Poetry for everyone in The Australia Times Poetry Magazine

KoalaThis Pommie has just gone  ‘down under’ (in a virtual kind of way) thanks to The Australia Times Poetry Magazine which has published my poem about an Alaskan Husky (yes, spot the irony!)

I reckon Australia has something to teach us about how poetry can be made accessible and enjoyable to a wider range of readers. Twice monthly, The Australia Times Poetry Magazine hits the worldwide web in a glory of beautiful photographs, spacious layout and a rich variety of poetry from household names to ballads about Bush life, from  comedy to moving memorials.  And – get this – there are real adverts too. Yes, adverts for everyday things!

Edited by Maureen Clifford, this latest issue includes work by Frank Prem and John Summers, Claire Booker and Pam Davies, plus a touching tribute for Ellen Johanna Larson Smith by her grandson together with her finely worked poem ‘The Farmer Feeds Them All’. There’s also excellent Bush poetry from W John Moss (aka croc) and Sonnet 130 by the up-and-coming W. Shakespeare!


If you have time, please check out the magazine (27th March 2015) by clicking the link below. If you write poetry, you might like to consider sending in your work.  Submission guidelines are included towards the back of the issue.



New drama alive and kicking in Clapham’s Bread & Roses Theatre

Unheard 2015Some stunning new dramas played at Clapham’s newest theatre, The Bread & Roses, last month as part of ‘Unheard’ – a four day festival of plays that explored themes of abuse and violence.   Vagina Monologues 2015 phto Ricardo Correia

From rehearsed readings to scratch performances and full productions, many of the twelve events organised by activist theatre company Goblin Baby played to capacity audiences. These included charity fund-raiser ‘The Vagina Monologues’ and two evenings of short new plays including ‘Deliverance’ by Amy Bethan Evans and ‘Bathroom Secrets’ by Claire Booker. Hot from its success in New York, the  ‘Maison des Reves’ shook audiences with the story of a woman who murdered over a hundred men in Czarist Russia, written and performed by the amazingly versatile Talie Melnyk.

Bathroom Secrets(Photographer Kenneth Jay)Tickets cost as little as £3.00 in keeping with Goblin Baby Theatre Company’s policy of bringing thought-provoking theatre to people at a price everyone can afford.

Susan Hodgetts

Susan Hodgetts

‘Bathroom Secrets’ was performed with touching honesty by Susan Hodgetts in the role of Bee, whilst Mark Lisseman brought poignancy to the role of her husband.  A big thank you also to director Suvi Peisanen and Goblin Baby Theatre Company for producing my work.

Goblin Baby Theatre Company are now preparing their next production due in April/May  – a contemporary take on August Strindberg’s Miss Julie featuring Tessa Hart & Rebecca Pryle. Do check out their website for further details at.:

Goblin Baby Theatre Co.

The Bread & Roses Theatre has been building audiences rapidly since it opened earlier this year. You can enjoy theatre, comedy or Open Mic events only a few minute’s walk from Clapham Common/North tube stations on most nights of the week. For a full programme go to: The Bread & Roses Theatre

Photographs curtesy of Kenneth Jay.

Two bites at cherry for Bookerplays in Lost Theatre’s 5 Minute Festival

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERARobots, husbands and small bars of soap feature in two plays by Claire Booker which each won a place in the Finals Night of Lost Theatre’s Five Minute Festival earlier this month.

Thirty two short plays were inititally selected to be performed at the 7th annual 5 Minute Festival in Stockwell, south London, over four nights in front of a panel of industry judges. Ten plays won places into the Grande Finale.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAAlleluiah was performed by Stephanie James, despite running a high fever on the night. She snatched victory from the jaws of the flu with her wonderfully nuanced performance as Bridget – a woman who shares a bed and bathroom with husband Barry – but not the secrets of her heart.

To view the 5 minute film of the play, please click on:


Ever wondered what life would be life after the Bomb has dropped? Wonder no longer. The food’s unrelenting, the West Wing’s tiny and the staff are work-experience robots. Nuclear Bunker offers a comic take on life underground as Lady Kay (Victoria Otter) struggles to control her scheming robot Grimaldi (Michael Hutchinson) and his side-kick Sasha (Lucy Tippett).

To view the 5 minute film of Nuclear Bunker, please click on: “NUCLEAR BUNKER” by Claire Booker – LOST Theatre 5 Minute Festival

Lost Theatre is a purpose built 180 seater conveniently positioned on the Wandsworth Road (SW8 2JU) between Stockwell tube and Vauxhall tube/overground stations. Lost 5 mInute Fest 15 It has a vibrant and ecclectic programme throughout the year. As well as running the 5 Minute Festival, Lost also runs One Act and Solo festivals. If you’d like to know more about the Lost Theatre, or are interested in entering the One Act Festival (submissions now open) click on:  http://www.losttheatre.co.uk

10 years of Templar Poetry celebrated at Keat’s House

What a joy it was to be invited to Keat’s House in Hampstead as part of Templar Poetry’s tenth anniversary celebrations last month. Could there be a more appropriate setting? Keat's House

Six poets (Claire Booker, Catherine Brennan, Oliver Commins, Mark Fiddes and Tanya Prudente) shared their work with a lively audience and some fascinating medical glassware in display cabinets at the front of the room!

Skein (Templar 2014)I read two of my poems from the new Templar anthology ‘Skein’ which contains work selected from Templar’s 2014 Pamphlet & Collection Awards. Beautifully produced and reasonably priced, it’s one more example of the quality publications we’ve grown to expect from Templar, including their latest poetry collections – Mesopotamia by Damian Smyth; The Fool from Christopher James and Beetle by Matthew Henley.

Templar Poetry publishes full collections, short, medium and full length pamphlets plus Iota Poetry Magazine. Three Annual Poetry Awards bring new poets to Templar, so look out for submission deadlines in 2015 if you’d like to be part of this impressive stable. You can also enjoy more Templar Poetry readings live at Keat’s House, including Jane Weir and Patrick Toland on Tues 24th Feb at 7.00pm

For more information about Templar Poetry awards and publications, or to purchase a copy of ‘Skein’ price £10, please click on: Templar Poetry

Ginosko open for Poetry and Short Story submissions

Ginosko (Issue 15)California-based literary magazine, Ginosko, is looking for innovative poetry and short prose. Submitting is just a click away on-line.

Inside the latest issue, you’ll find poetry by  Mark Belair, Claire Booker, Joanna Chen, Catherine Gonick, Jed Myers, Sandra Kohler and Terry Anne Thaxton with prose contributions from C G Fewston, Signey Thompson and others.

Ginosko – means to perceive, realize, come to know; knowledge that has an inception, a progress, an attainment. The recognition of truth from experience. The magazine has been published twice yearly since its launch in 2003. It’s edited by Robert Paul Cesaretti and Maggie Heaps, who are based in Fairfax, CA.

To find out more, or to download a free copy of Ginosko (Issue 15) please click on the following link:

Grab some Light Fantastic tonight at Poet in the City!

Poet in the City’s drop-in event tonight is hosted by John Mole on the theme of tripping the light fantastic.  The Drop-in is a FREE monthly event (6.30pm for 7pm start), in which regulars and newbies bring along themed poems to share (their own, or by poets who inspire them), all in the comfortable setting of the poetry section of Waterstone’s, Piccadilly.

WebI had the pleasure of c0-hosting last month’s event with fellow poet, Louise Warren. November’s theme was ‘Rumours’.  Not an easy one, but after scouring my book shelves, plus a trip to the Saison Poetry Library, I ended up sharing: ‘To Others Than You’ by Dylan Thomas; ‘I saw a Peacock with a Fiery Tail’ by Anon (one of my favourite poets!); ‘Macavity: The Mystery Cat’ by TS Elliot; ‘I’m Nobody!Who are you?’ by Emily Dickinson; plus two of my own poems.

If you’d like to attend Poet in the City’s Drop-In,  please RSVP by telephoning Waterstones on 020 7851 2419 or by e-mailing  events@piccadilly.waterstones.co.uk  Tonight’s theme is Tripping the Light Fantastic, under the expert guidance of regular host John Mole. John has been a recipient of the Gregory and Cholmondeley Awards for Poetry. He has presented BBC Radio 4’s Poetry Please and Time for Verse and, for Radio 3 he has compiled and presented Poetry Now. His most recent collection is The Point of Loss (Enitharmon, 2011).

For more information about the many events that Poet in the City organise, please visit: http://www.poetinthecity.co.uk

Smoking Can Seriously Help the Homeless

Genius Floored (Whispers in Smoke)_0002Or more specifically, Genius Floored: Whispers in Smoke can seriously help keep homeless men and women off the streets this winter, and give them real hope in 2015.

Genius Floored (Whispers in Smoke)A fistful of famous poets, together with regulars at the Camden and Lumen monthly poetry series events, have donated poems which are included in this year’s anthology, edited by Ruth O’Callaghan and published by Soaring Penguin.

Yes, POETRY does make things happen!

Featured poets include Dannie Abse, Fleur Adcock, Alison Brackenbury, Ruth O’Callaghan, Fiona Sampson, Anne Stevenson and George Szirtes,  as well as RV Bailey, Claire Booker, Josh Ekroy, Daphne Gloag, Barry Jones,  Jeremy Kingston and Caroline Smith.

All proceeds from the sale of this year’s anthology will be donated to Caris Camden, which administers Camden cold-weather shelters for the homeless.

To purchase a copy of Genius Floored:Whispers in Smoke 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