Archive for the ‘John Foggin’ Category


To put it all in context. In the last year or so, I’ve reviewed – or blogged about – collections that I love. Kim Moore’s The art of falling. Christy Ducker’s Skipper. Fiona Benson’s Bright travellers. Jane Clarke’s The River. Work by Shirley McClure, Maria Taylor, Hilary Elfick, Tom Cleary, Bob Horne, Steve Ely, Clare […]

via So you wanna be a rock ‘n roll star: some thoughts on ‘being published’ — the great fogginzo’s cobweb


The Award Winning John Foggin reminiscing

The Great Fogginzo's Cobweb

I wasn’t planning for a post this weekend, but then was reminded that a few days ago it would have been the birthday of my oldest friend, Ian, who, throughout our time at school, and for years afterwards, I called Jimmy. The last time I saw him was in June 2013, when I stayed for three days, with him and his wife Pat, in their home in Alicante. A couple of months later, he died. I wrote this for him then.

Nothing to be said
( James Ian Scott. d. August, 2013)

Invaded, occupied by multiplying
cells and the dark litanies of the names –
carcinomas, trophoblastic tumours,
melanomas – in the argot of the trade
they’ll be divided. Malignant or benign.

As if they might have consciences;
as though they had intention or design.

Brainless as weather, like hurricanes
or lightning strikes, or floods, or droughts,
they happen for…

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John Foggin weekly blog about the wonderful Keith Hutson

The Great Fogginzo's Cobweb

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It’s grim up North. Well, bits of it undoubtedly are. As are bits of everywhere else. All through the 60’s if you watched ‘Coronation Street’ (of which more later) the opening credits reinforced an image of terraced roofs and smoking chimneys, as though Manchester had remained unchanged since this photo of Ancoats was taken in 1875, and would remain unchanged hereafter. Of course, it’s not like that. It’s not like that at all. There’s another lazy trope which goes on the lines that we live in an overcrowded island. But every Sunday night 3 or 4 million people tune in to watch ‘Countryfile’ , which may be like Blue Peter for the terminally nostalgic, but whose opening credits present a Britain from the air which is entirely rural, beautiful, and almost entirely unpopulated. It makes me feel much the same way as any flight  into Leeds/Bradford, or into Manchester….that…

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The latest from John Foggin

The Great Fogginzo's Cobweb

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Contrary to the truth universally acknowledged that British children aren’t taught standard English and the conventions of writing it down, here’s the actual truth.. What they HAVE to be taught has been there in black and white in the Framework for the Literacy Hour for years. Politicians don’t trouble themselves with this kind of detail. Maybe they should. So spare a thought for the teachers of 4-7 year olds who have to make sure that young children know how to use a full stop correctly. And, as a corollary,that they have grasped the concept of a sentence sufficiently for them to recognise one when they’ve written it. Think for a moment about that. You know a sentence when you see one. You just read some. Now tell yourself what a sentence is, or what it has to do to be a sentence. Maybe you say it has to have a…

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Another thought provoking blog from John Foggin featuring poems from Wendy Pratt.

The Great Fogginzo's Cobweb

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One of my fictional heroes is Esther Summerson in ‘Bleak House’. Most of the students I’ve ‘taught’ on A level and on degree courses disliked her or dismissed her as wetly pious. I argued long and hard for her courage, her moral strength;  I always believed in her genuine humility rooted in a sense of her own worthlessness. It takes a lot for her to believe that she can truly be loved, as opposed to being relied on. I’m not sure if this is germane to this week’s cobweb strand. Who knows where we’ll end up. But, like Esther, ‘I have a great deal of difficulty in beginning to write my portion of these pages, for I am not very clever.’ She adds: ‘I always knew that’. I wish I could, hand on heart, say that. And let me clear up what I mean by clever here. I’m not…

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This weeks blog from John Foggin on the 300th anniversary of the Glencoe massacre.

The Great Fogginzo's Cobweb

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Everything I know, or think I know, about Glencoe (apart from driving through it) I know from John Prebble’s work. The same is true of The Clearances and of Culloden. Shortbread-tin-and-tartan history likes to paint the perfidious English as the villains of the piece. It chooses to ignore the major part played by the Lowland Scots. It chooses to ignore the fact that McIan, the clan chief of the Glencoe Macdonalds was essentially a bandit and cattle thief whose depredations had driven Campbell of Glen Lyon to such straits of penury that he had to enlist in the army in order to make a living. So it was maybe no surprise that Caampbell was quite happy to lead the raid on the MacDonalds of Glencoe.  ‘Massacre’ conjures up notions of annihilation. Thirty-seven** of the Clan MacDonald were killed. Decimation would be a more accurate word. But it was a cowardly…

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this side of silence

Posted: February 1, 2015 in John Foggin
Tags: , , ,

John Foggins latest blog is here.

The Great Fogginzo's Cobweb

Camp 1

‘The dumb go down in history and disappear’ wrote Tony Harrison in ‘National Trust’.

WattchingThe Eichman Show’ on TV  last week, what appalled me was to learn of a collective suppression of memory, that there could be more than one kind of Holocaust denial, and that the survivors could be surrounded by a strange conspiracy of silence in the heart of their dreamed-for homeland. The dreadful imagery of what the ‘Final Solution’ actually meant, over and over and over, was shockingly and distressingly familiar. In the late 1950’s as a teenager I’d read books like ‘The scourge of the swastika,’ and watched the BBC’s ‘World at war’ , week after week, for half a year, finally being confronted by the nightmare footage of the liberation of Bergen-Belsen by British troops. And my father very quietly saying his brother Alec  had been there. He didn’t say anything…

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John Foggins weekly blog featuring the excellent and eclectic Anthony Costello.

The Great Fogginzo's Cobweb

Anthony-Costello

The more I get to know about the world of poetry, the less familiar it feels. A little knowledge can be a comfortable as well as a dangerous thing. And I certainly feel uncomfortable with the occasional squabbles and small jealousies I may encounter, when most of the time the bit of the poetry world I actually know is welcoming and generous. Thus it was that I was simultaneously taken aback and entertained by Anthony Howell’s ‘Fear and loathing in the Royal Festival Hall’ ( an article someone Shared on my Facebook page from The Fortnightly Review. Another bit of the poetry world I’d never heard of). Because I’ve always enjoyed the splenetic squabbles of the world of Pope, Dryden and Swift I suppose I felt a guilty pleasure at the sustained crossness of Howell’s piece. At the same time I was puzzled by the crossness. There’s a lot…

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It wouldn’t be Sunday without a blog from John Foggin.

The Great Fogginzo's Cobweb

Well, it’s Sunday again, and it turns out I feel it’s a bit incomplete without a post. So, here’s the deal. If you read most of this on Wednesday, then you can whizz straight to the end and then crack on with whatever creativities enmesh you right now. If you didn’t, then you’ll just have to begin at the beginning, or the afterthoughts will make no sense.

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I’m writing this early in the week, and possibly not in the right mind for balanced thoughtfulness.This morning I read Anthony Wilson’s post, After Paris … just follow the link, and read it for yourselves     http://anthonywilsonpoetry.com/   And then I read Bill Greenwell’s poem for this week. And then I had to write. Anthony Wilson writes about the responsibility on all writers to write in the cause of the reality and truth of how things are. Bill writes about the ways in which we…

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The first blog of the year from the wonderful John Foggin. A very thoughtful and reflective blog about the writing process and a great poem from Gaia Holmes to boot!

The Great Fogginzo's Cobweb

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I’ve always been attracted by the notion of embracing irresponsiblity and eccentricity, but fight shy of their corollaries of physical and emotional and spiritual risk. But in last week’s post I think I was nailing my colours to the mast of those who take those kinds of risks in poetry, of declaring a preference for poems and poets that are courageous and unflinching.

For various reasons, I’m advised against eating processed meats, so sausages are out, and I’ve never been keen on wearing purple or rattling sticks along railings. Extravert behaviour has always come fairly easily, but  real risk-taking is something I’ve basically tried to keep at arms’ length, and without that, I see no way towards achieving the edge that I respond to so readily in other people’s poems.

I’m going to see if I can articulate better what I was trying to get at this time last week…

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