Saturday, 29 August 2015

London Launch: Poems for a Liminal Age in aid of Médecins Sans Frontières

We had an inspiring afternoon at the London launch of Poems for a Liminal Age, edited by Mandy Pannett and published by Nnorom Azuonye of SPM.

The book will raise funds for Médecins Sans Frontières, UK.

We only reached home about an hour ago, so these unedited photos are hot off the press. I apologise for the quality, but at least they give a flavour of the wonderful occasion.

Right: Poet and Publisher, Nnorum Azuonye, Director and CEO, SPM Publications

Editor, Mandy Pannett welcoming us at the beginning

Editor, Mandy Pannett

Wendy Klein

Alwyn Marriage
Lin Lundie

Richard Copeland

Alison Lock

Alison Lock

Sean Street

Bill Holdsworth

Margaret Wilmot

Beth Somerford

Diana Mitchener

Afam Akeh

Afam Akeh

Alison Lock and me

Alison Lock, Mandy Pannett (centre) and me

Nick Cooke

Helen Moore

Caron Freeborn

Spencer Edgar


Linda Black

Anthony Costello

Mark Howorth-Booth

Jacquie Wyatt

Poet and Publisher, Nnorum Azuonye, Director and CEO, SPM Publications

Mario Petrucci

Andie Lewenstein

Paul Matthews

Launch venue

Thursday, 27 August 2015

The Poetry Trust's Poetry Prom at Snape

Snape Maltings, Suffolk, UK

We attended the annual Poetry Prom at Snape last night, and thoroughly enjoyed engaging presentations from two world-class poets who had flown in from the USA, Naomi Shihab Nye and Mark Doty.

It was Ellen McAteer's first Poetry Prom as Director of The Poetry Trust, and it was good to be able to exchange a few words with her at the end.

Naomi is described by The Poetry Trust as 'a passionate cross-cultural ambassador whose engaging grounded poems are a call for peace and international goodwill in these troubled times.'

There was sensitivity (Mark Doty's poem about an encounter with a young goat and Naomi Shihab Nye's piece about an unexpected gift). There was style - and huge appreciation from the audience.

Mark Doty read a hot-off-the-block (or tablet/iPad) poem which he had just written as a result of a call from the States.

I bought a signed copy of Naomi's collection, A Maze Me, which I much look forward to reading. 

It was a lovely occasion, and a chance to mingle with friends in the book signing queue, and over coffee and chocolate brownies in the interval. 

Friday, 14 August 2015

Poems for a Liminal Age - edited by Mandy Pannett (SPM 2015)

The photo above may seem somewhat unseasonal on a mild (if somewhat grey) August afternoon in the UK, but it seems to fit a poem of mine, 'Weddell Seal at the Ice Edge', which has been included in the forthcoming anthology, Poems for a Liminal Age, published by SPM Publications, the publishing arm of the Sentinel Poetry Movement.  

The book was published on 24 August 2015. Sales from the volume will raise funds for Médecins Sans Frontières, UK

You can find a list of poems and poets here. The book will be launched in London.  

Friday, 24 July 2015

'Days begin ...', an Anthology from Poetry Wivenhoe

We attended the Wivenhoe launch last night of a rather special anthology.

Days begin ... was edited by Peter Kennedy of Poetry Wivenhoe, who masterminded the celebrations. The book is set to raise funds for the new Colchester Cancer Centre, which will provide much needed (post-treatment) resources for those who have received cancer care.

The publication has already been funded so all profits from the sale of this book will go to the cause. Copies can be purchased from Wivenhoe Books.

Poet Laureate Carol Ann Duffy has described the enterprise as “a wonderful project with some stunning poems by some of our brightest talents.” The title is taken from Penelope Shuttle's poem. Other contributors include Rebecca Goss, Martin Malone, Kim Moore and Kit Wright.

Wednesday, 22 July 2015

Launch of the Emma Press anthology, 'Slow Things'

We attended the launch of Slow Things yesterday evening. Slow Things is the latest poetry anthology from The Emma Press. It features poems on such diverse subjects as 'ice, traffic and a giant wooden boulder'. It also includes my poem, 'Dear Loris', about the Slow Loris, probably the only poisonous primate. 

The book launch took place in the Archive of Rambert on London's South Bank.

Ballet Rambert

I would like to thank publishers Emma Wright (owner of The Emma Press, above) and Rachel Piercey (regular co-editor, third from left below) for another wonderfully unique and diverse anthology.

There was plenty of opportunity for browsing on the book table; and given that the evening also included a launch of The Dead Snail Diaries by Valley Press founder and publisher, Jamie McGarry, it was hardly surprising that there was a trail of mollusc shells among the publications!

The photo below shows Jamie in full flight, regaling us with his witty gastropod poems.

It was a delightful and well-supported occasion, with a lively atmosphere, clear readings and plenty of opportunity for conversation.

Fellow Suffolk Poetry Society member, Alex Davis (front right)

Rachel Piercey with Alison Brackenbury

A buzz of conversation!

Alex Davis reading

 ... Alex and me, part of the Suffolk contingent ...

Thank you, Emma and Rachel, for a memorable occasion. 

Monday, 20 July 2015

Poetry Round-up

Staffin ... Isle of Skye

Time for a quick poetry round-up ...

Due to time away and other commitments I have got behind with my postings, so here is a summary.

  • I have been awarded Third-Equal in the Fixed Form Poet of the Year (2014) Challenge for the Metverse Muse (#38, ed. Dr. H. Tulsi, Visakhapatnam, India) competition in Category A. My poems in the international contest were 'Nightmare' and 'Feline Fancy'. My poems, 'Cattle Crossing, Staffin Bay' and 'Winter's Knife' have been published in this issue of Metverse Muse. 
  • My review of Mike Bannister's poetry book, The Green Man (translated into Romanian as Omul Verde) has appeared in Orizont Literar Contemporan, in the May-June 2015 issue. 
  • My interview with Professor Don Riggs of Drexel University in Philadelphia has appeared in Made of Words (translated into Romanian as Făurit din cuvinte). Published in Romania under the aegis of Orizont Literar Contemporan.

Wednesday, 3 June 2015

A Terrific Day at the 2nd Festival of Suffolk Poetry

Festival Director, Colin Whyles, on stage

Colin adjusting the microphone

David reading his Raasay poems as a tribute to Sorley MacLean

I also read a Raasay poem ... and one about a turtle's 'tears'.
Ian Griffiths, Suffolk Poetry Society Chairman, recited his Golden Oriole poem

Poems on Gainsborough's House - Colin at the microphone

The 2nd Festival of Suffolk Poetry,
John Peel Centre for Creative Arts, Stowmarket
The Suffolk Poetry Society hosted its second all-day festival on Saturday 30 May 2015. Colin Whyles, Festival Director, was at the helm, with assistance from fellow committee members.

The morning programme comprised poetry workshops, including a session entitled ‘Poem as Time Machine’, with quick-fire exercises presented by Michael Laskey, co-founder of the international Aldeburgh Poetry Festival. Other workshops focused on the Villanelle poetry form (led by Suffolk Poetry Society President, James Knox Whittet) and on internal and external landscapes (led by Angela Locke, former Ipswich High School student, now a writer in Cumbria).

The afternoon events featured more than 30 members of 9 Poetry Cafés or groups from throughout our region, including a staff and student representation from University Campus Suffolk in Ipswich. The poems displayed a huge variety of style and subject matter. Suffolk-themed pieces ranged from a railway rap to a poem by previous Society Chairman, Anne Boileau, on the theme of Thomas Gainsborough’s pocket watch. 

There were more readings in the evening, including one from Michael Laskey. Douglas Coombes of InSuffolk ( held an onstage conversation with three Crabbe Memorial Poetry Competition Prize Winners, namely James Knox Whittet, Pam Job and David Healey. 

A bookstall displayed an impressive range of members’ books, pamphlets and chapbooks. Poetry doctors were on hand for those who were having difficulty with a poem. There was a demonstration of calligraphy by Sue Hufton.  

Do take a look at the Suffolk Poetry Society's Facebook page for more Festival photographs. A huge thank you to all who worked so hard to make this such an enjoyable and memorable day.