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So Here We Are

So Here We Are

David Caddy’s collection of audio podcasts is now available in this very attractive format from Shearsman and it is a must for anyone interested in the contemporary scene of British poetry.

In 2007 David was invited by the publishing director of MiPO publications and miPOradio, Didi Menendez, to present a monthly series of literary talks rather in the manner of Alistair Cooke’s Letters from America. As David has pointed out these talks were written quickly and intended as intelligent introductions rather than definitive statements. Rather like a gifted teacher his aim became ‘to stimulate the reader/listener and prompt further reading and discussion.’

Look out especially for the Letters on Bill Griffiths, Tom Raworth, John Kinsella, J.H. Prynne, Andrew Crozier and David Gascoyne. Another real delight is Letter 16 on John Riley: a very fine poet whose work needs to be revived. Michael Grant did a splendid job editing a Selected Poems of John Riley in 1995 (Carcanet) but this has now been out of print for some time.

Split Screen the Anthology Has Finally Landed!

Split Screen is perfect poetry anthology for anyone who was ever told by their parents that they would get square eyes if they watched too much telly…

Split Screen centres on 72 specially-commissioned poems from some of the UK’s finest poets. Each poem takes its lead from an icon of popular culture, either from the world of film or television. From Doctor Who, Tom and Jerry, Bond movies, The Clangers to It’s A Wonderful Life, from Tommy Cooper to Jayne Mansfield, each poem is a personal take on a popular theme.

The poems are presented in sections, interspersed with poems inspired by adverts acting as ‘commercial breaks’. These advert poems are selected from open submissions around the UK, allowing new poetic voices to stand shoulder-to-shoulder with more established names.

Contributors include George Szirtes, Simon Barraclough, Annie Freud, W.N. Herbert, Kona Macphee, Tim Turnbull and Ian McMillan. And let’s not forget the stellar work the editor Andy Jackson has done in pulling it all together.

And, I have to confess, a saucy poem by yours truly about Captain James Tiberius Kirk.

I LOVE the cover so very much I had to make it full size!


Robert Montgomery’s Street Art/Poetry

Robert Montgomery takes over billboards, signposts and the like to make social-cultural comments. On his website it says he “works in a poetic and melancholic post-situationist tradition.”

John James

In the Keynes Library of Birkbeck College on Friday, 9 March there was a John James evening introduced by Carol Watts whose own recent volume When blue light falls 3 has just appeared from Oystercatcher. There were short talks given by Simon Perrill, Rod Mengham and John Hall all of whom had contributed to the Salt Companion to John James and these were followed by readings by both Simon and John himself. As John read from his two most recent publications, In Romsey Town (Equipage) and Cloud Breaking Sun (Oystercatcher) one became aware of that haunting quality of his poetry, that sense of ghosts lurking behind the scenes, and what John Hall has described as ‘quiet and tender acts in the departing shadow of the inevitably fugitive.’ This attractive venue had been used some eight weeks ago for the one-day Peter Riley conference and Carol Watts left us with the firm sense that there are going to be many more poetry events in the Keynes Library.

Jarvis Cocker is a Poet. Apparently.

Should we remain sanguine in the face of pop stars, politicians, actors etc, etc, inveigling their way on to the poetry stage? Well, if we believe that poetry is everywhere then it stands to reason that everyone is poetry.

Still… Jarvis Cocker, a poet?

Close-up Poetry at the Guardian

The Guardian has a new series of poets reading their own work to camera. So far we seen Simon Armitage, Paul Farley and Jo Shapcott. Here’s Liz Lochhead with her poem My Rival’s House.

Poetry? There’s An App For That!

For iPad specifically. It’s described as ‘a poetry app for school-age children and for adults of any age’ and has a bushel load of features including these:

You can record yourself reading a poem.
You can email a poem and email your recording of a poem.
You can tap on any word for a dictionary definition.
You can save poems to a Favourites page.
You can search by title, author, first line or by any word.
You can get a dictionary definition of any word.

Go check it out. So far, so good and innovative. Now all I have to do is save up for an iPad!

Browning and Barrett’s Love Letters Go Online

These letters between Elizabeth Barrett-Browning and Robert Browning were made available online on Valentine’s Day just gone but here at Tears in the Fence, being the dyed-in-the-wool romantics that we are, everyday is a day for love. Right? Someone ought to make a film about their love story already.

Find out more about the two lovebird poets here and here.


Poet Lucy English to Judge Warminster Festival Poetry

The Wiltshire based poet Lucy English is a friend of Tears in the Fence so we are delighted to hear that she has taken up the role of judge for  the Warminster Festival 2012 poetry competition in October.

Lucy’s website.

The 50 Most Quoted Lines of Poetry

What are yours?

This list, from Inky Fool, has been compiled by the number of hits each line receives when it is fed into Google. To my mind that means that it isn’t accurate because there is no way of knowing or calculating the lines from poetry the man in the street uses everyday. I’d be surprised if it wasn’t a line from Shakespeare, given that he coined a remarkably number of the phrases that we use everyday. But as M H Forsyth says in the piece, Google is the best we’ve got!

The Guardian has a comment on it and below, is the breakdown in graphic form. Click each image to enlarge.