Reading at Poetry @ Drawing Projects, Trowbridge, 3rd March 2018

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Poem in The Emma Press Anthology of Love

Here’s another wonderful anthology – which I’m delighted to have a poem in – from the talented folks at The Emma Press. It’s a gem of a book packed with a lively variety of poems accompanied by Emma Wright’s gorgeous artwork.

Here’s the blurb: Building on the success of 2015’s Mildly Erotic Verse, this book explores the diversity of modern romance. Often awkward, never perfect, romantic encounters and relationships are rooted in our own contemporary world of Tinder, Twitter and TV dinners. But they are also part of an enduring tradition: the cornerstone of our common humanity. In this book, fifty-six fresh, diverse and original voices speak to what love means right here, right now, bridging the gap between Hollywood imagery and modern lived experience.

Grab your copy at theemmapress.com.

Happy Valentine’s!

Two poems in ‘DIVERSIFLY – Poetry and Art on Britain’s Urban Birds’

This is a gorgeous new anthology of poems and artwork from Fair Acre Press and I’m really pleased to have two poems included.

“In our modern urban landscapes, birds, and the intersections of their lives with ours, are the most common and obvious manifestations of nature, in all its adaptability and indomitability. DIVERSIFLY catalogues this beautifully in both words and images, with the poetry, from both established names and new, never seeking to separate the manmade and the natural, but instead letting the two bleed into each other. In turns funny, poignant, angry and joyous, DIVERSIFLY is a celebration of the wild world just beyond our front doors.”

(Matt Merritt, Poet and Editor of Birdwatching Magazine)

Copies are available from http://fairacrepress.co.uk

Poem stitched into fabric artwork

A deep bow to my lovely friend, the artist Boann Lambert, who just turned one of my poems into a gorgeous object of artwork. The poem’s called ‘Give Me a Man’ and here it is transformed into a beautifully embroidered reel of fabric. The full text of the poem’s posted below so it’ll become clear why it ended up in the form that it did…

Give me a man

Give me a man
I must learn
to love.
Leisurely.
Sluggishly.
Inch by inch,
month
after month,
unwinding
behind me
a reel of cotton –
so if he falls
by some wayside
– I’ll retrace
my steps,
untie hope
from my heart
and return, intact
to where I began.

For more of Boann’s work check out her Instagram. As well as making a whole variety of art objects she’s equally a painter, printmaker and photographer among other things. She works and runs creative workshops at Arc Studios in Frome, Somerset and will be exhibiting at Frome Open Studios 2018.

Helena Bonham Carter reads my poem ‘Dancing with Life’ in audiobook of ‘A Poem for Every Day of the Year’

Just out is the audiobook edition of Allie Esiri’s brilliant and hugely successful anthology, A Poem for Every Day of the Year, published by Macmillan (2017).

If I wasn’t already cock-a-hoop enough at having  poem included and seeing my name listed alongside heroes from Shakespeare to Spike Milligan, I’m now also slightly giddy having just listened to the always excellent Helena Bonham Carter reading my poem, ‘Dancing with Life’.

Now to light a fire, pull up a comfy chair and enjoy the rest of the collection, with all 366 poems read by Helena and fellow actor Simon Russell Beale, with introductions by Allie Esiri.

The book and audiobook are available from Amazon (among other places).

Headbooks! exhibition at London’s Poetry Cafe: 1 December 2017 – 3 February 2018

Headbooks! is an exhibition of visual poems from the first two titles in Sidekick Books’  wildly experimental Headbooks series.

Aquanauts (cover image left) and Bad Kid Catallus (cover image right)  are both interactive, collaborative compendiums “combining the aesthetics of guidebook, catalogue and poetry anthology, melding the factual with the fantastical, the lyrical with the visual, and brand new work with remixed public domain art”.

Contributing artists include Forward Prize winner Vahni Capildeo, avant-garde Scottish poet and performer Harry Giles, CLiPPA Award winner Kate Wakeling – and me! Included are scrapbooking and do-it-yourself pages so that every copy is customisable, blurring the line between reader and writer.

The exhibition, curated by Sidekick’s writer-editors Kirsten Irving and Jon Stone, showcases collages, calligrams, mixed-media translations and telegraphic poems across two floors, including some exclusively redesigned for the exhibiting space. On the ground floor, you can find rewired and re-mediated versions of the poems of Catullus, the Roman poet famed for his bawdy and salacious verses, and for his explosive love-hate relationship with the mysterious noblewoman referred to in his poems as ‘Lesbia’. Below deck, you will uncover the dive-verse world of Aquanauts: sorrowful shipwrecks, Loch Ness sightings, vile jellies and deep sea leviathans.

Details, directions and opening hours at http://poetrysociety.org.uk/poetry-cafe 

Four visual poems in ‘Bad Kid Catallus’ from Sidekick Books

Hot off the you-know-what from Sidekick Books is Bad Kid Catallus, an interactive blend of words and pictures, with scrapbook and do-it-yourself pages that allow you to join in the mayhem. Delighted to have four of my (not remotely child-friendly) poem-pictures included.

Here’s the blurb:

“Gaius Valerius Catullus was Ancient Rome’s most notorious scandal-monger, filthsmith and lovelorn wretch. In this interactive handbook, his famously sexy, savage, tender and scurrilous poems have been transformed and mutated in myriad ways: compressed, expanded, bricolaged, Catullus in six pulp genres, Catullus as playlist – even a Catullus karma sutra. And then there are pages for you, the reader, to fill in, in your own obscene fashion. You’ll never look at a sparrow the same way again.”

Aquire your copy from the folks at Sidekick Books.

‘No Unauthorised Vehicles’: children’s poem for National Poetry Day

The lovely Liz Brownlee, poet and editor of the website Poetryroundabout.com, has posted a children’s poem of mine on the theme of ‘freedom’ for National Poetry Day 2017.

The poem’s called ‘No Unauthorised Vehicles’ and it was inspired by a sign I saw nailed to a gate while out walking. You can read in online over at Poetryroundabout.com where there are lots more children’s poems all about freedom.

Poem in The Gardeners Rest poetry snug

Now that’s what I call a top pub! The Gardeners Rest in Sheffield is run by its customers as a community project. It supports vulnerable adults and people with learning difficulties by providing employment opportunities. It stages regular arts and music events. And it has a poetry snug! I’m honoured to have had a poem, Sleeping with a Bearded Man, on its walls.

The Gardeners Rest poetry snug