In this column


Some recent Google rankings for the site
The development of the site
This site: an opinion
The profiles published on the site


Some recent Google rankings for the site


ethical depth  3 / 146,000,000

farming water collecting composting -
1 / 28,000,000
[I have been awarded a patent pending in the United States for an invention which offers a wide range of environmental benefits in vineyards, orchards and as a polytunnel substitute] gardening techniques design principles -

8 / 62,400,000
Christianity remembrance redemption -
1 / 12,700,000 [from a critical perspective]
universities excellence stupidity -
4 / 31,400,000
Cambridge University excellence mediocrity -
1 / 1,580,000

[From a perspective which, overall, is very appreciative]

theme theory introduction  1 / 465,000,000

linkages themes  2 / 58,900,000
science mathematics linkages themes -
3 / 21,600,000

linkage contrast glossary  1 / 44,100,000

metaphor theme  3 / 43,400,000

bullfighting arguments action against -
4 / 1,010,000
Carmen bullfighting  10 / 723,000

poetry modulation  1 / 14,700,000
poetry composite  1 / 35,800,000
poetry line length  3 / 33,300,000
Seamus Heaney poem criticism -
1 / 866,000
Seamus Heaney poetry success flaws -
1 / 531,000

metre meaning generative metrics -
3 / 528,000

Irish history illusions  8 / 17,100,000
aphorisms religion ideology honesty -
1 / 1,480,000
[the aphorisms are my own, not quotations from other sources]


The development of the site


The site is centred upon what I call {theme} theory, although I regard this theory as having a great number of practical applications. Innovations, I also believe, are far more likely to be made if a person thinks in terms of linkages and contrasts and other {themes}. In this site, I give some of the innovations I've made - but not all of them.


I first began to formulate Linkage Theory, the precursor of {theme} Theory, as a result of intensive study of poetic forms. Some of my work on linkage and contrast in poetry and literary theory appears in this site, and is grouped on the left side of the Site Map. At this stage, I explored linkages between poetry and art and design, for example, by fragmentation of the poem, but later, I made a more intensive study of linkage and contrast in the visual arts, including work on the Set. Much of this work appears in the site too, and can be found on the right side of the Site Map.


Chris Pulman, in 'The Education of a Graphic Designer,' writes 'If you ask why something works and you push back far enough, eventually everything seems to be based on contrast: the ability to distinguish one thing from another. Composition, sequencing, even legibility all rely on devices that affect the contrast between things.' (Quoted in the Web Style Guide). I later developed my ideas concerning contrast (and linkage) far beyond these origins.

The next stage involved a great broadening of scope: the concrete linkages and contrasts of modern life, as well as technical extensions to linkage theory.

I'm responsible for every aspect of this site. The content, design and implementation are my unaided work. The only exception: many of the photographs. (These have been purchased or are copyright-free.)

This site: an opinion


by Anna Evans, a poet born in England but now living in the United States. She has the Web site Barefoot Muse, a Journal of Formal Metrical Verse:

which I commend, the work of a dedicated poet and editor, whose desire to promote formal metrical verse I certainly share.

The comments below are from the section 'Dreaming in Iambic Pentameter' at

In the discussion below, I'm referred to in the first paragraph and discussed in the final paragraph.

' I have a mixed bag of literary figures for you to consider: two dead and one alive, two English and one Portuguese, two men and one woman etc. etc. The main thing they have in common, as I see it, is writing with no other purpose primarily in mind BUT to write: no pressures of academia, no intent to conform to a given school, no drive to publish (other than that we all have, which is for others to be able to read our words.)

'I’ll start with Stevie Smith. In a recent Thrift Shop haul I acquired an early edition of Homage to Mistress Bradstreet, complete with newspaper clipping obituary of John Berryman from 1972, and a copy of Stevie, the unauthorized 1985 biography by Jack Barbera and William McBrien. (Each book cost me 25c. I imagine, if you spent any time waiting in line at Barnes & Noble or Borders this holiday period, that fact makes you feel a little sick.) Born in 1902, Stevie followed an unconventional path to poetry. She became a secretary after leaving secondary school, and was introduced to the London literary scene after the critical and commercial success of her first autobiographical novel Novel on Yellow Paper. Her poetry is quirky and filled with a black humor that has survived the decades. She never married, and rumor has it she died a virgin, although she had several love affairs with men in her twenties and thirties. She illustrated her own books of poems, and considered the possibility (rather than the execution) of suicide to be a redeeming feature of an imperfect life. She is not well known in the US, although she retains a following in the UK thanks in part to her best known and much anthologized poem, also one of my own personal favorites, “Not Waving But Drowning.” So, if you’re bored with the cookie cutter poetry served up in the likes of APR, you could do worse than google Stevie. You might even find one of her poetry books (Tender Only to One and A Good Time Is Had By All) in a Thrift Shop near you.

'My former teacher Stephen Dunn is lecturing at Bennington in January. Now I admire Stephen hugely, and his book of essays Walking Light is one of the reasons I am currently pursuing an MFA myself. When the letter came out with his lecture topic, therefore, it was natural for me to want to find out a little about it in advance. Who is Fernando Pessoa? I asked myself. It turns out to be a perplexing question. Fernando Pessoa was a Portuguese poet and man of letters famous not only for his poetry but also for his heteronyms. He wrote a vast body of material (fiction, essays, poetry, plays) under a number of pseudonyms, but was unique in claiming to feel the presence of each of these personalities as strongly (some would say stronger) than he did his own. Each heteronym had his own style: Alberto Caeiro was a natural poet of minimal formal education; Ricardo Reis was a classically educated modern pagan etc. etc. Again, Fernando had hardly any involvement with academic life–he worked as a professional writer and translator until his death from alcoholism in his early forties. My knowledge of his poetry is limited, although I plan to use the gift card from my good friend KB to purchase the newest selected translation, but his essay collection Always Astonished is a must read ...

'Finally in this list I offer you a contemporary writer and thinker, Paul Hurt. I don’t know too much about Mr. Hurt, except that he is, like the other two, a total original unassociated with academia. I came across him because he has written a meticulously thought out essay on Jared Carter’s poetry. Then I browsed around his site, assuming he was a poet, and realized that he is much more than that.'








Brief biographical information


Very brief information, to supplement the pages of the site which give some biographical information, and there are only a few pages which give any, none of it in much detail.


I'm in the older age group. My upbringing was working-class - no bathroom, an outside toilet (with working-class sheets of newspaper, not middle class toilet paper provided for wiping.) My father was a painter and decorator and my mother was a cleaner.  My first job was as an unskilled builder's labourer. My second job was as a nursing assistant in a closed psychiatric ward in a bleak and forbidding hospital, a hangover from the days of the Victorian asylum.  My third job was as a night porter in an hotel.


Most of my working career was in a 'professional' job, mainly in Biology but often in Chemistry and Physics as well.


After about ten years, I began to work part time. When I left the job, my working life was transformed. I was working harder than ever, acquiring many new skills - but it was and still is completely unpaid work.


Comments on the site and criticism of the site


Comments, including critical comments, are always welcome.

What I've written on any page of the site can be challenged - preferably with arguments and evidence.  I don't mind criticism, unless it's reckless, completely uninformed criticism by someone sheltering behind a pseudonym.


Emails sent to me are treated as confidential. They won't be released into the public domain and won't be published on this site, in whole or in part, except with the permission of the sender of the email. The sender is free, of course, to make public the comment or criticism.


The profiles published on the site

Anyone who is the subject of a profile on a page of the site is welcome to submit comment, with or without a request to revise the profile or withdraw the profile. I never agree to demands to withdraw profiles or any other material on the site.

I regard the many, many profiles of the site as having multiple functions. They reflect an interest in people. There's general recognition that novelists and playwrights have to have an interest in people.  I think that polemicists and protesters - and opponents of protesters - should have an interest in people, not just in issues,  reasoning, causes, evidence - not that protesters always have these interests. Very often, opponents are viewed in grotesquely simplified ways. Opponents of feminists who use the term 'feminazis' are making a bad mistake, for example. 


The profiles are also intended to go beyond the giving of information and commentary, to support activism, in ways which I don't spell out here.


My criticism isn't relentless. I completed a profile of an individual who had written an ant-Israeli piece which I considered vile but  I found that he'd had to abandon his career as a result of serious health problems. I knew immediately that I couldn't publish the profile.


In the profiles, as in other material on the site, I make use of argument and evidence. I don't use Twitter or Facebook. I see the need for criticism to be based on argument and evidence, with sufficient detail to make a case. Anyone who finds the criticism unfair is welcome to contact me, preferably with counter-arguments and evidence, with sufficient detail to make a case. If I find the representation reasonable and convincing, I'll revise the material, taking account of the objections, if they seem legitimate, or remove the material completely from the site ...


But anyone who's the subject of a profile who is facing very severe problems is welcome to contact me, without giving much detail at all, and I may well remove the profile even if it can't be claimed that it's unfair.


In an email to a  vicar, I went on to make a specific comment on Christian belief and believers, before deciding not to publish a profile:

It would be very mistaken to give Christian believers immunity from criticism.  It would be very mistaken to believe that the Christian Churches are obvious forces for good ...


Owners of hotels, cafes, campsites, actors and musicians who take part in public performances, authors and  people in local and national politics and many other people, of course, have to be ready to receive reviews and comments of the most varied kinds, sometimes hostile. For some reason, clergy and laity aren't the subject of scrutiny and criticism nearly as often. The profiles of the pages on Christian religion are a corrective, I hope, drawing attention to matters so often overlooked.


I see the need not to give too much attention to well-known names, people whose profile in the media is prominent but to give coverage to people not well known at all. If their viewpoint seems stupid, indefensible, then why not put the case against, or the case for and against, or point out some contradictions? Only a tiny minority can be scrutinized, but even so, the contradictions of people, sometimes fascinating or endearing, sometimes grotesque or hideous, are surely a study well worth pursuing.









   {} About this site. Rankings. List of Pages on the site. Comments and criticism.

Page List, with links to pages

Alphabetical list of pages, including some page-groups: Gardening, Poetry, {themes}, controversies

Animal welfare
Bullfighting: against
Cambridge University
Culture industry
Death penalty: against
Ethics: ethical theory
Farming: US patent pending invention
Gardening : introduction
Gardening: heat, drought
Gardening: bed and board
Gardening: plant protection
Gardening: greenhouses etc
Gardening: composting, rainwater collecting weeding Gardening: design
Heaney: ethical depth?
Heaney: translations
Heaney: introduction
Heaney:crap and credulity
Heaney: Companion
Heaney: poem reviews

Heaney: Human Chain

Israel: defending
Kafka and Rilke
Literary criticism: glossary

Northern Ireland and Ireland
PHD-C: a new PHD-C page

Poems: humour, war, nature

Poetry: innovations, ideas
Poetry: composite forms
Poetry: concrete
Poetry: modulation
Poetry: line length
Poetry: meaning linkage
Poetry: metaphor
Poetry: metre / meter
Poetry: sound linkage
Radical feminism
Reviewing and criticism
Review: Framework science
Review: On Bullfighting

Scottish independence
Sheffield Dales
Supermarkets, small shops
TTP: Theme, Theory, Practice
TTP Interpretations and Applications, including examples from science,  logic, mathematics, engineering, politics, the arts
{themes}: Glossary
{themes}: {adjustment}
{themes}: {completion}
{themes}: {direction}
{themes}: {distance}
{themes}: {modification}
{themes}: {ordering}
{themes}: {resolution}
{themes}: {restriction}
{themes}: {reversal }
{themes}: {separation
{themes}: {substitution
{themes}: ((surveys))
Veganism: against 
Web design: page-travel

Other issues: Controversies

1a. Alan Billings, South Yorkshire Police and Crime Commissioner: Complaint
1b. Content of 1a, one column
1c. Alan Billings: Ichtheology: The Billingsgate Challenge
1d. Police / Ethics Panels
1e. S. Yorks Police: IOPC
1f. Police, PCC, Panels
1g. Dr Billings: 'Hate Crime'
1h. Capability in education and policing
1i. Complaints v. SYP, PCC