Friday, 30 September 2016

A BIG WEEK FOR EYEWEAR POETRY COMING UP

Eyewear will be announcing its various shortlists for the Hume, winner of the Sexton, and 50 participants in the 2017 anthology of best new Irish and British poetry, all in October....

And, we launch 5 new poetry collections at the world-famous Bloomsbury book shop, THE LONDON REVIEW OF BOOKS bookshop... Tuesday, 4 October, 7-9 pm, by these poets...

BEN PARKER
TERESE SVOBODA
MARIA APICHELLA
ALICE ANDERSON
TONY CHAN

and we have 4 poets reading at the SCOTTISH POETRY LIBRARY  on National Poetry Day at 6 pm, in Edinburgh, 6th October:

GEORGE E CLARKE, POET LAUREATE OF CANADA
MARION MCCREADY
PAUL DEATON
TERESE SVOBODA

Then, our director will be reading soon after... more about that later....



Tuesday, 13 September 2016

SEXTON SHORTLIST!

Announcing the Shortlist for the 2016 Sexton Prize

By Kelly Davio
Announcing the Shortlist for the 2016 Sexton Prize
Eyewear Publishing is pleased to announce the shortlist for the 2016 Sexton Prize. The finalists are, in no particular order, as follows:


THE BARBAROUS CENTURY, Leah Umansky
HISTORY OF GONE, Lynn Schmeidler
SEVERE CLEAR, Maya Catherine Popa
GIMME THAT. DON’T SMITE ME, Steve Kronen
SCHEHERAZADE AND OTHER REDEPLOYMENTS, David McAleavey
AN AMERICAN PURGATORY, Rebecca Gayle Howell
SIT IN THE DARK WITH ME, Jesse Lee Kercheval

The shortlist was selected by Eyewear’s Director Todd Swift with Senior Editor Kelly Davio. Don Share of Poetry Magazine will select the winning manuscript, which will be released at the 2017 AWP conference in Washington, D.C. The winner will be announced in October. 
Congratulations to our finalists! 

Thursday, 1 September 2016

A NEW TAKE ON TRUMP FROM OLIVER JONES, AUTHOR OF TRUMP: THE RHETORIC


the book you must read
"Baby Bad: TRUMP'S FINAL FACE IS THAT OF INFANTILISM"

If we were to imagine history as a electrocardiogram measuring heart rate over time, the heart beat falling on 2016 along with Trump, ISIS and Brexit would measure as a major systolic thump, one that sent ripples through every avenue of public discussion and deeply tailored - and for the most part, hardened - our collective world-view. Reports by finance ministers, business leaders and civilians indicate a sense of gloom at best, crisis at worst. Taking the cardiac analogy further, Trump may represent a major arterial blood clot, a cystic fat narrowing our communal capillaries or (perhaps most aptly) a medically archaic form of angried blood, one that elevates the heart rate and sends it thumping through the 21st century with hysterical, irregular rhythm. And after Trump was officially inaugurated as the Republican nominee, his act went from merely irregular to officially unhinged.

Trump began an ill-advised feud with the parents of Humayun Khan, a US soldier killed in 2004, attacked Paul Ryan, Speaker of the House of Representative and a Republican, advocated a potential "strike first" nuclear strategy, called on Putin and the Russian secret service to mount an intelligence attack on Hillary Clinton, called on gun-advocates to do "something" about Clinton, predicted the November election would be rigged, proposed a ban on all immigration from countries "compromised by terrorism" and suggested that the onus was on women harassed in the work place to simply move on to another job. None of this was out of character, and the media reacted with fury and outrage - and massive air time - as always. There was one difference though: this time, Trump's poll numbers didn't soar - they dropped.

Why the change? From the tone of some editorials - in the wake of Michael Moore's "5 Reasons While Trump Will Win", followed headlines like "Why Trump Will Win" and "Social Media Patters Show Trump Is Looking At A Landslide Victory". The media and public had begun to take seriously the theory that Trump was all but unstoppable. His basic formula of outrageous insult, backed up with fantastic lies, seemed to be winning him every confrontation in every state he set his eyes on. But now his poll numbers were dropping in spectacular fashion and he'd begun to poll badly in key swing-states. The prevailing worry had been that Trump was channelling some primal energy in the American people, or was the bulkhead of a historical inevitability that would throw us all back into the dark ages - a repressive, racist state, an aggressive and protectionist foreign policy, the breakdown of international trade - or worse: total nuclear war.

Events domestically and overseas seemed to form a chorus around this narrative: Brexit, ISIS attacks in Paris, civilians shooting police officers in the US.; these events seemed to herald an epoch-breaking collapse in society and the world order, one that could dignify Trump's apocalyptic claims.

Then, as abruptly as it started, we declared Trump dead - "imploded", "self-immolating", on a "post-convention bender", "Unable To Control Self". Once again, Trump shocked his audience by continuing to act exactly as he had done all along. This time, it caught up with him. The tag that stuck to Trump - after businessman, celebrity, clown, narcissist and even fascist had all failed to pin him down - was "child".

Whether this represents a communal realisation and dismissal, or just the latest line of attack by our legions of journalists, is hard to know. But abruptly, focus has shifted from Trump as the new face of American fascism, to Trump as a kind of mad, overgrown infant - more incompetent than evil. Trump's campaign advisers began leaking bizarre and amusing anecdotes of Trump's complete unmanageability: Trump spends all his free time watching television, getting angry at his own coverage and reacting. Any critique of Trump has to be prefaced by "lavish praise - as if dealing with a child". An RNC member said he had to routinely "talk Trump down from a ledge". The head manager of Trump's campaign, Paul Manafort, resigned. In addition to his poll slump, Trump now began to suffer a flood of defections from the GOP establishment. Rep. Richard Hanna called Trump "unfit to serve", and promised to vote for Clinton at the general election. Republican fundraiser Meg Whitman also said she would vote for Hillary, and would even fund-raise for her.

The more optimistic of us may want to think that perhaps we collectively came to our senses. After a period of group confusion - like a herd stunned by the appearance of a strange animal - where we failed to identify Trump for what he was, a selfish, strange and maybe pitiable man, our critical faculties finally caught up with the obvious. We stopped being amazed at Donald Trump's feats of interpersonal savagery, dishonesty and vulgarity, and began to reject him.  

The more pessimistic of us may instead see that Trump, a very weird prophet for a very messed up America, was rejected by an electoral system that has consistently ensured that nobody who is not (excuse the double negative) of a certain class and character can take the Presidency. We should note that the major defections from the GOP came not in the face of Trump's racism or nuclear proclivities, but upon realising that he probably doesn't have the personal ability to win the election. If Trump - a person so thoroughly obsessed with his own talent and brilliance - could see that implied criticism, it would hurt him most of all.
 
OLIVER JONES is the author of Trump: The Rhetoric (Eyewear, 2016). He has a degree in PPE from Oxford, and is a musician and poet as well as a political writer.
 
Editor's note: it remains to be seen if Trump is coming back, with a more restrained (relatively) Presidential tone this past week...

THE BEST SUMMER SONGS OF 2016 AS CHOSEN BY EYEWEAR

THIS POET LOVES GOOD MUSIC

2016 has been more bad news than beach....

But in the midst of the worst times, popular culture, at least these past 100 years or so, in league with profit-oriented impulses, has managed to precision tool craft, emotion, structure, style, skill and pathos into a heady mix of song, dance, film, that has often seemed to surpass the moment, and ease some of the pangs and traumas.  No one in WW2, for instance, would begrudge the singers who gave the homes, bomb shelters and troop tents some measure of gladness in the dark. War is good for the entertainment business, as is economic struggle, and trouble in general.  The darker it gets, the better the songs. As if in keeping with that general idea, 2016 appears to be a masterclass in top flight popular music. Here are the 8 tracks - some top 40, others decidedly indie - that most got us dancing, toe tapping, or swooning, on the sunny sad and sifting days of this most challenging of recent years.  IN NO ORDER - IT IS ALL GOOD.

1. PILLOW TALK - ZAYN

If The Brill building boys had been writing today they would have nodded sagely at the excellence of this tune. The lyrics, clever, complex, and witty, attach to a passionate, romantic, grand song worthy of a 1950s Broadway Musical.  One of the greatest pop songs about lovemaking, and love, ever produced.

2. FLOWER OF SEX - MERCHANDISE

4AD has a way with talent spotting. Merchandise - sort of on the radar as indie pin-ups - combine the white t-shirts, lanky bodies, and short 30s-era haircuts, one associates with American Joy Division tribute bands. This song is simply the best pastiche of The Smiths, The Cure, Simple Minds, Echo & The Bunnymen, The Church and Joy DivisIon, ever assayed. It is sort of The Waste Land of 80s indie homage.  Canny, sexy, exquisite, and smart, it haunts beyond its antecedents, and opens new ways to be alternative now, belatedly.


3. SPIT IT OUT - SLAVES
There are few more rancid, angry, ugly new punk groups in the UK than Slaves, and their new single, involving someone purportedly sucking on a bitter sweet, is as good an anthem for Brexit Britain as any.


4. KISSING THE SCREEN - NITE JEWEL
Icy 80s synths a la Human League, married to a quirky pop sensibility the equal of Sia's leads to a video and song both funny, sad, and unexpectedly potent and poignant... one gets the feeling this peaen to FaceTime and other digital obsessions is going to be emblematic.


5. SLEDGEHAMMER - RIHANNA
Not since Tina Turner made a Mad Max theme song a major moment of the 80s, has a movie song been so resoundingly grand.  This makes Bond themes seem wan and lacklustre. A real showstopper, and deeply moving in a sentimental way.


6. CHEAP THRILLS - SIA

Well, here she is, herself - Sia - that genius of pop hits for our time. Working with Sean Paul was a clever move, they play off each other so well. "Worth more than diamond more than gold" is unpexpectedly moving. Combining Lady Gaga and Abba, this becomes a classic celebration of dancing, and love.  Both, in fact, which money cannot buy...

7. CAN'T STOP THE FEELING! - JUSTIN TIMBERLAKE
Continuing the disco-era celebration of summery dancing madness, here comes a track and video so upbeat and cheery it makes Fruit Loops seem colourless. A classic of its simply fun and clean-cut kind. Euphoric bliss. The Jackson 5 should maybe sue?


8. WARPAINT - NEW SONG
As if combining the dreampop indie nous of their earlier work, with the NYC influenced work of upbeat 80s New Wave (think Talking Heads) this is one of their best, and most, yes, danceable songs.

 

THE BEST OF 2017...

Aim High, more often Year-end Best of lists are invidious, and, also, these days, ubiquitous, to the point of madness. But we have love...