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Showing posts from July, 2012

F.T. Prince Centenary Symposium - Not to be missed!

F.T. Prince Centenary Symposium, September 20th 2012
0930 Registration and coffee
0945 Welcome

1000-1100 Remembering Prince
Eleanor Crawforth Prince and Carcanet
Alka Nigam Remembering Prince
Anthony Rudolf F.T. Prince and small presses, especially my own

Tea / Coffee

1115-1245
Style and Metrics
Derek Attridge F.T. Prince and syllabics
Gareth Farmer The Intaglio Element in Prince’s Verse
Todd Swift F.T. Prince’s Foppish Style
Michael Molan F.T. Prince and the Modernist Milton

Lunch

1330-1430
Bodies at work
David Kennedy ‘The completed story incomplete’: F.T. Prince and the Portrayal of National Bodies
Adam Piette ‘My soldiers’: F.T. Prince and the sweetness of command
Peter Robinson Reading ‘Memoirs of Caravaggio’

Tea/Coffee

1500-1600 Lyric and Legacy
Natalie Pollard Lyric Material: Place, Print and Prince
Mark Ford Prince and the Dramatic Monologue
David Herd ‘The gift being passed on’: Reading F.T. Prince through Ken Bolton’s eyes

1600-1730 Exhibition and wine reception, Hartley Li…

Janice Fixter Has Died

Sad news.  The British poet Janice Fixterhas died, at too early an age, of Burkitt's Lymphoma, on July 24.  She had a D.Phil. in Creative Writing from Sussex University, and was an early member of my Maida Vale Poetry group.  She was a lovely, intelligent, talented person, who bore her health challenges with good humour.  I liked her very much.

Guest Review: Begnal On Behrens

Michael S. Begnal reviews The Beholder by Kate Behrens
Kate Behrens is a poet active in Reading, England, and was runner-up in a contest run by the journal Mslexia.  A slim volume (41 pages), The Beholder (Two Rivers Press, 2012) is her first collection.  Never having read her work before, some of the blurbs on the back cover set alarm bells off in my head.  There were references to “fleeting moments between people”, “celebration”, “the ways children can heal”, and “nature’s capacity to nourish”.  Please, not another poetry collection about “healing” and “nourishing”!, I thought to myself.  Then I actually began reading Behrens’s poetry and was stunned by it.  Thankfully her work is nothing at all like what this sort of promotional copy suggests.
Instead of dull personal narratives about this or that event in the poet’s “life”, intended as direct transposition, Behrens lets the words on the page shimmer forth with their own power and beauty.  Like a painting by Cézanne or van Gogh, the “s…

False Start?

The Olympics has gotten off to a strange start - a few days before the opening ceremony, which actually declares the games open, officially - games have been started - and North Koreans offended with Ali G levels of ignorance.  Inauspicious?  Best to wait for the starter's pistol.

Britain, Bust or Boom?

The Olympics looms - it has always felt central to the Eyewear story, because the blog began just as the Olympics was announced for here, way back in July 2005, 7 years ago (yes, this is our 7th year!).  And there is every chance it will be a great Games, and Team GB will do very well, perhaps coming in fourth in the medal tables.  However, the news today is more grim than that gold lining implies - the UK is in serious recession.  The economy has shrunk 4% in the last few years, and, according to the BBC analysis, this is now the worst financial crisis the UK has faced, outside of the war years, in the last hundred years - that is, worse than the Great Depression, or the 70s.  So, as Eyewear faces forward, it does so chastened, and concerned.  Yes, poetry matters, and yes, it needs to be published.  But the perilous state of the nation is of grave concern also, and overhangs other considerations.  Let us try to enjoy the remarkable hot sun, and move into whatever sunny uplands we can…

In Praise of Chubbiness

I have been a member of a gym for about a year now, and see a personal trainer from time to time.  I run, swim, lift weights, and stretch, three to four times a week.  And, due to genes, a love of food, and some medicine I need to take, I am still about ten kilos over the suggested weight for a man my age (46).  Then again, having neither won nor lost Lee Child's lottery of life (I am exactly medium height, at 5-9, neither short nor tall), and being a middle-aged man, most of the excess baggage appears around my midriff.  This has got me so down it was beginning to look up to me, and then the other day - zap! - I had a thought.  Who hates me this way, other than me?  I am loved by wife, and friends.  More vitally, some of the best guys ever, guys I loved, were love-handled or even fat - Orson Welles, Dylan Thomas, and Babe Ruth spring to mind.  Wallace Stevens, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Diego Rivera - all had a bad BMI.  If being a chubby hubby was okay for them, why not me?  I feel…

Sally Ride, American Hero

Eyewear loves astronauts, and Sally Ride was one of the greatest - as well as a fine scientist, and, it turns out, gay - though that was private until her obituary.  She will now become an important icon for the LGBT community.  She was an inspiration to us all and a giant leap for women.

Summer Reading

There are dozens of books you no doubt want to read, or should read, from Rexroth's One Hundred Poems From The Japanese to Lee Child's Nothing To Lose.  So be it, that's what summer is for.  Do it your way.  Enjoy the unlimited stretch of the open read.  But if you hanker after something utterly important for an understanding of The British Poetry Revival, as it was called, edited by a brilliant poetry critic, then do get the indispensable Andrew Crozier Reader.  It's something I have been dipping into of late, and will be again. I think it's a book we all need to own and get to know.  Toss into that list of books for the smart beach The Restructure by Chris McCabe, Out of Bounds: British Black and Asian Poets, and Tales of the Buckman Tavern by Ben Mazer, one of the most dizzyingly prolific and flamboyant American stylists of the moment, a dardevil mix of Delmore Schwartz and David Gascoyne.  I have been thoroughly enjoying the new Donald McGrath book, The Port In…

A New Poem by Todd Swift for a Hot London

The Language Of The Fan
Twirled one way, or pushed to the lips, It means am engaged or a flirt. Frail coloured ribbed expanding toys Feel good in the hand as they grow Or close across the face, to cool, Convey, so one’s status displays By the fluttered discipline of a wrist; Otherwise, a dauphin might stoop to kiss A lady-in-waiting not a baroness; Mother-of-pearl; tusk; celluloid: The sticks upon which paper furls Are precious, even flammable – The whole fan might go up in one’s face – How you tap your cheek spreads disgrace.

new poem by Todd Swift July 2012

Trashed Organs In Newcastle

‘Newcastle’s most entertaining literary night out’, Trashed Organ, returns Thursday 26th July. This edition’s line up includes Sarah Corbett and Helen Mort, reading in support of Lung Jazz: Young British Poets for Oxfam (Cinnamon Press, 2012) plus readings from local poets: Simon Moore, Kris Anderson and David Spittle. Music from Meghann Clancy and Fiona's Jazz Express.
And, of course, one lucky person will be crowned TRASHED LAUREATE winning a bottle of port for a fine line of lyrical bliss!
Sarah Corbett Grew up in North Wales and lives in Yorkshire. Her collections are The Red Wardrobe, 1998, shortlisted for a Forward First Collection and the T.S. Eliot Prize, The Witch Bag, 2002 and Other Beats, 2008 (all published by Seren).
Helen Mort Born in Sheffield in 1985. Her collection Division Street is forthcoming from Chatto & Windus. She has published two pamphlets with tall-lighthouse press, 'the shape of every box' and 'a pint for the ghost', a Poetry Book Society…

Guest Review: George On The Dark Knight

Eyewear's Film Critic
James A. George on The Dark Knight Rises (12A)
Christopher Nolan is a rare gem. The last in his Batman trilogy is similar to his previous hits The Dark Knight and Inception, in that he creates entertaining blockbusters that are both art films in disguise and intelligent. Rather than regurgitate the same old Hollywood tricks, Nolan believes his audience are as smart as him, that appreciate complexity and room to contemplate and reach their own conclusions – and with the financial figures from these movies it seems fair to agree with his enlightened vision for Hollywood.
Collaborating with brother, Jonathan Nolan, The Dark Knight Rises is a spectacular work and subsequently one of the most sublime end of trilogy ever filmed. Politics, economics, psychology; it all weaves through the plot effortlessly. The scale has been amped up, it needed to be after Heath Ledger’s iconic performance in the predecessor. Although the presence of the Joker is sorely missed, what is …

Williams Has Hart(ley)

The jazz singerNatalie Williams is the daughter of poet John Hartley Williams. They have performed jazz and poetry events together in the London area and in Berlin. One Sunday a month Natalie holds a monthly rave-up at Ronnie Scott’s club in London, called Soul Family. Otherwise she is often to be heard fronting the brilliant Ronnie Scott house band (extraordinary James Pearson on piano) and the latest news is that they have just put out a CD called Jazz Classics (it’s on the Ronnie Scott label). There is more vigour and kick in these live performances than you’ll hear almost anywhere else these days. Check it out!

James Harvey Memorial Event, Reported by SJ Fowler

On the evening of July 19th 2012, a large group of friends, family and fellow poets met in the Keynes Library, in Birkbeck college, in London's Bloomsbury to celebrate the life and work of the British innovative poet, James Harvey.
James Harvey (1966--2012) studied biology at UCL before becoming a full-time poet in the thriving experimental and innovative poetry community in London. His interest in science, especially biology, extended into his poetry. He was fascinated by the potential of 'science in poetry to dismantle existing structures, and then put them back together again, build them up "mechanically" while at the same time each level of complexity is acted upon equally through "the forces of nature," questioning the integrity of the structure.'
Here are the videos from last night:
Carol Watts http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OWzymLZEBLw Edward Carey http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7xwHGtrq59U Elizabeth McCracken http://www.youtube.com/watch?v…

Guest Review: Nathan Roberts on Frank Ocean

A Meditation on Frank Ocean’s channel ORANGE by Nathan Roberts
By choosing to open his album with the reassuring sound of an iPhone text alert and the original Playstation startup, Frank Ocean sets us at ease. He could have stormed in, as is wont-to-do amongst the stars of contemporary R&B, with his incredible voice and nuanced sound, but we are effortlessly ushered in before the orchestral grandeur of “Thinkin Bout You” kicks in.
For a song that has been floating around online for the last year or so, “Thinkin Bout You” sums up the timeless nature of this album, it’s a song that feels as powerful on this listen as it did the first and greater still with the slight rework his major label debut has afforded to provide. Yet the music, though glamorous, never seems overstated or crass; it is full of beauty.
Despite the hyperbole that has surrounded his relatively sudden rise to fame, it would be too much to expect the pinnacle of recorded music fromchannel ORANGE, especiall…

Some comments on Todd's new book from poets you have heard of

Praise for Todd Swift's When All My Disappointments Came At Once

“Poetry that’s too self-consciously smart may leave one cold. We want
feeling; we want to believe that a poet sees life wholly and loves it
fiercely. We want to know that he or she faces the dilemma of our
existence—a temporary sentience before oblivion (save for, perhaps,
spiritual transcendence that we can only obtain through faith). Todd
Swift is such a poet. His voice is powerfully his own, but poetry lovers
will find the grace notes of plainsong T.S. Eliot, but also the verbal
dexterity of Swift’s fine compatriot, Robert Bringhurst. But what’s
most important is what Swift says to us about living—in words
that are indelible because they are written in the heart’s blood. Swift
is a philosophical poet, a metaphysical poet, but he is also a poet
of truths that he shows us anew. He knows that “Desire ages, ages
hardly at all,” and that it can “break / Open; as spring does; as do
flames.” Desire Swift; you’ll have no…

Madchester Big Money ("New Submitted"?)

The Manchester Poetry Prize 2012 First prize: £10,000 Deadline for entries: 31st August 2012 Judges: Ian Duhig, Francis Leviston, Adam O’Riordan
Under the direction of UK Poet Laureate Carol Ann Duffy, The Manchester Writing School at Manchester Metropolitan University has launched the third Manchester Poetry Prize – a major literary competition celebrating excellence in creative writing.
The Manchester Poetry Prize is open internationally and will award £10,000 to the writer of the best portfolio of three-to-five poems new submitted. The competition is open to both new and established writers aged 16 or over; there is no upper age limit. Work can be in any style, and on any subject, but must be new writing, not previously published elsewhere.
You can find full terms and conditions of entry on the Competition website, where you can also enter online, or download a printable entry pack for postal submission:  http://www.manchesterwritingcompetition.co.uk/poetry/index.php

Message For Simon

Dear Simon, thank you for years of comments at Eyewear.  Would you like to submit a few poems for a Poetry Focus?

James A. George on The Amazing Spider-Man

The Amazing Spider-Man (12A)

Is there anyone who saw the original Spider-Man film at the cinema ten years ago and is now thinking, time for a reboot? Not to forget the two sequels as well. Whether it is necessary or not, at least this time it is more pensive and generally fun. Peter Parker is a school kid who hasn’t had the most fortunate childhood. Our sympathies go to him in a very genuine way, due in part to the fantastic performance from Andrew Garfield.
The wise-cracking hero goes on a journey of discovery in a lovingly created comic book-like world: from the everyday boy overcoming a bully named ‘Flash’, to swinging across New York. We all know how Peter becomes Spider-Man and it is around this part of the film that interest dips with only love interest Gwen Stacey redeeming the plot. We see a lot of Peter Parker without his mask and the confidence he gains from inventing it. This Spider-Man movie is less about the people and the city around him needing a hero and more about what …

Guest Review: Mayhew On Saunders

Jessica Mayhew reviews Cloud Camera By Lesley Saunders
Cloud Camera evokes the capturing of the ephemeral, of foxed and silvered edges. This is exactly what Lesley Saunders achieves in her collection. Using the stimuli of scientific advancement, Saunders explores the realms of human curiosity, as well as an almost dreamlike succession of objects given voice. However, at no point are the poems of Cloud Camera detached or clinical. Saunders excels at drawing out the human dimension of her poems. ‘A Person is Not a Landscape’ chronicles the discovery of imprinted human remains at Pompeii. The speaker of the poem notes how:
...my colleagues prefer to turn the other way towards the endless renewing of sea and sky, the view over the bay. (‘A Person is Not a Landscape’)
Despite this misdirection, the camera-like gaze of the poem brings the reader back to the physicality of the victims, “the lipped ceramics of their ears.” The visual is a strong influence on Saunders’ poetry; as she notes in ‘A Sh…

Poetry Focus On: JANET ROGERSON

Janet Rogerson has a pamphlet A Bad Influence Girl with The Rialto, which was published in 2012. Her qualifications include an MA in creative writing and a Postgraduate Diploma in Education (PGDE). At the moment she teaches Creative Writing in the community and is also doing a PhD at the University of Manchester.  The poem below is from this highly-recommended collection, which will be reviewed here in September.



The sun is a guillotine
dropping its blade, an arbitrary executioner. It makes us followers of ourselves and has us emerge around corners before us.
One afternoon, walking down a parched avenue, you slip into a bar named Hopper’s. The trees across the way
are fidgeting on the barroom floor. You sit in a booth, your glass drips and shimmers like a cave crystal. You sit in black and white
as the jukebox plays a song then the shadow of a song. The trees do this and that just leaves on the dance floor.
She wants to lie down in your shadow, she’s so in love with you that night-time brings an irration…

Some Canadian Poetry Prizes Announced

Congratulations to the Winners of the Pat Lowther & Gerald Lampert Memorial Awards The winners of the 2012 Pat Lowther and Gerald Lampert Memorial Awards were announced on Saturday, June 16, at a special event at the LCP Poetry Fest and Conference in Saskatoon, SK.Yi-Mei Tsiang was the winner of the Gerald Lampert Memorial Award for her book Sweet Devilry (Oolichan Books), and Sue Goyette was the winner of the Pat Lowther Memorial Award for outskirts (Brick Books).
Sweet Devilry by Yi-Mei Tsiang (Oolichan Books)
Judges’ Comments: This book of fine and graceful poems sweeps the reader toward birth and death with equal grace. “My daughter, on a bed/ of leaves, as if she had fallen/from the sky.” In Visit, she writes of her dead father:
He smelled of apples, an autumn of leaves for skin. I remember you like this, I said, a harvest—an orchard of a man. He opened his shirt, plucked a plum From his lungs and held it out to me. Everything, he said, is a way of remembering…

Lydia On Jessie

Our music critic Lydia Bowden on Jessie Ware



Dubbed the new Katy B, may I introduce to you Jessie Ware - a brand new artist that I think is in a whole league of her own.
It seems Jessie has been floating around for about two years, lending her vocals to other artists like SBTRKT and Jack Peñate; she even released an EP in 2010 that completely flew over my head called Nervous. At that point she was turning heads about 90 degrees, not quite 180 yet, but now our heads have gone full circle.
Jessie has been releasing little tasters for quite a while now, hinting that her first debut album is going to be a work of genius and come at us all with force. Singles ‘Running’ and a personal favourite ‘110%’ are full of soulful and chilled whispers, and it’s clear that from working with DJ Joker, a subtle dub-step beat has slipped its way into her music which gives it a need to be listened to.
She calls Diana Ross and Chaka Khan her inspiration, which explains that 80’s vibe in ‘Running’. Her most re…

Judge Tim Dooley Announces The Winner of The 2012 Melita Hume Poetry Prize for Best Debut Collection

The 2012 International Melita Hume Poetry Prize for Best Debut Collection
Judge Tim Dooley’s Comments
Overall, the entire shortlist of twelve was impressive and varied.
Winner - £1,000 and publication by Eyewear 2013.
Bottled Air Caleb Klaces This is a powerful and original collection, which reveals its riches and depths gradually and rewards repeated reading. Klaces is well-read and does not wear his learning lightly, yet the poetry is not wilfully clever or self-satisfied but fully accessible – its engaging footnotes integrated into the wit and imagination of the whole work. Bottled Air works as a book not just a collection of poems. It evokes the tragic European past and the global instantaneous present. At its heart is a wounded compassion and an openness to the variousness of experience. What he writes in a poem from the central section (set in a Bulgarian orphanage) is true of much else in the book:                …this is what being human is really,             something plain and unbear…

The Amazing Mazer: New Poem by Ben Mazer

Ben Mazer is an American poet, editor and scholar.  His most recent collection is Tales of the Buckman Tavern (Poetrywala, 2012).
Crisping the Comedian C
And with my sword cane I rapped the dog on its head. To its master I said: "The soul's expanding to make room for you among the piles of rusted bric a brac that make men grimace, revile themselves in church. . . I felt the ground beneath begin to lurch, increased my laughter with its rolling waves laughter increase. . . as he lunged forward trying to save himself. . . I was an honest man. What could I do? I pushed him forward where the great vacuum grew and marvelled as he fell. . . into the silence of the pits of hell. "That's one less editorial to write," I thought, and blinkered to recall the light, and blinkered to recall the blight. . . the scourge of man. . . I like to help them any way I can. In my emotions not a thought of man. . . but that his docile sudden-widowed wife might serve the lord. . . replace,…

Poetry Focus On: TAMMY HO LAI-MING

Tammy Ho Lai-Ming is a Hong Kong-born writer currently based in London. She is a co-founder of Cha: An Asian Literary Journal, an editor of Victorian Network and the poetry editor of Fleeting Magazine. She edited Hong Kong U Writing: An Anthology in 2006 and co-edited Love and Lust in 2008. Her own work has been widely published in print and online and she has been nominated for the Pushcart Prize twice and the Forward Prize. She is finishing her PhD thesis on Neo-Victorian fiction at King's College London. 
Covert Plagiarisms
When do I know you've made up a pseudo-affair?
Well, when you can't remember accurately
the person's name. Last month it's Christine Owen,
today it's Olivier Chris. Make up your mind already.
I recommend that you write down a believable name
(good news: both Christine Owen and Olivier Chris seem real)
and stick to it. Consistency feeds authenticity.
If you do not have a notebook (actually, I know you don't),
perhaps etch it on y…