Monday 31 August 2009

Indiana Readings Confirmed for 9 and 10 September

Thanks to the efforts of Richard House and Mark Minster, my readings are now arranged thus: Wednesday, 9 September, at 4:20 p.m. I'll read in a room at the student union of Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology in Terre Haute; the next day, at 6 p.m., I'll read at Rachael's Cafe in Bloomington, Indiana, near Indiana University. Here's hoping Indiana likes me.

Saturday 29 August 2009

Pablo Neruda's The Book of Questions, Part 1 of 2

As translated by William O'Daly for Copper Canyon Press and published in 1991.


Is it true that a black condor
flies at night over my country?


How did the abandoned bicycle
win its freedom?


What do they call a flower
that flies from bird to bird?
. . .

And why did cheese decide
to perform heroic deeds in France?


Where is the center of the sea?
Why do waves never go there?


Do you have room for some thorns?
they asked the rosebush.


Where can you find a bell
that will ring in your dreams?


Why do I go rolling without wheels,
flying without wings or feathers,

and why did I decide to migrate
if my bones live in Chile?


Are they birds or fish
in these nets of moonlight?


Will our life not be a tunnel
between two vague clarities?
. . .

Or will life not be a fish
prepared to be a bird?


Do you not weep surrounded by laughter
with bottles of oblivion?


What do they call the sadness
of a solitary sheep?

Tuesday 25 August 2009

Saturday 22 August 2009

The Tethers' first print review: The Times (!)

In today's Times, Paul Batchelor reviews "four poetry collections that the [Forward Prize] judges missed" in composing their shortlists: Pauline Stainer's Crossing the Snowline, Jane Draycott's Over, David Constantine's Nine Fathom Deep, and, yes, The Tethers.

Friday 21 August 2009

A little tour

I fly to Chicago tomorrow for both a visit home and some readings in Illinois and Indiana for The Tethers. On Sunday 23 August, at seven o' clock, I'll read with James Shea (Star in the Eye, Fence Books--warmly recommended) at Myopic Books in Chicago. Between 9 and 12 September I'll read in Indiana, but the events are still being confirmed; I can say for certain that there will be a reading at the Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology in Terre Haute and hope to read in Bloomington as well. On Tuesday the 15th of September I'll be at Illinois Wesleyan University in the Bloomington adjacent to my hometown; I'm visiting a seminar with the wonderful name of Poetry of Ideas/Ideas of Poetry, taught by Mike Theune, and giving a reading with a subsequent question and answer session. Here's hoping American audiences are as receptive to the book as the English have been!

Tuesday 18 August 2009

Barbara Guest's The Blue Stairs (Corinth Books, 1968)

It is a vast smooth dream
this uncrippled Bosphorus
. . .

Enough of this dizziness
let us apply the oars

"Turkey Villas"

There's that old shawl in the corner
looking like a wave

There's a ringing in my ears
as if a poem were beating on stone

The room fills now with feathers,
the birds you have released, Muses,

I want to stop whatever I am doing
and listen to their marvelous hello.

conclusion of "The Return of the Muses"

Windows, Melissa, they contain what is best
of us, the glass your arm has arranged
into crystal by spinning eye, by alarms
taken when the rain has chosen a form
unlike the universe, similar to ups and downs
which vary or change as cowslips
in the meadow we cross have a natural tint,
the panes reflect our hesitations and delight.

"Fan Poems"

not so turbulent in the shallows, but boring
as after prayers and feasting the sleepy travellers
. . .

can save face even in oceanic pratfull
recognizing superior strength takes moral
courage once gained on a really critical turn
later made the pipeline but don't
expect each year to
. . .

Am called Cassandra in these summer days
when in the soft illness of heat I'm ready
to talk of battles
. . .

Gallantly these fine surf horses
(innocently capturing a beach as daylight
finds the old sea at its best cooler
more quiet the dawn strokes
a way to greet heroes             the flat hues
let them rest)
                               battle form

we acquiesce

                              the purchasable line

promptly renewing our lids / our eyes

to negotiate each splendid day

we do this from wave couch

in shrewdness meditate

the expanse                   the artful dare

"A Handbook of Surfing"

Friday 14 August 2009

The Son forthcoming in September 2009

Much to my surprise, Oystercatcher Press is releasing The Son very quickly, in September 2009. Further details, including a description of the work and purchasing information, can be found under Pamphlets, listed in the top right column under Permanent Pages.

Wednesday 12 August 2009

Why I Withdrew from Editing the Prose Poetry Anthology

Last summer CB Editions engaged me and Jane Monson to co-edit an anthology of contemporary British prose poetry, but when they did not secure Arts Council funding in response to a hastily prepared application (that ignored some crucial points I, a former grantwriter, had made about it), CB Editions editor Charles Boyle promptly, awkwardly dropped the project in spite of his former enthusiasm.

At this point we had already put out a call for submissions and accepted several pieces of work. Jane and I, both passionate about the anthology, decided to continue with the project and pursue other publishers. A month or so later, I was approached by an experienced anthology editor regarding the possibility of a prose poetry anthology, and on account of long delays in response to my messages, it took over six months before I could confirm that there was not, in fact, a publisher to hand. To clarify the time frame, it was spring 2009 before I learned that there was no publisher in the wings for the anthology, whichever editors were involved.

If you've been reading this blog, you'll know that in spring 2009, or, more specifically, March, was when my father unexpectedly died, which occasioned a week's visit then and another two weeks' visit the following month. When I started to catch up with my life in May, I realized that in my new circumstances, I had too much on: my first book coming out the next month, the second book scheduled for January 2011, and an anthology of experimental/post avant UK women's poetry for Shearsman due out in 2010. That's not to mention my teaching for Bath Spa University and The Poetry School or my reviewing.

Of course, all those commitments were made alongside the prose poetry anthology, but with my father's death, I would now be even more involved in my family's lives back in Illinois, what with supporting my mother and helping her to move from the house she's been living in for thirty-five years, more frequent visits, etc.

So sometime in late May/early June, I called Jane and told her I needed to relinquish the project to her. We met in London last week to talk about where the anthology would go from here (I'm still doing what I can to support the anthology in my reduced position), and Jane is well organized to take sole responsibility. She's begun wading through past submissions, rejecting some, accepting others, and will shortly approach a publisher or two we've discussed about the book. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact Jane at prosepoetryanthology (at) gmail (dot) com.

I hope someday to be involved in editing another prose poetry anthology, but I think given my other commitments and plans, that's a long way off. All my best wishes to Jane for what I expect to be an invigorating, wide-ranging collection.

Tuesday 4 August 2009

The Forward Book of Poetry 2010

"The Trapeze Artist's Dear John Letter" has been highly commended by the Forward judges and as such will be included in The Forward Book of Poetry 2010. It's a telling choice, one of the most mainstream poems in The Tethers--not that I'm complaining--

Monday 3 August 2009

Angel Exhaust 20 released

Here's the flyer verbatim. In the original, the poem is single-spaced.

"Angel Exhaust 20 ‘You just rang Anne Widecombe?’– out now

material whose polished

surface becomes you

its character and interpretation

an exact technology

of tribal celebration

nut-brown warp thread

gold and indigo weave


you speak a tongue made

fluent by its origin

sensitised to the composition

of tectonic plates

David Chaloner, from Void Heaven

Awesome new poetry by John Kinsella, Kelvin Corcoran, Jeff Hilson, DS Marriott, John Goodby,  David Chaloner,  Jesse Glass, Rita Dahl, Jason Wilkinson, Michael Haslam, Charles Bainbridge, Chris Brownsword, Colin Simms, Out To Lunch, Carrie Etter.

PLUS the results of a survey where contemporary poets explain what’s wrong with the poetry scene. A fearless analytical exposé of the moral gutter where the sleaze flows night and day. We toss those bastards into the big wok of repentance. We rake the muck and rack the mopes. It’s twilight for the deep pigs. 144 pages

Q So are you going to put an end to all this nonsense in poetry? To abstract ideas, subjectivity, experiment, modernity, complicated technique, radical politics, all those up in the air things which the ordinary housewife doesn’t understand?

A Essentially, no.

In an intense options auction conducted by satellite, Charles Bainbridge and Andrew Duncan won control of the “Charles Bainbridge” and “Andrew Duncan” contracts and so Angel Exhaust is still being run by the original editors applying the same artistic policy based on beauty and tranquillity. The only magazine which has used three five-year silences to improve the structure of the literary field. Buy Angel Exhaust and say goodbye to those sub-prime cultural investments.

Price: £7.00 including postage. Address: 21 Querneby Road, Nottingham, Notts NG3 5JA. Cheques payable to ‘Andrew Duncan’ please.

This issue is being published late as a tribute to Britney Spears. The missing years “are part of the magnitude of what I’ve become.”"