No Selection for Old Farts



To The Poetry Review:

Dear Sarah and Maurice

Your last communication brings the number of my poems that have been rejected for publication by your review to twenty-six. This is since 2014.


The Castaway


The Glider

Birth of the Dance

Lord of Storms

Silent Highway

The Frustrated Poltergeist

Dear Cashmere

Partnerless Dancer

Flesh and Blood




From Inside


Out of Touch

Not Chaos

The Gorgon





Beyond Unreasonable Doubt

How I am


Angry Anthill


It appears that you feel that my writing is inappropriate, which is sad, since I first published in The Poetry Review when I was twenty-two and Derek Parker was its editor. I also had a long poem accepted when Eric Mottram was the editor. I acknowledge that, appended to your rejections, there are invariably kind words about how much you enjoyed reading what I sent you. Perhaps you feel that my work will discomfort your readers, who are less sophisticated than you are when it comes the cutting edge. But what an indictment that would be of your subscribers. Anyway, I am sure you feel, as I do, that enough is enough. I will not call upon you to again go to the effort of mustering the blandishments that accompany your rejections.





Anthony Howell

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No Posts for Old Farts


Hi Anthony

I’m sorry that you weren’t shortlisted for the vacant post here in Creative Writing. I know how much effort and emotional energy goes into a job application, and how disappointing it is not to get an interview. There was a strong field for this post and we carefully scored the applications in relation to each section of the job description. What held you back, I’m afraid, was your lack of qualifications. At least a Masters degree was needed for this post.

Lack of qualifications! Pooh. I have published more than twenty titles. I was invited to the University of Iowa as a Visiting Writer – not a course but a series of lectures successful writers from all over the world gave to the other visitors. I ran a fucking department for twenty years as a senior lecturer at UWIC. A masters! You must be joking.

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“…..Wherever there was a gentleman of renown

in his home I had silver and a mount.

From whomsoever some had greatness and gifts,

greatness and gifts had I from the house of Saman.

The Prince of Khorassan gave me forty thousand dirhems,

Prince Makan more by a fifth,

and eight thousand in all from his nobles

severally.  That was a fine time!

When the Prince heard a fair phrase he gave, and his men,

each of his nobles, as much as the Prince saw fit.

Times have changed. I have changed. Bring me my stick.

Now for the beggar’s staff and wallet.”

*xxxxxxxxxRudaki, from the Odes of Basil Bunting

“Thank you for your reply.    You are so right when you say that when we are young we may have plenty of champions – and then time passes and things change.   I know only too well what you mean.  So it makes it all the harder for me to tell you that I don’t see any of my fellow agents here wanting to get involved with your project.   To be honest with you, they are either not accepting new authors and majoring on their well established and high earning ones, or if they are, they are on the look-out for young debut novelists with a view to career building from the beginning.   In other words I can’t recommend any colleagues, and I am so sorry about this.    Poetry doesn’t make money, to be brutally frank.   You know this!

As for me – well I am playing my way out and have very little spare time.  Caring for my small handful of authors takes up a full three days a week and a lot more.

I regret writing in this disappointing way……”


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Basil Bunting – a review

Basil Bunting

My Review of Basil Bunting here

in the Fortnightly

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Reviews of Poets and other Articles in The Fortnightly Review


Here is an earlier review of several poets published back in November 2013 in The Fortnightly Review

It featured four poets: Kathryn Maris, Jackie Wills, George Elliott Clarke, Donald Gardner and Todd Colby.

For a complete list of links to other reviews of poets and my previous articles click here: The Fortnightly


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Westminster bells overwhelm our chants and slogans.
Anyway the commentators aren’t here to listen to us.
On temporary platforms constructed out of scaffolding,
They’re holding forth under listless Union Jacks.

They’re putting the network spin on events as they unfold,
While the flaky plane-trees leaning over everything
Will be here longer than any demonstration, even one that invites
Fluffy microphones and big no-nonsense cameras

Hoisted on shoulders to take a good look at its placards.
Interviews generate ribbons of vehemence soon for the cutting-room floor.
But here we are, the veterans of legendary marches,
The passionate old birds who have given up on appearance,

The leprechaun whose protest is peculiar to himself,
The young ones pitching whole-heartedly into the responses:
We’re here. We’re making our presence felt.
Some of us have brought our own megaphones

And seem dedicated to bursting the eardrums of the constables
In yellow over-jackets who keep trying to herd us back onto the
Pavement while remaining professionally aloof. To them
We’re simply a gathering their duty is to control; but actually

We are a groundswell, raising our banners, proud of our t-shirts;
Epithets grandly proclaimed on pieces of cardboard floating
Above our rucksacks, bringing our dogs to bark out our messages.
Masked in a leader’s likeness, we are waving bloody hands.

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The Longer Line

gpitts George Pitts

Following on from my essay on The Prose Poem, here is a new essay on The Longer Line


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