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Thursday, January 24, 2019

New Release: Bruce Harris The Huntington Hydra (Caparison Books, 2019) 100 pages

A message from Alan Morrison from Caparison. The sample includes a preface by the poet and four of his poems:

Caparison is proud to present 
The Huntington Hydra
By Bruce Harris

A collection of deeply moving, spiritually triumphant poems bearing witness to the harrowing course of Huntington's Disease, an incurable hereditary neuro-degenerative illness, through the eyes of a partner and carer. 

This beautifully produced, accomplished collection also confronts themes of sexual repression, the conflict between personal desires and social obligations, politics, austerity, travel, and points of conflict in history. 

To read a sample from the book visit and click on the cover image. 

Perfect bound print book     £10 incl. p&p
Ebook                                  £3

All proceeds from the sales of the book and ebook will be donated to the Huntington's Disease Association (HDA)

Thursday, January 10, 2019

New Release: John D. Robinson TOO MANY DRINKS AGO (Paper and Ink Literary Zine, 2018) 30 pages

This chapbook consists of twenty gritty alternative small press poems by the Hastings, UK writer John D. Robinson. He writes with empathy and compassion about the sad, fucked up- and often short lives- of people he has encountered.

Here's an example:


Beneath the orange skies,
like a speeding spinning
roulette-wheel of chance
or fate, workers made
their way home to food
and comforts of a family
as he fell backwards
30ft down onto the
basement concrete,
his back and skull
broken and death came
swiftly and he was
already numbed from
the world with cheap
rot-gut cider and the
songs of a hopeless
the orange sky gave
way to dusk as the
sounds of a harsh
scrubbing brush
could be heard
ridding the red blood
from the concrete.

(reprinted with the permission of the poet)

Buy the book here:

Not only do you get 30 pages of poetry but also a bonus beer coaster featuring one of Robinson’s poems together with a hand-made collage and all for only 5 quid. There's more: you also get 2 Poems-For-All micro-books by Paper and Ink Literary Zine editor Martin Appleby.

Sunday, December 30, 2018

Update: Poems-For-All

If you haven’t viewed Richard Hansen’s Poems for All site lately, check out his latest incredible miniature poem creations  here:

Wednesday, December 26, 2018

New Release: John D Robinson & Joseph Ridgwell The Lost Future In A Pair Of Blue Eyes (Holy & Intoxicated Publications, 2018) 30 pages

This is the latest Holy & Intoxicated publication by UK poet John D Robinson. It combines his poetry with that of the London writer Joe Ridgwell. The title derives from Ridgwell’s poem The Lost Future In A Pair Of Blue Eyes in which he describes in mythic terms the arrival of a son.

The chapbook opens with a series of twenty interlocking vignettes by Joseph Ridgwell in which he poetically documents the rise and fall and the aftermath of a relationship with “Anais”. Asked recently as to whether his work was based on real events, Joe candidly replied, “As always, all my stuff is based on real events. I’m just not good at making shit up, ahahhah. Yeah Anais is an alias. Those poems focus on my relationship with the poet and novelist J, who is the mother of my child. We split a few years back, and some years needed to pass before I could write about that period of my life. The poems came as and when, some are new, some written a few years back.”

For the record, some earlier versions of Ridgwell’s poems originally appeared in Load the Guns: Blackheath Books 2009; A Child of the Jago: Kilog Press 2010 and Fire Island Pig Ear Press 2012.

In his contribution to The Lost Future In A Pair Of Blue Eyes, Ridgwell explores love in its many guises including; love at first sight (“When I Saw Her”), the exhilaration of young love (“On Waterloo Bridge” and “Angel Visions”), the stirrings of romance (“More Beautiful than the Night” and “Looking out over the Harbour of San Vicente”), desire (“Anais”), sexual love (“The Canal”), raging jealousy (“End of the Affair”), the birth of a child (“Miracle on Lordship Lane”), the attempts at reconciliation (“Scotland or No”), the disillusionment that comes with the collapse of love (“Days of Wine and Roses”), and interestingly, the will of the poet to pick himself up from the wreckage of his relationship and to start contemplating  a new beginning (“Fare Thee Well”).

The writing is first person free verse, sensuous, layered and full of strikingly original images. Interestingly, Ridgwell often uses pathetic fallacy, favoured by the Romanic poets, in drawing parallels between how he feels and occurrences in the cosmos.

Here are two of Ridgwell’s poems from the chapbook. They will give you a clearer idea of his writing style and choice of subject matter:

Angel Visions

That damned night in old Soho
The French House, the Wheatsheaf and the Coach
Boozy underground poetry and Ouija
Which we escaped from
And fled across London Bridge
To Peckham’s nocturnal delights
South o the river
There we stopped in the Vale
For more drinks
And possessing a devil attitude
In the devil town
On the swayed walk home
We held each other tight to ward off demons and Ju-Ju
Until I pushed you inside the open gate of St John the Evangelist
Up against a thorny bush
Unsteady footing
And there under the gleam of a streetlamp
William Blake’s vision of angels
Shining down, down, down
And everything spun madly
And in the trees above, a heavenly host
Not seen round those sides
Or in Rye Lane
Since 1757.

Strange Day

Walking to Black Rocks from Crow Island
Thinking about the future
Or what remains of a life
Lived weirdly
On a crystal day
With the tide at its ebb
Is an otherworldly experience
Like walking on the surface of the moon
The sunlight so bright
Burning away the remains of a sea haar
Distant people appear as if walking on air
The rocks themselves floating and swirling
Levitating above earth
Endless sands
Riddled by everylasting tides
No life here
As I climb to the top
And contemplate
A relationship in tatters
A confused bairn
A future alone
Away from Crow Island
Whose streets I’ll never walk again. 

In the end, Ridgwell is resilient and reflective in describing the break down of a relationship which appeared at first full of promise: “Basically, I just wrote about that period of my life and the relationship. The relationship was complex, for many reasons, and it was tempestuous. One day I’ll meet a women, who is quiet, stable, and we’ll just get along fine with no dramas and live happily ever after. But hey, that would be boring, right?”

In John D Robinson’s contribution, he includes 14 of his latest poems, including 4 haiku. His poetry is usually first person, narrative in form and in this joint-chapbook, he continues to mine the depth of his working & underclass experiences and recollections. The writing is clear, honest and often brutally revealing. Robinson’s relationship with women (“The Scent”,“ A Key Moment” & “The Question”), his conversations with friends & relatives (“Neil And The Kitty Cat Scratch” and “The Pork Pie”), his view of himself as a poet (“Lit Talk” and especially “Lost Or Fucked-Over”) and as a man (“The Tough Guy” & “Dangerous”)- everything is spilt on the page without regret, or for any yearnings for sympathy, acceptance or success. 

In his poem No Return, Robinson is characteristically playfully ironic:


Crackling from the Sunday
radio came
“Now let us pray for the
broken hearted and the lost
souls of our world,
the alcoholics and the drug
addicts, the ghosts of our
towns and cities that have
wandered far from the
path of righteousness and
now walk the roads of
sin; let us pray that the
gates of heaven open up
for our brothers and
sisters, for these wretched
spirits let us pray”
after I had finished
rolling a joint of powerful
weed I felt thankful
and good that somebody
was sparring a little time
and a prayer for me
without expecting a return.

In Lost Or Fucked-Over, perhaps Robinson’s most powerful poem to date, he moves from his feelings as an artist to how he perceives how he & most of us are fucked over by the system. Robinson’s anger is genuine, how us ordinary folk, whether we want it or not, are “caught-up in a/ fucked-up way of/ living, the bullshit of/ ambition, money,/ property and power”:


I don’t feel like a poet,
I’ve never felt like a poet,
I don’t know how that must
feel like,
most of the time I feel lost
or fucked-over, I feel
cheated and robbed,
maybe that’s how a poet
should feel,
I’m guessing most people
feel this way,
I don’t feel like a poet,
mostly I feel like an
asshole caught-up in a 
fucked-up way of
living, the bullshit of
ambition, money,
property and power,
no one mentions
freedom these days;
I don’t feel like a poet
but an old man who still,
every morning,
awakes in temporary 
awe that I’ve made it and
will have
another chance of
kicking the faces of the
faceless as they take
another day from me. 

The Lost Future In A Pair Of Blue Eyes is a highly engaging and worthwhile book to read and written by two of the best writers in the alternative small press in the UK. The front cover is designed by the indefatigable efforts of the genius that is the Swedish artist Janne Karlsson. 

Order signed copies direct from John D Robinson- send £10 via PayPal to:

Featuring Colin James

                     WHEN THE LOUNGE LIZARD AD LIBS 

                      Of course we were sitting in
                      the back and witnessed nothing
                      other than the usual head-bobbing.
                      A murmur of silence interrupted
                      and someone blocked the exits.
                      I can't remember much else,
                      a few empty trays of crackers,
                      cheese, I believe there was one
                      apparently larger than life.
                      Unapologetic, held up, arrestingly
                      dutiful. I must have just missed.
                      My duties were mostly outlined in grey
                      a list of could-beisums long
                      including every variant twice
                      or words to live modestly by like
                      don't be a liability to your own space,
                      take it up then wander off.
                      The excluded don't always leave early
                      their attention spans are just shorter.
                      I had folded my coat neatly
                      not knowing where learned,
                      probably a coat folding seminar.
                      Older over achievers again in the back      
                      the ultimate Protestants.
                      Could have been a time killing seminar.
                      If I recall, the wallpaper was astonishing.
                      Gratitude almost in the air
                      then the food emanated
                      or seemed to butt in, appear.


                                 The only passable lane between
                                 two cemeteries,
                                 catholic and protestant,
                                 is littered with unread fliers.
                                 Wouldn't wipe their arse with them,
                                 producing an uncomfortable 
                                 feeling for the rest of the day.
                                 A pile of colorful clothes
                                 that wasn't here yesterday.
                                 I heard a sound of footsteps
                                 like someone running away,
                                 then contrasted discarded appliances.
                                 Dishwashers, fused dryers, left by
                                 these modern disposal experts.
                                 Wistful practitioners of the faith. 

                           ORATORIES THROUGH A WOMB WALL

                          Our hero of the two haircuts
                          one quite puffy on top, the other
                          halfway down the back
                          is prone to goodly Afro pride.
                          Not your Archie or Betty this
                          that's running as fast as can
                          pursued by unpromising paralytics 
                          their uniforms precise and prohibitive.
                          The stench of prosperity, poison
                          tipped spears cha cha cha the air.
                          Origins like formalism throughout.

                             THE ALIGNMENT OF AN ALTRUIST 

                            Standing awkwardly at the Tumorous Pump,                          
                            I was considering my options when
                            a figure approached from my blind side,
                            which is about ninety percent of all reality. 
                            A young man dressed somewhat less than casually
                            insisted I subsidize his present needs.
                            He suddenly paused in his dialog
                            to thoroughly smell the air.
                            His eyes receded, a look of despair traveled
                            the extent of his red blotched face.
                            "You shite! he uttered, thereby
                            disappearing into some overhanging bushes.
                            I was not immediately tempted to join him merely 
                            resumed my quest of ambivalent indifference.

Bio: Colin James has a book of poems, Resisting Probability from 
Sagging Meniscus Press: 
He lives in Massachusetts.