Category Archives: Collections

Monthly Review December 2020

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We had a day of snow shortly after Christmas, a good thick layer to enjoy, enough to take our minds off things for a while. Christmas was different for us all this year, but through the powers of technology we managed to see/hear each other, it felt even more special to share parts of our day. Last year we were lucky enough to share a big family Christmas, like those we remembered from childhood – reflecting back on the few days we all spent together was a pleasure.

Today we are all looking forward to seeing this year out – we have fireworks to look forward to, but no parties, which means no sore feet tomorrow though!

December was a month with very little work, I delivered my last Star Centre Workshops in the series and attended lots of events. We had the final Dear 2021 session with Nik Perring, more on this when the work is realised. One of my poems made it into the book which was produced as part of this project. I completed my Beta-Reader task, attended a Mona Arshi reading delivered by the University of Worcester, it was a cracking event, it has been years since I’d seen Mona and I admire her work. https://monaarshi.com/

I enjoyed the last two Poetry Workshops with Sara-Jane Arbury & Ledbury Poetry Festival and a special poetry event at The Hive facilitated by Amanda Bonnick & Polly Stretton, a Poetry Bubble online event. Hoping they have more in the future. It clashed with the Forward Reading, organised by Cath Drake. I have since discovered it’s available on YOU TUBE, as Cath wanted to share the event with her Australian audience too. And Mr G. (as is tradition) gifted me The Forward Poetry Book 2021 for Christmas!

A LIVE recording of a selection of poets Highly Commended in the Forward Prizes, included in the 2021 anthology, who launched a book our during this pandemic year:

Colette Bryce reads from ‘The M Pages’ /Matthew Francis reads from ‘Wing’ /Maria Ferguson reads from ‘Alright, Girl?’ /Mina Gorji reads from ‘The Art of Escape’ /Cath Drake reads from ‘The Shaking City’ /Katherine Horrex reads from ‘Growlery’ /Shane McCrae reads from ‘Sometimes I Never Suffered’ /Abegail Morley reads from ‘The Unmapped Woman’ /Julian Stannard reads from ‘Heat Wave’ /Maria Taylor reads from ‘Dressing for the Afterlife.

‘The Poetry Oscars’ – The Telegraph. Buy your copy here.

https://www.faber.co.uk/catalog/product/view/id/7724/s/9780571362486-the-forward-book-of-poetry-2021/

Treat yourselves to watching this incredible collection of poets reading their work at the very least!

I managed to get to another Creative Writing workshop with Sheffield Libraries and have since discovered they have purchased a copy of Patience for the library, which is great news!

We had Birthdays to celebrate in our family in December, I saw my Grandma (socially distanced/ I was outside in the garden) for her Birthday – first time I have seen her since March! And Emily Dickinson celebrated her 190th Birthday at the Museum with an epic programme of events which I was still watching in the early hours. I spontaneously shared two short poems I wrote during the Tell It Slant Festival earlier this year, it was a great night. https://www.emilydickinsonmuseum.org/emily-dickinson-birthday-december-10-2020/

I managed to get to the USA to catch Julie Danto‘s Book Launch and reunited with some of the Worcester County Poetry Association (WCPA) poets in Massachusetts, who I created A Tale of Two Cities with a couple of years ago.

And I managed a couple of workshops with Rakaya Fetuga again. I watched the Michael Marks Awards and enjoyed Jessica Mookherjee and Sean Wai Keung at Cafe Writers, I got to the Room 204 Christmas Party and have a little catch up and a bit of pre-Christmas cheer. WLF had SpeakEasy featuring Raine Geoghegan and it was a magical Christmassy event! The next one is in February.

We had a reading to celebrate the end of the Ledbury workshops, it was a treat to hear everyone. I had some studio time in Emily Dickinson’s bedroom at the Museum, it is my 2nd visit there this year. Something very calming and slightly magical about this space.

Words Stafford had a Tanka competition – which I couldn’t resist – I love writing short form poetry. The theme was Steampunk, my research was fascinating and inspiring. 10 of us had poems chosen and were able to read at the event, sadly mine were not in the Top 3 (Prize Winners) and I love the Anti-poet, the prize was Paul’s Steampunk novel The Periwinkle Perspective – The Giant Step – Volume 1 by Paul Eccentric. It was a fun night and the winning poems were fantastic!

In the final week before Christmas I completed some Christmas writing with Nik Perring and spent an amazing night at Cheltenham Poetry Festival enjoying John Hegley and making up captions for one of his sketches, a new talent discovered (not John – I knew he drew), it was a perfect Christmas Party and not a photocopier in sight!

This week I wrote a couple of applications and I finally made some end of month submissions (NY Resolution started early) and enjoyed a night of Disquieting Christmas stories and poems with Polly Stretton at Worcester, 42.

I hope you all managed to have a good Christmas despite restrictions and the state of our world at the moment.

Be kind to each other and stay safe.

Flashback Autumn (Sept)

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September brought the kids back to school and students back to university and huge peaks in cases. After five months off work I was due to go back in as soon as bookings came through. This was a bleak month of no work. Something which is sadly the fate of millions since the beginning of the pandemic. It was a month that left me feeling pretty empty, so I filled it!

Like a new student, I signed up for a new class Hybrid & Experimental Memoir with Tawnya Renelle and looked at courses on Future Learn. I was having to complete Covid related staff training even though there was no work, which I found frustrating – necessary yes, but the only people who could possible struggle with gaining the certificate at the end of it are those who have literally buried their heads in the sand and watched/read no news for the past year!

There were a few festivals and book launches to keep me buoyant (and more importantly busy). I recorded the audio for Connect Dudley project (hoping to tell you more about this soon). I was Poet in Residence for Cheltenham Poetry Festival and I had a LIVE interview with Kate Justice for BBC Radio Hereford & Worcester. UEA hosted Noirwich, Crime Writing Festival and Worcestershire LitFest hosted a Festival 13-19th. Which was the same time as Tell It Slant Festival over the pond at the Emily Dickinson Museum. And Perth Poetry Festival was 18th -27th they managed to get LIVE events, a hybrid of live and virtual and some virtual all mixed into the programme. It just made me want to be there again!

I went to Kevin Reid‘s Book Launch for Suitcase (4word, 2020). It was a real treat. Discover the book for yourself here. https://eyeosphere.com/ Later in the month was the launch of Carole Bromley‘s new collection The Peregrine Falcons of York Minster (Valley Press, 2020) https://www.carolebromleypoetry.co.uk/books/. I have missed Carole’s readings and it was a joy!

As festival Poet in Residence for Cheltenham Poetry Festival I attended and performed at CPF events this month including: Z.D.Dicks Reading & Open Mic and Across the Oceans with David Hanlon and Elisabeth Horan. I headlined for Cheltenham Poetry Festival alongside Joe Cook, it was good to see/hear him again – a magical experience! And speaking of magic…

One of the workshops I attended was pure magic too – in fact, it was in the title, but we’re writers… we know titles give no guarantee! It was called The Magic of an Ordinary Day and it was mindfully slow paced with an entire offline section for lunch and encouraged wanderings. I met my mum (socially distanced) at the local park and we had a catch up and I took a bounty of pictures to inspire my afternoon writing. Plenty of people watching in amongst nature and for someone who rarely leaves the house now it was a blessing. Sue Emm was the facilitator of this online wandering & writing workshop from Open School East. It was a wonderfully, relaxed and I was certainly glad I’d committed a day to do it. Huge gratitude to Sue Emm.

The Worcestershire LitFest started, as it always does, with the Worcestershire Poet Laureate Competition. This year’s finalists were all worthy of the crown. The new Worcestershire Poet Laureate was announced for 2020-21 as Leena Batchelor – read more here.

Festival posts and links to follow.

I managed to attend a few open mics and events including Philip Gross and Heidi Williamson at Cafe Writers, That Poetry Zoom (Canberra), a Masterclass in writing and publishing, Wordcraft, Jerwood Arts Events, some PPP gigs and I visited the real library building (where the covid measures far outrank some places of work) and returned my 3 loans read by April and borrowed 9 books, fearing they would have to close again. I have PLENTY of books at home I could be reading, but they are mainly chosen and I feel I want to read them in pleasant(er) times. Perhaps now is the time to challenge my genres, pull out those books I would not otherwise attempt and that’s why I use the library. Plus I love the library, most people have been missing the night out, the pub… me, that room full of books none of which are mine.

I fuelled some of my grief into The Loss Project and found solace in a group I have been attending since the summer over in the States with Judith Redwing Keyssar, who has provided Food For Thought Poetry Cafes and Loss, losing, Loosening workshops weekly. https://redwingkeyssar.com/. Just letting it pour out is important and for me, part of the healing. I attended the Collective Trauma Summit, they had an amazing selection of poets/ poetry readings.

By September, Lockdown had lifted, but I was still living very much in isolation. With no money it wasn’t so much a challenge to stay inside. I had to go to hospital in September, they are places some of us need to be brave and use, but it was the biggest challenge I have faced. I had to go alone – the whole experience pre-covid would have been bad, in addition there was the wearing of the mask for hours and the additional safety test requirements. I counted every day after carefully indeed, but looking back I needed something this big because in a few months time there would be much needed work. The first day back was terrifying but it would have been worse without this bridge.

Flashback Spring (April)

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April was Napowrimo and those of you who follow this blog will know I have done it every year since I discovered it existed (2014), this year – for the first time ever – I was home every day of the prompts and managed it without falling behind. As is tradition, by the end I was left with about 5 decent poems and another 5 to work with. Lots of new notes and scribbles, I did write 32 poems over the month but some are no more than a warm up exercise, you can whittle on after April and collect yourself a good batch of 30 decent poems, but as with all workshops some prompts will speak louder than others. There were some areas I continued to research and develop and other scrap poems I abandoned. Nothing wasted though.

Napowrimo was also the last time I was properly active on the blog. The Stay at Home Lit Festival continued (it was a glorious 2 weeks). I continued to enjoy events which moved online more from the PPP (Poets, Prattlers, and Pandemonialists) team, as another of their brilliant nights Yes We Cant happened online and PASTA (usually at the Wolverhampton Arena Theatre). 42, Worcester and Run My Tongue were other open mic events I joined.

I signed up to Caleb Parkin‘s Napo group and enjoyed weekly sessions with other poets (some of whom I knew) doing Napo. These groups were great fun. Huge gratitude to Caleb for creating such a pleasant space to create from.

Another huge gratitude bundle goes to Cath Drake, who I discovered at the S@HF. Her first collection The Shaking City (Seren) was launched in April. https://www.serenbooks.com/author/cath-drake.

Cath started a writing course for poets in Australia (her homeland) and UK (her home). It was incredible and again I will be posting separately on Writing to Buoy Us.

Discover more about Cath and her work here https://cathdrake.com/.

April was the start of crazy, for me it was a coping mechanism and also I was coming from that post-book release-writing-slump https://ninalewispoet.wordpress.com/books/, which followed on the back of the medicated break from writing, which I was convinced (at the time), had broken the camel’s back, so a certain amount of my packed scheduling was a liberation, a dance with words. It was also a sure fire way to bury my thoughts from what was really happening for a few hours most days. I was also trying to get over having to cancel all my real life bookings for a 2nd year running.

I read a lot, every writer should. But I have to say 2020 has opened me to more new writing and new to me poets than any year so far. So readily accessible at a touch of a button. The whole world at my writing desk.

Sarah L. Dixon needs another shout out of gratitude, she started to run workshops online, which were always fun and successful for me – as in I would always have a nearly completed poem by the end of it – I may have even submitted some of these out to the world and I have barely submitted anything anywhere since 2018.

A big shout out of gratitude to Zelda Chappel too – who it has been a pleasure to reconnect with. She offered a series of wonderful prompts which in the beginning refreshed my love for this gift of writing and over the weeks gave space for some different writing.

A big shout out to Mab Jones too who created Lockdown Writers’ Club and provided us all with in depth prompts and created a creative community.

I went to the book launch of Play – by C. S Barnes, The Shaking City by Cath Drake and Mutton Rolls by Arji Manuelpillai.

I started doing Yoga with Allison Maxwell who is another gratitude shout out, I helped people and artists learn how to use Zoom effectively, we celebrated the first birthdays online, never expecting we would still be doing the same by the end of the year! I started doing my pilates classes at home.

I finally joined INSTA as there were poets I admire doing things on this platform. My INSTA account is still nothing to shout about and I probably won’t be joining the INSTA Poetry movement anytime soon, but it is a great platform for short video/ workshops and has been fun exploring this year.

I took opportunities offered by Room 204 on developing characters, huge thanks to Stephanie Hatton for letting us be your guinea pigs, I hope the roll out went well. I enjoyed the National Ballet online, a workshop with The Poetry Business and started recording video performances for events. And I discovered the Cuirt Festival of Literature AND more importantly an Irish poet I had read in my teens, Michael Gorman – it was like being reunited with an old friend.

I also had the pleasure of watching Kei Miller and Carolyn Forché with Poets House and Roger Robinson with Writing East Midlands, all poets I have read and admire. I’m lucky enough to have seen Kei and Roger in action several times. These three poets started the pack of recurring poets who became a big part of my lockdown.

I was also working hard completing an animation commission from Elephant’s Footprint for the Arts Council funded ‘Poetry Renewed Project’. I wrote a poem for Rick Sanders PoARTry/ the digital version of his project. My ekphrastic poetry response was based on an artwork created by Alan Glover. I watched most deadlines zoom past and wrote covid and non-covid journals.

It was an action packed month which taught me: I was happy we’d had haircuts the week before the news of Lockdown, the forever-wanted GHDs probably weren’t going to be the most used Christmas present, that I was unlikely to run out of notebooks for a while, that the world is trying to hold itself together, that a smile goes a long way, that facetime and online platforms are a great way to stay connected, what it feels like to spend 5 weeks travelling no more than 1.5 miles from your home.

Hay Festival Today

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I always slightly regretted not studying Classics at A-Level, I already had 3, an AS and an exam retake and as I studied dance and theatre there really wasn’t any spare time back then. It is never too late and the A-Level Theatre Studies did cover Greek Tragedy and therefore I do have a good base with the playwrights. Although I had forgotten how dark and gruesome the plots were! Since starting to write poetry I have researched the Gods and Goddesses often.

I also realised that as a child I read books based on ancient texts, both at school and home, just not a memory that was resting at the front!

I really enjoyed my first event of the day (which was actually the first event of Hay) with Daisy Dunn. It was really informative, easy to follow and captivating to hear. I do not feel that I have been lectured at all, yet I am filled with knowledge. Daisy is someone who can make you feel passionate about this subject, we all left yearning to dig back in.

It was a wonderful journey around the ancient worlds.

‘The Gods as catalysts for drama…’

The Q&A at the end had some great questions and detailed analysis in Daisy’s answers.

HAY DAISY DUNN

Daisy Dunn

OF GODS AND MEN

Virtual venue: Llwyfan Cymru Digidol – Wales Digital Stage

The classicist mines her wonderful collection of stories from Ancient Greece collected in Of Gods and Men, to explore the tales of comedy and tragedy told by Aeschylus, Sophocles, Plautus and Euripides.

Daisy Dunn is a classicist, art historian and cultural critic. She read Classics at Oxford, before winning a scholarship to the Courtauld and completing a doctorate in Classics and History of Art at UCL. She writes and reviews for a number of newspapers and magazines, and is editor of Argo, a Greek culture journal. Her latest books are In the Shadow of Vesuvius: A Life of Pliny, Of Gods and Men: 100 Stories from Ancient Greece and Rome, and Homer: A Ladybird Expert Book.

 

Waterstones

HAY DAISY DUNN GODS MEN

Daisy Dunn offers a deeply researched collection of stories reflecting the eclectic richness and depth of the classical literary canon.

Striking a balance between the ‘classic classic’ (such as Dryden’s translation of the Aeneid) and the less familiar or expected, Of Gods and Men ranges from the epic poetry of Homer to the histories of Arrian and Diodorus Siculus and the sprawling Theogony of Hesiod; from the tragedies of Aeschylus and Euripides to the biographies of Suetonius and Plutarch and the pen portraits of Theophrastus; and from the comedies of Plautus to the the fictions of Petronius and Apuleius.

Of Gods and Men is embellished by translations from writers as diverse as Queen Elizabeth I (Boethius), Percy Bysshe Shelley (Plato), Walter Pater (Apuleius’s Golden Ass), Lawrence of Arabia (Homer’s Odyssey), Louis MacNeice (Aeschylus’s Agamemnon) and Ted Hughes (Ovid’s Pygmalion), as well as a number of accomplished translations by Daisy herself.

 

I then caught up with an event from yesterday, with Grayson Perry. I have been watching his ‘Art Club’ during lockdown and still one of my favourite poetry day trips was when a group of poetry/stanza friends all went to the Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery to see the tapestries exhibition ‘The Vanity of Small Differences’.

the-annunciation-of-the-virgin-deal-grayson-perry

©2016 Artfund.org

He is a very inclusive artist and this event was wonderful. He talks about what many writers have discovered – that during lockdown, Art is to do with the making, the creating- the process and the benefits that gives us, as opposed to end products and selling work (although that end of the line is still important). Writers are finding that just carving out some time to do that in itself is a challenge during lockdown, which is strange because our normal writing lives resemble something of lockdown generally, but this is a complicated situation and the same part of our brains which deals with creativity also sorts our emotions – which are all over the place. This is why no creative person should beat themselves up if they are struggling to be creative in the pandemic.

He talked about the work he has made weekly during Art Club. It was a fun interview, could have watched for hours. From Alan Measles to creating a whole house/ environment, including a Ballad – well done, Grayson! A celebration of an ordinary life in an amazing building.

This book is gold-dust for any admirer of Grayson.

Waterstones  HAY GRAYSON 2

He talks about people’s decisions and being fascinated by people’s social signalling and I definitely agree that many Zoom meeting bookshelves will be full of unread tomes, or even fake books (probably) and everyone is obsessed by sitting in front of them.

I use 1 of 2 walls! Neither have been decorated and both are aged and not our taste/decor.

So much more was discussed – but if I tell you everything you may not watch the event. It’s available on Hay Player.

 

Grayson Perry & Jacky Klein

IN CONVERSATION

Virtual venue: Baillie Gifford Digital Stage

In her major monograph on Grayson Perry, now updated and expanded, writer and art historian Jacky Klein explores the artist’s work through a discussion of his major themes and subjects. Klein’s text is complemented by intimate and perceptive commentaries by Perry on individual pieces, giving unique access to his imaginative world and creative processes. This third edition not only has updates throughout, but also includes two new chapters, on the House for Essex, designed and built in 2015 with Living Architecture (a UK not-for-profit holiday rental company founded by Alain de Botton, which aims to promote, educate and enhance appreciation of modern architecture), and on Identity Politics,  covering new work made since 2013.

Grayson and Jacky talk about his inspirations and processes, work and passions – as well as his most recent projects and his life under lockdown, including his hugely popular new TV series, currently running on Channel 4 on Monday nights.

Clear, generous and insightful… In unravelling the mystique behind Perry, Klein shows why this unlikely artist is, in fact, most likely a national treasure – Financial Times

Lavish… Jacky Klein leads us into the warped world of this crossdressing potter with a keen intellect and a sharp social insight – The Times

 

I then watched Paul Dolan from earlier on today. I have a lot on the to do list today and not much hope at getting to any of the tents on time! Plus there was sunshine and our wifi doesn’t reach the garden. ‘Happy Ever After’ – a book about social narratives was originally going to share the title of this event.s

We should stop judging people – this was one of the greatest lesson I learnt when I was trained in Life Coaching and on the whole it is something I can manage (unless you’re a politician) – so Paul at Hay would have been talking about this – but due to COVID, decided to focus on the Healthy Narrative instead.

Paul Dolan

F**K THE NARRATIVE

Virtual venue: Baillie Gifford Digital Stage

There are many narratives about how we should live our lives. We should seek success, for example, and we are masters of our own destiny. We use these narratives as sticks to beat others with if they don’t conform. I will consider whether these narratives are good for us and why we care way too much about what others do. Dolan is Professor of Behavioural Science at the LSE and author of Happy Ever After.

HAY PAUL DOLAN

 

This was an interesting event. I knew it would be. A great interview with some in depth answers. Just love listening to a writer talk about their methods and writing discipline.

Chloe Aridjis and Daniel Saldaña París with Sophie Hughes

THE ECCLES PRIZE PLATFORM

Virtual venue: Llwyfan Cymru Digidol – Wales Digital Stage

The British Library and Hay Festival named Chloe Aridjis and Daniel Saldaña París as recipients of the 2020 Eccles Centre & Hay Festival Writer’s Award, a highly prestigious annual prize of £20,000 for a current writing project exploring the Americas. Chloe Aridjis is a London-based Mexican novelist and writer. Her latest novel Sea Monsters was awarded the 2020 PEN/Faulkner Award for Fiction. Daniel Saldaña París is a Mexican author, poet, essayist and novelist, considered one of the most important in Mexican contemporary literature. In 2017, he was chosen as one of the authors of Hay Festival’s Bogotá39, a selection of the best Latin American writers under forty. Chloe and Daniel join translator Sophie Hugues to discuss their work and works-in-progress supported by the Eccles Centre & Hay Festival Writer’s Award.

 

 

I saw this event was available to rewatch and so took a punt – in the light of the fact that this future is ours.

Lynda Gratton & Andrew J Scott talk to Guto Harri

THE NEW LONG LIFE: A FRAMEWORK FOR FLOURISHING IN A CHANGING WORLD

Virtual venue: Llwyfan Cymru Digidol – Wales Digital Stage

Smart new technologies. Longer, healthier lives. Human progress has risen to great heights, but at the same time it has prompted anxiety about where we’re heading. Are our jobs under threat? If we live to 100, will we ever really stop working? And how will this change the way we love, manage and learn from others?

Andrew J Scott is Professor of Economics at the London Business School and consulting scholar at Stanford University’s Center on Longevity. Through his multi-award-winning research, writing and teaching, his ideas inform a global understanding of the profound shifts reshaping our world and the actions needed for us to flourish individually and as a society.

Lynda Gratton is Professor of Management Practice at the London Business School where she teaches an elective on the Future of Work and directs an executive program on Human Resource Strategy. Lynda is a fellow of the World Economic Forum, is ranked by Business Thinkers in the top 15 in the world, and was named the best teacher at London Business School in 2015.

 

 

I get frustrated when I read the complaints in the chat box at Hay events, some people have no idea or appreciation of what a feat this is that they have moved the entire Festival online for FREE! A 20 minute programme is unlikely to include Q&A and if the guest is Spanish why should he not use his mother tongue? Did I mention I don’t judge people earlier?

So if YOU can manage to read subtitles and are technically adept enough to use full screen, go and have a listen/read to a philosopher of our time. Special and true.

Fernando Savater

IMAGINE THE WORLD IN THE TIME OF THE CORONAVIRUS: SOLIDARITY AND SCIENCE

Virtual venue: Llwyfan Cymru Digidol – Wales Digital Stage

The renowned Spanish philosopher, an expert on Ethics and a prolific writer, reflects from his Basque Country home about the immediate effects of the covid19 crisis on our psyche, how solidarity is probably the most relevant concept now for human beings, and how we need to trust the scientific method.

HAY FERNADO

INKSPILL 2018 CONTOUR Poetry Magazine Issue 4 COMING SOON

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We hope you have enjoyed the INKSPILL weekend.

During my time as worcestershire Poet Laureate I created Contour – A Poetry Magazine. The launch of this issue was hoped to be our final post for INKSPILL 2018*.  Here I was to invite you to curl up with a warm drink and experience the world of poetry and all things poetical in the latest issue of CONTOUR.

contour 4 celebration - Made with PosterMyWall

*However, the issue is not ready to go live (in case you missed the post I have had an operation) and this has set me back/time online not possible etc. This issue will go live very soon and I will post on the blog to promote it when it does.

Until then I can share some news and the previous issues of Contour for you to enjoy.

Inkspill news

My Laureateship ended in June 2018 but I have decided to continue with Contour.

It will now be an annual publication released as the final event of INKSPILL weekend. Submissions will open in July 2019, keep your eye on A Writers Fountain for more details.

LINKS:

SPECIAL EDITION ISSUE 3 A TALE OF TWO CITIES

Transatlantic Poetry Project as featured in Poetry Society Poetry News.

 

ISSUE 2 CONTOUR LOVE

 

ISSUE 1 CONTOUR PLACE

 

INKSPILL 2018 Bookshop

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The INKSPILL Book Shop posts provides you with access to this year’s Guest Writers books and other books featured over the weekend.

Our Guest Writers give their time for free and the whole weekend is free for you to access… so if you are in the market for a book, you have come to the right place.


Kate Garrett

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The Density of Salt

These are poems of journeying, transformation, and growth, woven through with fairytale and myth, forest, sky and sea; they are elaborations of the dark times that make us look for light. This book is a place where love is never the same feeling twice, and neither is revenge.

doomsday

You’ve never seen a doomsday like it

These are poems about surviving doomsdays. People use the word doomsday to describe the apocalypse, and apocalypse simply means ‘an uncovering of knowledge’. Every life has its share of apocalyptic moments—not only great catastrophes, but also small secret revelations, and surprise twists of good fortune as well. They leave you with lessons learned, and stories to tell.

deadly

Deadly, Delicate 

Here are fourteen poems circumnavigating the world of historical piracy, presented at a slant where the men are dangerous and the women are lethal. The violence and the sweetness, the freedom and the acceptance of death are all given equal footing. Never straying from the brutality of a lawless life on the seas, Deadly, Delicate welcomes you to the depths…

Three Drops Press and Picaroon Titles can be found here – 4 pages of books.

Spotlight Kate Garrett

 

Bonnie’s Crew Poetry Anthology 

The Bonnie’s Crew poetry anthology is here! Our tiny A6 paperback contains 41 poets and 52 pages of poetry. It’s a limited first print run of 200, and they’ve been flying out my front door – but we do still have plenty available.

bONNIES CREW

 

INKSPILL 2018: Articles – A Revolutionary Act: Samantha Zighelboim by Zachary Pace

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Inkspill news

This year’s articles during INKSPILL are based on Poetry. The first article we would like to share was published in August 2018.

The Fat Sonnets (Argos Books)—Samantha Zighelboim’s debut poetry collection.

the fat sonnets

A Revolutionary Act: Samantha Zighelboim by Zachary Pace

The poet on confronting societal limitations about the body, navigating the language of fatness, and celebrating friendships that embrace the joy of food.

This article was published in Bomb Magazine. Click the link to read it.


 

the fat sonnets

Samantha Zighelboim’s debut collection conducts a radical re-examination of what we mean by body. In these poems, body is noun, verb and adverb; body is dearly beloved and fiercely rejected; it is by turns a singularly beautiful process and a frightening object. Zighelboim takes the sonnet form as a loose premise, a la Bernadette Mayer, but then explodes, expands, defies and otherwise grows out of supposed formal limits, making language into a living embodiment of the refusal of (institutional, patriarchal, cultural) control. 

©Argos Books

PRAISE FOR THE FAT SONNETS

The Fat Sonnets are greathearted, wickedly brilliant, and wise. Samantha Zighelboim writes with rare passion and exactitude: she can cure, or kill what ails you, and yet she sings from the soul, which is beyond diagnosis, at once perfect; eternal and savagely hungry since whenever eternity began. Hilarious and cruel, every page swells with compassion. I love this book. It is deeply nutritious. It will feed you.

—Ariana Reines

 

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Samantha Zighelboim Photo credit Alexis Baldwin © 2018

BIO: Samantha Zighelboim is a 2017 NYFA/NYSCA Fellow in Poetry, a recipient of a Face Out grant from CLMP, and the co-recipient of the 2016 John Frederick Nims Memorial Prize in Translation from The Poetry Foundation. Her poems and translations have appeared in POETRYBoston ReviewThe Guardian (as part of Asymptote’s ‘Translation Tuesday’ series), PEN Poetry SeriesStonecutterFanzinePublic PoolSixth FinchBone Bouquet and Springhouse, among others. She  lives in New York City, and teaches creative writing and literature at Rutgers University and The New School.

INKSPILL 2018 Guest Writer Kate Garrett Interview

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INKSPILL INTERVIEW - Made with PosterMyWall

INKSPILL GUESTS Kate G

Kate Garrett talks to us about writing poetry, her influences, books and reading as well as the latest on her current projects.

 

1) When did you realise you were a writer/ poet? 

I realised I was a writer somewhere around age three. I wanted to write my own books (I’d learned to read when I was two) – so my grandma would bind scraps of leftover wallpaper in cardboard, and I’d spend my days drawing Care Bears and My Little Pony fan fiction in them. I recall one of my Care Bears holding a knife, so I think my personal style was set long, long ago…

Poetry came several years later, with reading ‘The Highwayman’ by Alfred Noyes for the first time. It was historical fiction, it was a ghost story, it was full of emotion – it was everything I loved about prose fiction but in ballad form. It made me realise poetry was storytelling, too; it was when I learned ‘poetry’ was not just the amusing rhymes they taught us as small children. From there I moved on to the Beat Generation, then Sharon Olds, all in my teens, and became obsessed with writing it myself. I was 12 when ‘The Highwayman’ got that started. Strangely enough, it was through school that I came to love it – which is what quite a lot of people cite as a turn off.

2) Tell us about your process: Pen and Paper, computer, notebooks … how do you write? 

Pen and paper first, words and ideas jotted down in stream of consciousness, scribbles, only I know what I am trying to say (and sometimes even I don’t know). Then I take it to the computer, start typing anything that sounded salvageable in my notes, and stronger images and phrasing will come to me as I work. While I write the proper first draft, I must discover something I didn’t know was there – something about a character I’m writing (because much of my poetry is historical fiction or horror or both), or about myself, or a situation/experience. If that doesn’t happen, if I don’t learn something while writing, the poem isn’t working.

3) Which writer would you most like to have a drink with, and why?

Søren Kierkegaard and Albert Camus, because both of their books have helped with my emotional and mental wellbeing over the years… being comfortable with your own anxiety in an absurd world has a lot going for it, and without these guys and their own forms of existentialism, I don’t know if I’d have reached that point.

4) Where do you buy your books? 

Everywhere books are sold! I mean that sounds like an exaggeration, but I buy books literally everywhere I go, as well as from the internet. Two of the books I’m currently reading were purchased from the gift shop at the top of the Great Orme in Llandudno…

5) Who are you reading now? 

It’s more what am I reading than who just now. I’m reading a lot of history books, especially witch and/or occult and/or religion related – nothing new there – and I’m reading Against Nature (À Rebours) by J.-K. Huysmans, because I just love Huysmans’ novels, they hypnotise me a bit. But I tend to have anywhere from 10-25 books on the go at once (not an exaggeration), depending on what I feel like picking up on any given day. I do go through phases of reading poetry book after poetry book, but right now I’m not in one of those – I imagine I’ll be in one again before the new year! The last handful of poetry books I read included Sheffield Almanac by Pete Green, Sunshine by Melissa Lee-Houghton, Killing the Piano by Joe Williams, Moon Milk by Rachel Bower, & by Amy Kinsman, and Somewhere Between Rose and Black by Claire Walker.

6) Tell us about your latest collection. 

It’s called Land and Sea and Turning, and it’s a limited edition (only 100 copies will ever exist) chapbook published by CWP (Cringe-worthy Poets) Collective Press in Buffalo, NY, USA. It’s 22 poems about fate, and free will… and ok, also death. There are mythological, historical, and personal poems, and a few which are horror fiction. I don’t like to say which poems are which. I’m sure people can figure it out…

7) What influenced it?

History, mythology, literature, astrology, and inevitably, life. There are poems about cannibalism in Jamestown during the winter of 1609-1610; medieval belief in revenants in the abandoned Yorkshire village of Wharram Percy; a crime/horror fiction poem narrated by a very superstitious understudy during a run of Macbeth; a poem about The Girl in Blue, a figure of Ohio folklore who really existed, but her identity was a mystery for 60 years. Some of it is based in my own experience, but I’m increasingly weary of focusing on myself. I like giving life to history. I want people to feel those who came before us as fully fleshed out humans, not just names and dates and ideas, because learning history by memorising dates misses the point. More than anything I want to unsettle people in unexpected ways, not just with stories of my childhood abuse and bad choices as a younger adult. And that’s kind of what happened in Land and Sea and Turning – though some of the poems are personal, the need to dig around in other darkness, the stuff outside of myself, that took over.

8) What are your current/future projects?  

I’ve just finished a mini pamphlet of 12 poems called She looks just like you, which is currently under consideration at a press, and my fingers are firmly crossed. This one is very much based in my personal experience, but it’s through the lens of an elf or a changeling in the human world.

I also just finished my four-part poem ‘The fifth & final’ (to be released this winter as a Stickleback micro collection from Hedgehog Poetry Press), which is about magic, and how I blend my Christian and pagan beliefs, and sort of mythologising my youngest daughter Bonnie’s conception/gestation/birth. It’ll be part of my first full-length collection of poetry, The saint of milk and flames, which I’m halfway through writing. It’s full of faith and doubt, ideas about belonging and outsiders, and has a thread of fire running through it while being simultaneously soothing – hence the title, which is after Brigid, who is both Christian saint and pagan goddess.


 

Later we interview Kate Garrett in her role as Editor.

A Night of Light

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I had the pleasure of attending a Book Launch on Thursday night. It had been an exceptionally long and somewhat emotional day at work and then I had to dash off for more work before heading across to the suburbs to catch a train into the city. My train was delayed with a 15 minute wait in between stations, déjà vu to my last post-Book Launch ride home, which took the best part of an hour (three times the journey). I managed to arrive just in time, but not looking too fresh after all my whizzing around!

I am so glad I made it though as it was a most special evening. Part of me knew it would be because – it was David Calcutt’s Launch.

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I know that some of the poems in this new collection The last of the light is not the last of the light, published by Fair Acre Press, are going to be a hard read, tissues on stand by and I was worried that I may fall apart during the launch but the set David chose suited us celebrating his poetry perfectly.

There was music from Glen Buglass, poetry from Nadia Kingsley, Roz Goddard, Helen Calcutt and even a Harmonica, cakes, Prosecco and BOOKS.

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We were in the Art Room, which is where I had my own Book Launch back in 2016. The evening was hosted by Jonathan Davidson and the room was full of poets, friends and family. With the talented work of photographer Wayne Fox, whose images will hopefully capture something of the experience for you. Thank you to Wayne for allowing me to use his work in this review.

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Despite knowing I would write a review, I really felt that not taking notes was important. I wanted to be 100% present. The evening began with music from Glen Buglass , it ended with music and in between we were treated to some fine poetry.

Nadia Kingsley was the first poet to take a spot, as Editor of Fair Acre Press this was a fitting start. Nadia and David have a working relationship that stretches back years. I loved Nadia telling us that the initial seed for their collaborative work started through a conversation they had a poetry festival whilst waiting in a queue to buy books! I saw them perform together in Kidderminster and bought both books Roadkill and Through the Woods. Nadia writes a lot about Nature, and treated us to a set of superb poems and spoke about David and the opportunity and pleasure of publishing this collection.

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Helen Calcutt read poems from her forthcoming V. Press collection ‘Unable Mother’ which launches in September. She told us she was honoured to be one of the Guest Poets and had not expected it. Her set took us through womanhood, motherhood, nature and loss.

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Following on was Roz Goddard who read some poems from her Flarestack Pamphlet ‘Spill’ and others. She lifted me with her poem about the joy of Buddhism. Another beautiful set.

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Then we had an interval of books, cake and Prosecco. I had planned to mingle like mad, but with so many people in the room I wanted to talk to, this was impossible. I barely made it from my seat, I managed to catch up with five people – although hugging with Prosecco & cake hands is a fine art!

Sadly, I missed a chat with Helen (who flew off to teach Dance) and wasn’t there at the end when I managed my mingle.

The room was a hive of activity and it took professional shepherding to get us all back to our seats.

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Before Jonathan introduced David, there was more music.

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© 2018 @waynefoxphotography

David shared just six poems, although true to his impromptu style changed his mind on at least one, I wasn’t counting – he may have added or substituted. Whatever he did, it was magical to hear. I think most people bought the collection so we will be able to read it for ourselves, it is always memorable to hear the poet read their own words.

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I was grateful that the light was very much present throughout the evening and in David’s set. And to finish the night- we were treated to a musical duet. I don’t think I have ever heard the musician David Calcutt and it was a treat. I was certainly transported to Mississippi, lost on dreams of travel I thoroughly enjoyed this highlight.

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© 2018 @waynefoxphotography

It was great to catch up with friends and Birmingham, to find pockets of time to catch up with Stuart Bartholomew and to buy the book. I had a good mingle after the event and managed to catch up with most people.

 

A thoroughly enjoyable Book Launch with a relaxed atmosphere. A perfect evening.

calcutt  If you click the cover you can buy a copy for yourself.

“This is a collection full of grace, at once deeply authentic and heart-felt, a set of beautiful lyrical poems.”

 

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Festivals, Dirty Laundry & #MeToo

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Just home from a great night at The Blue Boar in Ludlow where Deb Alma Launched her first collection ‘Dirty Laundry’ published by Nine Arches Press.

 

This event was part of the Ludlow Fringe Festival.

Deb invited Guest Poets to perform: I read alongside Angela Topping, Roz Munro Derry, Holly Magill and Ruth Stacey.

I had not seen Angela since she launched Hearth (Mother’s Milk Books pamphlet written with Sarah James), it was lovely to catch up and also hear her read. I was particularly in awe of her final poem. Holly and Ruth both treated us to powerful new poetry, Holly’s debut pamphlet The Becoming of Lady Flambé is published by IDP. It was lovely to meet Roz, full kudos for her being brave enough to finish her wonderful set with her Me Too themed poem, written after Deb had created the anthology published by Fair Acre Press.

Deb Alma then took the stage after a great introduction from Jim Sheard. I thoroughly enjoyed the Launch in Birmingham and Deb’s reading here on (old) home soil was perfect too. Her set was a brilliant mix of all that Dirty Laundry offers and I admire her ability to perform some of the material in front of her family. It has been splendid watching Deb take off beyond her ever-amazing Emergency Poet work.

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Deborah Alma’s debut poetry collection Dirty Laundry is raucous, daring and honest, drawing contemporary women’s lives and those of our foremothers into the spotlight. It voices bold, feminist songs of praise: of persistence, survival, adventures of sexual rediscovery, each reclaiming the space to speak its mind and be heard and seen. A perfect remedy for the heartsick and weary, Alma’s intimate and particular poems are resolute enchantments, a form of robust magic.

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After an interval I was part of the #MeToo Anthology experience. These compelling performances have been occurring up and down the UK, at Festivals and Poetry Events. This book (sadly) is a necessary collection full of sincere and authentic poetry. This collection rallies against sexual assault and harassment.

The Guest Poets joined Deb in reading their own and other’s poems from the anthology before a group performance of Pippa Little’s Spartaca. A moving end to an amazing evening.

#MeToo Anthology was a Saboteur Award Winner earlier this year. All profits go to Women’s Aid and Refuges & domestic and sexual violence services can apply for a 50% discount on the cover price.

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“…Something was released and given a space within social media. It was easy to add our voice to the rising shout of #MeToo. We felt the sisterhood. Many women felt emboldened by this to share more difficult stories, more details; the lid has come off this box and now cannot be forced back on. I’m a poet, and an editor, and someone suggested we collect these stories somehow and it was obvious to collect them as poems. It was what I could do. I am very proud of this book, proud of the poets for sharing their stories and for putting their names to their words…These poems are painful, angry, often difficult to bear, but the result of these voices singing together is one that is beautiful, full of sisterhood, strength, and recovery…” (Deborah Alma, Editor)

 

My own poem ‘Ripped’ was shortlisted. Many of the shortlisted poems appear on Vik Bennett’s Wild Women #Us together.

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#UsTogether
voices from the #MeToo movement

In collaboration with the creators of the anthology, Wild Women Press have created an online platform for some of the additional submissions sent in response to the #MeToo call for poems. This platform is a place to celebrate the courage of the women who have shared their poems — voices that join together across counties and countries, in strength and sisterhood. #MeToo #UsTogether #NoMore