truth or Consequences, The Faithful Anchor
Flock of Dimes: If You See Me Say Yes, Head of Roses
Suuns: The Witness
Bartees Strange: Live Forever
Devendra Banhart; Refuge
Frente!” Marvin The Album
Whipping Boy: ST, Heartworm
Little Simz: Sometimes I Might be An introvert
Nala Sinephro: Space 1.8
The Cure: Wild Mood Swings, Wish
Manic Street Preachers: Ultra Vivid Lament
Nada Surf: Let Go
Nanci Griffith: Last of the true believers
Renée Reed: ST
Black Country New Road: For The First Time
Lift To Experience: The Texas-Jerusalem Crossroads
The Monochrome Set: Cosmonauts, Elligible Bachelors, Fabula Mendax, The Lost Weekend, Love Zombies, Maisieworld
Bicep: ST, Isles
Heartless Bastards: A Beautiful Life
Kacey Musgraves: Star-crossed
Colleen Green: Cool
Ament: I should be Outside
Grandaddy: Sumday
Martina Copley-Bird: Forever I Wait
We Were Promised Jetpacks: Enjoy The View, These Four Walls, The Last Place You’ll Look, In The Pit of the Stomach
St Etienne: I’ve Tried To Tell You
The Monochrome Set: Strange Boutique
Michael Chapman: Wrecked Again, 50, Trainsong: Guitar Compositions
Galaxie 500: On Fire, This is Our Music, Today, Uncollected
The Sea & The Cake: Oui, Nassau, One Bedroom
Art School Girlfriend: Is It Light Where You Are?Gallon Drunk: From the Heart of Town
Native Harrow: Closeness
Danny & the Champions of the World: Los Campeones
The Cure: Anniversary, Curaetion, Join The Dots
Mono: Pilgrimage of the Soul
National: Alligator, High Violet
The Felice Brothers: From Dreams To Dust



Watched
Case Histories
The White Lotus
Gone Fishing
Fifteen Storeys
Vigil
The Trip To Spain
Ghosts S1 -3
Enlightened. Ep 1
Vigil
England Vs Andorra
Superbad
Clueless
Fargo S3e1
The Wire S1, S2
Shang Chi & The Legends of the Ten Rings

Radio/Podcasts
Stephen Payne: The Windmill Proof Happenstance Launch
The Archers

Ordered
A skateboard (for Flo)
Stephen Payne The Windmill Proof
Vona Groake: Double Negative
Cinema tickets
A Five Guys

Arrived
Meg Peacocke: the Long Habit of Living
A skateboard (for Flo)
Stephen Payne: The Windmill Proof
Vona Groake: Double Negative
North: 66

 


Rein(new)statesmented

Home, sweet home…after a few days up and down the country.

It was very strange to spend a couple of days in Norfolk this week, but to not stay with my mum. R and I had two nights in a hotel, and it was glorious..just to get out of London, to not be parents for a day or so and to meander. To paraphrase Elaine Terranova at the end of her poem, Shells, we “miraculously regained our balance”.

And shells is a good segue (it’s almost as if I just searched for “Shell poems”, found the Terranova poem and constructed a tenuous link…almost.) to one of my favourite parts of the week. We took a visit to the Glandford Shell Museum. I’d seen someone mention it on the Instagrams (my apologies to the specific person, but I can’t remember who it was) and I’m so glad we went. If nothing else because it lead me to find some amazing potential band names.


I also found myself struggling to remember a line from my own Shells poem as I was looking for a “Thick Lucine” and the like.

The other notable part of this week was the arrival of my poem in The New Statesman.

I was a bit worried that I wouldn’t manage to find a copy (I don’t think the newsagents of North Walsham have a lot of call for it, but that could just be me) and it was a bit sad to see the web version a touch distorted to begun with. It’s not like we just make the line breaks up!!

Ooops…

However, the good folks behind the scenes (thank you to Chrissy and Ellen for the heads up and the web-edits) soon sorted it and I managed to get my hands on a copy when we got back to London.

I am enormously proud of every poem I’ve had published, and to paraphrase most football managers I am looking forward to the next game now (especially as Arsenal are having their arses handed to them at present by Chelsea), but this does feel like this was a big step up for me. I can’t put my finger on it, but to be in a weekly magazine, among articles etc that have nothing to do with poetry feels very different. And to be in among poets like Kathleen Jamie (the latest Makar), Yvvone Reddick, Ben Wilkinson and Matt Howard among others is a massive honour.

Now, on to the next submission and next poem.

Finally, a poem from a collection I finished reading this week, River Wolton‘s ‘Leap‘. I include this not only because I like the first line, but also because I’m not 100% convinced that this isn’t about super heroes, and that it’s more about the quiet bat people. Either way, it resonated doubly last night when Flo told me she thinks she’s forgotten her left and her right. I attempted to explain Jimmy Cricket to her and it fell on deaf ears much as a recent attempt to explain Frank Spencer to the poet Jack Emsden recently. Time to update my references…

THE WEEK IN STATS


15k.
0 hangovers
0 x acceptances
1 rejections: Bath Magg
1 poem worked on: How’d You Like Them Apples
1 new submissions: New Welsh Review
16 poems currently out for submission.
68 Published poems*: Was 69, but one was not used in the end, having been accepted.
42 Poems* finished by unpublished
26 poems* in various states of undress
554 Rejected poems* Eg I’ve decided they are not good enough
0 Reviews* written, but two planned out
4 reviews to write (I’ve read two of the books)
1 week without cigarettes…
0 Days since drinking
8 more hours in the fucking car
1 more week that I’m not having an affair with Eva Green

* To date, not this week. Christ!!

TITLE GIVEAWAY

Biscuit Consumption Strategy
Variations of Limpets

READ/SEEN/HEARD/ETC

Read
The Dark Horse
River Wolton: Leap
Katie Garland: What Girls Do In The Dark

Music
Shire T: Tomorrow’s People
Dropsonde Playlist
The Everly Brothers: Roots



Watched
Case Histories
Fargo S2
Ashes To Ashes



Radio/Podcasts
The Poet Laureate Has Gone To His Shed x 4
Weird Norfolk x 1
The Archers

Ordered
A curry

Arrived
Laura Veirs tickets

 


Scarbados and Wendy Time

WTF is this picture?? I must have taken it somehow with my phone, but I have no idea what it is. However, I like it so I’m sharing it. It could even be a book cover…(Nb it isn’t, but it’s yours if you want it)


We’re away on family-based manoeuvres this week, so I’ll just point you towards this review that was published on Friday of Wendy Pratt‘s excellent ‘When I Think of my Body as a Horse’ at the also excellent The Friday Poem. Coincidentally, we’re in Scarborough visiting the in-laws this week and I hope to be one of “runners on Marine Drive” tomorrow morning – weather permitting.

NB Please read Wendy’s recent post about dealing with the after-effects of being sent a highly triggering (and fucking awful) poem.

To further the Wendy Pratt connection, the book I’m about to read this evening is this Disappearance by Lesley Harrison, which IIRC was a recommendation by a certain Wendy Pratt





THE WEEK IN STATS


15k.
0 hangovers
0 x acceptances
0 rejections: XX
1 poem worked on: How’d You Like Them Apples
0 new submissions:
13 poems currently out for submission.
68 Published poems*: Was 69, but one was not used in the end, having been accepted.
41 Poems* finished by unpublished
27 poems* in various states of undress
554 Rejected poems* Eg I’ve decided they are not good enough
1 Review* written, and two planned out
4 reviews to write (I’ve read two of the books)
1 week without cigarettes…
0 Days since drinking
8 more hours in the fucking car
1 more week that I’m not having an affair with Eva Green

* To date, not this week. Christ!!

TITLE GIVEAWAY

The importance of being earliest
The loneliness of a long-distance summer

READ/SEEN/HEARD/ETC

Read
The Dark Horse
Olivia McCannon: Exactly My Own Length

Music
Molly Sarlé: Karaoke Angel
Power of Dreams: Auslander
Lo Talker: A Comedy of Errors
Ty Shall: Harmonizer
Richie Havens: Mixed Bag
Laura Veirs: Carbon Glacier, The Lookout, My Echo, Year of Meteors
Explosions In The Sky: Live, How Strange, Innocence, take care x 3, Wilderess, Those Who tell The Truth
Michael Head: Adios Senõr Pussycat
Tess Parks & Anton Newcome: ST, I Declare Nothing
Four Set:Live at Funkhaus 2018, Pause, Pink, Rounds, Sixteen Oceans, there is love in you, New Energy, Parallels
Dropsonde playlist

Watched
Love Island
Professor T
Fargo S2
Brentford `vs Arsenal
Ashes To Ashes



Radio/Podcasts
The Archers

Ordered
A Chemical Brothers Ticker

Arrived
Bacon

 


Vona Groarke’s Trumpet

What a lovely week that was. I’m pleased to be back home now, but also sad that the week away is over. The going-back-to-work fear has kicked in, and while I enjoy my job, I am currently working out ways to move to rural Wales and just stay there forever. Especially as they seem to have the same attitude to bugles as I do.

Taken in Porthgain, near The Shed (Amazing fish and chips). Turns out an erstwhile colleague of mine lives near there, but I only discovered this when it was too late.

That said, I achieved almost exactly no writing last week (this is fine, btw). I did manage to write a review for the good people at The Friday Poem and some notes towards two more for Nell at OPOI, so it was exactly a wash out. Obviously, and more importantly, it was time for spending with my family and for relaxing. I think I was just getting into relaxation mode in time to come home, but I’ll take what I can. I also found time to type up some notes for a poem before we left. It’s one I’d scratched out a draft for ages ago, but not typed up. I was hoping it would kickstart something, and it did.

What turned out to be four lines of the poem appeared as I was driving along the M4 in rain like stair rods. I found myself repeating them over and over in my head to avoid forgetting them, building on what was one line, then two before getting to the fourth one. I was just debating whether to ask Rachael to write them down for me or to ask Siri to take a note (that would have felt weird, talking gibberish into my wrist while R and F were listening), but thankfully a services popped up, so I could type it up to come back to.

It’s a start. Who knows what will come of it.

The rest of the week was filled with reading, and while I didn’t do the Sealey Challenge, I did get through a few of the TBR magazines. I was most pleased to stumble across the work of Vona Groarke in the Spring ’21 edition of Poetry Review.

She’s a new name to me, and I note she has quite the back catalogue—of course, I always fall for the prolific ones. I will be making some purchases ASAP.

However, she has two poems in the magazine, and the first one, ‘Linkage’ absolutely knocked my socks off in the sort of way that makes me want to rip up everything I’ve written to date, but I won’t. However, it’s a bit too long to share here. Her second poem also made me want to change every thing I’ve ever done, and that I think I can share here, so here it is.

I’m not sure I 100% know what it’s saying, but I 100% know I love it. I know I want to have a long, hard word with my own work after reading this and ‘Linkage’.

Vona Groarke, Poetry Review Spring 2021

THE WEEK IN STATS


14k , A hilly 10K and a curtailed 5K (eg 4).
0 hangovers
0 x acceptances
2 rejections: PopShot and Poetry Review
1 poem worked on: How’d You Like Them Apples
0 new Submissions:
13 poems currently out for submission.
68 Published poems*: Was 69, but one was not used in the end, having been accepted.
41 Poems* finished by unpublished
27 poems* in various states of undress
554 Rejected poems* Eg I’ve decided they are not good enough
1 Review* written, and two planned out
4 reviews to write (I’ve read two of the books)
1 week without cigarettes…
0 Days since drinking
9 more hours in the fucking car
1 more week that I’m not having an affair with Eva Green

* To date, not this week. Christ!!

TITLE GIVEAWAY

Improvised Trousers

READ/SEEN/HEARD/ETC

Read
Poetry Wales #56.3, 57.1
Olivia McCannon: Exactly My Own Length
Gboyega Odubanjo: Aunty Uncle Poems
Joe Williams: The Taking Part
Poetry Review Spring 21
Finished Creatures 5

Music
Daughter of Swords: Dawnbreaker
Kevin Morby: Sundowner
Emma-Jean Thackray: Yellow
Michael Kiwanuka: Kiwanuka
Bille Eillish:
LUMP: Animal
Laura Stevenson: ST
Fleet Foxes: ST, Shore
My Morning Jacket: Z
Mountain Man: Live
SG Goodman: Old Time Feeling
Bonny Light Horseman: ST
Self Esteem: Compliments Please
Sylvan Esso: With
Ginger Baker’s Airforce: GBA 2


Watched
Love Island
The A-Team (Movie)
Madagascar 3
Gladiator
Perry Mason



Radio/Podcasts
None

Ordered
Neil Elder: Like This

Arrived
Inua Ellams: The Actual…
John McCullough: Reckless Paper Birds
Neil Elder: Like This

 


No States, man

After the overconfidence of last week, I was left feeling a little less confident on Thursday, especially after loads of nudging and outright ordering on Wednesday to buy a copy of The New Statesman as my poem didn’t end up being included.

I was out for work all day and got home late after a lovely meal with colleagues and the account managers for a supplier of ours, and hadn’t managed to find a copy in any newsagents in the Shoreditch/Old Street area, so my little heart leapt when I got home to see a copy on the kitchen table—thank you Rachael and Flo.

I flicked through it about 12 times, but no sign of my poem. I was gutted as there’s an excellent article in there about Will Sergeant’s autobiography, and I suspect this is the closest I’ll get to sharing anything with a Bunnyman.

It turns out another article came in on Monday and so I was bumped. It shall still happen though; I will be in there eventually (aside from me sticking my poem into the current issue).

It’s all good though. This week has redeemed itself after nine hours of driving across country to the edge of Wales. We have landed in the most peaceful and silent place in the world. Just what we all needed.

A glorious view to wake up to
Not where we’re staying, but loved these buoys hanging outside someone’s home

I’ve brought some work to do this week and what I’m now starting to worry isn’t enough books. I have a review I must write this week, I’m hoping I may actually manage a poem of my own (not worried if I don’t though.)

I note today is the first day of The Sealey Challenge. I’ve never heard of it before, but it sounds like a good idea. I won’t be actively taking part, but I think I manage at least some reading of poems almost every day of the year, so I won’t beat myself up for not joining in. Most of my reading this week is magazines anyway to help alleviate some of the TBR backlog.

It seemed apt to be reading this as my first holiday read.

And this seemed even more apt as Rach and Flo have just been stung by a wasp on the way back from a walk.

Ok, it’s not about wasps, but I’m working with what I have here…like I’m in the A-Team or something. (I note the A-Team movie is on the shelf here, I may have to watch that this week for all of it’s glorious awfulness). The poem above is by Graham Mort and he is one of the many poets sat on the aforementioned TBR pile, so circularity wins again.

Final note, please add to your playlists, etc this by my mates Simon and Dan.

THE WEEK IN STATS


13.5k , Some couch to 5k as I work my way back to calf-confidence.
0 hangovers
0 x acceptances
1 rejections: Bad Lillies – a lovely rejection
0 poems worked on:
0 new Submissions:
14 poems currently out for submission.
68 Published poems*: Was 69, but one was not used in the end, having been accepted.
41 Poems* finished by unpublished
27 poems* in various states of undress
554 Rejected poems* Eg I’ve decided they are not good enough
0 Review* written, but one planned and about to be started after I finish this
4 reviews to write (I’ve read two of the books)
0 weeks without cigarettes…
0 Days since drinking
9 hours in the fucking car
1 more week that I’m not having an affair with Eva Green

* To date, not this week. Christ!!

TITLE GIVEAWAY

Not a sausage

READ/SEEN/HEARD/ETC

Read
Alan Buckley: Touched. 
Poetry Wales #56.3

Music
Masters Of the Hemisphere: I Am Not. A Freedom
Clairo: Sling
Laura Veirs: Year Of Meteors
Glenn Branca: Symphony No.13 for 100 Guitars
Ash: Islands
Ballet School: The Dew Lasts An Hour
Betty Wright: Live
Beth Orton: Trailer Park
AA Boney: When The Devil’s Loose
July Skies: The English Cold
Fruit Bats: Siamese Dream., Absolute Loser
Smashing Pumpkins: Siamese Dream, Gish, Mellon Collie
The Wedding Present: Live 2012
Tethers: Minor Moon
Songs Ohia: Axxess & AceParquet Courts: Human Performance
The Hollies: Butterfly
Cassandra Jenkins: An Overview of phenomenal Nature
Lucy Dacus: Video Games
Joe Wong: Nite Creatures
Flock of Dimes: Head of Roses


Zooms, etc
None

Radio/Podcasts
The Archers

Ordered
Inua Ellams: The Actual…
John McCullough: Reckless Paper Birds
Olga Dermot Bond: A Sky full of Strange Specimens
Finished Creatures #5

Arrived
Olga Dermot Bond: A Sky full of Strange Specimens
Finished Creatures #5
Stand

 


New States, man

All I will say is buy it this week…

Not this one, but the one that comes out later in the week…

THE WEEK IN STATS


22.5k , Some couch to 5k and an actual 7k as I work my way back to calf-confidence.
0 hangovers
0 x acceptances
0 rejections:
0 poems worked on:
0 new Submissions:
20 poems currently out for submission.
68 Published poems*: Was 69, but one was not used in the end, having been accepted.
41 Poems* finished by unpublished
27 poems* in various states of undress
554 Rejected poems* Eg I’ve decided they are not good enough
0 Review* written
4 reviews to write (I’ve read two of the books)
0 weeks without cigarettes…
0 Days since drinking (if one glass of wine counts)
1 more week that I’m not having an affair with Eva Green

* To date, not this week. Christ!!

TITLE GIVEAWAY

Insomnia Evenings
Low-tar Matteus

READ/SEEN/HEARD/ETC

Read
Wendy Pratt: Gifts The Mole Gave Me
Rialto 96
Orbis 196
The Tangerine #10
Acumen #99

Music
Sault: Nine
Dropsonde Playlist
Steve Gunn: Way Out Weather
Steven Adams & The French Drops: Virtue Signals
Floating Points & Pharaoh Sanders: Promises
Cassandra Jenkins: An Overview of Phenomenal Nature
Bob Mould: District Line
Wilco: SummerteethRolling Blackouts Coastal Fever: The French Press
Sylvan Esso: What If
Dinosaur Jr; Sweep it, Give A Glimpse…
El Ten Eleven: Tautology III
Phoebe Bridgers: Punisher
Tim Burgess: I Love The New Sky
Maria McKee: high Dive
Chris Forstyth & The Solar Motel Band: Dreaming in the Non-Dream
Greg Dulli: Random Desire
Inxs: Shabooh Shoobah
El Ten Eleven: Tautology III
Olli Ahvenlahti: The PoetThe New Pornographers: In The Morse Code of Brake Lights
Terry Riley & Don Cherry: Live In Köln
Explosions In The Sky: The Rescue
Fleet Foxes: Shore
Emma-Jean. Thackray: Yellow
Emil Richards & The Microtonal Blues Band: Journey To Bliss
Do Make Say Think: Stubborn Persistent Illusion


TV/Film
Love Island
Pretty Woman
Waking The Dead S8
Ted Lasso S2E1

Zooms, etc
None

Radio/Podcasts
The Archers

Ordered
Nothing

Arrived
The Trousers from last week, but they need to go back

 


Daffs as a brush


I’m cockahoop

NB: Autocorrect tried to change this to cockatoos, and I’m here for it. That could be a great first line for a poem…

*makes note on the back of an envelope*

*loses envelope*

Actually, I wrote a poem this week. It felt weird, I think it’s the first time in about a month or more that this has happened. Not exactly writer’s block or a drought, but I’m glad to have committed pen to paper (and it was an actual pen on some actual paper – I’m old fashioned like that for early drafts. However, this isn’t going to turn into one of those posts about writing methods. There are far too many of those about. The answer to the question of How do you write is IT DOESN’T MATTER AS LONG AS YOU DO.

While we’re own the subject of writing, perhaps we can shift attention to reading…Have you read Mr Stewart’s excellent post asking if poets read enough poetry. I don’t know the answer to this, but I suspect the answer is somewhere to be found between yes and no, or yes, some do and no, some don’t. He raises the strong point that the volume of submissions tends to outweigh the readership for a magazine (and that’s before we get to book/pamphlet purchasing).

I think it was Butcher’s Dog that noted they had 1764 poems to consider for their next issue. We don’t know how many poets submitted, but if their submission page states 3 per sub, then we can roughly surmise that circa 588 people sent poems in. It could be more, it could be less, but it’s still a lot.

If we factor in this tweet then we know that the maths just don’t work…Go and read the post from Matthew and see the replies to him for more details. Obviously, not everyone can afford to subscribe to everything (or in many cases, anything) and nobody expects that, and we must raise our glasses to those that continue to publish mags, pamphlets and books in the face of such complicated economics.

Now, I think I mentioned cockahoop cockatoos earlier ( That’s going in the title giveaway). I am cockahoop because I’ve finally managed to change the leaking tap in our kitchen. It doesn’t sound like much, but I’d see it as far more important than the act of writing a poem. Maybe I can go full Adrian Mole and get a poem out of it, but I wouldn’t want to, er, faucet…

In other water-based poetry news (and I’m pretty sure that’s a section that should be on most news sites), I’ve finally worked out why I keep getting the urge to sing Julian Cope’s ‘I Wandered Lonely As A Cloud’ every morning.

It’s taken me nearly three months to realise that it’s because our new shower (another leaking thing replaced, but not by me – that’s way above my pay grade/ abilities) makes the same noise as the first 4 seconds of this song, and so my brain has been filling in the blanks whenever I have a shower. And then as soon as I remember the title I start thinking about daffodils. No idea why though…(Insert smiley face emoji)

And then, because you know I love a connection between things) I connected some other dots. On the way to Norfolk the other weekend, my friend and I were listening to New Fast Automatic Daffodils (I know you all do all of the time, but it was the first time in ages for me). The New Fads as they are affectionately known got their name from an Adrian Henri poem.

And what were we driving back to Norfolk for/to do? *Insert Mind blown gif*

Right, mentions of Adrian Henri are like buses, but I will promise here and now now to make a third reference next week.

While I’m in full draw-your-attention-to-things mode (and harking back to posts from last week) it would be remiss of me not to send you towards the Friday Poem to read

A) the poem published on a Friday. This week it was Emma Simon‘s excellent ‘ Part of me can’t hear the moon calling any more’.
B) The interview with Seren’s Amy Wack
C) My review of Martha Sprackland’s ‘Citadel’

THE WEEK IN STATS


15ishK , Some couch to 5k and an actual 5k as I work my way back to calf-confidence.
c.0 hangovers, despite some good effort on Friday
0 x acceptances
2 rejections: 14 Lines (assumed), Poetry Ireland
1 poem worked on: How Do You Like Them Apples (working title)
0 new Submissions: Nearly sent to Butcher’s Dog, but didn’t.Probably glad I didn’t now..
20 poems currently out for submission.
68 Published poems*: Was 69, but one was not used in the end, having been accepted.
41 Poems* finished by unpublished
27 poems* in various states of undress
554 Rejected poems* Eg I’ve decided they are not good enough
0 Review* written
4reviews to write
0 weeks without cigarettes…
0 Days since drinking (if one glass of wine counts)
1 more week that I’m not having an affair with Eva Green

* To date, not this week. Christ!!

TITLE GIVEAWAY

A Month Of Moths

READ/SEEN/HEARD/ETC

Read
Wendy Pratt: My Body As A Horse
The Tangerine #9

Music

Jo Quail: From The Sea
Turin Brakes: Invisible Storm, JackInABox, Lost Property
Lucy Dacus: Home Movie
New Fast Automatic Daffodils: Body Exit Mind, Pigeonholes, Love It All
The Tallest Man On Earth: Dark Bird Is Home, I Love You, It’s A Fever Dream, When the Bird Sees The Solid Ground, The Wild Hunt
Tamaryn: Tender New Signs
Taylor Swift: Evermore, Fearless
Twilight Singers: live in New York
Underworld: Barbara
Unwed Sailor: Truth Or ConsequencesThe Mission: Neverland
Mitski: Be The Cowboy
The Cure:Anniversary
Collections of Colonies of Bees: Flocks, Customer
David Grubbs &. Taku Unami: Comet Meta
The Foxhole Companion: The King’s Choice


TV/Film
Teachers S2
Love Island
Waking The Dead S7



Zooms, etc
None

Radio/Podcasts
The Archers
Grandbag’s Funeral
The Poet Laureate Goes To His Shed

Ordered
Nothing

Arrived
The Trousers from last week, but they need to go back

 


Falcon, Falcoff

Yes, I know it’s not…etc. Photo by Ahmed Badawy on Unsplash


Where does the time go, eh? It’s been a month of missed weekly posts and IT DOESN’T MATTER ONE JOT!!

In that month I can barely say what’s happened, but I can confirm I completed Race To The King and went to the funeral of the magnificent Lorraine Gray. I was asked to read, alongside my two closest friends, Adrian Henri’s ‘Without You‘ (and that reminds me, I must order Andrew Taylor’s book about Adrian), some other folks read Auden’s ‘If I Could Tell You’, so it was a beautiful, poetry-filled event…(Oh yes, and very, very boozy, but it’s what she would have wanted.)

So much of the last few weeks have been spent fixated on that run and then Lol’s funeral that I now find myself a bit bereft of focus. The football has been a welcome distraction, but concentrating on anything seems to escape me at present. I sat down earlier to try and look at a poem for the first time in a month, and while I know the ideas are ok, nothing grabbed me enough to want to write more of them. I was listening to Johnny Marr’s interview with our esteemed laureate yesterday while on a tip run and he talked about turning up, the act of craft, etc and I think perhaps I am out of practice. My habit of daily writing has fallen way by the wayside (as has writing these posts), so it’s time to do something about that. Not, again, that it matters either way…

However, I did, at least, manage to complete one of the many reviews I need to do, so there’s that, and I hope to see it up soon for The Friday Poem (and that’s a place that is going from strength to strength.

This week they published Flying The Lanner by Tony Curtis (a poet that’s new to me) and, in what will now be something of an incredulous leap, I can add to that a poem from the book Ive just reviewed that is also about falconry. As much as I enjoyed the writing about pigeons last November, I reckon falcons and the like are far more impressive.

My wife looked at me like I was an idiot when I named a falcon Dave. Falcon Dave was a falcon (I’m not being sponsored to write the word Falcon as much as possible, honest) we saw in a BBC documentary about Tube lines. They used FD to keep the pigeons out of the Tube Train’s garage. He seemed ace and I fixated on him. I’ve not seen him since, but FD has stayed with me for all that time. He still pops up in conversations every now and then.

FALCON. FALCON. FALCON. FALCON. FALCON.FALCON. FALCON. (Just in case).

Right, some football and then perhaps things can return to whatever constitutes normal. Oh yes, also go and read Matthew Paul’s excellent (in off the) post about football poems



THE (Last 4) WEEKs IN STATS


13.5K , Some couch to 5k and an actual 5k as I work my way back to calf-confidence.
c.3 hangovers
1 funeral
12 hours of drinking.
1
person calling me Michael Stipe for  12 hours
1 toenail fallen off
2 x acceptances I won’t say yet as at least one of them merits a post on its own
1 rejection: Possibly more, but who’s counting apart from me
2 poems worked on: The Kimono Is Ope, Vitiligo
2 new Submissions: Bath Magg, Rialto
28 poems currently out for submission.
68 Published poems*: Was 69, but one was not used in the end, having been accepted.
41 Poems* finished by unpublished
27 poems* in various states of undress
554 Rejected poems* Eg I’ve decided they are not good enough
1 Review* e
5 reviews to write
1 weeks without cigarettes…
1 Days without drinking (if one glass of wine counts)
1 more week that I’m not having an affair with Eva Green

* To date, not this week. Christ!!

TITLE GIVEAWAY

Tchaikovsky’s Knackers
Eyes down for a full horse
Collapsed Jung

READ/SEEN/HEARD/ETC

Read
John Bolland: Fallen Stock
Kate Fox: The Oscillations
River Woolton: Leap
Under The Radar
Wendy pratt: My Body As A Horse

Music

The Bluetones: A New Athens
Lol 2020 PlaylistCounting Crows: August & Everything, Butter Miracle Suite One
Sleater Kinney: Path of Wellness
Lord Huron:Long Lost, Strange Trails
Chris Corsano & Bill Orcutt: Made Out of Sound
Arlo Parks : Collapsed In Sunbeams
Kaylee Elizabeth: Playing With Fire
Flock of Dimes: Head of Roses
Dinosaur Jr: Sweep It Into Space
My Morning Jacket: Red Rocks 08/02/19, At Dawn, CH1: the Sandworm Cometh
Night Moves: Can You Really Find Me, Pennied Days
Sleeper: This Time Tomorrow
Laura Fell: Safe From Me
Liza Anne: Bad Vacation
Dropsonde – Running Playlist
Mega Bog: Happy Together
Alex Chilton: Bach’s Bottom
Emma-Jean Thackeray: Ley Lines, Rain Dance
Altin Gün: Gece
The Catenary Wires: Birling Gap
Jaga Jazzist: The Tower
Pink Floyd: A Saucerful of Secrets
The Pirate Ship Quintet: EP
Psychedelic Porn Crumpets: And Now For The Whatcamacallit, High Visceral Pt2
P.I.L. : Flowers of Romance
Hem: Rabbit Songs, Funnel Cloud, Home Again Home Again, Eveningland, Departure & Farewell, The World Is Outside
Here We Go Magic: Different ShipsHeron Oblivion: ST
Hold Steady: Live 2019, Open Door Policy, Thrashing Thru The Passion, Teeth Dreams
Luke Sital-Singh: Time Is A Riddle
Mark Eitzel: Hey Mr Ferryman
Manfred Mann: Up The Junction OST
John Murry: the Stars Are God’s Bullet Holes
Land of Talk: Life After Youth
Hiss Golden Messenger: Quietly Blowing It
Albertine Sarges: The Sticky Fingers
Mdou Moctar: Afrique Victime
Ride: Going Blank Again
Various playlists for driving
The Go! Team: Get Up Sequences Part One
Asobi Seksu: CitrusPeter Broderick: How They Are
Phantom Band: Checkmate Savage, Fears Trending, Strange Friend, The Wants
Ryley Walker: Course In Fable, Deafen Glance
S.Carey: Range of Light, Supermoon EP
Sara Watkins: Young In All The Wrong Ways
Saxon Shore: The Exquisite Death of Saxon Shore, Four Months of Darkness
The See Sees: Fountayne Mountain, Late Morning Light
She Drew The Gun: Revolution of Mind, Memories of Another Future
Sky Larkin: Kaleide
Talking Heads: Little Creatures
Tall Ships: Everything Touching, Impressions, There Is Nothing Here But Chemistry
This Is The Kit: Off Off On, Rusty And Got Dusty, Where It Lives
This Will Destroy You:
Those Dancing Days: In Our Space Suits
Tim Buckley: Dream Letter, Goodbye & Hello
Smashing Pumpkins: Siamese Dream, Melon Collie..
Paul Desmond & Gerry Mulligan: Two of a Mind
Sonna: Keep It Together


TV/Film

Waking The Dead S4 E6-10, S5 E1, S6 9-10, S7 1-6
Breeders S2 E1-7Love Island Various
England V Germany,
France V Switzerland
Sweden V Ukraine
England Vs Ukraine
Italy Vs Spain
England Vs Denmark
England Vs Italy
Pretty Woman
Cannonball Run
The Silencers
A Town Called Bastard
15 Storeys E1-4

Zooms, etc
Grandbag’s Funeral Recording

Radio/Podcasts
The Archers
Grandbag’s Funeral
The Poet Laureate Goes To His Shed

Ordered
Under The Radar
The Rialto (renewed Sub)
Acumen
A pair of trousers (in the sale)

Arrived
Under The Radar
Poetry Review
Acumen 99 and 100
Poetry Birmingham Literary Journal 6 (Twice!!)

 


Lol


HAVE YOU SPONSORED ME YET?

I had a post planned (I know, it’s almost like I think about this sometimes). I wanted to mention that I think I’m fit enough to do the Race To The King next weekend. I wanted to mention the reading for Red Squirrel and being Zoom-bombed (not me personally, but the event)

I wanted to mention the four poems I had in two magazines that arrived this week, and week 2 of The Friday Poem being out, and a few other bits and pieces, but Saturday night I got a phone call from a friend to inform me that my dear friend Lorraine died. She had been very ill with cancer. I will miss her immensely.

My thoughts are with her family and friends back in Norfolk.

A total legend





THE WEEK IN STATS


39.5K , Some short and some longer runs to test my calf. I think it’s ok…
1 trip into town
1 hangover
0 x acceptance
0 rejection:
0 poems worked on
1 new Submissions: Northern Gravy
31 poems currently out for submission.
65 Published poems*: Was 66, but one was not used in the end, having been accepted.
44 Poems* finished by unpublished
27 poems* in various states of undress
554 Rejected poems* Eg I’ve decided they are not good enough
0 Review* Need to write one this week
3 reviews to write
4 weeks without cigarettes…
1 Days without drinking (if one glass of wine counts)
1 more week that I’m not having an affair with Eva Green

* To date, not this week. Christ!!

TITLE GIVEAWAY

Helium Balloon Tank

READ/SEEN/HEARD/ETC

Read
Stand

Music

The Archers
Johnny Flynn & Robert Macfarlane: Lost In The Cedar Wood
Martina Topley-Bird: Quixotic
Mercury Rev: Snowflake Midnight
Joe Wong: Nite Creatures
Badly Drawn Boy: Have You Fed The fish?
The Octopus Project: Memory Mirror
Field Music: Making A New World
Pearls Before Swine: Balaklava
Jimbo Mathus & Andrew Bird: These 13
One Little Plane: Into The Trees
Kikagaku Moyo: Masana Temples
Barry McGuire: Have You Heard
Cursive: The Storms of Early Summer
Molly Sarlé: Karaoke Angel
Arctic Monkeys: Whatever People Say…, Who The Fuck Are Arctic Monkeys?, Favourite Worst Nightmare, Humbug, AM, Suck It And See, Tranquility Base Hotel & Casino 
The Rolling Stones: Aftermath
The Starry Tides: One Lit Window
Scarce:Deadsexy
Collections of Colonies of Bees: Flocks, Customer, Hawaii, 
Collossal Squid: Swungert
Cowboy Junkes: All this Reckoning, At The Ends of Paths Taken 
The Essex Green: Hardly Electronic
REM: Green, Document, Reveal
My Bloody Valentine: Loveless, MBV


TV/Film

Mare of Easttown: E3-7
Waking The Dead S4E1-7
England V Croatia

Zooms, etc
Red Squirrel Fundraiser for the Lit & Phil

Radio/Podcasts
None

Ordered
Various running things (Sock, Anti-chafing cream, collapsable cup) 

Arrived
Various running things (Sock, Anti-chafing cream, collapsable cup) 

A Lol favourite…


That Friday (poem) Feeling


HAVE YOU SPONSORED ME YET?

It’s finally here…well, Friday has been and gone(I started this on Friday for a change), but The Friday Poem is here. I made some vague reference to it a couple of weeks ago, something about getting in on the ground floor, but let’s ignore that.

Here’s the closest they get to a manifesto in the first editorial on the site

We are not aligned to any particular school or type of poetry. Long or short, old or new, lyric, narrative or dramatic, from haikus to epics, from sonnets to soliloquies, from ballads to blank verse, it’s all good. Poetry can be political, elegiac, prophetic, obscure, but it must be honest (by which we don’t mean autobiographical) and crafted. The poetry we love is arresting, felt. Submit yours. Surprise us.

We want The Friday Poem to be accessible to everyone. This means it must be free to read. It means we have made the site work for blind people and people with impaired vision, through — for example — underlined links, semantic headings (read about semantic structure here), alt text and and high contrast. It also means we welcome contributions from anyone. (It’s traditional to stick a list in here — any gender, any colour, any sexuality etc, but we just mean anyone.)

Will you just look at that…In fact, do that now…go and look at it and subscribe, and then come back here.


Have a read of Meg Peacocke’s glorious poem. I’m not pulling bits of that out, just go back and read it again


Helen Ivory on finding and reacting to her voice. I’m pleased to see Helen is an All About Eve fan – I have fond memories of their first album (and I’m morally obliged to mention that TOTP appearance).

Before there was an ‘online’. I just knew that it felt somehow like solid earth; somewhere I could live, even though it sounds ethereal. And then she went homeward, just one star awake . . . you can use language like this?! Two others on the album are In the Clouds, and Wild-Hearted Woman, which of course spoke to me in my crimson velvet skirts and aura of patchouli. I was different, always a bit out-of-kilter, and this song, this album, made me feel part of something bigger, and that there was something else out there. Julieanne Regan’s voice is within my range too, so of course I’ll sing along with this song — with all of their songs — at the drop of a black velvet witch hat!

Helena Nelson’s interview. There’s much to love in every response (and question for that matter), but I will highlight this bit.

Yes, ranking poetry is highly subjective. But that doesn’t mean people can’t explain their aesthetic and their choice in considerable detail. As sometimes they do. And other readers don’t necessarily agree, any more than they did about Tracey Emin’s Bed.

Bruno Cooke on Joelle Taylor: “Done right, poetry serves as many purposes as there are flavours of ice cream.”

Reviews by
Richie McCaffery of Rob Selby’s excellent The Coming Down Time
Hilary Menos on Bhanu Kapil’s How To Wash A Heart
Some fool on Will Harris’ Rendang
Emma Simon on Chris Jones’ Little Piece of Harm


All in all, Bravo to Hilary and Andie.

I think TFP (not 100% sure about The Frip yet, but it will sink in and become shorthand soon enough, I’m sure) will be with us for a long time to come. I’m looking forward to seeing the new poems arriving week by week, perhaps I may even manage to get one in there; although the famous adage of Meet us half way and submit one first applies at the moment.

I must confess that I was a bit worried when Hilary first approached me and asked me to review Rendang. I can’t put my finger on it, but it felt like the biggest review I’ve been asked to write so far, the most complex book yet, and I wondered if I was up to the task if I could find something interesting to say (and to be fair that’s the same with every review I write, and every poem, and every post here…and every sentence I say out loud, etc).

If I’m honest I was worried about engaging with the “contradictions of identity and cultural memory” mentioned in the blurb. Not because I didn’t want to or don’t feel I need to. I absolutely do, it was more a feeling of do I have anything valid to say on the matter without falling into the lazy tropes that Alyca Pirmohamed refers to here in her excellent essay at Wild Court, those adjectives like ‘urgent’, ‘important’, etc?

I think I avoided that, but I don’t think I can be the judge as to whether I had anything interesting to say. However, I found it fascinating and educational for a variety of reasons to engage with the collection as a whole by examining how the poems developed between pamphlet and collection, as well as the newer work, and how that benefits from the space and time afforded by a collection (literally and metaphorically).

I still can’t stop laughing about my moment of utter ponciness involving carcass vs carcase though…I’m glad Hilary removed that.

(NB have I mentioned how excellent Hillary’s own poetry is before? I’m sure I have, but go and look it up. I also pleased to see news of a new pamphlet via Broken Sleep…I won’t link to it as they are limited editions, and I want one.)

THE WEEK IN STATS


0K , Recovering, I think. Will know more tomorrow when I attempt a short run. If that goes well then I may allow a moment of positivity about making the “big run”
1 visit from my mum
1 trip to Brighton
1 week off work
1 child just back from a camping trip
0 x acceptance
0 rejection:
2 poems worked on: Bullshit Bingo (now renamed ‘The Kimono Is Open’) and Half Term At Longleat.
1 poem finished: Half Term At Longleat
1 new Submissions: Acumen
31 poems currently out for submission.
66 Published poems*:
41 Poems* finished by unpublished
29 poems* in various states of undress
554 Rejected poems* Eg I’ve decided they are not good enough
2 Review* Patrick Cotter and John Killick to High Window and OPOI respectively.
3 reviews to write
2 weeks without cigarettes…
1 Days without drinking (if one glass of wine counts)
1 more week that I’m not having an affair with Eva Green

* To date, not this week. Christ!!

TITLE GIVEAWAY

Skittles
A cricket ball appears from nowhere

READ/SEEN/HEARD/ETC

Read
Seventh Quarry 33
Martha Sprackland : Citadel
Poetry Ireland #142
Fenland Postery Journal #4

Music
The Archers
The Natural: Tethers
Liz Phair: Whip-Smart
Loamlands: Sweet High Rise
The Long Blondes: Someone To Drive You Home
Love: Da Capo
Small Sails: Similar Anniversaries
The Cure: Anniversary
Waxahatchee: Cerulaean Salt, Ivy Tripp
Bo Ningen: Sudden Fictions
Wolf Alice: Blue Weekend
Badly Drawn Boy: One Plus One Is One
Hiss Golden Messenger: Terms of Surrender, Hallelujah Anyhow
Bill Ryder-Jones: Yawny Yawn


TV/Film

Fargo S2 E1-4
Mare of Easttown: E1-2
Waking The Dead S2, S3E1-2
The Masked Dancer

Zooms, etc
None

Radio/Podcasts
None

Ordered
Nothing

Arrived
Nothing

Classic AAE..