Archive | July, 2010

Call for Submissions

26 Jul

After several months of pondering, ruminating and thinking I am finally ready to send out the first call for submissions for Marvelou.

As you may all remember Marvelou is a collaboration between myself and my cousin Gillian Jack.  Gillian brings her book binding and general paper pedantry skills and I bring words and a strange enjoyment of typesetting.  Marvelou will be producing small, limited edition art books with a focus on poetry, and of course, quality.  As such we can not pay you, we can’t give you a subscription and I’m very sorry but a free copy is pretty much out of the question when our run only extends to fifteen at the most.  Our emphasis is on producing art books rather than being poetry publishers so if you are looking for publishing glory – please, go elsewhere.

Now that is out the way, if you are still reading I can explain the call for submissions.  The little edition I will be working on later in the year will be a collection of found poetry.  Regular readers will know that I am interested in experimental forms and found poetry is one of my personal favorites.

I am looking for found poetry that is both treated and untreated.  You could take words or phrases from several sources and re frame them to create something with a profound new insight, or you could leave the syntax in tact letting the original sing out.  I doesn’t matter where it comes from, a road sign, a cookery book, a dress label, something you found at the back of a second-hand store:  what matters is how it sounds when it’s read out loud, how it sizzles on the page.

How to submit

The closing date is 31 August 2010, any submissions received after this date will be deleted.  Please email with the title Submission:  Found Poetry – your name.  Please include a short biography of no more than ten words plus one web site, if you have one.  It is very important that you ALWAYS CITE YOUR SOURCES.  It is expected that the poet will make sure all sources are cited, and any failure to do so will result in a deletion of your submission.

I leave you with a quote from Michael Angelo to assist you in your quest – good hunting.

A beautiful thing never gives so much pain as does failing to hear and see it.


Some good news

23 Jul

Some of my regular readers will already know this but my family has had some extraordinarily good news this week.  My husband, who has been treated for Hodgkin’s Lymphoma this year has received scan results that show that there is no visible cancer in his body.  He now has one more round of chemotherapy to go, and in about a month, we can look at starting the recovery process.  He is not officially cured until ten years have gone by without any recurred of the cancer so it’s not the full all clear, it is however an extreme relief.

Chemotherapy has been a harrowing experience for both of us, and left me pretty much having to act the dual role of single parent and carer for an ill partner – a dichotomy which is a very difficult balance for anyone to pull of, and one that I have managed with very little grace.

There have been many kinds words and support from the blog readers, fellow poets and friends, and all of them have mattered, so a large thank you to all.  We are not quite out of the woods until 2020, but at the moment, and for the first time in a long while the light at the end of the tunnel is not an oncoming train.

Today IS the day

9 Jul

Regular readers of my bog will know that over the past few weeks I have been orchestrating a simultaneous blogging project, among my fellow poetry bloggers.  Well, today is the day and all the posts should be up on my colleagues blogs.  I am heartily looking forward to reading what each blogger has written.  And theme that everyone has been writing to?


In choosing this theme I was, in part, giving in to my more mischievous side.  I, of course, love swearing.  A well placed swear can be extremely cathartic and substitute swears such as shoot or sugar, don’t have the same impact.  Let’s face it, substitution is just not cool.  Either swear or don’t.  Don’t pretend.  You’re not Ned Flanders.  Grown-up adult people should be mature enough to make a judgment on weather to swear or hold back, without resorting to the attention seeking ploy of not really doing something but still trying to imply you are a little bit naughty.

On the other hand there is also the more serious side to swearing.  To swear allegiance, to swear an oath, to make a vow.  It appears this does not really happen much in modern life, outside of the courtroom or the marriage ceremony.  Perhaps the decline in marriage, is less to do with a lack of interest in commitment from couples, but more to do with the acknowledgment of the deep binding seriousness of the vows that we could choose to make?  I for one, refused to vow to obey my husband during our wedding – why make a vow you know you are going to break?

Those are just two of the aspects of the word, I am more than confident that my crew of trusty blogger mates will find many and varied permutations and tensions within the word.  I am really excited to read what they have posted.  I hope you will enjoy the experiment and also find some blogs and poets who you really enjoy.  Please feel free to let me know what you think about the project, your feedback will help me decide if its worth doing again.

To continue on with the project, please click on any of the blogs below, and read.

Floatsom, Sunny Dunny, Toungefire, desktopsallye, Cadwallander, One Night Stanzas, Russell Jones, Written in my Hand, Tony William’s Poetry Blog, de la poesia y otras disciplinas en palabras.

How I am going to single handedly save the teaching of poetry in schools

7 Jul

Yes, I am given to dramatic and grand statements, aren’t I?  I actually doubt that I will save the teaching of poetry in schools, as my rather melodramatically inclined mind, has as I’ve grown older, become accustomed to reality.  However, I have been thinking a lot about the teaching of poetry in schools.  Claire Askew over at One Night Stanzas regularly links to articles she’s found on the web and in the press about poetry and quite a lot recently they have been bemoaning the teaching of poetry in schools.  The general jist of any comment on this subject will say that the teaching is…

  • Boring
  • Over analytical
  • Taught by people who are afraid of poetry
  • In no way contemporary

In essence any life and vitality in the poetry is gradually cut out and examined bit by bit, which only leaves you with a dead poem.  A teaching method probably more suited to the biology lab than the English classroom.

So my remedy, is that every Local Authority should hire a Poet in Residence.  As well as working in libraries and other local services the Poet in Residence would also go round all the local schools on a regular basis and teach poetry.  What could be a more enthusiastic promoter of poetry than someone trying to sell their book, and keep a job?  Of course some Local Authorities are larger than others, some might need two poets, but that would be for them to work out.

Now, all we need, is for someone to find the money….

Literary Salons, Anon 7 and simultaneous blogging

1 Jul

This week, for the first time ever, I attended a Literary Salon.  It was my cousin who suggested that we go along, and I really wasn’t sure what to expect.  The word Salon puts me in mind of all the 17th or 19th century groups, that you read about in historical novels.  However, there was very little old fashioned about the Edinburgh City of Literature Salon.  Unfortunately due to bus’s I missed the first part of the evening, but the atmosphere was warm and relaxed and is set out to be very friendly.  If you don’t believe me, the Guardian’s Edinburgh correspondent, Tom Allen, was there and has blogged his thoughts on the Salon.

I was also very pleased to bump into Colin and Peggy of Anon, and pick up the latest edition Anon 7, which I am planning to spend my Sunday reading.  I always enjoy Anon, and love the ethos of an anonymous submissions system, which I note from the website has a swanky new poets interface.  Their ethos means that it really has become a must have publication for me to see my work in, and I am determined that one day I will manage it.

The simultaneous blogging experiment is starting to pick up a-pace.  Poets such as Claire Askew, Kevin Cadwallender, Russell Jones and Sally Evans are taking part.  Thanks also goes to Sally and Rob MacKenzie for their help in promoting the idea.  I’m keeping things open for a few more days to see who is interested, but will be starting soon, so if you want to take part, please say now.