Popshot Magazine – Calling all Time Travellers!

Grab yourself a copy of the latest Popshot Magazine for poetry, fiction and artwork that will send you spinning into the future and back.

Be prepared to lose your bearings! Popshot  (issue 12) by Fredrik Rättzen

Issue 12 is peppered with poems on the theme of time, including work by Claire Booker, Zelda Chappel, Aki Schilz, Jim Stewart-Evans, Roddy Williams and Barbara Wojtowicz.

Short fiction is mesmerisingly macabre this issue. Try the twists and turns of The Many Deaths of Michael Finch by Ben Whitfield or the chilling And the Glass Cold Against his Face by Thomas Chadwick. I can particularly recommend Christopher Kennerley’s The Schleepen Plan for a morally dubious solution to not enough hours in the day.

Last, but not least, luxuriate in colour and concept as you pause to enjoy the wonderful illustrations by artists such as Glenn Harvey, Tavis Coburn, Nader Sharaf, Frederik Rättzen (above), Ray Oranges (below) and Miranda Meeks.

Popshot  (issue 12) by Ray Oranges

Edited by Jacob Denno, Popshot is an illustrated literary magazine that lands twice a year on the doormats of people sensible enough to have a subscription. It’s also available at  good bookshops across the globe, or online at www.popshotpopshot.com

Submissions of poetry, flash fiction or short stories are accepted on special themes each issue. Previous themes have included journeys, birth, love, power and childhood. Details of the next theme will be up on the website in December.

A Thousand Monkeys go Ape-shit in Guildford!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAPop Up Poetry pulled a thousand monkeys out of a hat last night, with the launch of its spanking new anthology for 2014.

Congratulations to editor Janice Windle and host Donall Dempsey for a spectactular event at The Bar Des Arts in Guildford, Surrey, where poets and audience gathered for an evening of word, song and antics to celebrate the event’s re-branding from PUP to The Thousand Monkeys.

Performers included  Cat Randle, Elaine Stabler, Grim Chip, Kathy Tyler, the Stokey Bard, Amy McAllister, Tom Vliestra and me. There was music too from the Dirty Carols (don’t ask!)

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

At  183 pages, the Pop Up Anthology 2014 is among the most generous and intelligently put together I’ve seen in a good while. Open mic-ers were all offered at least one page in the book, and what you get is the best poetry from 70 poets who have read at some point during the year, including:

Wendy Klein, Steve Pottinger, Sally Blackmore, David Cooke, Donall Dempsey, Louise Etheridge, A F Harrold, Mark Gilfillan, Claire Booker, Holly Luhning, Patrick Osada, Bethany Pope, Chrys Salt, Pauline Sewards, Isabel White and Janice Windle.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERATo buy a copy of Pop Up Anthology 2014, or to find out more about the free monthly event in Guildford on the third Tuesday of each month, visit: Pop Up Anthology 2014_0001

 

 

Passion on the beach (doggy style) in The North

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAA man and a woman meet on a windswept Northumberland beach, but it’s their dogs that lock eyes and find passion!

My poem, Coitus at Bamburgh Beach, is one of  139 poems selected by guest editors Jonathan Davidson and Jackie Wills for inclusion in the latest issue of The North poetry magazine. Poets published in issue 52 include Paul Stephenson, Katrina Naomi, Alison Brackenbury, Caroline Smith, Holly Hopkins, Ian McMillan, Claire Booker, James Caruth and Matt Bryden.

At a handy £8, issue 52 must be among the best value ever for poetry-lovers, working out at the staggeringly good value of 6p per new poem. Plus there’s a fascinating discussion between Patience Agbabi and Ros Barber about their mould-breaking collections – respectively Telling Tales (Canongate Books) which re-envisions Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales, and The Marlowe Papers (Sceptre) a stunning verse novel which takes as its premise the idea that Marlowe actually wrote Shakespeare’s plays.

North (issue 52)Issue 52 also has articles on whether poetry in the UK needs to become more international in scope; the harsh economics facing the poetry industry; and interviews with three fine artists about their experience of reading poetry as non-poets.  Plus 39 pages of poetry reviews!

To buy a copy of The North or to submit poetry, please visit: www.poetrybusiness.co.uk

Camden Fringe success for Goblin Baby Theatre Company

One of our Robots is Missing

One of our Robots is Missing

Goblin Baby Theatre Co. pulled off  a Camden Fringe Review ‘Hot Ticket’ status for 2 out of the 3 nights’ performances of FORESEEN – its four writer, three actor, two director bonanza of post-apocalyptic dark comedies that played The Hen & Chickens Theatre Bar in Islington from the 22nd to 24th August.

Associate writers Amy Bethan Evans, Claire Booker, Tessa Hart and Tilly Lunken each wrote 12 minute plays which the company wove into one darkly comic, thought-provoking hour of theatre.

Processed

Processed

The Appointment

The Appointment

Lucy and the Beasts

Lucy and the Beasts

Leigh-Anne Abela directed Amy Bethan Evans’ Lucy and the Beasts  (The Beast is what you make of it);  and Claire Booker’s One Of Our Robots Is Missing (Nuclear bunkers. Read the small print!) Victorine Pontillon directed Tessa Hart’s The Appointment (The legend of the Female Species and their mysterious swelling bellies); and Tilly Lunken’s Processed  (There must be somewhere to live, even when there is nowhere to go).

Actors Alice Bell, Michael Bagwell and Alexandra Vincent turned in a kaleidoscope of stunning performances, each creating four completely different characters, plus some state-of-the-art, on-set costume changes under the eagle eyes of enthusiastic audiences.

Next up is a Goblin Baby double bill: The Proposal by Anton Chekhov(in a same-sex version) and To Be A Wife by Tilly Lunken at The Space, Isle of Dogs, London from 7th-11th October (7.30pm with 3pm Saturday matinee).  For more details or to buy tickets visit www.goblinbaby.com

Rally for Talha draws Bruce Kent, poets and activists

Bruce Kent and Hamja Ahsen

Bruce Kent and Hamja Ahsan

What a privilege to have been invited to read one of my poems at Sunday’s rally for Talha Ahsan held outside the Home Office – and in such august company too, including one of my all-time heroes, veteran humanitarian Bruce Kent, who made an impassioned speech on the injustice of Talha’s treatment, calling for Britain’s iniquitous extradition agreement with the USA to be overturned.

poet Hilaire

poet Hilaire

Fellow Loose Muse poet, Hilaire, read a wonderful poem inspired by her correspondence with Talha whilst he was in solitary confinement in Connecticut Correctional Facility, having been extradited from the UK with no charge.

My poem, entitled ‘Prisoner (Without Charge)’ was inspired by Talha’s own deeply moving poetry and the grace and wisdom he expressed even whilst in such hellish conditions.

Yes folks, any one of us can be extradicted to America without any requirement for evidence, or indeed, a trial date. In a nutshell – you’re guilty until proven innocent.

Through plea bargaining, Talha is now technically free, though he remains in America while the authorities pussy-foot around. He should be home NOW with his family. For more information: FREE TALHA AHSAN CAMPAIGN: www.freetalha.org Twitter: @hamjaahsan / @freetalha #BringTalhaHome

“Gripping and haunting” – Devil & Stepashka moves to new theatre

D&S - StepashkaThere’s a second chance to see Claire Booker’s drama ‘The Devil and Stepashka’ this weekend, as it transfers to Ye Old Rose & Crown Theatre in Walthamstow.

Inspired by a Tolstoy short story, the play is a thought-provoking tale about passion and its consequences. Landowner, Zhenya, stands trial for the murder of one of his peasants, but can there be true justice in an unjust society?

Goblin Baby Theatre Co. has pulled off another critical success, earning four-star reviews during the play’s two week run last month at The Space, north east London: “Gripping and haunting. Booker’s play is very brave as well as unusual. One of those hidden gems on the London Fringe.” Remotegoat.com. “An intriguing new work.” Viewsfromthegods.co.uk  “The superstitiously secular, domestic world of Claire Booker’s The Devil and Stepashka manages to create a believable male Antigone in what ends up to be very literally one hell of a double-bind.” Exeunt Magazine.

D&S - Dasha

Plaudits for the cast and crew include: “Particularly remarkable were Dimitri Shaw as lawyer Boris . . . and Tessa Hart who portrayed both the haunting presence of the murdered Stepashka as well as her living sister Dasha.” RemoteGoat.

D&S - Lisa 2“Lydia Lane is wonderfully precise and pernickety as Zhenya’s doting wife, Lisa. She has the harassed, loving, frantic possessiveness of a woman fearing, but refusing to believe, that she has been replaced.” Exeunt Magazine.  “Overall production designer Christopher Keech is to be congratulated for achieving a varied and detailed design.” RemoteGoat. “Leigh-Anne Abela (director) manages to bring out the intense emotions of this piece, cleverly framing the love triangle between Zhenya, his wife and the memory of his lover . . . leaving us with two passionate individuals, choked by dark desire, spiralling out of control in front of us.” View From The Gods.

‘The Devil and Stepashka’ plays on Sat 19th July (8pm) and Sunday 20th July (2pm and 6pm) at Ye Old Rose & Crown, 53 Hoe St, E17 4SA (a 6 min walk from Walthamstow tube station). For more information or to book tickets, visit: http://goblinbaby.ticketsource.co.uk

Devil & Stepashka GoblinBaby_0001 - Copy

D&S Set

The Creative Team of The Devil and Stepashka are: Leigh-Anne Abela (Director), Christopher Keech (Production Designer), Simon Vella (Music Composer), Claire Booker (writer), Paul Christian Rogers (Zhenya), Dimitri Shaw (Boris), Tessa Hart (Stepashka/ Dasha), Lydia Lane (Lisa).

Magma’s out! 69 fresh poems for summer

Magma 59Totally thrilled to have another poem in Magma, which meant I got to read my work at the launch last Friday alongside guest poets Lorraine Mariner and Colette Bryce and some delightful fellow contributors, including Alison Brackenbury, Katie Byford, Rowena Knight, Abigail Morley, Ruth O’Callaghan and Mathew Paul.

More than 100 people squeezed into The London Review Bookshop to celebrate Magma 59‘s fresh new take on the theme of ‘Breaks’ by a wide range of poets including Mimi Khalvati and Penelope Shuttle.  The issue crackles with originality. Titles alone make your mouth water, including: ‘Apartment Hunting With the Lady Who Lives in A Shoe’, ‘The Half-Litre Messiah’, ‘The Doll With a Hole in its Hand’ and ‘Mal de Cou-Cou’.

“After poems of great delicacy and eggshells come others of metal and grind,” Giaccometti - Walking Woman 2write editors Roberta James and Alex Pryce. “Already familiar with powerful lines like Sylvia Plath’s “Now I break up in pieces that fly about like clubs” and Tennyson’s rending elegy Break, Break, Break, we were all the same surprised by the extraordinary range of tone and far-reaching subject matter [in this issue].”

My own poem ‘Model in Love’ was written during a workshop at Tate Modern, inspiringly led by Pascale Petit. We were allowed to handle (with cotton gloves!) a number of sculptures, including a beautiful work by Alberto Giacometti entitled Walking Woman.

Magma 59 launch at London Review of BooksMagma 59 is available from www.magmapoetry.com  or from selected book stores. Indulge yourself in poetry heaven and enjoy features such as John Humphrys on Wilfred Owen’s Dulce et Decorum Est, Colette Bryce interviewed about her poem The Brits, and Andrew Neilson’s view of poetry on e-readers. Plus reviews by Laurie Smith, George Szirtes and Jennifer Wong.  A steal at £8.60 including p&p!