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Cover of You Took The Last Bus Home: The Poems of Brian Bilston

First collection from the Poet Laureate of Twitter

'Brian Bilston is a laureate for our fractured times, a wordsmith who cares deeply about the impact his language makes as it dances before our eyes.' Ian McMillan

‘If you like a) laughing or b) words which rhyme with each other, you will love Brian Bilston. Contribute now!’ Richard Osman

Over the last few years, social media has witnessed the rise of an exciting new voice in the world of poetry. But although the poems of the mysterious and reclusive Brian Bilston have become widely celebrated and shared, remarkably this is the first time the “Poet Laureate of Twitter” will be anthologized in book form.

Writing on topics such as diverse as love, death, buses, mobile phones, and the socio-cultural impact of delayed Ocado deliveries, the poetry of Brian Bilston offers profound insights into modern life and the human condition.

Never afraid to experiment with literary form, Bilston’s work frequently assumes unlikely shapes, reflecting the poetry which he uncovers in everyday places: excel spreadsheets, Venn diagrams, powerpoint presentations, Scrabble tiles.

This collection contains many of his best loved poems and some of his far less popular ones, too. Assembled together, these poems represent a sustained lyrical critique of what it is like to be human – and to forget to put the rubbish out – at the beginning of the twenty-first century.

Frequently described as the “Poet Laureate of Twitter”, Brian Bilston is a poet clouded in the pipe smoke of mystery. Very little is known about him other than the fragments of information revealed on social media: his penchant for tank tops, his enjoyment of Vimto, his dislike of Jeremy Clarkson.

In 2014 he became the first person to retain the title of Pipe Smoker of the Year [Poetry section] and, over the years, he has won numerous awards for cycling proficiency, first aid, and general tidiness.

POEM, REVISED DRAFT


I had to write this poem again.
I left the first draft on the train
and now it doesn't look the same.

The original was a paean to Love,
to Truth, to Beauty. It soared above
the everyday and all that stuff.

It would have healed estranged lovers' rifts,
stilled the sands on which time shifts
and stopped the world before it drifts

further into quagmired crisis,
ended famine, toppled ISIS,
employed ingenious literary devices.

I tried my hardest to recall
its words and rhymes, the rise and fall
of the carefully cadenced crawl

through the English language.
But it caused me pain and anguish
for there was little I could salvage.

It certainly didn't end with a line like this.



FRISBEE


Frisbee whizzing
through the air
above our heads
over the sand
into the water
onto the waves
out to sea.

You cried a lot that day.
Frisbee was a lovely dog.

Read more...

Shed over Heels

Monday, 10 October 2016

Dear Children of the Shed,

It’s been a while since I last convened a shed meeting and a lot has happened since those halcyon days: leadership contests, celebrity break-ups, sex tapes. Not to mention all the events taking place outside of my own household.

Oh, and You Took the Last Bus Home has finally published.

By now you should all have received your copy of the book. Do contact Unbound…

Do not judge a cover by its book

Wednesday, 15 June 2016

Bilston30 %282%29

Dear fellow shedheads,

Some exciting news (for me, anyhow) to share with you all about You Took the Last Bus Home. It now has a cover – which looks something like this:

I hope you like the cover as much as I do. It has asked me to pass this poem onto to you …

DO NOT JUDGE A COVER BY ITS BOOK

Do not judge me by this book,

I’m just a humble cover,

an easy way for you to tell

one…

Shed Envy

Friday, 27 May 2016

My shed

Dear assembled members of the shed,

Thank you for all gathering here at such short notice for today’s meeting. Hopefully you received the agenda in advance but, for those who did not, I have brought some spare copies:

Shed Meeting, 27th May 2016

1.     Update on book

2.     Shed news, inc. feelings of envy concerning my neighbour’s shed

3.     Poem about agenda item 2

4.    …

Today's Shedlines: BRITFOP, lullabies and frenemies

Wednesday, 20 April 2016

Dear assembled shedheads,

Thank you so much for attending today’s shed gathering. Apologies for being late but I have been out campaigning on behalf of BRITFOP (British Federation of Poets) on why it is vital for the future of poetry in this country that Britain remains within the European Union.

Exiting from the EU is potentially very damaging for the British poetry scene:

  • Imports of…

Easier shed than done

Monday, 29 February 2016

Dear Guardians of the Shed,

It’s been a few weeks since I’ve journeyed down to the bottom of my garden to pen you all a post and for that - and so many other things besides - I can only apologise. So here’s an update on progress – and what a lot of progress there has been, too.

Firstly, the book is now 145% funded. That means, in layperson’s terms, that the book is more than funded. The consequence…

Love Shed, Baby

Saturday, 13 February 2016

Hello shedmates,

Thank you all for making it here today. I'm pleased to say that You Took The Last Bus Home is now even more funded than it was before - but if there's anything you can do to help get new supporters on board that would be magnificent. The more momentum we can get behind this project, the better - so when it publishes, it will be magically propelled to the top of the bestseller charts…

Angela Zemp
Angela Zemp asked:

Are we there yet? Are we there yet? Are we there yet? Are we there yet? Are we there yet?

*On the journey to the book launch*

;) xx

Brian Bilston
Brian Bilston replied:

Please don't tell me you need the toilet.

Angela Zemp
Angela Zemp asked:

I DID, but that was 5 days ago, so I had to use a placcy bag! :/

Next question: When did you start writing poetry, and do you remember WHAT exactly started you off? :)

Lots of love, a hedgehog admirer. xx

Brian Bilston
Brian Bilston replied:

The precise details are somewhat lost in the pipe-smoke of time, but I suspect there was probably a girl involved. Writing her a poem would have been a good alternative to actually having any kind of direct contact or communication with her.

I would probably have then recycled the poem and tried it out on others, remembering to change any description of eye or hair colour if necessary. But, invariably, it would have the same result.

It can't have been a very good poem.

Angela Zemp
Angela Zemp asked:

Are you ever serious?!! ;)

(I never know if I am talking to Brian, or the lovely Waynetta, these days!)

P.S. I am loving this question and answer lark! It feel like a secret portal that only we two can enter. (and probably about a 1000 others, but 'I' can't see them!)

Please DO tell me if I am annoying you!!

I can TAKE it, I have my anti-poet vest on. :) xx

Brian Bilston
Brian Bilston replied:

Yes, I am serious sometimes but I'm not very good at it.

An anti-poet vest would be a very popular invention, I think.

nb I think others can see this exchange so please try your best to keep the content of a nature suitable to a family audience.

Maria Godebska
Maria Godebska asked:

How exciting - a direct line to the author!
I don't understand the shed references in the rewards. It would have to be a massive shed, to fit us all in. Or is it just the Shed of our Minds?
I am very happy to read your poems on FB, so am looking forward to the book.
Do you read poetry yourself, Mr Bilston? If so, whose?
Best wishes - Maria

Brian Bilston
Brian Bilston replied:

Yes, the shed is more of a figurative one than a wooden one. Every few weeks, I'll post up a report on progress with the book, including selected musings and, on occasion, some supporters-only news about extra free stuff.

I do read poetry myself but try to avoid poems which contain too many difficult words. Regarding contemporary poets, I am very partial to a bit of Simon Armitage and Carol Ann Duffy - and I really loved Jonathan Edwards' recent collection, My Family and Other Superheroes. I have a deep fondness - and a fond deepness - for Roger McGough and John Hegley, too.

Of dustier poets, then Philip Larkin, TS Eliot, Stevie Smith, WH Auden and Wilfred Owen all float my proverbial boat.

best wishes,
Brian
x

Maria Godebska
Maria Godebska asked:

Hullo Brian - Thank you for your reply!
I have nothing to add to what you wrote above, sadly - I used to enjoy reading poetry when being educated - the Russian/Soviet poets (Akhmatova, Tsvetaeva, come to mind most quickly) as well as the British ones - the romantics. I have too many cobwebs in my brain to actively seek out poetry nowadays, though I so appreciate it when I see it.
I have been racking my brain trying to remember one I liked: Do not feel something about our long-lost something, my friend, because something something....
*trails off awkwardly, like with one of those jokes where you forget the punchline and you're rubbish at telling them anyway*

Best wishes,
Maria

Brian Bilston
Brian Bilston replied:

I like that something something poem, too.

Stephen Morey
Stephen Morey asked:

Brian, I suggested to you on Twitter some time ago that you should publish a collected edition of your poems and you responded that it wasn't for you. But now you have and I have pledged to support it. Isnt life full of crazy surprises?

Brian Bilston
Brian Bilston replied:

I remember that very well - and it's a continual surprise to me that it's all happening. I'd never sought out such a thing but it appeared to want to come and find me.

Thanks so much for supporting this, Stephen.

Naomi Perilli
Naomi Perilli asked:

I hoped that you might appear at a literary festival this year to read a poem or 5 but them I realised you would either have to appear behind a screen, or wear a cunning disguise. so maybe not...although also you might BE appearing at a literary festival but as yourself , who we do not know...and then I realised this wasn't a question but a ramble so I stopped and just wanted to say...can't wait for the book.

Brian Bilston
Brian Bilston replied:

Thanks, Naomi. I shall be attending a number of literary festivals this summer but dressed as Carol Ann Duffy. I shall be reading her poems, too.

keith muir
keith muir asked:

Brian,

I only discovered your existence a few days ago through finding your poem Refugees and I'm hooked. Since it's part of human nature to pigeon-hole people,I immediately thought of e. e. cummings as a fellow spirit.
Are you ok with that?

Brian Bilston
Brian Bilston replied:

To share a pigeon-hole with e. e. cummings would be a pleasure - for me at least, if not for him. I'm a fan.

keith muir
keith muir asked:

Brian,

I have your wonderful poetry book and now I can't stop trying to come up with clever little rhymes.It's driving my long-suffering wife nuts-is there a cure?

Brian Bilston
Brian Bilston replied:

You need to take some antisoundamines. They are tough on rhyme and tough on the causes of rhyme.

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