National Poetry Day

Image provided by

Today in England is National Poetry Day. Therefore, Foxtrot Uniform has decided to publish 3 poems on the theme of reading or writing poetry. So enjoy our short online publication and if you write anything today be sure to share it.

Spontaneous Prose On Reading – By Joshua Cialis

Reading words in water
Cascading from my mouth.
Thoughts are verse
And verse is thought
I – like poets before me – see poetry in everything, from the quick glance of strangers to the beauty of mundane nature and ugly truths falling from autumn trees. There’s something I’d like to see from the outcry of love, like Whitman’s leaves and Ginsberg’s howl. but who am I to judge?
Cause Blake’s voice, godlike, speaks in ancient chimes to carry me – the only reader – to higher climes and I, like he, see beauty in the Tyger and danger in the Lamb.
But crying lightning won’t succeed when I sit and wonder why my latest word won’t sell. So lie with me and sing a song of love ‘cause a multitude of sonnets fall from night time clouds to fall to earth like dew to keep and free you.

And a dull image
Of a dog prays to the moon
In a haiku’s line

Nothing more than I and freedom sit staring at stars who sit and stare back, relentless, not blinking, but connecting in a tangle of lines and words, a cat’s wool and a lover’s mind; nothing but a tangle of fragmented voices praying to those who came before.

Y – by Reece David Merrifield
Y is it so important that I write
Why instead of
Y, because you’ll understand, so
Why is there a distinction between
Y, a letter, now a word, and
Why, just a word, surely
Y is more simple,
Why, I would even suggest you that it saves more time to write
Y, the Spanish are onto something there,
Why can’t we adopt their simplicity,
Y must we be above it all –
I will never know.

The Rhyme – by Holly Royle
The rhyme and rhythm of my heart, best told through words and structure, behold how the page glows.
I write line by line in turn… ah mistakes hinder my yearn for works and words and woes; outpourings of my soul.
These stories trained in lyrical form, these thoughts and emotions, the prose and sonnet dominate the world with wonder. These works a flash of light and thunder, echoing
I wonder, these words can affect us so, I wonder under whose power will we grow.


Suffering Porn

Words by Joshua Cialis

24 hour Rolling News + Disaster = Suffering Porn

We live in an age of 24 hour rolling news, where the news of the day is beamed straight to our televisions 24 hours a day 7 days a week 52 weeks of the year. This, along with the world’s continual trend for disasters is leading to what I like to call suffering porn. Humans – or at least Western humans – seem to want that continual option to view suffering.

We’ve seen this suffering porn an awful lot recently, with the continual terrorist attacks across the world, the ongoing war in Syria, the refugee crisis, Storm Irma, and recent earthquake in Mexico. We seem to have forgotten that the only suffering we used to see was famine in Africa. We are so used to seeing suffering that its surprising that we live in such a sanitised society or maybe it is just so that we are voyeurs in such a sense of suffering because we live in such a sanitised society.
Yet it seems that this constant suffering porn has use, its emotive nature allows to see that people need our help. Let us remember the affair of little Alan [Shenu] Kurdi, the little Syrian boy who was photographed dead on the beach in Turkey. It is only after this horrifying picture emerged that anyone – in the West – really did anything about helping the ‘refugee crisis’. It seems that in our age of digital news, a description is not enough for a response anymore, we need to see the suffering before we believe it’s happening. And although many of us will not venture out to see the suffering or experience it we act as voyeurs looking into a world that isn’t our own from the safety of our own lounges safe in the knowledge that we are not suffering but happy to know that someone in the world needs our help.

Foxtrot Uniform encourages you to donate to a charity that supports the suffering world so if you enjoyed this article please donate to the Red Cross or Oxfam

The Vampire: An Evolution of Interpretation from the Romantic period to the modern-day

Words and Picture by Holly Royle

This article will briefly display the varying portrayals of the vampire in literature, beginning in the Romantic period with John Polidori’s ‘The Vampyre’ through to the controversial ‘Twilight Saga’ by Stephanie Meyer. Whether these various interpretations are highly thought of is irrelevant in the respect that they all form interesting interpretations which arguably, provide an insight into social issues or conventions of the time periods in which they were published.

Polidori’s work was published in 1819 and shares its beginnings with Mary Shelley’s ‘Frankenstein’. At the time, Polidori was working as Lord Byron’s physician, but was also aspiring to become a writer. During their stay in Geneva, along with Percy and soon to be Mary Shelley, they elected one evening to write horror stories. That evening led to the production of ‘The Vampyre’ and ‘Frankenstein’. Polidori’s vampire is a Byronic figure and explores themes of the vampire as a sexual predator, themes which continue to be present in other literary works.

Bram Stoker’s ‘Dracula’, one of the best-known vampire novels, was published in 1897. Themes of the vampire as a sexual predator are prevalent, particularly through the portrayal of female vampires. Other themes are also present; the idea of the vampire as a foreigner may suggest fears at the time of foreign invasion. The novel also explores themes regarding science and religion which are often seen as opposing forces, yet both are required in the pursuit and destruction of the vampire. This highlights the issues surrounding uncertainty in religious beliefs and increasing scientific knowledge which was rapidly occurring in the nineteenth century. Darwin’s ‘On the Origin of Species’ was published in 1859.

Moving into the twentieth century, 1976 saw the publication of Anne Rice’s ‘Interview with the Vampire’. Similarly to Stoker, issues of religious beliefs are widely explored as the protagonist gradually loses his faith following his transition into the vampire world. The state of immortality removes any hope for the protagonist of an afterlife.

Moving onto the final example in this small sample of literary works, 2005 brought the publication of ‘Twilight’. While the idea of sparkly vampires widely divides opinion, the novel brings with it issues of young love, relationships and emotional manipulation. This may relate to an increase in awareness of relationships in which young people may have been emotionally manipulated by their partners and the negative impacts it can have. Although, it is often interpreted as a love story.

There are many more example of vampire fiction in existence, this being but a limited selection. However, it does provide an insight into the diversity of the vampire figure. Whether you agree with all the interpretations presented or not, it cannot be denied that they are firmly imbedded into our culture.

Can a computer write poetry?

Words by Joshua Cialis

Before answering this conundrum, I suppose the first question we must ask is, what is poetry? The OED defines poetry as ‘literary work in which the expression of feelings and ideas is given intensity by the use of distinctive style and rhythm’. So if poetry is a deep ‘expression of feelings and ideas’; can a computer, void of feeling and personal ideas generate poetry?
Obviously according to the above definition a computer cannot write poetry.  However, in recent years, there has been a recent trend in bot poetry. Since the invention of computers and programming writers have been generating ‘poems’ using machines. These ‘poems’ use an algorithm to write text. Using word lists and numbers to generate the sometimes intricate, sometimes simple poems which can be random, funny, and sometimes downright weird.
Shall we look at some bot poems that I wrote using various poem generator websites?
Firstly, is this free-verse poem, which asks the writer to insert a theme and some nouns and adjectives to generate the poem. The theme noun I inserted was Beach. (free verse)

Because I could not resort for Beach,
It did kindly resort for me.
Beach, Beach, every where,
Yet not a drop to resort.

Why would you think the causeway is smooth?
The causeway is the most rough route of all.
Pause to connect, like the causeway does.
You can connect, you can pass, but can you span?

One afternoon I said to myself,
“Why isn’t the tidepool more high?”
Are you upset by how scummy it is?
Does it tear you apart to see the tidepool so deep?

Seashore is, in its way, the dog’s neck of shore.
Does the seashore make you shiver?
Does it?

This second poem uses the same website but is their Sonnet generator. Again it asks for the same insertion of nouns and adjectives but generates the rhymes and lines using its algorithm. (Sonnet)

My stout Beach hut, you inspire me to write.
I love the way you shelters, sits and store,
Invading my mind day and through the night,
Always dreaming about the merry war.

Let me compare you to a happy crust?
You are more patient, generous and kind.
Fat heat toasts the brisk frolics of August,
And summertime has the resolute grind.

How do I love you? Let me count the ways.
I love your dark child-like and relaxed.
Thinking of your homely fills my days.
My love for you is the prosperous akst.

Now I must away with a tiny heart,
Remember my bright words whilst we’re apart.

Lastly is this Tanka generator which only needs a theme (sea or urban) and uses a list of words. This one is interesting as you can change the coding to make your poem choose different random numbers from the given word list. (sea)

Never desire a mainland.
Where is the dead wind?
Courage is a stormy sun.
Where is the misty girl?
All sharks lead small, clear sailors.

Hope you enjoyed these ‘bot poems’ and let us know if you’ve experimented at all.