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Showing posts from April, 2012

Sexy Crazy CIA Carrie

Yes, that's right, the new telly sexy star of the moment in Blighty is Claire Danes, playing the bipolar CIA intelligence expert who loves Jazz, lives alone, and doesn't want there to be another terror attack on US soil on her watch.  She replaces Ms. Lund, the dour Scandinavian police detective of the infamous jumper.  Poor Carrie, in episode 11 of season 1 of Homeland, has gone all mental without her pills after a bomb-trauma.   This is good for mental health sympathy.  This is good TV.  But is it propaganda?  Who cares.  Bring it on.  Eyewear like Obama loves the show.

Adrian, Boast, Jordan, Lockwood and Nadin Reading 2 May!

LONDON SE1: Special Edition: Oxfam Young Poets Anthology 2 May 2012
The Saison Poetry Library
Level 5
Royal Festival Hall
Belvedere Road
London SE1 8XX Admission free but space is limited. To book your place "The official launch of Lung Jazz: Young British Poets for Oxfam (Cinnamon Press, 2012), edited by Kim Lockwood and Todd Swift.  The anthology represents the generation of British poets born since 1970, offering a single poem each by over 150 of the most promising of the period.  Profits go to the charity, and it will be sold across their network of charity shops.  Five poets will read at the launch: Kim Lockwood, Beverley Nadin, Rachael Boast, Paul Adrian, and Meirion Jordan." Note that Rachael Boast is the 2011 winner of the Forward Prize best first collection; Paul Adrian is winner of 2010 National Poetry Competition; Nadin is the 2009 winner of the Poetry Business poetry pamhlet competition; Lockwood is co-editor of Lung Jazz;…

Leah Fritz launch

Leah Fritz's new collection Whatever Sends the Music into Time is being launched on Wednesday 9 May 2012 at 7.30pm in the Barbican Library.

The launch event is free, but if you wish to come it is important to reserve a place in advance by phoning the Barbican Library on 020 7638 0569.

"The well known"?

Got this by email:

"The summer Poetry Review will be guest-edited for the first time by George Szirtes and contains excellent poems by the well known, such as Owen Sheers, Philip Gross, Susan Wicks, Matthew Sweeney, Jane Yeh and Maurice Riordan but also exciting new work by Shazea Quraishi, A.B.Jackson, C. Jess-Cooke, Tom Warner and many others, as well as a Centrefold section that serves as introduction to work by important poets not usually in the limelight. Not to mention reviews of the largest books.

Renew now to make sure you get your copy of Poetry Review, and Poetry News, when they come out in June. "
A.B. Jackson is rather well known already, is he not?  Forward prize winner or nominee, if I recall, and one of the best Scottish poets.  Funny phrase that, "the well known" - I suggest they not use it again, it rings a bit funny.

Frogmore Contest!

Sponsored by the Frogmore Press
The winner of the Frogmore Poetry Prize for 2012 will win two hundred guineas and a two-year subscription to The Frogmore Papers. The first and second runners-up will receive seventy-five and fifty guineas respectively and a year’s subscription to The Frogmore Papers. Shortlisted poets will receive copies of selected Frogmore Press publications. Previous winners of the Prize have been David Satherley, Caroline Price, Bill Headdon, John Latham, Diane Brown, Tobias Hill, Mario Petrucci, Gina Wilson, Ross Cogan, Joan Benner, Ann Alexander, Gerald Watts, Katy Darby, David Angel , Howard Wright, Julie-ann Rowell, Arlene Ang, Peter Marshall, Gill Andrews, A K S Shaw and Sharon Black.
Adjudicator:  Janet Sutherland was born in 1957 and grew up on a dairy farm.  She studied at the universities of Cardiff and Essex, and has an MA in American Poetry.  Her first collection Burning The Heartwood was published by Sh…

Ripple effect

You are cordially invited to attend the 2012 Ripple launch on:
Sunday, May 6th
7:00 -10:00 p.m.
The Slug and Lettuce-Kingston-Upon-Thames
Charter Quay, 6 Jerome Place, Town Centre KT1 1HT
Established in 2004, this vibrant literary anthology showcases a cross-section of
the high quality work being created by current Kingston University students.
This year's collection of prose, poetry and dramatic pieces are based on the
theme ‘a moment in time.’ Professionally edited and produced by MA and
MFA students of Publishing and Creative Writing, Ripple 2012 is the result of a
great collaboration and a passion for the next generation of the written word.
Copies will be on sale in addition to contributor readings.
Don't miss out on this evening of exceptional readings and networking.
Please R.SV.P. to Lisa Vanterpool at (Your
R.S.V.P. is appreciated yet not required.)
*For media inquires please contact Holly Yamamoto at
A special thank you to…

100 Best Poetry Books Of The Last 100 Years In English

Eyewear is beginning a new and occasional series of photos - featuring the 100 best poetry books of the last 100 Years, in English (this time around).  So, we are talking 1912-2012.  The books will not be in order - each is a classic in their own right.  Obviously, this is a personal-critical evaluation, and no scientific accuracy is claimed or required for such an offering.  Many readers will own, or know, or have read, these.  If not, do so, please.  And feel free to suggest future candidates.  Number One is Harmonium.

Eyewear New Look

I Love You, It's Cool

Bear In Heaven are yet another one of these "Brooklyn Indie Bands" that are essentially synth-rock outfits, all reverb and as Pitchfork notes, digitization.  Well, I love their new album, just out, I Love You, It's Cool. Fresh as new paint from Tom Sawyer's brush, the songs answer the question, what would happen if Animal Collective went back in time and fused with Depeche Mode and Tears for Fears.  You'd get loping, emotive, ultra-cool synth songs with just a bit more dreampop shiver-shimmer, sung in an American key of boyish yearning.  'Sinful Nature' and 'The Reflection of You' are two of the best indie pop songs you'll hear in 2012, or 1982.

Finalised Line-Up For Goodenough

Readers (one poem each) for May 16thLung Jazz celebration at Goodenough College, London.... should be a great night.

White On

Jack White has emerged in 2012 as the natural heir to the mantle of Bob Dylan - that is, as the most-American, most-enigmatic, most-talented, most-sexy, and most-witty songwriter-singer of a generation.  Others, we were told, were that good, such as Bon Iver, Sufjan Stevens, and Bright Eyes.  Yet now, it is clear, with Blunderbuss and the universal critical acclaim it is achieving, and the five-star shows of the last few days in Paris and London - White is in a class of his own.  Rather, he is very much the Dylan/Cobain of the period 1999-2012 and onwards.  If one considers what White has already achieved, with The White Stripes, and in side project bands like The Raconteurs, and The Dead Weather, and as a producer, even as a Bond Theme performer - and now with his debut album - is nothing short of remarkable.  White's classics include 'Fell In Love With A Girl', 'Hotel Yorba', 'We're Going To Be Friends', 'Seven Nation Army' and 'Ball &…

Eyewear In Talks With....

Eyewear Publishing has some very talented poets lined up in the next few years.  I am currently in talks to publish new or debut collections, with, among others, Kate Noakes, Barbara Marsh, Sheila Hillier, and Geraldine Clarkson!  And excellent collections keep rolling in. Stay tuned.

Zach Tough

There is a Canadian poet-critic called Zach Wells who fancies himself a man of the people, and he proudly guards the borders of Canadian poetry and letters.  As far as I can tell, Wells is not widely published outside of North America, but he seems, in this recent review for a well-known online American magazine, to have gone out of town, for the bitter-bile sweepstakes.  His review is a model of what, exactly, makes Canadian poetry so small, in the main.  Its outlook is provincial, pinched, and unflinchingly ungenerous.  His main argument is that it is difficult to anthologise Canadian poetry.  He then takes myself and co-editor Evan Jones to task for trying to do just that, when we put together the first British anthology of Canadian poetry in over 50 years.  No imagination is used to conjure with just how improbable, and by extension, challenging, such a project was, to conceive and achieve.

Rather, the focus is unrelentingly trivial - typos, poems and poets excluded, and the gene…

Best Album Of 2012 So Far? Crybaby.

Much has been said of Crybaby, and all of it is generally obvious, as will be my brief remarks here, no doubt.  The band, comprised of one bearded, bespectacled, balding Bristol-based singer-songwriter, is not seemingly a very promising proposition - the world hardly needs any more hairy singers.  What makes this eponymous album so brilliant, even wonderful (and endlessly rewarding on replay) is how it manages to convey several vital strands of music history to the present, despite and because of its evident elements of pastiche and homage.

Crybaby is an album of 10 slow, and mid-tempo songs - torch-songs, mostly, crooned with precisely the same passionate intensity, glottal warble, and leapfrog inflection as Morrissey - indeed, this is a missing Smiths album, if The Smiths had used more piano, organ and reverb.  Crybaby is as flamboyant and heroic as Gene Pitney, as Orbison - it swoons with heartache, wearing sorrow like its panache.  The lyrics move the songs beyond 50s/80s genuflect…

New Poem by Todd Swift

Lord Play

the less
is the more of it
the settle
is the score of it

the paid
is the whore of it
the bored
is the boar of it

the wit
is the stress of it
the knit
is the fettle of it

the crit
is the made of it
the lit
is the poured of it

confess, kettle, said
lord to nitwit
your tilt is pure metal
whereas i sit by noblesse

by Todd Swift, 2012

Guest Review: Ruthen On Moure

Philip Ruthen reviews
O Resplandorby Erin Moure

There are certain certainties to the Erin Moure collection O Resplandor, presented as an experimental text that provided elements of attraction despite its lingering refusal to fully engage, and I with it. Moure, long-respected and seriously award-winning ‘Canadian’ poet, translator, philosopher, politician of the body, offers text that is strangely limited by comparisons with poetry itself.
There are subjects to be beguiled by in movements across public worlds of the confessional, philosophic, historic, mystery and myth-making, as Moure constructs sense and sensibility. If, as the publisher’s cover blurb states ‘the act of reading contains all the experiences of the body itself’, should the reader expect the meta-physical?
No more on this trip will the wall bow down to me kindly. No more a beard of earth stilled in the hand’s palm
…Time comes still, when the plough is about to cut again
…and every familiar comes wearing your cap over the rocky t…

Crypto Poetic

The next Poetry in the Crypt will be at 7 p.m. on Saturday May 26th in the crypt under St Mary's Church, on Upper Street, Islington.
The evening will feature Kingston University's Emerging Poet in Residence, Liz Berry, an exciting new voice from Canada, Jenna Butler, (whose previous invitation to the crypt was thwarted by the Icelandic ash cloud), and Poetry in the Crypt host Nancy Mattson reading from her brand new collection Finns and Amazons. More details of all these excellent readers can be found on the attached flier.
As always, there will also be floor spots, free tea, coffee and cake at the interval and an excellent bookstall. All proceeds will go to Hospice Care Kenya.

Call for Submissions: The Poet's Quest For God

Call for SubmissionsThe Poet’s Quest for God: 21st Century Poems of Spirituality Edited by Dr. Oliver V. Brennan and Dr. Todd Swift For Publication by Eyewear Publishing 2013-14 Deadline for submission: August 1, 2012
Eyewear Publishing is planning to publish an anthology of new, mostly previously-unpublished poems, written in English, concerned with spiritual issues in this secular age, by persons of any faith, or none.  Submissions will be welcomed via email as word documents, containing no more than three poems, and including contact details and a brief 100 word biographical note about the author. One of the characteristics of our contemporary culture which is generally described as post-modern is the human search for the spiritual.  The advent of post-modernity has been accompanied by the dawn of a new spiritual awakening.  Many spiritual writers say that desire is our fundamental dis-ease and is always stronger than satisfaction.  This desire lies at the centre of our lives, in…

The Melita Hume Prize To Be Judged By Tim Dooley!

Exciting news.  Eyewear Publishing's significant new prize - £1000 for best debut collection by an English-language poet born in or since 1980 (from anywhere in the world) - is to be judged in 2012 by British poet and editor Tim Dooley.  Tim Dooley is reviews and features editor of Poetry London.  He has reviewed poetry for the TLS and worked as a creative writing tutor for Arvon, Writer's Inc. and The Poetry School.  He was twice won the Poetry Business pamphlet competition, and Tenderness (2004) was a Poetry Book Society choice.  His 2008 collection for Salt, Keeping Time, was PBS recommendation.  Imagined Rooms (Salt, 2010) came out to much acclaim.  Eyewear is very pleased to be associated with Tim Dooley as judge for this competition - his measured approach to differing poetic modes, integrity of vision, and evident poetic talent make him an ideal  scout for the very best of new writing.  There is no entrance fee for the Melita Hume Prize.  Deadline is submission postmark…


As everyone on the planet now knows, Titanic sank 100 years ago today, sadly resulting in the loss of hundreds of souls.  Perhaps no cultural response to this modern tragedy is more brilliant (and less discussed, comparatively, these days, at least in comparison to film and television spectacles) than Thomas Hardy's poem 'The Convergence of the Twain'.  The jarring of the two hemispheres, the human, and natural, is eerily fated by The Spinner of Years.  In this blind, process-led world, things happen, but not with any compassion, as the Immanent Will just stirs a sort of sluggish, cruel soup of events.  One of the bleakest poems ever written in English (it makes Larkin seem jolly), it nonetheless captures the curiously disturbing aspects of the disaster - of any event in fact - by mocking the usual positive aspects of a love or marriage poem.  In this case, the consummation is to be greatly not desired.  Yeats was clearly strongly influenced by this poem, when writing …

Guest review: Dixon On Parmar's Mirrlees

Oliver Dixonreviews
Hope Mirrlees: Collected Poems edited bySandeep Parmar
T.S. Eliot’s assertion, in 'Tradition and the Individual Talent', that genuinely new works of art force us to readjust our sense of the whole tradition that lies behind them, so that “the past (is) altered by the present as much as the present is altered by the past”, is equally true of genuinely innovative editions of non-contemporary poets, jostling our preconceptions about a period or movement and obliging us both to reassess what we assumed we knew of literary history and to question the criteria by which that history has been formulated. Peter Robinson’s illuminatingComplete Poetry and Translations of Bernard Spencer(Bloodaxe) from early last year was one such edition, reshuffling our awareness of mid-century English poetry ( all too often dominated by what might be termed the Auden supremacy) by elevating a figure whomEdward Lucie-Smithonce described as “the type of the excellent minor poet” to defin…

Guest Review: Smith On Chase

Barbara Smith reviews
Not Many Love Poems
by Linda Chase

Sometimes it can be refreshing to read a poetry collection without prejudice. By that, meaning that one knows nothing previously about the poet: there is just the poetry to go on. Perhaps that is the way one should read poetry, but sometimes it can be difficult to disengage expectations – Paul Muldoon’s work springs to mind, with his unusual, surprising word choices.

In the case of Not Many Love Poems, by Linda Chase, reading blind pays off handsomely. Here is a collection of strong work, well crafted that reels us in and shows us songs of experience and innocence and every poem encountered is a layer within the whole, making the collection a bittersweet delight: more on the bittersweet later.

This collection is split three ways: I Many Love Poems, II Kisses and Harps and III Our Lives. The first section’s poems look back to an earlier time: songs of innocence layered with the benefit of experience: or is it? Somehow,…

Canadian poetry shortlists

Announcing the Gerald Lampert & Pat Lowther Award Shortlists
April 2, 2012, Toronto: The League of Canadian Poets (LCP) is pleased to announce the shortlist for its 2012 Pat Lowther and Gerald Lampert Memorial Awards. Congratulations to the authors for their fine work and many thanks to the jurors for their hard work on this year’s awards. Winners of these awards will be announced during a special ceremony at the annual LCP Poetry Fest and Conference to be held at the Park Town Hotel in downtown Saskatoon (924 Spadina Crescent East, Saskatoon, SK) on June 16, 2012.
Gerald Lampert Award Shortlist: The Gerald Lampert Memorial Award is given in the memory of Gerald Lampert, an arts administrator who organized authors' tours and took a particular interest in the work of new writers. The award recognizes the best first book of poetry published by a Canadian in the preceding year. The award carries a $1,000 prize. True by Kirsty Elliot (Leaf Press) Yes. by Rosem…

Kingston MA Poets Launch Poster

Adventures In Form

Tom Chiver's increasingly impressive publishing adventure, Penned In The Margins, has now published his edited collection of new and remoded poetic forms, Adventures In Form.  As far as UK poetry publishing goes, at least, this has got to be one of the most eye-opening books of the decade.  It is most noteworthy for two things, I think - cementing Roddy Lumsden as the presiding genius of new poetic forms that he is, and also signalling the mainstreaming of Oulipo constraints among youngish British poets.  Before making a few critical comments, I should say that as a creative writing teacher at university level, this is one book I will certainly encourage my students to beg, borrow or steal (actually not steal) - in fact, I can see myself making it required reading on at least one module.

Supplementing the great Norton anthology of forms, from Boland & Strand, this offers a series of modish and newish formal strategies - as well as some that are not so original (like found poem…