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Showing posts from 2020

SWIFT REPORT 2020

Without bravado, I want to thank God, and my friends, human and otherwise, and family, that I made it through. So many didn't. If I have one thing I am proud of this year, it is two things - tied - having written some poems that may last about our current world (they likely won't) - and keeping the Black spring press group alive and going for one more year - thereby keeping dozens of writers and books in print, and assisting designers, editors, proofreaders, printers, writers, and others, to make some money to feed their families in very uncertain times. I'd note the sad deaths of Roddy Lumsden , and Leah Fritz , friends and poets, at the start of the year; and also note how so many icons of my youth, from Diana Rigg to Sean Connery , also died this year; up to the recent awful news about Pierre Cardin, and   Jean Valentine , which I heard today. The books I commissioned and published this year were meant to celebrate frontline workers, champion freedom of expression, and

MAXIMUM CHAOS AND BEST OF 2020: Nature is the Law?

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As the planets, literally align, in a once in 800 year way, the UK experiences its worst economic downturn in 300 years, the world struggles with the most grim global pandemic in 100 years, and Brexit returns the UK to where it was 40 or more years ago, it is impossible to claim 2020 is not a unique year, a unique moment. If one adds the heat of the planet is the most extreme it has been for many centuries, it is more striking, still. One can also add that AI and robotics, gene-editing, and cyber-attacks on the pentagon, new cultural ways of identifying humans, and potent generational conflicts last seen 60 years ago, further illuminate, and mark as era-defining, our moment. But that's for history to decide. What we know now is this - Trump is still president for about a month more; the darkest days of the year are the next few; Brexit is down to a tight deadline of a fortnight that cannot go further; and, before the vaccines are unrolled by 'Easter' or 'the summer'

A new poem at Christmas considering what a best year might be

  THAT BEST OF YEARS   On days like this I just want to suck on a boiled sweet And be a boy called Roger, whose glum existence Is about to be changed on a gloomy, grey day At his Uncle’s in the Cotswolds, when a sign From another world, possibly Saxon, or Jute, Breaks into the Anglican community at Christmas, And the bronze-age sword in the drawing room Begins to glow umber at night, as owls Hunt voles, and a light frost lands at midnight On the ruined chestnut trees down the lane.   It is 1970, and there are a few new anthologies Discussing a young poet called Heaney, But otherwise, the main idea is that science Is coming, and the future is geodesic; also, Population is a time bomb as the covers show, With the globe shaped like a bomb, with a fuse, As if Africa was an anarchist in a Conrad novel. And as Roger’s Uncle has a rather large library, Which you access via a panel hidden in the pantry, You have read all the books about jetpacks,  

playing some chicken, some neck

Film fans may recall the famous James Dean scene where a game of chicken is played - two cars race, and the first who 'blinks' - in this case swerves to avoid death - loses. If neither side 'blinks first' disaster  can ensue. This is also called 'brinkmanship politics' - when one appears to risk going to the brink - and when ultimatums get issued, and no one swerves, wars get started. In the case of Brexit, and the UK-EU negotiations, a trade, or even cold, war. I voted against Brexit, but I wouldn't now. Not after seeing the rude, intransigent, arrogant and controlling ways in which the EU has treated the past few British PMs, but especially Boris Johnson . Johnson went to Brussels the other night to have dinner and talks, and was basically snubbed. Even though 95% of a deal has been hammered out, the 'red lines' remain. The current odds seem 50% for No Deal. That would be a temporary tragedy and disaster - though not in the long run. But it is fore

LEAVE WINSTON ALONE

Imagine if you were at war with another country, and they wanted to undermine your morale, and weaken your resolve to fight on. They might broadcast propaganda, and drop leaflets, suggesting your leader was not the genius and hero you thought she was, but instead, a monstrous racist. The enemy might constantly bombard you with  self-doubt, rumour, lies, scandal and divisive claims. Rather than standing together, standing strong, you'd doubt your own opinions, and consider surrendering. Now imagine this had happened, and was happening, in the UK. Winston Churchill almost single-handedly stood up against the idea of striking a peace deal with Hitler before WW2 - which would have allowed Hitler to take over and control all of Europe, ultimately, and kill even more people than he managed to. Without Churchill, Britain may well have had to surrender during the Battle of Britain. Churchill won the Nobel prize for his linguistic genius. It is not for nothing that he remains the most popul

GANDHI SHOULD NOT BE CANCELLED OR WE WILL NEVER HAVE ANY MORE HEROES

Perhaps the idea of 'real-life' heroes is passé or impossible, or somehow considered unnecessary, in a world of digital pleasures so various that every conceivable kind of heroine and hero can be conjured up in a comic book, movie or game. If the idea of real, flesh and blood human heroes is to be cancelled by this new generation, however, it will be a watershed moment, in the move to post-humanity. The cyborgs will have won. The aim, it seems, more and more, is to seek to achieve autonomously modified human bio-systems that answer to no higher rules or religious strictures, and establish themselves as perfected self-identifying concepts, moving from humanity to something less flawed; and these cyborgs will be without identifying labels except when self-chosen. With artificial skin now able to feel, and AI on the horizon, as well as gene-splicing, a post-human world within 100 years is more than possible - if the climate overheats, it may be what keeps a sort of humanity going.

PENGUIN BOOKS, ETON COLLEGE, AND CAMBRIDGE UNIVERSITY FACE LIMITS TO FREEDOM OF THOUGHT

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It is hard to think of many respected British institutions that have done more to expand, and develop, knowledge and written thought these past fifty years (or more), than Penguin Books, Eton, and Cambridge University. They are synonymous with excellence - who has not enjoyed a Penguin classic - from Orwell to Mary  Shelley ? - and Cambridge has, from the double helix to Black Holes, to language philosophy, to the marxist-modernist poetry of Prynne , and the Christian preaching of Rowan William s, and beyond to the latest developments in nano-technology engineering, business, physics, and battery development, set world standards. Eton has given the world many Prime Ministers. Yet, this week, they have faced new attacks on their ability to celebrate and explore freedoms once taken as necessary. First, staff at Penguin Books have complained about the publishing of a Canadian academic and controversialist whose work questions progressive ideas, especially relating to sexual identity; and,

POEM WITH MOSTLY ONE RHYME SCHEME

  POEM WITH MOSTLY ONE RHYME SCHEME   It came upon me like a midnight clear, Nothing circumspect about abject fear One year I’d been barely able to cobble together Reasons for the forward trundle among mean peers Now the twenty-twenty experience, total weird. We’ve all been here, it’s that rare spectacular You don’t need eyes to see, beyond veneer I’d gone one better, though, felt no longer mere Me or someone other, I’d just blinked out and over Like the plunked phone in the canal, so far, so near Flatter than the death rate fun park rollercoaster.   I’ve lost, not tattletale smell, but taste for career Spiritual renewal or nada plus plus   – down, yes, doctor But not like I’d ever known such arctic wastes before There I was, all of a sudden framed in fur, Goggled, with skidoo, top rifle, assisted by laser Entirely prepped for any blizzard or ice-pick meteor Come to stock-standstill even the sub-zero thought bizarre As awestruck bears in their
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 Our author at Black Spring Press, Marcus Fedder , has crafted a powerful novel about love, murder, and war and justice... titled German Justice . He launches today via Zoom... check it out here.

TRANSFER OF POWER

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It is only slowly dawning on the 'liberal elites' of the East and West coasts - the Blue Staters - as their enemies would consider them - that Donald Trump HAS won this presidential election, in a way, despite what facts and reality are or prove . Learning precisely from the 30s propaganda playbook, but powerfully enhanced by social media and years of 'disinformation' campaigns from foreign state actors, and the president himself, and for a while, Fox, this new campaign has managed what would once have seemed impossible... As the statements, protests (manifestations as the French rightly call them), gather pace, what Trump has enabled, indeed, created like a Frankenstein monster, zapped with electricity and cobbled-together from 70 million body parts - is a rising tide of ignorant armies, willing to clash by day with Biden and the law. The U.S. Constitution prepared for this moment for years, by protecting the rights of gun-owners to establish militia-level weapons ca

POETIC FRAGMENTS COMPOSED ON IPHONE, 2020

  POETIC FRAGMENTS COMPOSED ON IPHONE, 2020     afraid for what is coming afraid for what has come afraid for what we will do afraid for what has never been done afraid of my own shade afraid of the improper glade afraid of The Spain rate afraid of the state of our wretched state afraid to go to stay afraid to game the stain of play or end this only way.   i try to feel more than feeling can / think over what thinking scans / the wave has wings of water in its mouth / Venice sinks to ask for lurid truth / this is the all too much of days / spanning cankers too sore to praise / the supreme lie God is art to love us whole / in an age of artless hatreds   Homer full / throw down vain bows, try to endure / in toppled Troy devoid of tragic cure.   impossible not to be thankful as me this year of worst outcomes for so many; i am alive gratefully; as are others i know; virus of knowledge we learn from your spread; learn a distant thanksgiving, ironic; no, sincere how i want to d