Andrew Taylor: Poem and Paper for the John James Conference

Poem beginning with a line of John James

As August counts itself out
so the percentage plummets

reading pamphlets avec pastis
as is to be expected

Words out of Time ‘The Collect Gallery crammed with poets’ p.43

Down to the lake for birding
stench of beached dead carp

Kenny trains the scope on the island
sunlight on the water

there is a poem in that
no, there is a poem in that

The respite of a rest area
temperature drops at midnight

Carried sandwiches foil & plastic
wrapped evening before

some kind of souvenir bread
like bread bought from a post office

Treated like a treat somethings taste
better away from home

Mattresses floored a camp
shutters shut this is France after all



‘Nightmare’ – tracking down an omission from John James’s Collected Poems (Salt, 2002)

A Collected John James, someone please! – Robert Sheppard

NB: This article builds on a paper given at the The Cambridge Conference on the Poetry of John James, at Magdalene College, The University of Cambridge on March 11th 2017.

This article will consider a poem of John James’ that was missing from the 2002 Collected Poems, in the form of the four-page mimeographed poem ‘Nightmare’, and the process that led to the poem’s eventual publication. I’ll also consider the subsequent modes of publishing that James’s poetry utilised since the publication of the Collected Poems, chiefly that of the pamphlet. I particularly look at James’ 2012 pamphlet, Cloud Breaking Sun, published by Oystercatcher, and the influence it has had on my personal practice.

To Read This Paper: ‘Nightmare’



Andrew Taylor has published three collections of poetry with Shearsman Books: Radio Mast Horizon (2013), March (2017) and Not There-Here (2021). He edited Peter Finch’s two volumes of Collected Poems for Seren Books in 2022. His critical work includes the first monograph of Liverpool painter and poet, Adrian Henri: Adrian Henri: A Critical Reading (Greenwich Exchange, 2019) and he is currently working on a companion critical volume to Finch’s Collected Poems. His latest collection of poetry, Northangerland: (Re)Versions of the poetry of Branwell Brontë was published by Leafe Press in 2022. He is Senior Lecturer in Creative Writing at Nottingham Trent University.

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