35e Marché de la Poésie

Black Herald Press participe au 35e Marché de la Poésie, du mercredi 7 au dimanche 11 juin 2017, place Saint-Sulpice (Paris VIe), stand 710 (parvis de l’église), en compagnie des Carnets d’Eucharis & du Visage Vert.

33e Marché de la poésie, Paris – du 10 au 14 juin 2015

Le 33e Marché de la poésie se déroulera place Saint-Sulpice, Paris VIe, du mercredi 10 à partir de 14h au dimanche 14 juin 2015. Black Herald Press sera sur le stand 710, en compagnie de la Dernière Goutte et des Carnets d’Eucharis.

marché poésie 33



Marché de la poésie 2014.

Marché de la poésie 2014.


Dits des xhuxha’i / Tales of the xhuxha’i – Anne-Sylvie SALZMAN

Dits des xhuxha'i

Dits des xhuxha’i



Tales of the xhuxha’i
bilingual book

translated from the French by the author

recueil bilingue
Black Herald Press, mai 2015
58 pages – 9 €  – ISBN 978-2-919582-11-2

à paraître / forthcoming

To pre-order the book

Forthcoming : Cosmographia, by Blandine Longre



& other poems


with an introduction by Paul Stubbs

Black Herald Press, may 2015
70 pages – 9 €  – ISBN 978-2-919582-10-5

To pre-order the book

about Clarities, the author’s previous collection

‘Death of Utopia’ – Paul Stubbs

tumblr_nbao94bw5x1qzru3oo1_400“in end-times, when Hell is certain, and

Eliot, not Christ, he rots back onto the


 Paul Stubbs, ‘Death of Utopia’

(After A Piece of Waste Land, Francis Bacon, 1982)


The poem & its French translation:


De suc & d’espoir / With Sap & Hope – Jos Roy

Vient de paraître / just released


De suc & d’espoir / With Sap & Hope

Jos Roy

Poèmes choisis – Selected Poems

recueil bilingue – bilingual collection

Translation from the French:
Blandine Longre with Paul Stubbs
Black Herald Press, avril / april 2014
54 pages – 10 €
ISBN  978-2-919582-08-2


Pour se procurer l’ouvrage / To purchase the book


De suc & d'espoir

De suc & d’espoir

About Heller Levinson’s HINGE THEORY

From Stone This Running - heller Levinson, Black Widow Press

From Stone This Running – Heller Levinson, Black Widow Press

An essay by Paul Stubbs.

“So, to become a reconstructor of the universe, ‘Hinge’ must seek to translate into outer music the inner music of words, to silence art and render physics and religion once again into the great early dreams of man; to induce an ongoing and perpetually fecund state of the anathemas that will help Levinson aspire to his new literary role of syntactical demiurge. It will be a quite necessary act of madness, an attempt certainly to achieve what Paul Valery imagined of Mallarmé’s task, i.e. ‘to raise a page to the power of the starry heavens.’ Levinson then assigns himself to the task of realizing the impossible, to conceive of failure as the only captivating success, and to hallucinate himself into the only obsession worth pursuing, that of locating the only true literary fracture at the earth’s crust, i.e. our belonging .To abort the self, in mid-sentence, is for the writer of ‘Hinge’ to celebrate the requirements of abortion, to complete what demands of itself to be undermined by words. ‘Hinge’, a catalogue and impulse of an always unforeseen matrix disengages itself long enough for us to snag ourselves on our own thoughts.” (Paul Stubbs)

To read the essay



Poems by Paul Stubbs, Spolia issue 3

3 poems by Paul Stubbs have been published in the 3rd issue of SPOLIA magazine

© Paul Stubbs

© Paul Stubbs

(the PDF can be downloaded for 5 $)

spolia 3

‘Flesh’ – Paul Stubbs

Paul Stubbs
introduction by Ingrid Soren
Black Herald Press, 20 May 2013
130×170 – 54 pages – 10 € / £ 8.50 / $13
ISBN  978-2-919582-05-1

Order the book / Commander l’ouvrage

‘Stubbs is no slave to conditioning or convention: inventor as well as seer, and ignoring regulation, he stands far off looking over time and space from the perspective of an unimagined cosmology, his mastery evident as he remaps our little created world, its ideas and its faiths, with hallmark imagery.’—Ingrid Soren





An evening of poetry with Rufus books

This poetry reading will be featuring Michael L. Rattigan, Gill Gregory, Will Stone and Matthew Francis at the Senate House Library, London, on 30 May 2013.


rufus books reading

The 37th issue of The Bitter Oleander

The 37th issue of The Bitter Oleander (Volume 19, Number 1, Spring 2013) features a poem by Paul Stubbs, ‘The Ascetic Attempts to Speak’ (this poem is part of his forthcoming third collection, The End of the Trial of Man, to be published by Arc Publications in the UK).

This issue also features the work of the Faroese poet and artist Tóroddur Poulsen (translated, introduced by Randi Ward), translations from the poetry of Karl Krolow (Germany) by Stuart Friebert, Lorenzo Calogero (Italy) by John Taylor, Ernst Halter (Switzerland) by Marc Vincenz, Eugenia Toledo (Chile) by Susan Sosa and Anne Greeott, Sara Uribe (Mexico) by Toshiya Kamei, Carmen Váscones (Ecuador) by Alexis Levitin and Yang Chian (China) by Ye Chun and Gillian Parrish. Original poetry by Alan Britt, Rob Cook, Sean Thomas Dougherty, Rich Ives, Shannon Salter, Anthony Seidman, Patty Dickson Pieczka among others and new short fiction by Nicole Bell, John Robinson, Brandi Wells as well as the Mexican writer Donají Olmedo translated from the Spanish by Toshiya Kamei.

To read an interview with Paul B. Roth, editor of The Bitter Oleander:


To purchase a copy of the magazine:



‘Tusitala of White Lies’ – Iain Britton

Iain Britton a poet from New Zealand, who had poems published in the 2nd and 3rd issues of The Black Herald, has a new pamphlet out entitled ‘Tusitala of White Lies published by the new independent press LikeThisPress which is based in Manchester (UK) and edited by Nikolai Duffy.

Other publications include Cravings (Oystercatcher Press, 2009) and Punctured Exprimental (Kilmog Press, 2010). Some of his poems have also been published by Red Ceiling Press (2011).


The future is (flavoured)

hybridised in small transparent segments

to be rationed out every day





Iain Britton

Outlines for submissions

Due to the great volume of uninformed and inappropriate submissions that we keep receiving, please read our submission guidelines more carefully as well as the following pieces of advice:

1. If you wish to submit either a gardening poem or a tourist article, then submit it to either a gardening-friendly poetry magazine or a tourist magazine. The same applies to children’s poetry, poetry that should stay in a diary, film reviews, etc. etc. So as to understand what we actually publish, see below.

2. Please read at least one issue of the magazine before submitting work. How can some writers expect an editor to get interested in their work if they are basically uninterested in the magazine they’d like to be published in and/or indifferent to its contents? Baffling.

In the same way, we take it as the height of rudeness that some people submitting work to the magazine cannot even be bothered to take 5 minutes to check who they are writing to. Amongst the laziest and most annoying messages are those beginning with “To whom it may concern” (for it may not concern us), “Hi there!”, “Hello folks”, or with a copied and pasted bio.

3. It is not necessary to mention any writing workshops, poetry ‘surgeries’ or creative classrooms you might have participated in: our viewpoints on such practices are clearly stated in the Editorials, which can be read online.

4. In the same vein, long lists of magazine appearances are of no interest to us. So please keep it short and send a short factual biography/bibliography (not more than 4 lines).

5. Do not send fifty pages of a work enquiring if “esteemed editors” want to publish you in their “publishing firm”. We are not a publishing “firm” and we do not accept unsolicited manuscripts.

The Black Herald, issue 3

The Black Herald, issue 3


Michael Lee Rattigan’s ‘LIMINAL’

Michael Lee Rattigan‘s poetry collection LIMINAL (Rufus books, October 2012) will be launched on November 3rd in London at the Poetry Café (22 Betterton Street London WC2H 9BX)


‘Cacophony of tongues’ – Paul Stubbs reviews ‘Liminal


Before The Inside: a review of ‘Liminal’ by Andrew O’Donnell




The Bitter Oleander – latest issue

The Autumn issue of THE BITTER OLEANDER, a journal of contemporary international poetry and short fiction edited by Paul B. Roth, features the Swiss Francophone poet José-Flore Tappy with a selection of her work and an interview with her translator, John Taylor.

This issue also includes short fiction pieces by John Abbott, Nilanjan Bhowmick, Chase Derringer and Kenny Gordon. More contemporary international poetry by Dina Bellrham (Ecuador), Alberto Blanco (Mexico), Erika Burkhart (Switzerland), Martín Camps (Mexico), Anne Perrier (Switzerland), Tóroddur Poulsen (Faroe Islands), Silvia Baron Supervielle (France), Sara Uribe (Mexico), Yang Jian (China) & Yang Zi (China). Among other poets in this issue are Alan Britt, Lara Gularte, Rich Ives, Duane Locke, Elizabeth McLagan, Lisa D. Schmidt, Randi Ward and Anthony Seidman





The Black Herald 3 –

The Black Herald
Literary magazine – Revue de littérature

Issue #3 – September 2012 – Septembre 2012
190 pages – 15€ / £13 / $19 – ISBN 978-2-919582-04-4

Poetry, short fiction, prose, essays, translations.
Poésie, fiction courte, prose, essais, traductions.

With / avec W.S. Graham, Gregory Corso, Andrew Fentham, Louis Calaferte, Iain Britton, Jos Roy, Tristan Corbière, Michael Lee Rattigan, Clayton Eshleman, Denis Buican, John Taylor, César Vallejo, Anne-Sylvie Homassel, Cécile Lombard, Gary J. Shipley, Rosemary Lloyd, Bernard Bourrit, Mylène Catel, Nicolas Cavaillès, Ernest Delahaye, Sébastien Doubinsky, Gerburg Garmann, Michel Gerbal, Allan Graubard, Sadie Hoagland, James Joyce, João Melo, Andrew O’Donnell, Kirby Olson, Devin Horan, Dominique Quélen, Nathalie Riera, Paul B. Roth, Alexandra Sashe, Will Stone, Anthony Seidman, Ingrid Soren, August Stramm, Pierre Troullier, Romain Verger, Anthony Vivis, Elisabeth Willenz, Mark Wilson, Paul Stubbs, Blandine Longre et des essais sur / and essays about Charles Baudelaire, Francis Bacon. ImagesÁgnes Cserháti, Olivier Longre, Will Stone, Devin Horan. Design: Sandrine Duvillier.

The Black Herald is edited by Paul Stubbs and Blandine Longre
Comité de Rédaction : Paul Stubbs et Blandine Longre

 Now available / Disponible 

Imagination – Gaston Bachelard


« On veut toujours que l’imagination soit la faculté de former des images. Or elle est plutôt la faculté de déformer les images fournies par la perception, elle est surtout la faculté de nous libérer des images premières, de changer les images. S’il n’y a pas changement d’images, union inattendue des images, il n’y a pas imagination, il n’y a pas d’action imaginante. Si une image présente ne fait pas penser à une image absente, si une image occasionnelle ne détermine pas une prodigalité d’images aberrantes, une explosion d’images, il n’y a pas imagination. »

— Gaston bachelard, L’Air et les Songes, Essai sur l’imagination du mouvement, 1943.


“We always think of the imagination as the faculty that forms images. On the contrary, it is a faculty that deforms the images that we perceive; it is, above all, the faculty that frees us from immediate images and changes them. If there is no change, or unexpected fusion of images, there is no imagination; there is no imaginative process. If the image that is present does not make us think of one that is absent, if an image does not determine an abundance—an explosion— of atypical images, then there is no imagination.”

—Gaston Bachelard, Air and Dreams: An Essay on the Imagination of Movement, 1943.





‘Cacophony of tongues’ – Paul Stubbs reviews Michael Lee Rattigan’s ‘Liminal’

Michael Lee Rattigan
Rufus books, September 2012


‘Poetry’, wrote Octavio Paz, ‘is the other voice. Not the voice of history or of anti-history, but the voice which, in history, is always saying something different’. He was of course talking of what is re-created in silence, beyond History and of what governs its conversations and logical discourse. Michael Lee Rattigan also is seeking to pinpoint that ‘other’ voice, for everything that he writes it seems exists only to advance silence, or at least our unmediated access to it—while consciousness is no more than a fine vessel of flesh and blood stretched over the diaphanous musculature of each word; for this poet does not produce a merely verbal language, no, rather he is writing the syntax of listening, the anti-aesthetics of un-naming and sucking back into the lungs the protean impulse of a visible mind. In this collection, Rattigan is in many ways attempting to cross what the French poet Philippe Jaccottet described as ‘the unique uncrossable space’, that which constitutes our ‘elsewhere’, the incongruously familiar place that occurs when our reality-horizons are wheeled out of the mind. It is in fact the logocentric destination that a writer like Rattigan would like one day to return from.
Paul Stubbs

To read the review

‘The Eternal Procession’ – Paul Stubbs reviews Yves Bonnefoy’s ‘The Arrière-pays’

The Arrière-pays
Yves Bonnefoy

Translated by Stephen Romer – Seagull Books, 2012

‘Yves Bonnefoy is first an abstract form, then a poet. Therefore a work such as The Arrièrepays is but a shadow giving notice of his shapes still to locate a sundial. He is what Jean-Paul Sartre said of  Baudelaire, that he had the posture of ‘a leaning man’ (‘d’un homme penché’); one acutely adrift of the comet of his own flesh and who, burning up in the drag of his own sentences, holds within his fist only the shredded remains of each exploded space. When Rimbaud wrote ‘To every being, several other lives seemed to me to be due’ he opened up in knowledge and in poetry the first true terror-pores of gnosis, allowing a poet like Bonnefoy to access his own unpurged mind, to conceive of what Yeats revealed in Vision—‘all things dying each other’s life, living each other’s death’. To witness the mirage of this elsewhere in time and space (this place which Bonnefoy names ‘the arrière-pays’ i.e. an imaginary hinterland born of what he calls the ‘unknown feeling’), this poet has first to return to Eden, to locate the one tree in which the fruit is still flesh, and whose bark, if peeled back, reveals only his own still unused bone.’
Paul Stubbs

To read the review

Chaos in Poetry – D.H. Lawrence

“Poetry, they say, is a matter of words. And this is just as much true as that pictures are a matter of paint, and frescoes a matter of water and colour-wash. It is such a long way from being the whole truth that it is slightly silly if uttered sententiously.

Poetry is a matter of words. Poetry is a stringing together of words into a ripple and jingle and a run of colours. Poetry is an interplay of images. Poetry is the iridescent suggestion of an idea. Poetry is all these things, and still it is something else. Given all these ingredients, you have something very like poetry, something for which we might borrow the old romantic name of poesy. And poesy, like bric-à-brac, will for ever be in fashion. But poetry is still another thing.

The essential quality of poetry is that it makes a new effort of attention, and “discovers” a new world within the known world. Man, and the animals, and the flowers, all live within a strange and for ever surging chaos. The chaos which we have got used to we call a cosmos. The unspeakable inner chaos of which we are composed we call consciousness, and mind, and even civilisation. But it is, ultimately, chaos, lit up by visions, or not lit up by visions. Just as the rainbow may or may not light up the storm. And, like the rainbow, the vision perisheth.


What about the poets, then, at this juncture? They reveal the inward desire of mankind. What do they reveal? They show the desire for chaos, and the fear of chaos. The desire for chaos is the breath of their poetry. The fear of chaos is in their parade of forms and techniques. Poetry is made of words, they say. So they blow bubbles of sound and image, which soon burst with the breath of longing for chaos, which fills them. But the poetasters can make pretty shiny bubbles for the Christmas-tree, which never burst, because there is not breath of poetry in them, but they remain till we drop them.”

DH Lawrence, “Chaos in Poetry, published in Exchanges, December 1929

The Black Herald – 3

Le numéro est disponible en pré-commande.

The issue is now available for pre-order.


The Black Herald 3

The Black Herald

Literary magazine – Revue de littérature

Issue #3 – September 2012 – Septembre 2012

190 pages – 15€ / £13 / $19 – ISBN 978-2-919582-04-4


Poetry, short fiction, prose, essays, translations.

Poésie, fiction courte, prose, essais, traductions.



Forthcoming / à paraître

The Black Herald

Literary magazine – Revue de littérature
Issue #3 – September 2012 – Septembre 2012
185 pages – 15€ / £13 / $19 – ISBN 978-2-919582-04-4

Poetry, short fiction, prose, essays, translations.
Poésie, fiction courte, prose, essais, traductions.

With / avec W.S Graham, Gregory Corso, Andrew Fentham, Louis Calaferte, Iain Britton, Jos Roy, Tristan Corbière, Michael Lee Rattigan, Clayton Eshleman, Denis Buican, John Taylor, César Vallejo, Anne-Sylvie Homassel, Cécile Lombard, Gary J. Shipley, Rosemary Lloyd, Bernard Bourrit, Mylène Catel, Nicolas Cavaillès, Ernest Delahaye, Sébastien Doubinsky, Gerburg Garmann, Michel Gerbal, Allan Graubard, Sadie Hoagland, James Joyce, João Melo, Andrew O’Donnell, Kirby Olson, Devin Horan, Dominique Quélen, Nathalie Riera, Paul B. Roth, Alexandra Sashe, Will Stone, Anthony Seidman, Ingrid Soren, August Stramm, Pierre Troullier, Romain Verger, Anthony Vivis, Elisabeth Willenz, Mark Wilson, Paul Stubbs, Blandine Longre et des essais sur / and essays about Charles Baudelaire, Francis Bacon. ImagesÁgnes Cserháti, Olivier Longre, Will Stone, Devin Horan. Design: Sandrine Duvillier.

The Black Herald 3

The Black Herald is edited by Paul Stubbs and Blandine Longre

Comité de Rédaction : Paul Stubbs et Blandine Longre


Will Stone reviews ‘Ex Nihilo’

Ex Nihilo, by Paul Stubbs
Black Herald Press, 30 september 2010
120×160 – 46 pages – 8 euros
ISBN  978-2-919582-01-3

Order the book / Commander l’ouvrage

To read an excerpt / Pour lire un extrait


Paul Stubbs’s Ex Nihilo is a pocket sized rumble of literary thunder, the first feelers of a language storm that makes the susceptible reader who first opens it, look up at the sky ominously. Holding a copy of Ex Nihilo, the reader is obliged to repeatedly take new bearings, constantly rechecking a mental compass whose needles quiver wildly in all directions, for the long poem within is unlike anything else found on the bookshelf of a smugly stocked Waterstones. In fact it won’t be found on the shelf of Waterstones at all, because it is far too radical and incendiary to sit alongside the bloated dignitaries and carefully positioned courtiers of the Bloodaxe, Faber and Carcanet fiefdoms. The infernal heat given off by Stubbs’s constantly firing cannons means this book must be held in a secure area, away from the carefully tended prize beds and gentle rustling of self assurance inherent to the poetry ‘business’, the poetry ‘society’, the poetry ‘school’, the poetry ‘prom’, poetry ‘please’, the increasingly predictable production line of the poetry ‘industry’ in the United Kingdom. No, it must be held in the head only, and from there a realisation of Ex Nihilo’s importance departs and like a flaming beacon lit from peak to peak, communicates from one reader to another. This is an underground book because it does not seek to flatter tastes already established, rather it seeks to leave a skin even as it grows a new one, to lift the bark suddenly, catastrophically, so the creatures beneath are forced to run madly, blindly into the new light that interrupts their slumber, and that’s the way Stubbs wants it. Stubbs’s is a restless deception-proof poetry that keeps moving on from the page, or indeed off the page, as if this white space is a laughable plot on which to establish a permanent settlement. ‘Only a word thin fragility, this page, bearing again only my own footprints…’ For here passes a tireless vagrant with a weighty sack of religious doubt and existential horror knocking at door after door, where he has been assured a meaningful response will be forthcoming, but behind which only an icy wind blows…


The poet Stubbs has two significant previous collections to his name. The Theological Museum, 2006 (Flambard) and The Icon Maker, 2008 (Arc). In these works Stubbs cemented his reputation for unconventional ‘unscripted’ unremittingly challenging forms. These sometimes sublime sometimes disturbing poetic architectures, over which deep space blizzards seem to continually rake, cast a sometimes majestic sometimes bitter beam into a future void of darkness, a beam whose exact trajectory and final target defies any coherent conclusion. Ex Nihilo should be passed from hand to hand and by word of mouth. It should go under cover of the night in which it was born, so as to avoid being stopped and searched by the poetry society police. This book is so far from the habitual workshop ‘facilitated’ fare, with their deathly diamond precision and priestly obedience to nurture a language they know and feel safe in, which in fact screams to be let loose and to turn savagely on its creator. Paul Stubbs states with visionary confidence and an absence of pretension at the outset of his poem, ‘I begin alone, waiting for my eyeball, like a sun, to rise, and cast out my own shadow from the shape of everything…’ and he ends thus ‘And so imagining how my slack breathing it still sways the grass of a world I no longer have access to, I think on…’ For Paul Stubbs is above all else helplessly corporeally integrated with his poetic utterances. His body and his mind are locked in a fusion that has somehow through virtual existential annihilation constructed a fantastic makeshift raft of language, a useful object to support his mind for the duration, with branches felled from the forest of eventual silence, a platform on which to lie exhausted and drift through whatever remains, after the sanctioned insanity and myopia of his epoch finally give way. One can only think of Klaus Kinski as the jungle inexorably closes in during the finale of the Herzog film ‘Aguirre Wrath of God’, staggering about his half drowned raft and holding up a tiny monkey in his gloved hand to heaven. Paul Stubbs is one of the few genuinely original poets operating at the moment, and his work deserves a wider distribution. Stubbs’s next collection of poems concerns the paintings of Francis Bacon as interpreted through Stubbs’s vision. An enthralling prospect indeed.

Will Stone, first published in Agenda, Vol 46 No 3 (April 2012)


Will Stone reviews ‘Clarities’

Clarities, by Blandine Longre
Black Herald Press, 30 september 2010
120×160 – 48 pages – 8 euros
ISBN  978-2-919582-00-6

Order the book / Commander l’ouvrage

To read excerpts / pour lire des extraits 


Blandine Longre is a distinguished French translator of English texts, but here in her first collection Clarities, she has turned to poetry. But interestingly and crucially, Longre has not chosen to write in her native tongue, but in the English language, which therefore is one thing, but not the only thing that makes this poetry significant and worthy of English scrutiny. How many of our native English poets of either sex can even begin to attempt to hold a conversation in a foreign language, let alone write poetry? A handful at best. Of course Rilke famously wrote some four hundred poems in French, but none of them are considered to be amongst his most revered and celebrated works. But Rilke was a spectacular exception, a manifest aberration lodged in an impossible to locate space between objectivity and inwardness, whose true nature has still not been properly established, despite the prodigious amount of secondary literature devoted to him.


For most poets there is no recourse but to launch forth in the language they first mewled as, armed with their embryonic calling, they exited the womb. But Longre has other ideas. She rejects French as the vehicle for her unconscious linguistically screened utterances and produces a collection of poems of extraordinary imposition and depth in the Anglophone. She is as Anne Sylvie Homassel suggests, ‘A gifted intruder into a language which is not her own…’ Furthermore these poems seem to owe little to modern English poets, but take their cue rather from the likes of John Donne, a reverence for whom Longre makes no secret of. She includes at the opening a quote which is perhaps most prescient in terms of her own poetic. ‘For his art did express a quintessence, even from nothingness…’ On the rear of the book there are two blurbs, one from Paul Stubbs who states ‘Her ‘subject’ is only the incontrovertible will to spew forth the chippings of a language not yet fully realised…’ Yes and we might well say the same about him! (see above). But what Stubbs means in his mechanical shredder metaphor, is that Longre takes the neat and complete language bricks as they are offloaded at Calais and deliberately smashes them, then reconstructs them to make another kind of brick which will better advance her own personal structure. Instead of following documented paths in the construction of this language, she has it work hard for its expressive credentials, goading it to make it perform in ways it could never imagine, to make it perform with authenticity for her alone. Words end up trussed, bound together and thrown mercilessly into the sea of the page. Sink or swim instructs the poet. ‘Notimeness’, ‘clock-mauled’ ‘steel-etched’ ‘oughts-to-be’ and the wonderful ‘twitchy-thorny’, are all thrown over the side. Either they adapt or die. In this sudden and treacherous struggle for survival, a new language forces its way through the shell to the initial distrust of the page and a metaphysical breakthrough of a kind is achieved.

Longre does not want to express herself with someone else’s borrowed voice or appear on the stage of her feelings dressed in hand me down clothes. Therefore she always makes and dons her own haunting attire. ‘I am a field, a realm and a route / an expanse of everdark crops / awoken and unadorned and brambled / yet hardly maimed by the too still rivulets of reality…’ From ‘Avoiding the Blackest Eye of Might’. Longre seeks to transmogrify the ardours and ecstasies of the flesh into language. Within this ambition is attendant pain, loss and a grim awareness of the scraps of transcendence that may be gathered in, despite relationship implosion. In ‘Épouvante’, ironically a poem titled in French, she writes the morbidly majestic and almost phantasmagorical line, ‘Wreck-born snakes refusing to embrace their wet doom…’ and later in the same poem the uncanny ‘Aside a vertigo, the secret pledge of their cluttered selves: / built on an acridity of presages and their own / bisecting truth – horrendous.’ What is one to make of this? The inevitable response to Longre’s poetry from a UK audience would be that it is ‘difficult’ and ‘hermetic’, or that it is ‘surreal’, ‘chaotic’, ‘confusing’, ‘delirious’ etc. But this shuffling of the dreary pack of suspicion should be music to Longre’s ears, because it is wholly predictable and perhaps necessary. These are all traditional knee-jerk protective mechanisms that the island nation employs to quickly face its pointed stakes out to anything that may cause it to lose equilibrium.

Longre’s poetry, if it was allowed entry, would be a French fox with Anglo-Saxon teeth, let loose in an English henhouse. Confusion and panic must ensue when lines like ‘Alien to its own words (meaning-gouged, spewed out, led astray) / a gorgoned mouth turns its clammy / stares beyond my charred eyeballs, / at the flying dampness of / those medean tears of mine.’ peer hungrily around the door. But the power here is not so much in the horror soaked central section which almost shreds itself to vacancy in the combines of inner rage, but in the indefinable beauty of the last line ‘at the flying dampness of / those medean tears of mine’ which seems to soften and slow like a brake in its alliteration and rhythm the harsh imagery that precedes it. There is something lurking within this seemingly brazen poetry, which is tender and precious, like an injured bird you kept in a cardboard box that you hide from others and desperately hope will not die. Though there are influences of Sexton and Plath here and these poems could be said to be aligned to a woman’s pain and toil endured by the blundering machinations of the opposite sex, these poems are more about a wider broken trust, the disintegration of promises and aspirations, which could apply to anyone. Therefore they are for everyone. So it is to be hoped that these white hot poems, which resist, with good reason, categorisation or critical platitude, will find readers who can appreciate their unorthodoxy and existential agility. Or will the Anglophone reader once again revert to type and hold the foreigner at the turnpike for deigning to ‘re-speak’ their hallowed language? Perhaps Longre herself has glimpsed a possible future in that regard in the acerbic ‘heroism’ of the poem ‘Shame-faced’.

Will Stone, first published in Agenda, Vol 46 No 3 (April 2012)


Other reviews 

‘Imagination, the Divine Vision’

“I have criticized a certain widespread and popular kind of modern poetry as being itself coloured by the materialist ideology whose premisses are unquestioned in our current secular culture. Such writers depict a material universe devoid of meanings and values, a rather distasteful commonplace to which (such poetry implies) it is courageous and honest to come to terms because that is ‘reality’ (…) Photographic precision of detail is the measure of the poet’s skill, and a kind of knowing cynicism which reduces all to the commonplace of his ‘honesty’ and, it is implied, his or her social commitment. (…) Such verse — I cannot call it poetry — corresponds to the premisses of the current materialist culture and its assumptions and expectations but does nothing to nourish the heart or the soul, or in Blake’s words ‘to open the eternal worlds’ which are our true universe. Such work fulfils no function at all which cannot be done as well or better in a news bulletin or a social survey or a weather report. (…) ‘One thing alone makes a poet,’ Blake wrote, ‘Imagination, the Divine Vision.’ To obscure or deny that vision in verse is not to be a poet. The calling of a poet is indeed a sacred one, but only in so far as the poet performs that sacred task of speaking to the human imagination in its own language, of the eternal order and harmony of which all being is a manifestation. For those who like their news and social surveys in verse, well and good, but I suggest that this is not poetry and has no bearing on the true function of the arts which is to nourish the human spirit, to build the invisible house of the soul.”

From Nature & Meaning, Kathleen Raine (in The Underlying Order and other essays, Temenos Academy, 2008)

“Nobody can teach you to write poetry” E.E. Cummings

Selected Letters, E.E. Cummings
(edited by F.W. Dupee and George Stade, Harcourt, Brace & World, 1969)


Particles of truth – Paul Stubbs reviews Jacques Dupin’s ‘Of Flies & Monkeys’

This book comprises three collections: De singes et de mouches (Of Flies and Monkeys, 2001), Les Mères (Mothers, 2001) and Coudrier (Hazel Tree, 2006), all of which, in truth, are fused of the same semantic world-surge, image-fusion, language-mesh. The poetry of Dupin, at its most intense and vaulted pressure of ink and blood, continually uproots us, gnawing at the heart, until we experience them: the sudden salmon upsurge of selves, his teeming and punctuated mind-flows, the reversed resurrections (his flesh zipped up and then unzipped to reveal exposed syntactical bone); amid a carnival concentration and concise pictograms of poetical sense, we feel at once the jolt and the jarring of the pulley-system of his sentences, those which Rimbaud envisioned for us all when he wrote that poetry would one day be “thought latching onto thought and pulling.Paul Stubbs

To read the review


The Black Herald #2: Carbon based passion – Part 2 – by Lisa Thatcher

Second instalment of Lisa Thatcher’s review

“Language forms the imprint of our neural pathways in the carbon of our makeup. It is the power that reminds us chance and chaos only appear to be in control. The poets calling is to reach the place when the words only bare a family resemblance to each other. To find in each word, its own throbbing core, linked to all cores. The seed of an evolution of the human mind.”

to read the review

to read the first instalment

Philippe Jaccottet & Pierre Albert-Jourdan

Two books introduced and translated from The French by John Taylor, published by Chelsea Editions

And, Nonetheless: Selected Prose and Poetry 1990—2009, Philippe Jaccottet

The Straw Sandals, Selected Prose and Poetry, Pierre-Albert Jourdan

The defeat of time

Paul Stubbs reviews Mark Wilson’s “QUARTET FOR THE END OF TIME” (Editions du Zaporogue, 2011)

“Wilson’s Cross is, today, infested with eschatological woodworm. His church constructed of matchsticks and unable to withstand the weight of the papyrus that first created it. It is the guilt of sin squeezed from what Janos Pilinszky depicted as the “disaster-centre” of the modern world that this poet feels compelled to confront, the tragedies which have ruined nature and constructed an arch in time which man has called History, under which the unforgiven and the damned are unable to ever walk free of. Wilson writes of the death camps and of those who crawl still uselessly through the mud of man’s misinterpretations, of the crazed dictators (“Herod Hitler Pol Pot whoever/ working the damned crowd” — Massacre of the Innocents), those who in the end are still attempting to plug Hell’s blood-geysers with their thumbs, and failing. Wilson’s poetry is clearing the path for a better understanding and rationalizing of the aperçus and metaphysical puzzles of theology, especially when he questions how his ‘Messiah’ fits into it all. He writes of religion not as any kind of an intellectual impasse, but as a basis for both an ancient and modern reformulation of Christ in piety, for either we see an ‘idol’ as an inspired prejudice to overcome, or merely, like Wilson, we shape that idol from the clay of our own intuitive understanding of theology.”


Quartet for the End of Time

The Black Herald #2: Freedom from the necessity of success – by Lisa Thatcher

“If anything properly defines the beautiful work collected in The Black Herald #2 it is anti-establishment. The editors need the writers to be great – no more than great – they must also lack self-consciousness. They must hint at their age and be a whiff of something forthcoming. None of this, claims Paul Stubbs in his excellent introductory essay, is available to be ‘taught’ in the odious literary classroom and he infers, can’t be taught at all. Paul’s cry is that of the sackcloth wearing wilderness prophet – a contemporary Elijah – his Ba’al the sanitized classroom conversation preaching ‘creativity’ – instead Paul demands the best of what a human creature can produce.  Paul wants none of the domestic security produced by marrying literature (Ahab) with capitalism (Jezebel) to produce works of comfort and sanctuary – the taming of  perspicacity. He stands, wielding the works of Nietzsche and Rimbaud, unkempt and wild, demanding the writer produce the work

“… out of his own reality – to the point at which he is afterwards unable to endure his own work.”Nietzsche.

Paul Stubbs wants blood. And nothing other than blood is an answer to literatures call.”

Lisa Thatcher

To read the review 

Of Flies and Monkeys / De singes et de mouches

Of Flies and Monkeys, Jacques Dupin

introduced & translated from the French by John Taylor

Bitter Oleander Press, 2011.

In the field of contemporary French poetry, Jacques Dupin (b. 1927) is a leading figure in a remarkable generation that also includes Yves Bonnefoy, Philippe Jaccottet, and André du Bouchet. In comparison to the aforementioned poets, however, Dupin’s work has been little available in English. A single volume, Selected Poems (Wake Forest University Press, 1992), translated by Paul Auster, Stephen Romer, and David Shapiro, collects early work, but none of the poets recent verse has appeared in English-speaking countries.

This book rights this situation. Gathering Dupin’s important recent volume, Coudrier (Hazel Tree), as well as two earlier volumes, De singes et de mouches (Of Flies and Monkeys) and Les Mères (The Mothers), this new translation forms a stimulating collective introduction to the poet’s writing. As the critic Jean-Pierre Richard has pointed out, “the territory of words, sensations, and images that is invented through Dupin’s poems . . . belongs to no other poet today.” His stark poetry brings forth opposites, fosters paradoxes, suggests potential narratives that are left unrecounted, and could perhaps be called “cubist” in its juxtaposition of fragments and in its rejection of natural or logical transitions. Not least, his writing is humorous, especially in its wry quips, ironic transformations of well-worn expressions, or playful imagery.

(source : http://www.bitteroleander.com/books.html)

John Taylor is the author of the three-volume Paths to Contemporary French Literature and Into the Heart of European Poetry — all published by Transaction. A prose writer and poet, his latest book is The Apocalypse Tapestries (Xenos Books, 2004). He has received grants from the National Endowment for the Arts and the Sonia Raiziss Charitable Foundation to translate Georges Perros and Louis Calaferte. Other authors he has recently translated include Pierre-Albert Jourdan, Philippe Jaccottet, Laurence Werner David, and several modern Greek writers. He lives in France.

About Jacques Dupin’s poetic language (by John Taylor)


Particles of Truth (a review by Paul Stubbs)


Plusieurs articles en français


The World

It burns in the void.
Nothing upholds it.
Still it travels.

Travelling the void
Upheld by burning
Nothing is still.

Burning it travels.
The void upholds it.
Still it is nothing.

Nothing it travels
A burning void
Upheld by stillness.

The World (from The Pythoness, 1949) Kathleen Raine

Theoretical Animals

Paul Stubbs reviews Gary J. Shipley’s Theoretical Animals (BlazeVox books)

“Shipley’s prose prefers to steel-plate itself into inversion, mental tautness, deadly emanations, and we are all invited to wade through the desolate swamp of his imaginings as, like any truly radical writer, he unveils a world that seems to surpass our own cognizant capacity to believe in it. The writing is devastating enough to fossilize older, more redundant literary forms, his aphoristic litanies and murderous cacophonies glass-case our more conventional modes of writing forever, while breaking down the DNA of the traditional reader-writer relationship, just as Lautréamont believed that fiction writing served only its own tethered-end (“Even if I had no true event to recount to you, I would invent imaginary tales and decant them into your brain”). ”


Flesh (excerpt)

En excerpt of Flesh, a long poem by Paul Stubbs (yet unpublished) can be read here:


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