Archive for the ‘English poetry’ Category

No Echoes by R J Dent

August 4, 2016

Villa Anamaria is an ornate Art Nouveau-style villa in Pefkos, on the Greek island of Rhodes. It is at the end of a beach road overlooking Askeftos Bay. The villa used to belong to Pink Floyd guitarist, David Gilmour, who sold it to an Italian couple several years ago.

 

Villa Anamarie 1990

Villa Anamaria 1990

 

On Pefkos maps, Villa Anamaria is still referred to as the ‘Pink Floyd Villa’.

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It has been on the market for nearly five years, and is currently valued at 1.1 million Euros. So far, no one has offered to buy it, and Villa Anamaria is gradually beginning to look like an unloved, derelict building.

 

No Echoes

 

Once, Villa Anamaria, an ornate house

above a rocky, remote Rhodian bay,

was neat, discrete, resplendent in hot sun,

with turquoise wrought-iron gates and walled garden,

olive tree-lined stone drive and marbled paths

that led to subtly-arranged glades of shade,

past Grecian urns, manicured lawns, statues.

 

Now, just a millionaire’s discarded toy,

empty, abandoned, unwanted, disowned,

no echoes of the distant past resound

or sound in rooms now empty but for dust.

Silence, shutters askew, sun-faded walls,

cracked paving, overgrown groves, creeping weeds,

an empty swimming pool, lawns gone to seed.

 

 

Villa Anamarie 2016

Villa Anamaria 2016

 

No Echoes

by R J Dent

 

Copyright © R J Dent (2016)

 

Follow R J Dent’s work on:

 

Website: http://www.rjdent.com/

Amazon: http://www.amazon.co.uk/R.-J.-Dent/e/B0034Q3RD4

Blog: https://rjdent.wordpress.com/

twitter: https://twitter.com/RJDent

facebook: https://www.facebook.com/rjdentwriter

YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/user/rjdent69

 

Vladimir Nabokov’s Lilith, translated by R J Dent

June 26, 2016

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Lilith

 

I died. The sycamores gave shade;

shutters were shut upon the dust

of the hot streets steamily teased

by the torrid Aeolus.

 

I slowly walked, and the fauns walked;

It seemed as though I recognised

the great god Pan in every faun.

Good. I must be in Paradise.

 

Shielding her face against the sun,

there stood a naked, slender girl;

her honeyed skin attracted me;

lilies were threaded in her curls.

 

She had the grace of a woman.

I watched her small nipples harden

and I recalled a sweet springtime

in another new-grown garden,

 

when through the trees by the river,

I had one time watched, emboldened,

the miller’s youngest daughter step

out of the water, lithe, golden,

 

with a damp wisp between her legs.

And now, still wearing the coat

I had on when murdered last night,

with a rake’s predatory gloat,

 

I advanced upon my Lilith.

She stared at me with her green eyes,

until my clothes burst into flame

and burnt to ashes in a trice.

 

In the room behind her I saw

a Greek divan, a spread-out shawl,

a table, pomegranates, wine;

some erotic art covering the wall.

 

With two fingers she shamelessly

took hold of my hot member’s head

with unselfconscious, childish glee.

“Now come along with me,” she said.

 

Without inducement or effort,

but slowly to extend delight,

like wings, she gradually opened

her soft sweet brown thighs to my sight.

 

How enticing, how inviting,

her moist pink rose! And with a wild

cry, she fell on my throbbing length,

slicker than that remembered child.

 

Snake in snake, vessel in vessel,

smooth-fitting parts, I moved in her

through ascending rhythms, feeling

unendurable pleasure stir.

 

But suddenly she flinched, and pushed

me off her, moved fast, stood over

me, grasped the shawl and twisted it

around her waist and up, covered

 

and strong again; with me about

to come, to spend, for me, nothing

left. A strange wind made me stagger.

I ran to the door. “Let me in!”

 

I shouted, noticing with horror,

that I stood outside in the dust

where loudly-yelling youngsters

were staring at my engorged lust.

 

“Let me come in!” And the goat-hoofed

crowd increased. “Quick, let me come in!”

“I am about to come…” I yelled.

 

The door stayed shut, the crowd watched, quiet,

as I spurted out my semen.

I knew then that I was in hell.

 

 

 

Lilith

by Vladimir Nabokov

 

Young-Nabokov

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Translated into English by R J Dent

Copyright © R J Dent (2016)

 

 

 

Follow R J Dent’s work on:

Website: http://www.rjdent.com/

Amazon: http://www.amazon.co.uk/R.-J.-Dent/e/B0034Q3RD4

Blog: https://rjdent.wordpress.com/

twitter: https://twitter.com/RJDent

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YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/user/rjdent69

 

A Collaboration of Unlike Minds: William Blake’s and Robert Graves’ The Tyger by R J Dent

April 15, 2016

 

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The Tiger

 

Tiger tiger burning bright

In the forests of the night

What immortal hand or eye

Could frame thy fearful symmetry

 

In what distant deeps or skies

Burnt the fire of thine eyes

On what wings dared he aspire

What the hand dared seize the fire

 

And what shoulder and what art

Could twist the sinews of thy heart

Did he smile his work to see

Did he who made the lamb make thee

 

Tiger tiger burning bright

In the forests of the night

What immortal hand or eye

Dared frame thy fearful symmetry

 

Robert Graves

 

Even the most cursory glance will reveal some fundamental differences between the above two poems. Graves’ rewrite came about due to a number of flaws he felt existed in Blake’s poem. He writes of these in ‘Tyger, Tyger’, an essay collected in The Crane Bag and Other Disputed Subjects. In the essay, Graves is particularly scathing of Blake’s tendency to mix his tenses, remain ‘imprecise and ambiguous’, ‘grammatically incoherent’ and to not care about the rhetorical focus of the poem.

More importantly, however, Graves neglects at any time to mention that he has ‘made his own arrangement of The Tyger’. After interviewing Graves, Christopher Burstall claims that Graves’ ‘arrangement’ includes ‘cutting out two verses and putting the whole poem in the past tense’, so that it is grammatically correct and more structurally cohesive. Read more…

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A Collaboration of Unlike Minds: Robert Graves’ and William Blake’s The Tyger

Copyright © R J Dent (2007 & 2016)

 

Follow R J Dent’s work on:

website: http://www.rjdent.com/

amazon: http://www.amazon.co.uk/R.-J.-Dent/e/B0034Q3RD4

blog: https://rjdent.wordpress.com/

twitter: https://twitter.com/RJDent

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youtube:  https://www.youtube.com/user/rjdent69

 

Opus by R J Dent

April 10, 2016

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You can read everything written by the great ones

          and commit their words to memory –

Use a secret alphabet that only a select few

          will recognise as their own –

Set fire to your hands and searingly etch

          your lines onto the communal retina –

Sail through the catacombs of the subconscious

          in a Viking longship and fetch

          back bales of treasure for your people

          – whoever they might be –

Scan the proverbs tattooed deep on the walls

          of a magpie’s heart, knowing

          they are written in experience’s ink –

Unwind spools of useless magnetic tape

          and let them play in streamers

          on the warm south wind –

Chisel out faces in an obsidian wall,

          gag them to stop them screaming,

          but always give them water once a week –

Give the dead child within you a decent burial,

          then perform an elaborate ritual

          so that it returns to life – Read more…

 

 

Follow R J Dent’s work on:

website: http://www.rjdent.com/

blog: https://rjdent.wordpress.com/

twitter: https://twitter.com/RJDent

facebook: https://www.facebook.com/rjdentwriter

youtube:  https://www.youtube.com/user/rjdent69

Voodoo Excess (Rolling with the Stones) by Jeremy Reed

April 21, 2015

 

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Voodoo Excess

(Rolling with the Stones)

by Jeremy Reed

with an introduction by R J Dent

 

Voodoo Excess, Jeremy Reed’s latest collection, is a history of the Rolling Stones in verse, prose and prose-poetry.

In Voodoo Excess, Jeremy Reed chronicles the Stones’ progress from the early days at the Crawdaddy Club in 1962 to the fiftieth anniversary in 2012; he explicates Mick Jagger’s dance steps and his accent; he examines the Rolling Stones’ logo; and the different ways Keith Richards and Ronnie Wood angle their cigarettes; he describes the emotional impact of the Stones’ Hyde Park performance; he details the Redlands bust and the anti-establishment stance and attitude of the band; and he looks unflinchingly at the violence of Altamont and the inevitable death of the summer of love.

Voodoo Excess is far more than a Rolling Stones biography and it is far more than a collection of Rolling Stones-themed poems and prose-poems – what Jeremy Reed has achieved with Voodoo Excess is to provide an incredibly in-depth, up-close and intimate chronicle of the life and times of a group of musicians who have – for fifty years – collectively and individually continued to define the term ‘rock and roll rebels’.

 

Product details:

Title: Voodoo Excess

Author: Jeremy Reed

Format: Paperback

Pages: 224 pages

Publisher: Enitharmon Press

Published: 12 June 2015

ISBN-10: 1907587500

ISBN-13: 978-1907587504

 

Contents

INTRODUCTION: The Rolling Stones and Jeremy Reed (by R J Dent)

PART 1 – THE GREATEST ROCK AND ROLL BAND IN THE WORLD

PART 2 – THE BRIAN JONES YEARS: 1962–1969

PART 3 – THE MICK TAYLOR YEARS: 1969–74

PART 4 – MEMORABILIA/BONUS MATERIAL

PART 5 – THE RONNIE WOOD YEARS: 1975–

 

Voodoo Excess is available at:

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Voodoo-Excess-Jeremy-Reed/dp/1907587500

and at:

http://www.amazon.com/Voodoo-Excess-Jeremy-Reed/dp/1907587500

and at:

https://www.waterstones.com/book/voodoo-excess/jeremy-reed/9781907587504

 

Follow Jeremy Reed’s work on http://www.jeremyreed.co.uk/

Follow R J Dent’s work on:

Website: http://www.rjdent.com/

Amazon: http://www.amazon.co.uk/R.-J.-Dent/e/B0034Q3RD4

Blog: https://rjdent.wordpress.com/

twitter: https://twitter.com/RJDent

facebook: https://www.facebook.com/rjdentwriter

YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/user/rjdent69

 LinkedIn:

https://www.linkedin.com/in/r-j-dent-29a8a724?trk=nav_responsive_tab_profile

 

Bookbuster – a great bookshop in Hastings

November 5, 2013

Bookbuster is a wonderful book shop in Hastings that is open 7 days a week.

 

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The proprietor of Bookbuster is Tim Barton, a St. Leonards-based cultural entrepreneur with many years experience in the book trade.

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Tim has opened his cheekily-named bookshop, Bookbuster, in premises formerly occupied by a gone-bust Blockbuster DVD rental store.

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Tim believes in bookshops and what bookshops offer customers: “I don’t think you can beat a physical bookstore, where you are free to browse,” he says.

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Bookbuster is generating a lot of interest among book-lovers. Tim says: “The fact that there has been so much interest so far is fantastic.”

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Although the shelves offer many new titles, the shop has an extensive and eclectic range of books that seem to appeal to all ages and interests.

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With new stock arriving daily, a calendar full of author signings, readings, poetry slams and other literary events, and an ambient soundtrack playing to ensure customers linger longer, Bookbuster is proving to be a valuable business that gives a great deal to the Hastings reading community.

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There is also a significant second-hand book section that – along with a selection with some well-chosen perennial titles – offers collectors the chance to obtain copies of rare editions and signed delights from Iain Sinclair, the late Iain Banks and Tom Sharpe, amongst others.

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BookBuster is an independent bookshop in Queen’s Road, Hastings. There is a huge range of stock. Bookbuster is full of literary treasures and, because of Tim Barton’s depth of knowledge regarding authors and books of every type and genre, the shop is something of a cultural oasis. It is very good news for Hastings and for book-lovers and bibliophiles.

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BookBuster is at 39 Queen’s Road, Hastings. Opening hours: 9.30am-5.30pm Monday to Saturday; 11-5 Sundays.

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There are author readings, author signings, lectures, poetry readings and live music at BookBuster throughout the year.

 

outdoors

BookBuster

39 Queen’s Road

Hastings

TN34 1RL

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bookbuster

BookBuster facebook page:

https://www.facebook.com/BlueGreenEarthBooks

 

 

Follow R J Dent’s work on:

Website: http://www.rjdent.com/

Amazon: http://www.amazon.co.uk/R.-J.-Dent/e/B0034Q3RD4

Blog: https://rjdent.wordpress.com/

twitter: https://twitter.com/RJDent

facebook: https://www.facebook.com/rjdentwriter

YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/user/rjdent69

Michael Baldwin (1930-2014)

September 4, 2010

 

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Michael Baldwin, poet, novelist, essayist and short story writer, was born on May 1st, 1930 in Gravesend, Kent. He died on February 3rd, 2014.

Here is the Guardian’s obitituary:

http://www.theguardian.com/books/2014/feb/19/michael-baldwin

And here is an essay on Ted Hughes, written by Michael Baldwin:

http://ann.skea.com/MichaelBaldwinMemoir1.htm

And here is a letter written by one of his former students:

http://www.theguardian.com/global/2014/mar/28/michael-baldwin-obituary-letter

And here’s Anthony Wilson’s appreciation of his book, The Way to Write Poetry:

http://anthonywilsonpoetry.com/tag/michael-baldwin-poet/

Michael Baldwin grew up in Gravesend and Meopham, and was educated in the local Grammar school and then Oxford, followed by service in the Coast Artillery Regiment of the Thames and Medway estuary. Many of his published stories and poems are based in the Medway area of Kent.

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Before becoming a full-time writer, Michael Baldwin worked as a teacher, university lecturer and broadcaster. He has written for radio, stage and film; and his Thames TV series Writer’s Workshop won a Rediffusion Prize as well as awards at many international festivals. His verse play, All American Bust was performed at the Royal Court Theatre.

A Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature and former chairman of the Arvon Foundation at Lumb Bank, Michael Baldwin gained a Japan award for his work in documentary television, and a Cholmondeley Award for his volume of poetry King Horn, a collection written by Michael Baldwin during the years he lived in the south of France. 

 

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He has judged national and international writing competitions and was for many years a judge of the Daily Mirror/W H Smith Young Writers Competition.

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Michael Baldwin has taught creative writing at the Arvon Foundation, Fen Farm, Las Cabanes, the University of North Carolina, and at Skyros. He was Head of English and Drama at Whitelands College, Putney, and a Principal Lecturer at the Roehampton Institute.


Michael Baldwin is the author of twelve novels, including: There’s a War On, Miraclejack, The Rape of OC, Exit Wounds, Holofernes, Dark Lady and The First Mrs Wordsworth.

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His volumes of autobiography include Grandad with Snails and In Step with a Goat.

Michael Baldwin is also the author of several short story collections, a number of non-fiction works, and several volumes of prize-winning poetry, including Buried God, Hob and Other Poems, King Horn and Death on a Live Wire.

 


In order to give an indication of the power of Michael Baldwin’s poetry, here is Death on a Live Wire:

 

Treading a field I saw afar

A laughing fellow climbing the cage

That held the grinning tensions of wire,

Alone, and no girl gave him courage.

 

Up he climbed on the diamond struts,

Diamond cut diamond, till he stood

With the insulators brooding like owls

And all their live wisdom, if he would.

 

I called to him climbing and asked him to say

What thrust him into the singeing sky:

The one word he told me the wind took away,

So I shouted again, but the wind passed me by

 

And the gust of his answer tore at his coat

And stuck him stark on the lightning’s bough;

Humanity screeched in his manacled throat

And he cracked with flame like a figure of straw.

 

Turning, burning, he dangled black,

A hot sun swallowing at his fork

And shaking embers out of his back,

Planting his shadow of fear in the chalk.

 

O then he danced an incredible dance

With soot in his sockets, hanging at heels;

Uprooted mandrakes screamed in his loins,

His legs thrashed and lashed like electric eels;

 

For now he embraced the talent of iron,

The white-hot ore that comes from the hill,

The Word out of which the electrons run,

The snake in the rod and the miracle;

 

And as he embraced it the girders turned black,

Fused metal wept and great tears ran down

Till his fingers like snails at last came unstuck

And he fell through the cage of the sun.

 

© Michael Baldwin (1962)

 

Bibliography

Novels:

     A World of Men

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    A Mouthful of Gold

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    Miraclejack

miraclejack

    The Great Cham

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    There’s a War On

    Exit Wounds

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    The Cellar

the c mb

    The Gamecock

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    Holofernes

holofernes mb

    Ratgame

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    The Rape of OC

    The First Mrs Wordsworth

    Dark Lady


Short Stories:

    Sebastian and Other Voices

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    Underneath and Other Situations

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Poetry:

 

    Silent Mirror

    Voyage from Spring

    Death on a Live Wire

    How Chas Egget Lost His Way in a Creation Myth

    Buried God

buried god - mb

    Hob (and Other Poems)

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    Snook

    King Horn

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Non-Fiction:

 

    Poetry without Tears

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    The River and the Downs: Kent’s Unsung Corner

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    Writing in Kent since 1900 (1986 Kent Literature Festival Brochure)

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    The Way to Write Poetry

    The Way to Write Short Stories

Autobiography:

 

    Grandad with Snails

    In Step with a Goat

Michael Baldwin is an incredibly gifted writer of poetry, novels, short stories and non-fiction.

Here is a short film of R J Dent’s collection of Michael Baldwin books:

 

Read any books by Michael Baldwin because he is worth reading.

Here is another powerful poem by Michael Baldwin. This one is called Social Study:

Social Study

 

While my mother ate her heart out

And my father chewed the chairs

My sister worked in a factory

Calmly degutting pears:

 

 

The green pears like spinach

And the yellow pears like sick

She gently disembowelled

With a deft little flick.

 

 

She never seemed to worry

Or share the family fears

But thoughts like bees were buzzing

Inside her golden ears:

 

She jilted a tin-carpenter

And then a labeller’s mate,

And finally she married

The man who nails the crate.

 

 

She had two lovely children

Called Dorothy and Clem —

They’re hanging her tomorrow

For calmly degutting them.

 

© Michael Baldwin (1962)

 

Note from R J Dent: ‘Here’s the complete poem Social Study copied from Here Today, the anthology edited by Ted Hughes, which is the only collection I can find this particular poem in. I’ve transcribed it exactly, taking care over every detail, including the punctuation. The above is exactly as MB wrote it. I’ve included it here as many people have searched for Social Study and have been unable to find it. Along with Death on a Live Wire, Social Study is regarded by many as one of Michael Baldwin’s finest poems.’

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The final words are from Michael Baldwin:

‘In the past reviewers have found my work violent. All I can say is that it must be. The world is.’

                           (Michael Baldwin – December 1962)

 


www.rjdent.com

 

In Praise of Jeremy Reed

November 30, 2008

 

Jeremy Reed is one of the UK’s most prolific and skilful poets, yet he remains unknown to a great many readers. For some reason, Jeremy Reed’s work is often overlooked or ignored in favour of the work of far less talented writers.

Jeremy Reed

Jeremy Reed

Jeremy Reed has written a vast number of poetry collections, novels, short stories and non-fiction works. His music biographies include studies of Lou Reed, Scott Walker, Brian Jones and Marc Almond. His literary biographies include studies of Rimbaud, Genet and Anna Kaven, amongst others.

 

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He is a translator of great subtlety and versatility. He has translated key texts by Novalis; Rimbaud; Bogary; Genet; Cocteau; Montale – to name only a few.

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Reed’s poetry is some of the most beautiful and insightful poetry ever written, particularly the collections: Patron Saint of Eyeliner; Red-Haired Android; Kicks; Voodoo Excess, West End Survival Kit, and This Is How You Disappear.

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If you are unfamiliar with Jeremy Reed’s poetry, then start with a copy of Kicks or Patron Saint of Eyeliner.

 

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If you want to start with his fiction, then try reading his novel Diamond Nebula, or even Dorian, his sequel (of sorts) to Oscar Wilde’s The Picture of Dorian Grey.

 

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If you prefer non-fiction, then A Stranger on Earth – The Life and Work of Anna Kavan is a good place to start, as is Lou Reed: Waiting For the Man. Also worth looking at is Another Tear Falls – A Biography of Scott Walker; Born To Lose – A Biography of Jean Genet; and Delirium – An Interpretation of Arthur Rimbaud.

 

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Here is a partial bibliography:

NOVELS:

The Lipstick Boys

Blue Rock

Red Eclipse

Inhabiting Shadows

Isidore (a novel about Lautréamont)

Red Hot Lipstick (erotic stories)

When the Whip Comes Down (a novel about De Sade)

The Pleasure Chateau (an erotic trilogy)

Chasing Black Rainbows (a novel about Artaud)

Diamond Nebula

Dorian (a sequel to The Picture of Dorian Grey)

Boy Caesar

The Grid

Here Comes the Nice


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POETRY:

Target

A Long Shot to Heaven

The Isthmus of Samuel Greenberg (1976)

Saints & Psychotics

Bleecker Street (1980)

A Man Afraid

By the Fisheries (1984)

Nero (1985)

Selected Poems (1987)

Engaging Form (1988)

Nineties (1990)

Brigitte’s Blue Heart

Claudia Schiffer’s Red Shoes

Turkish Delight

Red Haired Android (1992)

Kicks (1994)

Sweet Sister Lyric (1996) 

Saint Billie (2000)

Black Sugar

Patron Saint of Eyeliner (2000)

Dicing For Pearls

Heartbreak Hotel (2002)

Duck and Sally Inside (2006)

Orange Sunshine (2006)

This is How You Disappear (2007)

Bona Drag (2009)

West End Survival Kit (2009)

Black Russian: Out-Takes 1978-9 (2010)

Piccadilly Bongo (2010)

Bona Vada (2011)

Whitehall Jackals (with Chris McCabe) (2013)

Nothing But a Star (2013)

The Glamour Poet Versus Francis Bacon (2014)

Sooner or Later Frank (2015)

Voodoo Excess (Rolling with the Stones) (2015)

Red Light Blues (2016)

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TRANSLATIONS:

The Coastguard’s House (Eugenio Montale)

Tempest of Stars (Jean Cocteau)

The Complete Poems (Jean Genet)

Praries of Fever (Ibrahim Nasrallah)

All That’s Left to You (Ghassan Kanafani)

On Entering the Sea (Nizar Qabbani)

The Sheltered Quarter (Hamza Bogary)

Hymn to the Night (Novalis)

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NON-FICTION

Heart on my Sleeve

Madness: The Price of Poetry

Angels, Divas and Blacklisted Heroes

Caligula – Divine Carnage (with Stephen Barber)

Dead Brides (Edgar Allan Poe) – Introduction 

Through the Looking-Glass (Lewis Carroll) – Introduction

The Songs of Maldoror (Lautreamont) – Postscript

Lipstick, Sex and Poetry (autobiography)

Bitter Blue (autobiography)

4 Poets & A Play (John Ashbery, Thom Gunn, John Weiners, Francis Bacon) (2012)

The Dilly – A History of Piccadilly Rent Boys (2014) 

 

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POETRY/PHOTOGRAPHY

Pop Stars (1995) – with Mick Rock

Big Orange Day (2010) – with Lisa Wilkerson

Exploding into Colour (2012) – with Lisa Wilkerson

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BIOGRAPHIES:

The Last Star (Marc Almond

Another Tear Falls (Scott Walker)

Waiting For the Man (Lou Reed)

The Last Decadent (Brian Jones)

Born to Lose (Jean Genet)

Delirium (Arthur Rimbaud)

A Stranger on Earth (Anna Kavan)

The King of Carnaby Street (John Stephen)

 

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Jeremy Reed collaborates with musician/dj/electronica maestro Itchy Ear on a performance poetry/music/spoken word project called The Ginger Light.

 

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The Ginger Light’s youtube channel is:

http://www.youtube.com/user/TheGingerLight

And here’s a fantastic promotional film of The Ginger Light in action – putting the fire back into poetry readings:

 

And here’s a link to The Ginger Light’s debut CD, Big City Dilemma, released by Cherry Red Records:

http://www.cherryred.co.uk/shopexd.asp?id=3884

I would recommend listening to The Ginger Light or reading one of the above books. Jeremy Reed is a unique voice in literature. His work seems to be a fusion of the decadent, the erotic and the surreal. He is definitely worth reading.

 

Jeremy Reed’s website is:

http://jeremyreed.co.uk/index.html

 

In Praise of Jeremy Reed

Copyright © R J Dent (2016)

Photo of Jeremy Reed by John Robinson

 

www.rjdent.com

 

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