Saturday, July 31, 2010

Rous - Εξαιρέσεις

On my Cretan holiday, this was the only song I heard on the Greek music channel that woke me up.

Friday, July 30, 2010

Lucky to be Anonymous...

“Mr Eliot’s notion of poetry – he calls the observations ‘poems’ – seems to be a purely analytical treatment...uninspired by any glimpse beyond them and untouched by any genuine rush of feeling. As, even on this basis, he remains frequently inarticulate, his ‘poems’ will hardly be read by many with enjoyment.”

(unsigned review of TS Eliot’s first collection, ‘Prufrock and Other Observations’, Times Literary Supplement, 1917)

Thursday, July 29, 2010

A Poet's Friends

To be successful depends on who you know, that’s what I keep hearing. Louis MacNeice would agree and his list of people to know is worth cultivating for any poet, although they may not feature highly on the game-plan lists of poetry careerists and in-crowd luvvies. However, they are vital for anyone who actually wants to write good poems:

.............................................(...)Let money brag,
The poet will not be bought, he has powerful friends
Who are his own inventions – the one-eyed hag

Whose one is an evil eye, the maiden goddess who sends
Her silver javelin straight, the Knave of Fools
Who cocks his snook and blows his dividends,

The soldier with the nosebag who breaks the rules
Wide open, the mountain-moving oaf, the cook
Whose pies are singing birds, whose soups are schools

Of gambolling porpoises, the endearing crook
Who says his name is Norman, the talking fox,
The ropetrick man, the baldhead with the book

That is all question marks, the Jack-in-the Box,
The Will o’ the Wisp, the mermaid, the Man in the Moon,
And old Nobodaddy himself, high god of Paradox.

Such are our friends; we need them late and soon
To fight our false friends for us, we feel no shame
To sham dead while they do it; trombone, bassoon,

Ram’s horn and ocarina pour out flame
To force the walls of Jericho and crown
One local conflagration with a name.

- Louis MacNeice (from Autumn Sequel, 1953)

Saturday, July 03, 2010

New Poems

Years ago, I’d send out poems to magazines regularly, always having a constant flow of submissions. These days, it happens in a few sudden, random splurges each year.

I sent off a batch of poems to magazines, and some of them are now ready to read. I have four poems in the online Et Cetera Magazine, one poem in Gutter, issue 3 called ‘At the Church of Scotland General Assembly’ (not sure whether that title will draw people’s attention or cause them to drift off to sleep), and one poem in Anon, issue 7 called ‘The Fence’.

Forthcoming: I will have one poem in qarrtsiluni, three poems in the Ouroboros Review, issue 5, and three poems in a print mag, New Walk magazine, issue 1.

Thursday, July 01, 2010

The Salt Summer Raffle

Well, it’s been a long time (“been a long time, been a long lonely, lonely lonely, lonely, lonely time”).

So what can have shaken me out of my blog hiatus? This, Salt Publishing’s summer raffle. With every Salt book you buy before 1st September, you’ll be entered into a raffle. The winner gets the next twenty publications, and there are various consolation prizes too (details at the link).

Of course, I’d be more than grateful if you’d consider buying the fabulous paperback version of The Opposite of Cabbage but there are plenty of other terrific books. I’m happy to recommend books to anyone who isn’t sure what the books are like (let me know the kind of poetry or prose you like and I’ll recommend a Salt book or two).

I have felt more in the mood for blogging over the last couple of weeks than for some time, but I’ll be otherwise engaged for most of July. However, in August, Surroundings will be back in action (I think).