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MANCHESTER

This blog started in 2005, and one of the first things it had to respond to was the terrifying series of attacks in 2005.

12 years later, and terribly, a mass terror attack has struck the UK - killing over 20 people, and dangerously harming many more. That many of the victims were kids and teens out to have fun at a summery concert, is all the more reason to be horrified. This was classic terrorism, meant to inflict great fear, and sorrow, and loss, on innocent people, for maximum publicity for their cause.

One does not have to be political to recognise that it is wrong to kill people, except in self-defence (if even then). Politics is not going to solve this problem, however, so long as a small group of radicals seek to destabilise, weaken, even destroy, democracy in Western countries.

While it is true they are unlikely to destroy the West, these acts can certainly tilt the West radically to the right, as we have seen of late. There is no tit-for-tat that can justify killing these peopl…
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POETRY AND MONEY

A recent blog post co-written by one Katrina Fish on a website in the UK suggested that there was something "grotesque" about the amount of money that Eyewear Publishing Ltd made, and the methods by which it came to make its money; oddly, industry-standard models were described as if they had been invented simply by Eyewear to fill its coffers at the expense of struggling authors; although small UK presses like Templar use the same ones, with no criticism levelled at them.

The odd post also suggests that Eyewear takes no financial risk when it takes on a book, and that it does not work properly with the authors it edits, which would be to suggest that our present and former editors, brilliant people like Holly Hopkins, Cate Myddleton-Evans, Rosanna Hildyard, Kelly Davio, and Alex Payne, were not excellent editors - this is a very false and unfair claim, indeed.

The critique also comes with no mention of the works of prose (The Boy From Aleppo), criticism (Pegasus-winning Mark …

THE WINNER IS ROBIN RICHARDSON

WITHOUT A ROOF

Good god I'm gorgeous, open      on the operating table, so impeccably pink
pearl you could drape me on a hotel heiress,
     make a mint. It is a costly transformation:

girl to goddess, curve to cosmic pin-up,     star-strong in my homemade aristocracy.
The ring, I mean. The one he gave me days
    before I lifted like some unfeeling winged

thing on a plane that didn't crash.     What's worse I'm well, not huffy, hidden
from the day, not having ended anyone,
    unsympathetic in the most exquisite way.

Nude, open on a billboard in the Amazon     as pythons crawl inside to please. He disapproves:
the carefree sovereignty of solitude,
    almost anorexic silhouette. They say

it's tactless to be happy, living is an exercise     in letting go, existence as a river runs
its course regardless of our ripples, but
    they're wrong. I'm running with it wrapped

around me, a translucent, minnow-print      kimono, full of flow and following
a pathless cut th…

14 POETS SHORTLISTED FOR THE FIRST FORTNIGHT POETRY PRIZE

Every two weeks a fortunate poet wins £140 - 14 poets get shortlisted, and one selected the winner... the winner's poem appears at this blog, along with their bio and photo... and the best poems from the shortlist become an anthology in time... Here we go...


Shortlist for the FORTNIGHT PRIZE, NUMBER ONE, May 3-17

1.ASHLEY-ELIZABETH BEST, ‘Alignment’ (Canada)
2.AUDREY MOLLOY, ‘A Gradual Eden’ (Ireland)
3.CLAIRE CROWTHER, ‘Pets Don’t feel Pity’ (UK)
4.EMILY OSBORNE, ‘Brute Facts’ (Canada)
5.ERIC SIGLER, ‘The Panther’ (USA)
6.FRANCINE WITTE, ‘Charley Explains Baseball To Me’ (USA)
7.GLEN WILSON, ‘Rented Flat’ (Ireland)
8.IAN DUDLEY, ‘President’ (UK)
9.KATE NOAKES, ‘Edward’s Memory’ (France/UK)
10.MARC BRIGHTSIDE, ‘Influence-A’ (UK)
11.ROBIN RICHARDSON, ‘Without A Roof’ (Canada)

CATCHING UP

Sorry for having been away. The world's tumult continues. Notably, and for the better, Macron beat Le Pen in France; the tide of hate was briefly halted. In America, Trump edged closer to Full Nixon, with this throttling of the very tall FBI director, and odd references to taped conversations.

Nixon, as an aside, had a drink problem, mental health issues, BUT - and this is a big but - for all his errors and personality problems, and troubling ambition, and disrespect for the law of the land - was an educated legal mind, with a strong sense of right and wrong, a keen intellect, and a very clear economic and foreign policy objective - to defeat Communism. That Nixon fell well below his ideals and values is his personal and political tragedy and legacy.

Disastrously for America now, and the world, Trump appears to have no moral compass, no worldview worth speaking of, no intellectual capacity - just the ambition, personality disorder, and lack of respect for the law of the land. He is,…

THE MOTHER OF ALL WEEKS

I wonder when the last time Easter was so chock-full of news, like a confectionary egg bursting with cream? Perhaps in 1916? Maybe I am naïve, but it seems the past week has been nightmarishly busy with lots of dreadful things being decided or done by awful people. The fact that more than a few of them claim to be "Christians" only makes it all the more confusing.

Anyway, Trump went ahead and exceeded the ego limit. He dropped the Mother of all Bombs - a MOAB - a sadistically OTT bit of TNT that was pure theatre, and is even described by the US military as "designed to instil fear in the enemy" - which sounds like terrorism to me. Anyway, this bomb, even too big and nasty for Dubya to use in Iraq, got blown up over a mile radius. We can only imagine how many innocent farmers and shepherds were destroyed in that instant. This blog approves of some calculated, precision, targeted strikes, in just wars, but such broad-church blasting is ungenerousoly expansive. It is m…

HOLY WEEKS

Several major religions are observing solemn, important festivals this month - holy days, holy weeks. Eyewear's team will be taking some time off, to be with their families and friends, and reflect, in their various ways, on this time of returning light.

Meanwhile, we have seen, in the past few days, inhumanity at the heart of our capitalist system (where it has been, hidden, for too long) - the decision to drag a doctor, bloodied and beaten, from a United Airlines plane he had lawfully bought a ticket for is yet another instance of the total decline in compassion and empathy rooting itself in a business-led model that ignores the value of life beneath the numbers.

Publishing, too, is not immune. Too often, authors, agents, and publishers, seek to profit from relationships that would be better off pursued for higher aims, of art, solidarity and creativity. Sharing is not much part of this dog-eat-dog Darwinian world, that pushes each against the other. It strikes me as one of the la…