poetryRobert Sheppard, Professor of Poetry and Poetics and Programme Leader for Creative Writing at Edge Hill, has made an important contribution to the field of Linguistically Innovative Poetry (LIP) through his research, poetry and work as a critic.

Robert’s poetry is critically acclaimed, he has written a number of books, is regularly published in magazines and performs his work across the country including at Chapter and Verse Festivals, Liverpool Tate Gallery and Knives, Forks and Spoons readings in the North West. His work has exposed poets and critics alike to LIP, creating an appreciation of an often neglected field of British poetry.

Through his work as a critic, reviewer and poetry organiser he has helped to establish the careers of a number of up-and-coming poets by exposing their work and nurturing their development. He is the editor of the Journal of British and Irish Innovative Poetry and the blogzine Pages, he regularly reviews poetry books and initiated the Poetry and Poetics Research Group (PPRG) at Edge Hill.

English Language and Literature research rated as rated as world-leading in the REF 2014

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Research Edge Hill University’s Department of English Language and Literature has been rated as rated as world-leading or internationally excellent in the national Research Excellence Framework (REF) 2014.

The REF assesses the quality of research at universities across the UK and informs research funding allocations from the Higher Education Funding Council for England, HEFCE. Research conducted by Professor Robert Sheppard into linguistically innovative poetry and Dr Ailsa Cox’s creative and critical work on the short story genre, acted as case studies to demonstrate the impact of research conducted by the unit.

Read more about the department’s impact case studies here.

Twenty Five Years of Creative Writing at Edge Hill University: 25 Poets an introduction

poetry

Professor of Poetry and Poetics, Robert Sheppard, is celebrating the 25th anniversary of the Creative Writing MA at Edge Hill University by bringing together 25 poets who are current or previous students and publishing their work.

Yes, 25 years. The Creative Writing MA began in 1989 (started by former colleague Mike Hughes) and this milestone is worth noting and celebrating, not least of all because this means the programme pre-dates the massive expansion in the subject in the 1990s (which the university was also an important part of). Edge Hill was proudly early in the field. The MA – subsequently led by Jenny Newman and supported by Pam Jackson (and for a while John Simons) – has been led by myself since 1996.

In the nineties Robert Graham led the BA and later Ailsa Cox and Daniele Pantano pushed that on from a minor subject to a single honours BA. PhD candidates thrive and now there are seven members of staff, counting Ailsa and myself: Peter Wright, Billy Cowan, James Byrne, Kim Wiltshire, and Rodge Glass, the latest BA Programme Leader. The £5,000 Edge Hill Prize is awarded annually by Edge Hill University for excellence in a published single author short story collection and is administered by Ailsa…

Read the full blog post here.

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Find out more about studying Creative Writing at Edge Hill here.

Knives Forks and Spoons Pop-up reading at Edge Hill

EHU069 ProspGeneral_016On Saturday 4th October Edge Hill University’s poetry lecturers will read their works as part of a pop-up reading event for one of the country’s most prolific and intelligent small poetry presses.

The Knives Forks and Spoons Pop-up Reading will be held in St Helens Library on Saturday 4th October from 1-4pm and will feature Edge Hill poetry lecturers Patricia Farrell, Robert Sheppard, James Byrne and Joanne Ashcroft, all of whom have books published by Knives Forks and Spoons.

The Knives Forks and Spoons Pop-up Reading will be held at:

St Helens Library,
Victoria Square,
St Helens,
Merseyside ,
WA10 1DY.

(If you are travelling by train, do not go to St Helens Junction. Instead, travel to St Helens Central Station.)

Find out more about Knives Forks and Spoons here 

Carys Bray, A Song for Issy Bradley, Creative Writing and Southport

In a new blog post, Robert Sheppard writes about the launch of Edge Hill University alumnus Carys Bray’s new novel A Song for Issy Bradley and the value of studying Creative Writing.

“Carys Bray’s novel A Song for Issy Bradley was published this week by Hutchinson, and it is so far meeting with success: radio interviews, good reviews (The Times, The Guardian), soundbites of approval from the likes of Nick Hornby, and the considerable backing of the publisher’s publicity machine (which is both effective and affecting a tired-looking Carys).

I knew the book was good. Ailsa Cox and I co-supervised the piece as part of a PhD at Edge Hill University, one of our literary successes (but not our only one). So it was good, before the world gets hold of Carys, that she organised a launch on her home turf of Southport (where the novel is set), in Broadhursts Bookshop in Market Street. Cakes were made carrying the book cover; Patricia thought the cakes referred to the amount of cake consumed in the novel (a bit like the Belgian food she knocked up for the launch of A Translated Man)! But this wasn’t the case. It was emphatically local and the better for that.

Read the full blog post here.

carys bray

Find out more about studying Creative Writing at Edge Hill here.

Robert Sheppard The Trace of Poetry: Notes on Conceptual Writing and Form

In a new blog for Pages, Professor Robert Sheppard discusses conceptual writing and form within poetry.

“Vanessa Place says: ‘Form doesn’t matter.’ I am writing a critical book that suggests that form does matter, that poetry (including the best of conceptual writing) is the investigation of complex contemporary realities through the means (meanings) of form. The pun upon ‘means’ is intended to enact the supposition that if poetry does anything it does it chiefly through its formal power and less through its content, though it also carries the further suggestion that form is a form of meaning in its own right, that form is matter. But then ‘Content doesn’t matter,’ she says (missing the pun she could have used: ‘subject matter doesn’t matter’, or, even better, ‘matter doesn’t matter’)…” Read the full blog here.

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Robert Sheppard and Thomas Ingmire: Afghanistan

Robert Sheppard featured in poetry magazine IKLEFTIKO

Poems by Edge Hill University’s Professor Robert Sheppard have been featured in the first edition of a new poetry magazine, Ikleftiko.

Robert has written a number of books and performs his work across the country. He is the editor of the blogzine Pages and the Journal of British and Irish Innovative Poetry and founded the Poetry and Poetics Research Group (PPRG) at Edge Hill. Read the full magazine here.

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Robert Sheppard interviewed for The Wolf

In the new edition of online poetry magazine The Wolf, Robert Sheppard is interviewed by Chris Madden.

“Robert Sheppard was born in 1955. His first contact with the British Poetry Revival was made as a teenager when he visited Bob Cobbing at his home for advice on an exhibition he was organising on Concrete Poetry. It was not long before he became a member of the same London scene as a poet, a period richly documented in When Bad Times Made for Good Poetry: episodes in the history of the poetics of innovation (2011)…”

Read the full interview here. 

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Robert Sheppard reading the poems of Rene Van Valckenborch

Poetry beyond text

A poet and painter have joined forces to bring an exciting collaboration of works to Edge Hill University’s Arts Centre.

Showing from 11th to 26th April Manifest: poetry beyond text features collections from Robert Sheppard and Pete Clarke as they bring to life paintings, printmaking and poetic text.

It teases the viewer with overtones of manifestos, of historical references and political activism in its dynamic layout.

Robert, Professor of Poetry and Poetics at Edge Hill University and Peter, MA Course Leader and Principal Lecturer in Fine Art at the University of Central Lancashire, have been making work together over the last three years.

Initially Clarke was inspired to make paintings by Sheppard’s poems from his book Twentieth Century Blues. They were then commissioned for a project Poetry Beyond Text: Vision, Text and Cognition, a multi-disciplinary research project funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council.

This exhibition will present their continuing collaboration and includes poetic text resembling headlines or titles and fragmented ‘body’ text that is suggestive of Russian Constructivist prints. These historical visual influences interact with a “poetic of increased indeterminacy and discontinuity, the uses of techniques of disruption and of creative linkage” according to Sheppard’s own description of the linguistically innovative Poetry movement in which he has played a notable part.

One of the works on show, Tangled Scree, was composed using images of derelict sites in Liverpool, with respect to the adjective-noun phrases that make up most of the text. The letterpress uses various fonts to try to replicate or dislocate patterns of speech, a structural equivalent for the poems. This work has been shortlisted for the 2013 Adrian Henri Prize.

Joan Steele, Exhibition Curator at Edge Hill University, said: “I’m delighted that these two well-known artists are using their collective ideas to put together an exhibition that looks beyond the text of poetry. It has been a popular exhibition that has toured a number of galleries and festivals including Scotland and France and it’s great to have them show their work on homeland.

“The Arts Centre provides a fantastic venue to showcase our local talent and I’d encourage the public to come along and see this intriguing work for themselves.”

Professor Robert Sheppard is a poet-critic and his successes include Twentieth Century Blues and Warrant Error, an innovative sonnet sequence that appeared from Shearsman in 2009, followed by Berlin Bursts in 2011. A Translated Man is due out later this year.

Pete Clarke makes paintings, prints and installations with the artist Georg Gartz from Cologne, exploring collaborative strategies within contemporary practice questioning individuality, authorship and authenticity in a European context.

Creative duo celebrate published works

Students saw another side to their creative writing lecturers last night as they celebrated a number of their books being published during a special event.

Listen to the successful duo read from their collections and explain the thinking behind their work before they took to the stage to do the reading and question and answer sessions with their guests.

Professor Robert Sheppard and Senior Lecturer Daniele Pantano, who both teach Creative Writing within the English and History Department at Edge Hill, have published four books and two pamphlets between them in the last few months. They were eager to showcase to students and guests that they don’t just teach the subject but are professional writers so decided to host a reading session to mark their achievements.

Professor Robert Sheppard is Programme Leader of the MA Creative Writing course and has published a new book of poems, Berlin Bursts. Themes covered include the troubled history of Berlin, Riga and other places ravaged through time. There are poems about poems and a sequence about the doomed attempt to create a hologram poet. His critical book When Bad Times Made for Good Poetry is a history of alternative British poetry and deals with major figures like Iain Sinclair, Tom Raworth and Maggie O’Sullivan.

Senior Lecturer Daniele Pantano is the Programme Leader for the BA Creative Writing programme and has published The Oldest Hands in the World, a book of poems about exile, translingualism and writing his way home. His other book, The Possible Is Monstrous, is a collection of poems in English translation by Friedrich Dürrenmatt, who is seen not only as the most prominent Swiss novelist, playwright and essayist of the twentieth century but as one of the most influential authors of modern literature.

They both also have pamphlets out from the enterprising Knives Forks and Spoons Press.  Robert’s book, The Given, is an anti-autobiography, telling his life via events in his diary he cannot remember and others that he’d rather forget. Daniele’s book, Mass Graves (XIX-XXII), is an excerpt from a new collection of poems he is currently writing that examines the lives, events and connections between an unknown Swiss poet and the savage murder of one of Egon Schiele’s young girls.

Creative duo to celebrate published works

Two writers from Edge Hill University are celebrating a number of their books being published with a special launch event.

Professor Robert Sheppard and Senior Lecturer Daniele Pantano have published four books and two pamphlets between them in the last few months.

To mark these remarkable achievements the successful duo, who both teach Creative Writing within the English and History Department at Edge Hill, will be launching their published works with two short readings and a question and answer session on Thursday 5th May.

George Talbot, Dean of Faculty of Arts and Sciences, said: “It is extremely unusual to have two academics have a number of books published within such a short space of time and they are a real inspiration to our students.

“This event provides a great opportunity to listen to the talented pair read from their works, explain their ideas and give advice to aspiring writers who are looking to have their work published within such a competitive industry. I’d urge people to come along to share their experiences and to celebrate their successes.”

Professor Robert Sheppard is Programme Leader of the MA Creative Writing course and has published a new book of poems, Berlin Bursts. Themes covered include the troubled history of Berlin, Riga and other places ravaged through time. There are poems about poems and a sequence about the doomed attempt to create a hologram poet. His critical book When Bad Times Made for Good Poetry is a history of alternative British poetry and deals with major figures like Iain Sinclair, Tom Raworth and Maggie O’Sullivan.

Senior Lecturer Daniele Pantano is the Programme Leader for the BA Creative Writing programme and has published The Oldest Hands in the World, a book of poems about exile, translingualism and writing his way home. His other book, The Possible Is Monstrous, is a collection of poems in English translation by Friedrich Dürrenmatt, who is seen not only as the most prominent Swiss novelist, playwright and essayist of the twentieth century but as one of the most influential authors of modern literature.

They both also have pamphlets out from the enterprising Knives Forks and Spoons Press.  Robert’s book, The Given, is an anti-autobiography, telling his life via events in his diary he cannot remember and others that he’d rather forget. Daniele’s book, Mass Graves (XIX-XXII), is an excerpt from a new collection of poems he is currently writing that examines the lives, events and connections between an unknown Swiss poet and the savage murder of one of Egon Schiele’s young girls.

The event, which is free to attend, starts at 5.30pm in room B005 of the Business and Law building on the Ormskirk campus. Their books will also be available to purchase on the night.