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Monday, April 27, 2015

EUOIA: Zoe Skoulding and Robert Sheppard's Gurkan Aranut now published in Shearsman

The collaborative translations of the Cypriot fictional poet that I wrote with Zoe Skoulding, which set the whole thing off, the second stage of fictional poetry (the first being A Translated Man in which he invents the EUOIA: the European Union of Imaginary Authors), are now published in the latest Shearsman (103 & 104). See here for more on the EUOIA (and, scrolling down, the video of Zoe reading both of the poems, which can also be viewed directly on YouTube here).

Saturday, April 25, 2015

Robert Sheppard: Four Poems in 'English'

I have four poems in English, the magazine of the English Association (of which I am a Fellow). The introduction to this issue, Volume 64, 244, Spring 2015, a special one, 'Chaucer Reconsidered', includes the following: ‘Chaucer was an innovative poet who often considered the nature of poetry within his writing. This issue contains new work by Robert Sheppard, Professor of Poetry and Poetics at Edge Hill University. Sheppard has been central to innovative poetry in the UK, and its academic reception. His four poems in this issue probe relationships between perception and the fragmentary world of the poem, inviting the reader to remake experience: “Every poem is a new beginning,/ but then so are you”,’ the quote being for ‘Poem’ for poet Marianne Morris (on the ocassion of her PhD). I am mindful of the need to enjoy the applause but never to completely believe it, as a wise actor (who?) once said.

The other poems are for poet Scott Thurston, painter and print-maker Pete Clarke and jazz impressario Ian Perry. The latter poem ends with the lines: ‘Now/ let’s watch Serge and Jane swerving along the Elysée’. Let’s:

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Dinesh Allirajah: a celebration

There is an evening event to celebrate the life and work of Dinesh Allirajah at the Bluecoat in Liverpool on 6th May 2015. Details here. See previous post here with links and Martha Reeves and the Vandellas!

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

25 Edge Hill Poets: Steven Fletcher

As a mature student, 47 years old at enrolment, I have found the BA Creative Writing course to be a life enriching experience. It gives students the opportunity to hone writing technique, to develop drafting and editing skills, to understand the creative industry and the writer’s relationship with it. It has been three years well spent.

The course focuses on the main genres of writing. In the first year narrative theory supplements the three core workshop modules of poetry, scriptwriting, and the short story. The workshopping discipline of drafting and editing is always at the forefront of study. The student is continually encouraged towards writing fitness, through practice and discussion. Work is processed in a positive environment.

 The tutors are all established, published writers, experts in their own genres and disciplines. They offer practical support, as well as directing students towards texts that advance and help develop understanding of all aspects of the work. This balance sustains and nourishes the student throughout the year; not only when meeting assignment deadlines.

The emphasis in all the modules is on independent learning and reading. This is developed through tutorials, workshops and peer appraisal: around twelve hours a week contact time is added to regular development meetings with personal tutors. Research and preparation for each session is demanding but garners best results from workshop discussions.

Furthermore, I was delighted, but not surprised, that Edge Hill was awarded the tenth Times Higher Education Awards University of the Year, 2014. It has been a joy to study there and be instructed by an enthusiastic and vibrant team of writers. It is a great university to study.


Waterloo: Midnight Vista


Barrel it back from Blundellsands,

breeze over the Seaforth span with

 sodium arcs, straff beam guides. Flash

passed a familiar vision: 

Bootle (most bombed British borough).

Who knew? Who knows, Who cares? Coded

freight containers, steel box mountain

fabrications, never fails to a

maze: colossal toy blocks, fairy

decking lights, skeletal structures

crane. Not gnomic but simple: roll-

on, roll-off. Turbine guards twist winds

power, translates kinetic to stored.


Hospice, October, 2013.


Wasteland, edge land, liminal place

An atrium entrance, temporary, cramped

filled with flat pack, chopped chip office furniture.


Visitors sign in, sign out, regulated. 

Spend time condemned, celled in comfort able

oblivion. Angers well deep pop observed silences.


Where, today or yesterday, I spoke to a childhood

giant, that life valued times mine equals half this measure.

Exits stance, weight for cellular replicative immortality

sustained proliferative signals wait for space and the line...

No body comes here to die,

the palliative stroke care team like to say.

Accumulated mutations, carried by control protein P53,

strain relations, causing love’s loss, and end scene.

Void, filled by smells of absence, disinfects and sickening, body functions fail.


Reminds me of metastasis: bowel, to belly, to brain. Meditate

watch opiate bliss drip in. Activated invasions beat back

blasts of radiation, induce angiogenesis growth factors.

Corrupted structures multiply, triumph, evading growth suppressors.

Wall-tacked, religious iconographies smile down benignly

eye red read The Yagé letter’s, appendix six: cathartic, euphoric vision, vibrant

                                                                                    energy unites all...pop! {:-(


Through a glazed view note

grey bibbed squirrelous creature

stripping sapling bark         



As a writer I am interested in the paradox of poetry. My poetry has an inherent conflict between self expression and the egotistical ‘I’. I am not interested in the ‘genius-of-poets’ concept.

I am more interested in the tension between the line and the sentence; less in meter, or rhyme scheme. I am more interested in the line break, its relationship to the clause, the sentence, the rhythms it creates and the pattern possibilities. I am more interested in the turn of the line; more conspicuous line tension. Rhythmic qualities excite me.

I am quite interested in challenging formal, received and accepted wisdom. It is difficult for me to battle a tendency towards declamation and epiphany. I am less interested in messages.

I am more interested in investigation into the use of language to confuse and obfuscate; language as a refusal to communicate or to deliberately misinform.

I am really interested in poetry as ventriloquism. Utterances conjuring, voicing the voiceless, offering polyphony. I am more or less interested in figurative language like the mist on the glass or the sun rising. I am more interested in metonymy and juxtaposing binary opposites: smashing bits of language together.

Poetry as performance is interesting except when it is not. I am interested in avant garde as kitch. That is enough already, more or less. 

I am more interested in poetry as response to other cultural artifacts, literature, visual art and music. I more interested in reference to the artifice than to the illusion of it.

I am interested in slips, accidents and mistakes. Poetry that makes no sense, poetry  of sound and concrete is interesting.

To clarify my interest in ambiguity: I am.   

 I am more interested in language appropriation (transgressive), re-frame and montage; less interested in making it up as I go along. All poetry is more or less interesting to me. Why restrict oneself to a writing ghetto, when there is so much of interest.

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

25 Edge Hill Poets: Anthony Arnott

My time at Edge Hill was an enjoyable time, in which I was able to learn and apply the techniques of a variety of writers. The MA, particularly, allowed me to craft my work and, alongside the theoretical  side of my studies, guided me into finding my ‘voice’ as a writer. Had it not been for the MA, I would not be a published poet today.

That night at the speakeasy

The last word I can remember

is willow,

as we pass beer through

our lips and into, onto

the chamber of our tongues.

Heat is bearable as

two people

I have never

and will never

meet wrestle – no, battle for my


And, I brought them here.

Details of the MA in Creative Writing at Edge Hill may be read here. Anthony's Barcode is published by Erbacce (a fine press run by two former students of the MA: Andrew Taylor and Alan Corkish).

Saturday, April 11, 2015

25 Edge Hill Poets: a bonus post: Three and A Half Point Nine

One of the 25 Poets, Luke Thorogood, publishes poets like Steven Fowler and Sonya Groves in the latest, fourth, edition of his magazine Three and a Half Point Nine , but he also has publishes work by others, well-known and less-known, from the Edge Hill nexus, all of them featured on this blog. They are:

Natasha Borton is an English language Welsh writer, currently studying an MA in Creative Writing at Edge Hill University. She has been published in The Sublime, Midwinter Anthology, Voicebox and Erbacce. Her non-fiction articles have been published in For Books Sake and Altfashion Magazine and performs regularly in North Wales and the North West. Natasha has performed at the Bluecoat, Harris Museum and The Lowry; she had a short play produced at The Lowry as part of Edge Hill Exclaim! She was senior fiction editor for the Black Market Review for two years and currently writes for her own blog.

Scott Thurston’s most recent book is Figure Detached Figure Impermanent (Oystercatcher, 2014). He co-organises The Other Room reading series in Manchester and co-edits the Journal of British and Irish Innovative Poetry. Scott lectures at the University of Salford and has published widely on innovative poetry, including a book of interviews entitled Talking Poetics (Shearsman, 2011). See his pages at

Adam Hampton is a student of English Language and Creative Writing at Edge Hill University. His poems have been published by Ikleftiko and Robert Sheppard. A former Royal Marine, much of his poetry tackles the theme of conflict. He lives with his wife and daughter in Southport, England.

Tom Jenks has published nine books of poetry, the most recent being The Tome of Commencement, a spreadsheet translation of the Book of Genesis on Stranger Press and 1000 Proverbs, a collaboration with SJ Fowler on Knives Forks and Spoons. He co-organises The Other Room reading series and website, administers the avant objects imprint zimZalla and is a Ph.D. student at Edge Hill University.

Elio Lomas is a writer, musician and amateur caricaturist. His work has been published byerbacce, Poetry Pacific and has appeared upon Robert Sheppard's poetry blog Pages.

Access the magazine here. And access the list of 25 Edge Hill Poets, including these five here.

Wednesday, April 08, 2015

25 Edge Hill Poets: Bill Bulloch

The manifesto is tentatively named 'Pausa' and basically reflects my desire to enjoy and experience the moment, recording my perceptions in poetry.


Stop the world, I need to get off

In the rush to get there,
I’ll miss the weeds on the railway
The spider on the wing mirror
The bird in the chimney
Fluttering, clamouring
Gasping for space
Avoid the gaps in the pavement
Walk around ladders
Never look up.
Stop. Rewind.
Carpe Diem
Step into the gaps between the moments
Attune the ear
Refocus the eye
Synaesthetic: taste the colours, feel the sound.
Watch for the texture
Of time, passing -
Invisible starfall
-telegraphed in strokes and flecks
Etched into the soul

Most of my current poetry is on my blog, Nights Full Nine, here.

The joneses having been left behind
As the industrial estuary bloats
A concrete stent forced through the head
Neatly trepanning the prominence
commerce’s darning suture drawn tight
all the way to the Druids Isle.
Channelling traffic along the coast
past the empty beaches and shuttered shops
vacant castles and the rusty rides
Eire beckons coyly from the sleek flanks
Of seacats ferrying tourists away from this
Once mystic land, to a new Celtic frontier
waiting to be diluted and tamed by a commodifying tide.
Wales has withdrawn to the hills
treasures stowed in caves of slate
as her borders and byways are blurred and absorbed
Not by covetous kings or expanding nations
But at the hand of bannered modernity
With conquering flags branded across the land like sheep.
Longbowmen raise fingers in defiance
Yew hewn and gut strung
Shouldered aside by the concrete crennelations
Dry stoned and graffiti decorated
As the expressway glides by,
services one mile.