Thursday, 12 December 2013
Maps and Legends launch
Last night saw the official launch of Maps and Legends, the new anthology celebrating five years of Nine Arches Press, at the Library of Birmingham.
Jo Bell compered, and her introductions were poetry in themselves. In particular, she paid fitting tribute to Nine Arches editor Jane Commane, whose tireless work has seen the press go from strength to strength. She's a very active editor, working through manuscripts with poets with great perception, supportiveness and patience, and I know I'm not the only Nine Arches poet who would say that that, above all, is what makes being published by the press such an honour.
Readings were by Angela France, Daniel Sluman, Maria Taylor, Roz Goddard, Myra Connell, Deborah Tyler-Bennett, David Morley and myself, plus Jo and Jane reading the work of David Hart and the much-missed Milorad Krystanovich respectively. It was great to hear so many fine poets together, and I think the occasion also brought out some poems that don't always get an airing otherwise. In keeping with the book's theme, I read Warning Against Using These Poems As A Map, plus Watching Woodcocks (well, once Jo had teased the appreciative audience with the clitoris reference, I felt I couldn't let them down). We adjourned to the Prince of Wales for a swift one afterwards - I only wish it had been longer.
Finally, a word about the library itself. What a glorious building! I'd seen a lot of it on the regional news, but I was still taken aback by just how big it is, and it looks fantastic, inside and out (especially at the moment, with the surrounding square and streets lit up for Christmas). It is, I suspect, the only reading I'll ever give/hear in which a huge illuminated ferris wheel is the backdrop to the readers. Birmingham has always had a lot of fine civic buildings, and this one is a more than worthy addition.
Oh, and one more thing. The anthology is priced just £10.99, and you can find full details here.