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Showing posts from October, 2013


Patron: Andrew Motion
            Friday November 1st 2013     7.00p.m.(doors open 6.30)                         Ruth O'Callaghan Presents                              Eyewear Publishing Poets               Penny Boxall               Sheila Hillier               Elspeth Smith with Todd Swift Eyewear publisher Poets from the Floor Very Welcome Please bring a copy of the poem if you wish to be considered for the new anthology. Trinity United Reform Church, 1 Buck St, Camden Town 1-2 mins. Camden Town tube Entrance £5/£4          Wine  Camden/Lumen Poetry Competition Judge: Andrew Motion. Prize: 50 free copies of a perfect bound small collection of your poems plus a reading. Poems up to 40 lines. Single poems £2.50,  6 poems £10. Closing date 14 February 2014. Poetry must not be previously published. Proceeds to Homeless Cold Weather Shelters. No entry form is necessary. Please make out cheques to Caris Camden and send Ruth O'Callaghan, 49 Ripley Gardens, Mortlake, Lo…


Finally, the country often considered too dull to notice, Canada, has won a Nobel Prize for Literature, not counting Bellow, and the winner is a deserving one - Alice Munro - a modest person who has lived most of her life in semi-rural Ontario (as the BBC put it), and in the process, become universal, without being provincial. Or overtly political.

Canadians will know that we have had other late geniuses who might have been so laurelled - Mordecai Richler, Robertson Davies, Margaret Laurence, Gabrielle Roy, Morley Callaghan, AM Klein and PK Page come to mind, as do other expats like Wyndham Lewis or Malcolm LowryLeonard Cohen might have been a lively and surprising choice, but if him, why not Dylan?

Of the living, younger generations, Atwood, Carson, Ondaatje, Martel, and George Elliott Clarke have been developing a considerable and viable international reputation.  Their dream is not to be this day.  This is a day for all Canadian writers and readers to rejoice though - we now have …

The Amazing Mazer - A New Poem by Ben

Starlight by Streetlight

October is tinted green, blue, violet, tan,
to accommodate the pedestrian,
who leaves the starlight of the city's windows,
to wander past the shops that evenings close,
on his way home, beneath the roaring el,
where leaves swirl in the air, this side of hell.
A million visages, a million words,
of advertising copy, conversations
heard in the street, or heard in railway stations,
invade the heart, informing its desire
for privacy, for lying in the dark,
and emanating magically higher,
up through the tinted light, the falling leaves,
high up past violet Venus's lone spark,
where moonlight settles on the snow-white eves
of certain quaint restrictions, four mute walls,
the in between state of the darkened halls:
to say, I'm mine. I am the one I am.
Let Archimedes fall on swift, dull Priam.
Let stars be rockets, stir audible Tyre.
The glittering mastodon is all for hire,
and Jesus speaks, and Franklin, and Rousseau,
illuminated there, with piercing echo.
Spread …


Patron: Andrew Motion
Tuesday October 15th 2013(doors open 6.30 for 7p.m.) Ruth O'Callaghan Presents   Shoestring Poets Deborah Tyler-Bennett Roy Marshall Poets from the floor very welcome. Please leave the  poem you read to be considered for the next anthology. LUMEN88 Tavistock Place W.C.1 Tubes: Russell Square , Kings Cross, St Pancras.Entrance £5/£4        WINE Camden/Lumen Poetry Competition Judge: Andrew Motion. Prize: 50 free copies plus a reading.Poems up to 40 lines. Single poems £2.50,  6 poems £10. Closing date 14 February 2014. Poetry must not be previously published. Proceeds to Homeless Cold Weather Shelters. No entry form is necessary. Please make out cheques to Caris Camden and send Ruth O'Callaghan, 49 Ripley Gardens, Mortlake, London SW14 8HF



Eyewear recommends that you celebrate National Poetry Day by buying a poetry book from a small British poetry press today - whether that be Penned in the Margins, Shearsman, Salt, Cinnamon, Seren, Nine Arches, KFS, etc - is up to you.  Maybe the book will be one of Eyewear's handsome hardcovers.  Small presses barely scrape by, and their sales tend to be quite low.  They survive hand to mouth, and partially with the comfort of strangers - good readers who are good buyers.  The less poetry that sells, the less poetry gets published.  If and when small presses dry up, so too do opportunities for emerging and new poets of any age to get their debut collections out.  So, please do think of poetry publishers today, without whom many poets would not be available for you, as a reader to enjoy in book form.


It is National Poetry Day in the UK.  To celebrate, I want to offer readers a poem from the significant Canadian poet Robert Priest's new collection, Previously Feared Darkness.  It is a collection I will be reviewing here before long.  For now, enjoy.


Par Avion
Air-speeded letters sing the light of home.
Lyrical with distance, the blue and red
flecked envelopes become a mother. Home so far away it turns into myth.
Memory lapses into dream and dreams
are forgotten. The only reality is ink. Your mother’s handwriting - neat and clean
on blue paper - soon spidered with age. Her hands tremoring, years passing like the planes tearing overhead as letters
exchanged over the arc of earth between
a woman and her son, Par Avion. Faces, half-recalled, revived by pen:
sisters getting married, fathers always busy,
babies getting born, you missing. Homesickness is an open wound
you may have thrown the letters away, but
I saw the blood through your shirt. It spoke with a red mouth. poem by Maria Taylor, copyright 2013.


Breaking Bad's claim to be the best TV series ever is perhaps weak - there have, after all, been many zeitgeist shows like M*A*S*H, All In The Family, Saturday Night Live, The Simpsons, Get Smart, Star Trek, X-Files, Twin Peaks, Brideshead Revisited, Columbo, Prime Suspect, House of Cards, Prison Break, Monty Python's Flying Circus, Inspector Morse, The Killing, Mad Men, The Wire, Homeland, The Sopranos, etc, to vie for such an accolade.  However, if the category is changed to best American drama series of the contemporary era (post-80s), then the list narrows - and one is left with perhaps a shortlist of Mad Men, The Wire, and The Sopranos, to seriously contest its supremacy; and then it becomes clear just how good these 62 episodes, as a whole are.

It is a very Aristotelian tragedy - for the most part, it centres on an extended family, in one general location, over a limited time span of two or so years, from cancer diagnosis, to cancer remission, to cancer return, to death b…


The Daily Mail's attack on Labour leader Ed Milliband's dead Marxist academic father is almost unprecedented in recent British media history for its virulence and lack of, well, Britishness.  To call a Jewish refugee from Nazism evil takes some gall, and to call one who fought for the British against Nazis evil is even worse.  Perhaps the most obscene aspect of this tirade, which reeks of anti-Semitism, is the photograph of the grave of Ed's father, that was put online as part of the original story.  Given that graves of Jews are often desecrated by fascists, it is rather unsettling to have done so.  It is also unseemly and cruel.

Imagine if your own deceased loved one was so vilified?  Moreover, it is not "unBritish" to be a left-wing academic.  Britain's greatest poet and prose writer of the last century, WH Auden and George Orwell, were, at one time or another, rather socialist in bent, to put it mildly.  England's greatest indie band, The Smiths, is op…