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Showing posts from July, 2010

Extract from 'Fifteen Minutes'

We have the potential
to become
fully perfected Buddhas.
We have only
to strip back the skin
of our unenlightened selves
to the banana
of our Buddha-nature.
Electric fan cools
my right ear,
smoothly spinning the air
like candyfloss.
Inside it must be dark.
This way you get
to surprise yourself.
Meeting you
after all these years
is pleasurable.
Imagine, all of this time
turning a blind eye
on myself; the best
I could do
was to let it go.
You wouldn’t treat
a dog that way,
would you?
How long, exactly?
All of it, I guess,
minus maybe
a few hours, max.
Go in far enough
you come out
the other side.
Office furniture.
Brown filing cabinet.
Unsettling materials
I suddenly feel
compelled to describe
as though my life
depended on it.
The former occupant
painted the walls
toothpaste green.
Worked for them.
Grey and white marble lino.
Grimy accretions
around the edges.
Up close everything
is scratched
or has in some way
deteriorated
from its original
pristine condition.
Look as though doing
something important.
6 minutes to go.
Yin-yang mo…

Louis Simpson Reading

Book Available from Amazon

My collection 'Waiting for the Sky to Fall' is now available from Amazon.

Regulation of Counselling

For anyone interested in what is happening with counselling and regulation, this article by Steve Cox from 'Therapy Today' should be of interest.

Defining Moments by Steve Cox

To be born in ‘interesting times’ is said to be a Chinese curse. I certainly experience the current ‘regulation climate’ as an interesting time. As to whether these times qualify as a curse is down to us. I believe that the present regulation debate is very important and that the current climate presents a big challenge. I also think that these are defining moments and it is a time when each of us has a responsibility to fulfil. However, before saying more about aspects of responsibility, there are some observations I would like to make.

First, I want to comment on the coming together of the psychotherapeutic community. I don’t think that I have ever witnessed such a collective outcry from across the spectrum of the different schools of psychotherapy. And secondly, I want to talk about what our different a…

The Poetry of Louis Simpson

Some thoughts.

I like the way he abandoned strict rhyme and regular metre after his first three collections, and worked at a freer verse from his Pulitzer winning fourth collection 'At the End of the Open Road' (1963) until his last 'There You Are' (1995).

I like very much his commitment to plain speech that was evident from the start of his career and found even more varied expression once the shift mentioned above had taken place.

Before that change, whilst their was already the commitment to unshowy diction, the poems read like an outsider trying to write their way into a tradition - a formal, romantic tradition that derives from another continent in a previous century and which I think must have already started to sound archaic to most mid-twentieth century American ears.

His early war poems, for example, are embarrassingly poetic, not least because he is more often interested in the experience of being a young poet, doing the American in Paris routine, than with the h…

New Poetry

I love taking off
but want flying to be over.
When I close my eyes
and look into my heart
I see the jagged rocks of fear.
I also see a lion.
Yellow buoys across the bay
like rows of continuation dots.
Hey, why aren’t they passing
the ball to that girl?
Three blind mice.
Stars between pine trees,
the sound of the sea
breathing in and out.
I accept suffering
because I don’t want
desire to ever cease.
My wife notes how some
young women are both slim
and big-breasted.
See how they run.
The rocks like old elephant skin.
I wonder if anyone else
is looking at the clouds,
the vivid purple flower
I can’t name spilling
down the hillside.
Whatever the philosophers say,
things will not go away.
I like this because it is
exactly how I want to do it.
Cicadas like a fridge on the blink.
Money makes me nervous.
Waiting in line to buy something
almost makes me shit myself.
Hexagons of wobbly light
on the sea floor – Jane’s observation.
Italian women in bikinis talking,
hands on hips, on the shore.
Husbands apart, arms folded.
Orange eve…

Ginsberg and Bunting

For those of you who haven't already seen it, there's a great photo of these two on Silliman's Blog.

Two Poems on Ink Sweat and Tears

Here are two new poems published last week by Ink Sweat and Tears (my first online).

Waiting for the Sky to Fall on peony moon

South African poet Michelle McGrane has featured my collection on her excellent and widely followed blog peony moon.

Review of Waiting for the Sky to Fall

Happenstance poet Matthew Stewart has reviewed my collection on his blog Rogue Strands.

1st July 2010

Thank you to those who sent messages wishing my book well on the day of its release.

The day was strangely typical, though as far as poetry goes, I exchanged a spare copy of Seeing Stars for Identity Parade which I'm taking on holiday on Sunday along with The Best American Poetry 2004 (ed. ,Lyn Hejinian). I'm also packing the latest issue of Poetry Review and Louis Simpson's collection There You Are - both of which arrived in the post while I was out.

Louis Simpson has been one of my favourite poets for many years and I was pleased to see Bloodaxe reviving interest in his work by publishing a selected collection earlier this year.

The first poem I read of his, appropriately enough, was in Paris, about 20 years ago. Perhaps it was in Hall's anthology. I loved it immediately and knew that was how I wanted to write. Strangely enough, I didn't make any effort to get hold of his individual books until about a year ago.

This past year I have ordered and read everything he …