Saturday, 21 February 2015

22 January, 2015. My mother's birthday.
Another little musing:

Ive just had the plumber out to fix the new shower which turned out to be turned off at a switch I never knew about and couldnt work anyway --cue hilarity at stupid woman! BUT, I cant work the new TV, or DVD Player. I cant work the new radio which fails to have helpful names on it like BBC3. Ditto the dishwasher, washing machine, dryer who have all given up language on their knobs and buttons. The cooker burns things, the new hob doesn't simmer anything. The toaster is a complete puzzle --why does a toaster need so many settings!!!?. Cant find redial on new house phone; I can't work my iphone. Meanwhile, here on my desktop I struggle with windows 8 .1 which everyone agrees is grim but which I was forced to have at the time. The printer is such a mystery I bang on many buttons to make it stop when I make a printing error --getting it going again is a dark art I will never master..... on FB I gave up long ago trying to deal with their games with my settings. The other week I caused £600 of damage to the electric car windows because I took them down in frost and they're fragile!! They're 'fragile' --does anyone remember wind-up windows which lasted, and were not fragile!! I rather thought people were more fragile than machines. It's bad enough drifting around in a poem fug trying to get the right word, without having to also have three degrees in engineering to make a piece of toast and turn on the radio!! That's it, I'm officially old, but so is everyone over forty! Bah humbug!!

Monday, 16 February 2015

My new Book, The Wilding Eye, New and Selected Poems, due out the beginning of April, is up on my publishers' website for pre-order today, using Pay Pal.

Please, just go to The Worple Press page, click on the link and follow instructions. I can't get the live link on here for some reason. Sorry.

Thursday, 12 February 2015


A really exciting major American poet, my friend Maryann Corbett. My initial response to her new book Mid Evil, UEP, USA.

Maryann Corbett​

Maryann's new book Mid Evil is really a cracking good read.To say I enjoyed it is an understatement. I've waited years to come across a fellow female poet this good, in fact any poet this good!
From its opening poem 'Hand' that brings the human past right here and into your soul (It's only later...//I wonder how long the bones of a hand would last'), and all the other great (sic) writerly poems in that first section, through the other thoughtful sections --eg. especially:

II.The Nature of Things -- 'the plainest facts conspiring to be shapers/of glorious illusions' ('Insubstantial Pageant'); 'that crushed bones are its essence' ('Teacup') ---

III. A Chronicle in Fragments -- 'but the fears persist//he'll open his eyes/to a face that sneers/from the rank abscess/of an old knife twist/ ('The Patient Prays for the Grace of a Good Death') --

IV . AD Feminam .'women serve here as dumb shows./ Backgrounds are more alive ('In the Renaissance Rooms of the National Gallery');
(my aside: though Maryann I hope you do know Artemisia Gentileschi, and if you don't, you must!); and the marvellous two poems here, 'Foundation Myth' and 'Resurrection Blues' --

V. Fables ='The Panhandler's Tale;, and 'He was a predator --went after her' ('Abelard and Eloise: The Jaundiced View'); 'That sounds like wish was wings' ('Swanlore'); and the amazing but worrying 'Disturbances of the Peace'-- Move over great story-tellers of the past, there's a new poet on the block!!
to --
VI. Sing, My Tongue. 'so I joked...//and you winced' (Dissonance'); 'that even now our darkened hearts might burn' (the terrific poem, 'On Singing the Exultet'); 'and the panhandler who is, as promised, always with us//...asks in the voice of God,/for my spare change.' (A Mozart Mass....);
'my concentration is toast. Abba. And all/I'm seeing now is party.' (As Little Children'); to the final wonderful last piece:'Tired of my dread/I want it back: the confidence in air....' ('Prophesying to the Breath').

Oh I've gone on a long time, but enough to give you a flavour, I hope -- it is all so good! This poetry is wise, vulnerable and skilled. It is really honest, knowledgeable and musical. It has both delicacy and heft. I love it to bits, and highly recommend you read it.

Congratulations and well done, Maryann!! Very well done. 'The 'girl' done good' xx

Wednesday, 11 February 2015


Les Murray has just taken two more poems for publication. Very pleased.

Also another Guardian letter, 9.2.15, text beneath:

​'It shows how bizarrely out of touch with the people national election politics has become when Ed Miliband makes what should be an uncontroversial comment that all should pay their share of taxes and every rich Tom and Dick and Harry wades in to complain. I lost interest in this election because all the parties spent ages reassuring business and finance that they were safe to govern – and no one was reassuring us, the people, except with standard Tory and Lib Dem bribes. But a politician insisting on a tiny bit of fairness for us! Not enough, perhaps, to stop me voting Green but enough to think that if Miliband carries on speaking to and for the people a little more, progressives may regain enough respect to consider a loose coalition.'
Olivia Byard
Witney, Oxfordshire

Wednesday, 4 February 2015

4 February, 2015

Yesterday, 3 Feb. one of my favourite poets, Rory Waterman, came to Oxford to be my visiting poet this year in my Conted. Class. Then in the evening, he joined Andrew Smardon and me for another of our Readings to Spark Audience Reflection and Discussion. Last night's themed poems were on Parents (first half) and Dislocation (second half).
  It was hosted by the wonderful Dennis Harrison at his Albion Beatnik Bookshop. The readings were greet fun, and the discussions even more so!