Ten: The New Wave is the successor to 2010’s Ten: New Poets, both books being a response to the Arts Council’s Free Verse Report’s 2005 finding that “less than 1% of poetry published by major presses in the UK [was] by black and Asian poets”. According to Fiona Moore’s write-up of the panel discussion at the book’s launch, the situation has since improved but is still materially and embarrassingly short of being representative (and, speaking as a straight, white, able-bodied man, yet another example of the over-privileging of people like me in the UK poetry world). Ten: The New Wave is a further step towards rebalancing this. It’s also hands-down the best poetry anthology of 2014 so far. Continue reading
For the past week or so I’ve been revisiting work by the poets who’ll be reading in Oxford three weeks today on Sunday 5th October (doors open 6.30 for 7pm start; £5/£4 concs; The Jericho Tavern, Walton St, Oxford).
We have a fantastic mix of readers and poetic traditions. Here’s a quick overview: Continue reading
On Sunday 5th October the Jericho Tavern in Oxford will play host to a fantastic evening of poetry. Building on the success of last year’s event we’ll once again have six of the most exciting contemporary poets representing a vibrant mix of poetic styles and traditions, established names and rising stars. Continue reading
Andrea Brady’s Cut from the Rushes is really two collections in one: a reissue of 2005’s Embrace and a new volume, Presenting. It’s also the most thrilling, visceral, challenging, uncomfortable and darkly-beautiful book I’ve read since… [I can’t finish this sentence because I can’t think of a suitable comparison: Cut from the Rushes is in a category of its own, and is simply stunning]. Continue reading
Last week an editor I like and respect asked for edits to two of my poems to correct for a couple of minor blemishes. In both cases the eventual changes were small, but for one of them it transformed the poem. A few comfortable words got excised and I found some less comfortable ones to replace them. In the process, the tone of the whole thing shifted (for the better). Objectively this is unsurprising, but I still found it odd how a small tweak at the end projected back into the rest of the poem and altered the extant rest-of-it.
By chance I then stumbled across a more profound example of the same thing in Geoffrey Hill’s early poem “In Memory of Jane Fraser”. Continue reading
The Albion Beatnik bookshop on Walton Street has become one of the most prolific live poetry venues in Oxford, with owner Dennis Harrison serving up so many high-quality poetry evenings that it’s getting easier to count the good poets who haven’t yet read there. Without exception I’ve enjoyed every Albion Beatnik event I’ve been to and am looking forward to a lot more in the future.
On Friday a group of us went to hear Andrew McNeillie and Peter McDonald in a well-matched double-act. Continue reading
Having ineptly triple-booked myself I was only able to make the first 90 mins of yesterday’s Saboteur awards. This meant I missed a great line-up of printed poets that I really wanted to hear (not to mention the evening awards ceremony), but did at least catch the afternoon Spoken Word session. Continue reading