As for measure and other technical apparatus, that’s just common sense: if you’re going to buy a pair of pants you want them to be tight enough so everyone will want to go to bed with you. There’s nothing metaphysical about it. (Frank O’Hara, ‘Personism’, 1959)

madmen-o'haraTo acknowledge disgruntled conjugal life of poetry and the internet, we have decided to put these two in bed together in the form of a blog on poetry and poetics. In the irreverent but frank spirit of O’Hara, we’re interested in approaches to poetic form that combine common sense with an interest in the seduction of the reader. We accept any original contributions. These could include poems; readings of poetry; reviews; findings from archives; and any critical perspectives that take measure of some aspect of poetry or poetics.

The blog accompanies the conference Poetic Measures: a variable measure for the fixed, to be held at the University of York 1-3 July 2016. It was launched with James Coghill’s poem ‘Bengt Crantz’ and his thoughts on ekphrasis in January 2016, followed by Jack Quin’s short essay on the poetry of the Iowa Caucus. The next piece will be a reading of Jean Valentine’s ‘Annunciation’ by the poet David Troupes.

You can pitch an idea or send a 250-1,000-word written piece to Please also include a short 50-word bio.



James Coghill: Poem and thoughts

“landscape wrought and textured.

It’s this I covet: long to match myself against, …”

Jack Quin: ‘An Idea of Iowa’

“Who in their bleakest hour has not considered Iowa?” Jack Quin’s short essay on Caitríona O’Reilly’s poetry and Iowa Caucus.

David Troupes: On Jean Valentine’s ‘Annunciation’

“Then comes the caesura, which is like the quiet of a gathering current.”

Jack Thacker: The Limitations of the Plough

“In ancient times, when marking the land,

a chief would draw a circle with the plough-tail;

this would define the limits of an encampment.”

Carla Suthren: Walking with Will – A Shakespeare 400 Celebration

Carla Suthren on the The Complete Walk on the South Bank of London, Shakespeare’s jokes on feet, and the geography of his plays

Tim Lawrence: ‘unfixable by thought’

Review of Ewan James Jones, Coleridge and the Philosophy of Poetic Form. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2014.

Antony Huen: A Found Poem

“I sought to demonstrate how the genre of found poetry can help us achieve what the poem calls ‘maximum game turnover’”

Marie Allitt: ‘I must invent my own markers’

“Writing poetry, like explaining symptoms, is a negotiation with and navigation through language; we must measure and quantify the level of pain, on a scale or comparison which can be communicable to others.”