Poetry on Vlieland island

Slauerhoff Vlieland

This photo shows parts of a poem about a town hall near the town hall of Vlieland island in the Netherlands.

The poem is by well-known Dutch poet Jan Jacob Slauerhoff. Vlieland, he said, was one of few places where he felt at home.

On fourteen glass plates like on the photo there are poetry lines by Slauerhoff.

If you want to see all fourteen of them, then you have to go all the way north from the village on the Wadden Sea coast to the dunes near the North Sea beach.

After we arrived on Vlieland on 25 September, we saw two glass plates with Slauerhoff poetry on 26 September.

Slauerhoff Vlieland in forest

This photo was taken in the forest not far from the North Sea coast.

Slauerhoff Vlieland on dune

And this photo is from a sand dune summit still closer to the North Sea coast.

Slauerhoff Vlieland poems

This photo, from Vlieland village shows maybe Slauerhoff’s most famous lines, including the first line in which he writes he can only really live inside his poems.

Attila the Stockbroker poem on Jeremy Corbyn

This video from London, England says about itself:

Jeremy Corbyn victory celebrations

12 September 2015

Thousands of Jeremy Corbyn supporters celebrate in Hyde Park the moment he is announced Labour leader, drinking champagne, hugging and chanting Jez We Did.

By poet Attila the Stockbroker from England:

Devil of a time with Jeremy

Saturday 19th September 2015

On the road with Attila the Stockbrocker

LAST Saturday was, quite simply, one of the happiest days of my life. I was driving out of Harlow after an absolutely fantastic book-launch gig in the town where I had been based for much of the ’80s and done all my early gigs when I heard the leadership election result.

I found a lay-by, stopped the car and listened with joy to Jeremy’s acceptance speech, immediately deciding to rejoin the Labour Party — which I’ve now done.

And, later that day, Brighton won to go four points clear at the top of the Championship.

Pretty much perfect, I’d say.

I know there are going to be some long, hard battles ahead and they’ve already started as right-wing journalists descend on Jeremy like a slavering pack.

“Freedom of the press,” my arse — it’s the freedom of three media billionaires to employ a bunch of abjectly contemptible and brown-nosing sycophants to vomit their propaganda more like.

Which is why the Morning Star is so important. It is our voice in this unequal battle and that means that people need to be able to buy it.

It pains me to say that in the first week of my tour I have searched for copies in at least ten different shops in Harlow and Lincoln and not found one copy anywhere.

As I travel round the country I shall continue my research and report back in this column. PLEASE get the distribution better!

Five gigs on the autobiography tour this week: Mitcheldean, Wolverhampton, Walthamstow, Worcester and Stroud. All details at www.attilathestockbroker.com.

And here’s my response to the brainless tabloid frenzy. Let’s take the piss out of them.

Corbyn Supporters from Hell!

Just look at us – we’re the scourge of the land
We’re Jeremy Corbyn’s favourite band
We all eat babies and we’re Commies too
And we’ve all got Aids and we’ll give it to you
With scaly tails and horns and hooves
We undermine everything that moves
You can read about us in the right-wing press
The Sun, the Mail and the Express
So don’t mess with us ’cos we’re Lefties and we smell –
We’re the Corbyn Supporters from Hell!

If your telly goes wrong or your car won’t start
You can bet your life we played our part
If your team doesn’t win or you miss the bus
Then ten to one it’s all down to us
If a dog runs off with your copy of the Sun
And brings it back with the crossword done
If your best mate becomes a Red
Or you find a squatter in your bed
We did it — and everything else as well
’Cos we’re Corbyn Supporters from Hell!

We make your pub sell proper beer
We banned the broadcast of Top Gear
We’re all pacifists, bi and gay
And members of the IRA
We love all asylum seekers
And make you pay for their posh sneakers
We won’t sing songs for the Queen
We think X Factor is obscene
So don’t mess with us, ’cos we’re Lefties and we smell
— We’re the Corbyn Supporters from Hell!

A Nobel Prize winner and a best-selling author are among the economists Jeremy Corbyn has selected to advise him. Joseph Stiglitz and Capital in the 21st Century author Thomas Piketty will develop ideas for the Labour leader and shadow chancellor John McDonnell: here.

Peterloo massacre remembered in Manchester, England

This 16 August 2015 video from Manchester, England is called Maxine Peake Reads Shelley‘s Masque of Anarchy for Peterloo Massacre Memorial.

From daily The Morning Star in Britain:

Hundreds gather to mark 1819 Peterloo Massacre

Monday 17th August 2015

HUNDREDS of people gathered in central Manchester yesterday to mark the 196th anniversary of the Peterloo Massacre.

On August 16 1819, 60,000 people from Manchester and its surrounding towns gathered in St Peter’s Square in the city to hear radical speakers calling for democracy.

The crowd was charged by sabre-wielding cavalry who slaughtered 15 people and injured between 400 and 700.

The outrage sparked protests across Britain, resulting in a vicious and draconian clampdown on pubic gatherings, which were outlawed.

In 2009 five friends got together to walk into Manchester to commemorate the anniversary of the event. It has been held ever since.

Sixty people were present in 2011, this year it was well over 600.

The commemoration included presentations from actors Maxine Peake and John Henshaw.

Maxine read versus from Shelley’s epic poem Masque Of Anarchy, inspired by the massacre.

It was named Peterloo after Saint Peter’s Square and the Battle of Waterloo a few years earlier.

Yesterday’s event included songs from the open-voice choir.

Banners were carried, mirroring those original demonstrations bearing words such as “equal representation or death.”

Among those taking part were two of the founders from 2009, Martin Gittens and Bob Ashworth.

Mr Ashworth said: “Martin had the idea seven years ago when five of us went to the site of the massacre. That was in 2009 and it’s grown from that. By 2019 we hope there will be tens of thousands.”

British poetry against government policies

This video from England says about itself:

Coleridge Lectures 2015: Andrew Kelly

17 April 2015

Andrew Kelly: Animals ‘in the Fraternity of universal Nature’

In his utopian community Pantisocracy, Coleridge believed that animals were to be brothers and sisters ‘in the Fraternity of universal Nature’. Animal rights and animal welfare were debated widely amongst the Romantics and remain controversial issues today. Andrew Kelly looks at the views of the Romantics and current campaigns for animals.

Part of Coleridge Lectures 2015: Radical Green. In association with Bristol 2015 European Green Capital and Cabot Institute.

By Jody Porter in Britain:

New Boots and Pantisocracies

Thursday 13th August 2015

Jody Porter talks to ANDY JACKSON and W N HERBERT about the success of their post-election poetry project

THE next few weeks will see a radical web-based poetry project reach its conclusion, with the posting of the final poems out of a planned 100 on the New Boots and Pantisocracies website.

The project is curated by poets W N Herbert and Andy Jackson and takes the theme of “the first 100 days,” which has become something of a post-election meme in recent years.

The website has published poems initially reflecting on the post-election political landscape before moving on to document the state of British society in the last few months since the tumultuous general election. Poets involved include George Szirtes, Helen Mort, Ian McMillan, Roddy Lumsden, Sheenagh Pugh and Sean O’Brien, each one responding to what the curators describe as ”the new unrealpolitik.”

The name of the project brings together the concept of the pantisocracy (where all govern equally) as proposed by 18th-century poets Coleridge and Southey, with the 1977 Ian Dury LP New Boots and Panties, a quintessentially British record, rich in blue collar poetry and musical variation.

This music video from Ireland is called Ian Dury & The Blockheads / Blockheads “Live” in Belfast 03/02/79.

W N Herbert says: “The idea for the blog sprang from an online exchange between myself and my publisher Andy Ching.

The phrase just arose, and the way it bounced Dury’s ripe knowingness off Southey and Coleridge’s early idealism suddenly seemed to make sense of our current bewilderment. It was, we realised, one of those rare spontaneous puns you look again at and think, ‘What can I do with that?’”

Jackson says of the project: “There was a sense of disbelief after the election result came in. A Tory majority without the limited restraints placed on it by its former coalition partners spelt bad news for the arts, education, health, welfare and many other areas traditionally sacrificed to austerity. Poets associated with the project have responded in various ways, looking at the benefits system, human rights legislation, TTIP, Scottish independence and many other topics.”

Co-curator Herbert added: “there’s plenty of anger and bewilderment, but these are lines of poetry rather than unwavering expressions of a party line, and their energy comes from a collision of the verbal with the visceral, a recharging of language even as it is being emptied by our political masters and their envious opposites.”

The initial aim — 100 poems in 100 days — has been a success, and the curators are considering the next steps. Herbert explains: “The plan is to take New Boots into the live arena, organising readings of contributors as we’ve done with previous projects. The other part of the plan is, we can now reveal, to continue past the 100 days as long as the contributors’ political and poetical will is there and until everyone interested in writing something has done so.” Readers can therefore expect an incendiary mix of heads-up poetry in a town near them in the near future.

Jackson concludes: “Poetry has taken a stand in a way that it is rarely afforded the chance to — not just via a few isolated voices on lonely hillsides and street corners, but collectively and loudly. We hope that this project demonstrates that the radical art of the polemic in poetic form still thrives, and that poetry has a place in both reflecting society and politics, and rejecting it where it cannot accept the way things are.”

New Boots and Pantisocracies can be viewed here.

Did William Shakespeare smoke marihuana?

This video from Britain is called Shakespeare’s Mother: The Secret Life of a Tudor Woman. BBC Documentary 2015.

If William Shakespeare did indeed smoke marihuana, then he was lucky not to live in South Carolina in the USA in 2015 …

From daily The Independent in Britain:

Was William Shakespeare high when he penned his plays?

Pipes with cannabis residue were found in the Bard’s garden

Francis Thackeray

Saturday 08 August 2015

State-of-the-art forensic technology from South Africa has been used to try and unravel the mystery of what was smoked in tobacco pipes found in the Stratford-upon-Avon garden of William Shakespeare.

Residue from clay tobacco pipes more than 400 years old from the playwright’s garden were analysed in Pretoria using a sophisticated technique called gas chromatography mass spectrometry.

Chemicals from pipe bowls and stems which had been excavated from Shakespeare‘s garden and adjacent areas were identified and quantified during the forensic study. The artefacts for the study were on loan from the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust.

The gas technique is very sensitive to residues that can be preserved in pipes even if they had been smoked 400 years ago.

What were they smoking?

There were several kinds of tobacco in the 17th century, including the North American Nicotiana (from which we get nicotine), and cocaine (Erythroxylum), which is obtained from Peruvian coca leaves.

It has been claimed that Sir Francis Drake may have brought coca leaves to England after his visit to Peru, just as Sir Walter Raleigh had brought “tobacco leaves” (Nicotiana) from Virginia in North America.

In a recent issue of a Country Life magazine, Mark Griffiths has stimulated great interest in John Gerard’s Herbal, published in 1597 as a botanical book which includes engraved images of several people in the frontispiece. One of them (cited as “The Fourth Man”) is identified by Griffiths as William Shakespeare, but this identification is questionable.

Possibly, the engraving represents Sir Francis Drake, who knew Gerard.

Gerard’s Herbal refers to various kinds of “tobacco” introduced to Europe by Drake and Raleigh in the days of Shakespeare in Elizabethan England.

There certainly is a link between Drake and plants from the New World, notably corn, the potato and “tobacco”. Furthermore, one can associate Raleigh with the introduction of “tobacco” to Europe from North America (notably in the context of the tobacco plant called Nicotiana, from Virginia and elsewhere).

What we found

There was unquestionable evidence for the smoking of coca leaves in early 17th century England, based on chemical evidence from two pipes in the Stratford-upon-Avon area.

Neither of the pipes with cocaine came from Shakepeare’s garden. But four of the pipes with cannabis did.

Results of this study (including 24 pipe fragments) indicated cannabis in eight samples, nicotine in at least one sample, and in two samples definite evidence for Peruvian cocaine from coca leaves.

Shakespeare may have been aware of the deleterious effects of cocaine as a strange compound. Possibly, he preferred cannabis as a weed with mind-stimulating properties.

These suggestions are based on the following literary indications. In Sonnet 76, Shakespeare writes about “invention in a noted weed”. This can be interpreted to mean that Shakespeare was willing to use “weed” (cannabis as a kind of tobacco) for creative writing (“invention”).

In the same sonnet it appears that he would prefer not to be associated with “compounds strange”, which can be interpreted, at least potentially, to mean “strange drugs” (possibly cocaine).

Sonnet 76 may relate to complex wordplay relating in part to drugs (compounds and “weed”), and in part to a style of writing, associated with clothing (“weeds”) and literary compounds (words combined to form one, as in the case of the word “Philsides” from Philip Sidney).

Was Shakespeare high?

Chemical analyses of residues in early 17th-century clay “tobacco pipes” have confirmed that a diversity of plants was smoked in Europe. Literary analyses and chemical science can be mutually beneficial, bringing the arts and the sciences together in an effort to better understand Shakespeare and his contemporaries.

This has also begged the question whether the plays of Shakespeare were performed in Elizabethan England in a smoke-filled haze?

One can well imagine the scenario in which Shakespeare performed his plays in the court of Queen Elizabeth, in the company of Drake, Raleigh and others who smoked clay pipes filled with “tobacco”.


This piece is based on an article published in the South African Journal of Science in July 2015.

Francis Thackeray is Phillip Tobias Chair in Palaeoanthropology, Evolutionary Studies Institute at University of the Witwatersrand.

This article was originally published on The Conversation. Read the original article.

United States ultra-conservative judge Scalia, animated cartoon

This video by Mark Fiore from the USA says about itself:

Scalia’s Poetry Slam

8 July 2015

It seems only fitting to use Antonin Scalia’s own words for a poetry slam, since the justice’s snarky dissents are filled with so many poetic gems. The Affordable Care Act victory was followed quickly by the same-sex marriage win, and Scalia’s dissents have become increasingly irate and colorful. You can read more on my site.