Tuesday 26 March 2013

"Various Things" from Hilda Sheehan's The Night My Sister Went to Hollywood (Cultured Llama, 2013)

Various Things
after Kenneth Koch

I love you, I do. It's just that
time is running out, it’s Sunday. Asda will shut soon.
Do we need rice? Cinnamon?
Look up there, where the bird used to be. Concorde!
With this, we could make a wonderful child.
Will you run me up the road?
Heaven knows, I’m miserable, now,
please put the bins out.
Remember Holborn? When you kissed me,
a train stopped and let more people on.
I love the red bits in your hair.
Shall we dust?
If you move next door, we could pretend to be lovers.
When you get back, we could put up a shelf.
You make me want to jump off a cliff.
Let’s make cheese toasties in the Breville.
In a past life, I was a daffodil.
Why did you pick me?
1987. U2? With or without you,
getting high on the smell of your John Player Blues.


Hilda Sheehan's first collection, The Night My Sister Went to Hollywood, is available directly from the publisher, Cultured Llama.

Sunday 24 March 2013

My Vocabulary Did This to Me: The Collected Poetry of Jack Spicer (Wesleyan UP, 2008), first selection

Below are some of my favourite passages from the first and third section of the book, "Berkeley Renaissance (1945-1950)" and "Berkeley/San Francisco (1952-1955)." Thanks to editors Peter Gizzi and Kevin Killian for their splendid work.

We died prodigiously; it hurt awhile
But left a certain quiet in our eyes.

last lines of "Berkeley in a Time of Plague"

                                                                                The waves
Curved and unspent like cautious scythes, like evening harvesters.


                             Deep in my mind there is an ocean
I would fall within it, find my sources in it. Yield to tide
And find my sources in it. Aching fathoms fall
And rest within it.

from "A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Landscape"
Heart is so monstrous naked that the world recoils,
Shakes like a ladder,
Spits like a cat,

from "A Night in Four Parts"

When he first brought his music into hell
He was absurdly confident. Even over the noise of the shapeless fires
And the jukebox groaning of the damned
Some of them would hear him.

opening lines of "Orpheus in Hell"

The temporary tempts poetry
Tempts photographs, tempts eyes.

from "Imaginary Elegies"

Shouting song
Until the hunters came.

I was a singer once, bird-ignorant.

from "A Postscript to the Berkeley Renaissance"

The dummies in the empty funhouse watch
The tides wash in and out. The thick old moon
Shines through the rotten timbers every night.
This much is clear, they think, the men who made
Us twitch and creak and put the laughter in our throats
Are just as cold as we. The lights are out.


Upon the old amusement pier I watch
The creeping darkness gather in the west.
Above the giant funhouse and the ghosts
I hear the seagulls call. They're going west
Toward some great Catalina of a dream
Out where the poem ends.

from "Imaginary Elegies"

I'm pleased to say Foyle's has both hardback and paperback editions of My Vocabulary Did This to Me available at a good discount.

Friday 15 March 2013

National Poetry Writing Month, April 2013

Every year since 2008 I've attempted to write 30 poems in 30 days (or the like, say sections of a longer poem) for National Poetry Month, and every year I've called for company here on my blog. Here's the list of people who've agreed to join me in trying to write a poem a day for National Poetry Month (April), 2013. There's no need to post them anywhere, but throughout the month I'll regularly post notices to ask how people are doing with the challenge. If you'd like some prompts to get you started, there are seven I posted here.

1. Lucie Parmiter, Bath
2. Jo Bell, Honeystreet, Wiltshire
3. Carolyn Jess-Cooke, UK
4. Éireann Lorsung, Ghent, Belgium
5. Hazel Hammond, Bristol
6. Mark Olival-Bartley, Munich, Germany
7. Linda Black, London
8. Lucy Sixsmith, Moscow, Russia
9. Samantha Wynne-Rhydderch, New Quay
10. Pippa Hennessey, Nottingham
11. Mao Oliver-Semenov, Krasnoyarsk, Russia
12. Melissa Buckheit, Tucson, Arizona
13. Sheila Hamilton,Wirral
14. Josephine Corcoran, Trowbridge
15. Zoë Sîobhan Howarth-Lowe, Bath
16. Anne Brechin, Prague
17. Kit Fryatt, Scotland
18. Jenny Martin, Surrey
19. Dan Coffey, Ames, Iowa
20. Dawn Trook, San Francisco
21. Simon Williams, Dartmoor
22. Aki Schilz, Ecuador
23. Sue Guiney, Cambodia
24. Aisling Tempany, Cardiff
25. Sarah Salway, Canterbury
26. Adam Gedge, Bath
27. Dru Marland, Bristol
28. Catherine Edmunds, Bishop Auckland
29. Bill Herbert, Newcastle upon Tyne
30. Claire Trevien, Oxford
31. Jinny Fisher, Somerset
32. Pascale Petit, London and Paris
33. Patricia Debney, Canterbury
34. Neil Fulwood, Nottingham
35. Andrew Bailey, Chichester
36. Cheryl Moskowitz, Bounds Green and Brooklyn
37. Andrew Ty, Manila, Phillippines and Xiamen, China
38. Anna Twizell, Bath
39. Jeffrey Kahrs, Seattle
40. Sean Martin, Milnthorpe, Cumbria
41. Samantha Boarer, Bath
42. Emily Harrison, Swindon and London
43. Hugh Behm-Steinberg, Berkeley
44. Joan Hewitt, Tynemouth
45. Vanessa Gebbie, Sussex and Ibiza
46. Sue Spencer, County Durham
47. Angela Topping, Northwich
48. Chris Hamilton-Emery, Cromer
49. Vanessa Owen, Bangor
50. Matthew Sperling, London
51. Colin Will, Dunbar
52. Peter Wind, Aarhus, Denmark
53. Heidi Williamson, Norfolk
54. Cathy Dreyer, Ginge, Oxfordshire
55. Sam Loveless, Chippenham
56. Polly Moyer, Bristol
57. Kath Fox, Nottingham
58. Sheree Mack, Tynemouth
59. Miranda Barnes, Bath
60. Jen Wilson, Newcastle
61. Wendy French, London
62. Sue Boyle, Bath
63. Jennifer Militello, Goffstown, New Hampshire
64. Tony Williams, Northumberland
65. Vanessa Harbour, Winchester
66. Rachel McCarthy, Exeter
67. Lee Duggan, Bangor, Wales
68. Graham Burchell, Dawlish
69. Roz Goddard, Cradley Heath, West Midlands
70. J.T. Welsch, York
71. Sue Sims, Bristol
72. Carole Heidi Holland, Market Drayton
73. Wendy Klein, Tidmarsh, Berkshire
74. Tilla Brading, Porlock
75. J. van den Ackor, Seattle
76. Robert Walton, Bristol and Cardiff
77. Gillie Harries, Bristol
78. Agnes Davis, Bristol
79. Richie Brown, Aberdeen
80. Cristina Navazo-Eguía Newton, Upper Stratton, Swindon
81. Paul Deaton, Bristol
82. Frances-Anne King, Bath
83. Anthony Wilson, Exeter
84. Roselle Angwin, Devon and The Hebrides
85. Pam Johnson, London
86. Valeria Melchioretto, London
87. Paul Hawkins, Bournemouth
88. Anne Kealy, Somerset
89. Bill Greenwell, Darlington
90. Jake Cantona, Dorset
91. Hilda Sheehan, Swindon
92. Keith Parker, Durham
93. Babs Knightley Short, Devon
94. Simon McCormack, Bournemouth
95. Sophie Herxheimer, London
96. Kaddy Benyon, Cambridge
97. Rachel Glass, North Yorkshire
98. Elaine Marifosque, Phillipines
99. Robin Houghton, Lewes
100. E.E. Nobbs, Prince Edward Island, Canada
101. Rebecca, Auckland, New Zealand
102. Julie Maclean, Australia
103. Suzi Fulham, London
104. Siegfried Baber, Bath and Belgium
105. Susan Utting, Berkshire
106. Matt Haw, Bath
107. Emma Lee, Leicester
108. Christina Dunhill, North London
109. Michael Scott, Swindon
110. Teresa Davey, Swindon and County Down, Ireland
111. Anna-May Laugher, Reading
112. Deborah Harvey, Bristol
113. Rob A. Mackenzie, Leith
114. Caroline Davies, Wing, Buckinghamshire and West Ireland
115. Howard Miller, Macon, Georgia
116. Jon Stone, London
117. Kirsty Irving, London
118. Cat Conwy, London
119. Reiss McGuinness, Bath and Newcastle-upon-Lyme
120. Pey Colborne, Bath
121. Matt Haigh, Cardiff
122. Beth Camp, Spokane, Washington
123. Mary Hamer, London
124. Rena Bunder Rossner, Jerusalem
125. Larry Bradley, Vermont
126. Janet Rogerson, Manchester
127. Steven Waling, Manchester
128. Harry Man, London
129. Frank Dullaghan, Dubai
130. Rose Riedel, Indianola, Washington
131. Jen Crawford, Singapore
132. Karen Green, London
133. June Sciortino, London
134. Fiona Russell, Scotland
135. Sue Holland, Shropshire
136. Carole Bromley, York
137. Nick Compton, Bath and Leicestershire
138. Megan Cox, Herefordshire
139. Sudeep Sen, Delhi, India
140. Marilyn Francis, Radstock
141. Ian Lewis, Leicester and Harborough
142. Nick Hetherington, Kildare, Ireland
143. Crysse Morrison, Frome and California
144. Kerry-Lee Powell, New Moncton and Banff, Canada
145. Ágnes Lehóczky, Sheffield
146. Adam Horovitz, Slad Valley, Gloucestershire
147. Pippa Little, Newcastle upon Tyne
148. Janet Fisher, Huddersfield 
149. Janette Ayachi, Edinburgh 
150. Yu Yan Chen, Singapore 
151. David Seddon, Congleton, Cheshire 
152. Libby Walkup, Chicago 
153. Jane Commane, Warwickshire 
154. Candide Peel, Lechlade, Gloucestershire

Friday 1 March 2013

Newspaper Taxis: Poetry After the Beatles (Seren, 2013)

Here's Seren Books' second anthology of poetry focused on a musician or band (the first one was The Captain's Tower: Seventy Poets Celebrate Bob Dylan at Seventy). Edited by Phil Bowen, Damian Furniss and David Woolley, the anthology includes poems by Peter Carpenter, Tim Dooley, Jane Draycott, Frank Dullaghan, Elaine Feinstein, Kenny Knight, Rupert Loydell, Kim Moore, Peter Robinson, Amy Wack, Nerys Williams and Tamar Yoseloff, not to forget the omnipresent Simon Armitage and Carol Ann Duffy. I'm pleased to be in there, too, with a short prose poem musing on the strangeness of a girl in the middle of the Illinois prairie singing "Penny Lane" with all her lung power. Go figure.

You can buy a copy directly from the publisher at 20% off, for £7.99. All royalties go to the Claire House hospice charity in Liverpool.