Friday, 15 February 2019

Poem in Antiphon Issue 24

It's been a long time since I've sent out any poetry submissions, so I'm absolutely delighted to have had a poem – Marginal – accepted for issue 24 of Antiphon. You can download a PDF of the magazine at the magazine's home page by following the link above.

A nice feature of Antiphon is that they include recordings of the poets reading their work – I'm afraid I haven't sent mine in yet, but I shall try to put that right this weekend.

But anyway, lovely to be published in the company of poets such as D A Prince and Rebecca Gethin.

Thursday, 14 February 2019

Verve Poetry Festival

Birmingham's Old Rep Theatre plays host to this year's Verve Poetry Festival, which runs from today until Sunday.

The full line-up is here - plenty of interesting stuff to enjoy, with poets such as Alison Brackenbury, Carrie Etter, Vahni Capildeo and Jacob Sam-La Rose.

Wednesday, 13 February 2019

Peter Riley on Olson, Prynne and Paterson

The Fortnightly Review has this fascinating piece, by Peter Riley, on The Collected Letters of Charles Olson and J H Prynne, and Don Paterson's The Poem: Lyric, Sign, Metre. Now I've only really skimmed through it at lunchtime, and I'll have to give it much more detailed consideration at some stage, but it is good at least to be able to read such a thorough and thoughtful article on poetry, and TFR deserves credit for that.

Tuesday, 12 February 2019

From the notebooks of David McComb

I know I've banged on before about my love of The Triffids, but I've only recently come across the official Triffids Facebook page. Just recently it's been featuring pics of David McComb's notebooks, with the original lyrics and ideas for all the songs on Born Sandy Devotional, the album that (I suspect) most fans would regard as their masterpiece. If you don't know it, go and have a listen now.

Even if it wasn't one of my favourite albums, it would be fascinating – McComb seems to have had a very clear idea of exactly how he wanted the album to sound, right from the earliest stages, as well as a vision of lyrically coherent selection of songs. But it's interesting that, reading the most recent post, he wasn't keen on including Personal Things, which for me is one of the highlights of the album, with absolutely great lyrics.

Incidentally, there's also a Facebook page for Love In Bright Landscapes, a proposed film about David McComb and The Triffids that is seeking funding support.

Monday, 11 February 2019

Alliteration and the Anglo-Saxons

I came across this article on alliteration in English language poetry, and of course it starts with the Anglo-Saxons, and specifically Caedmon. It's something of a general overview, so many of you may already know most of this, but nevertheless I found it sending me off to look up a couple of things, as well as back to the Anglo-Saxon originals of The Seafarer and The Wanderer.

The first of those, incidentally, is a poem packed with ornithological detail, to the extent that one writer considered that he could say with confidence that the poet was writing about the Bass Rock during a particular week in April. You can find out more about that in my book A Sky Full Of Birds (yes, yes, I know, shameless plug), but I'll also post about it in more detail at the appropriate time in April.

Friday, 8 February 2019

Now at Nine Arches...

Just my periodic reminder that there's some wonderful poetry available at the Nine Arches Press website, including new collections by Josephine Corcoran, Roy McFarlane and Suzannah Evans, as well as a wealth of back-catalogue titles (which include my own The Elephant Tests).

You can also get the latest issue of Under The Radar magazine, and find out how to submit work to Nine Arches.

My first Nine Arches collection, hydrodaktulopsychicharmonica, is available direct from me.

Tuesday, 29 January 2019

Blinded By The Light review

This looks interesting – I've read articles by Sarfraz Manzoor about his love of Springsteen in the past, and they've always struck a chord, if you'll excuse the pun. I'll look forward to seeing it.

Monday, 28 January 2019

Boom time for poetry sales

Poetry sales are soaring, according to this piece in The Guardian, with both so-called 'Instagram poets' (I don't like the dismissiveness of that term) and everything from Homer to Heaney selling well.

I'm slightly confused by what it says about the boom being fuelled by a desire for clarity and a desire for more nuance. The latter sounds perfectly reasonable, but clarity isn't really what I'd go to poetry for. Nevertheless, it's encouraging, and if you want to keep the boom moving, then I'd be more than willing to sell you a signed copy of either of my Nine Arches Press collections, hydrodaktulopsychicharmonica and The Elephant Tests.

Friday, 25 January 2019

Hugh McIlvanney, 1934-2019

So it's farewell to the very best of modern sports writers, Hugh McIlvanney. From as far back as I can remember, my dad would rave about the brilliance of his writing on football and boxing. He was right – McIvanney was streets ahead of the competition, one of those journalists who'd have been a brilliant writer whatever his subject, despite the fact that his passion for sport came through.

Here's just a taste of his work, from The Guardian website. Raise a glass in honour of a true great.

Wednesday, 23 January 2019

Sopranos prequel

Hmmm. Not sure what I think of this idea – it has the potential to destroy the legacy of what is probably my favourite TV series ever. One of the things that I loved about it was that it resisted the temptation to tie up all loose ends, or to give you the full background to anything. Instead, characters referred to past events as though they were common knowledge, without elaborating on them too much. For me, that both makes things sound more authentic, and feels truer to life.

I'll want to see the film all the same, though.

Tuesday, 22 January 2019

Backlisted podcast

The other day, I stumbled across the rather splendid Backlisted podcast – the most recent episode features a look at JL Carr's How Steeple Sinderby Wanderers Won The FA Cup. As they say on the podcast, it's one of his more straightforward novels in many respects, and as they also rightly point out, it has a fantastic blurb (Carr wrote his own).

The rest of the episode focuses on Jilly Cooper. I've never read anything by her, but I have to admit it actually made me rather intrigued. They also mention that the very first episode looked at JL Carr's A Month In The Country, so I've gone back and downloaded that one too (plus the Raymond Chandler and Tolkien episodes). Very enjoyable listening for the daily commute.

NB You can also buy JL Carr's novels (and his many wonderful pocket books), from his own Quince Tree Press (now run by his son, I think).