Soundswrite Press pamphlet launch

States of Independence annual independent press day is one of the highlights of my social calendar.  Held in the Clephan building at Leicester’s DMU, it’s a coming together of publishers, writers, readers, students and educators from across the midlands, a celebration of breadth and diversity.  It’s an opportunity to meet new faces and catch up with friends.  Workshops, readings, panels, seminars and showcases run over four sessions throughout the day; it’s often a matter of which to miss out on.  And the book fair is a bibliophile’s dream!

This year, I’m doubly excited, as Caroline Cook will be launching her Soundswrite Press pamphlet, Primer:

Primer image for website small

Caroline runs Poetry Stanza Leicester and is a fellow member of Soundswrite women’s poetry group (which meets twice monthly to share and discuss poetry by others and to workshop each other’s works in progress).  So I’m half-hoping there will be poems I’ve admired and enjoyed in workshop sessions and at local open mic events.  I’m also prepared to be surprised, challenged and entertained by turns, if I know anything of Caroline’s writing.

I’m itching to get my hands on a copy – it’s strictly under wraps until the day, so all I have to go on is the cover/title/chosen colour (of paint primer).  So I’m wondering if there’s a clue to its theme, here:

primer

noun

1.     a substance used as a preparatory coat on wood, metal, or canvas, especially to prevent the absorption of subsequent layers of paint or the development of rust

2.     a cap or cylinder containing a compound which responds to friction or an electrical impulse and ignites the charge in a cartridge or explosive

 

My anticipation is mixed with a certain amount of trepidation, too: with my Soundswrite Press pamphlet forthcoming, Primer will, I’m sure, be a hard act to follow!

States of Independence is on Saturday 15th March: 10.30 – 4.30 at the Clephan Building on Bonner’s Lane/Oxford Street, Leicester.  If you’re coming along, I look forward to saying hi at the Soundswrite Press stall and at Caroline’s 3.00 PM launch (please check programme on the day for room allocation).  The 40-minute showcase will also feature readings from the Soundswrite anthology.

My Writing Process blog tour

A few weeks ago, I was invited to take part in this blog tagging tour by poet, reviewer and genuinely lovely person, Maria Taylor.  You can read her blog here and details of her wonderful debut poetry collection, Melanchrini, here.

I am just as fascinated by how other writers approach their work as I am by the paths that poems take, from first sparks to polished pieces.  I hope you enjoy reading my responses to the blog tour questions.  Here goes:

1)  What am I working on?

I’m currently putting together my debut poetry pamphlet, which will be published by Soundswrite Press this autumn – exciting and slightly scary, now it’s this year!  The story so far: chaotic and uncharted sessions at the dining room table assembling, sifting and reassembling piles of poems from a sea of paper, a general concept, a working title, likely poems and a suggested order, almost-certain opening and final poems and my editor’s first response (generally positive and encouraging, so assume I’m on the right track, at least – phew).  There’s a way to go but I’m getting so much out of the process and really looking forward to a close working relationship with my editor as well the tangible end product, the launch and all that might follow.

I’ve written quite a few new poems, lately – not with a specific end in mind at this stage, other than submitting them to various paper and online magazines and journals.  And I’ve even produced a super-improved submissions tracker in an attempt to be a bit more systematic and far less sporadic in getting stuff ‘out there.’

2)  How does my work differ from others of its genre?

That’s a less straightforward question… I hope that by reading as much good poetry as I possibly can that it both informs and develops my own writing.  I like to think that my ‘voice’ (or voices plural) is (are) continually evolving.   The titles of my poems often belie their subject matter, their content hinting at something darker.  I really admire the work of poets such as Helen Ivory who are not afraid to explore dark subject matter through their writing.  Her collection Waiting for Bluebeard had a profound effect on me from my cover-to-cover first reading last year.  It’s one I keep returning to.  Jennifer Copley is another such poet.  I read Beans in Snow and Living Daylights last year.  Her latest collection, Sisters, is on my (growing) To Buy list.

Themes I’m currently exploring are control/possession/containment and licence/assumed consent.  These are poems that I haven’t set out to write but ask to be written.

I often mine the rich seam of memory but rarely do I write a poem that is totally ‘true.’  They are almost always a distillation of self, memory/experience and invention viewed through a lens of some kind.  I hope I allow the reader freedom to take from my poems what they will, to view them through their own lens.

3)  Why do I write what I do?

I write because I have to.  It’s a compulsion, and one that fulfils me.  And even if some Superior Being told me I’d never get another poem published, I’d still write (although I sometimes fear that I might never write another poem worth sharing).  Having said all that, I enjoy the intrinsic reward of the occasional endorsement by a magazine/journal editor, that feeling when a poem has ‘gone to a good home,’ that it will have a wider audience.

I write poetry, as opposed to prose, because (rare) attempts to write in any other way always end up as poems.  I think I tend to read everything with a poet’s eyes and ears: I love the poetry in the novels of Roma Tearne, Vikram Seth, Salman Rushdie and Virginia Woolf, for instance.

I write the poems I do because they ask to be written, even if they bare little or no resemblance to the original idea.

4)  How does your writing process work?

This is the point at which I must ‘fess up to my generally ill-disciplined practice as a writer.  There are several reasons why I fail to maintain a daily habit of generating ‘new writing’: I’m not a morning person, life and other ‘stuff’ gets in the way and any number of other reasons including opening that Works in Progress sub folder and the never-ending cycle of destruction and reconstruction that is re-drafting.  I do like to attend writing workshops to kickstart new writing and explore different ways of getting into a poem.  If it’s been a ‘good day’, I’ll come away with several embryonic poems, sometimes just an idea/a phrase/a string of words.  Just being in the same room as other writers sometimes helps.  And it’s a change from a largely solitary practice.

I do have a growing stack of notebooks but have yet to devise a system whereby I can easily access particular entries.  These are filled with just that – notes, or ideas, a word, a phrase, something heard or ‘found.’  I tend to type poems on the PC or laptop as soon as I can – it’s not only easier to move around, delete and substitute words/lines/stanzas but I can play with line breaks and the shape of the poem on the page.  My Writing folder has many sub folders, including Unfinished and Dubious, but you never know when something might be salvageable or recycled.

I’m sometimes inspired by an image or an artwork.  I’m particularly drawn to sculpture, viewing it from different angles, looking through its holes and gaps, the tactile experience (if touching is permitted).  I love texture and colour in all things, including food.  Sounds also inspire my writing and a large part of the re-drafting process, for me, is focused on the sound and rhythm.  My poems are as much for the ear as for the eye, which is why reading at open mic events and the occasional guest reading is so important to me.

I’ll now introduce the three writers I’ve chosen to carry on the blog tour with their own My Writing Process posts on Monday 24th February:

Robin Houghton’s poetry has appeared in many UK magazines and her first pamphlet is out in the Spring. She’s also a business writer with hundreds of articles, websites and blog posts to her name. Her first book, Blogging for Creatives, was published by Ilex/F&W in 2012 and she has just been commissioned to write a follow-up, Blogging for Writers.  Check out her blog:  http://www.poetgal.co.uk

Siobhan Logan is a Leicester poet with two collections published by Original Plus Press: Firebridge to Skyshore: A Northern Lights’ Journey and Mad, Hopeless and Possible: Shackleton’s Endurance Expedition. Her work has been performed at the British Science Musuem, the National Space Centre and the British Science Festival.  She blogs at: http://siobhanlogan.blogspot.co.uk/

Lindsay Waller-Wilkinson: in a former life – a fashion designer obsessed with literature. Now a writer – unable to completely ignore that former life. Writing short stories, poems and always considering ‘The Novel’. Current projects include a series of sonnets about clothes. (and life, and love) called DressCode, and a linked novel-length collection of short stories.  Lindsay’s web link:  http://poemstorydreamreality.com/about/

The Poetry Business Reading Day

What better way to occupy my mind prior to tomorrow’s hip replacement surgery than writing this blog post.  Indeed, that was one of the reasons I took myself off to Sheffield yesterday, for the first PB Reading Day.

The morning train out of Leicester wasn’t very full and I spent the whole hour gazing out at the urban-rural-urban scene-shifting and scribbling away in my notebook (in response Jo Bell’s write-a-poem-a-week initiative, ’52.’)

I counted 26 of us, including Peter and Ann Sansom, as they kicked off this pilot day of poetry close readings, discussion and group exercises, with Carol Ann Duffy’s Prayer.  Although I knew this one, I have to admit to encountering many of the day’s poems for the first time.

Everyone had been asked to bring along copies of a 20th or 21st century poem they really liked.  As well as exploring several of these, the morning session also included a group jigsaw exercise involving a cut-up of an Ezra Pound haiku, and a paired exercise: suggesting a title and an end rhyme (both hidden) for a D H Lawrence poem – Green, as it turned out.  (Food for thought, as I’m currently pondering how well my chosen titles serve the poems I intend including in my forthcoming pamphlet).

After lunch, we split into two smaller groups.  I’d intended joining the group reconvening in the PB offices over at Bank Street Arts, but my hip was bearing up quite satisfactorily on the wonderfully comfortable chairs in the Premier Inn’s conference room.  16 poems in a little over 2 hours was going some, but I think we managed to do them justice, more or less.

My favourites of the day?  The aforementioned Prayer (not least for its ‘gift’ of ‘the minims sung by a tree’), Plath’s Morning Song (for its imagery and surprising choice of words), Helen Dunmore’s City Lilacs (for finding beauty in ‘cracked-haunted alleys,’ wheelie bins and motorway roundabouts), Dannie Abse’s Not Adlestrop (made me smile), David Constantine’s ‘Figures on the silver’ (I can picture the dog with ‘Ben Gunn’s demented eyes,’ the ‘balding mangy ball’) – and my contribution, Manhunt by Simon Armitage (one of those poems I like more with each re-reading: quiet poem, from the female viewpoint, speaks volumes).

It was lovely to catch up with Rachel Davies and David Borrott who I met on a poetry residential in Cumbria last February, and to share news and writerly chat with Maria Taylor over lunch and the return rail journey.

A worthwhile and thoroughly enjoyable day.  More favourites added to my Poems By Others folder.  Further poetry purchases – at attendees’ discount-on-the-day of 40%:

Poetry booty:  latest issue of The North, Maitreyanbandhu's      'The Bond (Smith Doorstop) Peter Sansom's 'The Night is Young' (The Rialto)

Poetry booty:
latest issue of The North, Maitreyabandhu’s ‘The Bond’ (Smith Doorstop)
Peter Sansom’s ‘The Night is Young’ (The Rialto)

Mission accomplished, see you on the other side!

Jayne

Looking back, looking forward

Almost four months after my last blog post, the WordPress stats helper monkeys (and the excellent posts I’ve enjoyed reading on my favourite poetry sites, lately) have shamed me into rousing my little blog from hibernation.  Suffice it to say I won’t be making public my 2013 ‘year in blogging’ stats!  I could offer all sorts of reasons for my lack of (blog) activity – the day job, my ageing hip, an addiction to social networking and coffee shops (I know, I know)… Let’s face it, stuff happens, life gets in the way, etc, etc.

Looking Back:

I do read a lot of poetry – an increasing amount online, some e-reads (on my iphone – I’ll probably get around to buying a Kindle in about 10 years time when I’ll no doubt be able to pick one up for a fiver along with the rest of the supermarket shopping)but I’m a tactile creature and there’s nowt quite like the sensory experience of a paper book. I’m loving everyone’s ‘shelfie’ pics posted online.  My shelves are far too rammed to be deemed at all photogenic, but here’s a selection of my 2013 book reading:

IMG_5070

and my favourite magazines/journals:

IMG_5071

Successes: In October, my poem, You Do Not Have To Say, was published in the Wild issue of Popshot magazine (above).  Here’s a photo of it, alongside Jessica Durden’s illustration, inspired by the poem:

IMG_5072

You can view all the Popshot illustrations on Pinterest, here.

Outlook was accepted by Hinterland, a new journal co-edited by talented poets Ian Parks and Rebecca Bird.  Lovely to see mine sharing cyber space with work by poets I really admire. You can read all the poems inspired by the spur colour, red, here.  And a first print issue is planned, too, I believe.

Tasseography was longlisted for the Desmond O’Grady competition.  Sadly, it didn’t make the shortlist, but it was rather exciting to read my poem to a live audience at The White House, Limerick via Skype link. In a way, this was a return visit, having guested there alongside fellow O’Bheal poet Janet Smith in August 2012.  Encouraged by this result, I’ve submitted it to another competition across the water.  We’ll see.  In fact I’ve got rather a lot of poems ‘out there’ at the moment – a flurry of submissions to magazines and anthologies.  Again, we’ll see.

My debut pamphlet – the story so far: Following many sessions spent at the dining room table sifting, sorting, rejecting, substituting and re-arranging paper copies of my (hopefully, best) poems, I’ve sent my proposed selection, a contents list in (proposed) order and a (working) title to my editor.  A big step, not taken lightly.  And her initial response is encouraging, positive – I’m thrilled that I seem to be on the right track, anyway.  I may be asking a few willing volunteers (with no existing knowledge of my poems) to play a little Word Association game, soon…

Workshops: I co-ran a rebellious writing workshop, Make Love Not War, with Leicester’s very own Tim ‘Bombdog’ Sayers as part of the city’s Everybody’s Reading festival in October.  The workshop was attended by both experienced and beginner writers who produced some amazing poems inspired by images, artefacts and writing about conflict.  I’m hopeful of applying for funding to run my own workshop next (ok, this) year.  I’m currently thinking of a suitable premise/my own slant…

I’ve also attended poetry workshops.  Highlights include my first Poetry Business writing day (a little scary, totally worthwhile) and a women’s poetry workshop entitled ‘Put your Hand in a Poet’s Pocket’ run by Kim Moore, (am biased) also as part of Everybody’s Reading.  I came away with several starters for poems, some of which are current WIPs.

Events: a  Poetry Tea, a first, hosted by Nine Arches press with readings by Mario Petrucci, Matt Merritt, Clare Trevien and Alistair Noon.  One of the cherries on my October half term, I hope Jane Commane has plans for more of these!

Kate Tempest at The Cube, Corby.  A Lyric Lounge event and an opportunity I couldn’t resist.  I even took my son (to show him what a night out on the town really should be, IMHO).  Not a poetry lover, he probably came along to humour his ageing mother – but thoroughly enjoyed both the open mic and Tempest’s stunning performance.  So self-effacing, such rapport with the audience!  And wonderful to see the audience really did represent all age-groups, including lots of local secondary school pupils who’d been lucky enough to participate in her workshop.

Jo Shapcott’s reading at Leicester University as part of the Literary Leicester festival.  If numbers are anything to go by, their publicity machine seems to be more efficient than in previous years.  Having heard her read at Lichfield cathedral last year, I was prepared for another hour of being drawn into this quiet poet’s created world.  And I wasn’t disappointed!  I can never understand why free events such as these don’t seem to have the punters queuing down the street…

Exhibition: I was delighted to have the opportunity to exhibit two of my poems alongside four other Leicester poets as part of Drawing on Words, an exhibition by Leicester Society of Artists.  We all read our work as part of the launch night at New Walk Museum & Art Gallery on December 12th.  Although I did get to view our poems and the art work it inspired in LSA members, I enjoyed going back for a more detailed look during the run-up to Christmas .  I’m always fascinated by collaborations between artists, both as exhibitor and visitor.  The exhibition runs until 11th January if you’re interested and fairly local.  If not, you can hear recordings of all the poems and view photos of the launch/some exhibits, here.

Looking forward:

Tomorrow kickstarts my poetry year with a second poetry workshop I’m running for the same group that kindly invited this novice facilitator in September.  Following on from Telling Lies, my chosen theme for the first one, tomorrow’s theme (after much deliberation into New Year’s Eve) is Tell the Truth, but Tell it Slant (thank you, Ms Dickinson).  A mixture of several poems to discuss and inspire, and a couple of writing exercises.

I’m contemplating a ‘last poetry fling’ by booking a place on The Poetry Business Reading Day on 11th Jan.  ‘Twill be an excellent day, I’ve no doubt, an opportunity to catch up with friends in poetry I met last year and, hopefully, will preoccupy my mind with matters other than my hip replacement surgery the following Monday (currently, my main worry is missing breakfast and that first cuppa of the day, being last on the operating list (oh, please, not), feeling sick with hunger and panicky with thirst…).

I’m hopeful that, after the initial post-op pain, I’ll have a new lease of life.  In the meantime I shall console myself (for the lack of a poetry social life and my daily caffeine fix - not the same at home or even in a takeout cup) with daytime TV, a backlog of films on my Sky planner, spoiling our six-month-old kitten even more and working my way through that To Read Jenga tower.  Below is just a selection:

IMG_5074

And, if I’m feeling up to it, writing poems.

Easter treat to self: a five-day residential poetry course in Cumbria, entitled Encounters and Collisions, run by Kim Moore and Jennifer Copley.  I enjoyed last Feb’s three-day course a lot.  I came away with several fledgling poems, lots of ideas, a raft of poems by others and having met a thoroughly great bunch of fellow poets, several of whom I hope to catch up with this time around.  And Janet Lancaster from South Leics poetry stanza is going, too.  Lovely :)

If you’re in need of a poetry wake-up this New Year, why not subscribe to Jo Bell’s new write-a-poem-a-week initiative, 52? Check it out, here

And here’s wishing you all that’s wonderful in the way of poetry happenings and personal writing successes in 2014.

Enjoy it all!

Jayne

My Poetry Summer on Fast Forward

It’s been over 3 months since my last post.  I’d begun to fear I might never blog again, so here’s a rundown on what I’ve been up to, poetry-wise, this summer, since my day at Sheffield poetry festival.  And I’ll try very hard not to make this post over-long.

Festivals:  I read some of my poems in short guest mic spots at Leamington peace festival, Simon Says… festival in Leicester and Strawberry Fields festival in Heather, Leics.

Leamington peace festival
photo credit: Barry Patterson

Strawberry Fields spoken word stage

Poetry Workshops: Staffs poet laureate Mal Dewhirst’s at Tamworth library and John Siddique’s as part of Oakham literary festival.

Poetry Open Mic nights: Lichfield’s Poetry Alight, compered by Gary Longden (a mecca for midlands poets, always a delight); Gary Carr’s Spoken Worlds in Burton-on-Trent (relaxed atmosphere, intimate setting, the hubby’s favourite poetry night out); Word! at the ‘Y’, Leicester (eclectic mix of open mics, recent guest poets Tiffany Atkinson and Cherry Smyth both fab).

Poetry Day out: The Fizz, as part of Stafford festival (a pleasure to read with fellow poets, catch up with (same) friends, meet others and hear readings by Young Laureate candidates).

Poetry party: home from Stafford via Derby for an evening hosted by the lovely Seema and Richard Heley at their art studio/home in Derby (friends, food, poetry, music, improvisation to a backdrop of beautiful artworks).

Towards freelance: I’ve undertaken opportunities to shadow/volunteer at local arts for health workshops/groups.  In the process I’ve learned some ukulele chords, sung songs, laughed and drunk tea with a group of lovely ladies; created and screen-printed images inspired by lines of writing; ‘explored’ medieval Leicester; written a collaborative piece; done lots of typing up.  I also ran my very first poetry workshop, at the invitation of a local group – feedback suggests members enjoyed themselves as much as I did.  And I’ve been invited to return in the new year.

Coming up: I’m really looking forward to co-running a rebellious writing workshop, Make Love Not War, on Friday 4th October, with Leicester’s very own Tim ‘Bombdog’ Sayers, as part of the city’s Everybody’s Reading Week.  Along with four other Leicester poets, I’m exhibiting two poems as part of Drawing on Words, an exhibition by the Leicester Society of Artists.  Click here for audio clips and PDFs of all the poems.  This runs at New Walk Museum & Art Gallery from 14th Dec 2013 to 11th Jan 2014.  And - video footage of me reading my Sin É poem is also in the pipeline, as part of a film featuring poems by a local group.

Saving the best:

I’m delighted to announce that my debut pamphlet will be published by Soundswrite Press in autumn 2014.  The journey so far has been an educational and, at times, a sobering one; exciting and nerve-wracking by turns.  I’m all too aware that I have to ‘get it right’ – the best poems in the best order.  There’s absolutely no place for lesser poems to hide…

Sheffield Poetry Festival: a day ticket

Well, two day tickets, to be exact, if you count my Leicester-Sheffield return rail fare.
Another half term treat to myself, my £20 day ticket for Sat 1st June gained me entrance to all four headline events at The Hubs (which my defective inner sat nav failed to find from Google’s 3 minute walking directions, even though the distinctive space-pod-cum-kettle Student Union building is fairly prominent when you know what you’re looking for as you exit the station…).

Each event was a pairing of poets as follows:

River Wolton and Julia Copus
I enjoyed River Walton’s relaxed and confident introductions to her poems, chosen on the theme of uncertainty. These included ‘Everything I Know About War’, on the plight of refugees, from her Leap collection. She finished with a Specular poem, which form Julia Copus devised, apparently. Copus began her reading with ‘This is the Poem in Which I Have Not Left You,’ on the theme of wanting to change the past. She is not afraid to let her poems breathe in the silent space she allowed each at the end. I liked this. Her own specular, ‘Raymond at 60,’ about her father, preceded three poems from a sequence, ‘Ghosts,’ about longed-for parenthood.

Paul Batchelor and Jean Sprackland
Batchelor’s opening poem was ‘Keening,’ for the Northumbrian poet Barry Macsweeney. My favourites were ‘Seated Figure with Arms Raised,’ picking up on Walton’s theme of uncertainty; ‘To A Halver,’ an expansive litany about the good and the bad of rioting. You can read it here.
Jean Sprackland read the title poem and others from her forthcoming collection (Sept 2013), Sleeping Keys, about objects in an abandoned house.

James Caruth and Bernard O’Donoghue
Several echoes here. Their readings were my favourites of the day. Belfast-born Caruth read ‘The Deposition,’ which won the Sheffield Poetry Prize in 2011.The poem compares Caravaggio’s painting (The Deposition From the Cross) to the famous photograph of father Edward Daly on Bloody Sunday. His Poetry Business pamphlet, Marking the Lambs (which includes this poem) was my must-read on the journey back to Leicester. O’Donoghue, born in County Cork, describes himself as Manchester-Irish. His poem, ‘Tinker,’ echoed Caruth’s poem for Tommy MacCarthy. In another Caruth-O’Donoghue echo, ‘Vanishing Point’ takes as its subject an Observer newspaper photograph of a young, dead Afghan soldier in Nov 2001.

In the final break between events, I caught the setting sun’s reflected heat from the metal walls of the pods. Looking up, I could read Andrew Motion’s cliff poem on another Sheffield Hallam building.

Paula Cunningham and Gillian Clarke
For Cunningham, the 1999 Poetry Business competition winner, the evening saw the launch of her first collection, Heimlich’s Manoeuvre. A Belfast poet and part-time dentist, her childhood was dominated by her country’s significant border. In ‘Mother’s Pride,’ the slicing of bread is a metaphor for her divided Ireland. (Read it here in the Sheffield Poetry Festival issue of Antiphon). Gillian Clarke, the Welsh National Poet, is a real ambassador for the art and a treat to hear. Hotfoot from The Hay Festival (where I heard her read last year, the only warmth in a very cold, wet day). She opened with ‘an unplaceable poem,’ ‘Daughter,’ for the parents of April Jones. Then to her collection, Ice, shortlisted for the TS Eliot prize 2012. The opening poem, ‘Polar,’ about a bearskin rug, is one of Clarke’s earliest childhood memories. ‘Home For Christmas’ harnesses the Child within the Adult, the delight in snow.

Then, coffee and homemade carrot cake in The Showroom cinema bar opposite (at £3.25 for the two, it would have been rude not to), the short hop across the road to the station serving to underline my appalling sense of direction…

Saboteur Awards 2013

The occasion: Sabotage awards evening cum 3rd birthday bash – a celebration of the best in indie publishing, as decided by open online vote.

The Venue: The Book Club in London’s trendy Shoreditch.

The hosts: Sabotage review team – Richard Watson (Fiction)

- Claire Trevien (Poetry)

- James Webster (Performance)

The vibe: lively, alternative (to a provincial poet).

Room’s distinctive features: cellar bar with an amazing false ceiling crammed with light bulbs; bar with white-tiled back wall featuring cocktail list, including one Shoreditch Tw*t.

Also on offer: a mini book fair.

It was lovely to see a familiar face at the bar in Jonathan Taylor, and to catch up with Agnes Marton whom I met earlier this year at a poetry residential in Cumbria run by Kim Moore and Jennifer Copley.

The runners-up and winners in each category were announced by the Sabotage team. Most of the winners were there to receive their no-expense-spared rosettes and to take their five minutes of fame behind the mike. There was much banter with the audience and general hilarity.

Award winners by category as follows:

Best One-off: Shake the Dust. Jacob Sam La Rose and his team were there and talked briefly about this schools slam poetry initiative and to introduce two young voices who then performed a short, spliced piece.

Best Short Story Collection: Tony Williams’ All the Bananas I’ve Ever Eaten.

Best Magazine: Rising. Its ethos: ‘tough on poetry, tough on the causes of poetry.’

Best Poetry Pamphlet: Charlotte Newman’s Selected Poems.

Best Spoken Word Performer: Vanessa Kisuule. (Click here for this Hammer & Tongue finalist’s performance of ‘Even Now’).
Best Regular Spoken Word Night: Bang Said the Gun
Best Spoken Word Show: Martin Figura’s ‘Whistle.’
Best Poetry Anthology: Catechism: Poems for Pussy Riot.
Best Fiction Anthology: ‘Overheard: Stories to be Read Aloud.’ Jonathan Taylor read his story from the anthology.
Best Mixed Anthology: ‘Estuary: a Confluence of Art & Poetry.’ Agnes Marton spoke about these pairings of visual art and poetry in conversation with each other. (Click here to view pages from this beautifully produced book).
Best Novella: Luke Kennard’s Holophin.
Most Innovative Publisher: Penned in the Margins.

I’d have stayed for the musical conclusion to the evening, but it had been a long day and I decided to catch the penultimate train home – after making a couple of purchases at the book fair on the way out, of course: Binders Full of Women (click here to read online or download/donate) and Poems for Pussy Riot (read more here).

My apologies to all the runners-up and for missing details of the winners due to running out of notebook pages. An in-depth post will soon be available on the Sabotage site (click here).