“All that a man knows, and needs to know, is found in Berkeley.” -W.B. Yeats, mispronounced by Jack SpicerSome things are worth waiting for. I submitted “Reading James Joyce at the Berkeley Marina” to Berkeley Poetry Review in January 2013, and it was accepted in August that year. However, due to the Editor-in-Chief’s struggle with a major illness, my contributor’s copy just found its way through my mail slot here in England this morning. The issue must be something of a small victory for the editor, which he writes about in his preface. It is for me too. As an undergraduate at Berkeley, I applied to a creative writing workshop with some of my poems. I still recall standing outside the classroom door, reading and rereading the list of accepted students, my name not on it. Little did I know how fitting an introduction to the writing life this would be. This issue is a tome, featuring poets from Ashbery to Hass, filled with terriffic historical documents, letters, concrete poems, and sketches. It is a kind of tribute to Berkeley’s intellectual and artistic history in its way. Needless to say I am eager to get stuck in to it. You can order this issue, or subscribe, at the Berkeley Poetry Review website. Here also is a photo of my poem.
The Mary Evans Picture Library is an independent family-owned historical picture library started by Mary Evans in 1964 in Blackheath. She and her husband supplied clippings to publishers and news agencies for decades. The collection is now digitised and available online. Furthermore, the website’s Poems and Pictures blog features poems inspired by images from the collection, alongside the images themselves. Blog curator Gill Stoker contacted me recently, and I was delighted to respond to one of the images she sent my way. You can read “Filing Room” alongside many other interesting Ekphrastic responses online at the Poems and Pictures blog. Read the poem.
Parts I to III of my long poem sequence “Nomansland Common” appear in the summer issue of Under the Radar magazine. It is in good company alongside two pungent and haunting poems by Paul Stephenson, a trans-Atlantic observational poem by Jill Abram, several poems about identity by Josephine Corocan, and many other delights, including insightful reviews and prose. You can order a copy of Issue 16, or even subscribe for the year, at the Nine Arches Press website. Valerie and I also made part IV of “Nomansland Common” into a film-poem, which you can read and watch online here.
Sandra Tyler asked me a wide range of questions in a recent interview for Woven Tale Press. We touched on the writing process, the plethora of publishing formats these days (each serves a purpose), the value of teaching (for the teacher as well), and of course my current pet project: Poet Tips. You can read the full interview, and see a picture of my messy writing desk, on the Woven Tale Press website.
Four fresh new poems appear in the current issue of Woven Tale Press, the combo print/digital arts & literature magazine. You can read poems, short stories, and peruse some stunning artwork and photography on their website. I read two of these four new poems to a small but enthusiastic audience in the basement of the Poetry Café in London last week. Reading them again makes me want a (gluten-free) biscuit. Enjoy.
I have been a fan of the Displaced Nation Dispatch for awhile now. Their by turns provocative and reassuring regular articles by and for expats have been a rich part of my experience living in the UK. So I am delighted that today they are carrying my “tiara” of poems, “Smoke Ring”, from The Knowledge on their site. You can read the complete sequence, enhanced with well-chosen pairings of images and text, at The Displaced Nation.