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.

Advertisements

The launch in words and pictures

It was a lovely, lovely afternoon, filled with warmth, laughter and friendship.  Even the heavy rain gave way to sunshine.  And there was wine and nibbles (or, to be more precise, home-baked cheese and caraway seed nibbles and rosemary biscuits – thanks to Karin and Davina).

And poetry – did I mention the poetry?  A joint launch is a wonderful thing!  Karin Koller opened with a welcome and a few words about the story of Soundswrite Press to date.  Then it was my turn. I’d written my ‘lesson plan,’ rehearsed and timed my reading the night before (I like near deadlines). I think (I hope) I remembered to thank everyone – family, friends and fellow writers who’ve given me their time, love, support and honest feedback over the years.  There were no nerves to get in the way and everyone seemed to enjoy my reading.

I could then relax and really enjoy hearing Davina (D A) Prince talk about, then read her chosen poems from her second full HappenStance collection, Common Ground.  And I got my copy signed (already having devoured it, from cover to cover).

Then there was time to chat, sign copies of Beyond the Tune, enjoy the nibbles.  And do none of the work involved.  A big vote of thanks is due to fellow Soundswriters and two husbands for manning the book table, setting up, tidying away, serving refreshments, taking photographs, etc.  And to my wonderful husband, David, for being there – and enjoying it, too!

And here are a few photographs, courtesy of David Prince and Karen Powell:

Sporting my pamphletPamphlets on sale

 

Pamphlet signingKarin greetsDavina's launch readingDavina's Common GroundChatting at the book tableElizabeth and Marilyn

 

 

Pamphlet diary date #2: Everybody’s Reading festival

Leicester is cranking up the gears for a week of (largely) free events with the aim (as it says on the tin) of getting everybody reading.  There’s so much to choose from, catering for all ages and appetites from the avid to the most reluctant of readers. 

ER festival 2014

So, if you’re local, or within easy travelling distance of Leicester between 27th September and 5th October, why not click here to view or download the programme.

And there’s an event on page 30 that I’m rather excited about: the launch of my pamphlet, Beyond the Tune (Soundswrite Press).  It’s a joint launch with Davina (D A) Prince, whose new collection, Common Ground, is hot off the HappenStance press.  I’m delighted and flattered, and really looking forward to meeting Helena Nelson, too, if she’s able to make it on the day.  And I’m assured there will be cake and liquid refreshment (I’m hoping for Earl Grey tea) and cake.  It’ll make my poetry day to see you there, or at Shindig on September 15th, or both!

There’s a launch flyer in the offing, to feature in my next blog post and further updates on Facebook and Twitter.

As both diary dates are fast approaching, my To Do list Top 10 includes planning which poems to read and what to say.  Any launch tips, via the comments box below, will be gratefully received.

Pamphlet diary date #1: Leicester Shindig!

As promised, here’s the first of two diary dates for your poetry calendars:

Leics Shindig Sept 2014

I’m really looking forward to featuring at one of my favourite regular poetry events.

I’m treating the evening as a pamphlet pre-launch: I’ll be reading poems from Beyond the Tune and copies will be on sale for the first time.  I’ll have my signing pen handy, too!  And if you haven’t yet picked up a copy of Caroline Cook’s Primer – well, I reckon it’s rather excellent and well worth a read, too.

If you’re local (or not too far away and fancy a poetry jolly to Leicester), it would be lovely to see you there.  For those on Facebook, click here for a link to the event.  Or just turn up on the night and surprise us!

If you’re unable to make it  on a ‘school night,’ details of the (weekend) launch proper to follow, so stay Tuned 🙂

My pamphlet proof

In my previous post, I was excited at the prospect of getting my hands on a proof copy of my pamphlet: something tangible, after all those months of hard work, highs and lows.  So I was surprised that the elation I’d expected to feel – well, it just wasn’t there!  Instead, I felt rather flat, if I felt anything at all.

Don’t get me wrong – I’m really pleased with the overall look, the print quality and everything, to say nothing of how opposite poems can now physically ‘talk’ to each other.  And I needed the affirmation of the tactile (I’m trying really hard, here, to avoid using phrases like ‘skin-on-skin contact’…).

Thanks to Davina Prince and one or two other collection-published poets who’ve been through all this before, I’m reassured that, in a way, this is a kind of ending, if only until the pamphlet launch and afterwards.  So it’s natural to feel deflated, even a little sad.  And I’ve managed to distance myself a little, which is a good thing, as very soon my little pamphlet will have to stand up for itself as readers make of it what they will.

Last time, I promised to reveal the title, didn’t I?  So here’s an image of the front cover:

BTT front cover

Launch details and a couple of diary dates to follow.

 

 

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.