Saturday, 25 June 2011

Catching up

Thursday night saw the launch of Birdbook 1 at the Phoenix Artists' Club, in London. It was great to be able to be there (and reminded me that I really ought to get down to more London events), and to catch up with the likes of Jo Bell, Simon Barraclough, Roddy Lumsden, Derek Adams, and, of course, Jon Stone and Kirsten Irving, the poetry dynamos behind Sidekick Books.

I really enjoyed the readings, especially as the accompanying art was projected behind the stage. There's so much good stuff in the book that it's hard to pick out favourites, but some of the poems that kept coming back to me later included Great Tit, by Emily Hasler, Green Woodpecker, by James Wilkes, and Edward Mackay's Tacc Tacc, Blackcap. Also, several of the poems that took more oblique approaches to the birds - Chrissy Williams' Redstart, Simon Barraclough's Pied Flycatcher, and Roddy Lumsden's Daredevil (which manages to connect Scottish Crossbills and Evel Knievel). Anyway, there's a lot of high-quality poetry and art in there, so buy a copy.

In other poetry news, I was delighted to see that Kona Macphee won the Geoffrey Faber Memorial Prize with her collection Perfect Blue. I've mentioned before that it was one of my favourite collections of last year.

Finally, there's a lovely review of hydrodaktulopsychicharmonica by Julia Bird in issue 50 of Magma, along with David Morley on Romani poetry, some Magma memories from previous contributors, and poetry from the likes of Tim Turnbull, Helen Ivory, Penelope Shuttle, AB Jackson and Michelle McGrane. 

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