2022: End of year reflections

There has been a great deal of flustered fluttering on Twitter in recent weeks, as regular users have become concerned for the platform’s viability. Change is always tricky to deal with. Amid expressions of nervousness, uncertainty for the future, defiance, outrage etc, it’s also become clear how significant the micro-blogging site has been to the poetry community – as an online meeting place where we can form new friendships, discover new journals, explore unfamiliar poetic forms, become reacquainted with old favourites, market our own work and celebrate the work of others.

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MACHINATIONS – an interview with Kinneson Lalor and JP Seabright

‘Can machines think?’

Alan Turing posed this question in his seminal 1950 paper ‘Computing Machinery and Intelligence’ that laid the foundations for research into artificial intelligence. Turing’s life and work provide the inspiration for Machinations, a poetic collaboration between Kinneson Lalor and JP Seabright published by Trickhouse Press. Fiercely intelligent, dazzlingly inventive and profoundly insightful, Machinations does justice not only to the depth, breadth and creative genius of Turing’s intellectual achievements but also to the complex layers of his personality.

I asked Kinneson and JP how the book came into being, their experience of working together and what informed their creative choices.

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Voyagers

We dispatched them to explore
the outer planets, where we
can't go ourselves: observe rings,
moons, alluring mystery.

Beyond Neptune one final
image, of a pale blue dot
clasped gently in rays of light.
Thereafter, night. They can not

go back: blinded, must journey
on, two tiny travellers
alone on separate paths
through the vast, cold universe.

They are not – yet – lost in space.
We can still trace where they are,
faint signals from the darkness
telling us how fast, how far;

but not for long. Soon, voiceless,
they'll traverse interstellar
space, bearing golden records –
earth sounds, earth words. Who will hear?

A version of this awdl gywydd (a traditional Welsh poetic form) was published on The Wombwell Rainbow in November 2022. 

The phrase ‘pale blue dot’ was used by Carl Sagan to describe an image of Earth taken by Voyager 1 on 14th February 1990 shortly before the spacecraft’s camera’s were permanently switched off to conserve power.

The melodic and the logical – an interview with Anthony Etherin

The Golden Ratio, denoted by the Greek letter phi, is an irrational number that has intrigued mathematicians and artists through the centuries, featuring in geometry, number theory, physics, biology, painting, architecture, music and other disciplines. Its value to 20 digits is

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Turning in circles – the Tritina

Repetitions are a feature of many established poetic forms – the trioletpantoum, and villanelle all contain patterns of repeated lines, while the ghazal consists of couplets with a repeated refrain. The sestina is determined by six end-words, following a fixed rotational pattern through six six-line stanzas, with a three-line envoi that includes all the end-words. 

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Elevenses

Squeezed awkwardly between the round completeness
of 10 and factored convenience of 12,
11 is the odd one out. We don’t have
11 fingers or toes; we never buy
11 rolls, or eggs, or long-stemmed roses
for our lover. In binary notation
its digits become the three of us, on our
terrace with coffee and scones in the sunlight
and birdsong of June, while the radio plays 
Test Match Special and 11 extends its
parallel arms towards the unbounded sky.

This is a square poem: there are 11 syllables per line and 11 lines.

It was first published in The Book of Penteract.

Snails

A

thin

slime trail

meanders

over the gravel

to my flowerbeds, where hostas

that I had tended so carefully have been reduced 

to tattered shreds. A robin perches among panicles of lilac as you approach

with buttered scones and coffee. Light slants through leaves, glistens the slime trail silver. Everything contributes to the dazzle of this day – even snails.




This Fibonacci poem was first published in The Fib Review Issue #41