Beyond the Tune review: London Grip New Poetry

London Grip’s poetry editor takes an optimistic view of two first collections from a new poetry press.

I’m delighted that Michael Bartholomew-Biggs has reviewed my pamphlet, Beyond the Tune, and Caroline Cook’s Primer: both 2014 publications from Soundswrite Press:

You can read it on London Grip New Poetry, here.

Incidentally, London Grip also published Vintage, the second poem in BTT,  this summer.  You’ll find it here.

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Catching up: poetry and other news #1

I’ve lots of news for you as, once again, I’ve neglected my little blog for too long. So here’s the first in a series of (hopefully shorter than usual) posts:

I’ve recently returned to work after a smooth and uncomplicated recovery following my hip replacement in January.  It’s such a joy to be more or less pain-free, able to walk briskly without limping after six years or so of declining mobility – and even enjoy a spot of gardening.  I’ve begun to accept that, although my head is convinced it’s still a young ‘un, the rest of me isn’t!  And from tomorrow, my 60% working week will comprise three full days, rather than spread across the week.  I’m looking forward to fewer early morning alarms and reduced car mileage/petrol expenditure for starters.

States of Independence gets better each year.  This independent small press publishing day brings together writers, readers, tutors, facilitators, students, publishers and more.  I did an early stint on the Soundswrite Press stand, conveniently situated opposite the main entrance to DMU’s Clephan Building.  Having snapped up an eagerly-awaited copy of Caroline Cook’s pamphlet, Primer, I spent the rest of the hour chatting to lots of people, some of whom I hadn’t seen for quite some time, and meeting new faces.  I decided to allow myself plenty of time to explore the stands, browse the books and enjoy lunch and a coffee around the corner.  These I fitted around the three readings/showcases I’d chosen to attend.  The last of these was the Soundswrite Press showcase: readings by several poets who featured in the last anthology, followed by Caroline’s pamphlet launch.  Lots of us had our primer-pink copies to hand during her reading.  Of my purchases, this was my chosen bedtime reading that night – I found, once in, I couldn’t put it down. You can buy a copy here.  In a bid to reduce my To Read pile, I had a mental shopping list this year.  Here’s the booty:

IMG_5151

Caroline’s launch also means that my forthcoming pamphlet publication date (TBA, but certainly this autumn) edges closer still.  I’m relieved that, having finalised the poems and their order with my editor, the wonderful, ever-supportive (feet-firmly-on-the-ground) DA Prince (whose latest collection is forthcoming from HappenStance Press), the editing stage is now well underway.  This stage in the process feels easier to live with as the end product seems more attainable, more real.  The pamphlet has a kind of narrative thread, in two halves, with a dark centre comprising four poems which I have plans to develop into a larger body of work.  It still has no title.

 

 

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.