Sunday, 29 December 2013

"a fineness of relations"

"It is a new relation to syntax (normal syntax equal straight line which, continued not nearly so far as infinity, gets lost in social wastes . . .) but it also has a new relation to sound - abstract in a much more real way than 'sound' poetry, since it is heard by the mind and CANNOT be spoken.  Of course one could add a third type of concrete which is not heard at all.  I wonder if Augusto [de Campos]'s idea that the content of the poem is its own structure could not be reworded to mean that the poem is not about the beauty of this or that but simply, beauty - the content is a fineness of relations, which IS meaning . . ."
Ian Hamilton Finlay on concrete poetry, in a letter to Edwin Morgan, from Ian Hamilton Finlay: Selections (University of California Press, 2012) 

Friday, 27 December 2013

"between us & ink"

Rotunda: after derek beaulieu


birds & fish
water & ink
signs & monuments
us & this
plain & simple

embarks birds & monuments on
intimate signs & fish extremely
in water & this volume
between us & ink a
plain & simple

diction embarks birds & monuments on the
relations between us & ink a shifter
analyzes intimate signs & fish extremely pleased
pleased in water & this volume a
plain & simple

speech analyzes intimate signs & ink a shifter among
extremely pleased in water & this volume a tauter
clearest diction embarks birds & monuments on the words
noble relations between us & fish extremely pleased in
plain & simple

ordinary speech analyzes intimate signs & ink a shifter among neighbours
as noble relations between us & monuments on the word’s perfection
fish extremely pleased in water & fish extremely pleased in water
the clearest diction embarks birds & this volume a tauter sense
plain & simple

Monday, 23 December 2013

"the shadow of a bird / gone elsewhere"

Purple is fashionable twice
at this season (of lifting our heads)
- it is November, and I am with
the shadow of a bird
gone elsewhere now like a shield
across my own hollowed self
a red barn
where the hayropes hang like webs
and the starving sparrows sit
in the lofts
not chirping
for the new wings coming
up to roost.

Ed Dorn, from 'The Sparrow Sky', in Collected Poems, edited by Jennifer Dunbar Dorn (Carcanet, 2013)

Saturday, 21 December 2013

"the thread / of the vowels"

To the sparrows high on tree tops
fly on sparrows through the hedge stops
bristle up and fly away
black crest heads point this way gay

What to do for you is write you
into this a word for word zoo
I and you inside the thread
of the vowels sad and red"

Lisa Jarnot, from 'Harpersfield Song', in Joie De Vivre: Selected Poems 1992-2012 (City Lights: 2013)

Thursday, 19 December 2013

"all the way to Vienna's aid"

Lend me a pen and I'll deal the same
I'll deal the sun I do.
She wears a pale bra singing la la la
salting a comb through her hair.
Hailing a cab with a hello lo lo
all the way to Vienna's aid,
and the nun with a comb over rents her a villa
a free zoo a lone den with no chains.

Hannah Silva, from 'Translations', in Forms of Protest (Penned in the Margins, 2013)

Tuesday, 17 December 2013

"a call to stone"

The poem wants to call the apples
orphaned but the call of art alone
is a call to stone.  There is still,
mister marble, a love for apples
and some will be gathered,
and some will fall to earth.

Andrew Bailey, from 'Stone Guitar', in Zeal (Enitharmon, 2012)

Sunday, 15 December 2013

"thoughts that don't know they're thoughts"

                                                                 And yet recesses
continue to appear in the schucked resemblances of earlier hours, their
own kind of numb learning, continuously filled with fragrant
and explosive fluids, as sunlight is pulled down into a building.  These
become thoughts that don't know they're thoughts.  Later, bridges
that hunt their own breaking.  When it comes, it is like seeing
a memory for the first time.

Oli Hazzard, from 'As Necessity Requires', in Between Two Windows (Carcanet, 2012)

Friday, 13 December 2013

"open the window"

"Sweetie Pie?"
                       Cath says.  "Would you
open the window?"
                              & I do.  A lovely park
is just outside
                         & fills the window with
green green leaves
                              the trees of the square below.
We are 3 stories up
                                & look down on a square
- the noise of birds, wind
                                       in the leaves, motor scooters
& distant cries
                        & now a bell.  It rings for me
& rings for you, here.

Ken Bolton, from 'Florence to Lorraine Lee', from Selected Poems (Shearsman, 2012)

Tuesday, 23 July 2013

Sending Kenneth Goldsmith into an Infinite Feedback Loop

Following on from Kenneth Goldsmith's announcement that he wants to 'Print the Internet' (as part of an 'art project' or some kind of conceptual thing which I don't entirely see the underlying point of) the Editors of Gists and Piths have come up with an artistic response.

We would like to invite bloggers to use automated syndicate widgets to begin reposting updates from Kenneth Goldsmith's project blog, and then reposting each other's updates from each other's blogs, thereby sending the project into an infinite feedback loop.

While there's no guarantee anyone will be able to overwhelm the project with itself given the deadline and unfulfilled potentiality to the project, we would like to raise the point that there is a nice irony in trying and failing to drown Kenneth Goldsmith in his own tree-slaughtering art. As Hans Bernhard has demonstrated, others are making better use of the internet's inherent contradictions and feedback loops to produce conceptual art projects.

Sunday, 9 June 2013

Time, deer, wood, etc.

Time, the deer, is in the wood of Hallaig
St John's, Bethnal Green

George Ttoouli escapes the Midlands for a couple of days to catch an exhibition about trees 'n' tings curated by Amy Cutler

Arrived not knowing very much about this exhibition, except for the tree-related content, and a few images on social media of post destroyed by Parcel Force (true to name, the image seemed to imply they'd tried to force the parcel through a two-inch high letterbox...) and undamaged post containing a poem written, rather beautifully written on a piece of bark.

Generally, though, the exhibition blurb was relatively opaque:

“This free exhibition investigates the properties of forest memory through text, archive, and ‘xylarium’, or wood collection. Between the French horticultural term “forest trauma” and Robert Pogue Harrison’s “forests of nostalgia”, a whole discipline around history, witnessing, and the memorial qualities of woodland opens up. Art works examining the cultural expression of time and history in the forest are placed here alongside archival photographs, small press texts, artefacts, and museum objects, in an old, low-lit belfry designed by Sir John Soane.”

Which is exactly how I like it. And I arrived pretending I was a tourist who hadn't been to London for months and barely knew how to get around the tube (mostly true).

As I walked into St John's, just outside Bethnal Green Tube, the queue for the Belfry exhibition space ran all the way down the stairs to the ground floor. I decided to pop into the nave first to listen to some of the folk music entertaining people in the bar area.

The church itself is wonderfully atmospheric, strangely whitewashed (reclaimed from orthodoxy? puritanised? ex-Catholic?), but ornately designed with an extensive gallery around the hall. The staircase up to the belfry tower was chaotic, crowds aside: half-plastered, all cracked, exposed gypsum and brickwork around the door at the top, the stained-glass window somewhat buckled.

The exhibition room was tiny, filled on both sides with artefacts, tables, ex-museum/library furniture – geological cabinets, catalogue boxes, small glass cabinets –

and large, wonderful tree-slices leaning up in corners and on artists' easels.

Even the doors had postcards tacked on.

And the room's narrow alcoves had candelabras, or further exhibition pieces, such as Alec Finley's bundles of branches, tagged with English and Gaelic names of the trees.

The lighting was, well, atmospheric, made worse by the many bodies filing in and out along the narrow space and throwing further shadows over the surfaces. But the den-like atmosphere made for a playful mood also, a non-traditional, un-self-important feeling; as if being let loose in an antique shop, or museum, after hours.

The exhibits also made for a very tactile experience – I had an urge to touch everything, to browse books, and stroke the tree slices (more formally: dendrochronological specimens).

The labels – small auction-style tags, with typewriter text – encouraged this, one or two printed on both sides, several coming detached from their objects or turned over by previous visitors, so you had to pick them up.

Some of the poetry I recognised from a talk curator Amy Cutler gave in September last year, referencing Anthony Barnett, Jeff Hilson, Peter Larkin.

I was surprised to see a copy of David Morley's 'You were Broken', on a table near the door (his word-worm posts and other Strid Wood pieces would have fitted in perfectly here). Partly because I thought I would have seen something on his newsfeed about it. 

A lot of odd artefacts, such as Gerry Loose's bottle set.

And other pieces that appeared combined for the installation: Camilla Nelson's decayed leaf-words (I think) piled on someone's bundle of branches at the back, with a jumble of collaged artefacts around them.

And some smaller moments tucked into corners, or the bottom of cabinets, like a light box with decayed organic fragments, arranged to look like music.

And something like a japanese prayer box, or I don't know what.

The size of the place meant there wasn't much meditative room for studying individual pieces, but that in itself was an aesthetic.

The effect of the whole was like walking into a special 'tree issue' of an art magazine, or climbing into an exploded curiosity cabinet of tree-esoteria, but with an edge of jumble-sale, maybe.

One very nice touch was putting labels on two wooden shutters or panels, which actually belonged to the church, rather than brought in for the exhibition, a well-considered decision for how to treat the environment.

Less so the crowd management – it was too cramped, the sense of people queueing (and one or two loud grumblers pushing their way in or out) made it hard to take time and concentrate on the overall effect of the space. Also the laptop was supposed to be showing a video loop, but the power settings kept blanking out the screen, so there was a giant blue projection on the wall as I went around. The folk performers were slightly dwarfed by the space, also, although the later act seemed more confident. Minor atmospheric gripes, which were more down to the opening night launch than the exhibition itself.

The show is only getting a short run – 6th-11th June – hence a hasty review, more a sketchy photodiary response (I forgot my camera, so these are the best I have, but have a look around the interweb and you'll find other reviews and images). You can catch it on weekdays from 7-9pm, which is Monday and Tuesday this week only! St. John's is a highly numinous building, so worth a visit in any case - they appear to have regular exhibitions on.

(This amazing photograph is by Sung Hee Jin.)

[Thanks to Anthony Barnett, who emailed with correct information: Sung Hee Jin is from South Korean, and has been living in England for a few years. She has two recent images in print journal Snow.]

Tuesday, 2 April 2013

Holophin Phor Phree!

An extremely exciting offer for Holy Week from Penned in the Margins!



“It is 2031 and the must-have gadget is the Holophin: a tiny, dolphin-shaped microprocessor which cures your worst impulses and phobias, comforts you in your grief or boredom and makes everything look much, much prettier.”

Holophin is the debut novella by award-winning British poet LUKE KENNARD – originally released in September 2012 as a limited edition hardback by London-based indie press Penned in the Margins.

From Monday 1 April to Friday 5 April 2013, Holophin will be available to download totally free from Amazon Kindle.

As publisher Tom Chivers explains, “the hardback edition sold out incredibly quickly – I literally have one copy left in the office – so we’re making Holophin available for free in order that more people can get hold of this mind-blowing and very funny satire of the near future.”

The heroes of the story are Hatsuka and Max, students at the esteemed Takin International School, a learning institute so magnificent it produces Holophins as a by-product of its coursework projects. The billionth device has just been sold, but when Takin’s best students are stalked by a shady rival manufacturer, Holophin’s monopoly, and the narrative itself, begins to unravel – with unexpected consequences.

Holophin is a meditation on identity and the imagination, but also offers a veiled satire of certain consumer technology brands. As Kennard says:

“I wanted to write a story about technology and memory, but I wanted to focus on the marketing side, the kind of thing you see played out between Apple and Samsung, and the way we take sides, as if either is any more evil/ethical. But it’s not surprising that we try to bring in a moral dimension, because when you think about how long we all spend fiddling obsessively with their devices, they’re kind of battling for our souls: our means of experiencing the world, of communicating with one another. So, what if there were rival companies offering to make you a soul – how would you choose?”

Critics and readers alike have praised HolophinThe Telegraph’s Science Fiction critic David Langford dubbed it “a sparky, image-rich novella that reboots familiar genre themes”, whilst literary blog Gists & Piths responded with, “wonderful reading, imaginatively fresh, technically surprising... It deserves to sell millions.”


Please note: the Editors of G&P do not endorse Amazon, nor the Kindle device. Actually, one of the editors is a bit pissed off that his Kindle's screen went wrong just after the warranty collapsed. He considers it badly manufactured and unecological. Then again, he's also the kind of person who likes to spill tea on books and drop them in the bath, and you just can't do that with electronics. And since Amazon bought out Goodreads, he's been convinced they're not only going for a horizontal monopoly, which monopoly law doesn't know how to deal with, but they actually do have their sights set on dominating the words coming out of our mouths.

Monday, 25 March 2013

Aggressive Interview #3: Andrew Bailey, Zealot, Coder

The Paris Review normally kicks off with some kind of faux-environmental positioning, as per: I am sitting in someone else’s office, drinking tepid, thin coffee from one of those annoying rippled paper cups that somebody worked out disperses heat without burning fingertips. I don’t have Bailey's book, Zeal (promotional link and available in all good book stores, if there are any left), anywhere near me, nor have I prepared for this interview. I am sweating a little, like a broken lawn sprinkler. 

Andrew Bailey enters the conversation, like [a simile about whirlwinds in a Welsh border town] and through the digital doorway of a Google Docs access account. I don’t notice this because I’m not using an intelligent enough computer, or connection, or because Google Docs is old generation software and simply doesn't provide sufficient functionality for the purposes of this introduction. Nevertheless, I blithely continue adding questions and logging out, returning again to see if Andrew has replied, or because of the lack of functionality, or my lack of understanding of the functionality, has edited my questions to things he wants to talk about and left my original questions hanging in the unreachable ether of past revisions.

George Ttoouli


Right, that's out of the way. 

Andrew—I mean, ‘O, Andrew’, what’s with the vocative? Bit, last century—sorry, bit two centuries ago?

Beyond its being fun and my being fond of it? Sometimes it’s exasperation (Oh, George.) Sometimes it’s a stab at heightening the tone, as I’m open to a bit of lily-gilding. Sometimes it’s because I’m gesturing towards dialogue; in ‘Going to the Chapel’, it’s from found text that I've been working with. Sometimes I mock myself for enjoying it – sometimes that means I remove the O and you end up seeing a less vocative line, sometimes it manifests as self-mockery, which you might be able to see in ‘A Biscuit in Both Hands’ in the Brittle Star anthology Said and Done (promotional link and available in—oh, you know the rest). I’m not sure about the timing though. There’s no O, but Frank O’Hara’s – sorry, Frank Hara’s – ‘Les Etiquettes Jaunes’ addresses that “Leaf!” with a very vocative exclamation mark. Still last century but that’s something. I’m sure I can find something more 21st century when I’m nearer my shelves.

Maybe I can point you at Dr Fulminare? “Where the 'O' is dominant, we find the building blocks for centuries of love poetry and religious verse.” Thus Andrea T Judge, which I wasn't really thinking of at the start of this response but I do have a second tab open in the browser.

Anyway, try this out loud: vocative vocative vocative vocative. You’re on a train.

Referencing yourself in anthologies I don’t own is just. plain. rude. Providing a purchase link is like gobbing through someone’s letterbox and asking for it back.

(Dude, you started the rude. And I thought I was just footnoting helpfully! Incidentally, I missed this, which I’m not in at all.)

(Quit complaining - this is supposed to be an aggressive interview, and I've only done it twice before. You can’t reasonably expect me to abandon the project before it’s gone beyond coincidence.)

But there’s something attention-grabby about the vocative which seems to stand at odds with the introverted tone that runs through Zeal. That tone lets you get away with some of the surprising moments of physical intimacy (I’ll come back to that, I need to steel myself with a discussion of technique first), but I haven’t decided yet if I’m comfortable about having this nutter in the corner bursting into Blakean expression every few poems. 

 Sure, yes, O’Hara (and, alright, I’m guilty of it myself - [purchase link deleted by my conscience]) and others make use of it and there are ways of signalling the vocative without a screaming O. But the compare to the more subtle ‘Oh’ that occurs at the end of your poem ‘Eel’. Like the ‘Pff’ also in there, you construct a performance of the self arguing with the self and, perhaps, the performance makes room for the vocative, consciously. 

 My second question, then, after all this circumlocution. What the hell are you ‘playing’ at, exactly? In case your literal brain takes over, as it has with mine, revisiting this phrasing, I mean, What is the attraction to ‘play’, to performance, to ludic musing with language? I’m referring as much to your love of Go as I am to your poetics.

AB: “[B]ut I consider play to be / A deeper outside thing,” after all. To some degree I’m flattered by that ‘consciously’ in yours above; part of the purpose of play, at least as I play, is that you don’t wholly know where it’s going, and if it seems I deliberately set out to do that in ‘Eel’ that’s more to do with the editing afterwards than the truth. The first time that second voice popped up it was sort of as a note to self to challenge what was becoming a fairly certain voice, one for whom there wasn't really any irony in the Zeal of the title, one I wasn't comfortable with letting into the world. But then I liked the way it sat against the earnest first voice, and started experimenting with – playing with – having him appear in other places too. Its disagreements brought a bit more life out of the first voice too, I hope. I’m not sure why the Montale references came into it, but I couldn't now imagine the poem without them. So yes, work out what the result of all this play is then work on it until it plays smoothly and so on.

Sometimes play is an end in itself, though, isn't it? It’s pleasant to use a phrase like “fleshy thistle” whether or not that signifies. Or to put that pearl in ‘Aspire’ at the hinge of the oyster, or to use a word like ‘teporingo’ and work out how to slip the definition into the poem. Or, indeed, to mutter “vocative vocative vocative” as before.

But there’s antagonistic play and, what, syn-agonistic? The difference between playing music together and playing chess together, I guess. On which, the main reason I prefer Go to chess is the way in which you’re supposed to win by only a few points – if it’s too much of a landslide, either one of you wasn’t attentive or you got the handicap stones wrong. It’s also creative – you gradually reveal the final layout from a blank space, rather than destruction and removal and overthrow through checkmate. Plus, you know, all Go stones are equal, none of your Jubilee back-row folks here.

A poem’s not a tsumego, in which a reader-opponent can make the right move to kill the poem’s corner; once it’s in a reader’s hands, I’m thinking maybe of play in the sense of music or capoeira. Like you’ve made a record for them to play. You read some critics approaching difficult poems as if their authors were competitive – as if the poets think that, if the poem is not understood, they win – which is not something I subscribe to. Not as a writer trying to win, not as a reader finding that in difficult poems so often. But there is an element of antagonism in the writing stage, when you start to realise what you’ve set yourself to do and end up trying to get the actual poem as close to the platonic one you’ve set up as you can. If it’s chess you’d have to throw all the misses away as losses; if it’s Go, you can end up only a few points away and win on komi. Or at least think you have. It’s not really my place to know with my own.

I seem to have drifted away from the aggressive part. Ahem: “You arse”. Circumlocution right back at you in revenge.

Don’t get away with yourself here. The “consciously” was prefaced by a “perhaps”.

The way you describe the emergence of that second voice reminds me of when I first read Chakravorty Spivak – an essay on Yeats, I think. Clauses and subclauses, parentheses slipping out of hyphenated phrases. The language seemed to wrestle with notions of deliberateness and forceful argumentation, as if trying to enact a syntactical liberalism. She irritates a lot of people, of course, too.

So, we have three threads to follow here, some of which may appear to logically follow on from the preceding discussion. I will ask three questions at once and you can fill in your answers between them.

1. Your alter ego begins to sound like a Luke Kennard rip off, only nameless, less funny, less critical. Discuss the potential merits of your alter ego in relation to the Wolf, the Murderer, etc.

Of course I’m less funny than Luke Kennard. Who isn’t?

(Original here.)

[Editor's note: This is an oblique reference to Planet Shaped Horse, by Luke Kennard. That's all you're getting.]

2. This antagony-harmony dichotomy: Go appears to be antagony, but with an ambience of harmony, in that the goal is not to destroy the opponent (subtract them to nothing/submission), but to take their construction as one’s own. Who have you robbed for your poetry, under the guise of harmony? E.g. Montale, Ashbery? What have you stolen from them that you are most proud of?

Those two are there, obviously; also Peter Redgrove, of course, but this is all conscious. I'd guess it's the things I've accidentally stolen that are more interesting, and you're more likely to spot them than I am. It must be embarrassing for you that you've not found more.

But in poetry you expect a certain amount of connection, collection and conscription of predecessors, no matter how much Harold Bloom you believe. (In passing: at university I wrote an aggressively anti-Bloom essay for one strand of my second year and learned after handing it in that I had handed it in to a course leader who was a come-round-for-dinner-level friend of the professor. He was remarkably kind, as it goes.) I’m as proud of the borrowings from other sources – non-fiction, newspapers, comment strands, services – as I am of the ‘proper’ literary ones. Between the metamorphic effects of your own efforts and those of translation software, Markov chains and N+7 programs, these things are ingredients. Sometimes they’re strawberries, sometimes they’re lemons. Still you cook. Or play, if we’re going to maintain that metaphor. Other times you’re not trying to win; ‘Ruin’ is as direct a translation from the Old English as I can manage, for example. I’m trying not to get in the way. If you’re looking for somewhere I see balance between self and source it’s there.

I sound like I steal everything in this answer, like I never start from straight observation. It’s more that there’s no way of being in the world without aesthetic influences affecting what you notice, so while I might be happy with noting that “wet red / diamond” of a baby’s yawn, in ‘Someone else’s baby’, I’m happy in a literary way, and it’s in a formed poem, and one that took several revisions to get this way. Whatever you call the source is the point where you choose to stop working backwards. Plus, however organic and wholegrain your source, once you've annotated your observations into words they end up subject to the same methods and developments as they come to be a finished thing.

3. You do reference a lot of trendy almost-avants, don’t you? Popular convention-breakers, like O’Hara and Ashbery. But there’s something a little more Movement-y in the book than your influences imply; perhaps even a little bit of Craig Raine? I’m thinking in the relationship poems, that old sex-and-lovey-dovey trope you keep plundering...

And that almost-avant is almost a useful taxon. John Ashbery I found very early in a remainder bookshop in Preston in the old Paladin livery, April Galleons, and was joyfully bemused for long enough that I read him until he became nothing but central to my canon; he’s a triangulation point from which other writers are different. And there are reasons that you may be on to something; my earliest steps into knowing my way round the postcodes of the twentieth century did involve reading, if not the Martians so much, then people who respect them, so there might be something second hand. Which is not to say that I recognise Mr Bleaney in me, but I realise that you are now picking up those unconscious stealings from above. I am chastened, slightly, though I know hardly any Craig Raine beyond his anthologised 'Postcard...'. Kathleen Raine, though, is a powerful resource to plunder. A powerful influence, I mean. And speaking of powerful, it’s a shame that you dismiss love so easily. Your poor beached jellyfish of a heart.


George throws in the towel here, unable to tolerate any more of Andrew's backhand brutality. Andrew grins and runs a quick circle round the ring, such as it is, holding up a sign for his debut collection, Zeal, published by Enitharmon last year. (That unfortunately indicates how long it takes to do one of these things to a point I'm willing to abandon it – though do get in touch if you'd like to be grilled for the series). 

Andrew also runs a campaigning blog on behalf of fundamentalist atheist materialists, called Zealotry. Well, OK, it's just his blog. But he might start using it to promote a secular utopian scientific rationalism, one day. Don't discount the possibility.

Friday, 22 March 2013

Rupert Loydell: Five Poems 5/5

Collect, Combine, Connect

The inhabitants of a town, being collected into one place,
can easily combine together. Distance-based clustering
is done by removing clues. Smaller submodels can be added
to a main model, combining information from other sources
with the original information. Read through all the features
in a workspace, think for a moment about all the factors:
otherwise it's just a collection of meaningless words.

Various collecting ducts within the medullary pyramids
merge to form papillary channels, which drain to a portal,
and also release substances that are secreted into the tubule
to combine with sight distance and spot improvements.
The existing road is ideal for bicyclists who are riding to
somewhere else but we don't like people who mention f-zero
or are devoted to animals obtained by black market trade.

Collect the red rag, as well as the blue jumper on the floor
in between the two largest boxes. Bring these ingredients
to their delivery point and use the exposed bare metal
of the electrical wires to connect them. You must not include
functionality that proxies or the memory accounting features
of this leading-edge control technology. Those two steps
help save money on labour. Thank you for being a customer.


These poems are from a sequence forthcoming from Knives, Forks and Spoons, Leading Edge Control Technology. G&P is publishing one per day this week.

Rupert Loydell's recent titles:
The Tower of Babel, an artist's book-in-a-box (Like This Press, 2013)
Wildlife (Shearsman, 2011)
The Fantasy Kid, poems for children (Salt, 2010)

Thursday, 21 March 2013

Rupert Loydell: Five Poems 4/5

Project, Index, Distance

Test your ability to judge short and long distance.
The mode of delivery is now in transition, moving towards
a star at a distance d which has a total power output of p.
Consider what you see when you limit your information:

The stopping distance of a vehicle is the sum of
blast area and quantity distance considerations,
because the spatial index of traditional geometry fields
cannot be used. Shooting distance affects damage

and is instrumental in stopping the fire from jumping
from the micro to the macro and then to the mega.
The perpendicular distance between adjacent planes
is related to the quest for cheaper housing.

There are too many pictures here, but if you want more,
the contact and fly ball rates are pretty easy to project.
The only thing I'm missing is the front distance sensors
to measure the spread of your influence and reputation.


These poems are from a sequence forthcoming from Knives, Forks and Spoons, Leading Edge Control Technology. G&P is publishing one per day this week.

Rupert Loydell's recent titles:
The Tower of Babel, an artist's book-in-a-box (Like This Press, 2013)
Wildlife (Shearsman, 2011)
The Fantasy Kid, poems for children (Salt, 2010)

Wednesday, 20 March 2013

Rupert Loydell: Five Poems 3/5

Isolate, Mark, Omit

It takes precisely twenty days to fell the tree
and fourteen to remove the branches.
Mark a scene as omitted and it disappears from your script.

To remove stored fat, do the least necessary;
for read-only and ambiguous cursors,
slide the adaptor slowly down the column.

Avoid electric shock or energy hazards,
too much ambiguity or omission.
(A term fittingly applied to sins.)

Come with me privately to a place
where you will see an isolated bridge device:
dramatic, well-constructed and lots of fun.

I've used that more or less
as an ingenious solution to the troubles
and in order to confound any sense of orientation.


These poems are from a sequence forthcoming from Knives, Forks and Spoons, Leading Edge Control Technology. G&P is publishing one per day this week.

Rupert Loydell's recent titles:
The Tower of Babel, an artist's book-in-a-box (Like This Press, 2013)
Wildlife (Shearsman, 2011)
The Fantasy Kid, poems for children (Salt, 2010)

Tuesday, 19 March 2013

Rupert Loydell: Five Poems 2/5

Route, Network, Flow

In theory, a flow network is a directed
optimal lane-based evacuation route.

Traffic flows proactively onto multiple paths,
colours display the severity of firewalls in place.

The paradox is on a different machine
where blind windows overlook the sea.


These poems are from a sequence forthcoming from Knives, Forks and Spoons, Leading Edge Control Technology. G&P is publishing one per day this week.

Rupert Loydell's recent titles:
The Tower of Babel, an artist's book-in-a-box (Like This Press, 2013)
Wildlife (Shearsman, 2011)
The Fantasy Kid, poems for children (Salt, 2010)

Monday, 18 March 2013

Rupert Loydell: Five poems from Leading Edge Control Technology

Tracing, Projection, Survey

Every plane through the origin intersects the unit sphere
and reproduces the shape and substance of an object,

but as the transducers do not transmit in all directions,
the acoustic energy is projected into the water.

It is necessary to carry out a triangulation of the territory:
trace, trace out, trace over, map, trigger and tune in.

Radiance of any light in space can always be obtained
by tracing the axial plane and plunge.

It has to be done in solid Earth at the stratigraphic level,
with unaliased spatial trace interpolation in the f-k domain.

Once the conjunction is completed we lose
any trace of inferred presupposition.

Imagine wrapping a piece of paper around a globe
and tracing where the paper touches the surface.

Well, I imagine tracing paper would be too expensive,
always use a calculator to complete multiple choice.


These poems are from a sequence forthcoming from Knives, Forks and Spoons, Leading Edge Control Technology. G&P is publishing one per day this week.

Rupert Loydell's recent titles:
The Tower of Babel, an artist's book-in-a-box (Like This Press, 2013)
Wildlife (Shearsman, 2011)
The Fantasy Kid, poems for children (Salt, 2010)

Tuesday, 26 February 2013

Simon Turner - Dear World...: An Initial Response (with Question)

Nathan Hamilton has recently published a genuinely interesting anthology of young poets (Dear World & Everyone In It) - there seem to be a lot of these around at the moment, but this is the first to have really gotten me energised.  First things first, as I don't want any of you to think I'm hiding something: possibly against his better judgement, Hamilton saw fit to include a clutch of my own (prose) poems among the bright sparks, and I'm grateful he did.  It's great to be involved in the project.  Second things second: it's an excellent selection, ranging widely across the cont. po. spectrum, distinctly left-field in its tastes, but sufficiently catholic and non-partisan to consider interesting work that falls well outside the experimental fold.
What I'd like to do here, before a more thorough-going review later down the line, is to address a couple of points raised by the anthology's introduction, an alternately captivating and irritating experimental essay by Hamilton, which manages to do quite a lot at once: it's, naturally, an introduction to the themes and arcs suggested by his chosen poets, but it's also a critical account of the contemporary poetry climate, a riposte to previous attempts to map the 'current generation', and a polemical call for a new plurality in both the composition and reception of modern poetry (at least, that's my partial reading of the essay).  That Dear World... has an overtly acknowledged aesthetic agenda which it vigorously (even cantankerously) defends sets it apart from the majority of poetry anthologies, and I suspect that it'll generate quite a bit of internet chatter (some of it pro, some of it anti) over the coming months.  I'm largely in favour - I think - of the thrust of Hamilton's expressionistic argument, but there are a couple of points (or one in particular, I guess) that I'd like to address, which I felt needed some clarification or expansion.

In what I suspect might prove to be one of the more contentious passages in the intro, Hamilton lays out his case for the exclusion of certain poets / poetries form the anthology:

"Just being young and proficient doesn't mean your writing is new and interesting.  Some Young Poets seem to write to appeal to Old Poets, like a creepy family picture where all the kids are dressed in smaller versions of their parents' clothes.  Everybody has a horrible, graveyard smile on their face.  You sense something sinister will happen as soon as the camera is gone.  We'll have less of this sort of thing in The Anthology."

Okay, we're free to agree or disagree with this passage depending on our temperament.  But there are, I think, some unacknowledged assumptions being made regarding poetic lineage, tradition and so on.  These Old Poets (unnamed, as tends to be the case with modern literary polemics: people want to be daring and outrageous, but not to the point of offending anyone in particular) recur throughout the introduction, in slightly mutated guise, as Old Editors, a shadowy cabal whose aesthetic conservatism and patronising 'lip-service' to plurality is doing Young Poets no favours, creating a deeply reactionary centralised literary culture which is in dire need of 'restructuring', and which allows for no space for the experimental work that Hamilton is clearly drawn to.  Again, there's nothing especially contentious here: it's been said before, though Hamilton gives the old war horse a shiny new saddle and a fresh, angular Hoxton haircut.  The argument is problematised by the presence of citations in the text from a number of poets connected, with varying degrees of separation, to the British Poetry Revival (which is to say, an older generation of experimental writers who've had a profound influence on the current crop): Denise Riley, J H Prynne, John Wilkinson, and Tom Raworth are all given approving space in the fractious whirlwind of reference, conjecture and confession that is Hamilton's introduction, as are (moving beyond the British Isles for a moment) Lacan, Derrida, Ashbery and Marjorie Perloff.  But how different is, say, the influence of Prynne's example on the poetry of Keston Sutherland (whose work is very generously represented in Dear World...) to the perceived pernicious influence of the Old Editors on the poets that Hamilton's told us he's excluded?  Sure, he doesn't hold the same cultural centrality as the Edward Thomas-esque 'English Line' that everyone's making such a brouhaha about, but he's still an extremely important figure in avantish writing; he's working within an existing tradition of language-centred writing which itself has a long tradition now (with generative figures like Stein and Zukovsky at its base); he was himself heavily influenced by Dorn and Olson at the outset, etc.

Which is to say, aren't we all working in the shadow of Old Poets (mainstream or not)?  Isn't that how traditions move on, mutate, expand and collapse, how the conversation across the generations gets added to like sedimentary rock?  I worry that the rhetoric of generational overthrow implicit in the figure of the Old Editors serves to elide the far more interesting narrative of influence and engagement with a living modernist tradition, an absent presence both in the introduction and in the anthology proper.        

Tuesday, 19 February 2013

Simon Turner - In the Brainyard: Notes for an abandoned review of Joe Brainard's Collected Writings

Waterstone's website tells me that Joe Brainard doesn't exist, or if he does, he's not the author of I Remember.  There is a fellow called Joe Brainyard, on the other hand.  That's such a perfect typo on their part that I refuse to believe it's unintentional.  Brainard's writing, considered in its totality as it now can be, are a kind of brainyard (if we can define something that doesn't really exist), a loose collocation of thoughts and confessions, diaries, sketches, memories, near-prose poems, and whatever else took his fancy.    

Reading Brainard over lunch, I found I couldn't concentrate on the text and the veggie burger I was eating at the same time, so put Brainard down a moment and concentrated on the burger instead, which was excellent: a spongily luxuriant white bun, with a perfect textural combination of give and resistance; sliced tomato, lettuce and fried onion (is there anything better than fried onion?); ketchup, obviously; and the burger itself, excellent because it wasn't trying to be meat, which is the failing of many.  A nice spicy kick to it, too.  Best lunch of the week. 


Bolinas Journal: what a breath of fresh air.  The prose is so clean, so without artifice (or not entirely: there are nods towards the fact that Brainard planned to publish his journal, which raises the question as to how long he knew that would be the case.  How far does knowledge of eventual publication affect the writing?  It's an archetypally post-modern work in that sense; it raises questions about it's status as a made object, its autobiographical authenticity), that it feels like a way forward to a different kind of literature.


Auster's introudction is great - especially the taxonomy of the kinds of memories in I Remember and his reading of the work as a kind of conversation with its readers, a memory machine whose function (at least in part) is to trigger memories in those who read it - but he misses out a word that seems totally relevant to Brainard's output: democracy.  An excellent reading of I Remember in relation to the confessional school of poetry calls attention to the fact that Brainard, unlike Plath, Sexton, Berryman and Lowell, doesn't seem racked by guilt and suicidal despondancy, isn't driven by some inner Freudian myth of origin and self-transendence, or doesn't seem to be.  He's confessing, yes, but he's confessing, mostly, relatively mundane elements of his life - what he's done, who he's friends with, places he's been, chaps he's got a crush on, what he had for breakfast.  It's a million miles away from 'Daddy'.  And that's great, the absence of heaviness.  And that's why it's democratic: it suggests a reading of confessional literature that refuses to exclude readers and writers based on their level of torturedness (horrible word, sorry) - this could, really, be anyone's intimate journal, just as I Remember's individual memories could belong to anyone of that time and space: Brainard's brilliance lies chiefly in the fact that he did it, and did it so well.     


Rain for much of the day, but the sun came through briefly but decisively around six this evening,  Walking home, everything dazzled - glittered, really, where the rain had struck - a haze across events as the water evaporated from the concrete, the air turning quietly smoky, like viewing the world through badly wiped glasses.  Thinking about Hitchcock and his pragmatic camera - I nearly wrote 'line' - which is not to say that there is no artistry involved in his films (obviously wrong, in any case) but that the artistry is subsumed in the artwork's entirety: the camera does just what it needs to at any given point to tell us the story, or to deepen our understanding of a character.  It has a job to do.  Brainard's writing is something like this - it's functional, not showy, at least at the level of the sentence or the prhase.  The atristry, the music, occurs at the level of structure, how Brainard orchestrates (Auster's term) his apparently plain material.  Plus the fact that he's so candid in his methods, in what he reveals, is beguiling, and something of an innovation in itself. 


Most of this review - is it that? - has been scribbled on random pieces of paper I happen to have in the house or at work, whenever a thought comes to me that might be of value to an understanding of Brainard's work.  Impossible to replicate on page or screen, really, though a simulation (illusion) of randomness might do. 

Wednesday, 23 January 2013

Getting Close: Peter Hughes' 6 Petrarch Sonnets from Tears in the Fence #56

The new Tears in the Fence has just arrived, the usual mix of ecleticism and a whopper of 176 pages, showing signs, I hope, of increasing stability and the quality of the magazine's reputation. Some engaging ecopoetics from the off, but reading through in page order so far, it's Peter Hughes' poems that arrested me first.

Hughes' '6 Petrarch Sonnets' first struck me for that awkward phrasing - why not 'Petrarchan', how I learned it in skool? The brevified (allow it, dear Reader) title points to some kind of mutation, potentially straddling that much vivified-by-zeitgeist word 'plagiarism', or 'the model', which was taken for granted back in the days of Wyatt et al. There's very little here I can relate to what I remember of Petrarch hisself, except that the lover addressed by the sonnets, Laura, is absent here too, or maybe substituted by Hughes for something like a concept.

The second strike to note, though one that's not so helpful in this context, is that the first poem in Tears in the Fence is numbered '24'. So we're in media res on a sequence whose backdrop isn't available to me. I'll be reading them for what I've got, but the 6 sonnets present are 24, 25, 26, 27, 32 and 35.

What does the Petrarchan sonnet say? It's a masculine courting ritual, in which the poet prances about to show how in love he is, without allowing the subject of that feeling to be touched, reached, given real presence in the poem. And this is there in the first line: "It's not all that clear why you're asking me". Not all that clear to "me" offering a voice-driven poem spoken by someone that puts themselves first and likes to be a little bit condescending, while the undescribed "you" is present immediately as a problem for this speaker.

Not so much the unrequited love interest, more a nag, a shrew, who is being rebutted? But if this "you" isn't really a love interest, then what's the speaker really in love with? The start of the stanzas gives a clue, the "It's" followed by "I've" then "you'd" ending with an imperative "go" in the final tercet. This is passive aggressive turning into "go shove it" aggression by the end, and that final line's expletive: the "fucking gastropub in Putney". Wonderful satire, great pitch of the punchline, but we're not being lulled into any sense of comfort with this speaker's 'love' for the London poetry soiree, or the pretention that the addressee takes for success - being in the "in-crowd" where people "think / bardic is a bleach for cleaning toilets". Sharp. This is a lover's tiff, amounting to, 'Don't tell me how to be a poet' and 'You think that's poetry? Sod off'. Or something.

The speaker is really in love with their own opinions, an exaggeration of what contemporary critics (so I recall from undergraduate lectures) find wrong in Petrarch. The poet, through their persona, can't allow the subject of their poems to find voice, presence, give opinion; they're too busy strutting their stuff, showing off how brilliant they are with language, with thought, with love.

Hence the underlying irony in the tradition: here's a lover who doesn't know how to love. The second piece in the selection kicks off with that 'me me me' again: "me & love are like this (fingers crossed) / late night paralytics treading the decks / of a stone-floored room" which turns out - at least to me - to be reminiscent of an all night drinking session in a room that hasn't passed a health and safety check since legislation was introduced. So "me & love" (not "love and I", or anything quite so formal) are a drunken posture in a nightclub, swaying slightly in front of people who probably aren't "me's" best friends and probably want him to go away before he throws up. Bottom line here is that you wouldn't trust this guy to write a poem about romantic love, at least not at this stage in the sequence.

I almost read that word "paralytics" as "panegyrics" and there's a similar echo of other phrases and words elsewhere in this unit ("buck and roll" for "rock and roll" nicely marking that point in the evening when you wish you hadn't had that last double vodka, as the music sounds like it's kicking you in the stomach) and the crude and wonderful phrasing of the simile at the end of that first stanza: "like a tramp steamer in a tsunami". Googling that innocuous phrase, "tramp steamer" I realised I didn't actually know the official meaning, though it's kind of self-evident. (Apologies to sensitive readers for quoting wikipedia, look away now.) This is a ship engaged in tramp trade, which means having no "fixed schedule or ports of call", hence not a steamer full of tramps, but one that mimics the lack of direction of a vagrant. So both a kind of nautical flaneur, rolling about lost and observationally, able to see the familiar with fresh, vagrant eyes (as Ann Marie Mikkelsen has said of the Whitmanian tramp), but also somewhat disorganised, unattached, looking for love in the wrong places, perhaps and, as Mikkelsen writes, attempting a social critique from their apparently detached social position.

There's a lovely twist from this steamer simile, the so-called weaker cousin of the muscle-bound metaphor, as the next three stanzas (quatrain-tercet-tercet, keep up, dear Reader) turn the shadow of the ship into a literal ship: "now you're up on the deck where bitter winds / whip away your words before they're spoken". Don't say Hughes doesn't do beautiful music: it's here with the idiomatic English, the mixed registers of modernism alongside a finely crafted short-lyrical pattern.

What's emerging by the end of the second piece, for me, is that Hughes is playing the fool. Literally, a fool who doesn't follow "know thyself" even though he pretends to, so much as Shakespeare's mutation, "to thine own self be true". There's something of the speaker's being able to point to the naked Emperor, while also not knowing he himself's wearing a burlap sack with cock, balls and a pair of tits drawn on it. So even as we don't trust he knows what he's talking about when he talks about the London poetry "garden party", there's a veracity in the description of the club or pub's claustrophobia, then being outside in the "evacuated air", expressed in the control of the language, the musical patterning giving authenticity to an otherwise unreliable voice.

Did I say control of language? Yes, but where are the rhymes? It's a sonnet, so I want me rhymes, Hughes! Well, dear Reader, they're mostly internal from what I can tell. Witness poem 3 in the selection: "milk-float" with "riots" and "depot". Stretched, perhaps, by some tastes, but the poems are rife with internal rhyme, and the few moments that seem like end rhymes seem only accidental, part of the general musicality of the language.

I'm in two minds about this. On the one hand, the ease with which a non-rhymed fourteen-liner can be dashed off, compared to the strictures of attempting a smoothly constructed (English) sonnet does bear some consideration. The form's origins, on the other hand, in a language with more opportunity for rhyme than English, demands careful weighing. Just as the Japanese haiku's formal constraints lead to an odd redundancy in what has become the 17-syllable pithery of conventional English haiku, something is lost in the colonial translation where these issues of form have their roots.

Is it even possible to define "discussion of love" as one of the formal constraints of the sonnet, as I have done? And doesn't the quantitative definition of the sonnet - in terms of techniques of syllable, rhyme, line count, octet vs. sestet (in the Petrarchan case) and volte - kind of speak to an anal, rote-system understanding of poetry? And doesn't the Reality Street Book of Sonnets indicate a need for contemporising tradition? And why am I using so many questions as a rhetorical trope right now?

You've guessed my bias already, dear--(no, I won't it's another trope to keep you on thread). Form, these days, is understood in a post-Oulipian sense, which asks questions of the potential for the shape of a poem to express a certain kind of thought with beautiful thinking. (Though see also my recent ruminations on form.) The short, carved shape to the piece, the sense of imbalance between the octet and sestet (or greater imbalance in the run towards a closing couplet) gives a sense of expostulation or sanction, and claustrophobia, the poet trapping their voice in a confined space, or on a confined subject, to try and resolve their thinking. Love is important, of course, as to all poetry - if only as the act of writing creatively always demands a sense of generosity towards the reader, expressed through the word choice, the sound craft, the attempt to contain complexity in fourteen lines, to paraphrase E.St.V-M - but here the lack of space doesn't lend itself to verbosity (unlike the blog-form, you're thinking to yourself, but that's ungenerous of you), only to the brief argument of a well- and pre-considered essay.

To clarify by example: the sonnet's enclosed space takes literal shape in the theme of the poems, through reference to the pubs, clubs, drinking dens they're set in. But this is a reference to the shape of the poem, a way of encoding the metatextual discussion in literal visuals. Very clever, Hughes, have a cookie. You can't though, encode the thematic discussion of love into the sonnet, without making a metaphysical leap: the writing of sonnets is always about love, in some way, hence the form signifies that subject to readers through their awareness of tradition, not through the inherent structural design, which indicates a mini-essay, potentially on any subject.

So, back to the poems. What to make of the trundling milk-float at the start of the third selection? Not your usual poetry vehicle of choice. And the reference to riots, also a nod to contemporary events, to the now of Hughes' response to Petrarch. The possibility that these are sight translations occurs, that the incidence of these details arises from a hidden process, or perhaps biographical veracity. Mere speculation.

What stands is the speaker claiming to be more relieved than the 'you', who got home safely after driving a milk-float in a riot, so the ongoing arrogance of this speaker carries through, with mere hints of a niceness underneath the 'aren't I good for being worried for you?'.

And then the poem veers in the sestet towards a discussion of language. The "shackles of convention" shrugged off in slightly too familiar terms, maybe, being "rinsed clean" of expectations by others, all a little easy and not quite earning the assertion of coming back "to language like a stranger", though the final tercet earns a little more authenticity of feeling. "meteors & apples" (I never quite got that use of the ampersand in place of the and, except as an affectation) carries again a sense of pun, for "metaphors and ..." Well, I could say "and couplets", at a stretch, though maybe I've missed a trick there. But there's also the oblique dating, to last summer's riots and the Perseid meteor shower, an annual event peaking in August, so the poem feels more consciously positioned in biographical data.

The following poem picks up this thread, with the theme of bars and drinking now blending with the social politics: "again the unemployed are trained to fight / for the freedom of the wealthy". This is telling it like the speaker sees it - the fool pointing to the barbarity of protest that seems to descend into reinforcing a social status quo that isn't being fundamentally challenged by the free swag claimed from high street stores in the name of the class struggle.

The self-critique is less audible here and the selection has moved into a more familiar political pose, although the speaker's safety is acknowledged, waiting in the bar "until the flags & marching bands have gone", not a protestor, not an activist, not attempting to change the status quo. The cynical ending to this piece, remarking the hypocrisy of protests whose "vast majority / are bulldozed into pits without music", denotes also the futility felt by the speaker, who has chosen to do nothing, to believe in nothing. There's no "you" in this piece, no sense of the romantic relationship.

And so forth into the next piece, where "we are steeped in futility's juices". The opening "I" of the futility is transposed into the collective. This is fast becoming one of those conversations with a drunk in a pub that you're desperate to find a way out of. Not "we" who "wallows in oceans of emotion", but the mode of the sonnet form, of course. That's the new voicing Hughes attempts here at work against those earlier referenced "shackles of convention". He needs a way out of this pattern (and I need a way out of the pace I've set myself, hence I'm barrelling towards the final poem).

And there it is, in the final selection, poem 35 of who knows how many? Like a Peter Riley poet-tramp, this lost-at-sea social dis-/de-fector, is walking "that lonesome road", maybe too familiar from pithily complacent narratives about whistleblowing, or the "against-all-odds" stereotype of Hollywood formats. The passion this speaker carries "below the pallid surface of my skin", is reflected in "what the sky does" and the "haunted heaths" and so on - a list of natural, though displaced natural imagery that follows in the penultimate tercet.

I'm leaning now into my research into the use of natural imagery, landscape, as a foil to social conventions. It's a trope, through and through, but a worthy one. We're told by social centres of power what the land means - quantities of resource, spiritual escape, ecosystems service provision. And then we get to the land and it's sublime, it overwhelms us - it is imbued with the passion we feel when we see something we can't fully understand through the parameters we've been given to understand it with. "No yardstick", as Robert Graves said of poetry, equally true for being in the world and seeing something mankind has only shaped, not made, something that has survived our species' manufacturing of it. Hence "haunted" and "eerie", strange to the viewer, and hence that closing line to this selection: "I never find myself distant from love".

The echo with Peter Riley again - Alstonefield: a poem reduced to fourteen lines. Love, here, means something entirely different to Petrarch's lustful anthropocentrising; not the mortal and immortal forms humans aspire to, but the insufficient social norm against the individual will to change society for the better. This is indeed "God-forsaken" not only for the post-religious society we're in, but because we've made a hell of society, of class; and the land, when scaped, offers a reminder of why we believe so much in wanting a better world. The poet, here, in persona, tries to express something of the passion inspired in them by the world as it is, older than us, a reminder that this way of things didn't always exist and doesn't have to.

Experience recollected through futility for social constructs, but then back to the idea of the object of the poem as an experience in itself, one that can be as beautiful and inspiring as those themes and things represented by words. So the landscape provides a reminder of hope, a reminder that we're never quite "distant from love" when this reminder is there.

The music does more for me, as a conveyor of that experience, than the thoughts that bog it down. I personally now much prefer those brief constructions of Janet Sutherland when she gets rid of herself, or Lorine Niedecker in her later work, or HD's imaginisms. But I see the usefulness of the sonnet form for laying out the arguments in favour of that kind of work that simply inhabits the beauty of experience in language. Dare I say it's a particularly masculine ego that allies itself to the shape, to the need to argue? There, I said it. And it does, especially over the length of the sonnet sequence, restrict some of the originality of approach available in more dynamic, open modes of writing. That's the nature of compromising with a traditional form.

Hughes' selection here is a reminder, for me, of other work I've read and loved, and the many small gems accumulated in the minutiae of its progress are a sign of great craft, in turn a sign of love being poured into the work of writing. The traditional sonnet does bend a fair way in the short space of the whole that's reproduced in Tears in the Fence, but ultimately, with just one ego at work, I find the poem can too easily leave out the innovations in a more communally constructed process of expression. Riley's approach asserts the shared process behind Alstonefield that contributes to a destabilised 'I', and I imagine there's something in the covert processes doing just that here also, in how Hughes enters into dialogue with Petrarch's process, though I can't speculate much further.

I can say, in gushing and unequivocal praise, that this is the kind of exemplar challenge Tears in the Fence presents to its readers in most of its pages. And I'm especially pleased by the eco-logic at play in the first thirty pages of the magazine. (And David Caddy's editorial is marvellously considered, grounding the old 'poetry is losing sight of its audience' statement in liberal and social educational model, which might piss a few of the London garden party-goers off.)


Editor's Note: Peter Hughes has kindly pointed me to a link to the Petrarch poems in publication. See also his award winning publishing house, Oystercatcher Press.