our role model GREAT WORKS

another serial exchange from Simon Marsh and Peter Hughes
+ call for more serial poems/sequences (& response to call)

Greek tombstone in Fitzwilliam Museumre:lode another serial exchange as a kind of fractured whole between Simon Marsh and Peter Hughes is now recharged and may be rode again. Fresh texts begin with re:lode 19; the whole shebang gets underway of course with numero uno. It's fun!

To celebrate this, and to make up for my decision to end modernpoetry.org.uk, my other website, I have decided to up the magazine element of this site, as irregular but capacious storehouse. What I am interested in is not to put together discrete issues, but to operate more on the fly. I have always been fascinated by structured sequences, whether the would-be magisterial Epics (neo-neo-epics) of the great Modernists and their immediate successors still in their spell; more occasional (and less pretentious) writing like the Marsh/Hughes epistoleries; or that splendid beast, the serial poem, where poems are not just collected like dead insects, but interact and create a larger meaning. I have always enjoyed publishing such material on Great Works — I have listed what extended or serial texts I have posted in Sequences and Serial Poems.

So, ye poets reading this — if you are working on a serial poem or other type of tight, complex or structured sequence, and would be interested in having it posted as work in progress on Great Works — drop a line as email (peter@greatworks.org.uk or any other email of mine), via Facebook/Messenger, or any other means that might work. I'll see what I can do. BUT, oh gor blimey, some blokeish curse (it's not all privilege you know!) attends Great Works. If you look at the big image above that identifies the site, you may notice it is an old woman dancing — Goya's drawing he titled Contenta con su suerta ("Content with her lot"). Is it really blokeish? I have received fascinating material in response to my call — but, simply, and I feel problematically, all from men. This happened similarly when I was last inviting material for Great Works, and contributed to me stopping publishing on it. Look, everyone, at my dear iconic La Contenta: she invites EVERYONE, please, CADA PERSONA, per favor.

The other alteration to this site is that I am transferring some of the modernpoetry.org.uk pages to it. My original cunning plan was to STOP modernpoetry.org.uk on October 31 (rumoured to be Armageddon anyway); I have just left it awhile — BUT won't update there. I am putting the relevant and currently accurate modernpoetry.org.uk material on Great Works, and have found myself updating The Lists ("How could I have missed out X?" "Gosh Y looks interesting!" etc). This I will not even pretend will be done rigorously, but my lists are being updated as required. So keep checking! And do communicate over omissions and errors.

 Wound Scar Memories and After

Wound Scar Memories front cover

I have revived Great Works Editions to publish a recent text of mine: Wound Scar Memories. Written August 31, 2015–June 20, 2016, it consists of three sequences of 17 sonnetty type things, starting off from matching the glorious Atkins and Hughes versions of Petrarch to the ur-scene of sonnetty action, Fontaine-de-Vaucluse, one hot summer day, and ending up irretrievably lost in interminable prose about the contemporary political implications of the Dark Ages. Can you resist? Three poems and a couple of prose paragraphs online just here! A lot more about Wound Scar Memories available just there. Book available, in theory, I hope from all good booksellers, or from the blessed lulu.com, but I'd rather you bought it from me via PayPal at £6 + £1.22 postage:

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1837 engraving of a Danish warriorTelling the Beads: A Spiritual Year Book for Our Times the text written subsequent to that book will be Great Works' Editions second publication before the end of this year. Telling the Beads was inspired by Brecht's Die Hauspostille. This was his beautiful and savage appropriation and transformation in the 1920s of a German tradition (both Catholic and Lutheran) of a book of homilies for home readings and devotions. I've tied in my text more than Brecht did to the notion of an annual cycle, by using Bede's account of the Anglo-Saxon calendar. His statements about Old English paganism are sometimes queried, as they don't fit very well with all the familiar Woden and Thor Warrior!!! stuff. I'm with Bill Griffiths, that all that crap was just upper-class ideology to keep structures of power strong and stable. What people actually followed in their daily lives would have been different (and probably impossible for us to access at all). You will be able to explore my very incorrect and anomalous version of the Early Middle Ages (when we were first a post-colonial failed state) at your leisure. More on Telling the Beads here.

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November 11, 2019— Peter Philpott    top

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The project of Great Works is that of publishing innovative poetry in modernist/postmodernist modes. This is is a site for innovative writing: modernist, postmodernist, archaic. It proclaims the need to let a thousand flowers bloom, and rejects any single definition of what writing is. It welcomes alternative poetries and other writing. It proudly offers no retrieval of coherence at a higher interpretative level.