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Featured Poet: Robert Sheppard

Eyewear is very glad to welcome Robert Sheppard to these pages this Friday.  He was born in 1955 and educated at the University of East Anglia.  Sheppard's most recent books are the Complete Twentieth Century Blues from Salt which collects work produced over a decade or so and Warrant Error from Shearsman Books, his response to the 'September 12' we have been living through, whether we will or no. Also a critic, he has published recently a monograph on Iain Sinclair from Northcote House and has edited The Salt Companion to Lee Harwood. His Poetry of Saying is one of the major statements, along with Duncan's Failure of Conservatism, in the struggle of critique against the complacencies of the Movement/post-Movement mainstream.


He is Professor of Poetry and Poetics at Edge Hill University, Lancashire, and edits Pages as a blogzine.  He can be heard reading poems on The Archive of the Now.  Sheppard's writing -  of the left, and engaged with the ethics of poetics, questions, through his critical and literary works - the conservatism of much of British poetry - and is one of the key ouevres, in the last thirty years, of the UK "other" community of poets and writers, sometimes known as linguistically innovative.





Erotic Elegy

After Sigismunds Vidbergs’ Revolution (1925)


You thrash open the thick
Curtain interrupted we see

The troops bayonets
Fixed for entry they howl

For your sacks of gold
I moan for your reserves

Of desire both buried
I pillow against you breasts
Plumped in my shift
Brutal daylight

Shafts the length of my smooth
Legs from cool thigh

To bejewelled heel as I
Touch your arm I feel

You’re ready to split and
Spill but we tremble as one

Providential storks on
The drapery shake

A pane crashes somewhere
I know they’ll crack open

My curves like a shell
They’re weak with war my

Enriched lips captive on
Your captured plush will

Offer full account in
The speech of the Phoenix

That now I see is what smoulders
Upon the auspicious drape


August/October 2007

---

from ‘Out of Nowhere’


from Warrant Error

You build from song
an architecture of tumbles

a dance of stumbles on a shelf of air.
You name this the space left by the human.
You excavate Babylon or the strata of resting Jews
and the ribbons of tight ink on Pinkas Synagogue wall
with the surnames’ bejewelled rubrication

(Whenever erased they’re re-written
the act of their scrubbing
inscribed anew)

Stones leaning splinter through time
for those with no names
possess no death. You ex-
hume the ex-human in human unfinish




After the Last Word
of the dead text necrophliles come
our next words
which yet survive

as reasons
for living happily out
of nowhere and now

and then on to multitopia bearing
the stories so far

whose passions read as co-
eval becomings
geographies of affect in
capital Isness where
human unfinish is all about


  


            ‘… comme l’aube l’azur timide…’

She hangs heavy from her corset for this story
so far. She raises the arc of one red-dotted brow
and flutters firework lashes at her fist-headed vamp

They scowl into each other’s dark eyes but see only
nipples espying their true love through peepholes

The boy loves their leather fronds their clamped chokers.
He licks along twisted seams across buckled tattoos
through the purple mesh on their big legs swinging.
They mould themselves with man-maid passions.
She pushes her sex through his clench of meat

until her blind phallus drops as its straps sag.
Chained cuffs cover his un-pouched cock-ring.
She shrinks his gaze she bites her fake nails
while her lover’s glove kisses his lips, and he swoons





The poem sends itself from anywhere
to your little box there it replays it
over and over. No redial no recall.
Dead ears drop in your lap. Pause.
No reply possible skip onto Message Two

I see the twin cathedrals they’re twisting below
terror has been hijacked by artifice. Commas cower
along Hope St as we torque above them out of control
spluttering towards the radio tower full stop

That was your fake captain speaking
through me printing fear backwards
through his script. Out of nowhere

poems by Robert Sheppard
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