Three poetry pamphlets

It’s always a joy to receive a surprise package in the post.

The most recent contained three poetry pamphlets, commissioned by the University of Leicester’s Centre for New Writing, and an accompanying letter from Dr Julian North at the School of Arts.

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I was pleased to discover that two of the pamphlets (containing, amongst others, my commissioned poem, ‘Slave Bird’) have recently been re-issued:

Friendship’s Scrapbook: a sequence of five poems by Deborah Tyler-Bennett and my own single poem, written in response to archive material comprising a range of anti-slavery pamphlets and hymns, letters and journals produced by Leicester abolitionists, Elizabeth Heyrick and Susanna Watts.

Women’s Writing in the Midlands, 1750-1850: poems arising from a series of Record Office workshops led by Deborah Tyler-Bennett, in response to the original material that inspired Friendship’s Scrapbook.

The newly-published Writing Lives Together is an anthology of poetry and prose written as part of The Centre for New Writing’s ‘Writing and Research Series’ in a series of workshops responding to nineteenth century archive material including journals, confessions, lyric poetry and autobiography by Dorothy and William Wordsworth, Coleridge, Dickens and others.

All three pamphlets were launched at Leicester Shindig on Monday 27th November. Contributors to the anthology (Richard Byrt, Jo Dixon, Aysar Ghassan, Anna Larner and Jonathan Taylor) read their poems, and I  read my ‘Slave Bird’ poem.   I particularly enjoyed the humour of Richard Byrt’s ‘To Asda,’ a sonnet after Coleridge’s ‘To Asra’ and Keats’ ‘Ode to a Nightingale,’ and, by contrast, Anna Larner’s ‘On Reflection’ a sonnet after the same Coleridge poem.

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All three pamphlets are available for free by emailing newwriting@le.ac.uk or click here for further details.

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Doings, plans and a missed opportunity

Doings: 

Literary Leicester

Last week, I attended two back-to-back Literary Leicester festival events:

  • A ‘Poetry Recital’ by Douglas Dunn and Rory Waterman, each reading from their respective new collections, The Noise of a Fly (Faber & Faber) and Sarajevo Roses (Carcanet).  Dunn had travelled from his home in Scotland to read from his first collection to be published in seventeen years; his audience were not disappointed.  I confess to having read none of Dunn’s poetry previously, and have add this eminent poet to a growing list of those whose work I should seek out.  Waterman’s reading, equally engaging, convinced me that I will enjoy his new collection at least as much as I did Tonight the Summer’s Over (his first, also from Carcanet).
  • Sir Jonathan Bate on Ted Hughes: The Unauthorised Life.  A fascinating talk on the four years of research, the ups and downs and paths taken in writing this biography.  Another hour well-spent, to say the least.

Plans:

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Four months into retirement (so-called, anything but) is far enough in to underline the fact that time does indeed fly.  Thus I’m ever mindful of that wish list I started making last year, once I knew that leaving the chalkface a year early was financially do-able.  As part of my ongoing poetry education, I’ve already completed one MOOC since July and have embarked upon another (juuust).  I plan to blog about these at some point (yes, ever the list-maker, I’ve started another one: Things to Blog About).

With an eye to the poetry New Year (and fulfilling one wish from The List), I’ve booked my ticket for the TS Eliot prize shortlist readings at the Southbank Centre on Sunday 14th January.  I’ve heard much about this annual event from other poets and bloggers over the past few years and I’m so looking forward to spicing up the inevitable post-Christmasness with a slice of the poetry high life.  Although we’ll have to wait until the following day for the result, I’ll be rooting for Jacqueline Saphra.  Who’s your hot favourite?

A missed opportunity:

ModPo in London: as a previous (and present) course participant, I had this early-September happening on my poetry radar, but the date neared, came and went whilst our house-move-in-waiting put most things on hold.  If any readers of this post attended either or both of the organised events, I’d love to hear all about it via the comment box below.

 

A submission bears fruit

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Hot on the heels of a published poem in issue 66 of The Interpreter’s House comes an acceptance for the DIVERSIFLY anthology: Everyday Encounters with the Birds of Britain’s Towns and Cities – in Poetry & Art.  Edited by Nadia Kingsley, it will be published in January 2018 by Fair Acre Press.  Mine’s a wee poem (like its subject) but I’m thrilled nevertheless.

Submissions still viable:

  • 5 unpublished poems to a poetry magazine, via Submittable, in early June are now ‘In-Progress.’ – since 24th October, in fact – I took to checking daily.  (Online submission portals are great, but the trackable status of active submissions serve to highlight the waiting time between ‘Received’ and ‘In-Progress’ (and from thence to ‘Declined’ or ‘Accepted’).
  • 4 previously-published poems (3 plus 1) for 2 themed anthologies, to be published by the same small press.  (The proposed response dates for these have stretched, over time, from September to November).
  • 2 previously-published poems submitted (last year?  the year before?  I forget) to Poetry in the Waiting Room.  I’d be seriously chuffed if either one of ’em gets to grace an NHS waiting room at some point in the future.  ‘Nothing ventured…’, right?
  • 1 poem entered for a themed poetry competition.  I saw (a Facebook link to the announcement on Write Out Loud), I read (the theme, the rules) I entered (I had a poem ready for submission that I reckon fits the theme well).  I like the level playing field of competitions.  And ‘you have to be in it…’, right?
  • I still have high hopes for one particular poem recently returned from my TIH #66 submission. I’ll send it out again without any re-drafting (not sure where, yet). 

I’m having second thoughts about a few poems that have been around the houses (including TIH).  I’ll re-draft them before re-submission.  Or they may end up consigned to Unfinished or Dubious – sub folders where the unviable languish.  But there are some NaPoWriMo poems that have lain dormant for months and are ripe for nurturing.