So, this really is goodbye…

1 Sep

Hello – yes, I know I said I’d stop blogging, but I can’t. I might be addicted to the internet. However I do need to cut own the time I am spending on all my different platforms and applications so while this blog will always remain here (sometime we can visit it together and feel nostalgic for the old days) really I will be updating on .

The reason I’m moving to Tumblr. is mainly it’s brevity, which like poetry form, actually gives you more creativity, and I feel I can be a bit more experimental with updates than I am in the traditional blog format.

Also, in other news. I am tweeting the whole of my first pamphlet of poetry This is a Poem under the hashtag #tiap at the moment. If it goes well I will also tweet A Violation of Expectation. I more than welcome virtual interaction, so do come and play…


10 Jul

I will no longer be updating this blog. Thank you to all my readers for the time they have taken to read and comment on it over time.

You can join in if you want..?

5 Jun

So, I have been very tardy in my blogging of late, for which I do apologise. I have some interesting/exciting ideas at the moment on the blog front, and if they do come to fruition you should be hearing about them soon. In fact, I have quite a lot of projects on the go at the moment, but none of them are things I can really talk about yet, so you shall have to wait I’m afraid.

So for the moment I will tell you about the one I can talk about, and you can join in if you want. I’m currently collecting a list of “Things We Think But Never Say.” It’s going to be a kind of found poem. It’s a poem we all find within ourselves, if we are willing to be honest and look hard enough at the less attractive parts of ourselves. If you would like to join in you can add your contribution in the comments below or email me or tweet it to me @lumpinthethroat. I might put it in a book or something…

Contributions so far, mainly from myself and Jacq Kelly are below. I wish you luck in searching.

My grief is better than your grief

I don’t love you, I need you.

I’m better than you.

I wish you had more courage.

You bore me.

Tell me if I’m wrong

23 Apr

I’ve been working on a theory, it’s  in it’s inital stages of thought.  The theory is that really great creative movements, or individual works, are great because they explore, or come from tension.  In writing this is certainly true in fiction (tell me if I’m wrong fiction writers) and I think it can be applied in other area as well.  In my poem The Book of Antonyms, I tried to explore this be creating a poem about opposites, throwing some received wisdom about opposites out, and made sure that there were two opposites in every stanza.  My idea was that the opposites as subject and within the poem would create a poem of tension.

If we look at creativity, we can see there have always been movements which have rocked the establishment, which have out-and-out decided that they are not going to do things the “acceptable” way.  These movements have always shocked and inspired people, they have caught people up, and sometimes left them in their wake.  Why are these movement so powerful?  because they create tension within the creative world they inhabit.  Some times they create tension within the larger world, and that is when something special starts.  This tension is needed in all walks of life.  Take politics, which I’m not entirely convinced isn’t an art form in itself.  Imagine there being no Conservative party…  That was nice, wasn’t it?  But politics suddenly gets much less interesting too, and voter apathy sets in.  This is why you need tension, tension brings life and vitality, it creates an energy of its own.

This is one of the reasons why I was so saddened to see, and hear about, the recent in-fighting in the Edinburgh poetry scene.  Harry Giles has done a reasoned analysis of why this has happened, but if you want to read for yourself go here, here and here.  Now just to make sure that people completely understand me I have no problem with people having their say or defending themselves.  If you’re a writer and you can’t explain or defend your chosen style (not others style, your own), then my advice is to learn to do so.  You need to know not only what you are doing, but why.

What Russell did, whether you agree with him or not, was identify a tension and express it, he tried to do so with humour.  It’s public expression then created a tension in the Edinburgh poetry scene.  That tension could have been used positively and responded to in a creative manner, but it wasn’t.  If the response had been a creative one, then it could have ended up making everyone involved stronger, and strengthen the poetry scene in Edinburgh as well.  At the moment all it has done is put me right off poets.

So my challenge is for those who feel strongly about this tension is to respond positively, in a creative way.  Yes challenge, yes argue your point of view, but do so in what you do best, verse.  I’ll publish it here if you do.

Rules are made to be broken

18 Apr

About three and a half years ago, when I decided to seriously take up poetry again I also decided that I would only perform on stage when asked.  How so?  Well, like many page poets, I (secretly) hate performing.  I get incredibly anxious, I spend hours worrying about how to order my set list, I worry that my voice won’t come across, I worry something unfortunate will happen with the mic stand, I worry that I will get tounge tied, I worry I’ll be shit, I worry that I will be the worst poet reading, I worry, I worry…  Yes, you get an adrenaline kick from a good performance on stage, but after doing some performance poetry years ago I realised that the adrenaline kick wasn’t enough to make it worth it, for me anyway.

So I’ve only performed when I was asked.  Which means that I haven’t performed a lot.  However, the fact that I will have a pamphlet published sometime in the near future by Red Squirrel Press means I will have to step up my self-publicity game.  So I am performing, I even volunteered, I felt slightly enthusiastic for a whole half an hour after.

And whom would tempt me out of my performing retirement?  Inky Fingers.  To “celebrate” the dullest event of the year (the Royal Wedding in case you’re wondering) they are hosting a spoken word night themed To the altar! To the block!  With  a lot of  poems on the subject of my recent separation, how could I resist?  Hope to see you there.  I think.

I promised you exciting news…

9 Apr

So, in my last blog post I promised you some exciting news, and here it is…

I have a publisher!  Yes, it’s quite exciting isn’t it?

Red Squirrel Press, who also publish lots of other talented poets I know, will be bringing out my first pamphlet, which is serving as a double pamphlet entitled This is a Poem/A Violation of Expectation.  There is no fixed date as yet, and a process of proofing and editing to go through, but you may well see it by the end of the year.

To add to my delight, my good friend, and artist Alastair Cook will be working on the cover.

There you go.

I’ve missed you. I’ve missed you a lot.

1 Apr


You’ve not heard from me in a while, and for that I am truly sorry.  As some of you will know I separated from my husband at the beginning of the year, and the silence has been generally through moving home, being incapacitated with emotional pain, and having no internet connection.  But all three are pretty much sorted now!  I have been busy though so here is a list of Stuff What I Have Done.

  1. I have a smashing new flat in Comely Bank, and found out there are some smashing writers living near-by.  I’m going to be setting up a wee informal group which people can attend for a bit of a chat about writing and tea and cake.  If you’re in the area, or around (I’m not too fussy on geography) and your interested send me a message.
  2. I have got a poem in Under the Radar.  Which I am very pleased about.  It’s a great magazine to get in.  They had rejected me once before but told me to re-submit, so it just goes to show it’s worth trying more than once.
  3. The erotic anthology I am in Bedtime Stories 2 has been published.  I’ll hopefully be getting my copy next week, and will blog more about it then.
  4. I’m also in the Small Stones project anthology Pay Attentions:  A River of Stones, in lovely hard, paperback and download.
  5. I attended the This Collection Friendly Slam.  My aim was to get through to round two and I was successful.  Both Andy Philip and Russell Jones have blogged about the slam and I think they can do it better justice than me.  All I can say is that I’m really pleased to see how Scottish poets are taking something that didn’t necessarily fit well with the prevailing culture and are being creative and adaptive with it.
  6. I went to hear poet Jacq Kelly read.  I’m always nervous when I hear people I know read for the first time, but pleasantly I didn’t have to lie about how much I enjoyed it.
  7. I have also guest blogged at Burdz Eye View, although this is mainly about breasts.
  8. I have suffered from hypergaphia and have written most of a second pamphlet in the last month.  The only down side of this amazing amount of energy is my brain sometimes breaks down and has a migraine.
  9. I had Bibliotherpay book art style and it was utterly brilliant.  I would recommend you catch this woman and get her to write you a prescription.
  10. I went to the Literature Salon and meet some new people.
  11. Gillian and I are planning to move again with Marvelou – I know we’re being very tardy – and spend a whole day binding, probably here.
  12. I may have identified some new work for Marvelou.
  13. I’ve had a breakthrough with my writing, which is just amazing – not sure if this is the cause or the effect of the hypergraphia.
  14. And I may have more exciting news to come soon…

Not bad for a month and a half.

Collectors item alert

16 Feb

It is with some sadness that I have to inform readers that I am separating from my husband with the expectation of divorce.  “Oh”  I hear you think.  “That’s a bit unexpected” I hear you think.  “Goodness, I hope your ok?”  Yes, thank you for your concern.  Realistically it’s quite shit, but I know it will all be OK once the dust settles.  “What does that have to do with collectors items?” you ask.

Well, I am reverting to my maiden name, Campbell-Jack (good, eh?).  So therefore the anthology I’m in that was launched last week By Grand Central Station We Sat Down and Wept (available from Red Squirrel Press) will now be the only book I am ever published in under my married name of Sharratt.  Which means, when I am an internationally renowned and respected poet, it will be worth more than the cover price.  If you feel you should cash in, no matter to me.  But having read it, it’s already worth more than the cover price anyway.

Denounced by the Pope

7 Feb

Every writer has to at one point think about what constitutes success for them, to be published by a certain publisher, have your work praised by certain peers or win a coveted prize.  In my early days of writing I used to idly dream of having my work denounced by the Pope.  I am pretty sure that even the most religious of my readers will agree, and there are a few, that having the Holy See cast me in the shape of sin would do wonders for book sales, as well as assuring my place as a footnote in literary history, and obscure quiz questions.

However, having mellowed as I’ve grown older I’ve also become a little more realistic, and decided that my ambition is no longer to be denounced by God’s representative on earth.  So who do I want to be denounced by now?  Well, it could only be Jan Moir, or indeed the Daily Mail in general.  I find it hard to put into words how much I despise the Daily Mail, mainly because I am locked in a destructive relationship with it, where I feel compelled to read it every day while inside seething with disgust.

So how am I going to achieve this – well, I took the first step this week, by having work accepted to Forest Publications erotic anthology Bed Time Stories:  The Second Coming.  I can just feel I’m slowly turning into a threat to family values.

The best conversations you’ve had all week

2 Feb

Me:  So, what are you doing Tuesday?

You:  The 8th?

Me:  Yeah.

You:  Not much, did you have something in mind?

Me:  Well, I will be reading my poem from the new Red Squirrel Press anthology “By Grand Central Station We Sat Down and Wept“, at it’s Scottish launch.

You:  That sounds great.

Me:  Yes, it’s the first time my writing will have appeared in an actual book, so I’m quite excited.  I’ve been assured it has a spine and everything!

You:  Well, I was planning on washing my hair.

Me:  There are free “refreshments” (wink).

You:  I suppose I could wash my hair another night.  Where is it?

Me:  It’s at the Fruitmarket Gallery, near Waverly Station (Edinburgh, Scotland).  And before you ask, it starts at 7pm.

You:  Well, I shall really look forward to seeing you.

Me:  There will be a host of other talented poets reading as well.

You:  Even better.