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…

Goose Eggs & Crickets

Image from

I assume you’re familiar with a goose egg, e.g. the organic vessel containing the zygote in which an embryo develops until it can survive on its own, but have you ever heard of the idiom a goose egg?

For those of you that don’t want to follow a link a goose egg basically means zero. As in I’ve got nowt.

I could waffle on about how I’ve been trying to work the idiom “a goose egg” into a poem for a while. And I have, I think I managed it a while back, but it was in a draft that may well never see the light of day—and if it does it’s only for the regulation court yard exercise that the Geneva Convention insists upon*

I suppose I can use a goose egg in relation to the number of poems I’ve written in April for #heynonnynanowrimopomo, but what would be the point in either?

Instead, I will use this weeks post to draw your (lyrical**) eye to the latest venture of Richie McCaffery. He’s posting poems every couple of days up on his blog, The Lyrical Aye

Already this week, we’ve seen poems from

Matthew Paul
Roger Hare
Matthew Stewart
Charlotte Gann
Ben Banyard
Maxine Rose Munro

I’ve not allowed myself to read Charlotte’s poems as I’m expecting her latest book, The Girl Who Cried (and these poems are in it apparently) through any day, but was especially pleased to see new work from Matthew Paul, having loved his collection, The Evening Entertainment.

I read Ben’s, Roger’s and Maxine’s and enjoyed them immensely. Ben’s poems are new and from his new book, Hi-Viz, due out later this year. That’s suitably far enough off to allow me to read them.

Roger and Maxine are new to me, so this is all good. Matthew Stewart, I’m less sure about him..Not sure he has it in him***

I really hope Richie can maintain the work rate for this – there’s no reason why he won’t, just that new poems everyday is a hefty rate.

Obviously, you’ll know Richie is a brilliant poet in his own right, and of course you’ll be proud owners of his collections and pamphlets.

*Subs to confirm this is actually the Geneva Convention that says this.
** If you’ve got this far you’ll know by now why I did this
*** He knows I love him dearly. It’s lovely to see poems from Knives Of Villalejo out in the wild


30k running – Double last week. 15k this morning helped me find my way back..Also includes Flo’s first ever 5K. Hopefully I can pull myself back together as the weeks go by, still some faking it to be making it going on with the motivation now the Ultra is postponed..

1 Poems worked on. – Currently called Trajectory, it was called Cod Psychology for a bit. Might change again.

7 Billion Hangouts for work

2 rejections – 1 from Magma (Thanks guys…Maybe tell people before you send it to print and post about it, yeah!!) and The Rialto. Quickest ever Rialto rejection. I remain undeterred.

Over 165 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.

3 days without cigarettes. Fits and starts, yeah!!

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

1 quiz via Zoom with some mates where I learnt there are 9 ways to get out in Cricket. Don’t ask me to name them. I was pissed at this point


  1. Moussaka and a Manns Brown Ale
  2. Yes, I Am Listing What I Had For Dinner
  3. And Yes, I Have Betrayed My Roots And Called It Dinner Instead Of Tea


Charlotte Gann – Noir
Charles Simic – New & Selected Poems 1962- 2012
Jo Youngs – Firing Pins

True Detective, S3 E6-8
Spooks – S3, E1

Listened to:

Still going back through old albums…via iTunes to avoid killing the wifi while streaming.

The National – Trouble Will Find Me
Aerial M – As Performed By…
Blood Everywhere – Open Season
Ren Harvieu – Revel In The Drama
Pearl Jam – Gigaton
Carole King – Speeding Time
Big Thief – Two Hands
Lola Kirke – Head Heart West
Lost In The Trees – A Church That Fits Our Needs
Lou Bond – ST
Lowgold – Just Backwards of Square
Magnetic North – Prospect of Skelmersdale
The Majestics – Here Come Da Judge
Neon Indian – Psychic Chasms
Ofege – Lead Me On
Luke Abbott – Holkham Drones & modern Driveway
Ryley Walker – Deafman Glance
Saxon Shore – The Exquisite Death of Saxon Shore
Sharon Van Etten – Are We there? & Because I Was In Love
Tindersticks – Can Our Love…
Tom McRae – The Alphabet of Hurricanes
American Wrestlers – ST & Goodbye Terrible Youth
The Cure – The Top
The Felice Brothers – Undress
SaintSeneca – Last
Oasis – Dig Out Your Soul
Leafcutter John – Yes! Come Parade With Us
Chris Forsyth – All Time Present 
10,000 Maniacs – In My Tribe
Explosions In The Sky
Live Capitol Theatre, 2017
The Earth Is Not A Cold Dead Place
How Strange, Innocence
Prince Avalanche OST
The Rescue
Take Care, Take Care, Take Care
Those Who Tell The Truth Shall Die, Those Who Tell The Truth
Adam Green & Binki Shapiro – ST
Flo’s Kitchen Cleaning Playlist
Laura Veirs
The Lookout
Year of Meteors
July Flame
Warp and Weft

The Poet Laureate Retires To His Shed – Lily Cole

and of course, The Archers…(When will they mention Covid 19???)