bruce hodder | this woman who I work with is a major beauty

3 11 2007


Poetry Dispatch No.126 | November 21, 2006


this woman who i work with is a major beauty by Bruce Hodder

however many blocks you’ve been around,
your breath catches every time you look at her.
and when she comes up close to you, which
she does when she wants to ask a question–
eyes wide, breasts pushed against your arm–
it’s like gazing into heaven, you could almost cry
that something so divine exists on Earth.
she’s a perfect work of art, god’s first masterpiece
since He sat down after creating rain.
yesterday she walked through in leather coat
and boots, with plaited hair, belly half-exposed,
and five men stopped talking all at once,
like wild birds silenced by a pistol shot.


bruce hodder | go back

24 10 2007


Poetry Dispatch No. 109 | October 13, 2006

GO BACK by Bruce Hodder

Ahh, go back, go back
to leaning on the bench
outside the Lamb pub
in Little Harrowden
waiting in the cold and dark
looking down the hill
toward the bridge
watching for her car.
She is heading home from work,
stopping for a pint with you.
Go back, go back,
turn the constellations overhead.

bruce hodder | the crime of rhyme in modern times and other useless paradigms

20 10 2007


Poetry Dispatch No. 80 | June 10, 2006

The Crime of Rhyme in Modern Times and Other Useless Paradigms by Bruce Hodder

I’ve seen another poetry magazine’s submission criteria this morning that fulminates against the supposed legions of delicate tea-sipping readers who demand rhyme and break out in a nervous rash every time they see a printed f*** or c***. The “Establishment” against whom we are labouring. So writers must be RELEVANT! Strike a blow against the legions of the effete!

Oh b****. The Establishment in poetry–that is, people who drive opinion, not those with the biggest wallets–are the post-Beat free-versifiers…that is, US, and we are bloody everywhere. If you threw a stone at a poetry convention–and what fun that would be!–eight times out of ten you’d hit a middle-aged guy who liked Kerouac (but pretended to prefer Bob Kaufman), wrote occasional haiku, and had read nothing prior to the shorter poems of Ezra Pound. I can’t count the number of decent editors and poetry friends who have told me they wouldn’t publish my rhymers: stuff I’d written in a folk song mode, or simple quatrains. Why? No reason given except “No one wants to read rhyme.” So I can’t speak in a style that’s basic to me, a style that’s natural?


Relevance is in the eye of the beholder, I say. If rhyme ain’t up-to-date and a way of addressing the concerns of the modern age (though I seriously doubt that’s a poet’s responsibility), how do we explain the rapping element of hip hop? Set some dynamic youth rapping about his experience of “the streets” against some middle-aged post-Beat who’s still arguing in his head with the New Criticism of the 1940s and see which one the majority of 20-year-olds will listen to.

The only way poetry can connect with people is by telling the truth. But not some imagined objective truth (this submission manifesto quotes some line of Zukofsky’s about objectivity, which doesn’t exist), but the poet’s own truth; and part of that truth lies in the choice of the mode of expression. Of course the truth is sharpened–or our appreciation of the truth is sharpened–by good technique; but that’s true with free verse as well–and most published free verse is done pretty badly. You want to talk to the modern age, post-Beat heroes? Readers/ Editors? Get your Angel Heads out of Kerouac or Bukowski and tell everybody what you think, like Ronald Baatz with his delicious snow falling on Einstein’s shoulders, or splake’s clifftop death ruminations, or Matthew Hollis’ sunken orchards or TONY HARRISON (great poet, GREAT GREAT poet) firing rhyming couplets at Bush and Blair. His rhymed jabs and slashes cut a hell of a lot deeper than some small press tough guy who thinks Bukowski is the last word in radical.

Oh, and in case there’s any doubt It’s useless to tell you I’m not anit-Buk, to paraphrase Bukowski’s own marvelous words, because that’s when the whole subject becomes sickening.

bruce hodder | power cut saturday night (27/5/06)

20 10 2007


Poetry Dispatch No.76 | June 1, 2006

Power Cut saturday night (27/5/06) by Bruce Hodder

journal entries
in the fading light–
birds lay on the music.

workers out of whitman
scrape concrete
round a three-foot hole.
they spin the job out
with slow talk and laughter,
while three pies melt
in my cooling oven.

the neighbour in the street
gone out to complain
now giggling in relief
that her backbone failed her.

and they’re not working
while her ardour cools
in facile small-talk
over set-down tools!

shut up! shut up!
we want our power back!

without the internet
without tv
i write much more
than i would normally.

i think about the movie
that i saw today–
“walk the line”,
the life of johnny cash.
june’s face glows
in my mind’s lit eye–
her hurricane love
for poor damned john.
i want someone
to look at me with love
someday, before i die.
but if they did, would
i not soon despise them?

gone down so deep
into the culvert
of my own thoughts
all outside sound
turns off.

it’s getting dark.
writing in this
fading light
is giving me a headache.

go fetch the candles.
listen for a sign
those f****** will be finished
soon. it’s nearly nine!

and when i wrote that the power came on like the poet had made some kind of witch’s curse.

bruce hodder | country hike

19 10 2007


Poetry Dispatch No.70 | May 21, 2006

Sunday, bloody Sunday…the day in the week to forget, not face again–if you’re sentenced still to 9-to-5. Quiet Sunday. Living and dying. Freedom and duty. (Where are my fucking shoes? ) Church, family, Sunday dinner, house work, visiting, kicking back…while time runs out. Down-time, no-time-Saturday-nighttime …delicious, delirious …and so suddenly done. Gone. Sunday lifts its Our-Fatherly head, pointing to the minute-hand before Monday’s live burial. Get up, get moving …in place. (Only Sundays in Mexico made any sense: Bullfights in the afternoon . Sombra y sol.. Sundays since—only sombra .) Sunday, bloody Sunday. Find your shoes. Find yourself. Take a solitary hike . Norbert Blei


COUNTRY HIKE by Bruce Hodder

it’s sunday morning, and i’m walking
in happy solitude, along a country road
among overgrown verges, fields high with
oilseed rape, air damp with an impending
early summer storm. i’ve forgotten it is
waendel weekend, when everybody walks
for charity. suddenly there’s a group behind
me power-walking, their footfalls all in
unison sound like one ragged, clopping
horse–which is what i think it is
until they pass and an old man says hello.
i look behind and here come more, singles,
couples, two guys in army uniform, then
eight soldiers singing “blow and suck, suck
and blow, taught her everything she know”
and scoutmasters, and Chinese, and young
women with sinless clean faces strolling
alongside their grandfathers and greeting
everybody as if we still do that nowadays.
and entering the next village i see a tent
approaching with a van of scouts parked
near and ladies in the austere black get-up
of the St John’s Ambulance Brigade waiting
with eager faces to discuss your blisters
with you, or agree that it’s a lovely day
though we might get thunder later. it’s a
carnival. i’ve never seen so many people
out on sunday on the back roads intruding
on my perfect peace. i cross before i hit
the tent and go in the opposite direction
to the others, towards a narrow turn under
a dark canopy of trees.a lady serving juice
calls out “my love! not that way! you have
to follow them”–pointing to a group of walkers
receding round the stone side of a cottage
chatting volubly. i wave as if i don’t speak
english, and carry on along my route.
i’m heading for deeper country, where the only
people i will see are sheep and lambs,
and the occasional unitelligible farmer
waving a twelve bore in my face

Bruce Hodder, Age: 41, Gender: male, Astrological Sign: Sagittarius, Zodiac Year: Dragon, Industry: Arts, Occupation: Poet, Location: Northampton : United Kingdom, Google: Bruce Hodder, Website:

About Me:
Enlightenment is man’s release from his self-incurred tutelage. Tutelage is man’s inability to make use of his understanding without direction from another. Self-incurred is this tutelage when its cause lies not in lack of reason but in lack of resolution and courage to use it without direction from another. Sapere aude! “Have courage to use your own reason!”–that is the motto of enlightenment (Immanuel Kant, 1784).

bruce hodder | a steady rain falling…

6 10 2007


Poetry Dispatch No. 37 | December 12, 2005

Such positive reaction to the first set of short poems I dispatched by Ronald Baatz, I’ve decided to revisit this poetic playground on a more regular basis. So…more Short Poems…

These come your way out of the UK from poet/publisher, Bruce Hodder, who writes:

A handful of haiku for your reading enjoyment! I work in short form quite a lot because my best thinking is done when I’m out among people, dogs, traffic and I can’t hold a long poem in my head until I find a park bench to sit down and whip out my notebook….Reading Ronald Baatz has got the juices flowing. Thank God for Poetry Dispatch!

a steady rain falling–
no other sound except
a distant cow’s moo

my neighbor’s gate
bangs in the wind–
the remembrance of you

high up in the hills somewhere
bleak undulating grass and rocks
pissing by an old stone wall in freezing rain

jazz in the taxi cab–
connoisseurs, Barbadian driver,
Buddhist passenger

a flash of blue brassiere
on peach-like shoulder: ah!–
forget my white beard, honey!

the golden glow
around those people–
autumn evening

too much inner dialogue
to enjoy the band–
we’re really over this time

the smell of floor cleaner
through an open door–
going home for breakfast

ripe as a new apple
picking hair out of her eyes
waiting to collect her kid from school

chasing peaches round a bowl
old man and son both laughing
“now come on, dad, one more.”

sign outside the black horse pub in deptford: brewed bitter–hey, so was i

Bruce Hodder