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Showing posts from October, 2014

Eyewear Publishing and B7 Media cordially invite you to a post-Broadcast and Paperback launch

Eyewear Publishing and B7 Media cordially invite you to a post-Broadcast and Paperback launch party for THE BOY FROM ALEPPO WHO PAINTED THE WAR   Written by Sumia Sukkar Dramatised for Radio by Richard Kurti & Bev Doyle   A B7 Production for BBC Radio 4   Saturday, 6-8pm, 8 November 2014 OXFAM SHOP, 91 MARLEYBONE HIGH STREET, LONDON, W1U 4RB   The event will include a reading by the Author, Sumia Sukkar, Book Signing and Q&A   Guest panellists:   Laura Guthrie, LAURA GUTHRIE, PHD RESEACRHER INTO AUTISM AND LITERATURE Bev Doyle and Richard Kurti, RADIO Dramatists Imran Ahmad, COMPOSER Andrew Mark Sewell, EXECUTIVE PRODUCER Patrick Chapman, Producer Fiona McAlpine, Director   As well as the following Cast members, who will be in attendance.   Adam > Farshid Rokey Yasmine > Jalleh Alizadeh Tariq > Amir El-Masry Wasim > Adam El Hagar


 " We all behold with envious eyes Our equal rais'd above our size. Who would not at a crowded show Stand high himself, keep others low? I love my friend as well as you But would not have him stop my view. Then let him have the higher post: I ask but for an inch at most. " - DEAN SWIFT Eyewear Publishing Ltd is today announcing a new prize for the best POETRY BOOK COLLECTION PUBLISHED IN IRELAND OR THE UK IN ANY GIVEN YEAR. This prize is to be judged by one sole INCORRUPTIBLE PERSON EACH YEAR - and, THAT BEING LIKELY HARD TO FIND - the NEXT BEST THING, DR TODD SWIFT, a relation of DEAN SWIFT COLLATERALLY. DR SWIFT AND DEAN SWIFT share SEVERAL THINGS IN COMMON - they both are mad; they both possess genius; they both understand disappointment; they both have round faces; they both love Ireland more than the UK; they both write polemics; and both share the same last name. HOW TO ENTER: POST ONE COPY OF ANY BOOK YOU WISH TO BE CONSIDERED to Dr

Who Is The PBS For?

The Poetry Book Society, founded more than 60 years ago by T.S. Eliot , at that time the world's most famous living poet-publisher-critic, has been issuing quarterly bulletins for decades, that promote certain poets and presses; and for a number of years now, they also host a major national prize, for ostensibly the best poetry book of the year - from the ten-strong shortlist is plucked a worthy winner. To question this society is a bit like questioning the Monarchy - positions are hardened pretty much in line with how one feels about, and relates to, the "establishment" - in this case, the Poetry Establishment of the UK. Of course, no dark-paneled X-Files room exists where such people meet - they meet in public, and we see them at gatherings, clustered in tiny groups of four or six - the top editors from Faber, Picador, laughing and nodding, as they speak to their world famous poets, from Ireland, the US and the UK. In Seamus Heaney's infamous phrase, this is the

Cpl. Nathan Cirillo, Canadian Hero

Canada's heroic soldier, killed by a fanatic yesterday, was typically Canadian beneath his military garb - a family man, a reservist, a lover of nature, friend to animals, a bouncer, personal trainer - no baby-killer here, folks - just a good loyal Canadian 24-year-old guarding a monument honouring the war dead of WWI. His death is all the more tragic for being symbolic - he was killed for being a symbol, and was not seen for the human he was beneath his uniform. But as a symbol he must therefore also be ... honoured, because he died defending Canada. Cpl. Nathan Cirillo should have all the honours a nation can offer given to him, and his family - out of respect and to defy his killer, who sought to crush him, as man, and symbol. Put this great Canadian son on a stamp, please. Name streets in every town after him. Name libraries after him. The Ottawa airport. Defy the killing with a symbolic spree of honour.


In the last few days radicalised men have been attacking, and killing, Canadian soldiers and citizens on Canadian soil - first in Quebec then in Ontario today - connected to our highest ideals of good government and decency.  Canada, often thought of as dull, is anything but - but it has rarely seen such action on its own ground - though of course the land was wrested from various peoples in complex historical struggles over five or more centuries, including fending off Fenian raiders and Americans. Nor is this the most deadly attack with weapons - there was the massacre of the engineering students, there was the assasination of D'arcy Magee, the killing by RCMP of Metis, brutality during strikes, and various serial killers; there have been dramatic standoffs with native Canadians; there have been tanks rumbling in the streets of Montreal; FLQ letter bombs - but yet, despite this, and Canada's involvement in WWI and WWII, and the Korean War - nothing has quite prepared us f


Susan Sontag told us all we need to know about camp, and then we got to hear about it again, this time called the post-modern, and since then, with the digital mash-up world of timeless everything under the sun, it's become the "so bad it's good" meme. Well, regardless of Adorno , I love the new Billy Idol album, just out. The thrill of nostalgia and horrified joy I feel at discovering the songs here are expertly tooled trash, no worse than his mastersong 'Flesh for Fantasy' - equally OTT, performative, queerly wild, uber-flamboyant rock-punk nonsense - can only be tempered by recognition that this is immaturity talking, this is a 48-year-old pudgy uni lecturer talking, a privileged white boy-man wanting to escape from the Ebola-ISIS-UKIP shitstorm raging in reality. And, that his voice is broken on so many late nights in rememberhimville, he might be 80, not from the 80s.  So what? He admits he was a druggie and preposterous. There are so many pop-rock


Outside looking on is Chimene Suleyman ’s debut collection and a fantastically well-crafted one at that.  Judging by the blurb and praise on the back of this book I was certain I was going to be able to rip this collection apart for its clumsy and eager nods to its influences; ‘The tall, glass monoliths are lonely as the characters who exist around them’. I thought I was dealing with a third rate Larkin cum Morrissey enthusiast; I was very wrong. The poems in this book are witty, intimate, and direct; not bashful or pathetically comedic. Suleyman has managed to create a voice which is at home in the dangerous environment of the city and yet secretly envious of the suburbs and beyond ‘I hate the countryside, it’s designed badly’. But I did not find this voice self-loathing or melodramatic.  Further, I feel Suleyman has found her technique early on, and already I see the makings of an easily recognisable voice in contemporary poetry.   Of course those before mentioned influences


There is always sadness at the idea of delaying a major cultural work - but also, hope, and greater possibility. As readers of Eyewear's blog will know, I have long tried to discuss and consider poetry within the cultural contexts of popular music and film, among other artifacts of our time. Many albums and films are delayed by their producers and directors - by the artists involved - to get things right. I had to consider the facts.  We lost most of our staff early in 2014, when our wealthy (and fickle) European patron suddenly announced he'd lost all his money on the stock market; and I spent the summer months reassembling a smaller freelance team; we're just now slowly back to speed, hampered of course by a very tight budget. The campaign to raise funds for this anthology was quite successful (although in the end it yielded less than anticipated) - but £4,000 barely covers the printing and layout costs for a 500 page hardcover anthology, let alone postage and launch an

Wynn Wheldon's memories of Dannie Abse, the great Welsh poet who died recently

DANNIE ABSE by Wynn Wheldon I met Dannie Abse when I was very young.  He and his wife Joan were always guests at my parents’ Christmas Party.  Dad and Dannie had met at a reception given for an American war correspondent.  Dannie was just about to leave when my father, who was a stranger to Dannie, called over, “You Welsh Jew! Let me take you out to lunch”.  They went to a posh restaurant, where Dad ordered an avocado for Dannie, as he had never had one before. Dannie told me this story on three separate occasions, always with a chuckle. And Joan, it turned out, had been at LSE at around the same time as my mother.  So there were Connections. Invariably, they would bring a book to the party, one of Joan’s anthologies or Dannie’s latest novel, collection or memoir.  He was spry and amused and intelligent and small and handsome; his characteristic demeanour was a kind of wry cheerfulness. He was, after all, a lifelong socialist. He was also curious.  He had the doctor’s curios

Guest Review: Willington on Spurrier

Alice Willington reviews The Pilgrim’s Trail by Frances Spurrier The Pilgrim’s Trail is a short collection of 49 poems. Like the pamphlet form, it has benefitted from distillation; each poem here has sufficient weight and the collection is good enough for a reader to take the time to read and re-read it. Many of the poems examine the past, such as 'Commercial Road' and 'What finished the Romans in Britain', and in these it is as if the narrator is a visitor in a museum or a hall of statues; however what differentiates the poems is the degree to which the poetic persona begins to interact with the past being examined. A statue does actually come to life in 'The Return of Mrs Odysseus', when such interaction begins, 'as you beckon she unfolds herself – steps forward.' However, some of the ground occupied by Spurrier is not so much a dialogue with the past as a fight to the death to save life from the ghosts which would claim it. In 'Sea

A.G. Williams on Robin Richardson's Poetry

Robin Richardson’s collection Knife throwing through self-hypnosis is a marvel to read.   Packed full of mystery and half detectable narratives, one could spend hours trying to unpack poems such as ‘Thora the pilgrim’ or ‘Mike pooh’s palliative unit’ in an attempt to find the source of the work. But one rarely does, such is the brilliance of this book, Richardson is an adept trickster who very acutely conjures up allusions to wider stories in her work that may not even exist outside the context of footnotes (I’m referring to the so-called “The life and times of Dzovits the volcano dweller”, the attributed source for ‘Thora the Pilgrime’ and ‘Thora at thirteen’ in particular).      One particular aspect of ‘hypnosis’ I found revealing for this work, is ‘hypnosis’ as therapy ‘ to recover suppressed memories’ OED.   And this is exactly the quintessential nature of these poems. Richardson’s ‘found poems’ “The pilot of 146’, ‘overheard in New York’ aren’t as solid as any others in th


Those of us who grew up reading Nostradamus , and paperbacks predicting the Beast was coming soon, to end the world, and anyone who ever saw the film The Rapture , will know what I mean when I say, it has been getting a bit Apocalyptic lately. Yes, it is true, all times in world history have been "bad", more or less, for most people.  But the news that the Ebola virus, arguably the most horrible infectious disease since The Bubonic Plague (and more deadly), has become entrenched in three capital cities in West Africa is sinister.  And, the almost total collapse of order in the Middle East.  As well as near-catastrophic environmental problems, species extinction, and of course, a startling rise of extremely violent anti-woman porn across all Internet platforms - it all adds up to Dark Times.  Are these the New Dark Ages?  We do seem to be facing a world of war, pestilence, plague, famine, and increasing heat (with flooding on the way).  The 21st century seems, at present, to b



Jamie Baxter reviews The Major Verbs by Pierre Nepveu The Major Verbs is the translation of Pierre Nepveu’s award winning collection Les Verbes Majeurs , translated by Donald Winkler . The collection consists of three sequences: one focused on a woman, a night cleaner, on the subway, another considers a group of stones on a table and the third is dedicated to the poet’s parents. The book ends with a poem written in the America southwest. The first section examines the woman on the subway, her life, her job, her place in the world as well as the poet’s own loneliness while attempting to connect with a stranger without interacting with them. The woman asleep in the subway trails into dawn her nightlong chores. The first three lines of the collection shows the effortless tenderness poet and translator have succeeded in creating in the first section of the book. Nepveu paints the office-scape where the cleaner works as bleak and at times frightening with ‘fax

Protrad Grant

Eyewear is pleased to announce that it is the recipient of the prestigious Protrad Grant, awarded by the Mexican National Fund for Culture and Arts, to publish a 3-book series of novellas by leading Mexican novelist Mario Bellatin , renowned for his imaginative reinvention of the Latin American narrative.


The last few weeks have been a whirlwind of poetic activity and publishing business, in Eyewear and the wider world, notwithstanding the claim made by the boy in Heaven Is Real that "no one wears glasses in Heaven". First, the good news that deserving poets Kei Miller and Liz Berry won Forward prizes. And National Poetry Day (in UK) saw Eyewear's new autumn titles Skinless and For The Chorus leap off the printing presses - we have a big launch at the LRB October 15th.  Meanwhile, sadly, the great Welsh poet, who I enjoyed working with on several Oxfam projects, Dannie Abse , died. Also, Nik Beat died suddenly, in Toronto - he was an instrumental poet and poetry activist for decades in that scene, and a kind, supportive, very cool guy, with a great voice, and some superb outlaw poetry. And, I was in Chicago and Detroit for a week, in support of a new USA Selected, from feisty indie press Marick (Michigan), and a lengthy review/ essay in the October Brit issue of