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.

*

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 published poem

I’m having a very quiet year – in terms of poem acceptances, that is.  I’m doubly pleased, therefore, to have a poem (The Night Driver’s Wife) published in the latest issue of The Interpreter’s House magazine.  My contributor’s copy of issue 66 arrived in Monday’s post.  What a beauty!

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I’ve not had time to do more than glance down the list of contributors on the back cover.  There are poets I’m looking forward to reading for the first time as well as re-acquaintances and firm favourites.  Poetry magazines and small presses are labours of love; some I’ve admired have disappeared over the past few years, so it’s really encouraging to see TIH go from strength to strength under Martin Malone’s editorship, ably assisted by Charles Lauder Jnr.  If you’d like to subscribe or purchase a single copy, it’s as easy as clicking here (although I notice issue 66 isn’t available at the time of writing this).

Will there be a launch?  And will it be do-able in terms of travelling distance and other commitments?  I hope so 🙂

What the postman brought

Look what landed on my doormat this morning!

Interpreter's House 56

Perfect bound, its cover like a silk skin, that ink-on-paper fresh-from-the-printer’s aroma; the latest issue of The Interpreter’s House is a joy to handle.  Running my eye down the list of poetry and prose contributors on the back cover, I’m impressed.  And delighted to be in such fine company, as I have a little poem in there, too.  It’s one that will feature in my forthcoming pamphlet as part of a short sequence (more about that in my next blog post).

Hot on the heels of its Brighton launch, there’s to be a Nottingham launch, too.  It’s hosted by Five Leaves bookshop.  I’m really looking forward to reading at this event.  Here are the details if you’re local to the midlands or fancy a jaunt for an evening of poetry and Prosecco:

TIH Nottingham launch

You can buy a single copy or take out a subscription here.

Me?  I’m factoring a long coffee stop into my day.