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Showing posts from June, 2012

St John the Baptist and Prometheus

Today is the feast of St John the Baptist , one of only three days in the Catholic calendar given over to celebrating the birth of someone.  It also marks the occasion of the national day in Quebec.  St John the Baptist, the last prophet, bridged the Old and New Testaments with his preaching of the coming of Christ, and the full immersion in the river Jordan.  I last night saw Prometheus , a well-made, often terrifying, and sometimes thoughtful, prequel to Alien , directed by Ridley Scott , with enough theology and myth in its subtext to raise Joseph Campbell from the dead.  I note the grim humour in the naming of the infertile Christian heroine, Elizabeth, who is subject to an unwanted and horrific precursor pregnancy.  Of course, the Baptist's mother's name was Elizabeth and she too was barren, until God made her pregnant.  In the inverted, fallen world of the film, where men and robots play god to the destruction of many, the tentacular ur- creature that emerges from Elizab

Poems by Mark Boog Translated By Nikki Dekker

Good news.  A very fine young Dutch poet, who also writes and published in English,  Nikki Dekker , has translated several of Mark Boog 's poems from the Dutch for Eyewear .  Boog is one of the most popular and criticaly appreciated poets currently writing in The Netherlands.  Here they are, published here online for the first time.       It seems it will rain It seems it will rain. In silent anticipation the grey morning, which just can’t help being dry, little. Somewhere the relief of expectations that come true, no matter how bleak. Not to rain is unacceptable. The other, accomplished, and the shortcomings, they complete each other. Illustrations, nothing but illustrations. On the bed, in the room that looks colourless, bled to death, a colourless figure. White, scrawny and forthcoming the facade and the linens. What is the bed doing in the living room? The bed lives in the living room. It will rain, it is dry. Nowhere Fish

Poetry Focus On: OLIVER DIXON

Oliver Dixon is a poet and writer based in London whose poems and reviews have appeared in PN Review, London Magazine, The Wolf, Frogmore Papers, Long Poem Magazine, Blackbox Manifold and Gists and Piths . His debut volume is forthcoming February 2013 from Penned in the Margins. He blogs at Ictus . Cartoon Man One moment sun, same ochre as the leaves it’s steeped through, gracing my meander home from work – the next : this odd attempt at rain, hardly rain at all but just this gentlest sprinkling imaginable, sparkling down out of a blue cloudless except for several oval clumps like ideas occurring to a cartoon man: am I him then, caught between two weathers, clowning through this ticker-tape parade of glimmers set up for someone worthier to read a Sign in, some epiphanic confirmation of faith – for him, perhaps, the old asylum-seeker, fled from war and displacement as I’ve fled driving-tests and over-crowded tubes, but too busy toda

Haliburton V

Andrew Sarris Has Died

Sad news.   Andrew Sarris , one of the greatest of all film critics, has died.  Sarris was a huge influence on me as a writer of criticism, and a poet, since I have always been very aware of, and influenced, by film and film theory.  Sarris, of course, developed the auteur theory from his reading of Cahiers du Cinema , and elevated Hitchcock and other so-called film noir, B movie and entertainment directors into artists.  Without Sarris, it would have been hard to fully appreciate films like Touch of Evil or Psycho .  He gave us so much.

Turing At 100

Alan Turing is one of Eyewear 's great heroes - arguably one of the most important people of the 20th century - and who else can lay claim to shortening World War Two by years and basically inventing the computer as we know it - so, an intellectual superman who was also, tragically, almost unrecognised in his lifetime for wartime secrets reasons, and then forced into chemical castration simply for being gay.  As I have said before, no other genius of the last 100 years was treated so shabbily, making him the scientific equivalent of a Van Gogh - a splendid one-off mind, whose time had no real way of appreciating him fully.  Now on his 100th birthday, the BBC reports he may not have committed suicide after all, but died from a bungled cianide experiment in one of his rooms.  Careless with cianide, or tired with life, Turing gave far more to the world than he received in return, and it is so good to see him iconic, and loved, now.

Love Eyewear? Buy The T-Shirt.

Folks, Eyewear has given you years of daily pleasure for almost a decade.  Time to pay for those cheap, indeed, free, thrills: with a t-shirt that costs less than a movie, or a good Indian take-away.  Yes, that's right, Eyewear now has T-shirts available with our cool logo - in small, medium, large and extra-large sizes.  Be the first kid on your block to wear the ultra-hip, savvy and post-ironic heavy cotton fruit of the loom garment that indicates you are a proud Eyewearer! We could have used an eye-catching model but asked Martin Penny to wear the shirt instead


The greatest living poet in the English language born since 1940, Paul Muldoon , turns 61 today.  Happy Muldoonday!

British Summer

Summer has arrived with today's solstice!  And, oddly, the sun is actually shining, the pale roses are wild and full on the trellis, and Wimbledon is soon to begin.  All seems well.  There is even a great new summer pop song, from Hot Chip , called 'Motion Sickness', which is a wonderful mix of Motown and OMD .  Eyewear wishes you all a great summer.

Great Pumpkins

It is five years, more or less, since Eyewear last reviewed a Smashing Pumpkins album here.  Last time, it was Zeitgeist , and I raved and gushed .  It was a sort of Second Smashing.  Now here comes Mr. Corgan , apparently armed with the same portentous ego and nasal imperatives, and a bunch of new cronies, to give us, this day, Oceania , presumably named after one of the superstates at war in Orwell 's novel.  Depending on where you stand, this new LP is either an imposition similar to being boxed about the ears by an immature giant, or a wonderful greatest day ever. I am of the latter camp, more or less.  I am a fan of Corgan.  I don't see through his soaring bluster and corny ambitons, his roaring guitar riffs and drum beats stolen from West point, via Queen 's Flash Gordon soundtrack.  No, I always bought the semi-camp leap of faith required, the adrenalin buzz, the bloodrush, the nonsensical zoom of Smashing Pumpkins, the stately plumpness of its gall.  For what the

Nalbandian On The Run

Almost everyone in the world of tennis has lined up to kick poor David Nalbandian , suddenly the most infamous poor sport in recent memory.  I for one feel some sympathy for him.  Most people have a wee temper - not that they usually kick bits of wood perilously close to people's shins - and we can all imagine being a player, stressed, frustrated, tired, momentarily seeing red, and booting some wood.  It was Nalbandian's bad luck that the wood broke off, and badly cut an official's leg - a most unfortunate accident.  But accident it was.  Yet the look of pompous incredulity on the official's face suggests a certain noblesse oblige at work.  One does not do such things here.  Anyway, Nalbandian was immediately declared the loser, fined a great deal of money, and is even now being investigated by the police, who presumably have no murders or rapes to look into.  What a lot of nonsense.  The match was spoiled, the crowd and players denied a proper final, and a good player

Poetry Focus On: BECKY MAYHEW

Becky Mayhew, Young British Poet Becky Mayhew lives in Surbiton, Surrey, and has just finished a Masters degree in Creative Writing and Publishing at Kingston University. She has had a book of short stories published by Treehouse Press , and writes humorous articles for local newspapers and websites. She is currently writing a novel inspired by human life and local pubs. Elocution Lessons Me Mam had her voice knocked out of her When they made the move from Up North. A grand little lass with broad ‘ohh’s’ and ‘aa’s’ Submerged in the South henceforth. Her mouth spilled air from the fresh green earth Of Lancashire’s faraway land. Six year-old lips curling round words That were seized by a teacher’s firm hand. It didn’t take long for the North to come out Like a grass stain lifting in’t wash. She practised at home, her new southern voice, Me Granddad said, ‘Eee, you sound posh.’ Soon there was nothing, no trace of the hills, The cobbles, the spir

Smith On Lung Jazz and Kingston MA Poets Pamphlet

Barbara Smith reviews Lung Jazz: Young British Poets for Oxfam Edited by Todd Swift and Kim Lockwood Cinnamon Press/Eyewear Publishing, 2012 & The Hallelujah Chorus Kingston University MA Poetry Various poets, 2012 Back in autumn of 2008, seventeen young British Poets were selected for inclusion in The Manhattan Review (Fall/Winter 2008-9), as part of a feature on young British poets. Indeed, I went over to London the following March of 2009 and witnessed some of the selected poets read from their work at Oxfam, Marylebone, to a large, very receptive audience. In introducing his selection in The Manhattan Review , Todd Swift described poetry’s “British Empirical tradition” as still having a sense of the “neo-classical, or Romantic, mode”; that language had become the battleground; and that the British avant-garde tended to “disrupt or reconsider the lyric stance, and investigate language from a philosophical position.” He went on to assert that the poets he h

Rodney King Has Died

Sad news.   Rodney King , who shot to unwanted world fame in one of the first examples of mass media exposure of police brutality, has been found dead at the bottom of a pool in Los Angeles, in a cruel real-life echo of Sunset Boulevard , though his streets, as he discovered, were meaner.

Poetry Focus On: PHOEBE POWER

Phoebe Power  received one of the 2012 Eric Gregory Awards, just announced last week. She was also a Foyle Young Poet of the Year in 2009, and h er poems have appeared in  Orbis ,  Pomegranate, Domestic Cherry  and  Fire .  Last year, she had a poem iced onto cake by  Poetry Digest.  She is based near Penrith, and is currently studying English at Cambridge. You can read her poems at .  Mr – Always in my back room. Swinging landscape painting, this woollen, curlsome mass. Caught in the seams of a shadow or stencil it’s him, the familiar place. I would burst past handwriting, be wrapped in voice and eyes, but flotsam, sharp stones. A dam. My head gongs metal, and spins dizzily away. I have rehearsed this for five years, killing myself very slowly. My body would mature but its new growths  denature, deform as I ram and ram against him, through every second’s pore, while he smiles at the wall like a buddha backlig

Poetry Focus On: HARRY MAN

Harry Man, young British poet Harry Man was born in 1982 and holds an MA in Creative Writing from Bath Spa University. He has performed work at Glastonbury festival, Reading, Latitude and at NextFest in Alberta Canada among others.   Last year he collaborated with Canadian contemporary dancer and choreographer Jennifer Essex on her production for the London College of Fashion in the Cochrane Theatre in Holborn.   He works as a digital editor for an independent publishing house near his home in South London.  Not Fixed His Canon I have scanned the headlines a hundred times, and know the perfect way to poach an egg. My theatrically posed electrical guts are on display through the roof of my head.  Here my parts are highly-prized by the brave or the certified. My outpourings are the stuff of office legend and the game is up, it was me all along – I swallowed the fiscal year final accounts and the list of fourth floor first aiders to avoid capt

Bowden on Alt-J

Lydia Bowden Lydia Bowden, Eyewear 's Music Critic, focuses in on Alt-J Indie? Electro-geek pop? I don’t know, I just made that up. Alt-J don’t want a genre, nor do they want to be labelled or compared to any other band out there- they are completely unique. I don’t know where to begin if I’m honest. I was looking through my Facebook only a month ago and I came across a link my fellow music obsessive friend had posted on my wall. It was a song called ‘Breezeblocks’ and I thought: oh here we go, another group of guys stamping their feet and whining into the microphone- how very wrong I was. Before I mention what I heard, I need to point out the visual. This is of course the video I’m talking about; A fight between a man and woman rewound so the ending is ultimately the beginning. It’s action packed, it’s fast and it’s like a short drama unfolding in front of you, but then you hear the music- the smooth vocals of front man Joe Newman playing over the top of it, turni


Tuesday 19th June 2012 (doors open 6.30 for 7p.m.) Ruth O'Callaghan Presents Readings by Martyn Crucefix Frank Dullaghan Poets from the floor very welcome. LUMEN 88 Tavistock Place W.C.1 Tubes: Russell Square , Kings Cross, St Pancras. Entrance £5/£4 Wine Patron Carol Ann Duffy - Poet Laureate


Eyewear , despite the many hiccups, has been going now for over 2,750 posts (this is the 2,751st).  Boy are my arms tired.  Thanks for dropping by, from time to time, and taking a peek.  If you really want to help out, please consider checking out   and ordering a copy of our debut poetry collection by Morgan Harlow - it is a book of witty, intelligent American poems in a very elegant hardcover designed by Dutch artist and poet Edwin Smet .

The Final Shortlisted Poet: #12 BETHAN TICHBORNE

It has been a very challenging time, attempting to finalise the shortlist, but the 12th and final poet up for the 2012 Melita Hume Poetry Prize is Bethan Tichborne . Tichborne lives in a co-op in East Oxford. She graduated from Oxford University in 2008, where she studied Philosophy and Italian. Since then she has worked as a care assistant and an anti-sweatshop campaigner. She is currently preparing for a trip to Afghanistan to write a book about young peace activists living in Kabul.  She is related to Chidiock Tichborne , whose elegy is one of the classics of English Literature. Bethan Tichborne, the 12th and final shortlisted poet for the MHPP 2012

Melita Hume Prize: Who Will The Last Shortlisted Poet Be?

I have now shortlisted 11 very impressive young poets' debut collections for the Melita Hume Poetry Prize 2012.  The 12th, and final, poet, will be announced no later than Monday, June 11.  The winner is to be chosen by Tim Dooley and announced August 1.  Keep your eyes on the road and your hands upon the wheel...

Melita Hume Poetry Prize Shortlist: #11 DAMI AJAYI

'Dami Ajayi, shortlisted for the MHPP 2012 ‘Dami Ajayi was born in 1986. His poems have appeared in Mapletree Literary Supplement , Ann Arbor Review , African-Writing Online and elsewhere. He was amongst the “Eight Young Nigerian Poets Whose Poems Delight” on the Sentinel UK Poetry Blog in 2011. He is the co-publisher of international online literary magazine, Saraba . Clinical Blues is his first collection of poems.

Melita Hume Poetry Prize Shortlist: #10 POLLY ATKIN

Polly Atkin, shortlistedf for the MHPP 2012 Polly Atkin was born in Nottingham in 1980, and later lived in East London for seven years before moving to Cumbria in 2006 to conduct doctoral research on literature and place. Her poems have been published in various magazines and journals including Rialto , Orbis, Tellus, and Flax, most recently in Pilot Pocket Book 9 (Toronto), 1110/3 (Nottingham) and Magma 53 (London) . Various of her poems have been placed first in the Troubadour (2008) and Kent and Sussex (2011) Competitions, placed third in the Strokestown (2004) and Ashbourne (2011) Poetry Festival Prizes, been commended in the National Sonnet (2007), McLellan (2009), Basil Bunting (2010), Wigtown (2010) and Troubadour (2010) Competitions, and shortlisted for the Wasafiri New Writing Prize (2011).  Her poem ‘Seven Nights of Uncreation’ was chosen for inclusion in the ACE Abolition! project, commemorating the Abolition of the Slave Trade Act, 1807, and published in the ass

Melita Hume Poetry Prize Shortlist: #9 BEN PARKER

Ben Parker was born in 1982 and completed a creative writing MA with Distinction at the University of East Anglia in 2008. His work has appeared in a number of magazines, including Popshot, The White Review, Under the Radar and Envoi , as well as Lung Jazz: Young British Poets for Oxfam . He regularly reviews poetry for a number of online publications. His debut pamphlet will be published by tall-lighthouse in October 2012. Ben Parker, shortlisted for the MHPP 2012

Ray Bradbury Has Died

Sad news.  America's greatest speculative prose writer since Edgar Poe , the genius of uncanny and strange stories, short and long, Ray Bradbury , has died, at the age of 91, just as the rare transit of Venus began.  Any reader of Playboy knows his stories, which added lustre to those steamy pages.  The Martian Chronicles was much-watch TV in my childhood.   Something Wicked This Way Comes and The Illustrated Man classics.  And then, of course, there is Fahrenheit 451 .  If Bradbury never quite became as big as Orwell or Burgess , he is certainly the equal or master of any science fiction/ horror writer of the last century, including Asimov, Clarke, Herbert , King and Heinlein . Perhaps his books were turned into weird, or schlocky screenworks.  Perhaps he wrote too much.  I never minded.

My 9th Wedding Anniversary Is June 6!

June 6, 2003 On His Wedding Rising early as if for a duel, seconded By a best man, I wake to sky that’s bleu cĂ©leste , Rented tails, and fresh anxiety, but bride And groom do not turn backs to pace.  We Collide at an altar, as though it was a super- Conductor.  As old Wagner marches You up the aisle, my awe wells up at what is Brought in: veiled, molecular, still flowing out. Your entrance is an atomic favour, for witnesses Observe us, met here not to cut, but sew space Rent in multi-fabrics.  Our cells push and pull, Mysterious as that new-smashed meson X(3872). Side-by-side, apart, like shadow and Direct flame crossing to overlap, as a rosy flower Sometimes is mistaken for its name. June 6, 2003 by Todd Swift

CFS: The Poet's Quest for God, reminder

Call for Submissions The 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 Deadline for submission: August 1, 2012 Eyewear Publishing is publishing an anthology of new, previously unpublished or recently published, 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

Melita Hume Poetry Prize Shortlist: #8 PENNY BOXALL

Penny Boxall was born in 1987 in Surrey. She graduated in 2009 from UEA with an MA with distinction in Creative Writing (Poetry). Her poetry has appeared in The Salt Book of Younger Poets, Mslexia, The Rialto and Tate etc . She has been shortlisted for an Eric Gregory Award.  In 2010 she won the Frederick van Eeden poetry competition. Her poems have come third in Segora, highly commended in the Museum of London competition, and runner-up in the 2011 Mslexia competition. Formerly the Literature intern at The Wordsworth Trust, she now works in Oxford.

Melita Hume Poetry Prize Shortlist: #7 KIMBERLY CAMPANELLO

K. Campanello, shortlisted for the MHPP 2012 Kimberly Campanello was born in Elkhart, Indiana. She now lives in Dublin. Her chapbook Spinning Cities was published by Wurm Press in 2011. She was the featured poet in the Summer 2010 issue of The Stinging Fly , and her poems have appeared in several magazines in the US, UK, and Ireland, including The Irish Left Review , The Cream City Review , Burning Bush II , Tears in the Fence , and nthposition . She is an assistant editor of Rowboat , a new international magazine dedicated to poetry in translation. She has an MFA from the University of Alabama and is in the final year of her PhD at Middlesex University, London. 

New Poem by Kevin Higgins: On Poyntz

Whereabouts for JulietPoyntz (1886-1937) You deliver envelopes you must under no circumstances open to men whose names you never ask in hotel lobbies in Baltimore, Copenhagen, Shanghai… No one you know has seen you in three years. On a New York street you happen upon an old friend, you used to like to disagree with – those big opinioned, diner nights you can’t quite forget – talk over your new found disgust: the white-walled cells into which you’ve seen people you call ‘comrade’ one by one vanish to be kept awake all night and confess under extreme electric light. Over coffee you are full of the book you’re planning to write. Already evening. Earlier today, at a chateaux in central France, Edward married Mrs Simpson.   You leave your room at 353 West 57th Street to buy The New York Times or some Lucky Strike cigarettes. No luggage nor extra clothes. Behind you, everything you own. A solitary candle still burning.

Battersea Rises

The Greatest Briton

Melita Hume Poetry Prize Shortlist: #6 CALEB KLACES

Caleb Klaces, shortlisted for the MHPP 2012 Caleb Klaces was born in 1983 in Birmingham, UK. His poetry has been published in journals including Poetry , Poetry London , Horizon Review , Manchester Review and Oxford Poetry ; his essays most recently in The Threepenny Review and The White Review. In 2012, he has been named a Granta ‘New Poet' and shortlisted for Salt publishing's Crashaw Prize. His chapbook, All Safe All Well , was published by Flarestack Poets in 2011, and is now in its second run. He is founding editor of online collaborative poetry project Likestarlings . Longer ago, he was twice a Foyle Young Poet and once the Young Poet of Ledbury Poetry Festival. His work appears in Lung Jazz: Young British Poets for Oxfam (2012).

Guest Review: Williamson On Morley

Heidi Williamson reviews Snow Child by Abegail Morley Abegail Morley’s second poetry collection comes with a classy pedigree. Her debut, How to pour madness into a teacup was short-listed for the 2010 Forward Prize for Best First Collection. Although it’s only two years since her first collection, where other poets might have rushed together new material into a less coherent book, Morley’s work is well-developed, keenly edited, and arranged to give the maximum power to each poem, as well as the narrative arc of the collection as a whole. The subject-matter is familiar – charting the development of a relationship, loss and betrayal, as well as emotional break-down. But the power, honesty, and at times stunning rawness of Morley’s voice set these pieces apart. From ‘Unstable’ beginnings to ‘The last moment’, it’s clear we’re in the hands of a writer in total control of her (extremely emotionally volatile) material. There is humour here too, in unexpected places. M