Ickerbrow Trig

Haslam’s blurb calls it a “pun”, among other assorted attributes. An Icker is a small piece of grain, so it’s probably about ‘middlebrow’.

The fist poem begins:

Snow fell from heaven while Aneurin Bevin

thought to spawn the NHS. Mother had drunk

her Guinness bottles on prescription nonetheless.

It’s certainly not doggerel, and the language – I’m unsure if it’s truly epic in scope, or just a joke about the romantics – pushes hard against serious content. Yes, poetry is “life or death”. Or is the NHS?

These poems don’t think for you, they just pretend to show off. My concern is that it’s not well suited to ‘moments’, for which I have a preference to over ‘place’.

But perhaps a deceptively visual poetry.

McLane’s ‘This Blue’

Why Dante in summertime?

When most of our modern poets confine themselves to what they had perceived, they produce for us, usually, only odds and ends of still life and stage properties; that does not imply so much that the method of Dante is obsolete, but that our vision is perhaps comparatively restricted (Eliot, The Sacred Wood).

McLane’s latest collection I found musically well weighted. Perhaps a little obviously so, but she seemed in control of any lack of subtlety.

However, I was disappointed with the collection as a whole, which dawned on me for the penultimate section to the book, and its reference to Wordsworth

When we had given our bodies to the wind

we found bones in earth and not in sky.

We found arrowheads in the earth and not in the sky though

they flown through the air before grounding (p65).

There is no loss of language, and nor do I have a sense of resignation to content; but I am puzzled by her equations on love and death.

‘the beats’

Move again Jack! Move again Jack! Keep moving!

Jah Luccio, live

four poems in TFR

the foul body

“The ten kinds of foulness are these: the bloated, the livid, the festering, the cutup, the gnawed, the scattered, the hacked and scattered, the bleeding, the worminfested, and a skeleton”

“one who sees internal materiality as foul (ugly) fully understands nutriment consisting of physical nutriment. He abandons the perversion [of perceiving] beauty in the foul (ugly), he crosses the flood of sense desire, he is loosed from the bond of sense desire…”

The Path of Purification – Buddhaghosa

notes on Williams’ “novel”

he needs progress and to leave, but there is nothing to leave but a woman.

Meeting with things… words are loveless

The Great American Novel

“progress… Down one street, up another… It rained on the white goldenrod… one must begin.”


“cherries… But who do you think I am, says white goldenrod? Of course there is progress. Of course there are words. But I am thirsty, one might add. Yes but I love you and besides I have no milk… There are no words.”


“now he must leave her”


more poems in stride

part of the remix project at stride







covid-19 poem in The International Times

in The Fortnightly Review

and previously

including a fun prose analysis of contemporary currents