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HOLDING NOSES, VOTING FOR A MAYOR

EYEWEAR'S CANDIDATE FAVOURS TAXATION OF ANYONE WHO DOES NOT READ POETRY
London may think of itself as the world's most important, powerful city - though New York, Paris, Berlin, Tokyo and several cities in China or India might say otherwise - but is surely top three, in terms of significance. So its mayoral elections matter - and they are today.

Some of the choices offered are colourful and absurd - there is a candidate whose platform is all about how marijuana is less harmful than alcohol, and a Polish prince who wants to fight a duel with Nigel Farage - and there are worthy candidates for parties like the Greens who won't win but maybe should - and then again the two front-runners.

Eyewear, the blog reminds you to vote today, and responsibly.  You may have to hold your nose if you go with either of the main candidates - both their parties have lately seemed to play unwelcome race cards - but one of the candidates was born poor and stands for a very diverse platform - and the other is one of the richest men in the city and represents a party of the satisfied elites.

Democracy is not always best stewarded by the Sharpes of this world, but some high-born seats are just too comfortable to truly afford a view of ground realities.

Marijuana, anyone?





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THE WINNER OF THE SIXTH FORTNIGHT PRIZE IS...



Wheeler Light for 'Life Jacket'.

The runner-up is: Daniel Duffy - 'President Returns To New York For Brief First Visit'

Wheeler Light currently lives in Boulder, Colorado.



Life Jacket

summer camp shirtsI couldn’t fit in then
are half my size nowI wanted to wear
smaller and smallerarticles of clothing
I shrunk to the sizethat disappeared

of an afterthoughtin a sinking ship body
too buoyant to sinktoo waterlogged for land
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JOHN ASHBERY HAS DIED

With the death of the poetic genius John Ashbery, whose poems, translations, and criticism made him, to my mind, the most influential American poet since TS Eliot, 21st century poetry is moving into less certain territory.

Over the past few years, we have lost most of the truly great of our era: Edwin Morgan, Gunn, Hill, Heaney and Walcott, to name just five.  There are many more, of course. This is news too sad and deep to fathom this week.  I will write more perhaps later. 

I had a letter from Ashbery on my wall, and it inspired me daily.  He gave me advice for my PhD. He said kind things about a poetry book of mine.

He was a force for good serious play in poetry, and his appeal great. So many people I know and admire are at a loss this week because of his death. It is no consolation at present to think of the many thousands of living poets, just right now. But impressively, and even oddly, poetry itself seems to keep flowing.