Tuesday, 30 December 2014

A job at the Poetry Translation Centre

A rather nice opportunity!

The Poetry Translation Centre – the highly-regarded, Arts Council-funded organisation dedicated to translating contemporary poetry from Africa, Asia and Latin America, is expanding its activity and reach from January, 2015 and has created the new, full-time post of Administrator/Communications Manager to support the Directors in this ongoing development of the organisation. Based in London, England.

You can find out more here http://www.poetrytranslation.org/news/174.

How the touch of the flowers makes one's flesh tingle!

Numb from the holidays? Climb into a tree like John Muir and write...

The hemlock (Tsuga Mertensiana) is the most beautiful conifer I have ever seen; the branches and also the main axis droop in a singularly graceful way, and the dense foliage covers the delicate, sensitive, swaying branchlets all around. It is now in full bloom, and the flowers, together with thousands of last season's cones still clinging to the drooping sprays, display wonderful wealth of color, brown and purple and blue. Gladly I climbed the first tree I found to revel in the midst of it. How the touch of the flowers makes one's flesh tingle! The pistillate are dark, rich purple, and almost translucent, the staminate blue, --a vivid, pure tone of blue like the mountain sky, --the most uncommonly beautiful of all the Sierra tree flowers I have seen. How wonderful that, with all its delicate feminine grace and beauty of form and dress and behavior, this lovely tree up here, exposed to the wildest blasts, has already endured the storms of centuries of winters! 

You can find more of the beautiful illustrations and experiences from John Muir's My first Summer in the Sierra courtesy of the Sierra Club (which Muir founded) here http://vault.sierraclub.org/john_muir_exhibit/writings/my_first_summer_in_the_sierra/

Analysis of Matthew Arnold's Dover Beach

What better way to bring in the new year than by an interpretation of a poem of doubt and hope via the medium of Venn diagram?*

You can make up your own mind below.

Dover Beach

The sea is calm tonight.
The tide is full, the moon lies fair
Upon the straits; on the French coast the light
Gleams and is gone; the cliffs of England stand,
Glimmering and vast, out in the tranquil bay.
Come to the window, sweet is the night-air!
Only, from the long line of spray
Where the sea meets the moon-blanched land,
Listen! you hear the grating roar
Of pebbles which the waves draw back, and fling,
At their return, up the high strand,
Begin, and cease, and then again begin,
With tremulous cadence slow, and bring
The eternal note of sadness in.

Sophocles long ago
Heard it on the Ægean, and it brought
Into his mind the turbid ebb and flow
Of human misery; we
Find also in the sound a thought,
Hearing it by this distant northern sea.

The Sea of Faith
Was once, too, at the full, and round earth’s shore
Lay like the folds of a bright girdle furled.
But now I only hear
Its melancholy, long, withdrawing roar,
Retreating, to the breath
Of the night-wind, down the vast edges drear
And naked shingles of the world.

Ah, love, let us be true
To one another! for the world, which seems
To lie before us like a land of dreams,
So various, so beautiful, so new,
Hath really neither joy, nor love, nor light,
Nor certitude, nor peace, nor help for pain;
And we are here as on a darkling plain
Swept with confused alarms of struggle and flight,
Where ignorant armies clash by night.

Matthew Arnold
*Our interpretation isn't so far-fetched btw as Arnold is likely to have worked on this poem while on honeymoon in Dover in 1851. Although it was started two years earlier!

Sunday, 21 December 2014

Adélia Prado new book in English

A very nice holiday surprise is that Bloodaxe Books have collected 2 volumes of Adélia Prado's work as The Mystical Rose. This is available now and would make a very nice belated gift.

I like this quote: ‘Brazil has produced what might seem impossible: a really sexy, mystical, Catholic poet’ — Robert Hass. Although not that surprising to my mind...

And she and her translator Ellen Doré Watson read in Newcastle but that is another story!

You can find out more here http://www.bloodaxebooks.com/titlepage.asp?isbn=178037240X.

Thursday, 11 December 2014

Reviewing submissions for Issue 9 poetandgeek

The p&g team are in the middle of sifting through right now.

In the middle of a snow storm.

So that should keep us on task. Plus we are thinking warm thoughts.

Great submissions and we will be in touch with everyone later this week.

Sunday, 7 December 2014

Indulge yourself with Scottish Poetry Library cool list

It is coming up to holiday time and if you haven't got anything for yourself yet, there is the coolest list of 10 Contemporary Scottish Poets You Need to Read that has taken my fancy over at the Scottish Poetry Library...

Safe to say I have been having a bit of a splurge and shall be reporting back - apart from Natural mechanical which is stuck in the post somewhere.

But why wait for me - check it out for yourself here http://www.scottishbooktrust.com/reading/book-lists/10-contemporary-scottish-poets-you-need-to-read

The squirrels are dead by Miriam Gamble

Having a wonderful trawl through a list of contemporary poets and this collection by Miriam Gamble just stood out. Not only for the title but the way the poems imagine the fantastic in the every day.

A sleeper is described (in her poem Interface)...

                                                       Your breath gutters

like a stuck pig's , your eyelid leaks an underwater tear.
There is havoc at the gallery you say, taking
my wrist. And Plato's on the river bed. Then you roll over
                                                       without so much as a 'Help me'.

Another poem imagines a journey to make a call on The Confidential telephone - this act becomes more and more impossible as the poem describes it happening - a nicely-judged paradox that also chills in the manner of some of Peter Bennet's darker moments.

And that is without even mentioning the squirrels.

Miriam Gamble now lives in Glasgow. Lucky Glasgow! You can get hold of the book from Bloodaxe here http://www.bloodaxebooks.com/titlepage.asp?isbn=1852248688

A bit of Byssus

Not sure why it has taken me so long to read Jen Hadfield's Byssus but wow it was worth the wait...I love the language, the clear emotion and the versatile form - including lots of wonderful prose poetry.

This is the Shetland-based poet's third collection and you can see it being recommended all over the place. And no wonder. Not just for Christmas! You can find it here http://www.picador.com/books/byssus

When spring comes it's all too bright and spiteful: blinding sky, blinding sea, daffodil shaws and laverick song. So I shut my eyes and spoot out my neck and hoop it like a swan and arch it for the blinding, bright-white sun to bite and smile the 'sex-starved smile'.

Thursday, 27 November 2014

Call for poetry Issue 10 poetandgeek.com

This is an exciting one. Into double figures for poetandgeek.com.

Issue 9 contributors will be hearing from us shortly. And you have until March 30th next year to send us your new and wonderful work for Issue 10.

Up to you to provide the poetry. Full details and the back catalogue of the magazine are here as ever http://www.poetandgeek.com/

Flash fiction #CoWrite

I had a lot of fun at #CoWrite last week.

Yes you worked that one out already!

And this story has been doing the rounds on Twitter so now here it is - just for you. Once again I can recommend all poets try this - short time intense yet playful writing. Like ten or so status updates in a row. You get to decide how the story goes or will you impress those watching?

It's fun. Free your creativity!

And thanks to fellow writers XLZ, zacscy, PromptedInk and of course malie who invented CoWrite and who can be found at @malie129.

Listening at Scott's Treasures at Abbotsford

This poetry reading took place in a spectacular yet intimate venue: Scott's own library restored and lit low. This was the first time I had to sit down and really listen to the other contributors' work.

I hope for many more such poetry events at Abbotsford: the house built on poetry. This one was jointly run by the Creative Borders Arts Network (CABN) and the Abbotford Trust.

Oh and a note, when I was a guide at the house the bust of Shakespeare sort of visible at the top right of the picture had been banished from the library into a sort of back inner hall at the top of the servant's stairs. It is nice to see it back in its rightful place.

Monday, 17 November 2014

Playful writing tournaments at #CoWrite: the review

The last of a a run of posts on Cowrite as I have now played: time to report back.

I was a bit hesitant about joining the tournament but shouldn't have worried. Malie, the site creator, was a friendly presence and there is a chat box to the side if you have any questions or just fancy some banter. Once the game got going - half an hour for this tournament game with a minute each time for you to write your own sentence(s) and score your competitors - my writing urge kicked in. Although couldn't resist some slightly ironic entries!

Finally I was amused to come last - winning was not my main priority - but had been going well until I got scored minus 3 for the sentence "Jenny might have appeared younger than me. But in fact she was my mother." This didn't go down well with my fellow co-writers.

I couldn't fault the game - there is honestly no time to be self-conscious and a buzz when your sentence gets chosen by your peers. I will be back.

Have a go. For fun. Or this would make an ideal teaching tool for English students. Or for creative writers in need of inspiration or loosening up.

If you have enjoyed the Vogon Poetry Generator, you will love this too. You can find the tournaments here https://cowrite.net/x?sid=HSMPT3R

And a little bit more on Cowrite tournaments

If you are interested in the co-writing you need to head to the actual site to start a new story yourself or join a tournament.

It is a friendly environment - I am looking forward to joining in the tournament in about an hour and ten minutes.

To get writing, go here https://cowrite.net/x?sid=HSMPT3R.

cowrite.net is a writing game 17th November 2014 21:00 GMT #CoWrite

Short notice but I received a tweet today asking p&g to enjoy some playful co-writing tonight at 9pm GMT.

Is your interest piqued? Mine is!

See you there or if you like, check it out here http://cowritenet.wordpress.com/2014/10/09/current-stories-on-cowrite-net/.

Sunday, 16 November 2014

Scott's Treasures Abbotsford, Scotland Tuesday 18th 2014

Rehearsals have started in earnest for Scott's Treasures at Abbotsford on Tuesday 18th 2014.

And I have to say, though not as as an impartial observer, things are looking pretty good. The interesting things about this project - or rather the staging of it on Tuesday - is the involvement of actors from award-winning Firebrand Theatre Company.

We had a 2 hour run-through which began with techniques for relaxing and breathing followed by a new one to me - talking and listening in different acted situations; we read our poems but as if for example talking to a young child. This proved an excellent way of releasing intonation and meaning. We worked in pairs - I had a dark poem of Dorothy Alexander's to listen to and found my 5 year old self became quite troubled! The end result is a much clearer understanding of the audience as a person you are talking to and communicating with. Something that performing poets (as opposed to actors) may lose sight of.

Finally we got onto the read-through which after the set of exercises seemed a piece of cake - a satisfying workout for the voice and engagement levels.

You can judge the results for yourself on Tuesday. And expect a twist or two!

More and how to book here -http://www.scottsabbotsford.com/event-registration/?ee=44 - and more on Firebrand here http://www.firebrandtheatre.co.uk/

Thursday, 13 November 2014

Scottish Borders on the poetry map @StAnzaPoetry

Today is the day that my Darnick poem is featured on the Poetry Map of Scotland.

It is poem 93.

We have talked about the poetry map before but maybe not so much StAnza - who made the map.

This is Scotland’s International Poetry Festival which takes place each March in St Andrews. It began in 1997, and since then has grown considerably in both scale and reputation. It is Scotland’s first regular festival dedicated to poetry with a wonderful international outlook that is strongly to p&g's tastes.

You can read the poem (and view others on the poetry map)  here http://stanzapoetry.wordpress.com/2014/11/12/poetry-map-of-scotland-poem-93-darnick/ and learn even more about StAnza here http://stanzapoetry.wordpress.com

Friday, 7 November 2014

Gerry Loose at the Scottish Poetry Library

One of those lovely evenings in the poetry library where you can spy among the audience many friends of the poet who have arrived to listen. Gerry Loose cast his spell. Like the recent Zaffar Kunial and John Glenday reading in the same venue, attentive poets have a magical effect on any poet's silences. Not to mention that the accompanying tales are well-received and often received with some good-humoured heckling.

This was a nuanced reading of a book with a strong message.

now water under
thin scabs ice crusts
fox & I look 
for retreat
neither able
to walk on water
any longer

The Fault line of the title takes in change, geology and transformation and the nuclear installations that perch on the landscape in Faslane. The poems are beautifully drawn; their contained precise presence invokes a seasonal cycle of growth, the Highland fault line itself,  man's drawing of lines and boundaries, and nature's power to traverse and overcome these lines.

The stanza quoted above continues:

fox walks
through wood
crows sit on 
ice floating rocks.

I look forward to reading and rereading. Learning the rocks and stones and water.

And that is to say nothing about the pleasure of the cover and the handling of the cover - which I recommend that you go into any bookshop and do! Vagabond Voices have done a great job.

You can find more about the book and where to buy it here http://www.vagabondvoices.co.uk/authors/gerry-loose/

PS failed to take the photo I had promised myself of the reading as my attention was taken by blethering to old friends, so I have made free with this one which is from Gerry's website here http://www.gerryloose.com/index.html

Saturday, 1 November 2014

Back from travels...and all the gossip

Glad to say that I am back from various destinations and working hard on my first collection The exact colour of snow. (And that was what has been keeping things quiet in October btw!)

Lots to share:

  • An excellent reading by John Glenday and Zaffar Kunial at the Scottish Poetry Library. Zaffar's Faber new poets series' work is a great delight and John has a new book due next year - judging by what he read last week that too will be a must-read.
  • Scott's treasures reading coming up on the 18th November - http://www.scottsabbotsford.com/event-registration/?ee=44 - more on why you should attend coming soon
  • Please consider purchasing the anthology The Journey http://www.lulu.com/shop/maggie-mcgeary/the-journey/ebook/product-21874462.html in aid of Marie Curie - more on what and why to follow
  • Gerry Loose launches Fault Line in Edinburgh this Tuesday 4th November - I will be attending and reporting back
  • And finally bit of a new look planned for the p&g magazine site - also coming soon - it has changed to an upgraded server if you have been looking and wondering why?

Thursday, 23 October 2014

Zaffar Kunial and John Glenday @ByLeavesWeLive 23rd November 2014 Edinburgh

Looking forward to this event this evening - Zaffar Kunial and John Glenday at the Scottish Poetry Library should prove oddly complementary. Edinburgh is in fine autumnal colour with a grey sky and I fancy there'll be a ghost or two gathering later tonight...along with myself trudging up after work in Easter Road.

I recommend it! Nice combination was a p&g idea.

You can find more here http://www.scottishpoetrylibrary.org.uk/connect/events/zaffar-kunial-and-john-glenday and John Glenday blogs here http://www.scottishpoetrylibrary.org.uk/connect/blog/thursday-post-measuring-belonging-distance-and-love

Saturday, 11 October 2014

Greetings from Madrid

The p&g travels continue with a visit to Madrid this month. Looking forward to browsing the "best poetry bookshop in Madrid ... Hiperión (calle Salustiano Olózaga, 14)." as recommended by Spanish poet Roger Wolfe.

Once back, there will be some news from p&g after this quiet peripatetic peregrinatory month.

You can find more about Hiperión and buy books here http://www.hiperion.com/.

Wednesday, 1 October 2014

Greetings from Dubai

Morning light in the hotel room; Arabic interface to Blogger -

Lots of birds and stuff to see and do in the parks and souks - even elephants.

Time is short so enjoy the pictures and p&g will return in full on mode once back in Scotland.

Thursday, 25 September 2014

UAE live poetry

p&g is in Dubai for the next week seeking out some local poetry.

Get in touch if you know where we should look.

Being a poet in UAE is a respected and sometimes quite lucrative profession - remember Nabati Poet Idol (http://poetandgeek.blogspot.it/2012/02/nabati-poet-idol.html). And poetry itself is also the subject of well-funded academic research in the Emirates.

p&g has a consistent fascination in Arabic poetic forms and how some drifted into western consciousness through the Islamic kingdom of Spain - of which we have spoken a little bit before here http://poetandgeek.blogspot.co.uk/2012/02/muwashshah-poetry.html. And indeed Madrid is our next destination.

Plus we note that publications of translated pre-20th century Arabic poetry in its pure forms seem to bring out the Rudyard Kipling in the translators - I guess it is the desire to emulate the elaborate structure - we are sure there is good work being done maybe into languages other than English? French or Spanish? Again we would love to hear about this.

And beyond that we are hoping to have a thoroughly good time obviously...

Tuesday, 23 September 2014

Launch of The Book of Ways 4th October 2014 Edinburgh, Scotland

Scottish poet, Open Mouse headwrangler and allotmenteer Colin Will's new book is released from Red Squirrel Press at the Scottish Poetry Library. And an added bonus Red Squirrel Press are also launching the Double Bill anthology (the follow-up to the much praised Split Screen).

From 3-5pm and the event is free and fabulous with lots of different readers in addition to the inimitable Colin - p&g would be there but sadly likely to be shuffling through an airport. So much nicer to be chilling with new poetry...

You can find out more here https://www.facebook.com/events/602356753209251/ or order the book here http://www.redsquirrelpress.com/

Last call for poetry for poetandgeek.com Issue 9

The big p&g issue 9 is waiting for your contribution but don't dawdle. As the deadline is 30th September and we are imminently off to hunt out some Nabati poetry in UAE.

All the fun of the fair! Haven't seen us yet? Then all will be revealed here http://www.poetandgeek.com/.

Sunday, 21 September 2014

New Gerry Loose - Fault Line

You can catch the launch of Scottish poet Gerry Loose's new book Fault Line at Waterstone's in Glasgow Argyle Street at 6.30pm on Wednesday 24th September 2014. Or available online now.

Robert Macfarlane says:

"fault line is a very special piece of work. It feels as if this is a book born of a decade or more's looking and watching (surveillance). I relish the form: field-note, jotting, face-off, counter-movement. There's movement across the sequence, but no neat arc, and somehow over 100 pages there's no sense of repetition in the sense of stagnation, though of course the whole is bound and patterned by its recurrences - the white hart, the wild-flowers, the subs. Words flit and slide, 'fault' is not pure division but a kind of friction and slippage that is productive of vision as well as signalling separation and mutual harm. The atomic dark-stars of the submarines versus but also because of the glowing white deer. It's a poem - poems - of menace and mixture and anger, that finds its way into the immense complexities of contemporary 'nature', recording the beauties born of collision, while also keeping room for 'old aesthetics'. I heard shades of Buile Suibhne, hints of Mercian Hymns, though it is of course its own thing also. And there, too, were glimpses of domestic life lived on amid all this: kindling split, beans shelled, sights seen - the registration of 'enduring beauty' hard up against 'danger of death'.

Or find out more here https://www.facebook.com/events/806497846061794/.

Monday, 15 September 2014

poetandgeek.com in Brighton, England

p&g is in Brighton this week and we would like you to tell us where to find the geeky poetry spots we love.

Contact us in the usual way...

Thursday, 11 September 2014

NonStuff Festival 12th - 14th September 2014 nearish Biggar, Scotland

Any festival that promises henge building as a potential activity gets my vote...

And you need to bring slippers and a cushion with a prize to go to the finest slippers on site!

This festival literally takes place in the middle of nowhere so you may never return but for the venturesome, you can find out more here https://www.facebook.com/events/454280454707876/?ref_dashboard_filter=upcoming&suggestsessionid=8e6488ef6e8827ca100df83e8a7f5c1b and as it says www.nonstuff.co.uk

Rogue taxidermy

p&g is a fan of art taxidermy and here is a wonderful new book from inimitable practitioner Robert Marbury. Almost all the stars are within...

See the world as you never did before...

You can order now from here http://www.atomicbooks.com/index.php/taxidermy-art-rogues-guide.html

Monday, 8 September 2014

Guyanese early poetry

This early Guyanese poem objectifies its subject but with some more respect than meted out perhaps to English inhabitants of Arcadia. Edward Thompson (1739 - 1786) was a career naval officer of English descent serving predominantly on the slave route between Africa and the Caribbean; his poems however reveal his anti-slavery feelings and empathy for slaves. He died at sea leaving at least fifteen books of published poems and prose.

Defensa de Cartagena de Indias por la escuadra de D. Blas de Lezo, año 1741.jpg

The Indian Maid 

The Indian maid who lightly trips,
 The Dryad of the Guava grove,
 The zone of Venus round her hips,
 And graced with youth, and blessed in love!
 Gold rings adorn her nose and arms,

And leaves of beads veil naked charms.
 Or if she quits the golden wood,
 Pierced by the scorching solar beam,
 She plunges in the cooler flood,
 And swims the Naiad of the stream:
 Adores the god in ev'ry air
 And smiles the maid without a care.

Or if more distant creeks invite
 To fish, to fowl, or seek her love,
 She paddles the canoe upright,
 Where Christian maids would fear to move;
 On some fair tree her hammock swings,
 Nor envies she the beds of kings.

Like other belles of other shores,
 She daubs her limbs, her face, her hair.
 Rauccoo and launa stop the pores
 Against mosquitoes and the air.
 But these, I trust, nor spoil her skin,
 They're to defend - not lure to sin.

A beauteous bronze she stands confessed,
 Venus nor Hebe more complete;
 With various feathers tricked and dressed,
 Perfumed with Tonkay flow'rs most sweet!
 And when she moves, her mien and grace
 Prove her the goddess of the place!

Edward Thompson Demararie, October 27, 1781

 Rauccoo and launa: Indigenous dye plants - red, the latter black while Tonkay is a tree.

This poem came to p&g's attention on Ian MacDonald's page on Old Guyanese poetry. You can read the full article here http://www.landofsixpeoples.com/news022/ns208189.htm

Thursday, 4 September 2014

Trash poetry

It is a writing exercise kind of day.

Went to the site of the old GPO depot and before that old railway sidings close to Easter Road to hang out a bit. Sometimes it looks like a beach with juvenile gulls roosting up on shingle gravel and rockpool puddles but at the moment it is very dry.

For some reason this space cheers me - it reminds me of student days working in the GPO at Christmas sorting parcels and forgetting to cancel the stamps so that old ladies like my mother could steam them off and reuse them - and there is the remains of a seating area with cypress and bulbs. Half hour breaks piling out to the pub to drink as much Guinness as possible. Friendships started and ended.

A place of possibility - today it is also clearly used as an inventive mountain bike track.

Writing exercise: find an empty place with rubbish blowing - ignored by passers-by and populate it. Claim the space...just the thing for when your muse playing silly b*****s.

Brunswick Road beach
For the old sorting office

A boat is moored here today.
Lumbering on dry dock trestles
a maze of re-used wood lascared
by fledged gulls in the gravel spoil
preening rain puddles. Half-hearted bike track.
Goods trucks chuckle down
out of sight; spray paint aliens.

We worked here once and got paid, deliveries came in and out, goods piled and stacked, the reek of Christmas, sellotape and packing paper, postcodes, the impossible sorting machine. It was a world in itself.

The sea itself is contradictory. No salt.
No front. No children
Keep out city council spike-topped railings.
Someone once planted fir trees, put that picnic table in,
people sun and fags
when the GPO was here and holidays.
I walk past each day to get a sandwich.

In love with you those nights at the gantry, half an hour break to swallow as many pints as we could and I never said, that elusive feeling welled and ebbed, left the bar to the parcel frames and banter.

Sometimes when the drizzle falls
and the light comes awkward, bright,
and the gulls drive off the piles
left after beachcombed copper wires
I can see you. Through the cheap parking,
the tide comes in again, the wishing wind

drifting me back to streetside pine.

© Bridget Khursheed

Other poems about trash available here http://allpoetry.com/poems/about/Trash

Wednesday, 3 September 2014

Job opportunity for a poet and geek?

Poet and geek? Books and code? Fancy working for the Scottish Book Trust in Edinburgh, Scotland as their Senior Web Editor.

You will have to be quick, mind, as the closing date is the 5th September.

You can find out more here http://www.scottishbooktrust.com/about/scottish-book-trust-team/vacancies#seniorwebsiteeditor

Thursday, 28 August 2014

Literature across Frontiers in Georgia

Most intriguing translation event in Georgia between the 9th – 14th September 2014.

Poets and translators from Georgia and the UK gather in Tbilisi for an intensive week of literary translation aiming to produce quality English translations of 6 Georgian poets: Rati Amaglobeli, Shota Iatashvili, Gaga Nakhutsvrishvili, Lela Samniashvili and Maya Sarishvili.  The work of the late poet and musician Irakli Charkviani will also be translated.

ირაკლი ჩარკვიანი, უკანასკნელ წლებში ჩამოყალიბებული იმიჯით

Thanks to Bill Herbert for bringing this and Literature across Frontiers, a European funded Welsh-based project which aims to develop intercultural dialogue through literature and translation and highlight lesser-translated literatures to our attention.

Full details here http://www.lit-across-frontiers.org/workshops/georgian-poetry-translation-workshop/

Wednesday, 27 August 2014

Submissions for poetandgeek.com issue 9

There is about a month left now to submit your work.The deadline this time is the 30th September 2014.

Thanks to all of you who have submitted already - we appreciate it and apologise again if you are waiting for a confirmation.We don't do things like that. Can't. But we will try and get back to you in October promptly once the deadline has passed.

Hope to hear from the rest of you soon!

You can take a look at past issues and find out how to submit here www.poetandgeek.com.

Tuesday, 26 August 2014

The Flambard Prize 2014

Just a little bit of time to enter this competition which commemorates the achievements of the fabulous Flambard Press - publishers of Peter Bennet amongst others - and Peter is one of the judges too along with Gladys Mary Coles.

First prize £1000 - read the small print though:

The Flambard Prize will be awarded annually to the best group of five poems submitted by a poet who has not yet published a single-authored pamphlet or collection.

Deadline is 1st September 2014 so not joking about the need to get your skates on.

Wednesday, 20 August 2014

Launching NEU! REEKIE! PUBLISHING #1 Edinburgh, Scotland 21st August 2014

Don't miss! Short notice but an opportunity to see Douglas Dunn reading is worth taking.

Our inimitable friends at N!R! are launching their publishing arm and you can also see poet and novelist Jenni Fagan, and hosts and co-founders Michael Pedersen and Kevin Williamson. Expect words, music and if you are lucky a raffle of the absurd...

20:30–21:30 at the Edinburgh International Book Festival
Charlotte Square Gardens, EH2 4DR Edinburgh. Allow plenty of time because Edinburgh is busy! (Plus I am informed there is a chance of rain - the question is....when isn't there?) Tickets £10 and less.

Find out more here https://www.facebook.com/events/356876794468860/?ref=notif&notif_t=plan_user_invited and tickets here https://www.edbookfest.co.uk/the-festival/whats-on/douglas-dunn-jenni-fagan-michael-pedersen-kevin-williamson


Sunday, 17 August 2014

World poetry open mic 22nd August 2014

This sounds a good idea. Simply call in to share your poetry or if you prefer listen to amazing poets. The show is hosted by poets J Todd Underhill and Michael Amadei and JT Gunter.

WPOM describes itself as:

a radio show dedicated to you, the poet. We realize that poetry is a form of expression, scratch that..actually, more of an obsession to many around the world. To this end, we have created this show to give poets a venue to have their work heard. Our mission is to build the international community of poets into a thriving group that both creates incredibly poetry but also helps each other rise to new heights. 

Details are ring on 720-240-9766 - US number so maybe there are ways for people outside US to join - Skype? podcast? sound file? The event is from 20:00–22:00 in MDT.

You can find out more about this event here https://www.facebook.com/events/776841159014096/?notif_t=plan_user_invited and here http://www.worldpoetryopenmic.net/.

Wednesday, 13 August 2014

1814 year of Waverley - Walter Scott in context

A very nice book on Scott crossed our path today here at p&g. The kind of book Scott enthusiasts have been waiting for.
It is by Christopher Harvie and he describes some talks he is giving below: if you don't know Scots - Chris says he'll be speaking in English too.
Tales o' anither Grandfaither, Chris Harvie an his Chapbuiks: he’ll tell ye three tales aboot Sir Walter an oor Borderland, tho he’s a kynd chiel, an they’re no aa in the auld tung! An there’s rhyme an (un)reason forbye. 
  • At eleven i the forenoon, young Walter’s borderland, his faimly an freens
  •  Twae efter noon, the stations o’ WAVERLEY, when Charlie cam tae Selkirk
  •  Thrie, afore tea, hoo Sir Walter took on the warld, no tae speak o Boney!
You can catch Christopher Harvie's talks at Abbotsford - the home of Walter Scott (i the Gift-hoose …as Harvie puts it)- where he will be signing books on the 17th August 2014. They also have an archery competition. Nice stuff. Scott virtually invented Robin Hood as we know him today.

And btw if you haven't found us on Twitter yet - it is @poetandgeek

Sunday, 10 August 2014

Zaffar Kunial and John Glenday reading Edinburgh 23rd October 2014

A grand night out in the company of the two poets - topping my current want-to-hear list - courtesy of the Scottish Poetry Library and The Wordsworth Trust (at which Kunial is currently Poet-in-Residence). And as suggested by poetandgeek.com.

Zaffar Kunial is also a Faber New Poet for 2014. John Glenday needs little introduction: his collections Undark and Grain were Poetry Book Society Recommendations. (btw when is someone going to republish his excellent The Apple Ghost?)

This event takes place at 6.30pm at the Scottish Poetry Library - found at 5 Crichton’s Close, Canongate, Edinburgh EH8 8DT. And you need to book a ticket. Price is £5/£4 (concessions) - this intriguing meeting of poets will be well worth it!

You can find more here and book http://www.scottishpoetrylibrary.org.uk/connect/events/zaffar-kunial-and-john-glenday.

Friday, 8 August 2014

Searching for the sons of poet Leslie Reid

Thank you so much to everyone who has been helping us return Leslie Reid's poetry legacy to his sons over the past 24 hours. Help has come from around the globe including much appreciated backing from poets Judith Taylor and Jane Aldous and from Don Share the editor of Poetry magazine.

Leslie Reid in Columbus, Ohio with Bridget Khursheed and Srimati Basu 1990

Although we have had some leads, but we haven't yet found Lez's sons and are relying on your help to do so. Thanks to those of you who have put us in touch with the local Devon press. And as suggested, here is a picture of Leslie Reid the year before he died - probably at a similar age to his sons Joseph Reid and Duncan Reid. Perhaps this will help jog memories.

Thursday, 7 August 2014

Poetic inheritance in a Marks and Spencer bag

Can you help restore poetry to its rightful owners?

A friend of ours has been in touch with a bag of poems written by Leslie Trevor Reid (April 11th 1964 - January 30th 1991). Leslie was a warm and gifted poet with a unique voice - compared to John Skelton by American poetry professor David Citino - who grew up in Oxford later working as a bricklayer but also spent time attending classes at Ohio State University, USA. Leslie died tragically young in a car accident. He had just started publishing but, in the days before social media has left little trace except for a poetic inheritance in an M&S bag.

At the time of his death, his two sons Joseph and Duncan were very small and went to live with their mother Kay in Brixham in Devon. All contact was lost and the poems were put into storage in the Scottish Borders. These young boys will now be in their late twenties. And probably have little knowledge of what their Dad wrote or created.

Can you help return the poems - some of which concern them directly - and Lez's picture as shown to its rightful owners? Get in touch in the usual way.

And thanks. It is about time.

Wednesday, 6 August 2014

Holiday writing

There is a lot to choose from. In fact a possibly overwhelming choice! But how do you make sure you return from your writing holiday satisfied and stimulated?

Don't learn the hard way: here are some things to consider...

  1. What do you want to achieve? This should be your first step before you even glimpse a brochure. Somewhere sunny or a stunningly interesting tutor won't work unless it fits your writing objective. Of course, I am tempted to put in one of p&g's famous charts or ranges here but it is not that simple. Your goal is the first decision to make and then work from there.
  2. Do you want to finish something? Inexperienced or old hand, if you have something you want to work on and finish then you need time and peace - a course on a particular topic is going to grate. Even if it appears to fit with what you are doing closely, it is likely to leave you feeling deflated and worse, hard done by. The tutor, and participants, will be telling you to edit (it is in their nature) before you have even had the chance to explore your ideas. In this case, look for some creative space and quiet; editing can wait!
  3. Close study - take a good look at the course on offer; for example at Arvon (in the UK) or the like wherever you are. Perhaps there is an aspect of your work you want to improve; or you have work you want to edit. Look for a course that helps you achieve that, Remember too that it is not all about you, you will have to consider and talk to other people. Rewards can be a huge step forward in a short space of time. It may also be worth considering whether you want to spend your downtime in rural quiet or whether all this creativity requires a bit of intense urban nightlife every evening. (The latter option may put paid to the long evening talks which can be half the fun of these courses.)
  4. Inspiration - well this is just fun, you can go to Morocco, Seoul, the Pyrenees, a ranch or on a canal boat; or sit at the feet of your particular poet guide - relax and inhale deeply and see what happens!
  5. You have a deadline? Take it from me, this isn't a holiday - it is work. So get your stuff done and then take a restorative break...see above.

Wednesday, 30 July 2014

The day job

If anyone has the urge you can catch p&g's Bridget Khursheed talking about social media at the TCUK 2014 conference in September 2014.

Full details available here http://technicalcommunicationuk.com/index.php/conference-programme-tcuk-2014?subject=lineup&_year=2014&artist=45.


Looking at things in a new way is on the agenda here at p&g

Thursday, 24 July 2014

Crowdfund poetry

p&g contributor French poet and geek Jan Rousselot's Dawn of the Algorithm is both a poem p&g featured in Issue 7 and now:

a picture book of 32 poems inspired by science [fiction], video games, books & movies, life in Paris and, above all else, the looming robopocalypse.

Rather pleasingly you can help fund it.

Take a look at Jan's original poem here http://www.poetandgeek.com/issue7/07rousselot.html and make it happen here https://www.inkshares.com/projects/dawn-of-the-algorithm

Tuesday, 22 July 2014

Averil Andrews

The cloudless skies are blue
But where's the white and red?
Puffs of white smoke
Appear overhead.
And bathed in her bright blood
A child lies dead.

Tricolour by Averil Andrews

A little known English poet publishing at least 3 volumes from the 1930s to 1950s:
  • Quarantaine (1936)
  • The little monkey (1937)
  • White Allegory (1950)

Thursday, 17 July 2014

StAnza's map of Scotland in poems

The poetry map of Scotland - as seen by StAnza - is starting to take shape.

This is just a taster image above.

You can find and explore the interactive map here https://mapsengine.google.com/map/embed?mid=zlqrqfPpHmPI.ki3k4OoDqFXQ or go here http://stanzapoetry.wordpress.com/2014/07/13/the-map-revealed/ to find out how to add your own poem.

Tuesday, 15 July 2014

Kutti Revathi at Poetry International London, England 17th July 2014

There is a chance to hear Kutti Revathi on Thursday as part of Poetry International.

Revathi is a poet, activist and a doctor. Founder editor of Panikkudam, a literary quarterly for women’s writing; also the first Tamil feminist magazine. She has published three books of poetry - sometimes described as controversial.

The strong opening line up also includes Mohamed El Deeb, Ana Blandiana, Carolyn Forché, Nikola Madzirov, Robert Hass and Anne Michaels. The event starts at 8pm and you need a ticket. These all seem to be a reasonable £10. You won't see these guys every day. Purcell Room on the Southbank is the location.

More information on Revathi here http://www.poetryinternationalweb.net/pi/site/poet/item/6288/27/Kutti-Revathi and the event here http://www.southbankcentre.co.uk/whatson/poetry-international-launch-83757

This image is courtesy of Indiaglitz.com