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Monday, 8 August 2016

My 'New & Selected Poems' and a pamphlet of my political poems

Song of Songs 2.0 - New & Selected Poems by Kevin Higgins will be published in February by Salmon Poetry and will, it is hoped, be launched at the 2017 AWP Conference in Washington D.C. 


The book will include selected poems from my previous five collections of poems, The Boy With No Face (Salmon, 2005); Time Gentlemen, Please (Salmon, 2008); Frightening New Furniture (Salmon, 2010); The Ghost In The Lobby (Salmon, 2014); and 2016 - The Selected Satires of Kevin Higgins (NuaScéalta, 2016). 

It will also include a substantial collection of new poems.

Before that, I am delighted to announce, that the new Culture Matters imprint of U.K. based Manifesto Press will this Autumn be publishing The Minister For Poetry Has Decreed, a pamphlet collecting together a tightly knit group of twenty six of my recent more politically motivated poems.  
Following recent developments I will makes sure that all metaphors, similes, and hyperbolic outbursts contained in and around these poems are approved in advance of publication by the busy boys and girls of the Disputes and Discipline Department at British Labour Party Head Office.

SUSPENSION UPDATE The Continuing Adventures of Operation Ice Pick

Further to this story, I have today learned that my 'administrative suspension' as an overseas member of the British Labour Party has come about as a result of a frivolous complaint made my someone who was, it's clear, rather irked by three poems I shared on Twitter during the first few days of the attempted coup against Jeremy Corbyn in the immediate aftermath of the Brexit vote. 
The poems in question are Premature Elegy for Hilary Benn, The Ghost of Miniscule John Mann, and On Your Unsuitability for High Office. They can been read here, just scroll down and you'll find them.

They're sensitive souls at Labour Party HQ, and I am happy to admit that they have much to teach me about the need for me to be more subtle in the metaphors I use. 

Labour Party General Secretary, Iain McNicols, who has had an interesting day himself today, has appointed Sam Matthews of the Party's 'Disputes and Discipline' department to be investigating officer in my case. 

Just to be clear, that is not Iain McNicols pictured above holding the ice pick which killed Leon Trotsky. Mr McNicols is in fact pictured below. 
I look forward to discussing the subtleties of metaphor with Mr Matthews. 

P.S. Does anyone know of any expensive hotels in the central London area? Preferably one that has stuffed grape leaves and beetroot tapenade on the menu. I am presuming that I will have to travel to London for my metaphorical discussion with the good people of UK Labour Party HQ and that Iain McNicols will be paying my hotel bill.




Thursday, 4 August 2016

Two readings at Belfast's Féile an Phobail next week

I'm off to Belfast's Féile an Phobail next week to do two readings at the festival. 

On Thursday afternoon/early evening I'll be reading at the Scribes at The Rock event, alongside Paul Laverty and Gerry Murphy, at the Rock Bar on the Falls Road.

The following evening I'll be reading and talking about my work, alongside Glenn Patterson and Angeline King, at Duncairn Cultural Arts Centre on the Antrim Road. 

Full details of both readings below.


For full details of the programme for this year's @FeileBelfast see here http://www.feile2016.com

Friday, 22 July 2016

Media mentions of my suspension from British Labour Party for writing poems


UPDATE 5/8/2016 A few people have asked if the story about me being suspended as an overseas member of The Labour Party in Britain for writing satirical poems ridiculing Jeremy Corbyn's opponents is itself a satire. It is not: this has actually happened. For more see the links below.
 
Over a month after the suspension I have still seen none of the "evidence" against me, despite having written asking for it, and have no idea who made the complaint which I am also, under the rules of natural justice, entitled to know.


In an article by former Labour Parliamentary candidate Andy Newman on UK based Left Futures blog
And also in Gene Kerrigan's column in last Sunday's Sunday Independent

Saturday, 16 July 2016

"administrative suspension"-UK Labour Party Head Office Object To Pro-Corbyn Satires

I yesterday received a letter, see below, from Ms Katherine Buckingham, Head of Disputes and Discipline at UK Labour Party Head Office in London informing me that I am now subject to a "an administrative suspension from holding office or representing the Labour Party." 
I am an overseas member of the British Labour Party; as most people know I live in Galway on the West coast of Ireland. I was born in London in 1967 and so am entitled to membership as a member of Labour International. I am a full member of the party, having joined last July. 

I hold no office in and have never claimed to represent the British Labour Party. Most people would not even be aware that I am a member of it. However, I did help organise and edit the online publication '21 Poems, 21 Reasons To Choose Jeremy Corbyn' as part of last summer's leadership election campaign, which included poems by a number of prominent UK & Irish poets. 

My understanding is that the "comments made on social media" referred to in Ms Buckingham's letter are the sharing, see below, of three of my satirical poems lampooning Jeremy Corbyn's opponents in the Labour Party.

The first poem is a satire about pro-war former Shadow Foreign Secretary Hilary Benn MP, which was first published in The Morning Star newspaper last December. 
The second poem is a satirical re-write of the Bruce Springsteen song 'The Ghost of Tom Joad', dedicated to right wing Labour MP for Mansfield, John Mann, who is most famous for chasing Ken Livingstone up some stairs in front of the media while shouting about Mein Kampf. 'The Ghost of Miniscule John Mann' was published last summer on Ireland's leading alternative literature website The Bogman's Cannon.

The third poem was also published in The Morning Star newspaper last summer, and it ridicules Jeremy Corbyn's detractors, quite reasonably comparing them to a variety of discredited characters in British history.

This is a clear attempt to interfere with my right to free speech, and indeed artistic freedom. Clearly those who long for the good old days when the British Labour Party could be summed up by the pictures below, don't like being laughed at.
  
There is, of course, no prospect at all that I'm going to stop laughing at the politically ridiculous. 

Some people tend to be endlessly surprised at the re-appearance of The Inquisition, for that is what this is. 
However, I am always expecting them. 

Those of you who are so minded can register your opposition to this smaller, and altogether less stylish, latter day inquisition by contacted Labour Party General Secretary Ian McNicol here 

Social media shares of this blog post would also be appreciated. 

In the meantime, my most recent satire on Jeremy Corbyn's critics was published on the UK based Socialist Unity site on Monday. It's called 'A Regressive Centrist Speaks Electability' and is dedicated to former feminist intellectual and Murdoch hackette Caitlin Moran, pictured below.   
UPDATE for most recent development on this see here

Further to my 'Adminstrative Suspension' from the British Labour Party for writing satirical poems


Lorraine Hardy, Membership Secretary of Labour International
Lorraine Hardy is the Membership Secretary of Labour International, the section of the British Labour Party catering for overseas members, of which I am one.

Following this blog post, I received the email below from Lorraine on Thursday evening.


From: Lorraine Hardy
Date: Thu, 14 Jul 2016 18:01:25 +0200
Subject: Suspension from the Labour Party
To: kphiggins@hotmail.com


Kevin 

We are advised that you have been administratively suspended from the Labour Party.  You therefore no longer appear on the Labour International membership list.  

You have therefore also been removed from the Labour International closed Facebook group. 

If the result of the investigation confirms that you remain in membership of the Labour Party and thus Labour International, we will welcome you back to the FB Group. 

Regards
Lorraine 

Lorraine Hardy
Secretary LICC
Labour International Coordinating Committee


I replied:

On 15 July 2016 at 00:37, kevin higgins <kphiggins@hotmail.com> wrote:
Dear Lorraine,

Who advised you?

Regards,

Kevin

To which Lorraine answered:

From: Lorraine Hardy
Date: Fri, 15 Jul 2016 12:31:09 +0200
Subject: Re: Suspension from the Labour Party
To: kphiggins@hotmail.com


Regards
Lorraine 

Lorraine Hardy
Secretary LICC
Labour International Coordinating Committee

 
She has yet to reply to my subsequent email:
 
kevin higgins (kphiggins@hotmail.com)

Sent: 15 July 2016 12:01:15
To: Lorraine Hardy 
Dear Lorraine,

You enthusiasm to act without instruction from party headquarters is admirable.

You will note, then, from the letter sent to me, which you will, I know, have read in detail, that the "administrative suspension" does not bar me from attending meetings of my local Labour Party branch, but only from representing the party, and attending other meetings, such as National Conference, until this absurdity is resolved.

You therefore have no business removing me from the Labour International membership list, though you enthusiasm to take this premature action will, I'm sure, meet with approval from some.

Furthermore, I have taken some legal advice this morning and been told that "Labour International is the equivalent of [my] local Labour Party branch". This being the case, I have been advised to insist that you immediately reinstate me in the Labour International Facebook group, or I will be forced to take action.

In your original email, you made it sound like you were operating on instruction for Labour Party HQ - "We are advised that you have been administratively suspended from the Labour Party". It is now clear though that my removal from both the membership list and the Facebook group were acts you rather over enthusiastically took upon yourself.

You now need to correct both of these.

Regards,

Kevin Higgins

As soon as Comrade Hardy gets back to me with her reply, I will post it here.