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Showing posts from February, 2022

Blossom Hibbert - Two Poems

Blossom Hibbert ** we should prepare the dining room table tonight. you will roll the dice and wear your disguise clatter porcelain plates together, rolling blue eyes spit in the ocean in protest, ocean fights back just like rain the army sent this is dedication! this is putting my pride into a routine i can manage alone sorry did I say i, i meant (we) let us go back home now. let's get your jacket on and oh let's walk home, together the swallows have gone home, too - for the winter whispered farewell on this white capped evening, could see my breathe just like smoke told them it is not worth the big, long flight told them don’t be late for dinner told them sometimes I am afraid of the sky, too when asked why we are off so early – we explain we are preparing the dining room table tonight, and are expecting guests in the form of little tiny birds. ** you know that it is the wind that will kill me in the end because i will try and follow it until i've        trodden on the so

Review - "Two Twin Pipes Sprout Water" by Lila Matsumoto

Andrew Taylor “Two Twin Pipes Sprout Water” by Lila Matsumoto, published by Prototype, 2021. Occasionally a press comes across one’s radar and immediately draws you in. Prototype is a relatively new press formed in 2019, with a mission statement to ‘increase audiences for experimental writing.’ Following her debut collection, Urn & Drum (Shearsman, 2018) it is pleasing to see another Matsumoto title hit the shelves. Another statement from the publisher contained at the rear of the book, notes that ‘Each publication is unique in its form and presentation, and the aesthetic of each object is considered critical to its production.’ This is very evident with Two Twin Pipes Sprout Water. The book, a Poetry Book Society Recommendation for Winter 2021/2, contains five sections with sequences of poems, prose poems and illustrations. Matsumoto is tuned into the notion of what poems can be. There’s evidence here of the playfulness that was on offer in Urn & Drum, but in a more obv

Essay - Whatever Happened to the Poetry Manifesto?

MARTIN STANNARD WHATEVER HAPPENED TO THE POETRY MANIFESTO? Recently I tried writing an essay that had the working title 'Why the Meaning of a Poem is the Last Thing You Should Think About'. I felt like I had something to say. It began like this: I can't help but remember what my old angling tutor used to say: “Be careful when you open a can of worms." Of course, he didn’t say any such thing, and I never had an angling tutor, but writers, and perhaps especially poets, can say anything and get away with it, because . . . Actually, I'm not sure why. I'm not even sure if it's true. If it is, it shouldn’t be. And I'm not sure about that, either. I think it's probably best if we accept a certain degree of uncertainty and subjectivity and other words that suggest everything is open to argument and get on with this. Just because something is open to argument doesn't mean it's wrong. Later (about 3000 words later) I decided I was on to a loser.

Review - "Fulmar's Wing" by Jeremy Hilton

“Fulmar’s Wing” by Jeremy Hilton, pub. Knives Forks And Spoons Press. 86pp. £11.00. Jeremy Hilton is a poet, composer and bird enthusiast who has been publishing regularly since the 1960’s and who also edited the fine, bursting-with-content magazine Fire , from Kidlington for a number of years. This was a terrific achievement which had a wide remit and which combined a welcoming approach while also featuring writers of renown who already had a publishing record. It was a magazine that I feel very proud to have been published in when I was trying to ‘find my own voice.’   Fulmar’s Wing is arguably Hilton’s magnum opus, a long work which comprises 75 individual poems which each have a discrete existence while also being read as part of a bigger project, a series if you wish. It combines Hilton’s love of the natural world with his love of music and a restrained anger which rails against the despoilment of our environment via an eloquent form of lyricism which is so powerful and so

Sanjeev Sethi - Three Poems

Sanjeev Sethi Continuities Leaks from this  or that wellspring  burst into us.  Post hoc  these are brewed  with potion  in our midst: to ready and ripen  into a brand-new preparation.  Sometimes  worthy of the world. Fallout “I am no longer a toper.” is my audible retort to the proprietor of the ear-popping bar to his energetic salaam and inquiry of me no longer  being a habitué. Processing me, his eyes pan to the next patron: his gestures forfeit their fire. Fancies Your annunciations  bestow their lyrics  to the jukebox  of justifications  as breath plays havoc  with their plans.  I bow to the celestial:  permit you to perform  like the wiliness  of an uncalled-for wish.  Maringouins mate  on my naked forearm,  their hochmagandy  a portraiture  of our tempo: then and now. Copyright © Sanjeev Sethi, 2022

Steve Spence - Three Poems

Steve Spence The West Side “All of us are likely to remember things that never happened,” he said, “but this image shows some- thing of consequence and do we really know what we’re looking at?” Do you know the work of Fiona Banner? In this case the suspect pleaded guilty but the horseshoe bat is a rare creature indeed. “I polished the living daylights out of it,” he said. Have you ever planted an impossible memory? Two marble dogs guard the entrance and an empty swim- ming pool is filled with leaves.  “The cloud is thickening up,” he said. Where have all the starlings gone? Do you have your story straight?    Making A Journey All systems are imperfect but we can’t always trust our memories and distortion is inevitable. “The winds are continuing to weaken,” she said. Once again our rivals aren’t far behind and it’s always a question of cutting through the noise. Have you seen The Punch and Judy Man? How hot is it going to get? “The eruption was over in minutes,” she said, “but it produc

Review - “The Owner of the Sea” by Richard Price

Steve Spence “The Owner of the Sea” by Richard Price, pub. Carcanet 177pp. £12.99   The Owner of the Sea is a ‘rewiring’ based around three Inuit stories which combine mythology with ecological issues and an anthropological perspective which relates to the harsh realities of surviving in an extreme climate. We have a new take on pantheism and these are also some of most weird and scatological pieces I have ever come across. Price makes it clear in his introduction that although he has taken a few liberties with the existing sources these are poems which still have something to say to us today in terms of our place in ‘the natural world’ and the strange symbiosis expressed throughout is at once entertaining and hopefully also thought-provoking. The structure of the poems is pretty straightforward, which is perhaps the best way to present material which involves such shape-shifting and at times shockingly dramatic moments or encounters. It is hard at times to know how to read these p

Review - "Bright Angel Proof" by Nick Power

Charlie Baylis Bright Angel Proof, Nick Power (£10, erbacce press) In the spring of 2016 a writer from the small Northwestern town of Hoylake, Nick Power, took a trip flying around America on budget airlines, soaking in all its big ticket tourist attractions and gaudy glories. The trip, and Power’s poems about the trip, come together to form Bright Angel Proof , a collection which evokes beat generation myths of a mystical America, but behind the lines Power knows that the beat generation era is done and perhaps was never really there to begin with. Power is too late to join the ranks of Ginsburg, Kerouac et al but at least he suggests that he might have something to say, which is more than most contemporary poets. Power attracts attention as a kind of modern Burt Lancaster, an adventurer of compelling (North) West Coast vibes and easy going company who, like Lana Del Rey, has ‘feathers in his hair...c hurning out novels like Beat poetry on Amphetamines.’ Power’s companion on the