Salzburg’s Hills are Alive with Poems!

Salzburg is the land of Mozart, castles, the von Trapps, whipped cream . . . and English poetry? Yes, the hills are alive with the work of 53 poets in the latest issue of Poetry Salzburg Review. OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

A little left-field perhaps, but the literary magazine set up by the University of Salzburg’s Department of English and American Studies has an 11 year record of publishing original poetry in English. So I’m thrilled to have five of my poems included in their latest issue (No. 28).

Poetry Salzburg Review 28

The magazine comes out twice yearly, and delivers some of the best front covers of any literary publication. This issue’s dream-like sequence was created by Russian-born Michael Cheval who specialises in Absurdist paintings, drawings and portraits.

Content in Issue 28 is an eclectic mix of poetry from the Anglophone world, including poets from Canada, the UK, Ireland, New Zealand, South Africa and the USA.

Sharon Black, Jane Bonnyman, Claire Booker, Daragh Bradish, Meg Eden, Piotr Florczyk, Anne Harding Woodworth, Andrzej Lyszkowicz, Lindsay MacGregor, Rob A Mackenzie, Kim Moore, Stuart A. Patterson, Robert Peake, Hagar Peeterson (translated by Judith Wilkinson), Caroline Price, Wally Swist and Ross Wilson share between one and 5 poems apiece with the reader.

Poetry Salzburg Review 28 (2)Poetry Salzburg Review 28 (2)Issue 28 also contains reviews of John Silkins’s Complete Poems, Rae Armantrout’s Itself, the German poets Volker Braun and Michael Kruger, and collections by Caitriona O’Reilly, Kim Moore, Gordon Hodgeon, Mike Jenkins and Robert Peake. Plus translations of Michael Kruger by Wolfgang Gortschacher and David Malcolm.

To buy a copy of Issue 28 or submit you work to the magazine check details at  www.poetrysalzburg.com or email the editors at psr@poetrysalzburg.com

Poetry Gigs I Know and Love

Performance is a great way to test out a new poem or recharge an old one. Looking back over 2015,  I’ve performed at some great gigs – either as an invited feature or open-mic – and learned so much. Thank you all for having me!

Torriano - Tessa LangSo let’s hear it for The Torriano Meeting House, which invited my Stanza Group, Original Poets, led by Tessa Lang (left) to perform some of our poetry in January. People meet every Sunday evening to share poetry at this unique Kentish Town venue. Don’t miss powerful young American Robert Peake reading there on Jan 17th. www.torrianomeetinghouse.wordpress.com

Original Poets meet every third Monday of the month (7pm) at The Bread & Roses pub, Clapham Manor Street, SW4 6DZ. All are welcome to attend.

Rachael Joseph, Barry Brock, Claire Booker, Frank Mariani, Angela Brodie

Rachael Joseph, Barry Brock, Claire Booker, Frank Mariani, Angela Brodie

In Feb, I was at Keat’s House in Hampstead to read a couple of my poems in the Templar Publication‘s 2015 anthology.  www.templarpoetry.com

Then Camden Poetry Series invited five regulars from Beyond Words to be their March feature. Open mic readers can have their poems included in the Camden/Lumen annual anthology which raises money for cold weather shelters. I was back again in June to read at the anthology launch.   www.camdenlumen.wordpress.com

Check out poetic combo Hilaire and Joolz who are featuring at Beyond Words on Tues 5th Jan. www.beyondwordspoetrylondon.co.uk

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThe launch of a new issue of Magma is an event to relish. Such a swanky venue (London Review of Books), so many great poets, such generous glasses of wine! What a privilege to read two of my poems at the launch of issue 61 (The Street) alongside poets such as Simon Barraclough, Lisa Kelly and Christine Webb. www.magmapoetry.com

Donnel Dempsey

Donnel Dempsey

In June, I headed to Guildford to give forth at the launch of The Keystone Anthology, then later as a feature at Pop Up Poetry. Both are run by formidable team, Janice Windle and Donnel Dempsey, who can pull sizzling hot poetry evenings out of a hat – any hat! Dempsey&Windle – books, pamphlets and poems

Stanza Bonanza June 15And where would we be without the frisson of a Stanza Bonanza? Original Poets (Mark Fiddes, Nicole Piggott, Steve Hoy, Michael Cosham, Tessa Lang and myself) representing Clapham, took on the might of Brixton’s best under the firm baton of Poetry Society’s Paul McGrane. If you’re serious about poetry, get serious about joining The Poetry Society (for as little as £20 a year). It’s been flying the flag for poets since 1909. www.poetrysociety.org.uk

Interpreter's House Launch, OxfordOxford’s eternal spires welcomed me in July to the launch of The Interpreter’s House (issue 59), where I joined fellow contributors in a fantastic evening of poetry, teapots and bonhomie. The submissions window for the summer issue is February. Email editor Martin Malone at theinterpretershouse@aol.com or visit:  www.interpretershouse.com

Drop in InstructionIn September I was guest poet at Poet In The City‘s Drop in at Waterstone’s in Picadilly, London. The theme was ‘Instruction’. My choice of poems included ‘Instructions for Building Straw Huts’ by Yusef Komunyakaa; ‘Timothy Winters’ by Charles Causley; ‘Sun a-shine, rain a-fall by Valerie Bloom; ‘Song’ by W H Auden and a couple of my own poems. Drop-ins are free, with a new theme each month. Bring your own poems or favourites. www.poetinthecity.co.uk

Stephanie James in 'Alleluiah'

Stephanie James in ‘Alleluiah’

Loose Muse is London’s premier event for women writers of all genres, and is expanding fast, with sister ships in Manchester, Cornwall and Winchester. Agnes Meadows, who IS Loose Muse, invited me to bring my short play ‘Alleluiah’ to the Poetry Cafe in Covent Garden earlier this year.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERALoose Muse Winchester, set up and run by poet Sue Wrinch, booked me as their feature in November, alongside poet and novelist Claire Dyer. I can thoroughly recommend both venues as welcoming, well-attended and full of surprises. Women only get to perform, but men are always welcome in the audience. www.loose-muse.com

So here’s hoping that 2016 will be rich in opportunity and inspiration for each and every one of us. A very Happy New Year!

Stuck for a Stocking Filler? Make someone’s day with Poetry!

Genius Floored, Notes While Waiting 15Only ten shopping days left to Christmas. But don’t despair! Salvation is only a brief mouse-click away.

Why not buy that poetry-loving, special someone a copy of Genius Floored: Notes While Waiting? All proceeds from the sale are donated to Caris Camden, which administers Camden cold-weather shelters for the homeless.

The anthology contains work by poetry big-hitters such as Fleur Adcock, Elaine Feinstein, Matthew Hollis, Fiona Sampson and George Szirtes, plus contributions from some of the many open-mic contributors at Lumen and Camden poetry evenings in London. These include Connie Bensley, Claire Booker, Greg Byrne, Nancy Charley, Annemarie Cooper, Gillian Henchley, Hilaire, Racheal Joseph and Caroline Vero.

Edited by award-winning poet, Ruth O’Callaghan, it’s an incredible snip at £4.99 per copy. To purchase a copy of Genius Floored:Notes While Waiting please click on the following link http://www.soaringpenguinpress.com

To find out more about Camden and Lumen poetry events check out:  http://www.camdenlumen.wordpress.com

‘Goddesses and Anti-heroines’ – filmed poems in New Welsh Review

542465842_150x84Poetry filmed, is poetry re-created in new form. It’s been an eye-opener to experience my poem ‘Churchyard’ interpreted as a multi-media artifact sponsored by Aberystwyth University.

‘Goddesses and Anti-heroines’ is a ten minute poetry showcase, commissioned by the New Welsh Review, which takes the work of Polly Atkin, Claire Booker, Alys Conran and Stav Poleg and teams it with young actors and film-makers at the University. What emerges is beautiful, arresting, even shocking.

The poetry showcase runs in the following order:  At the Yorkshire Sculpture Park by Alys Conran; Churchyard by Claire Booker; Site-specific Streetcar by Stav Poleg; Free Night by Polly Atkin; and Leave by Alys Conran.

My poem ‘Churchyard’ is beautifully performed by Freya Blyth over a collage of visuals including dandelion clocks, wind-swept hawthorn bushes and the murmurations of starlings. Thank you to everyone involved.

‘Goddesses and Anti-heroines was filmed by Emma Musty and Jes Rose and can be viewed on Vimeo or at the New Welsh Reader website. 542465842_150x84Please click the following link which takes you to the multi-media part of the website and scroll down: www.newwelshreview.com/multimedia.php

New Welsh Review is a monthly online supplement of review and comment. It’s a recent addition to sister publication New Welsh Reader which has been a leading Welsh-based literary magazine since the 1980s. You can follow The New Welsh Review for free at: www.newwelshreview.com

Magma 63 Eavesdrops on Conversations

Magma 63Literary magazines exist to offer  an exchange between reader and author – ideas and inspiration flowing freely between minds.

So bravo to Magma 63’s editors Susannah Hart and Lisa Kelly for their fascinating cache of poems and articles on the gentle (and not so gentle!) art of conversation. Poets in this issue include Sophie Baker, Claire Booker, Jane Draycott, Jody Porter, Robert Seatter, Martha Sprackland, Eoghan Walls and Jackie Wills.

And as part of Magma’s on-going commissions, Daljit Nagra presents his new poem ‘The Look of Love’ which draws on a couplet by lesser known Elizabethan poet, Thomas Campion – “Fairenesse seene in th’outward shape is but th’inward beauties Ape.”

Plus there are some excellent feature articles in this issue. Christine Webb writes eloquently on the experience of having one of her favourite poems (‘Hurrahing In Harvest’ by Manley Hopkins) recorded for her by an actor at The Poetry Exchange. If you’d like to do the same, or would like to listen to already recorded poems, then visit:  www.thepoetryexchange.co.uk

And what about posterity? Is this still a possibility for contemporary poets? Tom Chivers (Penned in the Margins), Amy Wack (Seren), Neil Astley (Bloodaxe) and Parisa Ebrahimi (Chatto & Windus) enter the conversation.

Ambit’s Poetry Editor, Declan Ryan, considers Ian Hamilton’s concept of ‘perfect speech’ and finishes with a poetry exercise: write a poem that says something that should have been said to someone at the time, but who is no longer around.

And of course, there are reviews of some of the latest poetry collections including ‘Citizen’ by Claudia Rankine, ‘Loop of Jade’ by Sarah Howe, and ‘Careful What You Wish For’ by Peter Sansom.

To read some of the poems in issue 63, or to buy a copy, check the Magma website at: www.magmapoetry.com

Monologue Slam at St James’ Theatre

Twelve actors, ten playwrights, one great concept!

CSRamQWXIAAjMJu Director’s Cut pulled off an adventurous evening of acting and writing talent on Tuesday, with its ‘Make The Cut’ slam at London’s prestigious St James Theatre.

It’s always a privilege to have a play performed by up and coming young actors. This time, not one, but two, got to interpret the role of Kips in my play ‘Sperm Vampire’ along with nine other monologues, also performed by more than one actor.

The monologues were selected from among hundreds submitted to the company.  Each play was performed twice, by two different actors.  Each actor got to learn three different monologues.  The first round comprised all 12 actors going head to head in pairs, performing six of the shortlisted plays.  The audience then got to vote who went forward. The six winning actors  then went head to head in three groups of pairs, performing a new monologue.  The final round saw three actors performing the final monologue.  CSVVaFBWoAAA7gT

Simon Desborough and Harry Boyd both gave sterling performances as Kips in ‘Sperm Vampire’ by Claire Booker. A big thank you and congratulations to them both for their excellent interpretations.

Congratulations also to all the short-listed writers, the other ten actors and mazeltoff to the ultimate winners, actor Sukh Kaur Ojla and writer Tom Ratcliffe.

If you would like to know more about The Director’s Cut Theatre, including future writing or acting opportunities, please contact Heather Ward (Artistic Director and Producer) at: www.directorscuttheatre.co.uk or on Facebook at:  https://www.facebook.com/directorscutTC

Popshot gets ‘Curious’ with Fiction, Poetry and Illustration

A man in a blue gabardine and trilby is walking through a yellow wall. Curious?

Popshot (issue 14)_0001Then buy a copy of Popshot (issue 14) and follow the trail of weird and wonderful things within its latest pages. From tales of deep sea mysteries and time-loops to poems on blue hen’s eggs, leeks that rustle and planetary stalkers, Popshot will have your eyes popping.

Poets featured in the ‘Curious Issue’ include Claire Booker, Rosie Garland, Nancy Carol Moody and Catherine Venn. And there are great stories from Danielle Carey, Jane Wright and Dan Coxon among others, including a brilliant imagining by Rob Stuart on what might happen if humans create a super-powerful artificial intelligence. Be surprised. Be very surprised.

And of course, the glorious illustrations (17 in all) make Popshot such a joy to hold in the hand or view on screen.  Colour-rich or monchrome, figurative or pop-art, there’s something for every taste – each one a potential collectors’ item.

Popshot (CdeL best quality)Popshot editor, Jacob Denno, selects short fiction and poetry from thousands of submissions, then hands them over to cutting edge artists to absorb. Once they’re all fired up, it’s down to the drawing board!

It’s a dream come true to know that my poem ‘Clair de Lune’ has inspired an evocative illustration by Mathieu Persan which appears along side it in the magazine. There’s something mesmeric about that moonlit scene that keeps drawing me in.

For more information on Mathieu Persan’s work, please check his website at: www.barbudesign.com

Other illustrators in Popshot’s Curious issue  include Joey Guidone, Alys Hobbs, Kate O’Hara and Carolina Burdon. The cover illustration (top) is by Jörn Kaspuhl at kaspuhl.com.

Popshot continues to grow a community of readers, with copies of the magazine now available in 22 countries. If you want to see why, have a flick through a few spreads here in the Curious Issue.

You can buy a single issue for £6 + p&p or subscribe for £10 a year and get issue 14 as your initial copy, followed by the next two issues over the coming year, plus free access to the digital edition which contains every issue Popshot have ever published.