Lemn Sissay’s ‘Landmark Poems’

This week’s poetry highlight:

Lemn Sissay’s lecture, ‘Landmark Poems’  (University of Leicester School of Arts’ 7th annual Creative Writing lecture) last Wednesday evening.

Sissay tempers off-the-cuff hilarity with pauses for thought, rapid fire delivery with white space.  His self-deprecating manner belies an impressive biography.

Here’s a selection of quotes from my notebook:

On poems as landmarks:

A poem on a wall
is a
performance poem.

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A landmark [poem]is a landmark only when the community decides it is one.

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Poetry should be flying off the page onto the walls of our cities.

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Beware the local history poem.

Advice for writers:

Poetry is a revolutionary act of connection, whether for wedding or for war.

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What is real? The imagination, or the manifestation of it?

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Create a whole world that was not there before.

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See your career as a writer, as an orbit rather than a ladder.

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Creativity is not the monopoly of artists. Writers are part of the wider community of creatives, not apart from it.

Unfortunately, Lemn Sissay’s Radio 4 documentary, Landmark Poetics, is no longer available on iPlayer.  However, a podcast of his UoL lecture will shortly be available on via the Centre for New Writing page of their website.

And it wouldn’t be a poetry jolly without a little book shopping, would it?

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In other news:

The Interpreter’s House competition results have recently been announced, which means that I now have 8 instead of 7 poems for submission…somewhere (positive spin)!

In a Twitter moment, I had a sneak preview of the cover of All a Cat Can Be, a poetry anthology in support of New Start Cat Rescue.  As I mentioned in last week’s blog post, I’ve a poem in there, so I’m looking forward to receiving my contributor’s copy.

 

 

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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.