Wednesday, 29 August 2012

Stop the man from Porlock... he getting in the way of you sending us a poem for our competition (end date 31st August) or Issue 5 (deadline 30th September)?

Don't let him keep you blethering.

There is still a few days to get something in to us for both!

No entry fee for the competition btw and details are here

Monday, 27 August 2012


I would like to recommend that poets have a clamjamfy; a celebration and a fine thing. And gather an audience of poets. And let us know about it.

The one in Biggar was a one-off; here in the picture are Douglas Dunn and Gerry Cambridge. Don't be mislead by Dunn's beard; he read with wit, and vitriol discarding age like an old cloak on the floor. And the bill didn't stop there; John Glenday, Vicki Feaver, Helena Nelson (reading her own and Tom Duddy's work), Andrew McCallum, Chris Powici, Alan Riach, Jennifer Copley and Alan Sclater all gathered by Richie McCaffery.

I will review the event more fully in the Eildon Tree.

Poets reading to poets always adds a little oxygen to the atmosphere.

Sunday, 26 August 2012

Degrees of nature

Another tempting confection of writing and where you are: a Masters degree in Creative Writing: Place, Environment, Writing at Royal Holloway London University.

The spectrum defined from "nature poetry" to psychogeography via daydreaming wandering . A journey that John Clare might have enjoyed from the field path in this case to Bloomsbury.

More details available here

Saturday, 25 August 2012

Another competition but...

...this one is from Sussex and Kent. And being Sussex-born I am happy to promote it here. Plus I like receiving emails addressed to Dear Editor. Great judge too...not to mention a healthy prize!

First Prize: £1000, 2nd: £300, 3rd: £100, 4th: 4 x £50
Judge: Daljit Nagra
Entry fee: £5 per poem. 3 or more poems: £4 each
Closing date: 31 January 2013
Entries to: The Competition Organiser, 26 Courtlands, Teston, Maidstone, Kent, ME18 5AS. Put name and address on separate sheet (not on poem) or enter online and pay by Paypal.

You can find full details here:

Monday, 20 August 2012

The oldest slam?

Interested in the claim from PuroSlam in San Antonio that it is/was the first ever. Is this true?

Benjamin Ortiz founded PuroSlam in 1999. And it had a name as the "toughest, roughest, rowdiest poetry slam in the United States".

Artist photo

Were you there in the 90s? How about Larry's Bar, Columbus, Ohio in the US? And the ever lovely Sara-Jane Arbury and Marcus Moore still slamming in England? Not to mention Galicia. Intrigued now...

Anyway more on PuroSlam here (yes, a wiki page!).

Sunday, 19 August 2012

Student of creative writing

Poets and creative writing courses may not be such a good mix.

In some opinions, a poet needs to sit still and develop an individual voice and viewpoint. How can creative writing as an academic pursuit teach you this?

Academic study can equip with you tools to for example:
  • describe your artistic practice
  • develop your published portfolio
  • make contact with editors who will publish you
But I imagine you could as easily study English or another language - Latin, Arabic, say - to learn about poetic form and voice; law or politics might sharpen your ability to use words to taut effect; and any scientific subject help develop discourse and arguments.

Then you can work outside poetry to earn money rather than teaching it; which seems to be the lot of the creative writing degree-ed. To paraphrase Orhan Pamuk if your paid work is not your art, you will never have to give up your art.

Worth considering before you sign on the dotted line this September or January...

Life of the hedge

Everything is very wet and an unexpected hedgehog appeared in the overgrown bed by the back door. No doubt hoping to eat leopard slugs.


Thanks to skrubtudse for this picture.

Friday, 17 August 2012

Clamjamfry of poets, Biggar, Scotland 25th August 2012

A fine line-up at this Biggar event has encouraged even poetandgeek to go into the extremities of  the Borders of Scotland as a member of the audience. It is free too! So no excuse needed for the proliferation of events from that part of the world...

From 1pm until 4 pm, Biggar's Daisy Frame art gallery next to the Corn Exchange:


More information available here

Tuesday, 14 August 2012

Rhythm and spoken word jam, 24th August 2012 Nairobi, Kenya

Read or listen at this open jam. Maybe you can even catch Sitawa.This event will happen at Urban Flavas Bar and Grill, Kobil, Ojijo Road, Parklands (next to K1) on Friday 24th August. From 8.00pm with open mic 9-11pm. Afro-groove after-party with Urban Flava DJ’s.

Entry is Sh300. Free for early sign up poets. And free R&S mix cd’s for the first 15 guests.

Find out more here

Sunday, 12 August 2012

Emily Bronte tweet poetry

Emily Bronte was an English novelist and poet (1818-1848). She lived and died in Yorkshire, England with only a brief period studying in Belgium. She published her poems in one volume with those of her sisters Charlotte and Anne as Poems by Currer, Ellis, and Acton Bell. Emily's pen name being Ellis (EB); under which she also published her only novel Wuthering Heights.

This tweet poem is taken from her poem The visionary.

One alone looks out o’er snow-wreaths deep Watching every cloud dreading every breeze whirling the wildering drift bends the groaning trees

The full poem:

The Visionary

Silent is the house: all are laid asleep:
One alone looks out o’er the snow-wreaths deep,
Watching every cloud, dreading every breeze
That whirls the wildering drift, and bends the groaning trees.

Cheerful is the hearth, soft the matted floor;        
Not one shivering gust creeps through pane or door;
The little lamp burns straight, its rays shoot strong and far:
I trim it well, to be the wanderer’s guiding-star.

Frown, my haughty sire! chide, my angry dame!
Set your slaves to spy; threaten me with shame:      
But neither sire nor dame nor prying serf shall know,
What angel nightly tracks that waste of frozen snow.

What I love shall come like visitant of air,
Safe in secret power from lurking human snare;
What loves me, no word of mine shall e’er betray,      
Though for faith unstained my life must forfeit pay.

Burn, then, little lamp; glimmer straight and clear—
Hush! a rustling wing stirs, methinks, the air:
He for whom I wait, thus ever comes to me;
Strange Power! I trust thy might; trust thou my constancy.

Find out more about Emily Bronte here

Scotland v Chicago literary showdown 17th August 2012

Don't let it be said that poetic competition is dead - an Edinburgh bucket of tongues put on by the inimitable Neu Reekie stages a one-off, no holds barred, literary shoot out between Irvine Welsh's Team Chicago and Kevin Williamson's Team Alba.

Expect strong language, adults only and occasional nudity not to mention LITERATURE. And all for a meagre £7.

Irvine Welsh & Kevin Williamson circa 1993

At 1 Summerhall, Edinburgh, EH9 1PL from 8pm until 10pm (an early finish for this kind of heady mix I would have thought...but no doubt it will spill out onto the street later)

Find out more at

Wednesday, 8 August 2012

Poetry in Chennai, India

Chennai is a city of poetry. Coming up in December is a 2 week poetry festival Poetry with Prakriti held annually to coincide with the Chennai music season. Eminent and emerging poets, in readings to small, intimate audiences. These readings take place at several venues in the city, including colleges and cafeteria, IT parks and green public parks and spaces, and select shops and commercial establishments. The idea is to bring poetry closer to the public of Chennai.

More details of this year's line up when we have it.

This is just one happening of many. More information on the Prakriti Foundation which co-ordinates the events here

Tuesday, 7 August 2012

Wednesday, 1 August 2012

2012 poetry competition

If all this Olympic stuff has got you feeling competitive, here is a little opportunity to use that spirit. Thanks for all the entries received so far.

A sketch of a man facing to the right

  • Poems on the subjects of journey must be 30 lines or less.
  • Poems in English.
  • Poems must be unpublished and not under consideration.
  • Send in body of email. Or by post.
  • Judges' decision is final. Notifications by end of  September 2012
  • Poems will be published in Issue 5 (October 2012).
  • Deadline is 31st August 2012.