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Stannard @ 70 - tributes from some of his readers

Martin Stannard at 70 - A Celebration

Photo by Graham Lester George, copyright © 2022. Publisher: Leafe Press
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Introduction by Ian McMillan

Sometime in the very early 1980’s I was doing a reading for Martin Stannard somewhere in Ipswich and I was staying over at Martin’s house. On the way back from the gig his car broke down spectacularly, gasping and wheezing, then clanking and sighing, then moaning and complaining, then dying. The night was clear and Martin and I stood outside the car waiting for the RAC and gazing at the stars and I realised, not for the first time and not for the last, that I was living in a Martin Stannard poem and that it was an exciting place to live. When I first read Martin’s poems and started subscribing to his wonderful magazine Joe Soap’s Canoe I was excited that he took his influences from absolutely everywhere. At the time a number of us were writing in the shadow of Ted Hughes and The Mersey Poets and our lenses were crowded with our visceral reactions to Thatcherism’s vicious flowering but Martin seemed to look wider than the rest of us; he took in John Ashbery and surrealism, a kind of cra

Alan Baker

I came to Martin Stannard's poetry relatively late, when, at a book fair, I picked up a pamphlet entitled "Easter" (published 1994). The easy, familiar tone and the quick wit drew me in to what was at first just a pleasant read. Then, imperceptibly, the poetry took me to to a zone of wonder and disorientation that was exhilirating. Fast forward twenty-six years and, by 2020, I had the honour of being Martin's publisher, when the third title of his that I published, "Reading Moby Dick and Other Matters", was released. It's a beautiful object (I can say that as the book design was all Martin's). And the title poem, "Reading Moby Dick" has all the features I'd been struck by in "Easter" but with an added sophistication that the intervening years of poetic practice had brought to it. It opens with a knowing dodgy joke - "Call me optimistic..." which sets the tone of irreverence and tongue-in-cheek meandering

David Belbin

There's nothing like getting it wrong . MARTIN STANNARD AT SEVENTY I first encountered Martin through his poems in 1987, when Wide Skirt Press published The Flat of the Land . The title poem, which also opened the collection, was a revelation. The style owed a lot to the New York Poets, who I had recently discovered, but also felt fresh, funny and self deprecating in a very English way. Two years later, John Harvey's Slow Dancer press published a new and selected called The Gracing of Days , then Wide Skirt press published Denying England . I loved both collections: the voice, Martin's laconic yet romantic view of the world, the string of humour tightly laced throughout. I dragged a bunch of my A level students to a Slow Dancer reading in the basement of Nottingham's Old Vic pub. Martin was appearing alongside a young whippersnapper called Simon Armitage, who John had also published a pamphlet by. I primed the students for the reading with a sheet of poems by b

Adrian Buckner

A trifletych  for Martin Stannard, the Omelette-Explainer             It’s who you know not what you know in the literary world I knew two guys who liked ale, the same sort of poetry and as it turned out on first meeting (this was the clincher) the same joke. One of them was called Huey so we were Huey and the who-he-knews. We knew another guy who hated us and didn’t want to know us. Then another guy who was a bigger shot called Adam who we didn’t know from Adam said hey Huey your stuff is great. Huey was now news and the guy who hated the who-he-knews started slagging Huey’s pretentious hooey and the who-he-knews (who now we knew Adam from Adam hitched a ride with Huey) for being in the know but not knowing anything.           The King’s Head: The Liberal bemoans the rise of Populism It’s like Yeats said In Coming Second The worst lack The best are full… No, hang on… The worst, the best Lack are full of… Cheers mate same again Best are… I’m talking pal! Got it: Worst are full Of inten