Tag Archives: new poetry

New Year’s resolution – keep Poetry healthy!

2019 collections (2)Still stuck for a new year’s resolution?  How about subscribing to an extra literary magazine, buying another collection/pamphlet, perhaps crowd-funding an event or renewing your membership of The Poetry Society?

Not yet a member? T.S Elliot must be spinning in his grave! He helped set up the society in 1909. Or, to paraphrase another great American wordsmith (record holder for speaking 350 words per minute): Ask not what Poetry can do for you, but what YOU can do for Poetry.

For the modest price of £23 per year, you can enjoy that warm glow of maintaining the heart beat of poetry in the UK, as well as a hamper of literary goodies. For £44 per year, you get a subscription to the quarterly Poetry Review thrown in too. What’s not to like?

Stanza Bonanza ColchesterFor me, the warm glow is enough. But I’ve enjoyed the benefits too. The society has over 100 Stanza groups in the UK where you can enjoy the company and technical feedback of other poets. Clapham used to be my Stanza group. Now I’m a member of the Brighton group. There’s one near you, almost certainly.

My poem Sp/lit was recently commended in the society’s 2019 Stanza Competition. You can read Sp/lit, along with the winning and commended poems at the following link. Just select 2019 and scroll down the right hand side of the page to find them all: 2019 Stanza Competition poems

If you live within reach of London, the Poetry Society’s refurbished headquarters off Long Acre, Covent Garden, is a great venue for its many events and activities, together with the Poetry Café where you can meet, eat and speak to your heart’s content. I recently went there for Poetry@3, a popular monthly Open Mic event hosted by the warmly Welsh and very welcoming Paul McGrane. It’s for poets who like to play in the afternoon. So handy for travel, if you don’t live in London. Trafalgar

20191205_poetree-2897-2048x1332[1]This Christmas, I went up to the Big Smoke again for the lighting up of the 100ft Norwegian spruce in Trafalgar Square. Is no-where safe from the Poetry Society’s influence? A specially commissioned poem, ‘The Gift’ by Clare Pollard, inspired by local school children, was part of the ceremony, touchingly performed by youngsters to a crowd of warmly wrapped people.

[2]Other benefits to membership include, discounted poetry surgeries, a free copy of the quarterly Poetry News, packed with essential reading, including a double page dedicated to young poets. And more than 20 different projects currently putting Poetry into the public arena up and down the country, from National Poetry Day, and The Annual Lecture, to the Canal Laureateship, Poetry and Podcasts, and vital archive work.

So, for the cost of a festive round of drinks, you get to support a heritage that goes back  . . . well, exactly when did poetry first start? Cuneiform, spoken, printed or virtual, all we can say for sure, is that it’s been going a very long time. Let’s hope it stays that way!

For more information about membership, please visit: The Poetry Society

Poetry Salzburg Review – flying the flag for English poetry

Poetry Salzburg Review (issue 34)With only weeks before a possible plunge off the Brexit cliff, it’s good to know that English language poetry is still cherished in the heart of Europe. images[7]

The latest issue of Poetry Salzburg Review contains work from 72 English-speaking poets including John Arnold, Claire Booker, Jonathan Catherall, Carole Coates, Andy Croft, Robert Dassanowsky, Terry Doyle, Julie Maclean, Sue Kindon, Fiona Larkin, Owen Lowery, Matthew Paul, Paul Stephenson, Tessa Strickland, Iain Twiddy, Tom Vaughan, Sarah Juliet Walsh and Andrew Wildermuth.

Poetry Salzburg Review (issue 34) (3)Continuing its trend of fabulously surreal covers, the artwork for issue 34 is by Michael Cheval. This is the third issue of PSR that has carried my poems, and each time Cheval has wowed me with his inventiveness and luscious use of colour. You can find out more about his work at Michael Cheval

But of course, a book is more than it’s cover. Look inside this one, and as well as a wide range of poetic styles and themes, you’ll find reviews of European and UK poets by John Challis, Keith Hutson and Robert Peake; and a thought-provoking interview with Scottish poet and translater Alan Riach by PSR editor Wolfgang Gortschacher.

To buy a copy of Poetry Salzburg Review, browse their collections and pamphlets, or submit your own work, please visit Poetry Salzburg

Celebrating Change – When Poetry Packs a Punch

A project underway in Middlesbrough is working with local people and the wider literary community to harness the power of poetry for creating social and political change.

It’s a year-long digital storytelling project, funded by Arts Council England and led by film-maker Laura Degnan and poet Kirsten Luckins.

images59ORYF4GLast month, guest editor Amy Kinsman selected my poem about a refugee seeking asylum via the Channel Tunnel and published it on the Celebrating Change website. You can find it under their recent posts (June 14th), or read it here: Abdul Haroun Almost Medals at Dover 

If you’ve written a poem that tackles injustice, inspired perhaps by people striving to create a better world, you might be interested to know that Celebrating Change are looking for poems on a rolling basis. canva-females-gathering-on-road-for-demonstrations-MADOYVgN2Gw[1]

Here’s the gen:

“Please send poems (no longer than 40 lines) and stories (no longer than 750 words) as attachments to celebratingchange2017@gmail.com. We are happy to accept previously published work, just tell us where and when it first appeared so we can acknowledge.

csd-2735009__340[2]Please also include a short biog (50 words) and links to your blog, website or audio/video channel. A good photo of you, or a photo taken by you that we can use to illustrate the poem would be super for the Insta feed.

Our overarching theme is ‘change’ – guest editors will be more specific. Because this is a digital storytelling project, we like poems that tell a story in some way.”

To enjoy poems already live on the site, including work by Ian Badcoe, Claire Booker, Jane Burn, Sara Hirsch and Marylin Longstaff, check out: Celebrating Change

 

400 years of women’s lives in poetry thanks to London Undercurrents

DwjEU33XcAALU3F[1]My review of Hilaire and Joolz Sparkes’ fascinating debut collection ‘London Undercurrents’ is now live on Ink, Sweat and Tears‘ review pages.

Congratulations to both poets for their lively handling of the subject and to Holland Park Press for creating such a lovely looking book.

It delves with great energy and dexterity into the lives of London’s unsung heroines of the past four hundred years. Quite unputtable down!

If you’d like to read my review then please visit the following link: Ink Sweat and Tears

Go buy the book at: Holland Park Press

It’s Cricket! Paper Swan’s Latest Pocket Book is Out

Paper Swans - CricketIf the hallowed sound of leather against willow seems like a distant dream, why not buy yourself a copy of Paper Swans’ CRICKET Pocket Book of Poetry, where twelve poets will knock you for six with their spin on the noble game?images51VWJZ8U

Look out for stories of love among the wickets, batting triumphs and bowling disasters from Penny Blackburn, Claire Booker, Catherine Edmunds, Steve Harrison, Neil Leadbetter, Roy Marshall, Jill Munro, Brenda Read-Brown, Sue Spiers, Rob Walton, Joe Williams and Lawrence Wilson.

The Pocket Book of Poetry – CRICKET is one of a series of themed poetry pamphlets edited by Sarah Miles and designed to pop into a pocket, a bag or send with a greetings card to make it extra special. They’re available from Paper Swans Press for £3.50 (ex p&p) and include the topics of LOVE, WEDDINGS, ANGER and WOMEN’S SUFFRAGE.

To buy a copy or learn more about the Tunbridge Wells based publisher, click on: Paper Swans Press

South Bank Poetry is 10 Years Old

South Bank Poetry (issue 30)_0002Poetry magazines aren’t notable for their longevity. It takes dedication and sheer bloody mindedness (I suspect) to keep jumping those hurdles, year after year.

So a massive thumbs-up to Peter Ebsworth and Katherine Lockton for steering their ever-popular magazine into its second decade. By sheer fluke, I have two poems in the 10th anniversary issue, which in a lovely way, gives me a direct connection with that celebration.

Due to prior commitments, I wasn’t able to attend the launch of South Bank Poetry (issue 30) at the Poetry Place, but by all accounts it was an evening to remember. Many contributors attended and read their poems. For those of us who weren’t able, there was a special treat in store. The actress Annette Badland (Hazel of Archer’s fame), kindly agreed to perform our work. SBP Annette Badland reads At Risk Child 18

Having heard her read another of my poems last year in the Actor’s Church, Covent Garden, as part of the Out of Place music project, I know just how well she uses that intelligent voice of hers to bring out every nuance in a piece of poetry.

Contributors to the 10th anniversary issue include Jim Alderson, Tessa Berring, Leonardo Boix, Claire Booker, Oliver Comins, Daniel Loudon, Joel Scarfe, Paul Stephenson, Joe Wedgbury and Heidi Williamson.

“We would like to thank all our contributors to this issue, as well as all the poets who have sent us their work over the last ten years,” writes Katherine Lockton in the intro. We would be nothing without you. Over the years we have seen poets published in our magazine go on to become poetry superstars. We are so proud of what you have all achieved and continue to accomplish.”

South Bank Poetry (issue 30)_0001I can think of no better encomium for the magazine, than that written by the poet, journalist and travel writer, Hugo Williams: “I have always enjoyed South Bank Poetry for its unexpected mix of strange and traditional, lyrical and political, young, old and odd, so I don’t hesitate in recommending it to anyone remotely interested in the art. It is just a very good money’s worth and will last.”

How prescient he turns out to be. A hearty thanks to Peter and Katherine for giving us a decade of happy reading. Here’s to the next ten years (and more)!

To buy a copy of the magazine, or submit your own work, please check: www.southbankpoetry.co.uk

The Spectator and I

Spectator (Dec 1st 2018)_0001Thank you to Hugo Williams for including one of my poems in this week’s Spectator magazine (Dec 1st issue).

The Spectator may not be everyone’s cup of tea politically, but it gets serious marks for including not one, but two (and sometimes even three), contemporary poems EVERY WEEK in its pages.  How many newspapers or main stream magazines can say as much?

And what’s heartening, is those poems are not always by the literary glitterati. Which means that anyone can have a chance to be enjoyed by 80,000 plus readers – so long as the poem is interesting enough to be selected.

In this issue, you can read loads on the arts, including poems by John Mole, Nicola Healey and Claire Booker, an interview with best-selling author Sam Leith, advice on buying modern art (out of my price range, alas!), book, TV, theatre and dance reviews, including Michele Obama’s ‘Becoming’ and a feature on the history of Art Deco. You also get Spectator Life magazine thrown in for good measure, which includes a highly entertaining interview with comedienne and former advisor to a number of Labour leaders, Ayesha Hazarika. Spectator (Dec 1st 2018)_0002

If you’d like your work to be considered, send a small selection of poems (on paper only) to Hugo Williams, c/o The Spectator, Arts and Books, 22 Old Queen Street, London SW1H 9HP.

 

 

Magma 71 – the Film Issue

Magma 71“Poetry and Film make wonderful bedfellows,” proclaims the editorial in the summer issue of Magma. The 62 poems within its pages are testimony to that.

Poets selected for the final wrap of Magma 71 include Patricia Ace, Claire Booker, Matthew Caley, Kristi Carter, Michael Conley, Frank Dullaghan, Pat Edwards, Carrie Etter,  Katie Evans-Bush, Jamie Field, Nick Garrard, Kevin Higgins, Mingpei Li, Roisin Kelly, Andrew McMillan, Kathy Pimlott, Kate Rutter, Rosie Shepperd and Greta Stoddart.

Magma 71 - Cinema MuseumCo-editors Cheryl Moskowitz and Stav Poleg have curated a celebration of the cinematic qualities so often found in good poetry – a rich coupling of word and image. But they were also keen to travel beyond the page and connect poets with filmmakers to allow new creations to emerge. 

Enter the University of Edinburgh, Emma Davie at the Edinburgh College of Art and Lucy Kendra and Jennifer Williams at the Festival of Creative Learning. The collaboration has resulted in a number of powerful film poems. So often poetry is a lone wolf, but Magma have increasingly extended the hand of creative friendship to make fascinating new links.

Magma 71 - launchOne such link is with The Cinema Museum in Kennington, which opened its doors for a stunning launch of Magma 71 last month. I urge you, if you can, to visit this amazing museum, set inside the old workhouse where Charlie Chaplin and family took refuge. Magma 71 (The Cinema Museum)

As a huge Chaplin fan, it was incredibly moving to read my poem in the very place where he must have known despair and hunger, never imagining that his genius would later be celebrated in the self same cavernous building. To learn more or lend your support (there’s talk of closure) visit: The Cinema Museum

Magma 71 - KenningtonAs well as contributor readings, we were treated to an exhilarating range of poetry films from the expressionist, right through to more traditional ‘illustrative’ approaches. You can view these films at the Magma website now.

Back to paper and pages. Inside Magma 71 you’ll find work by highlighted poet Liz Lefroy; winning poems from the Magma 2017/18 competition; reviews by Jade Cuttle, Lisa Kelly and Andrew Neilson; analysis by Professor Peter William Evans of films including The Red Shoes and Il Postino in the light of poetics; Lucy Ingrams’ article on why reading Elizabeth Bishop is like going to the cinema; and a commissioned poem by Caroline Bird inspired by Rebecca E Marshall’s film Fever of the Light.

To echo Cheryl Moskowitz’s own sign off: “Find yourself a seat, make yourself comfortable and enjoy the issue!”

To buy a copy of Magma 71, submit your own work or view the film poems, please visit: Magma

The Interpreter’s House – a Celebration

Interpreters House, Martin Malone, Karen Izod 2018Martin Malone tested the limits of heat endurance when he handed over the keys of The Interpreter’s House on a sweltering night at a packed-to-the-rafters event in Nell of Old Drury, Covent Garden.

Celebrating the end of his five year tenure as editor, contributors from issues 67 and 68 waxed lyrical (and sweaty) during an evening both warm in body and heart.

Poets sharing their work included Claire Booker, Rachel Clyne, Sophie Dumont, Janet Hatherley, Pamela Johnson, Gary Jude, Wendy Klein, Candyce Lang, Jeremy Page, Jessica Mookheree, Olivia Tuck, Julia Webb and Ros Woolner, as well as commended poets and the runner-up in this year’s TIH poetry competition – Claire Dyer, Fiona Larkin and Karen Izod (above: with Martin Malone). Interpreter's House issue 68

IH68Launch2The latest issue includes the winning poem ‘Operation Thunderstorm’ by Theophilus Kwek, as well as poems by people who couldn’t make it to the launch such as Josephine Balmer, Robert Crawford, Katie Donovan, Carrie Etter and Robin Houghton. Plus there’s a powerful story by S.P. Hannaway and reviews by Martin Malone, Aoife Lyall, Dawn Gorman and Declan Ryan.

“Poetry’s background music represents an incrementally important soundtrack to what a society is, and in one of the developed world’s most socially unequal, this is no small thing,” says Martin Malone in his final editorial. Out-going Assistant Editor, Charles Lauder Jnr adds: “The goal was and always has been to accept the best writing – strong, surprising, unique, well-crafted, thought-provoking poems and stories.” IH launch 68 - 3

IH68launchIt’s a tough act to follow for new editors Georgi Gill and Andrew Wells, but they’re already on the case. Something like 1,500 submissions will land in their in-tray over the coming weeks, so if you’d like to see one of your poems or short stories in issue 69, check out the website at: The Interpreter’s House

Something Blue from Paper Swans Press

It’s perfect timing for Paper Swans Press as they launch their Pocket Book of Weddings hot on the heels of Harry and Meghan’s historic marriage.

Chris Parsons - Harry WeddingWhile lovers young and old tie the knot this summer season, you can join them in spirit and enjoy twelve beautifully crafted poems celebrating the ups and downs of wedded bliss.

The poems are by Yvonne Baker, Claire Booker, Angela Croft, Olivia Dawson, Hilary Hares, Katie Jukes, Roy Marshall, Linda Menzies, Jill Munro, Estelle Price, Brenda Read-Brown and Lawrence Wilson.

For less than the cost of a box of confetti, why not buy a copy of The Pocket Book of Weddings and have it posted to friends, family or workmates who are getting spliced this year? Or simply sit at home with a glass of sparkling wine, your best hat and enjoy.

Paper Swans WeddingsTo order your copy (price £3.50 plus p&p), or to find out about editor Sarah Miles’ next submissions window, please visit: Paper Swans Press

The Pocket Poetry Book of Weddings is one of a series of pocket sized, themed anthologies published by Paper Swans Press, including: Love, Anger, Suffrage, Cricket, Travel and Cats. More are planned, so watch this space!