POETRY IN ENGLAND

wrote this many moons ago nothing changed
the description of Les Murray reading at the end is true

POETRY IN ENGLAND

There is something about poetry in England
That is awfully nay terribly Middle Class
Something not quite right in the hands of a worker
Sibilants dribbling like snot from the poor man’s nose

Wiping its sleeve on the tasteful tablecloth of power
Always waiting to be found out or at least held up
As an exemplar of the erudite working class chap
Even that Larkin fellow wasn’t a chav was he darling

Then the skirmishes with the Leftist proletarians
Or the Rightists in their towers quaffing champers
No never quite right, never accepted as kosher
Little piggy faces pressed to the literary crown jewels

In 1992 I gate-crashed an Oxford University poetry bash
Crept along corridors I had no right to be in
After another day serving the arrogant little sods
And after much prevarication finally made it in

Les Murray, sitting like an antipodean Buddha
Laughing like a Boetian at the Athenian Temple
Then he slowly let rip with poems from Dog Fox Field
Words circling the pews like a fox in a henhouse

I walked up shook his hand said thank you

And skedaddled before they set the hounds loose

POETRY SUBMISSIONS: The Poisoned Chalice

Yesterday evening I submitted to all these with varying degrees of success with the exception of Belle Ombre (which I had never heard of and which seemed a contender for the new Agenda up its own (hare’s) arse award). I got something off to all the rest even the one that I was not supposed to get to i.e. London Review of Books which I worked out later drops subs in the genre they trying to make money on through a competition…nice little capitalist ploy there LRB.

I sent three poems anyway to annoy them.

The rest especially those using submittable were all good. Clear guidance and appeared to know web from elbow. Except Allegro which should win an award for bad usage of out of date blogger and no comprehension of design or fonts. (The editor kindly rejected me already so we evens). The good thing is some decent poems rejected already on the recycle route to be flung elsewhere.

I submitted a whole pamphlet to The North because it a good magazine and it did not say you couldn’t.

London Grip I had heard rumours of through Neil Fulwood and John Lucas connection.

Poetry submitting is a bit like going out to bat without a bat..you take a defensive stance and wait for the hundred mile an hour hard ball of rejection to bounce into your sensitive spot.

The balls get bowled back on average six months later it appears so not losing sleep over some of the more arcane ‘self-publishing and social media’ rules which frankly bullshit invented by people still working out what the internet is.

More frightening is the references to NO AI which like horse and stable door frankly too late most of the crap I seeing around the magazines and the hell for leather publishers is probably already AI induced.

WOODCHIPPER: The Poetry Shredder

A discontented editor putting finishing touches to latest poetry review….

WOODCHIPPER is my Poetry Review founded on the twin principles of unfairness and rigor. Too many cosy nepotistic little middle class magazines sit around the internet being jolly nice to each other and helping each other publish their insanely bad drivel…so here we have WC..

You know it makes sense…….and after WOODCHIPPER comes …

PULP
Publishing only our friends in fact not ONLY our friends but also people we like who live nearby….or people who give us lots of money…

Come feel the noise at WOODCHIPPER here:

https://www.shaunbelcher.com/woodchipper

SELFIE @ 65

Self-regarding

Self-effacing

Selfie at 65

Teeth – some lost

Eyes – scarred

Piles- fixed

Hernia – fixed

Ears – Tinnitus

Brain- forgets names

Hands – scarred wrinkled

Feet – chilblained

Hair – grey thinner

Optimism – constrained

Politics – centrist was left

Artwork – little

Writing – occasional

Music- listen not make

Income – pensions

Abode – secure and flawed

Outlook- slow depreciation

Partner – tolerant

Cat- poorly

Family – a way away

A selfie at 65

I will do another at 70

I have a plan

NORFOLK IN SPRING



The taste of salt on the tongue

Kids gone to uni now empty nester

Husband in marketing doing well


Always wanted to write

Met a small press woman

Now I got a pamphlet

Next year a prize

Discovering a new poet every day

over coffee in Waterstones

Elizabeth Bishop is amazing



I really struggled with words

But now I have so much free time

To devote to my passion

Words come easy

Over a prosecco in the garden


Wonderful thing is

There hundreds like me

It a real movement

Lovely to meet so many like me



Ever read Virginia Wolf?

She’s amazing

Never thought I could do it too

I voted for Brexit, regret it now.

Dark Marilyn

DARK MARILYN

Our sweet matter to anti-matter
the gilded cage gridded, blocks, contains
epitome of class, pleasure and power

Always six paces behind, a life of service
I brushed by them one east end afternoon
As Charles and Nigella floated by

Like peacocks emerging from a stairwell
Their expensive coats azure blue, bejewelled
At a secret view of Conran’s new restaurant

I stood watching my artist friend imitate Chagall
Stair painted for the decorative pleasure of diners
Indian and Jewish colours swirling like feathers

A car waiting above to return her to a fake kitchen
A fake marriage with fake lighting, fake cooking
Performing normality in front of chauffer and chef

The ringmaster always in control, labour doesn’t work
A Thatcherite generation child lost to trauma
Washed up in a promotional video that became life

Decorous, dysfunctional, abused, depressed
Then trapped in a paparazzi shot forever choked
Mouth dripping chocolate like fake blood

Dark Marilyn
A new chocolate bar.

THAMES VALLEY TEXAS

I just read some of this volume at the Open Book reading is Thames Valley Texas (updates at link above or direct here https://shaunbelcher.com/writing/?cat=106)

This is a kind of auto-biography of myself and my hometown of Didcot where I lived for a good part of 30 years. The title is a reference to the love of country music that my family had instilled in me from a young age and the experience of hearing Dolly Parton at full volume drifting across the estate from the working-men’s club on a saturday night.

If I cannot get a publisher to take this chapbook length collection on I will try and publish as a Horsehoe Press pamphlet.

Potentially in future I would like to publish the poems alongside a sequence of photographs I took in 2011-12 for a multimedia project called TRACK which almost but not quite became a PHD in 2018…


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