Category Archives: Publishers

INKSPILL 2018 Guest Writer Kate Garrett Editor Interview

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INKSPILL INTERVIEW - Made with PosterMyWall

Kate Garrett is a poet and an editor. In this interview we will discover more about her editorial work.


1) What makes your magazine /journals different from others on the market?

I don’t know, I didn’t set them up to really be anything in relation to other publications, they are just what I wanted them to be – Picaroon is for “rogue” poems, work that might be too odd or outspoken for other markets. Three Drops from a Cauldron is for folkore/myth poems but for everyone regardless of geography/nationality, age, race, sexuality, gender identity, disability, etc – I love myth and lore from all perspectives. Bonnie’s Crew was originally set up to raise money and awareness for a heart charity, but it’s now a place people come to read gentler poems about being human, or poems that will give them a moment of calm.

 

2) What’s your mission at Three Drops from a Cauldron?

Actually, apart from indulging my own love of reading work based in myths, lore, magic, superstition, legend, and son on – another side of our mission is to show that myth/folklore/fairy tale/legend-themed writing has more scope than people sometimes think. I’ve seen people say ‘folklore poems’ as if the very idea leaves a bad taste in their mouths, that ‘political’ poems are somehow superior… and while I appreciate a good political poem, and agree they are very important, I’ve published poems that are both of those things – mythical and political. In addition to this, many of our poems are personal to the author, the stories have a lot more to say than just ‘here is some magic happening’ or a direct retelling of an old tale. These things – myth, folklore, legend – are ingrained in all of us and fanciful stories are not always told just for the sake of it. There is often more under the surface.

 

3) How has expanding your team changed things?

Well, it’s definitely made the seasonal specials a lot more interesting and fun! I took on our readers and editorial staff for seasonal specials (Samhain, Midwinter, Beltane) specifically, and to help out with our early themed print anthologies. While I try to keep a wide range of readers in mind when selecting work, it’s definitely easier to do that with seven other people going over the submissions. Sadly, we won’t be doing any more themed print anthologies, and our seasonal specials will be ending with Midwinter 2018 (submissions open 1 November, and it will be published in December), but the team have said they will still be around if I need them. They’ve also expanded our audience by sharing Three Drops with quite different groups of people – their own social media friends and followers – which is wonderful.

 

4) Do you have a theme for each issue?

No, for the regular web journal issues, there is no set theme. Themes might arise in each issue of my three web journals – Three Drops from a Cauldron, Picaroon Poetry, Bonnie’s Crew – but it’s not intentional.

 

5) How should writers contact you?

By email please. Three Drops: threedropspoetry@gmail.com

Picaroon Poetry: picaroonpoetry@gmail.com

Bonnie’s Crew: bonnies.crew.poems@gmail.com

 

6) What’s your day like as an editor?

It varies wildly – because I have five kids, currently four journals (as well as people’s pamphlets in print) to publish, and health issues. One day I might not do any editing at all – I might do some writing instead, I might have to have a full housework day, or a day resting, or there might be appointments for the kids. On the days I do edit, the weekday mornings always start with coffee, then giving Saoirse and Bonnie breakfast after the husband and three teenage sons have left the house, exciting mumsy things like that… After the girls have settled, if it’s a Saturday/Sunday/Monday I am probably responding to submissions. If it’s any other day I might be formatting a book or a journal issue, designing a cover, scheduling posts on the webzine format mags, proofreading. It’s organised chaos.

 

7) How do you edit? / What are you looking for?

Most of all, I’m looking for work that moves me. I’m not concerned with how much the writer has been published, what degrees they have, what competitions they’ve won – I don’t even read bios until I’ve read the submission itself. A writer with no publication credits could send a poem or flash fiction or creative nonfiction that blows my mind, and maybe a writer who has won every possible contest and has a PhD could send their least impressive work – I will accept the pieces that make me feel something regardless of who wrote them.

 

8) What’s your final advice to writers?

Probably the same advice most people give – keep writing, keep READING (I cannot stress how important it is to read if you’re a writer; apart from improving your craft, I don’t understand why anyone would want to be published if they don’t like books…), and don’t take rejection too hard. Rejections seem to upset people more than anything, it seems, and honestly they are just part of the whole writing game. Everyone gets them. Being a bit of a melancholy person, I actually expect them! Take a step back, look for any positives you can take from it (I always look at my work again, and sometimes – though not always – in the harsh glare of a rejection things appear that might need more work), know that selections for journals, anthologies, and pamphlets/collections/novels/everything else are made based on a number of factors, and try again.


Check in later to find out more about Bonnie’s Crew when we chat to Kate this evening.

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Verve Day 3 Saturday 17th (AM)

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I will link to the official review/blog posts over on the Verve website as soon as they are live. For now, here are some thoughts and LOTS of harvested photos. Verve © 2018 unless otherwise credited.

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^^^ This one is actually from 2017 – but demonstrates how I felt energy wise for most of the morning, on just 4 hours sleep…

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Another wild day at Verve Poetry Festival, an action packed programme and a FULL DAY of poetry. Fortunately, having survived the 4 day run of almost every event last year – this year I was prepared (Trail Mix, seat cushion, ballet pumps, a fresh t-shirt etc.), having said that, I stayed up far too late Friday night writing blog posts and overslept!

This meant I missed Cynthia Miller’s Poetry Breakfast and quite possibly some of the most creative conversations to be had about poetry.

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Plus a bit of food (it was 4 days before I had a proper meal)! I did manage to get from bed to the train station in record time and caught the tail end of the event (there was still half an hour of it, but today was a day of Workshops).

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PeyPey © 2018

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Workshop with Karen McCarthy Woolf to start the day – yes please! I won this workshop as a prize for coming 2nd in the Haiku Poetry Slam at Grizzly Pear in December. An amazing event, a fabulous prize and a good way to start the day. The forms she covered were ones I knew (but with a tired brain this was fortunate), her workshop got my mind rolling and resulted in a few works in progress. I was already inspired by the reading from the night before. I just need to book myself some writing time… may use that 20 hour lay over in the summer!

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Bookgig.com © 2018

Karen McCarthy Woolf, Sasha Dugdale & Mir Mahfuz Ali.

The City Poems Book Launch clashed with the Workshop, but I caught the very end of it. A great anthology.

 

The Verve Press had a fair amount of exciting announcements this weekend including up and coming collections. The mystery of Casey Bailey’s next publisher – solved!

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Verve Poetry Press News

From here I hit Level 6 (inner sanctum) for my 2nd workshop with Sasha Dugdale. I thoroughly enjoyed her set the night before. Her workshop looked at Memorial and writing poems for/to our unsung heroes.

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For the first time in ages I found myself unable to complete a poem in the workshop, but do have a skeleton of an idea. I was mightily impressed with the workshop poetry read, there were some highly acclaimed poets in our group.

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Offord Road Books  © 2018

By the afternoon, after such a busy morning (mentally), I felt exhausted but I went straight back to the main stage and snuck in on Stablemates Offord Road Books with Jill Abram.

 

Shortlisted Michael Marks Award

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I am delighted to share the news that my publishers, V. Press have been shortlisted this year for the Michael Marks Publishers’ Award.

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V. Press is very very delighted to have been shortlisted for the Michael Marks Publishers’ Award.

The award is a highlight of the poetry pamphlet publishing calendar and runs from July to July. The pamphlets that V. Press had in for this year are: Alex Reed’s A Career in Accompaniment, Nina Lewis’ Fragile Houses, David Clarke’s Scare Stories and Stephen Daniels’ Tell Mistakes I Love Them.

It’s been a delight to publish these pamphlets and V. Press is very very proud of all its authors – the press is its writers, readers and all those involved with it, including our fabulous poetry covers from V. Press designer Ruth Stacey.

The Awards will be announced at a dinner at the British Library on Tuesday, 12 December, where Sarah Leavesley will be giving a three minute presentation about the V. Press 2016/17 pamphlet list.

Other presses shortlisted are Mariscat Press, The Poetry Business/Smith Doorstep and Rack Press. The awards are run by The Wordsworth Trust and The British Library, with the generous support of the Michael Marks Charitable Trust, in association with the TLS and Harvard University’s Center for Hellenic Studies (CHS), in Washington DC and in Nafplio Greece

© V. Press

Read the full post here and discover the celebratory discount offered on the four titles above.

http://vpresspoetry.blogspot.co.uk/2017/11/michael-marks-awards-shortlisting.html

From the Wordsworth Trust:

The Michael Marks Publishers’ Award recognises an outstanding UK publisher of poetry in pamphlet form, based on their publishing programme between 1st July 2016 and 31st July 2017. The judges will take into account the publishers’ philosophy, aims, plans, design ethos and marketing strategy as well as the quality of the poetry.

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Judges’ Comments: The V. Press offering of four remarkably diverse pamphlets included a mix of established and new writers. We fell in love in particular with Alex Reed’s pamphlet ‘A Career in Accompaniment’ about looking after his wife – quiet poems, carefully crafted, with enormous emotional heft and dignity.

The winners, along with the winner of the Illustration Award, will be announced at the Awards Dinner at the British Library on Tuesday 12th December.

© The Wordsworth Trust

https://wordsworth.org.uk/poetry/poetrypamphlets.html

Background Information:

Michael Marks Awards for Poetry Pamphlets (established 2009) are a set of British literary awards for poetry writing and publishing in pamphlet form. As of 2012, the awards are administered by Wordsworth Trust in association with the British Library and the Times Literary Supplement, and the financial support of the Michael Marks Charitable Trust.

The prize was created to show how effective pamphlets can be in introducing new poetry to readers. The Nobel laureate Seamus Heaney praised the prize’s establishment as “inspired”.

It is an honour to be a small part of this and I wish V. Press every luck on the 12th December, I will all be crossing my fingers for you.

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Fragile Houses The Book Launch

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On October 3rd Fragile Houses, my debut poetry pamphlet was launched at Waterstones Birmingham.

It was a fantastic night and I felt like ‘Christmas Eve’, the next morning it felt like a dream. The morning after felt whimsical and I had to pinch myself to tell that I was awake. This is how a great book launch should feel.

I cannot believe I didn’t blog it straight away, that I didn’t show you all how I felt. That you have had to wait two months for this post.

There was a lot to do before the event and next year I will be blogging about this side of things as I found, through countless hours of research a gap on the practicalities of organising launch events.

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I got to Birmingham with a travel bag of books. I was a bag of nerves, but fortunately had Maggie Doyle and Spoz with me, taking my mind off it.

I wish I had taken a photo of the room and another of the audience. When I stepped into the space, my breath was taken away. We had four comfy, green chairs ready for us at the front (Hays Festival style staging) and more chairs had to be put out for the audience, always a good sign. There were over 25 people there and I was delighted that family and friends had also come to support me. There were three audience members who had seen the advertising and turned up for a free night of poetry and one of them kindly bought my book. So I was able to tick off the unwritten checklist of selling the book to a stranger on the evening of it launching. Happy dance.

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I had asked for Roy McFarlane, Antony Owen and Claire Walker to come and read at the event. Claire started proceedings with a lovely set. I have always been a fan of her poetry (and Roy’s and Antony’s) – one of the many reasons I asked if they would read at the launch.

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My publisher, Sarah Leavesley was also there and made a short and delightful speech that I had to speak after (and she nearly made me cry). I read a selection of poems from the pamphlet, signed and sold lots of books and we all celebrated with wine and cake.

It was an incredible night. It still feels like a dream.

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Signing my first book. The books sold on the launch evening were all numbered as well.


 

Official Launch Photographs were kindly taken by Bernard Davis.

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Here is my post-launch social media message;

A very quick, adrenalin filled THANK YOU to everybody who came to celebrate the launch tonight. Family, friends, poets & general public. Couldn’t have asked for a better event. Room was perfect. Fell in love with that space as soon as I saw the backs of the chairs. Slightly awkward explaining to the general public, who had rushed in that the first half hour was mingle time. Poets never get to chat (learnt that if it is your launch you don’t get to chat either) but think I managed to hug and welcome everyone. Sold more books than no. of people in attendance, thanks for the generosity.

Huge, huge thanks to Claire Walker, Roy McFarlane and Antony R Owen who made me swell with heartfelt sets and lots of appreciated sign language from the green chairs. How ‘Hay’ was that?

Thanks to V. Press for publishing Fragile Houses & Sarah Leavesley for her generous words and all the hard work. I managed not to cry the poems, but after that speech it was hard to do the next intro.

Thanks to Maggie Doyle who had my camera and captured that magic writer- editor/ publisher moment, gave me a lift and has been there from almost the very beginning. Thanks to Giovanni Spoz Esposito for the extra lift relay, for supporting the launch and for the delivery of my words elsewhere. Hope they serve well.

Thanks to John who enabled me to tick ‘sell your book to a stranger’. Thanks to everyone. Next stop, headlining Stirchley Speaks tomorrow, along with the wonderful Carl Sealeaf, P Cafe 7.30pm. Signed pamphlets will be available, minus the free muffins & wine.

Also thank you to Waterstones Birmingham and Bernard Davis who stepped in to catch everything through his camera lens. I cannot wait to see the shots!

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As you can see from this photo – the pamphlet costs £5.50 and makes Christmas shopping REALLY easy.

V.Press have currently got Christmas bundles on SALE. Which means for just £7.50 you can be the owner or giver of two pamphlets.

Festive Offer 3: The way home

2 illustrated poetry pamphlets: David Calcutt’s The Old Man in the House of Bone and Nina Lewis’ Fragile Houses for just £7.50 (including P&P in the UK only)

September Review (better late than never)

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So the Christmas adverts haven’t gone unnoticed and I realise we are fast approaching the end of November, (I realise this as I haven’t started seasonal shopping yet)! It has been a really busy Autumn, which is great as this is the life I wanted… it does mean that my blogging time has diminished.

I have some great ideas how to utilise this blog in 2017 that will fit into the ever-increasingly busier patterns I now exist in. I will save the big reveal for the New Year whilst I focus on the backlog!


REVIEW OF SEPTEMBER

September was the most exciting month of 2016 so far, my debut pamphlet ‘Fragile Houses’ made it out of editorial and to the printers and I was able to get my teeth into something I do well, organising the Book Launch event and promoting.

fragile-houses-best I was always a little unsure how soon to the end of the process the book had to be before the promoting could begin. Hard work after keeping it a secret for so long. Frustrating though the length of time it all took was, I am glad we launched in October because it is close enough to still being NEW at Christmas! So if, like me, you haven’t started shopping yet…

The rest of September wasn’t too bad either.

Week 1

I finally managed to get back over to Permission to Speak, where Walsall Poetry Society had the headline slot. A collective of poets with a great range of work. Richard Archer – a poet from Walsall helped set this up. Richard has written 3 books of poetry and has performed his work on TV and radio. He describes his poems as a sideways look at life as he tries to dissect the world around him, failing or succeeding in equal measure.

Richard was joined by founding member Bryan Sydney Griffin a.k.a “LaGrif”, Marrianne Burgess, Paul Elwell, Ian Ward and Vicki MacWinyers.

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I was also delighted to see Steve Harrison there, our paths haven’t crossed in a while. Busy poets that we are, with a few Counties of separation. It was a good evening and it felt like coming home. Rob Francis is always so welcoming and it is a great venue to perform in with one of my favourite stages (because it is made out of old school desks) and features in one of my poems. It was lovely to share the evening with Claire Walker and Ian Glass.

I missed the Fringe Festival in Digbeth, as I was out celebrating my birthday (yes! It was in August), I like to party! It was at the expense of missing several submission deadlines this month though. I try to be kind to myself when that happens but the inner voice is screaming ‘GET ORGANISED GIRL!’

 

Week 2

I spent my time organising new term workshops for my Writing West Midlands group and sifting my way through the admin mountain.

I went to Waterstones to watch fellow V. Press poets David Calcutt, Kathy Gee and Claire Walker who have spent months planning ‘From Birth to Bone’, a scripted reading combining poems from all of their collections. I was a little gutted that Fragile Houses wasn’t out in time to participate, I have had conversations about collaboration for sometime. Still I have a few ideas to bounce around in 2017.

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It was a fabulous night and their work blended well. I thoroughly enjoyed it, it was a jolly good performance. The other thing I loved was the programme. Listed on it were all the poems and the relevant pages from their books.

What I did manage to do was speak to Stuart, as an Area manager and Poet himself he is fully behind events in Waterstones. I have over the year attended several, but from this point onwards the book shop becomes my second home! I confirmed my book launch was to take place in Waterstones ! Oh, my wake me up – I am dreaming!

I went to SpeakEasy in Worcester where the featured artists was a three piece, ‘Threezacrowd‘ – Michael Thomas on words and Campbell and Jan Perry on music. SpeakEasy tends to be poetry so it was different to have some music and singing. Mike Alma and Pip Barlow brought us guitar and voice the month before.

mike-and-pip-barlow-mary-davis Photograph – Mary Davis

The photo is from the August SpeakEasy, where I read some of the canal poems (still in draft form) from our poetry trip. I was wearing my Tiller Girl badge and Alan Durham wore his pirate badge.

speakeasy Photograph – Mary Davis

I spent the rest of the week planning and promoting my Book Launch, working for Writing West Midlands, wrote endorsements for ‘Birth to Bone’ and my pamphlets became real and reached the editor. I still cannot believe I waited to pick them up for several days as our schedules weren’t matching.

They were published in time for the London Book Fair, which was exciting.

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Week 3

Following some summer preparation, I started organising INKSPILL – our online writing retreat. Sending emails and making contact with writers was fun and in the process have pretty much organised next year’s Guest Writers too.

It was also the first ‘Licensed to Rhyme’ – my most local poetry night! Finally my hometown can offer something and what a something it is. Maggie Doyle and Fergus McGonigal ran SpeakEasy for a couple of years and both took retirement from it earlier in 2016. Maggie and Fergus worked hard finding the perfect venue and pricing and all the millions of behind the scenes work, we never really consider.

licensed-to-rhyme The Advertiser

Spoz co-hosts the event with Maggie Doyle once a month. This first evening was a great success and because the venue is an Arts Centre (Artrix) we have professional sound and sound engineers to boot. We walked on to ‘James Bond theme music’ and the atmosphere was electric. Which all helps performers to perform well. I had a 10 minute Guest Spot and Maggie mentioned my pamphlet was to launch in a few weeks too.

Even more exciting was finally meeting Dreadlock Alien, a man people have constantly spoken about since I hit the circuit in 2014. I knew some of his poems and have seen him perform online but to meet him was thrilling and it was lovely to see a lot of the Birmingham crowd over here too.

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I also worked on (for hours) a professional writing website where people can find me, book me etc. A space I can keep for promo and work. And guess what? I found the only web space that doesn’t link to SEO on Google searches etc. which means unless I send the direct link – you cannot find me. I am limited by free webpages at the moment and many of these need you to install all sorts. I am tempted to use WordPress and as I bought ‘A Writers Fountain’, 16 years ago, I know I can do it again, when money flows a little better.

I still haven’t sat down to work this out but will spend those post-Christmas moments on it, ready to hit 2017 hard.

Come and see it anyway – http://ninalewis.webs.com/ – save it to your favourites, it may be the only way to find it again!

This is the week term started and for this half term I faced a new challenge, I have taken on a 3 day week. Okay, that doesn’t sound a lot but they are full paced and challenging days in a block and I am still on medication. What it will mean is I needn’t worry about not having enough work and it will give me a chance to build up skills with individuals, which is half the battle at the chalk-face or whatever it is called now we are all fully interactive.

It was also super busy with Poetry Events, such as Roy McFarlane’s book launch for his collection ‘Beginning with your Last Breath’- Nine Arches. roy-beg-last-breath

A superb event that took place in Wolverhampton at the Arena Theatre. This was a night I did manage to blog about in real time and you can read the post here.

https://awritersfountain.wordpress.com/2016/09/19/beginning-with-your-last-breath-by-roy-mcfarlane/

Hit The Ode was the next evening and I was just too exhausted by then to get myself back to the city, fortunately in a move of pure genius Carl Sealeaf was providing LIVE streaming, which was no way as good as being there – but was much better than missing it all. It also meant I had time for 2 hours worth of research and some book promotion work.

I also started to write properly again, something I haven’t really been able to do whilst the pamphlet was still in editorial.

I booked guest poets for my book launch; Roy McFarlane, Antony Owen and Claire Walker. Delighted they all agreed to read.

This week didn’t stop. On Friday I went to Kenilworth to see a Poetry Reading at the Talisman Theatre, curated by David Morley. Just in the foyer alone I was excited to see so many people, many I had seen just a couple of days earlier at Roy’s book launch. By far the most exciting sightings were John & Liz Mills, I had no idea they were coming, we have already decided to make a reunion of it next year, treating ourselves to pre-show dinner, after show drinks and a hotel. They had booked a hotel, I live a little nearer so opted for a night drive.

I also saw Julie Boden and that was a treat. So glad that she made it to the show.

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The show itself was mighty fine. I loved meeting and hearing new to me poets – Luke Kennard, who I have missed every time the opportunity has arisen, Sarah Howe who writes beautiful, honest poetry and Claire Trévien, who loves language and was a joy to watch/listen to. I enjoyed the sets from the poets I do know David Morley, Jo Bell, Jonathan Edwards too. They promised a special evening – and it was!

I really wish I had blogged about it at the time, because so much has happened since, it was a wonderful evening and I remember it fondly.

http://www.kenilworthartsfestival.co.uk/events/poetry

I missed Jo Bell’s workshop on Saturday as I was going to Worcester Music Festival to see The Anti-Poet, after missing them at WLF (Worcester LitFest) in the summer. I loved it! It was a total nightmare to park, but well worth the agro. anti-poet-2

After this I finally COLLECTED my PAMPHLETS!

It was also London Book Fair and although I couldn’t make it this year and missed the opportunity to perform Ambiguous Answers for Paper Swan Press,

 

my book did make it and I got to follow it all on Twitter.

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And FINALLY on Sunday I headed out to the MAC where I watched the new version of Ten Letters. The original last year was crowdfunded, a project that was the brainchild of Lorna Meehan and Spoz. This year they have a few new performers, lots of new writing and media and have been funded by the Lottery and Arts Council.

I was also asked to appear on a panel of writers on Radio – which I was jumping about over, until I realised it was a work day and I wouldn’t be able to get to the studio. However, I have been booked to do this in January. Which hopefully will be an easier month on the calendar and I will be all fresh and ready.

Week 4

This is the week of the Poetry Festival in Stratford-Upon-Avon and I was gutted to miss every event I had hoped to get to. After typing week 3 for the past hour, I can see why I didn’t have the energy to work, play and drive all over the place. The final performance from all the resident poets, ‘Unexpected Encounters’ was something I really wanted to see, but had booked (way back in August) my final birthday meal with friends, where we got to cook our food on hot volcanic rocks and this was something that couldn’t be undone. It was a great night!

It was also Leicester Shindig and I hadn’t realised Claire Walker was featuring there, missed it completely. Leicester was the city I came out as a poet in and performed spoken word for the first time.

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I had several invites to events I missed this week – it was hard enough to stay awake and work without going out in the evenings. I was getting in and falling asleep. I did admin tasks, promotion online and booked tickets for Swindon Poetry Festival. I also managed to get to the local Stanza meeting as well as taking a Headline booking for Stirchley Speaks next month, the night after my Book Launch. I also took my first booking for 2017 and booked up October.

On Sunday I read at Open Poetry in the Arboretum, Walsall and promoted my forthcoming pamphlet. It was a lovely afternoon.

 

The last 5 days – no wonder this month seemed so long!

I continued Market Research, promoting and organising the Book Launch (1 week to go).

I missed some submission deadlines.

Took pre-orders for the pamphlet.

Missed Poetry Bites and the Open Mic at Waterstones, 42 and a Scratch Night. I was attempting to take my editor’s advice and take it easy the week before the launch. Which I managed ALL WEEK and then at the weekend (with 48hrs to launch) I broke my promise to myself.

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MORE ON THAT IN THE OCTOBER REVIEW.

 

 

 

Love Poems at Waterstone’s with Emma Press

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Event in Birmingham 11the February

Love Poetry with Emma Wright of Emma Press, featuring Richard O’Brien and Liz Berry.

I found out about this special Waterstone’s event whilst at the MAC at the end January for the 52 Book Launch, it clashed with the final SpeakEasy MC-ed by Maggie Doyle & Fergus McGonigal – but you know me, any chance of something a little bit different, besides who would turn down the opportunity to hear Liz read twice in a month?

Emma requested one LOVE (of any sort) poem to be emailed and from these she confirmed the open mic spots. I was delighted to find confirmation and positive praise. My poem was one of three written in January for submission of Romantic poems, all of which (3) were published in New Ulster February Issue.

It has become this year’s favourite poem of mine, other people seem to like it too.

Event Description

The evening will be hosted by Emma Wright from the Emma Press, which is newly based in Birmingham’s Jewellery Quarter.

Emma is curating the open-mic section, and is looking forward to meeting local writers.

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It was a great night with a host of open mic-ers all taking to the stage for one poem each. Poets in the first half;

Jenna Clake – Imaginary boyfriend

Steve Harrison – Love comes in many hues

Nina Lewis – Meticulous Thought

Anna Baker – Composting

Natalie Burdett – Gravity

Then Richard O’Brien read from his pamphlets (all 3 if I remember correctly), great to hear a full set from him.

Poets in the second half;

Robert Harper – Your Eyes

JJ Evendon – I’ll be

Harpreet Kaur – The Linguist

David Grullon – You are

Carol Witherow – Allihies Flowers

Then Liz Berry closed the evening with some of my favourite poems from her collection. Plenty of time to mingle and chat (and buy books of course), a relaxed atmosphere and great company. I could have stayed all night – in fact – we (a bunch of 5 poets heading for trains) offered this to the guy who unlocked the store and let us out. Unfortunately Health & Safety and the likelihood of finding some well rifled paperbacks by morning, wouldn’t allow us to stay and we all headed home.

I even managed to get Mr G’s valentine present and have warm and rich conversations with most of the poets/audience in the room.

I had worked all day (on a fortnight full time placement) and only just got into the city in time to buy some notebooks and head halfway up the 6 floor Waterstone’s – Birmingham mourns the loss of the historical Waterstone’s  geographorguk       geography.org.uk

where I first met Angela France in 2013, but we also love this massive book shop the other end of the same street and both are/were close to the station.

It was a fabulous event and I am delighted the Emma Press are now closer to home and that Waterstone’s are able to promote move events like this… I feel a publication party in the planning! I was lucky enough to meet Emma Wright and Richard O’Brien a few years ago on the Mildly Erotic Poetry Tour and now they are Midlands based they, like I, pop up everywhere. I look forward to seeing them again soon.

Hay House World Summit 2015 – Week 2

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hay house logo  Since my last blog post I have been busy picking up more work than usual, which is good just before the non-income holiday. I have lots of news for this week’s poetry wrap and in addition to all this I have been catching up with the Hay House World Summit. I also have a week left of my MOOC poetry course which I need to do a quick catch up with over the Bank Holiday weekend. I have assigned a lot of time to Hay House and that finishes next week.

They divide the materials into 4 days stages, I have posted about the first week here, this post is about the 2nd upload of course material – 14-18th May. A 20-Day Journey to Self-Discovery, Health and Success. 

This stage was about treasuring all of our experiences.

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I have thoroughly enjoyed the summit and this week’s lessons have led me to new website discoveries and some inspirational exercises and videos.

I have also found the odd bit of poetry muse occurring, which I have scribbled alongside my notes and then duplicated it in my writing notebook. The printer ink is running low as so many of the experts include PDF resources to follow up. We haven’t had the laptop/ printer long and I am not convinced of the 180 pages capacity, especially as poetry tends to have wide margins and a lot of white space left on the page. Maybe the message pop up is like a fuel light and it will keep going for a bit (for the record I treat my car better than that and fill up before the light comes on)!

I have also started ‘The Artists Way’ recently, a book I bought myself last year. I have started the morning pages and I was already aware of that first waking, lucid state and the access we have and the openness of our thoughts coming back to being awake from slumber. One of the most inspirational quotations this week was delivered in the first video I viewed ‘E-Motion’;

‘Each morning as soon as you take your head off the pillow, you have all you need.’

This feeling of security and abundance has not been in my life for long, I know I have felt it at previous points in my life. Recently I think perhaps in the past two years it has returned. I am aware I have everything I need – too much, I need to de-clutter, I know life is simpler with less things. I know I hold onto things I no longer need, this includes my own emotions. I don’t need the biggest and best of everything, even back when I could afford it, I didn’t buy it. I spent my money travelling around the globe, experiencing new places and meeting people.

I know that because of this nature, I will not find having everything I need too difficult to believe and use.

Watching this film brought a lot of my ‘pre-jump’ life back to me. How work affected everything I did, believed, lived. How negative and dark my world was (thank goodness for Mr G) back then. How my mum and Mr G told me to get out of it, years before I did, how ill I became because of it. I recently had a conversation with a friend of a friend who teaches and she could not believe what I had been through or how I managed to survive.

I truly lived in Emergency Mode everyday, the only thought I had each morning when I woke up was ‘Not again!’ Usually after just 4 or 5 hours sleep. I was also really ill for most of the eight years I worked in these conditions. Big things; inflamed sternum, migraine like headaches, slipped discs, discs popping out onto nerves… but I know we are not defined by our past experiences and the past two years have been the equivalent of a paradise island holiday, even the bad days have been nothing more than stubbing a toe on the pain stakes and with no lasting injury or affect. Of course I wouldn’t recognise this if I hadn’t experienced it so bad.

What was also powerful was some connections came up from the previous series. The message of SLOW DOWN – once again came through live and clear – and after reading the first (rather scary) paragraph of this post, I have to agree.

By the end of the film I felt a great uplift and felt ready to create my world – rather than taking on the world.

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I also feel blessed that right at the beginning of my poetry odyssey in the Ort Café Birmingham, I discovered the poetry of Rumi. I haven’t read much of him myself, but am aware of the wisdom in his work, the influence and not a season goes by without a Rumi poem in it. This week I discovered his poem, The Guest House, WOW! Just in case you have never read it… I have to share.

 

The Guest House by Rumi

This being human is a guest house.

Every morning a new arrival.

 

A joy, a depression, a meanness,

some momentary awareness comes

as an unexpected visitor.

 

Welcome and entertain them all!

Even if they’re a crowd of sorrows,

who violently sweep your house

empty of its furniture,

still, treat each guest honourably.

He may be clearing you out

for some new delight.

The dark thought, the shame, the malice,

meet them at the door laughing,

and invite them in.

 

Be grateful for whoever comes,

because each has been sent

as a guide from beyond.

© Copyright 2011 Leo Norrie

© Copyright 2011 Leo Norrie

I love this hotel with no guests and no beds, no one stays but everybody passes through for a reason. All you need to know will be revealed.

I discovered more about forgiveness, although my mum taught me these lessons well.

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Hark Magazine Launch & Reading in London

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hark launch and reading

I had my poem ‘Clench’ published in Hark magazine, issue 2. Back then, it was an online publication, now (Issue 4). The Hark team (Owen Vince, Matt Apperley, Dimitris Tsomokos & Diana Kurakina) have taken the jump into a very handsome print magazine – the sort that looks like a book.

To celebrate this they were inviting readers to take part in the launch. It was a great opportunity to go to London and read (I found out after that some poets performed at Keats house and the Poetry Café on the Saturday, had I known I would have stayed over), as it was I decided that I would make the journey home in the early hours. I only live a few hours from London, but unfortunately the coach broke down at Watford Gap and what should have taken 3 hours, took 7. However, I had allowed a 4 hour window to reunite with London, so I was there in time for the Launch. As soon as I walked in I knew it would be a great night and instantly relaxed.

The venue – The Washington, has an amazing cellar bar, accessed through a secret bookcase door (there should be a joke here on how many poets and publishers it took to open it). It was a great night and as soon as I arrived, I was instantly made welcome and calmed down from LONG my journey.

Hark organised an night of contributors reading in North London.

Zelda Chappel
Jemma Borg
Hazem Tagiuri
Nina Lewis
Andrew Wells
Imogen Forster
Rebecca Bird

It was a delight to meet everyone and it truly was a rich evening of superb poetry.

I was excited to meet people who I knew only by name, to discover new poetry, to meet the editors and see the handsome Hark magazine in print form.

It was definitely worth the 7 hour journey (and of course, I made it back in 2hours)!

ABOUT HARK

HARK is a literary magazine of poetry and short fiction. Founded in 2014 and based between London and Norwich, this small but highly ambitious magazine has built a reputation for brilliant, formal writing that pays close and sustained attention to the imagination and the possibilities of language. HARK is for those writers and readers who take the act of creation through language to be a sublime and, even, ethical act.

With a dedicated team of passionate editors, the magazine’s mission is to find, publish and promote the most exciting new voices, always alongside established writers who continue to challenge their readers with intelligent new work.

HARK is available to purchase either through our online store, or in Foyles (Tottenham Court Road branch), the London Review Bookshop, and the Book Hive in Norwich.

© 2014 – HARK literary magazine

© 2014 - HARK literary magazine: Owen Vince

© 2014 – HARK literary magazine: Owen Vince

© 2014 - HARK literary magazine: Matt Apperley

© 2014 – HARK literary magazine: Matt Apperley

One of the features is asking how the writers write, you can find my explanation here;

http://www.harkmagazine.co.uk/2014/08/26/writers-on-writing-issue-2/

And of course you can buy your own copy of Issue 4

Introducing Daniel Sluman

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Daniel Sluman

Daniel Sluman is a UK Poet, his second collection comes out later this year – I am proud to announce that we will be blogging and promoting Daniel’s forthcoming collection, here at A Writers Fountain.

Sonia Hendy-Isaac © 2014

Sonia Hendy-Isaac
© 2014

Throughout the coming months I will be hosting all things Daniel Sluman. We appreciate re-blogs and shares on your social media.

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Daniel is published by Nine arches Press, a highly sought publisher, they are actually the first Publisher in Residence this year at the Wenlock Poetry Festival (April), and are also publishing Jo Bell (Kith) and Sarah Leavesley later this year too.

Introducing Daniel

Daniel Sluman’s poems have appeared widely in journals such as Cadaverine, Popshot, Shit Creek Review, and Under the Radar. He received an MA in Creative & Critical Writing from the University of Gloucestershire in 2012 and his debut full-length collection, Absence has a weight of its own, was published in 2012. His second collection, ‘the terrible’, will be published Autumn/Winter 2015, also with Nine Arches Press. He tweets here.

LINKS

Follow this link to buy/ find out more about Daniel’s first collection ‘Absense has a weight of its own’.

http://www.ninearchespress.com/publications/poetry-collections/absence-has-a-weight-of-its-own.html

© 2014 Nine Arches

© 2014 Nine Arches

Daniel’s first collection reviewed by Amy McCauley

‘Dealing with a poet of extreme integrity.’

http://www.drfulminare.com/slumanreview.php

LOOK OUT FOR OUR EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW WITH DANIEL SLUMAN COMING SOON!