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Friday, September 30, 2016

Robert Sheppard: The Meaning of Form - Griffiths and Fisher

10. The Making of the Book: Bill Griffiths and Allen Fisher 

The role of small presses is not simply to publish non-commercial work, but often to form it in terms of text-presentation and book-production. The differing versions of Bill Griffiths’ The Book of the Boat are examined, noting not just revisions in the usual sense, but serial transformations with each printing opportunity, including the whole work as a pamphlet in two different and illustrated editions. Printing and publishing is a form of writing. Allen Fisher’s Proposals is a self-published work, involving the formal interaction of poem, commentary and image, and the open ‘imperfect fit’ of Fisher’s postmodern poetics is contrasted to Quarles’ seventeenth century emblem books, to which Fisher alludes, to suggest that, once more, the forming activities of the reader are fundamental to its reception. 

There is more than the work on Fisher and Griffiths to be accessed here, including a long post about small presses themselves. 

For those who can buy the book, or order it for libraries, here are the places

Thursday, September 29, 2016

Charles Bernstein and Susan Bee reading at Storm and Golden Sky FRIDAY NITE

Storm and Golden Sky

Friday 30th September 2016

Susan Bee and Charles Bernstein

7.30 (entrance £5)

At The Caledonia

(in the Georgian Quarter on the edge of Catharine Street and Cadedonia Street: up the steep stairs at the back of the bar room)

SUSAN BEE is an artist who lives in Brooklyn. She has had seven solo shows at A.I.R. Gallery, NY, and solo shows at Southfirst Gallery, Accola Griefen Gallery, and Lisa Cooley Gallery in NY. She has a BA from Barnard College and a MA in Art from Hunter College. Bee has published sixteen artist’s books. She has collaborated with poets including: Johanna Drucker, Susan Howe, Charles Bernstein, and Jerome Rothenberg. She is the coeditor of M/E/A/N/I/N/G Online. Bee received a Guggenheim Fellowship in Fine Arts in 2014. She teaches at the University of Pennsylvania.
CHARLES BERNSTEIN is an American poet, essayist, editor, and literary scholar. He holds the Donald T. Regan Chair in the Department of English at the University of Pennsylvania and is one of the most prominent members of the Language poets, having co-edited (and co-founded) L=A=N=G=U=A=G=E magazine with Bruce Andrews between 1978 and 1981. In 2006 he was elected a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. He has published 17 major books of poetry including Legend, with Bruce Andrews, Steve McCaffery, Ron Silliman and Ray DiPalma (New York: L=A=N=G=U=A=G=E/Segue, 1980), Controlling Interests (Roof Books, 1980), Islets/Irritations (Roof Books, 1992), Rough Trades (Sun & Moon, 1991) The Sophist (Sun & Moon, 1987) and many others, including two selected volumes: Republics of Reality: 1975-1995 (Sun & Moon, 2000) and All the Whiskey in Heaven: Selected Poems (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2010). Bernstein is also an important critic and editor of contemporary poetry and this year the University of Chicago press published his Pitch of Poetry. His other remarkable critical writings include: Attack of the Difficult Poems: Essays and Inventions (University of Chicago Press, 2011), My Way: Speeches and Poems (University of Chicago Press, 1999), A Poetics (Harvard University Press, 1992) and Content's Dream: Essays 1975-1984 (Sun & Moon Press, 1986). Other notable projects include A Conversation with David Antin (Granary Books, 2002) and Shadowtime: a libretto for an opera about Walter Benjamin with music by Brian Ferneyhough (Green Integer, 2005).

coming soon

·  Andrea Brady and Yvonne Riddick on 28th October
                ·  Linda Stupart and Allen Fisher 25th November

Robert Sheppard: The Meaning of Form Stefan Themerson and Semantic Poetry

Chapter 9: Stefan Themerson: Iconopoeia and Thought-Experiments in the Theater of Semantic Poetry

The invention of ‘Semantic Poetry Translation’ by Polish-British writer Stefan Themerson in the 1940s and his theoretical unfolding of his ideas in ‘Semantic Sonata’ of 1949, had to wait until the 1970s to be appreciated, but only today it may be formally likened to certain Oulipo techniques. Replacing words with their definitions de-forms and re-forms original texts and allows for an examination of their (often dubious) claims. Offered as a species of ‘translation’, the poems also involve ‘iconopoeia’ as a technique, derived from Apollinaire’s visual practice. ‘Semantic Sonata’ suggests musical form, perhaps inspired by Schwitters’ very different ‘Ur-Sonate’, to articulate a linguistic philosophy of caution, in reaction to a post-War world where too many people believe too many things but do not know enough, as Themerson’s friend Bertrand Russell puts it. (Which sounds horribly like the post-factual world people keep going on about now!)

See here for more. But not a lot of blogging about Themerson. (This was because the chapter was a previously published article.)

For those who can buy the book, or order it for libraries, here are the places

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Robert Sheppard: The Meaning of Form ... Conceptual Writing Goldsmith/Place/Seed

The Trace of Poetry and the Non-Poetic: Conceptual Writing and Appropriation in Kenneth Goldsmith, Vanessa Place and John Seed

Conceptual writing is, in terms of its poetics, very clear in its intention to privilege appropriation as a mode, and it appears to downplay form. The theories (and some ‘uncreative’ works) of Kenneth Goldsmith are expounded in support of its own practice; Vanessa Place’s Statement of Facts, with its gruelling accounts of rape, is read against conceptualist theory as a formal entity. The other of conceptual writing’s (self-confirming) poetics is form. The work of British poet John Seed, post-Objectivist appropriations and transformations (by means of poetic artifice) of Mayhew’s accounts of the nineteenth century London poor, Pictures from Mayhew, serves to show how a successful formal and conceptual project may be achieved. 

My extensive posts, on both the conceptualists and on Seed may be accessed here.

For those who can buy the book, or order it for libraries, here are the places

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Robert Sheppard: The Meaning of Form ... Waldrop's Wild Forms!

Chapter 7. Rosmarie Waldrop: Poetics, Wild Forms and Palimpsest Prose

Waldrop’s poetics is one that pitches language against form, which she suspects of alliance with Romantic ideologies and stances, and of implying fixity (metrical form rather than active forming), but she nevertheless insists upon formal transformation, and one poem in prose from Blindsight is read in detail, particularly with respect to her uses and transformations of the work of Joseph Cornell, to whom it acts as homage. Cornell’s collages reach back to radical modernism. Her palimpsestic and collagic manner of textual appropriation is demonstrated to be a variety of what Waldrop does allow herself to call ‘wild form’.

For those who can buy the book, or order it for libraries, here are the places

See some thoughts on Waldrop here, thoughts that began my blogging-cum-thinking that, in many ways, produced this book. It also feels like the revival of this blog(zine), a move from intermittence into serial posting.

Monday, September 26, 2016

Robert Sheppard Symposium: one week left for submission of proposals

Robert Sheppard Symposium

Wednesday 8th March 2017: Edge Hill University

Chairs: Joanne Ashcroft, James Byrne, Tom Jenks and Christopher Madden

The Robert Sheppard Symposium will involve a series of research papers and presentations on any aspect of Robert Sheppard’s creative and/or critical work. The format will be panel sessions throughout the day and a reading during the evening (please specify if you would like to be considered for both). (I’ll be reading in the evening, but won’t be around during the day. I believe in leaving the delegates alone to respond unimpeded by the symposium’s subject.) A guide to my recent books here.

Papers are to be no more than 20 minutes
Please send a 150-200 word proposal to by next Monday: October 3rd 2016
Full information here:

Robert Sheppard: The Meaning of Form in Perril and Bonney

Chapter 6: Translation as Occupation: Simon Perril and Sean Bonney

Simon Perril’s occupation of the lacunae represented by the fragmentary remains of the first Greek lyric poet, Archilochus, Archilochus on the Moon, allows him to adapt some ancient Greek tropes involving language, colonization and marriage, as well as reflecting upon the figure of the poet himself, while developing a short line measure replete with internal rhyme and suffused with pathos. Sean Bonney’s Happiness: After Rimbaud, appropriates the figure of Rimbaud in the service of revolutionary politics, so that some of Rimbaud’s aphorisms are re-functioned to show the disintegration of bourgeois sensibility, for example. Prose ‘letters’ accompany a series of angry poems, some of them alluding directly to Rimbaud’s works and life, others relating to riots in Britain in 2011, all of them transforming the original texts and/or originary myths of Rimbaud.  

See here for links to working passages on both poets' works. 
For those who can buy the book, or order it for libraries, here are the places

Sunday, September 25, 2016

Robert Sheppard: The Meaning of Form Bergvall and Moure

Chapter 5. Meddling the Medieval: Caroline Bergvall and Erín Moure

Both Caroline Bergvall and Erín Moure produce contemporary innovative texts that re-frame medieval ones. Bergvall’s take on (‘meddling’ with) Chaucer, Meddle English, involves a recognition of the fluidity of Chaucer’s language that matches a contemporary slipperiness in linguistic matters. Humorous and performative, Bergvall negotiates contemporary issues of gender through transformation, and through an interlineal gloss on the original text within her poems. Moure, in O Cadoiro, plunges into the archive of medieval Portuguese troubadours with relish, but Derrida’s essay ‘Archive Fever’ serves as a minatory intertext. Moure recognizes that the incomplete archive is capable of generating philosophical questions about self and truth, as well as being the occasion for stunning innovative love lyrics and visual play (as in the book’s photographic plates of her treated texts).   

For those who can buy the book, or order it for libraries, here are the places

For further posts on the project as it lead up to the book see here.  

Saturday, September 24, 2016

Robert Sheppard: The Meaning of Form Atkins' and Hughes' Petrarch

4. Translation as Transformation: Tim Atkins’ and Peter Hughes’ Petrarch

An account of contemporary ‘translation’ practices broadens the scope of the word from that of faithful imitation into many varieties of transformative practices using ‘original’ texts. While many examples are entertained in summary, two book-length projects taking the sonnets of Petrarch, by two British poets, Peter Hughes’ Quite Frankly: After Petrarch’s Sonnets and Tim Atkins’ Collected Petrarch, are examined in detail with respect to their versions of the same poem. While Hughes (who reads Italian) emphasizes his difference from the original (by relocating the poems and modernizing them, for example), Atkins (who does not read Italian) intends in his versions to emphasize his distance from the originals (largely through the use of post-Oulipo techniques and constraints). Both writers manage to reflect Petrarch’s elegiac mode, while Atkins additionally injects a Buddhist negation. 

See here for a hub-post with links to pieces on these 'Petrarch boys'

For those who can buy the book, or order it for libraries, here are the places


See here for the sonnets I write, and the work that began out of these two poets' exploration of Petrarch. You can read the original translation and my 'doggie' translation, 'Pet', here! The 4 'symboliste' poems may be read on Card Alpha 1, here.  And you can watch me read some of my 'Petrarch' variations here. (Including the Jimmy Savile one.)