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Where Have You Been?

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Festschrifts and translations of Gottfried Benn are all well and good, but I can't help thinking this absence in my life isn't going to be filled until Michael Hofmann publishes another collection of his own poetry. In the meantime, here's this appropriately titled book of essays to look forward to. Published by Norton later this year, it looks like being a reprint of his prose selection 'Behind the Lines' (Faber, 2001) for a U.S. readership. The original volume didn't go to a second edition, and with the spread of Hofmania in the U.K. in recent years, it's been difficult to get hold of a copy at a reasonable price. In a way its publication is reassuring since it means Hofmann hasn't yet completely 'done a Rimbaud', but his long poetic silence, if not a repudiation of poetry, still haunts and fascinates other poets in equal measure.

Readers of Hofmann's poetry naturally hope he will publish more again one day. Dig a bit further, especially a…

Blog Tour

Blog Tour

Nick Murray - poet, biographer, founding editor of Rack Press and publisher of my last pamphlet 'Spring Journal' - kindly asked if I wanted to participate in a blog tour by answering these questions. My first thought was not really, but like most poets I couldn't resist a turn in the spotlight.

1. What are you working on?
In Iron Age settlements, bards stayed up all night making merry and spent the daytime napping beside a fire while the rest of the tribe went off hunting and gathering. Thank goodness for Ocado, I think, as I pop an ibuprofen with my coffee and watch my family remount the treadmill each morning.

My work ethic was shaped by the Counter-Reformation and involves growing a beard, a demand for more consumer products, and whiling away afternoons at the theatre or cinema. When I lived in Rome, I used to see Nanni Moretti sheltering from the afternoon heat at the Nuovo Sacher cinema in Trastevere. He owns it now, so watching matinees was clearly a positiv…

Reading List 2012

January

The Haiku Anthology, ed. Cor Van Den Heuvel (contd; reread)
The Essential Haiku: Versions of Basho, Buson, & Issa, ed. Robert Hass
Not In These Shoes, Samantha Wynne-Rhydderch (reread)
The Dog in the Sky, Helen Ivory
A Halfway House, Neil Powell
Selected Poems, Christopher Reid
Katerina Brac, Christopher Reid (reread)
Black Cat Bone, John Burnside
February
Stepping Stones: Interviews with Seamus Heaney, ed. Dennis O’Driscoll View with A Grain of Sand: Selected Poems, Wislawa Szymborska (reread) Zone Journals, Charles Wright (reread) The Water Table, Philip Gross For and After, Christopher Reid Death of a Naturalist, Seamus Heaney (reread) Door into the Dark, Seamus Heaney (reread) Wintering Out, Seamus Heaney (reread) North, Seamus Heaney (reread) Field Work, Seamus Heaney (reread) Station Island, Seamus Heaney (reread) The Haw Lantern, Seamus Heaney (reread) Seeing Things, Seamus Heaney (reread)
March
Seeing Things, Seamus Heaney (contd; reread) The Spirit Level, Seamus Heaney (re…

New Next Generation Poet

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At the age of just five, Arlo Giovanni Butler (A.G., as his friends call him) is the youngest of the New Next Generation Poets. Butler won the National Poetry Competition while many of his contemporaries were still struggling with phonemes and secured a publisher for his first collection before finishing prep school.

After graduating from UEA at the age of eight, he relocated to East London where he established the capital's premier spoken word club night which attracts edgy outsiders, hip mainstreamers and not a few bebrogued hangers-on who, when their friends aren't looking, will passionately explain that poetry is cool because it is 'free from the logic of capital'. Comparisons with the New York School of poets aren't entirely undeserved since, in the words of another commentator, 'they sometimes seem only interested in each other.'

Once active online, Butler explains he stopped engaging with social networking systems after winning the T.S.Eliot prize f…

Reviews of 'Spring Journal'

Two more reviews: David Morley in the current issue of Poetry Review (ed. Charles Boyle) and Matthew Stewart at Rogue Strands.

'Waiting for the Sky to Fall' Reviewed

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Really pleased to discover my first collection with Waterloo Press 'Waiting for the Sky to Fall' has received another enthusiastic review, this time by Steve Spence in Stride Magazine (click to link). Copies are still available from the Waterloo Press website.

Quote for the Day: Seidel

'I will say that learning how to write has to do in part with learning how to accede to yourself and your object, instead of writing what you think you ought to write, or what at that point in time the world thinks poetry is about. Or what you think you ought to be about. The moment comes, if it ever comes, when you have enough strength to give way, to give in to being who you are, to give in to your themes. Giving in to your obsessions, giving in to the things that you will be writing about over and over. And sometimes the things you’ll be writing about over and over are things that some people don’t find very nice.'

Frederick Seidel, Paris Review Interview No. 95