Friday 28 September 2018

Robin Robertson in The Guardian

It's not really any wonder that the world of poetry is small and polarised when the likes of Robin Robertson take every chance they get to trot out the same old grumpy-old-man bollocks moaning about 'Instagram poetry' and the avant-garde, is it?

Robert Sheppard's Michael Drayton rewrites

I have Michael Drayton to thank for the title of this blog (see sidebar), so it's interesting to see that Robert Sheppard is engaged in reworking Drayton's entire sonnet sequence Idea, titling it Bad Idea. Lots of links there to other interesting work by Sheppard, too.

Wednesday 26 September 2018

Does happiness 'write white'?

The other day, I came across this review of JL Carr's A Month In the Country. It's a novel (well, more like a novella) that I've loved for many years, ever since coming across a copy in Coalville Library, and Ingrid Norton does a wonderful job of capturing what's so special about it.

I like what she has to say about how Carr writes about happiness. Henry De Montherlant's oft-quoted aphorism 'Happiness writes white' (actually 'happiness writes in white ink on a white page') has some truth in it, of course, in novels, poems and song lyrics, but there are ways to avoid it. Carr, as Norton describes here, does just that. Interestingly, his other novels are often much more pessimistic in outlook.

But anyway, I'd like to hear suggestions of other writers, or pieces pf work, that avoid the problem De Montherlant identifies. Over to you...

Friday 21 September 2018

Poets on climate change

Interesting piece here in The Guardian, as much for the science as the poetry, but Bill McKibben's point is a good one. he says: "This science is uncontroversial. But science alone can't make change, because it appeals only to the hemisphere of the brain that values logic and reason. We're also creatures of emotion, intuition, spark – which is perhaps why we should mount more poetry expeditions, put more musicians on dying reefs, make sure that novelists can feel the licking heat of wildfire."

Thursday 20 September 2018

More plagiarism

Poet Ira Lightman's Facebook page has this – perhaps the most bare-faced example of plagiarism that he has yet investigated. This time it's not poetry, but perpetrated by Steve Marshall of SNM Horror Magazine, who has stolen a bunch of Brett Graham's stories wholesale. Marshall's attempts to justify what he has done are ludicrous, and have no foundation in law. If you're a horror writer looking to get your work published, I'd suggest you avoid this vampire and his magazine like...well, like you'd avoid a vampire.

Wednesday 19 September 2018

Forward Poetry Prizes

Some interesting and brave choices this year – as always I have some catching up to do with regards to reading most of the nominees. But congratulations to Danez Smith, Phoebe Power and Liz Berry (whose work I do know well and who is a very deserved winner).


Not sure this answers many questions, if I'm honest. Hmmm...

Friday 14 September 2018

Dave Coates on Toby Martinez de las Rivas

Dave Coates' reviews are always worth reading, but this is even more thought-provoking (and no less well written) than usual. I have to say I really don't know the poetry of Toby Martinez de las Rivas at all, but Coates makes his case very well. I'll have to read around it a bit further.

Incidentally, wasn't the black sun a fascist and/or Nazi symbol?

Thursday 13 September 2018

Poet Tips

I'm not sure why I hadn't come across this site before (especially as I was following it on Twitter), but I had a look at Poet Tips at lunchtime today. Basically, you enter the name of a poet whose work you like, and it suggests some other poets that you might like to read.

The only match it suggests for me at the moment is Matthew Stewart (who I can recommend whole-heartedly), but of course it depends on viewers adding their own suggestions, so it will develop over time as new poets are added.