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Showing posts from 2017

NO MORE

One is reminded of King Lear, broken on the heath, by the immensity of human loss and suffering. London, and the UK, is reaching a summer breaking point.  As temperatures soar to 31 Celsius, murder, hate and death keeps erupting in weekly events, each unbearable for both victims, and any bystanders with a heart or soul.

Last night, a terror attack on law-abiding, decent, and needless to say, blameless, Muslim British people attending a Mosque, injured many. This is awful, and this blog is not going to state the obvious here. But we did not want this event to pass without comment.

This blog considers the British Muslim population of the UK to be an incredible, enriching, and valuable part of the whole intermixed splendour that is UK culture and society. Far from being a fifth-column, Muslims in the UK are - as we saw after the Grenfell Tower Fire - as compassionate or more compassionate than any other community - and their doctors, nurses, teachers, engineers, workers, drivers, artists, …

Outrage

A week or so after a startling election, which culminated in the collapse of Ms May's hubristic intentions for a hard Brexit, and ushered in a new, smiling, roseate Corbyn, PM in waiting, The Grenfell Towers inferno has struck London, and the UK, into a state of numbed horror. In the richest borough in all of the UK, it seems impossible that a 24-storey building with hundreds of families in it could, after one fridge caught fire, become entirely engulfed in flame like a roman candle within minutes. Anyone who has seen the footage will recognise instantly that this sort of disaster just isn't supposed to happen in a wealthy, industrialised nation anymore, one with fire safety laws - but somehow, cruelly and tellingly, the poorer members of UK society were ignored, their needs shelved, their reports and messages binned, and their homes made into a death-trap. If faulty cladding or improper safety measures are the fault, as appears likely, then this will be a case of manslaughter…

20 KEY SONGS OF 2017 SO FAR

Eyewear likes lists, and loves music. Hence our regular updated best of music lists. 2017 has been a difficult year, and a tragic one, but there is no harm in seeking some solace, some respite, some beauty or expression of concern, in song.

There are many fine artists we love who do not make this list, like Blondie, Goldfrapp, Pile, Paramore, Spoon, Fleet Foxes, Sleaford Mods, Alison Moyet, Drake, Little Dragon,The National, the xx, but here are 20 popular music tracks - all available on Spotify - that have struck us as diverting, compelling, and undeniable this year. These others may well make our final list at year's end. At close to mid-year, and summer's height, however, here is the playlist we have for you, now.

1. 'All Things Pass' - The Jesus and Mary Chain
As good as their best, a classic indie pop song.

2. 'Beehive' - Mark Lanegan
Dark, indie, imagistic, potent, and brilliant - a classic.

3. 'Bon Appetit' - Katy Perry, Magos
Saucy dance pop from a mas…

YO-YO AND THE GNU

Eyewear , the blog and company have had a rollercoaster love affair with Mr Jeremy Corbyn, current leader of the British Labour party. Anticipating his leadership win a few years ago, we published the first updated book on his life and ideas - which sold over 3,000 copies; several of our editors either voted for him or supported him. Then he appeared to falter. Our genuine love slackened.

But now he has pulled us back in, slowly, surely, with his principled, if grizzled, brand of authentic populism. His campaign has been masterful, and, mostly, blemish-free. He has appeared strong, confident, funny, and caring. And he has been infuriatingly clear - he does not like nuclear war or killing people.

Ms May, the current PM, has been a disaster.  Her strong, stable slogan is now a cruel albatross, like something the centurions slapped on the dying Christ. She has turned on her own manifesto - a bizarre first - and appeared weak in public debate, when she deigned to appear. Moreover, her 7 yea…

THE WINNER IS FINN ANDERSON

For our second iteration of this already-excitingly successful prize (in terms of getting entries from all levels of experience, and all over the world), we have that most pleasing of winners (arguably - a genuinely new poet, emerging from the wings for the first time, blinking in the footlights, to take their first shy bow). Indeed, this winner entered under an alias, but turns out to be Finn Anderson.  He will be paid his £140 today, almost instantly. Now here is the judge, Alexandra Payne, weighing in:

Judge’s Comments:
Among the poems read in the judging of this prize, many stood out for their starkly imagistic slants on reality, often transmuting somewhere into the magic and music of great poetry. None, however, with more wit, surprise and wistfully elegant tragedy than the sonnet, 'The Trampoline'. Its mastery of form and subtle yet heartbreak-inducing rhymes transform a familiar domestic object into a perfect objective correlative for the everyday tragedies that pockmark a…

JUDGE PAYNE BRINGS SOME RELIEF.... THE NEW FORTNIGHT POETRY PRIZE SHORTLIST

Every 14 days, the Fortnight Prize throws wide the net and offers up 14 shortlisted poems, one of which wins £140... here is this fortnight's shortlist... winner to be announced tomorrow... congratulations to all the many poets from around the world who entered, and especially the 14 poets here (at least one alias, I suspect).... this list judged by our managing editor, Alexandra Payne... 1. ‘Back to the Earth’ by Amy Lundquist 2. ‘Banal Apocalypse’ by David Braziel 3. ‘Dead Dog’ by Lynda Tavakoli 4. ‘Euclid Refuted’ by Daniel Cowper 5. ‘Follow You’ by Colin Dardis 6. ‘For a Catfish’ by Ellen Kempler 7. ‘Helen Keller Meets Charlie Chaplin on a Hollywood Film Set 1919’ by Jane Lovell 8. ‘Help of the Helpless’ by Ken Evans 9. ‘Love Song for Marcello Alfredo’ by Daniela Buccilli 10. ‘My One-Year Old Niece’ by Vik Shirley 11. ‘Q&A’ by Michelle PeƱaloza 12. ‘Reading a Novel’ by Samuel Son 13. ‘Take Today’ by Wes Lee 14. ‘The Trampoline’ by Orfinn Ani

A SUMMER OF MAY? MAYBE, MAYBE NOT

As the now tired adage goes, a week is a long time in politics. A week ago we did not know Trump's secret weird word... and more seriously, much more seriously, the Manchester tragedy had not yet happened. But now, after several debate appearances on TV from Corbyn, the Labour leader, and astonishingly poor appearances and non-appearances from the PM May, the polls have begun to converge, like an iceberg and a stable ship. Nik Nanos, Canada's leading polling expert, predicted this a month ago. As in some ways does our Eyewear book Tactical Reading, published a week ago. Though still too early to tell - and given the ferocity and mendacity of the right-wing media here in Britain - it appears May is losing her landslide. Here are Eyewear's predictions on the possible outcomes in a week, 8th June, when the UK votes to elect a new government.

MAY'S TORIES WIN A SLIM MAJORITY/MINORITY GOVERNMENT - 30% CHANCE
MAY'S TORIES WIN A MAJORITY OF 50-80 SEATS - 25%
MAY'S TORIES…

MANCHESTER

This blog started in 2005, and one of the first things it had to respond to was the terrifying series of attacks in 2005.

12 years later, and terribly, a mass terror attack has struck the UK - killing over 20 people, and dangerously harming many more. That many of the victims were kids and teens out to have fun at a summery concert, is all the more reason to be horrified. This was classic terrorism, meant to inflict great fear, and sorrow, and loss, on innocent people, for maximum publicity for their cause.

One does not have to be political to recognise that it is wrong to kill people, except in self-defence (if even then). Politics is not going to solve this problem, however, so long as a small group of radicals seek to destabilise, weaken, even destroy, democracy in Western countries.

While it is true they are unlikely to destroy the West, these acts can certainly tilt the West radically to the right, as we have seen of late. There is no tit-for-tat that can justify killing these peopl…

POETRY AND MONEY

It is true, Eyewear Publishing has adopted some elements of the "American model" that uses Submittable more than other small presses have done in the past in the UK - though Submittable is becoming increasingly respected, in the UK and the USA. Competing with so many digital platforms now means we have to try our best in a very robust climate. The agents and poets who work with us, and other authors, are usually impressed and comforted to know they get three things with an Eyewear contract a) business nous; b) unimpeachable editorial and aesthetic intelligence and sensitivity; and c) a commitment based on genuine love of literature.
Eyewear is about the opposite of money - it is about culture surviving, even thriving, despite financial pressures - and about working within the system to bring the best looking books possible, with the best writing in them, to the widest audience, across the world. However, so long as poets and authors think that publishers' main role is to g…

THE WINNER IS ROBIN RICHARDSON

WITHOUT A ROOF

Good god I'm gorgeous, open      on the operating table, so impeccably pink
pearl you could drape me on a hotel heiress,
     make a mint. It is a costly transformation:

girl to goddess, curve to cosmic pin-up,     star-strong in my homemade aristocracy.
The ring, I mean. The one he gave me days
    before I lifted like some unfeeling winged

thing on a plane that didn't crash.     What's worse I'm well, not huffy, hidden
from the day, not having ended anyone,
    unsympathetic in the most exquisite way.

Nude, open on a billboard in the Amazon     as pythons crawl inside to please. He disapproves:
the carefree sovereignty of solitude,
    almost anorexic silhouette. They say

it's tactless to be happy, living is an exercise     in letting go, existence as a river runs
its course regardless of our ripples, but
    they're wrong. I'm running with it wrapped

around me, a translucent, minnow-print      kimono, full of flow and following
a pathless cut th…

14 POETS SHORTLISTED FOR THE FIRST FORTNIGHT POETRY PRIZE

Every two weeks a fortunate poet wins £140 - 14 poets get shortlisted, and one selected the winner... the winner's poem appears at this blog, along with their bio and photo... and the best poems from the shortlist become an anthology in time... Here we go...


Shortlist for the FORTNIGHT PRIZE, NUMBER ONE, May 3-17

1.ASHLEY-ELIZABETH BEST, ‘Alignment’ (Canada)
2.AUDREY MOLLOY, ‘A Gradual Eden’ (Ireland)
3.CLAIRE CROWTHER, ‘Pets Don’t feel Pity’ (UK)
4.EMILY OSBORNE, ‘Brute Facts’ (Canada)
5.ERIC SIGLER, ‘The Panther’ (USA)
6.FRANCINE WITTE, ‘Charley Explains Baseball To Me’ (USA)
7.GLEN WILSON, ‘Rented Flat’ (Ireland)
8.IAN DUDLEY, ‘President’ (UK)
9.KATE NOAKES, ‘Edward’s Memory’ (France/UK)
10.MARC BRIGHTSIDE, ‘Influence-A’ (UK)
11.ROBIN RICHARDSON, ‘Without A Roof’ (Canada)