(Inspiring) Carpets

I’ve almost totally abandoned the plan to do this every week now, given it’s been three weeks (again) since the last check in, and even that was more of a placeholder. Perhaps that’s fine, I think it probably is.

We went to the Peak District for half term, we had a lovely time in among the snow, the wind, the rain (as a Twilight Singers fan I’m now duty bound to link to Feathers, even if I am slightly misquoting the lyrics), but the weather sort of curtailed our outings. This did give me time to complete and submit my review of Stewart Carswell’s first collection, Earthworks, for London Grip. My thanks, as ever, to Michael for taking it and being so quick to publish it.

I really have to start saying no to reviews, but some how I still have 4 to do. I did start another while I was away. It’s only 350 words, and I got half way through and now I think I have to start again. Get on with it, Riches.!!

I woke up to some ace news yesterday, a mag that I have admired for a while have agreed to take one of my poems (pending acceptance of edit suggestions). I am working through their totally sensible suggestions at present, and hopefully it will all be good. I’ve gone from rarely getting editorial feedback to having a fair bit (albeit not massive) of late. I like it, I think. More news on this soon, I hope. No chickens are being counted in the making of this paragraph.

I also had the chance to catch up on some* reading while I was off. I say some, it was nowhere near enough. Every time I finish a magazine, a new one arrives, and that seems to take the place of reading the books that are piling up. It’s not exactly the end of the world though, is it?

In doing that reading I came across this poem in Stand 19.3. I can’t quite put my finger on why I like it, but I love it. Perhaps it’s a recognition of the “Illiad-long, bottom of the stairs phone conversation”, either way, here it is. It’s by Jonathan Tulloch, who appears to be better known as a novelist, but I note his bio here at Acumen suggests he’s only just turned to poetry. BACK THE FUCK OFF, TULLOCH…!!*

More and More Northern English Carpets of the 1970s

are being lost every day. Soon there’ll be none left.
Their too-vivid electric colors quenched in landfill,
their unrealistic hothouse flowers rotting seedlessly
by the fly-tipped farmer’s gate. Some happy few might
be recycled, their surprisingly soft teddy-bear innards
hardened into plant pots, wheel trims, washing machine
parts. But what kind of life is that for those who
bore the hopes and dreams and moccasins and fake fur
Lu ease mule slippers of a generation? Perhaps

it’s even worse for those carpets rolled up and forgotten
in lofts, watching the dust fall and waiting in vain for
sweepers and early electric wasp-nest bag hoovers,
unable to explain grandparent coal fires, horn rimmed
glasses, space hoppers and Eddie Waring, to the boxes of glib,
still-in-use Christmas decs, current suitcases and tents.

And what happened to the lifelong friends of all those
disappearing, yet unmagic carpets? The standard lamps
and half-supped mugs. The lanky telephone tables, (keepers
of the lost art of the Illiad-long, bottom-of-the stairs phone
conversation). The random hearthrugs. The button separated
forever from the blue Woolworth’s ladybird dressing gown?
All the dust of the hooverers’ countless day dreams?

Where now does Nannie’s clothes horse graze?

* I’m joking, please keep going


c.35K running. The mojo isn’t there, but I can feel it coming back. A conversation with a mate who is training for the London Marathon has kick started things. This week has seen 25K, with 13 coming today, so I feel like I am on my way back
6 hour drive to Derbyshire
1 x trip to Bakewell
1 trip to Eyam
1 x trip to Buxton
22 cats on the farm
4 horses
A host of golden daffodils
0 massive hangovers
1 kitten had “the op”, 1 to go soon
2 x drilling to fit bathroom fixtures
2 weekends of solid graft in the garden
15ish (at least) journeys to dance lessons and back for Flo
Many LFTs
1 rejections: The Stinging Fly
0 poems finished:
2 poems worked on: Nature Abhors a Vacuum, Trajectory, The Summer Job
0 poems published:
1 submissions: Poetry Wales
1 acceptance: Can’t say yet
17 poems currently out for submission.
74 Published poems
38 Poems* finished by unpublished
25 poems* in various states of undress
554 Rejected poems* Eg I’ve decided they are not good enough
0 reviews finished:
4 reviews to write: How the fuck did that happen…I keep finishing them and then they keep coming.
2 day without cigarettes…I was doing so well, Oh well, back to it. As in giving up, not back to smoking.
0 Days since drinking
0 sleepless nights:
1 more week that I’m not having an affair with Eva Green

* To date, not this week. Christ!!

Nothing to offer, sorry


Frogmore Papers: 97
Stand: 19.3
Christopher Horton: Perfect Timing
Sarah Westcott: Bloom
Poetry Wales #57.3

Recording the latest Grandbags Funeral

The Dead Tongues: Dust
Akira Kosemura/Hisaki Kato: One Day You Will Reach The Sea
Florence & The Machine: High As hope, How Big…
Fleetwood Mac: Bare Trees
Fontaines DC: Dogrel, A Hero’s Death
Christian Lee Hutson: Quitters
Unwed Sailor: Truth or Consequences
Akira Kosemura: One Day, Jackjeane OST
The Soft Pack: ST, Strapped
The Prisoners: A Taste OF Pink, The Last Fourfathers
Windrush Radio: Riverside Rhythms
Massacre Massacre: Bunkaa 1
The Solarflares: Psychedelic Tantrum
Exposions In The Sky: Live, Earth Not Cold Dead Place
Sun’s Signature: Golden Air
Van Morrison: Veedon Fleece
Superchunk: Wild Loneliness
Jane Weaver: Flock
The Sea and the Cake: One Day
Richard Hawley: Coles Corner
Wilco: kicking Television
Aldous Harding: Warm Chris
Angel Olsen: All Mirrors
Cassandra Jenkins: A Phenomenal Overview
Courtney Barnett: Things Take Time
Hiss Golden Messenger: Terms of Surrender
Laura Gibson: La Grande
Wet Leg: ST
Band of Horses: Things Are Great
Grizzly Bear: Veckatimest, Shields
Beth Orton: Comfort Of Strangers, Daybreaker
Pearl Jam: Riot Act
John Coltrane: The Definitive Coltrane
Echo & The Bunnymen: Ocean Rain, Siberia, Meteorites
Krystal Clear: Connected EP
Nightports & Matthew Bourne: ST
Sault: Air
The Cure: Anniversary
Jefrey Cantu-Delesma: On The Echoing Green
Ride: This Is Not A Safe Place
Sea Power: Sea of Brass
The Feminine Complex: Hide and Seek
David Christian & The Pinecone Orchestra: For Those We Met On The Way
Bright Eyes: I’m Wide Awake
Spiritualized: Everything Was Beautiful
The Cure; 4.13 Dream, Wish, Show, Entreat
Yo La Tengo: I Can Hear The Heart Beating As One
The Archers
Five Live: Arsenal Vs Man U

Criminal Minds
The Walking Dead
Saturday Night Takeaway
In For A Penny
SAS: Who Dares Wins
Married At First Sight:Australia
Liverpool vs Man City FA Cup Semi-final
Storyville: Truffle Hunters


Poetry Review
Poetry Wales
Kim Moore: All The Men
Lizzie Parker: In Her Shambles
Poetry Scotland

Inspiral Carpets – Dragging Me Down

Cooking with disapproving lemons

If you can’t stand the heat…

At the time of writing, Flo and Rachael are in the kitchen making a cake for later. I have the Sunday roast under way. While I wait to get back in there and finish stuff off, here are a few things from the last week the feel poetry-relevant. Poetrelevant???

This week’s TFP by Richie McCaffery is a doozy, but l only got to reading the Friday Poem the previous Friday (21st??) from on Sunday last week, having done my posting. Please do go and have a look at it, as well as Richie’s poem, but I was immediately drawn to the first long line of ‘the kitchen’ (and the other lines too, obvs),

“The first thing I learn about you in the kitchen is that it’s impossible for us to cook together without contemplating double homicide.”

Not only is that a bold intro to a poem to have something that long, like an extended scene at the start of a film, it’s almost as if Amanda Joshua has watched my wife and I in the kitchen. The rest of the poem is a wonderful weaving through people learning about each other. It takes a simple place and through the interactions there she weaves a whole new life with someone before the world seeps in. Go, read it, see for yourself.

Reviewing relative (not eg grading a parent or an aunt)

I saw this article a couple of weeks ago, but haven’t got round to sharing it as yet, so here is a link to something called The Disapproval Matrix

I’m interested mainly in the top right and left quadrants of this purely as something to bear in mind when writing reviews. I’m certainly not placing myself in the expert in a field category. I can do standing in a field quite well, but I think that’s something very different. Anyhoo, read the article.

When life gives you lemons

Something else I saw recently was this tweet by Richard Shotton. Richard has been writing about and drawing attention to behavioural psychology techniques and how they work in the world of advertising for a while now. (NB I really must get round to reading The Choice Factory). I am sharing the below purely because I think it’s the sort of lovely detail that deserves to find it’s way into a poem somehow. You can write it if you want.

A poem

Finally, a poem for the week. I’m mid-writing a review of Jeremy Page’s ‘The Naming‘ on behalf of London Grip. Mike from LG checked in yesterday to make sure I’d got the book, and I was pleased to say I had, that I’d read it, made notes and even committed the first paragraph* to paper (well, Pages – ooh, hang on..another connection). One of the things that has been slowing me down in writing the review is having decided to go back and read more work by the same author to help with context.

While doing that I came across this poem from Jeremy’s previous book, Closing Time. It reminded me that the week before I’d sent this video to committed (Should be committed, etc) Aldershot FC fan, Matthew Stewart. It’s a classic in the same vein of Eric Cantona’s interview from several years ago. I suspect Mark Molesley’s was far more knowing and deliberate. Probably even done for a bet, but either way it means I get to share this poem.

Being Eric Cantona by Jeremy Page, taken from Closing Time, Pindrop Press

when seagulls follow the trawler
it’s because they think
sardines will be thrown in the sea

Eric Cantona

when slugs devour strawberries
it’s because the raspberries
are delayed

when barn owls hunt by day
its because their body clock
has stopped

when dogs bark in the night
it’s because day
has yet to break

and when waiting lasts a lifetime
it’s because Godot
never shows

The last stanza of this poem feels especially relevant this week while we wait on the much-fabled Sue Gray report…”Liddle bit of politics there”…Yes, thank you Ben Elton….**

* It’s now four paragraphs/ 367 words
** One for the youngsters there


30K running. So tired, this training lark is hard. Thursday saw a 10K PB, but the rest of the week hasn’t been great. The weekend has been slack as I can feel my calves being sore..and I had
1 hangover after a busy Friday Night
1 journeys to Sydenham and back
1 Gig at my local church for The Neighbourhood Sessions. Enjoyable to see live music again.
Many LFTs
0 rejections:
0 poems finished:
1 poems worked on: Nature Abhors a Vacuum
0 poems published:
1 submissions: Finished Creatures
0 acceptance:
31 poems currently out for submission.
72 Published poems*: Was 69, but one was not used in the end, having been accepted.
40 Poems* finished by unpublished
25 poems* in various states of undress
554 Rejected poems* Eg I’ve decided they are not good enough
1 review started: Jeremy Page: The Naming
0 reviews finished:
4 reviews to write: Fuck, how did that happen, I’ve gone from 1 to do to having more…Hmmm
2 day without cigarettes…I was doing so well, up to 28 days and the Friday happened. Oh well, back to it. As in giving up, not back to smoking.
2 Days since drinking
0 sleepless nights:
1 more week that I’m not having an affair with Eva Green

* To date, not this week. Christ!!

Ironing Pile
Scandinavian Chocolate Factory
The Culture Bunker (Yes, it is a Julian Cope song, but what of it)


Louis De Berniere: The War of Don Emmanuel’s Nether Parts, Señor Vivo & The Coca Lord

Will Stratton: The Changing Wilderness
Julien Baker: Sprained Ankle, Turn Out The Lights, Little Oblivions, Red Door, Tokyo
Eels: Earth To Dora, End Times
Bill Callahan:Sometimes I Wish We Were An Eagle
The Cure: Anniversary, Head On The Door
The Soundcarriers: Wilds
Mono: For My Parents, The Last Dawn/Rays of Darkness
Pulp: Freaks, His N’ Hers, It, This Is hardcore, Separations
Neil Young: After the Goldrush, American Stars n’ Bars, Are You Passionate, Broken Arrow, Chrome Dreams II, Colorado
Dropsonde Playlist
Wilco: Kicking Television

Criminal Minds
American Rust

Stephen Payne: The Wax Argument
Evangeline Patterson: Lucifer, With Angels
Tickets to see Glyn Maxwell & Simon Armitage
Helen Lamb: How to Walk In The Dark
Eveline Lamb: Steam

Stephen Payne: The Wax Argument

Close as I could get to a lemon song that wasn’t ver Zep or U2. This is better anyway.

Whimsy Priest

As I say down to write this I was actually attempting to make some sort of connection between a whisky priest and what’s about to follow, but I couldn’t manage it. I can manage the signs of moral weakness standing on my head (and that’s often the problem, ho, ho, ho, etc), but the second part is usually more of an issue.

NB: If you’re not sure, a “Whisky Priest is “A priest or ordained minister who shows clear signs of moral weakness, while at the same time teaching a higher standard.”

Luckily, the heading now reads more like something Eddie Izzard would call one of his tours. *Makes note to call Eddie Izzard*. ** Makes other note to find out how to call Eddie Izzard**

Anyhoo, it sort of makes sense as what follows is a wonderful bit of whimsy…

I’ve often mentioned how I love a coincidence. And this week I’ve seen a few that have made me happy and are largely poetry related. You may recall a few weeks ago that I was extolling the virtues of Julie Mellor‘s poetry and that she very kindly sent me a copy of her first pamphlet, Breathing Through Her Bones—well, this week I finally managed to find time to start reading it. I fell in love with it instantly. I suspect I will be buying and reading Julie’s work for a long time. I hope to be buying and reading a full collection from her in due course.

As with her other pamphlet, I loved this one from the get go, but my eyes properly alighted on this poem.

Julie Mellor, Whisk – for Breathing Through Our Bones

There are so many things to love about this poem, a vague sense of threat from the Ford Zephyr, the moonscape of the batter mix—I wish I could nick that for the Title Giveaway— and the ‘bucket seats/ waiting to swallow us whole’. I love it (and every other poem in the book.

What really set it off though, and this entirely unrelated was something Florence said yesterday.

Entirely unprompted, Flo walked through and told me this pun that she’d just made up. I am ridiculously proud.

Then, today in another turn of twitter and poetry connections. My dear friend Mark Antony Owen (he of Iamb fame) tweeted

And this reminded me of this poem.

Things That Happen – Hugh Underhill, from The Human Heart

I knew this poem as I’ve been reading it a lot this week because I’ve been reviewing the book that it comes from – The Human Heart by Hugh Underhill. I sent the review off a couple of days ago, and, this morning, when I sent the poem to Mark I didn’t know it was due to be published today.

However, it has been and I am very pleased about that.

You can read the review here. Please do, and all of the others.

I may have to have a good think about writing reviews for a while—once I’ve cleared my backlog (…Three. More. To. Go….) as it’s taking its toll on my own work, but I certainly don’t want to give it up.


25k running – Some hill repeats, some fast 5ks and an aborted 8k today when my mate’s calf went ping.

1 poem worked on – sort of..I drafted a few lines of one I’ve been working on for a while. Not sure if they will make the grade.

0 poems accepted, 0 poems rejected. It’s a delicate balance

2 x feedback to a friend on their poem. I love watching a draft of someone else’s work come together. Seeing what they take on board, what’s ignored and why… That’s a post at some point…*Take a note, Riches*

1.75 reviews. One written and subbed and one nearly done. It was this post or that. I know, I know….finish the review.

5 days without cigarettes…and then…Fits and starts, yeah!!

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


The Whimsy Priest
Siberian Shamans – (Thanks to @Sovietvisuals for that one)
Help track satellites (for astronomers worried that they’re starting to block out the stars.)


The People’s Choir of Operation Push – ST
El Ten Eleven – Tautology II
Margo Price – That’s How Rumors get Started
Kestrels Dream or Don’t Dream
Mr Ben and the Bens – Life Drawing
Green On Red – Gravity Talks
The Cure – ST
Thao & The Get Down Stay Down – Temple
Mary Lorson & Saint Low – Tricks For Dawn

Lift To Experience
Black Sessions
Peel Sessions
The Texas-Jerusalem Crossroads

Like Honey – Leaves
Loamlands – Sweet High Rise
Lomond Campbell – Black River Promise

The Jayhawks
Back Roads and Abandoned Motels
Blue Earth
Hollywood Town Hall

Jellyfish – Spilt Milk
The Jesus Lizard – Liar
The Jimi Hendrix Experience – Are You Experienced?

Jóhan Jóhannsson
The Theory of Everything OST
Virulegu Forsetar

John Coltrane – Blue Train
Julian Cope – Jehovahkill
Kingmaker – Eat Yourself Whole
Kosmische Läufer = The Secret Cosmic Music of the East german Olympic Programme
Larry Coryell – Coryell
Laura Veirs – July Flame
The Dells – There Is
Laraaji – Sun Piano
My mate Simon’s The Fall Playlist
Kathleen Edwards – Voyageur 
Kate Pierson – Guitars And Microphones
B52s – Cosmic Thing

Hangouts/Video Calls/Zoom/Etc (not for work)

Poet Laureate has gone to his shed – Judge Melanie Plimmer, Laura Ashe & Chris Packham (well, 2/3rds of the Packham)
The Foxhole Companion – Dan Stewart & Simon Rance

Agent Carter – S1 & S2 E1-8
Penny Dreadful (The new one) E9-10. God, it was awful.
The Mosquito Coast

Seamus Heaney – 1998-2013 Selected Poems
Alice Oswald – Woods Etc, Nobody
Martha Sprackland – Citadel

Nina Mingya Powles – Magnolia, 木蘭
Seamus Heaney – 1998-2013 Selected Poems

Julie Mellor – Breathing Through Our Bones
Hugh Underhill – The Human Heart
Suna Afshan – Belladonna
Terence Hayes – American Sonnets for my Past and Future Assassin
These two excellent interviews with Rishi – One & Two

Electrafixion – Zephyr…The great in-between Bunnymen band… Saw this lot at Sheffield Leadmill in 1994 with my then girlfriend, Jenny Frew.