Tuesday, 31 January 2012

Born To Die

Miss Del Rey Exercising
Lana Del Rey, now a meme of sorts, is this year's Lady Gaga - a heretofore unknown young woman rising from obscurity to instant world fame, thanks to Turner Prize-style art hijinks, and Madonnaesque reinvention; we are living in an era when Walter Pater and Walter Mitty have married and given birth to girls with the nous of Orson Welles and Oscar Wilde yoked together with virulence - call them Odette Weldes.

What is amazing is how the media gets so excited about a transformation whose blueprint is now at least 120 years old; after all, we now know how to burn with a gemlike flame; and all about personae and making strange.  Anyway, here comes Lana.  Her name refers to an O'Hara poem in my mind as well as a star.  She was born in New York State, so she is a New York School character, in a sense, though she prefers to position herself somewhere between High School Confidential and Blue Velvet.  Much has been made of the Lynchian in her work, but by that we really mean the rotten fruit core of 50s iconography - Dean, Monroe - which is more ubiquitous than Lynch.

In fact, the performer Del Rey most closely resembles, in terms of songcraft, uncanny vocal shifts, doomy-dreamy storytelling of rebels and youths in peril, fraught performance, and queer undertones, is 60s star Gene Pitney, who I love.  Pitney could inhabit a Bacharach tune, a film theme, or a teen torch song, with equal aplomb.

He was the Man Who Shot Liberty Valance, but also the guy 24 Hours From Tulsa.  Pitney, a prettier Orbison, has always been kitsch, but is to my mind the greatest pop performer in the American canon for his uncanny impersonations and ability to rev from passion to pathos in seconds, skittering across a range of characters from western toughs to vulnerable lovelorn college kids.  Listening to the best of Pitney, one is also struck by the lush orchestration, and the sheer skill with which each song-as-mood-microcosm is made.  So too, listening to the nifty instamatic masterwork that is Born To Die, what is undeniable is how oneiric the work is, in the best sense.  Few pop artists can do this.  Pitney did it.  Del Rey does it too.  Is the "ey" at the end of her nom de plume a sly homage to Gene?  A bit of splicing?

Sunday, 29 January 2012

Nicol Williamson Has Died

Sad news.  One of Eyewear's favourites, the gifted, troubled Nicol Williamson, the high-pitched thespian who played Merlin in the classic Excalibur (still wilder and more erotic than Game of Thrones), and Sherlock Holmes in The Seven Percent Solution, has died of esophageal cancer in his mid-70s.  He will be missed.
Nicol Williamson as Merlin

Saturday, 28 January 2012

John Kliphan Has Died

Sad news.  John Kliphan, the poet who founded the longest-running anglo-Parisian poetry series, Live Poets (now Poets Live) died Thursday, January 26, 2012. At 2:15 p.m. his heart slowed and came to a stop in the presence of close friends.


When: Thursday, February 2, 2012 at 10:30 a.m.
Where: Salle Coupole, Crematorium, Père Lachaise Cemetery (map attached)

Enter the cemetery from Avenue du Père Lachaise near GAMBETTA Metro Station (lines 3 and 3bis). Please allow ample time to walk in from the street.

PLANNED FOR LATE FEBRUARY. Tentative date: Sunday, February 26, 2012. Please mark your calendars.

Plan d’accès :
Le Crématorium se trouve dans l’enceinte du cimetière du Père
L’entrée du Crématorium se fait par l’avenue du Père Lachaise,
accessible par la place Gambetta. Métro : Gambetta (lignes 3 et 3bis)
Bus : Gambetta (n°102 et 69) ou Ramus (n°26)
Toutes les salles du crématorium sont accessibles aux personnes à
mobilité réduite. Merci de vous signaler à votre maître de cérémonie,
avant le temps d'hommage.
Le jour des obsèques, les véhicules des proches peuvent être autorisés
à pénétrer dans le cimetière pour se garer sur le parvis du

Please feel free to forward this message.

Tuesday, 24 January 2012

No Drive

The 2011 Oscar noms have been read out live on BBC radio.  Good news that we all knew would happen: Gary Oldman for Best Actor; Meryl Streep for Best Actress.  Of the directors, good to see Woody Allen there, and Terence Malick, two geniuses, as well as the brilliant Scorsese and Alexander Payne.  In terms of Best Film, it seems likely a toss up between The Artist, The Help, or Moneyball - though War Horse may slip in by a nose; Midnight In Paris will be a sentimental loser.  Big missing film: Drive, the second-best film of the year after Tree of Life.  Also, nothing much for Tinker, Tailor, given the early hype.  The Best Supporting Actress nod will likely go to The Artist; Best Suporting Actor perhaps to old-timer Max Von Sydow or Christopher Plummer - what amazing careers these guys have had.  Nothing for the dog.  That's Wuff!

Monday, 23 January 2012

Mike & Nancy Sent This! Looks Good...

Dear Poetry Friends
We are starting our 2012 poetry season a little late this year. But we are starting with an excellent event!
On Saturday March 3rd at 7.00pm our guest readers in The Crypt will be Elizabeth Cook, Glyn Maxwell and Cheryl Moskowitz.
More details are on the attached flyer - but the short version is that we meet in the crypt under St Mary's church, Upper Street, Islington;
as well as two slots by each of our guest readers there will be floor spots (sign up when you arrive, on a first come, first served basis); there will also be tea, coffee and cakes during the interval. Admission £4 - all proceeds from the event go to Hospice Care Kenya.
We look forward to seeing you
Mike & Nancy

Eyewear Opens A Sliver

Eyewear is opening one shut eye, and slowly easing back into 2012.  Here is the thing - the blog will no longer comment on daily politics, obituaries, or offer film, music, and book reviews - unless these are particularly striking.  Instead, it will be a far more limited affair (for now), as the publishing business emerges.  It will offer one very exciting event - a countdown of THE 100 BEST LIVING BRITISH POETS - as excitement for the Olympics builds.

Platform 1

this sounds good

Clinic's final event at the Amersham Arms (not the last event ever, like, but the last event at that particular venue) will take place on Friday 27th January with the London show of Tubelord's UK tour, in support of their second album, r o m a n c e. To celebrate, Clinic have commissioned eleven young poets and illustrators to respond to the eleven album tracks, which in turn take their lyrical content from a Bloodaxe women poets anthology. This work will be risograph printed in a one-off pamphlet, available to purchase on the night.

Musical support will come from Olympians and Samuel Deschamps (of La Shark).

Readers will include:

Jack Underwood - Faber New Poet no. 4
Kate Kilalea - Author of 'One Eye'd Leigh' (Carcanet 2009), a debut collection lauded by J. M. Coetzee among others.
Emily Berry - Gregory Award Winner and author of Stingray Fevers (Tall Lighthouse)
Matthias 'Wolfboy' Connor - King of zines, whose fiction has regularly appeared in Vice.
with Sophie Collins, Rachael Allen & Sam Buchan-Watts.

The event will run from 7pm till midnight, and costs £6 on the door & £5 advance. A special discounted price is available if you are an Ideas Tap member.

Reviews of r o m a n c e:
'a brilliant second album' - BBC music
'just plain awesome' - this is fake DIY

of Clinic:
'South London poetry collective Clinic put on simply the best poetry nights we've ever been to' - Dazed & Confused
'if you have ever doubted the strength of interest in poetry today, I highly suggest you take a trip down to any future clinic event' - Popshot

Sunday, 22 January 2012

Adore Troub? Prize Poetry!

Announcing the £2,500 Sixth Annual Troubadour International Poetry Prize

Judged by Jane Draycott & Bernard O'Donoghue (with both judges reading all poems submitted)

Prizes: 1st £2,500, 2nd £500, 3rd £250
plus 20 prizes of £20 each
plus a Spring 2013 Coffee-House-Poetry season-ticket
and a prizewinners' Coffee-House Poetry reading
with Jane Draycott & Bernard O'Donoghue on Mon 26th Nov 2012
for all prize-winning poets

Submissions: by Mon 15th Oct 2012


- Bernard ODonoghue (b. Cullen, County Cork) is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature; a former Reader at Magdalen College and Fellow and tutor at Wadham College, Oxford, he co-edits the Oxford Poets (Carcanet) series with David Constantine. 'Farmers Cross' (Faber, 2011) was shortlisted for the 2011 T S Eliot Prize following poetry collections which include 'Poaching Rights' (1987), 'The Absent Signifier' (1990), 'The Weakness' (1991), 'Gunpowder' (1995, which won the Whitbread Poetry Prize), 'Here Nor There' (1999), 'Outliving' (2003) and a 'Selected Poems' (Faber, 2008). He has written on the poetry of Seamus Heaney and translated Czech poet, Zbynek Hejda.

- Jane Draycott (b. London) teaches on postgraduate writing courses at Oxford and Lancaster Universities, and is currently Royal Literary Fund Fellow at Aston University: a PBS 2004 'Next Generation' poet, she won the 2002 Keats Shelley Poetry Prize, was shortlisted for the 2009 T S Eliot Prize and has won several awards for her audio work with Elizabeth James. Her latest work, a translation of 14th century 'Pearl' (Carcanet, 2011) was a 2008 Stephen Spender Prize-winner. Earlier publications include (with Two Rivers Press) 'Tideway' (2002) with Peter Hay, and 'Christina the Astonishing' (1998) with Lesley Saunders & Peter Hay, and three full collections, 'Prince Rupert's Drop' (1999), 'The Night Tree' (2004) and 'Over' (2009), all with Carcanet/Oxford Poets.

- Both judges will read all poems submitted.


- General: Entry implies acceptance of all rules; failure to comply with all rules results in disqualification; submissions accepted by post or e-mail from poets of any nationality, from any country, aged over 18 years; no poet may win more than one prize; judges' decision is final; no correspondence will be entered into.

- Poems: Poems must be in English, must each be no longer than 45 lines, must fit on one side of one page of A4, must show title and poem only, must not show poet's name or any other identifying marks on submitted poems (whether by post or as e-mail attachment), must be original work of the entrant (no translations) and must not have been previously broadcast or published (in print or online); prize-winning poems may be published (in print or online) by Troubadour International Poetry Prize, and may not be published elsewhere for one year after Monday 15th October 2012 without permission; no limit on number of poems submitted; no alterations accepted after submission.

- Fees: All entries must be accompanied by fees of £5/€6EURO/$8USD per poem (Sterling/Euro/US-Dollars only); entries only included when payment received via -
PayPal: visit www.coffeehousepoetry.org/prizes, follow PayPal instructions at bottom of page, (PayPal account not required), enter Poet's Name & No. of Poems in 'Add special instructions to merchant' box;
Cheque/Money-Order: payable to Coffee-House Poetry, write Poet's Name & No. of Poems on back.

- By Post: No entry form required; two copies required of each poem submitted; include on separate page: Poet's Name & Address, Phone, E-Mail (if available), List of Titles, No. of Poems, Total Fees, and EITHER PayPal reference OR cheque enclosed; no staples; no Special Delivery, Recorded Delivery or Registered Post; we recommend folding poems in half in C5 envelope as this does not incur 'large letter' charge if less than 5mm thick (UK); entries are not returned.

- By E-mail: No entry form required; poems must be submitted as attachments (.doc, .docx, .pdf, .rtf only) to CoffPoetry@aol.com; include in e-mail: Poet's Name & Address, Phone, List of Titles, No. of Poems, Total Fees, and EITHER PayPal reference OR cheque to arrive by post within 7 days; no Special Delivery, Recorded Delivery or Registered Post.

- Acknowledgement/Results: E-mail entries acknowledged within 7 days of receipt of payment; postal entrants may include stamped, addressed postcard or envelope marked 'Acknowledgement' and/or stamped, addressed envelope marked 'Results' if required; results sent to all e-mail entrants after winners announcement; no correspondence will be entered into.

- Deadline: All postal entries, and any cheque/postal payments for e-mail entries, to arrive at Troubadour International Poetry Prize, Coffee-House Poetry, PO Box 16210, LONDON W4 1ZP postmarked on or before Monday 15th October 2012.

- Prizewinners will be contacted individually by Monday 19th November 2012: prizegiving will be on Monday 26th November 2012 at Coffee-House Poetry at the Troubadour in Earls Court, London.
Anne-Marie Fyfe (Organiser)
coffee-house poetry at the troubadour

Thursday, 19 January 2012


Eyewear is still getting between 450 and 500 visitors daily, even while moribund.

Good to know.

I miss it.

Tuesday, 10 January 2012

Not so fast!

Thank you for the messages.  Eyewear is hibernating, not definitely defunct.  I hope to return it to you in good nick, later in 2012, once the press is up and running, and I am on sabbatical.


Eyewear Publishing announces its inaugural (2012) THE MELITA HUME PRIZE FOR POETRY.   This is an award of £1,000 and a publishing deal for the best first full collection (i.e. debut) of a young poet writing in the English language, born in 1980 or later.  The aim of this prize is to support younger emerging writers during difficult economic times, with a quality publication in England and a helpful amount of money which can assist them in their studies, travel or accomodation, for example.  This is open to any one of the requisite age, anywhere in the world.  Melita Hume is a Canadian book collector, and compiler of information about Canadian authors, who lived most of her life in St. Lambert and the Eastern Townships.

Please post your submissions to the address below:

Melita Hume Prize for Poetry
Eyewear Publishing
Suite 38, 19-21 Crawford Street
United Kingdom

Please include an SASE or equivalent, a biographical note of 100-250 words, and a brief covering letter including email contact details.

The deadline for submission is April 8, 2012.

The winner will be announced September 1, 2012.

For email queries, contact info @ eyewearpublishing.com

Friday, 6 January 2012

Eyewear Epiphany

Epiphany, December 6, is a good time for epiphanies.  I've had one.  Having spent a fortnight with my wife, brother, sister-in-law, and young godson, I know, more than ever, that bonds of family, and love, are the most important elements of life.  Therefore, I have decided to temporarily close Eyewear.  It will be getting shut-eye, as I develop the new small press, Eyewear Publishing, and - perhaps - return in a new form.  In the meantime, look for my future comments at Facebook and elsewhere.  I won't be posting for the foreseeable future.  Editing, teaching, writing, researching, and spending time with my family - will take up more time.  Thank you for reading this blog over the years.  Some critics were right - it had become shallow at times.  The passion and commitment it takes to edit and write for years, on poetry, and life, cannot be easily sustained.  And blogs are now dinosaurs.  There are other, faster, slimmer, more elegant ways to reach people.  Eyewear remains open, as a publishing venture.  Keep an eye out for what will be next.  Peace be with you.

Wednesday, 4 January 2012

From Filreis

At Jacket2 - http://jacket2.org - links to all Jacket issues 1-40 materials have been restored, after a problem with the old Jacket domain has been fixed.

At the bottom right of the Jacket2 front page you'll see links to all 40 issues. Or enter any keyword(s) in the searchbox: results will include Jacket2 materials as well as those published in Jacket between 1997-2010. All the URLs/web addresses remain the same as ever, and will be consistent permanently.

- Al Filreis

Publisher, Jacket2

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