Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Horizon and a reading from Camper Van Blues, November 18th

Ride the Word XVIII
    on the road to
Free Admission
45 Berwick Street, Soho, London W.1
 Wed 18th November  7- 9.15pm 
all Salt lineup
Elizabeth Baines
reading from her new novel: Too Many Magpies
Jane Holland
Vincent De Souza
Jay Merill
and guests:
Horizon Magazine introduced by:
editor, Jane Holland, plus readers George Ttoouli and Sophie Mayer
Floor spots: Jan Woolf, Alan Franks,
Marc Compton, et al
Hosted by Jay Merill  & Vincent de Souza
(Nearest Tube: Oxford Circus, Tottenham Court Rd.,
All Oxford Street buses - to Berwick St stop)

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Birmingham Poetry Reading: Tuesday, 20th October

'Surreal in the City'

Part of Birmingham Book Festival with Salt Publishing and Nine Arches Press poets.

Tuesday 20th October 2009 at 6.45pm, Birmingham Conservatoire, Birmingham.

Readings from Tom Chivers, Luke Kennard, Simon Turner and Matt Nunn.

Through their distinctive and bold poetry, these four poets re-imagine and re-interpret the digital age and the urban spaces in which we live. Their frequently surreal and wry poetry challenges language and poetic form to produce work that responds to the peculiarities of contemporary life and the ever-shifting landscapes it inhabits.

Tom Chivers’ first collection, How To Build A City, won the Crashaw Prize. He has also published a pamphlet, The Terrors , and is Associate Editor of literary journal Tears in the Fence.

Matt Nunn is a freelance writer and workshop leader. He is the co-editor of Under The Radar and Nine Arches Press and has just launched his third collection, Sounds in the Grass

Simon Turner’s collections include You Are Here, and Difficult Second Album, due out in 2010. His work has appeared in Tears in the Fence, The Wolf, and The London Magazine.

Luke Kennard
is an award-winning poet, critic and dramatist. He won an Eric Gregory Award in 2005. His latest collection, The Migraine Hotel was published in 2009.

Unbelieveable, but true: tickets for this excellent event are FREE! But please reserve them in advance with the box office - just call 0121 303 2323

Thursday, October 15, 2009

A Blending of Species

Another interesting link for you. (I do have thoughts of my own; I'm just not sharing them at the moment, as most are still at formation/thrashing-out stage.)

This link is to a blog entry from 2008 on David Morley's Warwick University blog - to which I may have linked before but no matter; this entry would repay a second or third visit - where David is describing the events at the Great Troubador Poetry Debate.

The key thing, however, is the less formal debate that follows in the Comments section, which makes for informative and often curious reading, and follows the train of thought expressed below:

David Morley wrote:

Outside is now becoming the new inside. One example: the gently whale-like appetite of Salt Publications – whose work and enterprise I think is totally welcome and good fun – has torn the nets between what we used to call the avant-grade, what we used to call the middle of the road, and what we used to call the mainstream. I think this blending of species is probably a good thing. Now we are different types of krill mixing about in the same space. Now we are all inside the whale, as Orwell would have it. Now we are all calling from the inside hoping to be heard on the outside. A new slightly enlarged small world, a convergence of alternative universes, but at least we have all become more visible and audible to each other.

Then read the Comments which follow. I have ideas of my own about this 'blending' of two different types of poetry - more on that anon.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Quote of the Week

Many thanks to Lawrence Upton, AHRC Creative Writing Fellow in the Department of Music at Goldsmiths, University of London, for the following marvellous encomium, discovered today at Poetryetc, an email list frequented largely by avant-gardists.

Mr Upton describes a critical comment I made about the experimental poet Keston Sutherland's work as demonstrating 'egotism of a high and dangerous order'.

Astonishing how just a few lines of mine quoted at random on an email list can reveal quite so much of my character.

Trying that link again: but it may be encrypted against non-list subscribers. If it won't work, you may have to google Poetry etc and possibly even join the list in order to read the archives.

Cambridge Literary Review

There was a somewhat supercilious review of the first issue of a new magazine recently, which annoyed me - it used to be considered out of order to trash first issues - and made me want to support the project.

You can find out more about the Cambridge Literary Review here.

I shall be subscribing to the magazine myself; if the second issue justifies the critic's comments, I shall not lose any sleep over criticising it myself. But everyone should be entitled to launch a new review without fear of missiles whizzing over their heads.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Billy Collins, review at Tower Poetry

Just flagging up my review of former US Poet Laureate Billy Collins' latest collection on Tower Poetry.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Horizon 3

Dowson’s grave, Brodsky’s dwindling reputation, Paterson’s Forward-winning collection and new Native American writing, all examined in the latest Horizon Review ...

Issue three of Horizon Review is the Poetry Issue, featuring provocative and in-depth interviews with Craig Raine, Pascale Petit and Hugo Williams, plus new poems by David Morley, Helen Ivory, Claire Crowther and many others, and a review of the Forward Prize-winning collection Rain by Don Paterson.

Countering recent accusations across the poetry world of a gender imbalance in poetry journals, women contributors outnumber men in this issue.

There is also a 'Bedside Table Interview' with A.L. Kennedy, plus essays on Shelley, Victorian decadent poet Ernest Dowson, new Native American writing and Ruth Padel. The Horizon Podcast explores the current renaissance in Midlands Poetry, while the issue closes out with another whimsical offering from columnist and Guardian-blogger Peter Robins on cookery books-cum-musicals.

Read Horizon here

Horizon Review Issue Three
  • Horizon Review is edited by Jane Holland. The online review is published twice a year.
  • The free magazine forms part of the Salt website which receives 2.3 million page downloads a year, 23 million hits and over half a million unique visitors.
  • Irish writer Nuala Ní Chonchúir is now Fiction Editor.
  • Critic George Ttoouli is now Reviews Editor.

Friday, October 09, 2009

Salt Blog Explosion

Salt Publishing has now rolled all its blogs into one page: read them here.

Salt Confidential is powering on with ideas for Christmas presents, hot-off-the-press news from the poetry frontline, and facts on fiction. I haven't posted any entries on Horizon Review since the summer though. Bad Jane!

Still, now that Horizon is about to launch its 3rd issue, the blog entries will rise again, dripping and steaming from the ... whatever that gooey stuff is under my feet.

Thursday, October 08, 2009

"Villains" for National Poetry Day

It's National Poetry Day, and the theme this year was "Heroes and Heroines". The problem for me is that writing a poem about a heroic character is akin to writing the straight man in a comedy; it's hard to be inspired, and the result is often a little flat and tricky to deliver with any conviction.

Now villains ... those fit the dark art of poetry far better. Look at Milton's Lucifer!

And the day begins with the news that at last night's Forward Prizes (already dubbed Backward by some wag), Don Paterson's collection Rain (Faber) won the Prize for Best Collection, Emma Jones (also, um, Faber) won the Best First Collection with her Striped World, and, as Rob MacKenzie put it this morning, The Best Poem category was 'won by the editor at Cape who is published by Picador, where the poetry editor is the winner of the Best Collection.'

So, is it time yet for a revolution?

What we need on the ground is a public symbol of such cosy interdependences, some kind of Bastille to storm. Though even if there was one, and we stormed it, there'd probably only be a few copies of past Faber collections in there to liberate.

Friday, October 02, 2009

David Kennedy reviews Voice Recognition at Stride

Stride continues its good work online with a review by 'New Poetry' anthologist David Kennedy of the recent Bloodaxe anthology Voice Recognition.

Not everyone's cup of tea, since it doesn't conform to the 'praise everything equally' school of literary criticism, but worth a look if you prefer a bit of politics instead with your toasted teacake.

Thanks to Roddy Lumsden for sharing this link on the Poets on Fire forum.