Welcome and contact details

Hi.

I write poetry and short fiction. I’m on twitter as @harpertext, my email is: harpertext [at] outlook [.] com

I don’t blog as much as I used to.

Thanks for stopping by.

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Two poems in The Shore

Very pleased that two of my poems appear in issue 11 of The Shore.

The poems are The Gallery and No mountains, great lakes, cliffs,

Thank you to the editorial team!

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Robert Lowell on the raw and the cooked

Two poetries are now competing, a cooked and a raw. The cooked, marvelously expert, often seems laboriously concocted to be tasted and digested by a graduate seminar. The raw, huge blood-dripping gobbets of unseasoned experience are dished up for midnight listeners. There is a poetry that can only be studied, and a poetry that can only be declaimed, a poetry of pedantry, and a poetry of scandal. I exaggerate, of course.

— Robert Lowell, National Book Award acceptance speech, November 1960

The award was for Life Studies.

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Mary Ruefle on re-reading books

Rail: Before I turned on the tape for this interview, you were talking about your personal library and how you are at a stage in your life where your desire to re-read certain texts means you will not have time to read new things. I think of the final two lines of “Thirteen”: “I read three thousand books, / and then I died.”

Ruefle: I recently unpacked 17 boxes of books that I haven’t seen in 22 years. Many of the books were texts I first read in college. I thought I would easily be able to get rid of them. I found myself extremely attached to them. An example would be my old Penguin edition of Ulysses. I know I will never read it again because I don’t have time but I couldn’t part from it. I realized that my wanting to re-read so many of these books again was actually a desire to live my life all over again.

— Mary Ruefle, interview in The Brooklyn Rail,  July 2014

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‘The Cooler’ in The Interpreter’s House

Delighted to say that The Interpreter’s House issue 68 is out, the final issue edited by Martin Malone and assistant Charles Lauder Jnr. I’m delighted my poem ‘The Cooler’ is included, my second appearance in TIH after two of my poems appeared in issue 58. Thanks to Martin and Charles.

It’s a great journal, 130 pages of always interesting poetry and reviews, and I look forward to seeing the next issues from editor Georgi Gill and assistant Andrew Wells.

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‘Sheer’ in Mirror Dance

The Summer 2017 issue of fantasy zine Mirror Dance has gone live, with a theme of masks and disguises.

As well as fiction, it contains poems by Jeana Jorgensen, Mary Soon Lee, Todd Dillard and Robert Beveridge.

Delighted that it also includes my long poem ‘Sheer‘, a fairy tale retelling, or perhaps a fairy tale slice-of-life.

Thanks to Megan Arkenberg!

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Oliver Sacks on writing the present

The most we can do is to write – intelligently, creatively, critically, evocatively – about what it is like living in the world at this time.

— Oliver Sacks, quoted in Bill Hayes, My Life with Oliver Sacks, The Observer, 26 March 2017

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‘The Well’ in Liminality

The eleventh issue of Liminality has gone live today.

I’m very pleased that my poem ‘The Well‘ is included, my fourth appearance in the journal.

Thanks to Shira Lipkin and Mattie Joiner!

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James Wright on the Olympian syndicate

In 1958, in July, [Wright] wrote me a letter (I’m sure similar letters went to others) in which he announced that he was through writing poems. […] The first issue of Robert Bly’s magazine, The Fifties, which he read at this crucial point, arrived like a reproach. (He did not yet know Bly.) He told me: “So I quit. I have been betraying whatever was true and courageous […] in myself and in everyone else for so long, that I am still fairly convinced that I have killed it. So I quit.” In the letter he called himself “a literary operator (and one of the slickest, cleverest, most ‘charming’ concoctors of the do-it-yourself New Yorker verse among all current failures) […]”

A day later he wrote again, admitting that “I can’t quit and go straight. I’m too deep in debt to the Olympian syndicate. They’d rub me out.” (This is Roethke talk, who during mania often alluded to The Mob.)

— from Donald Hall, introduction to James Wright, Above the River (1992), p. 29-30

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‘The Dig’ in Through the Gate

Through the Gate (in its current form) is “a weekly of fantastical poetry”. I’m delighted my poem ‘The Dig‘ is this week’s poem.

Thanks to editor Mitchell Hart!

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Joseph Harrison on writing and Penelope

Penelope’s situation (in Homer, of course, it’s a death shroud she’s weaving) seems to me an interesting figure for the predicament of the writer or artist: making something, ripping it up, making something, ripping it up, all the while vaguely hoping for one’s ship to come in, whatever that would mean, with nobody in the immediate vicinity paying much attention.

–Joseph Harrison, note on ‘The Cretonnes of Penelope’ in The Best American Poetry 1998, ed. John Hollander and David Lehman, p.302

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