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Showing posts from June, 2006

Poem by Tammy Armstrong

Tammy Armstrong is one of the 20 poets I selected for New American Writing , "The New Canadian Poetry" section, 2005. She's one of the younger poets in Canada most worth following. So, as we move towards Canada Day, Eyewear is very happy to present a most apt poem of hers, below. I recall Canadian Tire and its Monopoly-style money with great fondness. Amaryllis Canadian Tire Near the return and exchange desk the sink drain blare of Cash 11, Manager to Cash 11 , bulb-split amaryllises, petals halogen rusted, garden bulimic stand sturdy in clay cups while the mats at the automatic door grow streamy with boot tracked snow, slush. Ski coats shift sibilation each down-plump body maneuvering the card table careful not to catch a leaf above sparkle-glue bijouteries outsized flanges and piano hinges. Amaryllis - dismissed amid vulcanized rubber boxing day sale perfume - an ostentatious widow price shopping the discount aisle. poem by Tammy Armstrong

Nixon In China

Eyewear attended Nixon In China last night at the ENO. Let me say this about that: NIC rivals Kane or Godot as a signal 20th-century work that is both paradigm shift and summit of its type - so, as Kane is both best film and most innovative film, and Godot is most influential absurdist play and also central play since 1950 - so too is John Adam's NIC both the most popular postmodern opera of its period (roughly 1977 to 2001) and the pre-eminent one, inaugurating a new kind of reference to contemporaneity in art. It is also, like the work of Welles , viscerally thrilling for its exuberance of design.

Music For Canadians

On the cusp of Canada Day, July 1, Eyewear is pleased to note a new review of Leonard Cohen's latest collection, Book of Longing , in the TLS (June 30 2006). It's written by Pico Iyer (see link below), no stranger to Cohen's Northern Comforts. I am currently completing my own review, for NPR , so won't say more here. One aspect worthy of mention - the Iyer article on Cohen is under the heading "Music" - not "Poetry". Canadians may find it irritating to realise that, outside his own country, LC is not considered so much a writer-turned-singer as vice versa - as if his towering intellect had been muffled by his tower of song.


The Summertime issue of Poetry Review , the UK's leading journal of poetry, founded in 1909, is now out, and it includes poems by (among others, as the saying goes) John Burnside, W.S. Merwin, Andrew Motion, Don Paterson, George Szirtes, Sarah Wardle, C.K. Williams, Tamar Yoseloff , and, indeed, myself. It can be ordered from - a single issue is £7.95.

Echo Friendly

Anyone who sees Derrida , the fairly recent documentary "biography" of Jacques Derrida , is in for an essay on the difference (with or without an a) between voyeurism and homage, the clear and the opaque, and the pretentious and the sublime. Layered and edited to take full advantage of how film can mirror, copy, track, trace and inscribe, the image, the voice, the eyes, the gaze, this particular film shows the nearly-impossible: a person thinking. Or appearing to think. Derrida, as the self who is playing his Other, his image onscreen, is strikingly photogenic - a handsome, tanned, white-haired older man who is like a combination of Einstein and Sartre - sartorial yet slightly eccentric. This is a coincidence the film enjoys - he could have been ugly, and his thought might be the same - but the fact the camera "loves" him allows him to question what love, and cameras, are for. The film constantly implies division, and doubling - sometimes "Jacqui" is a d

On Novellas

The novella is the ideal form of the novel, just as the short lyric poem is the best sort of poetry - for a reason that is self-evident: brevity. Or rather, brevity by way of compression. And not just pounds-per-square-inch. The balance between the demands of the author, and the needs of the reader, seem to find equipoise in the novella - which can be read in one sitting, in one moment and place, just as much as a poem can, or a piece of music may be listened to. While longer works of writing have their different values and charms, one of them, surely, is the function of being able to be "picked up" later. There is no later in a novella - there is the enveloping sense of a dying movement, a now turning into a then, as one flows with the work itself. The novella is the glance at the painting that turns into the look that's held by wanting to see more, but also knows the gallery will be closed in an hour. Its dance with the finite is responsible and sweet at once - the nove

Nothing To Fearing

June 26, 45 years ago today, the great American poet Kenneth Fearing (pictured) died in New York City. See a previous post for more on Fearing.

Firth and Foremost

I am just back from Scotland, where I spent the week-end at a poetry retreat organized by some very bright poetry tutees of mine - held at a remote farmhouse about 40 minutes drive from Dumfries, where Robbie Burns died, overlooking Solway Firth (pictured above). Magma 35 has arrived in the post, including a review I've written, and featuring an essay by Laurie Smith , which proposes there might be a "school of London" poetry. The Guardian and The Times , this week-end, mentioned the Oxfam Poetry CD I edited.,,923-2238597.html And I have read one of the finest novellas in the English language, A Month In The Country , by J.L. Carr . More on that later too. Oh, and England are in the final 8 at the World Cup - thanks to Beckham.

Slammed In Galway Part Deux

The letters keep coming, and The Galway Advertiser sees fit to print them. See below:

Look Again: Re-review of Stigmata

STIGMATA Horror, 1999, USA, 103 minutes Directed by Rupert Wainwright With Patricia Arquette , Gabriel Byrne and Jonathan Pryce One Spec out of Five Headline: Like, a virgin The Vatican has released a list of their favorite films which uplift the human spirit and celebrate Christian values; Stigmata was not one of them. You don’t have to be a biblical scholar to know why this movie is in a downward spiral from reel one. Stigmata is a feature-length music video with a story as thin as a communion wafer. Director Wainwright’s gospel according to MTV is burnt onto every millimeter of film, his cinematic style carbon-dated early 80s: we get every slow-mo pigeon, flickering candle and overflowing bathtub Prince didn’t use for his video When Doves Cry . And the ever-falling rain with nary a rainbow in sight is straight out of Bladerunner . We’ve been in this city of the damned before (Pittsburgh sitting in for Sodom) and know our way around. Unlike “the greatest story ever told” the plot

Midsummer Midafternoon Meeting

Today is the summer solstice. I met Canada's poet laureate today, Pauline Michel (pictured here), at a luncheon event thrown in her honour, in London. Greg's comment about women laureates, below the previous post, is thus all the more apt. Ms. Michel is an extraordinary personality - vibrant, enthusiastic, and fully committed to bringing poetry to all ages, all cultures, and bridging the gulf between the English and French communities in Canada. She also has a wonderful singing voice. It was a delight to meet her (after lunch I invited her to the Ritz for a glass of wine). By the way, her book of poems is translated into English and published by Joe Blade's Brokenjaw Press. Do get it.

Hall, The Conquering Hero

Donald Hall (pictured here) has been appointed the new poet laureate of the United States of America, following Ted Kooser's two-year appointment. That's mainly good news. It might be even better and more productive if the laureates were given at least four years, like American presidents, to ply their trade - they practically shuffle off before the ink is dry. Though, in a fast-paced multicultural democracy like America, two years may be a long time in any revolving door, even one leading to a garden of verses. On that note, when can we expect to see more women as laureates? Hall is a very good and influential anthologist, as well as being an accessible poet in the key of Robert Frost , though his politics apparently skew somewhat to the left of that canny faux-farmer. I have three of his classic anthologies here beside me now, which did much to build trans-Atlantic bridges now all gone the way of the one at Kwai: Contemporary American Poetry (Penguin Books, 1962); The New

Modern Poetry and the Tradition

I am back from Wales, where I read poems with the poet Chris Kinsey , at the Oriel Davies Gallery ( ) in Newtown, and then spent another day book-buying at Haye-on-Wye; and then later, in the drawing room of a Victorian fishing lodge(Pwll-y-Faedda) on the banks of the salmon-rich river, read Yvor Winters . The gallery reading went well - perhaps 45 or so in attendance. The exhibition was of modern British art, 1900-1950, and a Wyndham Lewis of Ezra Pound was to my left (ironically) as I read. Kinsey's work was vivid, rich in imagery, and well-delivered; she was able to connect each of her poems to a painting in the gallery, as she lives nearby. Haye-on-Wye, as may have been said (if not consider it coined here), is to book shops what Venice is to canals. The best has to be Chris and Melanie Prince's The Poetry Bookshop which is on Brook Street; nicely, I found Cleanth Brooks there - namely, a first edition of Modern Poetry and the Tradition , published

The Best Poetry Jury Ever?

A small item in the NB column in the TLS (June 16 2006) has caught Eyewear 's eye. In 1980, Andrew Motion won the Arvon International Poetry Competition . The four-poet judging panel? Ted Hughes, Charles Causley, Seamus Heaney and Philip Larkin . It seems impossible to imagine a much more impressive panel, for the second half of the 20th century, although another possible dream ticket (with the understanding that all poets needed to be contemporaneous and alive) could have been, say, in the early 1950s, T.S. Eliot, W.H. Auden, Dylan Thomas and Robert Frost . Or, for that matter, Wallace Stevens, Robert Lowell, Elizabeth Bishop and W.S. Graham . Such a panel today, to have such striking heft would still include Seamus Heaney, but also Andrew Motion. Who might the other two be? Such trivial games mean almost nothing, but sometimes Eyewear plays them anyway.

Poem by S.J. Holland-Batt

Eyewear is pleased this Bloomsday to, in antipodean style, feature S.J. Holland-Batt. She was born in Southport, Queensland, grew up in Denver, Colorado, and has been living in St. Lucia, Queensland, as a freelance arts writer for localART . Her poetry has appeared in Overland, Cultural Studies Review , and was anthologised in 2004 in Straight Out Of Brisbane (SOOB): New Writing . She was recently selected as Vibewire's Poet in Residence. She recently completed a review of a new critical text on Vladimir Nabokov for the American journal Politics and Culture. I think Ms. Holland-Batt is one of the new voices emerging from Australian poetry we should be keen to follow over the next years, and was glad to feature poetry of hers at Nthposition. Here's a new poem of hers, below: Hailstorm We’ve become used to each other— you don’t yet have a key, but you let yourself in, and boil the kettle meditatively, but tonight everything was shaken loose— we lurched and scuttled in a dazzle

Smith, Todd Smith

Apparently, a small tempest in a teapot rages in Galway, Ireland... just in time for Bloomsday. Last year around the same time, at that summer festival, I was called Todd Smith too, if I recall... (see one of the first posts on the site)... sorry, that was Todd Shaw...

Eric Gregory Reading 2006

For as long as I can remember, poet and organiser Roddy Lumsden has been arranging for the winners of the coveted Eric Gregory prizes in poetry (best UK poets under 30, based on a submitted manuscript or collection) to read in London. This is always an important and anticipated event - the poetic equivalent of a Paris catwalk where the latest fashions are displayed - with the possibility to discover work that might last longer than the usual cycle of short-long-short hem. This year is no exception, and among the readers, for instance, is the much-talked-about Frances Leviston, which Eyewear has in the past written about, saying she might be the best new mainstream voice of her generation (those under 30). The reading takes place this coming Thursday, June 15, after the completion of the England game, 8 pm at the Poetry Studio, Betterton Street. Congratulations to The Eric Gregory award winners for 2006: Fiona Benson Retta Bowen Frances Leviston Jonathan Morley Eoghan Walls

Back To The Future

A recent review of my 2005 sci-fi poetry anthology, Future Welcome , has beamed itself into my field of vision, from the home of William Shatner (McGill). Please see below:

Canadian Hot

Nelly Furtado , the Canadian girl-singer made good, pictured here in front of some gumballs, has the number one single in the UK this week, narrowly beating out the World Cup theme. That's pretty impressive for a country that has fans goose-stepping in Germany. Nelly has brought a Canadian summer heatwave with her new album, just out, Loose - people have been fainting in the London underground today to headlines of TUBE HEATWAVE NIGHTMARE. Plus, The Guardian liked it, too... Speaking of popular Canadians, I read my poems tonight at The Poetry Cafe. Alas, I won't be backed by Timbaland. Nelly has me beat, then - but when has pop ever been poetry's little sister?,,1792851,00.html

Bloomsday Reading, Welsh Style

A little bit like hauling coals to Newcastle, I'll be bringing my poetry to Wales this coming Bloomsday, June 16, to read in Newtown, at the Oriel Davies Gallery, from 7.45-9 pm, with poet Chris Kinsey . Hope to see you there. See the Academi website, below, under news (scroll down) for more information.

Review: Viral Suite by Mari-Lou Rowley

Viral Suite Mari-Lou Rowley Anvil Press, Canada 100 pages Viral Suite is the poetic equivalent of a genre flick (say, a thriller) that’s a guilty pleasure: that is, within the frame of its own choices, production style (very high), and strategies, it yields a precisely-constructed satisfaction - but the uninitiated or just-not-interested might be left out in the cold. In the case of Rowley’s book of poems, let’s say linguistically innovative poetics is the strategy, and the choice is to work within a set of thematic and structural constraints (including prose poetry and scientific and technical jargon) to yield something new and experimental. Rowley’s sense of how poetic and scientific language can interpenetrate to fecund effect is pretty good. Take “Flowers of Sulphur” which opens: Screaming yellow rape ripening in the fields,/ the reeking sulphurous edges of sloughs . In this poem she also tells us “gaseous compounds can kill in seconds” while in “Sex in Space Time” we are advised

Poem by Norman Jope

Eyewear is glad to welcome Norman Jope (pictured here lounging on grass in Budapest) to the Friday feature. Jope is one of the more intriguing innovative poets now writing in the UK - his work is at times satisfyingly strange, exotic and linguistically rich. I have previously anthologised his work in the Nthposition anthology In The Criminal's Cabinet . Jope was born in Plymouth, where he lives again after lengthy periods in other locations (most recently Swindon, Bristol and Budapest) and works, as an administrator, at the College of St Mark and St John. His collection For The Wedding-Guest was published by Stride in 1997, and his poetry has appeared in many magazines, webzines and anthologies. Ex-editor of the magazine Memes and lapsed reviewer for a range of magazines and webzines, he is currently preparing two large-scale retrospective collections (one of poems in verse, the other of poems in prose) as well as editing a critical companion to the work of Richard Burns for

Cope and Contemporary Poetry

Wendy Cope has been one of the key supporters of the Oxfam Poetry Series since it began in 2004. Here she is pictured with me in the shop after the gala finale reading in 2004, along with Patience Agbabi and Charlie Dark , who also read that night. Wendy Cope is one of the most beloved poets of our time - and her darkly witty, formally inventive poetry is the best of its kind - often imitated, never bettered. Her work will endure - and indeed is already canonical, appearing in Norton and many other international anthologies of note. The London-based poet and critic Katy Evans-Bush has written a piece on Wendy Cope that should be read. Here is the link below.

Poetry CD On The BBC

The Oxfam CD is now online at BBC News... See below.

Life Lines: Exclusive Poetry CD For Oxfam Great Britain

Andrew Motion, Al Alvarez, Benjamin Zephaniah, Carol Ann Duffy, Dannie Abse, Fleur Adcock, John Hegley and Pam Ayres are part of a line up of top British and Irish poets who have recorded an anthology CD for Oxfam. It is the first time, ever, that such a large group of poets have met to record their work for such a project. Poetry has been hotly debated within the media recently, facing concerns that it is losing its mass appeal. In a bid to demonstrate how diverse and exciting poetry can be, and to show their support for Oxfam, the UK's leading poets have teamed up to create a CD of their most enthralling work to date. The CD, named Life Lines includes previously unheard works and was launched at St Giles Church, Holborn on 8 June, when Simon Armitage, Wendy Cope, Ruth Padel, Charlie Dark, Patience Agbabi, Jo Shapcott, Peter Finch and Helen Farish will be reading their work. The recording took place on 24th February at the RNIB studio in Camden and it will be sold in 174 Ox

iPoetry In The UK

This just off the wire... The era of the iPoem arrived yesterday with the unveiling of an internet site that will offer more than 1,000 poems to download for 50p each. Verse by poets such as John Hegley , Jean ''Binta'' Breeze and Benjamin Zephaniah will be available through a service inspired by the Apple phenomenon iTunes. Each poem will be spoken by the writer. The site, among the first of its kind in Britain, will also offer film downloads to illustrate the poems. It was welcomed as revolutionary by Andrew Motion , the Poet Laureate, who said: "This is an area with huge potential. If we can have symphonies and religious sermons to listen to on our iPods, why not poems?" The new site, , which will go live in October, will contain 1001 recordings of modern poetry which can be bought for 50p each after an annual subscription of £10. The first month will be free. A spokesman for Apple said poetry was only available through podcasts submitted b

Review: Paul Simon, Surprise

So much has been said of this album already, it arrives like one of those arty, highly-prized films bequeathed to us from the Cannes jury, embalmed in the munifence of its own good intentions. Don't get me wrong. If America has had five or six genuine popular singer-songwriters of genius in the last 100 years, and it has , then Paul Simon is one of them - though not the pre-eminent one - that is Mr. Bob Dylan . But we have to admit, he's in that lucky choir of voices that sing more sweetly than we do, and to which we must bend our ears and attend. So, I respect Simon, and especially Graceland , which arguably influenced contemporary poetry in how it showed the way music, wisdom, playful ease of wit, and style could cohabitate and form something of enduring quality, while still being for the people. Surely, it is an American classic, and not only because the once-fallen and newly-ascendant Gore used "You Can Call Me Al" on his election campaign tours. I respect Simo

Review: The Feeling, Twelve Stops and Home

The band above are The Feeling . They have an eponymous website with bells and whistles, which you're free to find as you please. I feel you might not need to. Their new album, out in the UK June 5th, Twelve Stops And Home , is not, in fact, a typographical error referring to some unfortunate addict's struggle to kick the sugar rush of pop music, but it could be. When someone mentions Supertramp , Bread , 10cc , The Alan Parsons Project and The Beach Boys - well, someone else reaches for their gun. For every mad lover of "Jet" or "Eye In The Sky" there is an equal and opposite personage welling with great hate for such pap - especially people who support the idea that 77 punk was the second coming. Well, The Feeling predicate their very existence on the idea that it was time for an anti-thetical return of the repressed - call them the Soft Negative. Nothing on their fluffy, sickly-sweet, jaunty, piano-tickling Breakfast-in-America-style album is as good as

Preposterous But True?

On the Today program on BBC Radio 4 this morning, unfeasibly dour Scot Gordon Brown , poised to be the next PM, blurted out, against claims that Mr. Cameron , Tory leader, is more stylish and listens to silly songs making him popular, that he, Brown, "listens to Arctic Monkeys " on his iPod. Not one to be churlish, I still find this claim needs to be marked in that great big red book of Lies The Labour Party Told Us, 1997-2006 . But it is true, Gordon, that you'd look good on the dancefloor... like a robot from 1984...

June Poems Online at Nthposition

Two chance operations 16-17 Feb 2006 by Margaret Christakos Fearless & Gross Encounters by Graham Fulton The romance of crime & Wrong by Hannah Walker My father, Asfaw & Rimbaud’s crutches by Chris Beckett Instead by Stav Sadot City of gas by Elizabeth Swados Underground & Being God by Jeni Williams Republic Day, 2001 & Nation Language by Sandeep Parmar The Neds, Evacuation at the Danforth Pool & Astronaut by Michael Kavanagh On the Viaduct, Hampstead Heath by Wynn Wheldon

Terras Astraea reliquit

I attended a production of Titus Andronicus Saturday evening, at " Shakespeare's Globe Theatre " - that is to say, the hyper-real simulacrum of the original, dreamed into being by visionary American Sam Wanamaker and built in the late 90s. This had me fooled. The reconstruction, which is artistically and architecturally faithful, is (perhaps in a Disneyland way) exactly how one expects it to be. It was the first balmy night of the London summer, and the bank of the Thames was thronged with drunks and lovers. Sometimes these were the same people. Have I ever had a better time at a Shakespeare play? Maybe once, when I was fourteen, in Ontario, or so, when Brian Bedford played a brilliant Richard II. But I doubt it. The bawdy, ultra-violent production, directed by Lucy Bailey , takes full advantage of the groundlings as a crowd to swell a scene. Also, the use of carts, as used in medieval mystery plays, pulling the players through the audience, in the round, to declaim an

Six Silk Purses

Fortner Anderson (pictured here in the throes of performance in Montreal) has long been one of my favourite performance poets - or as we in Quebec, Canada like to say - spoken word artists. To my mind, Anderson gets everything right about spoken word, and discards all the pitfalls and pranks that are the practice's tempting ills - that is, his voice is subtle, melodious and full-registered, here threatening, now soft, then smoothly unctuous (then anxious), again enraged, giving voice to the gamut of emotional possibilities of human uttered expression; and, his writing, that is, the words he gives vented voice to, are daring, informed by a canny sense of the history of 20th century performative work (from Dada on down), and thoughtfully engaged with the political and social issues of our age - all this, without, as I said, dwelling in cheap camp, crass humour, or shock for its own sake. In short, Fortner Anderson is one of the most mature, impressive, and alarming of North America

Muldoon & Zevon

Paul Muldoon , next in line to win a Nobel prize for Ireland, the Joycean Moyean Protean Poet is a fan of Warren Zevon (pictured here, see link below) - and has just published his very own Warren Report, in the three part poem, "Sillyhow Stride", published in this week's issue of The Times Literary Supplement . The poem has lots to commend it, though (or because) it's undeniably busily weird, getting more of the world in to its triplicate lines than most issues of Mojo and Lancet combined. Indeed, its disturbing layering of Glocks, Les Paul guitars, Saints, sinners, Twin Towers, and cancer (which moved me especially, as my father has this terrible disease) makes it arguably one of the more richly interleavened poems the TLS has ever published - also, in all likelihood, the most "postmodern". Worth buying the issue for, certainly.

Eye On Adrian Stokes

The man to your right is none other than Adrian Stokes - art critic, painter, poet, and one-time tennis partner of Ezra Pound , in the 1920s. I am currently reading Stoke's Michelangelo , and may report back later on that front; and am also awaiting his poems, from Carcanet, in the post. This last was edited by Peter Robinson , a good poet I know through an email correspondence, and whose work I have gladly published on occasion in things I've edited. Back to Stokes. He combines an interest in several matters that concern me as well - particularly psychoanalysis (in his case, he was Melanie Klein's analysand in the 30s); art, and poetry. Stokes was an influence on any number of artists and writers, including Elizabeth Bishop , and deserves to be read. I hope the link below, written by Robinson, and including some poems by Stokes, will, well, stoke interest.

Look Again: Re-Review of Anna and the King

ANNA AND THE KING Costume Drama, 1999 US, 147 minutes Directed by Andy Tennant With Jodie Foster , Chow Yun-Fat , Bai Ling 3 specs out of 5 Headline: PALACE COUPLE Anna and the King’s opening credits claim it is based on the writings of real-life Anna Leonowens , elegantly waltzing around the royal issue of primogeniture. Everyone knows this film’s a pretender to the throne, a remake of beloved classic The King and I , indelibly starring bald Yul Brynner as the eponymous potentate. This actually signals an important, politically correct shift in the script. In hindsight, there’s something a little less charming and more than a tad awkward about an imperious British schoolmarm taking an Asian ruler to task over how to be more “civilized” - given colonialism’s barbaric legacy. In this revisionary version, Anna’s relationship with the man she works and falls for - King Mongkut (Yun-Fat) - is put in context, and she appears in the unflattering glow of the British East-India Company - a t

She Can't Be Poet Laureate For Two More Years... But Might Be A Good One Then, Eh?

Eyewear congratulates Nicole Brossard , a Francophone Montreal poet, novelist and essayist who has written more than 30 books, for being a recent winner of the Canada Council for the Arts Molson Prize in the Arts . Two Molson Prizes, worth $50,000 each, are awarded every year to distinguished Canadians, one in the arts and the other in the social sciences or humanities. The prizes recognize the recipients' outstanding lifetime achievements and ongoing contributions to the cultural and intellectual life of Canada.

Wanted: Poet Laureate For Canada

Eyewear suggests someone nominate Leonard Cohen ... (although the residency aspect may prove a sticking point). See complicated rules below! PARLIAMENTARY POET LAUREATE FOR CANADA NOMINATIONS SOUGHT The Poet Laureate term is from November 17, 2006 to November 16, 2008. In order to give equal representation to Canada's two official languages, Poets Laureate are selected alternately from each official language community. For the 2006-2008 term an English-speaking Poet will be selected. Candidates must be residents of Canada. Candidates must have made a contribution to the cultural and literary community; have produced written or oral work reflecting Canada; be accomplished literary artists who have influenced other artists; have a substantial record demonstrating literary excellence. The quality of the accompanying supporting documentation, including letters of support, is vitally important to the nomination. Nominators must ensure the following materials are received in the follow

One Year Later

I've been blogging now for a year, since June 2005. In that time, I've: written about poetry readings; books, films, art, albums and other cultural events I've enjoyed or thought worth bringing to wider attention (though how wide is an issue); given notice of obituaries of cultural figures of interest to me; expressed personal political convictions - normally cheering on Chavez and booing Republicans; began to add photos with most posts; tried to link to other good blogs and sites; featured dozens of poets, emerging and established, from around the world; a few times published my own poems; expressed ongoing concern with the quality and content of media discourse on poetry - and equal concern with the way poets of various stripes relate to each other, via poetics, publishing and reviews. More recently, I have begun to describe personal matters, relating to family, friends, and loved ones. Of course, when I began, I had no idea that 7/7 was about to transform London living;