Thursday, 23 June 2016

Bristol 24/7 publishes The Montpeliad in its entirety

Here's a link:-
http://www.bristol247.com/channel/culture/books/poetry/local-poet-pens-epic-the-montpeliad-bristol
I will never be able to show my face in this town again!

To be honest, I am a little surprised - in a good way - that they went ahead so promptly with publication.

Wednesday, 22 June 2016

Sonnet 5

I've lately taken to writing sonnets - Petrarchan rather than Shakespearean. No doubt this follows on from my completion of The Montpeliad (619 line heroic couplet satire of the follies of Bristol, modelled on Pope's Dunciad).

I've written five or six sonnets in this latest frenzy. So far one or two have seemed slightly shallow to me; one or two slightly better. Sonnet 5 below is highly topical, given that I'm writing this post on the eve of the Referendum. I think I'm quite pleased with it. It doesn't sound too trite to my ear.



Sonnet 5

The tide’s edge where, lurking between the ebb
and flow, flip-flop between each absolute,
this moment when affairs become acute,
you lounge on your divan with your Black Leb.
At least you’re reading up on politics:
Ryan, who lectured you at UCL.
You really thought tonight you might as well
Here, history bifurcates. Some ratchet clicks.
That slouching beast of Yeats, or evil twin
of beast, pauses for breath in Beit Sahour. 
Rancour develops between fastest friends,
fools prick eachother’s effigies with pins.
Someone like Kissinger extends a claw,
and Eliott’s whimper signals when it ends.

Monday, 13 June 2016

Another gruesome image of Referendum debaters exchanging spit in Stokes Croft

Almost every day, I walk past this splendidly witty contribution to the Referendum debate, which is to be found in Stokes Croft, Bristol:


which is modelled on this iconic image of Cold War tyrannosauri Brezhnev and Honecker engaging in tonsil hockey:
I thought that, in light of Eddie Izzard's thoughtful and restrained Question Time performance the other night, I might add my own amateurishly photoshopped reimagining:


My first ever Petrarchan sonnet

I make no claims for profundity on behalf of my latest creation, which chronicles an unpleasant episode in my life, lasting for roughly eighteen months until roughly eighteen months ago. Suffice to say, it meets the criteria defining a Petrarchan sonnet, these being:-
(1) an abba abba cdc/e cdc/e rhyme scheme (although I'm given to understand there have been some variants on this pattern).
(2) an octet (the abba abba portion) followed by a sestet (the cdc/e cdc/e portion).
(3) a volta or turn in line 9, introducing a change in mood and presaging the ultimate resolution.


Sonnet 1

When junkies moved into the house next door
I feared that I would never sleep again.
My mind’s eye pictured taking up a Sten,
and in this way enforcing frontier law.
They partied twice a week and often more,
dealt smack in ten quid bags to chavs, who then
would congregate in groups of eight or ten
and leave my front path full of sharps and gore.
Until one day I filmed a female guest
as from a window she relieved herself.
Then to YouTube I sent the video.
Betimes pornography is for the best:
I’ve since regained most of my mental health,
and care not where their landlord made them go.

Saturday, 4 June 2016

An Excerpt from the Montpeliad, a Work-in-Progress

Excerpt from the Montpeliad.

The Montpeliad is my first proper attempt at writing in heroic couplets - rhyming pairs of iambic pentameters. The heyday of this verse form was in the late 17th and 18th centuries, the era straddled by the satirists and serial Homer-translators, Dryden and Pope. The South African poet Roy Campbell single-handedly revived the form between the World Wars. However, it has very much fallen back out of favour since his passing, which is a pity, I think, because it lends itself very nicely to the mock epic to which I'm extremely partial.

In The Montpeliad, he unnamed narrator roams Bristol, where a sort of Olympic Games for twats is being held, and discourses on the mindless folly which is the presiding spirit of that town. The Montpeliad is modelled on Pope's Dunciad, which is itself a satire of the follies of Pope's literary contemporaries.

The following excerpt is very obviously a satire of Bristol's recent mayoral elections.


You wondered how the officers could cope
with all that cash stuffed in brown envelopes.
Suffice to say, as soon as they were paid, 465
the new Porsche showroom did a roaring trade.
At length, the chief returning officer,
all Rolex watch, gold teeth, opossum fur,
snorting the purest powder to be found
between Montpelier and High Kingsdown, 470
looked up from guzzling overflowing trough
invited silence with a hacking cough.
Thy will be done, electorate,” he said,
although adjusted as determinéd
by such emoluments lately bestowed, 475
of gold, of silver, and of cash a load.
He wiped the gravy dripping from his lip,
from crystal flute of Cliquot slurped a sip,
and with majestic dignity announced,
the easy winner, who by far has trounced 480
his rivals in this cheapening charade,
this whited sepulchre, this cracked façade,
is neither clown nor smirking architect;
the pawn instead of narrow Marxist sect,
the slaves of dogma which can only yield 485
the false utopia and killing field,
In short, good people, Marvin Reece has won.
Now liquidate the kulaks, rape the nuns,
sign with the Nazis non-aggression pacts,
erase the hist’ry and re-write the facts.” 490

My First Foreign Language Publication

My Sonnet 141, which is my first and to date only French composition, has just been published by Barbara Dordi, to whom my thanks, in Issue ...