And they say the blogs don’t work

I love a coincidence, I love (although I am a bit of an idiot when it comes to) mathematical formulas, I love telly, telling people they are ace, and I love finding something to hang these posts on, so imagine my delight when I was able to combine the first four and achieve the last one of these particular five horsemen (I’m allowing for inflation) of the apocalypse.

First the coincidence…or maybe it’s a confluence (checks meaning of confluence..yep, that’s close enough)

A few months ago (back before the lockdown/WFH I saw a blog post by Matthew Paul (henceforth known as MP for reasons) about the poet Julie Mellor (JM) praising her pamphlet Out of the Weather. I was intrigued enough to buy it and so I did (also, I think calling MP* a bastard for costing me money).**

And then it sat on the TBR pile…we all have one. Here’s mine…

I think there are several formulas involved here.

Mathematical Formulas

  1. The number of books you think you need is always n+1 where n= the number of books you have now
  2. (Not related to books, but the formula for Pile group capacity is Q = q0 X B2 + 4 x B x L x f (Square)
    Where, Q = ultimate capacity of pile group
    q0 = ultimate bearing pressure of footing of area B2 (B = size of pile group), L = Length of pile, f = shear resistance.

    This came up when searching for Book pile formula and it seemed too interesting to not share it.
  3. Tsundoku is “acquiring reading materials but letting them pile up in one’s home without reading them”. I think there must be a formula for calculating how quickly you’ll get through your TBR pile.

    It’s probably to be found in Ramunjan’s notebooks —an excuse to post my poem that mentions him, The Society For The Preservation of Workings Out, but I’ll have a stab and assume that it must be something like.

    n= BTBR/TAT
    Where n is time to read, BTBR = books to be read, TAT = total available time

    TAT = Hours in day – WOE, where WOE = LOS/TNTDOS

    LOS = Lack of sleep, TNTDOS = The need to do other stuff.
    It’s a work in progress.

    Christ, I digress.

    Anyhoo, Julie’s book sat there for a few months until I saw Matthew Stewart’s (MS) post about her blog (now we’re getting meta…a post about a post about a post…soon we will be post-a post about a post, etc)

    It’s also just occurred to me I need a swear jar for every time I mention the two Matthews – this starts from next week.

    This reminded me I had the book on my TBR pile (TBRP). Now normally, I try to read the books on the TBRP in the order they arrive (ITOTA), although sometimes this can slip

    Please note, I’m being honest here. I could have lied and said it was fortuitous timing. Regardless of this, I picked up Julie’s book and I knew from the moment I read the first poem, ‘The Scar on my Wrist‘, that I was going to be hooked.(NB I want to see the poem that beat this into a commended place.) The confluence (that word again) of subject matter, recognition of the events that take place and then the absolute stunner of a twist at the end said to me that even of the rest of the book was crap, here was a poet to be aware of. Thankfully for me, and Julie, etc, the rest of the book wasn’t crap.

    I usually turn over the corners of pages with ace poems, the ones I want to come back to, etc. However, in Julie’s book I’ve turned over almost every page. To be fair, I may as well have just folded the book in half, but I’m glad I didn’t. I commend it to you and her recent work on John Foggin’s excellent site as part of his When This is All Over Project (Her poem is ‘Magician’ – and magical- but I can’t link to it directly. Do check out the rest. She also has a few haiku up at the excellent Write Where We Are Now project. Again, look at all the ace work up there.

    Telling people they’re ace

I think, when we can, we should tell people when we’ve enjoyed their work – I reckon 96.777777777% of poet’s must like being told people enjoy their work, so I emailed Julie to tell her I loved the book, and to ask how I might obtain her first pamphlet, ‘Breathing Through Our Bones (BTOB) as I couldn’t find it on the Poetry Business website.

Of course, five minutes after I sent the email, I found the book on the site, but none the less it was more important to have reached out and passed on my admiration.

I am also now in possession of BTOB by JM…and it’s signed. Ok, not signed, but it has a lovely personalised postcard. That may actually be better.

Now, in further in examples of coincidence…and when I finally address the I like telly part. I know, you’ve been tapping your watch and wondering about that.

MP has put out another post this week about the use of names in poetry. As with the JM review, I can’t add much of any intelligence to what MP has already said, but I can say that this is something I’ve been wrestling with of late (the use of names, not my lack of intelligence – that’s an ongoing battle). I’ve generally avoided using the names of anyone, least of all the people I know, but a few mates’ names have slipped through. However, I’ve not used my wife or daughter’s name yet. Flo has always been, where mentioned, “the child” or “our daughter” until recently when a poem just sort of fell out and no matter how I tried to make it ‘ the child’ it didn’t work. It needed a name and what better name than the name she has. The fact that it was the right number of syllables didn’t hurt either.

Oh yeah, the telly bit

Also, to finish up as I’m wanging on, the post I refer to above about names talks about telly. – Yes, there it is…and I also saw this excellent tweet this week from my lovely colleague in tellyland.

In one final example of coincidence and pseudo-maths, there are 3 x the letter l in Julie Mellor and there have now been three Mat(t)s writing about her. The letter l is next to the letter M in the alphabet.

#makesyouthink #cantarguewithsciencebutyoucanarguewithhashtagsnotallowingpunctuation

* Not the first time I’ve called an MP a bastard
**Please note, you very much should read MP’s review if you haven’t already, he does the book far more justice than I could.

And in true Columbo style, one last thing…It would be remiss of me to say thanks to Richie McCaffery for publishing two of my poems this week on his excellent Lyrical Aye blog.


35.6 k running – A much better week, back on it thanks to

2 x socially-distanced runs at the weekend.

1 finished – The one from last week. Almost a week from start to finish in 7 drafts is some sort of record I think

3 poems worked on – including the above and the one that mentions Flo

1 poem that I think turns out to be a sort of copy of Eliot’s ‘Burnt Norton’. I’d not read it, I promise, until mid this week. I made the first notes for this poem last year.

1 acceptance – Am I allowed to say…? Fuck it, the initials are WC and I am very, very pleased to be in there

7 Billion Hangouts for work

0 rejections – Woohoo, but also I wish the outstanding subs would hurry the fuck up and make a decision

Over 193 days now for submissions being out with Tangerine, North and Lonely Crowd. I should count from the window closing and I’m not complaining (much) about waiting, but I’d love to just know one way or the other.

1 day without cigarettes. Fits and starts, yeah!!

1 more week that I’m not having an affair with Eva Green


  1. Tsundoku Formula
  2. Sewing Machine Amnesty



The Blue Nile
Peace At Last

Bjork – Biophillia
Afghan Whigs – Black Love
AC Acoustics – O
Admiral Fallow – Tiny Rewards
Alabama Shakes – Sound & Color

Allo Darlin’
Henry Rollins Don’t Dance
Hymn on the 45
We Come From The Same Place

Amusement Parks on Fire – Out to the Angeles

Amy Millan
Honey From The Tombs
Masters of the Burial

Analog Roland Orchestra – Watchdog EP
And Also The Trees – Born Into The Waves
Angel Olsen – All mirrors
Ann Sexton – In The Beginning
Anna Meredith – FIBS

Apples In Stereo
The Discovery of a World Inside The Moon
Electronic Projects for Musicians
Fun Trick Noisemaker
New Magnetic Wonder

The Appleseed Cast – The End of the Ring Wars
Archie Bronson Outfit – Coconut
Aretha Franklin – The Electrifying Aretha Franklin
Arvo Part – Alina
Au Revoir Simone – The Bird of Music
Aurore Rien – Sedative for the Celestial Blue
The Auteurs – After Murder Park
Bad Lieutenant – Never Cry Another Tear
Anne Peebles – I can’t Stand The Rain
Gloria Barnes – Uptown
Charli XCX – how i’m feeling now
Kamasi Washington – Becoming (OST)
Kaitlyn Aurelia Smith – Mosaic of Transformation
Hunter Muskett – ST

Explosions In The Sky
Live Bootleg
The Earth Is Not A Cold Dead Place

Afghan Whigs – In Spades
Maria McKee – Late December
Pearl Jam- Binaural

Ryley Walker
Bogging In Funkerdonk
Help Protect Our Mountains

Thao & The Get Down Stay Down – Temples
Ride – Nowhere
Roberta Flack – First Take
Roland Kirk – Kirk in Copenhagen

Hangouts/Video Calls/Zoom/Etc (not for work)
Rory Waterman’s Sweet Nothings launch

Spooks S5

Julie Mellor – Breathing Through Our Bones (A gift)
Smoke #66
Under The Radar #25

Rory Waterman – Sweet Nothings
Under the Radar #25

The Blogs Don’t Work – The Verve
This is here because I think this is the only song to name who “they” are…

5 thoughts on “And they say the blogs don’t work

  1. Hello MR. I liked BtoB as much as OotW. I also very much enjoyed your poems on Richie’s site this week. Btw, I totally agree about John Foggin’s project – it’s fantastic. MP

    • Hi MP, gthyenbb (glad to hear you enjoyed both books) and tyfykwampors (thank you for your kind words about my poems on Richie’s site). I’m way behind on John’s posts – I need to resolve that issue. Hope you’re all good, I’m assuming the current situation is making you busy as…Stay safe. MR

  2. Thanks so much for reading my poems Mat – it’s a real pleasure to know they resonate with other people. Hope you enjoy Breathing Through Our Bones too – I can’t tell you how many coincidences there were on the road to publishing that pamphlet.
    Now, I have to own up to the fact that the Magician poem on John Foggin’s blog isn’t mine – I wrote the Phrenologist, but I can see how the confusion has occurred. And since then I’ve learnt that the authors were supposed to remain anonymous (for the time being). So, never trust me with a secret!
    Julie X

    • Hi Julie, my absolute pleasure. I’ve been meaning to send you a link to this—I can only offer my general disorganisation by way of apology.

  3. Pingback: Whimsy Priest – Wear The Fox Hat

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