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’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.


4 weeks since the last post
1 pint of blood donated
1 downstairs of the house sanded and varnished (not by me)
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!!


Tomato Protection Agency
ABBA Comeback
CucamelonsPre-emptive Pedantry
Collective Gallantry


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

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

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

Stephen Payne: The Windmill Proof Happenstance Launch
The Archers

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

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


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