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Did you Maypole dance today in an English custom going back to at least the time of The Wicker Man?


There is always next year.

Today marked the day that the Hollywood ending promised for LCFC did not quite happen - but they played one of the most tense and watched matches of the season against a stronger-than-expected Manchester Utd side, perhaps not wanting a triumphant Foxes on their hallowed ground.  Here is hoping Leicester still becomes the 5,000-1 winners.  The 20 or so remaining bets on them to win the season, none higher than £20, could yield as much as a hundred thousand quid in a few weeks time.  Not bad work, backing utter underdogs.

While Eyewear has been away, lots has happened - we were in LA for AWP, London for the LBF, and recently had a great review for Mel Pryor in the latest Poetry Review, and another for A Public Woman by Benno Barnard, in a special collection of writings on Dutch-language writing.

Excitingly, our Squint series has brought out editions on Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump, and one on Hillary Clinton is on the way.  Squints have also focussed recently on Corbyn and Adele.

We have a plethora of competitons running - the Sexton judged by Don Share for best American collection (unpublished), and the Hume, for best unpublished younger British poetry book, judged by Mark Ford.... and our 2017 Best British and Irish poets anthology is being judged by Luke Kennard, following the recent 2016 edition edited by Kelly Davio.

More to announce soon, but the best news of all, of late, is that we have been shortlisted for the coveted Saboteur Awards (thank you).  More in next post.

And yes, Ken Livingstone was deeply wrong to say what he said.  Meanwhile, Zac Goldsmith's terror-emphasis when mentioning his Muslim mayoralty campaign rival is also troubling.  Put away the race cards please. We're British.


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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
I becamea dot of sand


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.