Tag Archives: books

Nine Arches Press Summer Party

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Nine Arches Press know how to throw a party! I missed it last year as I was performing elsewhere but – having kept a do it next year section of my 2016 diary, I knew it was coming up and booked my tickets as soon as it was announced back in June!

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I had a busy day and went for a power nap before catching my train into Birmingham. Mr. G. came home and found me still asleep. I haven’t moved so fast in a long time. I managed to catch the train and arrive at Waterstones just in time.

It was lovely (and not a surprise) to see so many poets there. They had a good crowd and there were lots of people I didn’t know too.

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Jane Commane (Nine Arches Press) introducing the poets and welcoming us to a party complete with Flamingo straws. Image  © 2017 Cynthia Miller

I was really excited when I saw who was on the list this year and there readings were all captivating.

Gregory Leadbetter has had all of his launches/readings whilst I have been elsewhere, so even though his book was released last year this was my first opportunity to hear him read it. He also hosted the event, using the book sleeves of the new publications to introduce each Guest Poet.

Greg Leadbetter 9 Arches

© 2017 Nine Arches

I thoroughly enjoyed his reading, I had heard several of the poems before at events but listening to a full set was a real treat. I will be putting ‘The Fetch’ on my birthday list. For a first collection it is extremely strong.

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Gregory Leadbetter’s first full collection of poems, The Fetch, brings together poems that reach through language to the mystery of our being, giving voice to silence and darkness, illuminating the unseen. With their own rich alchemy, these poems combine the sensuous and the numinous, the lyric and the mythic. 

Ranging from invocation to elegy, from ghost poems to science fiction, Leadbetter conjures and quickens the wild and the weird. His poems bring to life a theatre of awakenings and apprehensions, of births and becoming, of the natural and the transnatural, where life and death meet. Powerful, imaginative, and precisely realised, The Fetch is also poignant and humane – animated by love, alive with the forces of renewal.

‘The Fetch is a terrific, precise and dazzling collection. The whole book exemplifies a poetry of being that shows what is possible when we allow ourselves to be fully human in our perception and poetry.’ – David Morley
© 2017 Nine Arches Press
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© 2017 Stuart Bartholomew

I am a big fan of Angela France’s work and what is special about her latest collection ‘The Hill’ is I have been privy to the inside of the work for the past two years. I have done workshops using Archive materials with Angela, who has just spent the past two years deep in records of the past. I also know that the places she writes about are places she knows well. I missed her Launch in Ledbury and have resisted buying a copy of her book until I heard her read.

I particularly enjoyed the use of Anglo Language found in a short sequence of work in this book. I think place and people are two subjects that grip me,  for anyone who feels the same this collection is for you!

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Here, we encounter ghosts, foxes and ancient kings. We meet the protestors who, years before the Kinder Scout Trespassers, were standing up for their rambling rights and took the law into their own hands in 1902 when a landowner tried to enclose the hill they had walked for generations. And though history is never far from the surface, The Hill raises questions that are just as important today; who has the right to roam, whose land is it, anyway?

“these are words that make you ache for the place.” – Phil Smith, author of Mythogeography and On Walking

 © 2017 Nine Arches Press

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Rishi Dastidar’ Ticker Tape was released earlier this year. I have known of Rishi for a while but only met him in Ledbury Poetry Festival this year.

His set was fresh and different. His poetry is distinctive and the themes cover a lot we can recognise, modern poetry for the 21st Century. I enjoyed the wit of his work and the pleasure he takes in performing it.

From politics to pop, from the UK to California, wherever digital heartbeats flutter and stutter, Ticker-tape is a maximalist take on 21st century living. Rishi Dastidar’s first full collection showcases one of contemporary poetry’s most distinctive voices, delivering effervescence with equal servings of panache and whiplash-quick wit.

Here is sheer madcap ingenuity and also impressive breadth; ranging from odes of love to deconstructed diversity campaigns and detonations of banter’s worst excesses, plus appearances from ex-SugaBabes, a shark who comes to tea, to the matters of matchstick empires and national identity. Ticker-tape is bold, adventuresome and wry – an unmissable and irrepressible debut.

 © 2017 Nine Arches Press

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And finally –DFa0G2FXkAA8038

 © 2017 Nine Arches

Tania Hershman who claimed not to be a poet when I met her a few years ago. She is/was a published author who had started to cross to the poetry genre. It is a good idea to expand your repertoire and flex your writing muscles this way.

What is unusual is to have a first collection published by a well established publisher within a couple of years of starting out.

A huge achievement. A pleasure to listen to.

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 © 2017 Nine Arches

Tania Hershman’s debut poetry collection, Terms and Conditions, urges us to consider all the possibilities, and read life’s small print before signing on the dotted line. These beautifully measured poems bring their stoical approach to the uncertain business of our daily lives – and ask us to consider what could happen if we were to bend or break the rules, step outside the boundaries and challenge the narrative.
In feats of imagination and leaps of probability, falling simply becomes flying, a baby collects the data and scrolls through everything it sees, and there are daring acts of vanishing and recreation. Be wary, for even the evidence here often leads us astray. And in between this, Hershman’s precise poetry elegantly balances the known, unknown and unknowable matter of existence, love and happiness, weighing the atoms of each, finding just the exact words that will draw up the perfect contract of ideas.
Praise for Terms and Conditions:
‘This is a sophisticated debut collection by a writer already well known for her inventive short stories.’ – Kathryn Maris

‘There is a plenitude and a loss to Tania Hershman’s Terms & Conditions. A plenitude of tones and forms and linguistic playfulness, and a fine sense of loss that spins and passes through the poems.’ – Simon Barraclough 

‘In her debut collection of poetry, acclaimed writer Tania Hershman reveals the strange intricacies of science and our daily lives. Here, we find a cabinet of curiosities: Elvis and Marilyn, fire ants, cake and wind turbines. Hershman gifts the reader with collisions of grief and laughter, joy and curiosity. A wonder.’- Doireann Ní Ghríofa
‘Tania Hershman’s work is full of brilliant and passionate observations on dreams, falling, names and dancing, they are moving, loving meditations on how we move and love, what it feels like to be alive.’ – W.N. Herbert

It was a superb night and we all had time for mingling and chatting too. A delightful summer’s evening and the kind of party I really like nowadays… relaxed, with books and booze!

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 © 2017 Nine Arches

INKSPILL SHOP

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CC bookshop-window Garry Knight

David Calcutt caldmore david-portrait-1

Plays: https://global.oup.com/education/content/children/authors/david-calcutt/?region=uk

An engaging adaptation of Thomas Hardy’s classic novel

Author Thomas Hardy and Adapter David Calcutt

Suitable for:  Teachers of English and Drama of students aged 11-14

Price:  £10.50

ISBN: 978-0-19-837544-9
Publication date: 25/01/2016 (estimated)
Paperback: 144 pages
Dimensions: 216x170mm

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Robin Hood: http://store.barefootbooks.com/uk/robin-hood.html

This lavishly illustrated picture book makes a wonderful gift title to complement Arthur of Albion and The Arabian Nights, and features nine tales including: ‘Robin Becomes an Outlaw’, ‘Robin Meets Little John’, ‘Robin and the Widow’, and ‘Robin’s Last Battle’.

Retold By: David Calcutt

Illustrated By: Grahame Baker-Smith

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Fairacre Press: http://web236.extendcp.co.uk/fairacrepress.co.uk/tag/david-calcutt/

Road Kill, by Nadia Kingsley and David Calcutt, is a journey into the secret lives of our native animals. It starts in town, travels through suburbia, onto country roads, and then into the woods – where fact and myth mingle.
36 pp + 4 pp
paperback
245mm height, 170 mm width
3mm squareback spine
Full colour cover
First published December 2012
£4.00   (includes post and packing)
ISBN  978 0 9568275 1 7
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The Life and Times of the Tat Man: https://www.treepress.org/scripts/the-life-and-times-of-the-tat-man-dad1259a-777e-4390-8e98-5913bc8f7802

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Tony Barrett asThe Tat Man (photo by Stuart Williams).

Tony Barrett asThe Tat Man (photo by Stuart Williams).

CC bookshop-window Garry Knight

Alison May alison may author

Her romantic comedies, Sweet Nothing, http://bookgoodies.com/a/1781892415

Would you risk everything for love?

Independent, straight-talking Trix Allen wouldn’t. She’s been in love once before and ended up with nothing. Now safely single, Trix is as far away from the saccharine-sweet world of hearts and flowers as it’s possible to be.

Alison May Sweet Nothing

Midsummer Dreams http://bookgoodies.com/a/B00XJOEJTM

Four people. Four messy lives. One night that changes everything …
A modern retelling of Shakespeare’s Midsummer Night’s Dream.

Alison May midsummer dreams

and the Christmas Kisses series http://bookgoodies.com/a/B011M9DZE0 published by Choc Lit.

Alison M Christmas

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You can find out more about Alison at www.alison-may.co.uk, on facebook at www.facebook.com/AlisonMayAuthor, or by following her on Twitter @MsAlisonMay

CC bookshop-window Garry Knight

Daniel Sluman

Sonia Hendy-Isaac © 2014

Sonia Hendy-Isaac
© 2014

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

© 2014 Nine Arches

“Daniel Sluman has looked mortality square in the eye and given it shape. These poems are crafted with a striking maturity, each with a heartbeat and blood in its veins. If poetry has a purpose, then this is it.” Helen Ivory

“Daniel Sluman’s debut collection crackles with energy; his language is physical, fast-paced, passionate, fearless. A real discovery by Nine Arches Press.” Penelope Shuttle

Daniel tweets here

EXCLUSIVE Interview with Daniel Sluman

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AWF is lucky to be promoting Daniel Sluman and his new collection of Poetry ‘the terrible’ due out later in 2015.

Interview with Daniel Sluman – By Nina Lewis

Sonia Hendy-Isaac © 2014

Sonia Hendy-Isaac
© 2014

1) You studied a BA in English Literature & Creative Writing in 2008, had you written poetry before then?

Like a lot of people, I’d tried writing poetry in my teens. I think it was probably a way to try and come to terms with my disability, and the general confusion that comes with puberty. The writing was absolutely awful, lots of she’s so pretty, why doesn’t she love me? type poems. I can’t help but wince when I glance at them now.

2) Can you remember the first poem you were really proud of?

I don’t think that feeling has really happened yet, I’m not sure it will. The perfect poem in my head is always going to fail on the page, I see my job as minimizing the damage. I think that ‘Absence’, the first poem from my debut, was really important to me in opening up a dialogue between myself and my disability, so that definitely stands out in that way.

3) What motivated you to complete an MA in Creative & Critical Writing?

I enrolled on the BA in English Literature & Creative Writing on a kind of a whim. I was staring down the barrel of temp work and I felt like I was at an important crossroads in life. I enjoyed the BA so much, the MA seemed like a no-brainer, and the theory and workshops I engaged within my MA have been vital to me as a writer and as a researcher. I’m incredibly happy that I made the decision to do my MA, otherwise I wouldn’t have been able to take this step up to PhD level.

4) What would be your best tip for combating procrastination?

Repetition and routine. I write pretty much every day, and it’s something I’ve just got used to through forcing myself until it feels normal. Facebook, Youtube and Twitter always poke their head around the door on occasion, and rather than lambasting yourself for engaging with it, it’s important to cut yourself some slack on occasion. Balance is really important, so doing an hour of editing should definitely be seen as worthy of fifteen minutes of idle surfing afterwards, and maybe that reward structure that works well for me, might work well for others too.

5) What does your writing space look like?

Until now, it’s always been a laptop slung on the corner of a sofa, or a dinner tray. Now I have an actual desk space for the first time, which I’ll be using soon. It will have sheets of notes and my manifesto on the in front of it, and the whole living room will have poems stuck to the wall. I like to think that this helps me see the collection as a whole; I can walk around the house, noting how the poems look against each other, and I can make notes directly to them with a pen, to be taken down, updated on my computer, and re-printed for the wall again. Other than that, just a laptop, my fingers, and a cup of tea, which is obviously crucial in lubricating the creative process.

6) Could you tell us a bit about your poetry life before your first collection was published?

Striving is probably the best word to describe it. I wrote, edited, read, and listened as much as I could. I would draft at 3 am outside my halls of residence, with a cup of tea and a stack of drafts, I tried to make every reading I could, and I volunteered for helping with workshops. I started getting a few poems in journals, expanded my network of poetry friends on Facebook and locally, and I just tried to remain focused on getting a book deal. I achieved that in the last year of my BA and I was over the moon (still am!).

© 2014 Nine Arches

© 2014 Nine Arches

 

7) How does the process of writing a second collection differ from writing your first?

It doesn’t much really. I work on developed ideas on my computer, print them off, scribble obscenities on them, and try again. An awful lot of poems get discarded, or bits recycled from them, and it can take dozens of drafts to write what still amounts to an unusable poem, and years to get something right. That’s always been my process. It’s messy, it’s time-intensive, it’s emotionally exhausting, but it’s the only way I know to write poetry.

8) Where do you get ideas from?

The places in my head I don’t want to enter. Misheard lines from TV. Programmes on Radio 4. The internet and weird forums I find myself in at 3am in the morning. My childhood, and specifically for this collection – my anxieties, nightmares, guilt and shame complexes, and every behaviour these have manifested themselves in

9) How do you write?

First ideas go into my phone, then they get moved to my laptop as a document, then they get their own folder with various drafts of the poem included. I used to write in a notebook but my bad handwriting and shaky hands mean that it’s a lot harder to do nowadays.

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10) Who do you like to read?

Melissa Lee-Houghton and Bobby Parker are the two British poets who I come back to again and again. Other than that, lots of poets from across the Atlantic, like C.D. Wright, Brenda Shaughnessy, Rosmarie Waldrop, Dorianne Laux, Robert Lowell, and Adrienne Rich.

11) Was there a specific person who spurred your interest in poetry or encouraged you with the form?

I had an English teacher at Secondary School called Mr Adams, who was probably the best teacher I’ve ever been taught by. I remember one lesson where he read ‘Eve of St. Agnes’ by Keats, and I was transfixed. It was the first time I was aware that poetry could have a physical effect on me. That felt like a revelation.

My lecturers at University of Gloucestershire, Angela France and Nigel McLoughlin were incredibly nurturing in the period where I started to take writing very seriously. The advice and critique they both gave was invaluable to me, and I owe them a great deal.

12) Has your idea of what poetry is changed since you started writing poems?

I think it continually does for all of us. We change as people and that means we change as poets and our notion of what we do is always in flux. Personally, when I HAVE to write something down, that’s poetry, it’s an unrelenting feeling that I need to communicate something that I don’t think I’ve seen communicated in a certain way before. So poetry for me is vital, it’s incredibly personal but at the same time it’s universal and porous (as language is itself).

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13) What does ‘being creative’ mean to you?

It’s a reason for living and a part of everyone. It’s play, it’s the opposite of destruction, and it’s making something for its own sake, which is all the more vital in our current capitalist, mass-manufactured, superficial society.

14) Do you have any creative patterns/ rituals?

I edit for most of the day, and when an idea seems ripe enough in the notes app on my phone, I tentatively put it on a Word doc and hope something sticks. I try to read as much as I can at some point during the day, but my concentration levels are severely restricted by my medication.

15) What advice would you give to aspiring writers? (You knew that one was coming) 

Don’t compromise. We compromise with our feelings, our dreams, and what we really want to say to people every day, but the page asks nothing of you, it doesn’t judge, so don’t be afraid to put anything in it.

16) Do you still owe Carol Ann Duffy a drink?

Hahahaha. I’m sure she won’t remember buying me one, it was five or six years ago. I was attending a festival where she was reading and I briefly stood beside her in the queue when she bought me a glass of red wine. I’d love to buy her one back though, yes.

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Daniel’s debut full-length collection, Absence has a weight of its own, was published to critical acclaim in 2012. His second collection the terrible will be published Autumn/Winter 2015, also with Nine Arches Press. He tweets @danielsluman2012 brighton 382

Look out for more posts about Daniel Sluman and his new collection ‘the terrible’ – COMING SOON!

NaNoWriMo Resources – Worth Checking Out!

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I haven’t even started researching, I am lucky that some of my social network friends have, discovered shared links to 2 wonderful parts of the web!

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Smooth draft offer editing and proofreading services – I am sure they can offer a lot of help for payment – what caught my NaNo eye was the book by EM Lynley, which if you have Kindle/ Ereaders or just under £4.oo to spare could be yours.

If not there are 2 FREE planning worksheets (PDF) which are supposed to be used in conjunction with the book. However, if you are an experienced writer they are self explanatory and fairly easy to complete.

http://www.smoothdraft.com
Check the site out here ^

The other is a blog which has been conceived especially for Nano.
http://www.letsgowrimos.com

Where again you have an amazing opportunity to pay for Accelerator which is a whole journey alongside Nano which could lead to a published Nano Novel.

Have fun checking them out.

Remember feel free to add links to resources and sites you have found NaNo useful. 6542_10151399210394299_902857222_n

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Nano Survival Tips

Nano Song

My 1st NaNo

Nano The Real Reason Writers Keep Notebooks

Nano Posts Begin

 

I am in Love… with my NEW Life!

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Oh my goodness, I am so happy. Everything is falling into place.

I have so many blog posts to write tonight… I still need to tell you all about the Margaret Silf seminar, my wonderful Sunday at the Literature Festival including chats with Roger McGough and Jo Bell, amongst others. New discoveries I have made (in the world of writing) -I am not going to bore you with my new discovery of how choc-ca-block the main roads are before 8a.m, or how much my ankles hurt after being on my feet all day! New purchases (or treats) I have made … buying those glossy magazines really broke the spending seal on my purse. 😉

I have been booked for three days work this week – and due to the heavy traffic (not mentioned as a new discovery above) I made it to work by the skin of my contractual time teeth! Only to discover that they had already covered my position… no fear, there are always options in these situations… and my reward…. I have spent the whole day in Nursery with 3 and 4 year olds, hence the aching ankles (also not mentioned as an new discovery) making yourself 2 feet tall by stooping down all day is no mean feat – and due to my Lit Fest knee injury (acquired when I fell over after the launch) I found using my knees a painful experience. I learnt many moons ago wincing in front of little children is not a good idea and tends to send them into panicked concern.

I had a lovely day (even if I have only just got rid of the pink paint!) and they wanted me back tomorrow – I would have loved that, but Tuesday’s are already covered by my 1 day a week part time position. Spending a second day with Nursery would have been amazing. Especially as now I have discovered a back road route and I know all of their names. Never-mind, some time in the future perhaps.

I got home to find that Mr G had bought 2 more beautiful flowering plants for the garden (my memory of Latin is no good – so I will have to check the labels and add the names in!) He spent all afternoon sorting out the big porcelain sinks we have for bedding plants yesterday whilst I was enjoying myself with words and poets and radio recordings. Tonight we spent an hour planting more bulbs and shrubs, It will look amazing when it all flowers in the spring – can’t wait to share photos.

Here is one of the pots of compost and bulbs. (upload to come)

Tonight I have an A5 list (yes I have reverted back to paper) of things I have to do – including getting activities ready for tomorrow and parking/ directions for the evening (next instalment of the Lit Fest, a book launch at the gallery.) So I am now going to go and do as much as I can and hope to have time to add all those exciting posts before bed.

How has your Monday been?