Echo Location


Just as an FYI, I can barely keep my eyes open at the moment…the reasons for which will become apparent in a moment (is this in Media Res, I have no idea?)

Happy Birthday for this week to my favourite of all of my children. Seen here, not on her birthday.

And, happy birthday today to my most glorious and riotous niece Amelie.

Last night, Flo has a few friends over for a sleepover/party in a tent in our back garden. It feels very odd having other people in the house. Were we breaking some rules, I’m not sure – probably, either way it was a relief for this group of friends to be together…largely shrieking and consuming their bodyweight in pizza and snack items while watching The Breakfast Club. Of course, I walked in when the conversation on the screen was turning to sex…Could. Not. Get. Out. Of. The. Tent. Fast. Enough.

The shrieking finally wound down about midnight and after an early start for running I am cream-crackered.

However, I wasn’t yesterday and I can’t explain why this poem broke me when I saw it (for the second time—having recently read it in Poetry Birmingham Literary Journal #4. Page 62, fact fans).

It’s making me well up again now as I read it again. I love the “Broken like a shotgun” line a lot, it’s such an arresting and powerful image, and maybe the poem triggers more in me than I thought about my own dad, I didn’t care though. It’s a beautiful poem, and had me thinking about the days when we’d carry a sleeping Flo to bed… There are better analyses to be had, but for now this will do. It hits at a visceral level and I’m happy with that.

Please note that his other poem in PBLJ4 is equally powerful.

Get your copy here –

The buy the back issues offer for £25 is great value for money, and I’m pretty sure subscriptions are a-coming soon.

I was also very pleased to discover the work of Jamie Baxter as a result of Matthew Stewart’s (him, again, FFS!!!) success this week with placing a poem in The Spectator.

I urge you to seek out this poem by Jamie. I am going to dig into his poems as soon as I find some more. I understand he’s not got a pamphlet or book out tutee, but I hope this si resolved soon.

And to go and get a copy of The Spectator to see Matthew’s poem. I know there are many things wrong with The Speccie (not least that they continue to give Rod Liddle, T*by Y*ung and James Delingpole opportunities to peddle their racist, shortsighted shite*). However, it does feel like this is a shift into a different world for Matthew’s work. I am sure that Hugo Williams has a very different editorial approach.

The idea of being published in poetry journals and websites, etc is, of course, an absolute dream. He’s been published in a great many of the “biggies” and, still, of course, it’s important to try to get into them. I certainly won’t give up, but when you’re being published in places where the opportunities to be seen and read by folks that may not normally read poetry are increased is a massive achievement, and for that I applaud the lad.

*Please note that I know Matthew does not share the views of that particular bunch of shithouses.

Olivia McCannon

Discovering new poets is always a joyous thing, and late last week I was browsing the Carcanet website for something—I don’t recall what, but I stumbled across the name Olivia McCannon. I didn’t recognise it, so I looked up her work and liked the poems I saw. I immediately ordered a copy of her first and—as far as I can see—only collection.

Out arrived a couple of days ago, and while it will have to find it’s own place on the TBR pile, I looked at the first poem in there and was pleased to see it was about the Liverpool Echo sellers of, er, Liverpool. Or rather, about one specific “man outside Marks and Sparks, / Twice a minute every day for years, he shouted ––‘C’o!

You’ll have to get your own copy to find out more, but it’s made me very happy and nostalgic for my time in Liverpool and the Echo seller I used to hear at the bottom of Bold Street. I was convinced he was shouting ‘New York, New York” instead of “Echo, Echo”. I must also now waggle a fist at Olivia for taking this idea.

I mean I would eagle a fist if my arms weren’t so very tired. I think I’d like to be back here in my newly-arrived hammock.

Thanks to my beloved wife for capturing this “brief” moment of taking stock yesterday


35 press ups, 12-20 sit ups, 20 Trunk Curls, at least one minute of Plank and 10-15 Tricep Chair Dips Mon – Thursday

30k running – Including 15K this morning

1 birthday party

1 lunch with colleagues, including

2 that I’ve worked with for 5 months but hadn’t met before

1 family walk

3 poems worked on. This whole getting up and working on stuff before work has been quite productive. 1 poem nearly finished, + 2 totally redrafted. I’ll keep this going for a while – just need to work out if typing stuff up counts as writing before work.

1 day without cigarettes…I was doing well, again…

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


Crucial intelligence (Stolen from a LinkedIn request I had this week)
Exactly Similar
Photo Ops


Don Cherry – Complete Communion
VA – BBC Radiophonic Workshop
Davy Graham – Midnight Man
The Rolling Stones – Goats Dead Soup
Alessi’s Ark – Time Travel
Alex The Astronaut – The Absolute Theory of Everything
A. Armada – Anam Cara
A.C Newman – Get Guilty

Neko Case
Canadian Amp
Fox Confessor Brings The Flood
Furnace Room Lullaby
Middle Cyclone
The Worse Things Get…..

Collections of Colonies of Bees – Birds
Spinning Coin – Hyacinth
A Certain ratio – Berlin
Mike Polizze – Long Lost Solace Find
John Coltrane – Giant Steps
VA – How The River Ganges Flows – Sublime Masterpieces of India Violin
Fenne Lily – Breach
Wah Wah Watson – Elementary
Bedhead – Whatfunlifewas
Emma Kupa – It Will Come Easier

Hangouts/Video Calls/Zoom/Etc (not for work)
None this week

Bone Tomahawk
Selling Sunset S1 and E1-2 of S2
Bottom S1 E1
Des – E1 -3

Finally caught up on The Archers from Mid- August to now. It’s getting better now folks are having conversations again.

A Hammock
A projector screen

A Hammock
A shirt from Working Title Clothes in Norwich
A projector screen

Poetry Birmingham Issue 3
Rhian Edwards – The Estate Agent’s Daughter

One thought on “Echo Location

  1. Pingback: Poetry Blog Digest 2020, Week 38 – Via Negativa

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s