About Eyewear the blog

Eyewear THE BLOG is the most read British poetry blogzine, getting more than 25,000 page-views a month. It began in 2005. and ha snow been read by over 2 million The views expressed by editor Todd Swift are not necessarily shared by the contributing poets and reviewers. Any material on this blog infringing copyright will be removed upon request.


Wednesday, 27 May 2015

2015 MELITA HUME POETRY PRIZE SHORTLIST FOCUS: ANNA MACE


Eyewear will be announcing the winner of the Melita Hume Poetry Prize in early June.  We are now halfway (at number 6) through our alphabetic posting on each of the 12 shortlisted poets.  I include a copy of the whole list below as well, to jog your memories.
 
 
 
Anna Mace has an interest in modernist, symbolist and experimental poetry traditions.  Within her multi-disciplinary approach she is keen to explore relationships between text, art, science and performance.  Recent work includes, collaborative project and publication, Revolve:R with film responses to her poetry by artists, Rammatik, One Five West and Maria Anastassiou. She will be poet in residence for the National Trust, summer 2015.  She has lived in Europe, India and Japan but now resides in Bristol, UK. 
 
POET IN RESIDENCE FOR THE NATIONAL TRUST, SUMMER 2015
 
 
Not I

 

It was one to remember, 

this one,

(weighted like a holy book).

More, {like scrunched up wings}

sought Kafka, for glimpses

of the world.  Melete on the left,

her shadow a compass, <Take a

chance on the 4-1-4, wait for me? >

Posting moments gratefully,

celebrating with pride

{like a framed odyssey}.  <It was

 

impossible to fail>, she said.

So we got married in a

single breath.  The possibility

of union was exciting atoms with                        

our fingers; vibrating form to

thought.  Puncturing fantasies we

tucked them urgently into secrets

{like pigs in blankets}. 

More, faithful we,

{like messages folded into promises},

hoped EPICAC would re-write the future.

 

He, showed upside-down worlds

and fading light {across distorted sight},

without human lenses. 

We watched men {½ Hitler, ½ Jesus},

<peel back and step inside>; purposeful,

{like cockroaches

crawling between creases}.  The

smudged colours of cut-out worlds,

where [wise] Solomon built a headstone

to artists: <[here lies] The Music Of The Spheres>.

Bleeding black patterns

 
snaking between centuries

{like words date-stamped, for return}.

More, deluded,

{like battling universes virtually},

creators exploded bombs perfectly.

Captured photos, our dust will

<always leave a trace>.  [Here lies]

progress; Paratheses.  {[Pause].  Infinity}.

Setting sail into an abyss,

it was an epic[AC] journey, {I} we said,

{like all our favourite dreams}.
 
 
POEM COPYRIGHT THE AUTHOR 2015

PROUD AS PUNCH ABOUT PEGASUS PRIZE!


Tuesday, 26 May 2015

THIS DIALOGUE OF ONE HAS WON THE FAMED PEGASUS PRIZE FROM THE POETRY FOUNDATION!

Eyewear Publishing has just won the world's most prestigious prize for poetry criticism in the English world for its recent collection of essays by poet, scholar, editor, anthologist and UCL professor Mark Ford, titled This Dialogue of One! The prize is from The Poetry Foundation & Poetry Magazine and is called The Pegasus Prize for Criticism.


We're only a small indie press in the UK, but we were competing against presses like Harvard University Press, FSG, Graywolf and others, with far larger staff and budgets - establishing publisher Todd Swift and his dynamic team (Cate Myddleton-Evans and Edwin Smet, with Oliver Jones) as a David against Goliath figure in literary publishing, here and across the pond in America. Eyewear's editorial vision  has already led to a first-time novelist, Sumia Sukkar, getting a BBC Radio adaptation for her debut.

Meanwhile the prize cements brilliant Mark Ford as one of the key poetry critics of our age, the equal of fabled Randall. He's also a major poet of our time, too. We are grateful to him for placing his trust in a small new press.

Monday, 25 May 2015

2015 MELITA HUME POETRY PRIZE SHORTLIST FOCUS: MICHAEL CONLEY


A TEACHER FROM MANCHESTER AND A POET
Michael Conley is a 30-year-old teacher from Manchester.  He has been published in a variety of magazines including Magma, Rialto, Interpreters House and Bare Fiction.  His first pamphlet, Aquarium, was published by Flarestack in 2014. The poem here below is from his shortlisted collection for the Melita Hume Poetry Prize 2015.
 
We Discover A Severed Thumb In The Woods
 
Lying either side of it,
we play
who dares get their tongue closest.
 
It nestles
in a pile of wet leaves, real
as a joke thumb. 
 
It mightn't be a thumb after all;
could be a stubby finger.
It's hard to tell
 
without the context of a hand.
It smells like
the thing you can’t find
 
in the fridge.
You are winning: your tongue
is practically touching it.
 
 
poem copyright the author 2015.
 
 



Friday, 22 May 2015

Ode On A Summer Dress

Ode On A Summer Dress

A folly in couplets

Summer flings off traces
Of winter's heavy faces

To reveal the lines of youth
Beneath the veils where truth


Hides its knees and thighs
As bibles conceal their lies

By putting all that's best
Deep within the quest


And here she assumes a pose
Like the thorn upsets the rose

So Julia flows just as sweat
Wearing motion like the wet


Making theologians debate
Whether we need anymore wait

Since now she has shown up
We've witnessed heaven's cup


Overflow with honeyed hope,
As she ties light like a rope 

Or snakes around the shade
As if life demanded parades


She's all that can be known
When beauty's widely thrown

In with lithe, lean, cream and tan
Whatever ligaments between


But do not objectify
With your one Byronic eye

Or ape the bull that gores
Let out of braying doors


Avert your gaze awhile
Her smile is not your smile

The flowers in their fields
Return a private yield


She is a long bride of time
Not a whipping post to climb

There is no lust when blind
Which is how the wise are kind


Befriend the fully clad
To avoid the lewder salad

She ticks the form that bends
The wicked to their ends


Youth is not for the poet now
Go turn your pen out to plough

A garden ripe with rhyme
In which innocence bites thyme.


poem by Todd Swift
May 21, 2015

THE BIG SAY YES

There is no argument to restrict marriage to heterosexual citizens, even in churches. Tradition is a poor blueprint for a more just or modern world. Should we still burn at the stake? There is no explicit permission from God in the Bible but neither does God give permission for liberal democracy or hydro-electric plants. Homosexuality was a sin because all sexuality outside of marriage was a sin. So bring the homosexuality into marriage and Hey presto! That sin problem goes.

Meanwhile the idea that only a man and woman can be married because only they can procreate - well not all of them can. Any couple can adopt and raise children as well. As for the argument that only married heterosexuals are truly able to be loyal and loving well sadly too many shelters for battered women tell another tale. Wedded bliss is not automatic for any gender or sexual bias. If Ireland votes No today it will be an embarrassment and a tragedy which is Hard to manage.

But they managed it in the body of Oscar Wilde whose trial was both humiliating and tragic. A Yes is the humane and visionary and compassionate and fully modern stance and those nuns and priests daring to speak out despite the Church being against in the main are heroes and future saints.

Wednesday, 20 May 2015

SHADES OF EYEWEAR SPECIAL FOCUS ON OUR WRITERS AND POETS: #1 SUMIA SUKKAR

SUMIA SUKKAR, BRITISH WRITER AND POET
Over the next weeks, as Britain's sunny summer days intermiitently appear, we will be celebrating our Eyewear list of writers and poets HERE at our blog - each wearing a pair of shades, for the sheer fun of it. Enjoy and collect these cool images of the hot summer of reading ahead... and look for their books!

Sumia Sukkar is one of our younger Eyewear Publishing authors, but her debut novel, The Boy From Aleppo Who Painted The War, is already one of our biggest successes, in terms both of sales and critical reception.  It got a glowing review in The Times, and was aired on BBC Radio 4 as a special dramatisation last autumn - it was heard by over 600,000 listeners. There is now talk of a movie adaptation, and of course we are discussing foreign translations.  Her powerful, poetic and even at times visionary story of Adam and his sister Yasmine, caught up in the Syrian conflict, strips bare the savagery of war as it impacts on innocent civilians (and not so innocent people); explores taboos like mental health and rape during war in the Middle East, and, even more beautifully, portrays a loving Muslim family as decent and caring as any in English literature - a rarity that her work rectifies. A talent to watch, Ms Sukkar is already one of the most impressive young novelists in Britain today. And, she is a poet as well!

2015 MELITA HUME POETRY PRIZE SHORTLIST FOCUS: TONY CHAN



HE EMBARKED ON A SOLO TREK
 
In January 2015, Tony Chan decided to take a break from senior school English teaching. Unable to dream up better ideas to cover over his unemployment, he embarked on a 1400 mile solo trek across Britain.

The 78-day route started at Dunnet Head, Britain's northernmost point, and led to Britain's three other extremities. Each day yielded a sonnet. Tony is now working on his next creative project: a series of prose-fiction vignettes exploring lonesome lives.

  

MEMORIAL TREE

There is this secluded and shaded grove
Not easily noticed by passers-by
Where an ellipse of matured trees surround
An autumnal sea of long-fallen leaves
One tree stands solitary amidst all
A sapling rising slowly year on year
It is wintered bare to a slender trunk
Visibly without width and without leaf
Yet it is full with personal meaning
Each tiny branch a tender reminder
Of memories deep-rooted in the mind
This slight and single whip of English Oak
Unknown and left alone by most others
Draws me back and back to this poignant place.

 
poem copyright the author 2015
 
 
 
 
 

Sunday, 17 May 2015

3333

FOR OUR 3333 RD POST, WE OFFER FOUR OF OUR CLASSIC IMAGES FROM OVER THE YEARS

ROAD MADDER: THE NEW MAD MAX REVIEWED AT EYEWEAR

CHARLIZE THERON IS THE NEW ICON
[SPOILER ALERT] The new Mad Max: Fury Road film has had a fascinating gestation and now a narrative of striving against another kick-ass franchise, Pitch Perfect, itself a vehicle for amazing women. Well, that's the media hyped story, and let's leave it there.  I saw Mad Max 4 (as it were) on Friday in 3D in London; at the end, reactions from the audience were mixed.  If you wanted to sum it up you might say Marmite - it did create a love-hate tension in the packed theatre.

I loved it.  I loved the insane Cirque du Soleil mania, the battery acid propulsion, the high-octane raciness; I loved the Trigger Warning vision of it.  The eco-warrior-feminist subtext; the redemption; the ugliness; the beauty; the sheer Wild West poetry of the cinema it extends and amplifies in its very motion.

I would argue that, at 70, director George Miller, in tandem with a hugely talented team - a crew of hundreds - has choreographed one of the most beautifully fluid and breath-taking action spectacles cinema has ever seen - or felt.  At times, it has the grandeur, sweep and power of The Searchers, Zulu, Ran, Star Wars, Indiana Jones 1, T:2, Lawrence of Arabia, Jackson's LOTR, and indeed Road Warrior.

Tempered by a very Australian sense of humour, and starring the two best-looking actors now working in movies (Charlize Theron and Tom Hardy), the melange of body horror, body paint, and body modification, presents us with the longest there and back again I've seen - 120 pure minutes of pure cinema. Vertigo and Rambo are almost as silent and thrilling - but it's hard to recall as wordless a world of pure visual sensationalism, put to the ends of a story with a heart at its bloody and horrific core.

Much has been made of the feminist element of the story, which I am unsure is really there (it may be a mirage) - surely the word matriarchal is more apt. Just because a film has active women in it doesn't mean the form or content is feminist - though this does pass the Bechtel test handily, and does terminate with a new hope, based on an idea of female fecundity and natural justice (essentialism?) returning to take control from a de-natured and evil cock-rock emperor of eye-scream. As well, the mostly-passive and doe-eyed stick-insect sex slaves are presented with a Vogue glamour that is almost preposterous (it must be said we assume intentionally). More clearly, as in the forerunners in the tetralogy, an ecological and pacifist ethos beats a taut drum in the background, even as caveman violence and vehicular manslaughter, as much as anything, save the day.

Modern cinema is in search of a zipless fuck, or, really, a guilt-free way of shooting Injuns. Zombies, Nazis, and robots are also fair game - a shoot-em-up is what we crave, and this is what this is.  It boils down to Ma and Pa Kettle on a rushing stagecoach, fending off the natives, in this case grossly-cancerous and cankered War Boys and Warlords. The ending, which is essentially a classic restoration theme of the good sheriff reclaiming the town, despite its biblical milk and honey theme, is an uplifting commencement for a debacle yet to be enacted - the Imperator (Theron) who will or will not hold back the male gaze and evil inherent in the bleak system established at the start.

Max does little but suffer, a Christ/Shane figure, and act as shotgun backup - until his decisive final reel Brando interdiction - rebelling against whatever the world's got. It's hard to see as feminist any story that requires a man, however silent, to speak for the women; or invent the daring final plan (which is of course the return to the castle/ death star/ throne of blood). Meanwhile, the one-armed Theron outdoes Linda Hamilton, Sigourney Weaver or Jennifer Lawrence, as a boy's fantasy of what a perfectly sculpted beach-ready kick-ass action woman could be.

Regardless of how connected to or deracinated from theory and geo-politics, the film is relevant precisely in its propulsion - its contemporaneity is in its kinetic ferocity; it is as well-made, as exciting, and dynamically unstoppable as any film ever before made. This may prove a false prediction, but possibly only the new Star Wars, and the new Bond, will make more money this year at the Box Office.

Thursday, 14 May 2015

2015 MELITA HUME POETRY PRIZE SHORTLIST FOCUS: JEN CALLEJA

SHE ALSO PLAYS IN THE BAND SAUNA YOUTH
Jen Calleja (pictured) was born in Shoreham-By-Sea, West Sussex, and lives in London. She is a writer, literary translator from German, reviewer and editor of Anglo-German arts journal Verfreundungseffekt.

Her short fiction and poetry have been published by The Quietus and Structo, in many independent publications, as well as released on record and played on BBC radio. She was runner-up finalist of Brighton Festival's inaugural Peacock Poetry Prize in 2011. She also plays in the bands Sauna Youth, Feature and Monotony. This poem is from her short-listed collection.


extract from she is that which I are
I come to an isolated factory. Disused, with a distorted structure. I remembered night shifts stirring, stirring, making checks and kicking back for naps. I’d eat – from the pots with a long spoon – the melting components. I couldn’t afford the canteen lunch. It was a story my friend enjoyed telling, the way only he can. It popped up in a graphic novel, green and brown and grey, and though I never felt that way, it really is what happened. The story became a screenplay, then came the movie with a slew of reviews which shared the same specific line misquoted, that became a rally slogan, or nothing at all.


poem copyright the author, 2015

POETRY COMPETITION FOR EYEWEAR 10TH ANNIVERSARY!

To celebrate the tenth birthday of Eyewear Blog - a major literary milestone in British poetry history perhaps (or not) - its spin-off sister, Eyewear Publishing is offering a £110 poetry prize for the best ten line poem using imagery in relation to eyewear, vision, opthamology, or something to do with monocles, glasses, glass eyes, eye patches, or optomosterists, including eye charts... and those tests that put a puff of air into your eye - ouch! Just email the poems as word docs within BEFORE MONDAY MAY 25TH to EYEWEAR TENTH BIRTHDAY POETRY PRIZE to info at eyewearpublishing dot com. Please share and retweet peeps!