Hyblurbole and getting an (anth)ology

How have you been? Oh yeah, Happy Easter if that’s your thing.

Can I point you to this poem that was published recently. I was pleased to have this one out there. I saw a post recently asking about the use of the I and “truth” in poems. I am a subscriber to the “just enough truth to get going” school, sometimes, and this poem falls into that category. The playing football in a plaster cast part is all true. Sadly, so is the breaking the toe part. I was young and stupid. I am not young anymore. Thank you, Ben and the folks at Black Nore (NB those folks are also Ben).

I must also say thanks to Marina and Jack of Resonance Poetry for including two of my poems in the resonance Anthology. It was launched a couple of weeks ago and fun was had by all that attended.

Jack introducing the evening

Click above or here to see Jack’s intro to the night and to get hold of a copy

I enjoyed all the readings, and if I can work out how to I’ll post the video of me reading next week.

The Resonance Anthology

After the reading, my friend and I retired to a pub in New Cross and he took what I think is going to be my new author photo. I rarely like pictures of me, but I’ll take this one

Mat Riches. White beard, green background. Spotty shirt. Tired looking
Some idiot, Photo By Mike Howells

Well, it’s looking increasingly like Taylor Swift won’t be getting back to me in a hurry. I know she’s on tour at present, and I guess there’s the whole not-having-a fucking-clue-who-I-am thing to contend with as well, but I’m sure it’s mainly because she’s busy with the three hour shows.

I should say that I say all of this because I recently asked Tay-Tay (via Twitter) if she’d be up for endorsing my book. I’m at that stage now where I need to be thinking about that. Despite the actual writing of it taking years, and the editing taking a long time to knock it into shape it genuinely feels like the hardest part is working out a) what to say about it (what’s it about, etc—and I can’t say 25 pages or £7*) and b) who to ask to say something about it.

The answer to a has already been sorted by someone else, so I’m grateful for that, but b is a perplexing one. I have a short list and a shortlist of folks to ask, so watch your inboxes, folks, but I was hoping I’d be able to go with my list of jokey ones. e.g.

Can I have my tenner now?
Florence Riches

It’s full of holes. We love it. 
Swiss Cheese Magazine 

Buy three. Two will level any table, and have one on your coffee table.
Practical Interior Design 

We wish he’d write fewer often
Pedant’s Monthly

However, I don’t think I can do that—as much as I’d like to. I have to overcome my natural inclination to take the piss out of any serious situation and actually treat this with some level of due consideration and importance. I might not get another chance at this, so take it seriously, Riches, and stop being embarrassed to ask people. Who am I writing this post for???

I’m not 100% sure a blurb will sell the book—eg it’s not the thing that gets someone over the line, but as with all last click attribution models, that thinking ignores the contribution of other things in the sales funnel, so I’m going to work on the grounds that a well-written and intentioned blurb is not just what I am calling Hyblurbole (has that been coined before? Probably), but it should be something that helps get onto people’s radars (along with all the other stuff I need to do to sell the book).

You know what I mean by hyblurbole…it’s the sort of film flam written on the back of books that says stuff like this absolutely destroyed me or one of the greatest books of all time or OMG, like who is this not written for?

So, I need to find someone that can write and has a name that carries some weight. One without the other is ok, but is also under-serving the ethos of a good blurb And just to make it a little more complicated, it’s got to be someone I respect.

Right, to the Bat-Rolodex.

* both because I don’t know how many pages or how much it will be, and because it’s a lame joke, and far be it from me to make lame jokes..oh no!!

And so, a poem for the week. I was contemplating BH Fairchild’s ‘Cigarettes’. and I may well come back to that another time, but the week I’m going with this poem from Derek Mahon. I’ve been reading Mahon’s New Selected poems this week, and marvelling at lots of his use of rhyme, form and structure, but I’ve chosen this poem largely because I’ve had a few conversions of late about the idea of moving out of London and back to Norfolk..It’s not happening for a while, if at all, but it’s a nice thought, and it was all amplified after a long weekend up in Scarborough with the in-laws and a trip to the beach…the peace and quiet was lovely. The poem stuck me as timely when I read it midweek. I also happened to have a quick chat with a chap outside my local on Thruway and he was from Cork…

A Quiet Spot

We tire of cities in the end:
the whirr and blur of it, so long your friend,
grows repetitious and you start to choke
on signage, carbon monoxide, the hard look.
You always knew it would come down
to a dozy seaside town —

not really in the country, no,
but within reach of the countryside,
somewhere alive to season, wind and tide,
far field and wind farm. ‘Wrong life,’ said Adorno,
‘can’t be lived rightly.’

The right place is a quiet spot like this
where an expanding river spills,
still trout-rich, from the dewy hills
of Cork, still fertile in a morning mist.
So, do you pause to congratulate yourself
out here at the continental shelf,
far from the hysteria,

on the perfect work-life balancing act
you’ve found after so many a fugitive year
of travel? If so, let the pause be brief.
Gaia demands your love, the patient earth
your airy sneakers tread expects humility and care.

It’s time now to go back at last
beyond irony and slick depreciation,
past hedge and fencing to a clearer vision,
time to create a future from the past,
tune out the babbling radio waves
and listen to the leaves.

++ Taken from New Selected Poems, Faber & Faber, 2016

Obviously, I can’t ask Derek Mahon for permission, and I should ask Faber & Faber, but I’m going with the fact the poem was broadcast on Sky as part of a series called Voices of Ireland as enough to have the poem out there.

Here’s Stephen Rea reading it in the show

I think I made a mistake buying the New Selected, and should have found a Collected, but there doesn’t seem to be a complete one but there. There’s this from Gallery Press, but he was an inveterate reworking of his poems, so it’s hard to feel like it would be hard to get the measure of them there, but perhaps we should respect we/I should respect the idea that “The Poems (1961-2020) comprises, in their final form, all the poems Derek Mahon wished to preserve.” Perhaps that’s a whole new post/thing to explore.

Finally, while I am still mulling the BH Fairchild poem over, I’ll offer you this alternative from a couple of weeks ago.
It’s a “found poem” (I usually hate the idea of found poems- largely because I’ve rarely managed to find one. I wonder if they’re like Pokemon and if you’ve got to catch ’em all) “by” Joe Moran, collated from the headlines of Adrian Chiles articles. (Never a sentence I expected to type).

Sod it, I also enjoyed this poem by Carl Dennis in the latest TLS this week. Annoyingly, I’ve just seen Dennis has a large back catalogue..FFS!!!

A Song that is in some vague way linked to something

Taylor Swift, Stay Stay, Stay
Laura Stevenson, The Healthy One

I heard this song for the first time in the last couple of weeks after listening to her being interviewed by Craig Finn. I love the song, but it does bear a bit of resemblance to Taylors, IMHO…

Pearl Jam, Blood. This very much my go to karaoke song


15ishK running. My knee is improving now I’ve started trying to stretch my hamstrings. This week has seen 3 actual runs and almost no pain This is encouraging. I am very out of breath. This is not so much.
3 day without cigarettes…This is encouraging
0 days since drinking. **Pours another gin**

1 trip to Scarborough
1 reading as part of the Resonance Anthology launch
1 night at friends with curry and booze

0 loose ideas/articles gathered (this allows me to kid myself I am writing all the time)
x poems finished: Several for the book
x poems worked on: Lots for the pamphlet, 1 new draft
2 submissions: Agenda, Magma
0 withdrawal:
0 acceptances:
0 Longlisting:
0 readings:
1 rejections: Butcher’s Dog
11 poems are currently out for submission. No simultaneous subs
83 Published poems

0 review finished:
0 reviews started:
0 review submitted:
2 review to write:

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

* To date, not this week. Christ!!


Bob Dylan: Bringing It All Back Home
The Durutti Column: Tempus Fugit, Time Was Gigantic….When We Were Kids, Vini Reilly, Without Mercy
The Archers
Craig Finn That’s How I Remember It: Kevin Morby
The Poet Laureate Has Gone To His Shed: Julie Hesmonhalgh
The Verb: Spring
Jeff Russo: For All Mankind OST S1, S2
Kevin Morby: This Is A Photograph, City Music
The ArchersSpoon: Gimme Fiction
Jeff Russo: For All Mankind OST S2
Craig Finn That’s How I Remember It: Laura Stevenson
Laura Stevenson: Wheel
Laura Stevenson: ST, The Big Freeze, Sit Resist, Wheel, Cocksure
Spoon: Kill The Moonlight
The Hold Steady: The Price of Progress
boygenius: the record
Spoon: Ga Ga Ga Ga Ga
A Certain Ratio: 1982
The Sundays: Blind
The New Pornographers: Continue As A Guest
Dinosaur Jr: Give A Glimpse of What Yer not
Spoon: Hot Thoughts
Cassandra Jenkins:  A Phenomenal Overview of Nature
boygenius: The album
Laura Stevenson: the Wheel
Spoon: Lucifer On the Sofa
The Reds, Pinks & Purples: The Town That Cursed Your Name
Keith Jarrett: Kiln Concert
The Innocence Mission: Glow
Plains: I Walked with you A While
The Clientele: bonfires On the Heath
Beth Orton: Weather Alive
Death Cab For Cutie: Asphalt meadows
Talies: patina
Laura Stevenson: ST
Laura Veirs: Found light
The Sundays: SummertimeMark Eitzel: West
My Morning Jacket: Circuitial
Suede: Autofiction
Fri: The Archers
Various weirdness at a friend’s house
The Sundays: Blind
Jim O’Rourke: Bad Timing
Keith Jarrett:Staircases
Laura Stevenson: Live At Audiotree

Gail McConnell: The Sun Is Open
Ciaran Carson: Opera Et Cetera
Derek Mahon: New Selected Poems

Interior Design With Alan Carr
The Mandalorian
For All Mankind

A new remote for the TV
Zaffar Kunial – England’s Green
Cal Flynn – Islands of Abandonment
Rebecca Goss – Girl
TS Eliot The Poems of TS Eliot
Selected Poetry of John Clare
A New Harddrive
A heat gun
A Hat
Geoff Hattersley: Back of Beyond 

TS Eliot:The Poems of TS Eliot Vol1
John Clare: Selected Poems
Cal Flynn: Islands of Abandonment
Zaffar Kunial: England’s Green
Rebecca Goss: Girl
Poetry London
A New Harddrive
A heat gun
A Hat
Geoff Hattersley: Back of Beyond 


One thought on “Hyblurbole and getting an (anth)ology

  1. Pingback: Poetry Blog Digest 2023, Weeks 13-14 – Via Negativa

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