Archive for the ‘poetry’ Category

Last week saw the final date in the short tour that promoted Murder of Krows 2.

With audiences averaging around 15 per night (excluding performers!) Abigail Wyatt and I felt that

photo-1

the tour was a great success.

A few Cornish Lit readers have suggested that people might be interested in a brief explanation of how one goes about organizing the production of a poetry anthology and tour.  So, if this is something that you are thinking of doing yourself, read on….

The first hurdle you may need to get over is the one of self-justification.  This is something that I have addressed in the “Afterword” of Murder of Krows 2.  The two fundamental questions are:

  • Is my work/ the work of others that I like or respect worth publishing?
  • Is publishing my own work “vanity” publishing with all the negative connotations that go with that word?

This depends on several factors: many respected poets begin by publishing  their own work; many small poetry presses are run by one or two people yet command a great deal of respect from lovers of serious poetry (examples include Barque Press and Punch Press).  Often these operations are just a couple of people with a passion for language and the means of production.

What makes you any different?

The flipside of the argument is that there is an awful lot of poetry out there.  There is also an awful lot of inadequate or poorly edited poetry out there. There is also an awful lot of poetry as therapy.  Are you going to add to what is essentially poetic detritus or does the work you stand behind have something to say which people may be interested in?

Don Paterson (who I don’t always agree with) states:  “serious poets, I should say, don’t start off amateurs, but apprentices – just like any other vocation”.  Therefore, it may well be wise to heed this when considering putting work out there.  Just because you’ve written it/ read it and liked it doesn’t mean it’s ready.

So how do you know its ready?  You don’t – not really.  Having said this, here are a few ways in which you could gauge whether there is sufficient interest in the work you have produced or are representing.

  • Have you performed it at open mic nights/poetry readings?  Do people give you feedback?
  • Have you made contact with more established poets who you respect and asked them what they think? Many are prepared to do this although obviously not all of them.
  • Have you published any of your poems previously?  Where?  Did your receive any reactions?

So now I have discussed the issues of whether to publish, let’s consider how.

Murder of Krows 2 looks reasonably professional (so people tell me!).  It was designed on a MacBook using Microsoft Word 2011.  This is hardly ultra high-tech.  Therefore, I would suggest some kind of visual eye and common sense are all you need to design a reasonably good looking poetry pamphlet.  Hopefully, so far you have noticed my repetition of the word “design”; making the hard copy of a poetry book can be a little more challenging as well as expensive.

When it comes to producing hard copy you have two options: amateur or professional – both of which have their advantages.

An amateur collection can be produced on a photocopier for next to nothing.  If you can recruit some friends who are half way decent artists then you can even make it look quirky and interesting in a 1970s “Sniffin’ Glue” kind of way.  This is a perfect if you want to get your work out there and sell it cheaply.  There are also independent bookstores that, if you are polite and gracious, may be willing to stock it sale or return.  A few pieces of advice: don’t make the mistake I made with the first Murder of Krows by making the writing too small or copyrighting each author’s name under the poem which is entirely unnecessary.  Look at other poetry collections to get an idea of style and layout and what to include.

The professional option is only appropriate if you have a lump of spare cash, complete belief in the work and a relentless energy when it comes to promoting it.  Abi and I decided to “publish” Murder of Krows 2 with higher production values because we believed in the work (not to denigrate any contributors to the first one) and felt that this was appropriate this time.  In addition to this, we had managed to persuade some well-established writers who we respected to submit.  This meant that we were able to use this to potentially sell more copies than we would have done otherwise.  This is an approach well worth taking but I would only suggest approaching people whose work you genuinely admire, (and that you are able to substantiate this admiration) otherwise your opportunism will quickly become apparent.

If you are still keen to go down this route, you need to make contact with a printer.  At this point I will give Booths in Penryn a completely shameless and unasked for plug as they did an excellent job of our anthology.  Local writer, illustrator and publisher, Chris Odgers of Sawhorse Books, also uses them and the production values apparent in his work are also to their credit.  Another factor to consider in depth is how many copies you should produce. My advice would be 50 unless you know you have an insatiable fan base.  Make sure you see a proof before printing and that you check it carefully otherwise you will have 50 inaccurate copies that you are legally obliged to pay for.

The penultimate stage in this process is promotion.  Realistically, you are not going to sell any books to people who are not friends and family unless you promote very thoroughly.  The reading for the first Murder of Krows attracted thirty plus people but it was promoted on this blog, the local papers and Radio Cornwall.  In addition I sent “press packs” to every bookshop in Cornwall as well as putting up posters everywhere and e-mailing and texting everyone I knew or had ever met.  I also asked Alan Kent to read which added an established name to the event.

A quick reminder: all of this attracted thirty people.  Don’t misunderstand me: thirty keen and enthusiastic supporters of the anthology but it was a lot of work getting them there!

A final point regarding promotion: please do not think that Facebook is the world just because you use it.  In my opinion, although it is valid – it is only one form of promotion and not an exceptionally high impact one at that.  Ask yourself: which is more striking – a well designed poster in a bookshop that you frequent or a Facebook update?

Of course before you promote your event you will need to have arranged venues, dates and have list of reliable performers (even if you are promoting your own work, you will need a “Support Act”).  Here are a list of venues that I have found to be supportive when trying to put on events:

In short go for local independent places but remember that they are doing you do the favour.  Don’t expect them to welcome you with open arms – do your homework and make sure people come otherwise their time has been wasted.

That’s about it.  I won’t give you my guide as to which are the most appropriate wines to go with a Sestinas (written in quadratic hexameters) as that may well be a bridge too far.

I hope this has been useful.  Please feel free to re-blog, re-post, re-quote or downright challenge or disagree with this advice.  However, I would appreciate being notified at lallocropia@gmail.com.

Finally (you knew it was coming) there are only 15 copies of Murder of Krows 2 left…..please buy them and make the world a more poetry loving, literate place.  Copies can be bought by e-mailing me at: lallocropia@gmail.com

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Q for stories. October 7th at Mylor Theatre, in Truro College, starting at 19:30. With an Arthur Quiller-Couch (Q) theme, recitations of original work and Q’s writing. To quote the HfC page on Q for Stories tickets and info (qv) :

Q

There are four good reasons to know about the ginger-haired, freckle-faced doctor’s son from Polperro, who had a taste for loud check waistcoats and jackets, and became known as ‘Q’. As Chairman of the Cornwall Education Committee (set up as a result of the 1902 Balfour Act) Sir Arthur Quiller-Couch was instrumental in the spread of state secondary education in Cornwall; something we take for granted today. He edited The Oxford Book of English Verse in 1923, and remains its best-known editor to this day. Q encouraged young writers including Daphne Du Maurier and was Professor of English Literature at Cambridge. Most importantly, he was himself a practising writer of verse, essays, short stories and novels, including the well known Troy Town.

20 writers who have come together for Q For Stories are all practising their art and to a greater or lesser extent involved in educating. They also share with Q a strong sense of place. Their combined credits include: Radio Four, Feature Film, The National Theatre, Hampton Court Palace, Kneehigh Theatre, Wildworks, just about every theatre and village hall in Cornwall, folk venues from here to Japan, and numerous publications (books and CDs). Seven of them will be recognisable from Scavel an Gow which toured stories through the length and breadth of Cornwall in the 90s. Six of them are Bards of the Cornish Gorsedh. Seven of them are musicians as well as storytellers. Five of them are writers from The Writing Squad Kernow, a county-wide programme for talented young writers.

They will be sharing not only their own work, but also the work of Charles Lee (believed by Q to be the greatest exponent of the Cornish dialect): Charles Causley; and Q himself. All of them are known widely in Cornwall … never before have they all shared the same stage at the same time!

They are: Anna Murphy, Amanda Harris, Mercedes Kemp, Simon Parker, Stephen Hall,  Paul Farmer; Dew Vardh (Bert Biscoe and Pol Hodge); Boiler House (a cappella group: Rick Williams, Grevis Williams, Stephen Hall, Dave May, and Luke Murray); Pete Berryman (guitarist); Pauline Sheppard; Simon Uren (actor); Will Coleman; and Writing Squad Kernow (5 students from Truro College).

Redruth writer Abi Wyatt has news of a second Murder of Krows Anthology, co-edited by Abi and Duncan Yeates, which is due to be launched in the autumn at The Melting Pot in Redruth. Along with special artwork, poems include offerings by Dr Alan Kent and Les Merton, and other poets in Cornwall. It will be a limited print run ! Copies are sure to be snapped up so get in touch with Abi, perhaps via Poetry24 or by Red River Poets facebook page.poetry24

Co-edited by Abi, in addition, is the international, news-inspired poetry web site Poetry24, and Abi is keen to encourage submissions from poets based in Cornwall. If you are a poet in Cornwall and would like to contribute, scoot over to Poetry24 and have a look . . . If you don’t yet feel up to contributing (yet), why not scoot over to Poetry24 and have a look anyway at today’s muse on the news.

Of Abi’s own work, her poem ‘The Long Falling Down‘ is included in a recent anthology of poems ‘Journey to Crone‘. This is one of the five star reviews:

Excellent and moving poetry. The Poems are original, insightful, well crafted, and distinctly female. The voices resonate long after the reading is complete.

Ashley and Eileen Ludgate organised a mini-folk music festival at the Bath Inn, Penzance, where Abi performed more of her poems, including the haunting and soon-to-be-anthologised ‘Dozy Mary‘. It’s good that music and poetry are mixing at events in Cornwall.

Staying in Penzance, a new writer’s group called Writer’s Cafe is set to meet every other Tuesday, at 2pm, in the Lost and Found cafe, Chapel Street, Penzance. The 9th July 2013 is the next meeting, that’s this Tuesday coming !! And from the 17th to the 21st July is this year’s Penzance Literary Festival, with dozens of excellent events – have a look at the website and browse through the schedule – too much good stuff to list here (and much of that is Cornish in composition and/or content – the usual suspects and some interesting others (including music) . . .).
Passio Cristi page from Scawen
One of the talks at Pz lit fest is presented by the Penzance Conservation Community Interest Company – in May they took delivery of William Scawen‘s original manuscript of his Antiquities Cornu-Brittanic 1688, and also his Observations on a Cornish Manuscript entitled Passio Christi i.e. the poem Pascon Agan Arluth. Cornwall Record Office also contracted Pz Conservation CIC to restore William Borlase’s 1750 Memorandums of the Cornish Tongue original manuscript. (These historically significant Cornish manuscripts might be held in the proposed Redruth archive centre, which was recently awarded a £386 thousand heritage lottery grant towards the price tag of around £15 million. It would be nice if these manuscripts above were fully digitised for public viewing before too long. Mar plek.)
Williams Llawnt
In 1865 Rev Robert Williams of Llawnt Ugha (Lawns Ughella / Upper Lawn) in Wales published Lexicon Cornu-Britannicum, which was perhaps the first modern Cornish dictionary. Now, Cornish cultural writer Derek R Williams has authored Williams: The Llawnt – a biography of the Welsh minister and linguist, published by the excellent Y Lolfa.
causley-theatreworks
Looking to Cornwall’s east, another publication brought to our attention is Theatreworks, a collection of plays by Charles Causley, edited by Alan Kent and published by Francis Boutle. Included among 11 librettos and other dramatic works are The Doctor and the Devils (inspired by the work of Dylan Thomas), The Ballad of Aucassin and Nicolette, first performed at the Exeter festival in 1978, and The Tinderbox,which Charles Causley wrote for Kneehigh Theatre in 1990. Alan himself drekly will have published his new books Towards a Cornish Philosophy and a book for children, Surf Dogs.

Sadly for its workers as well as for the future of book production within Cornwall, MPG Books of Bodmin has gone into administration in the last month with the loss of more than 50 jobs.

Written, and with photographs collected, by motor engineering aficiando Ernie Warmington of Redruth, Cornish Road Transport Through Time, published by Amberley Publishing (Amberley in Sussex being the resting place of ASD Smith/Caradar, by the way) traces its subject from Murdock’s engine, and horse drawn vehicles of various kinds to internal combustion motor vehicles used, and produced in Cornwall.
Road transport Cornwall

sniveslitfestThe St Ives Literature Festival 2013 is running from Saturday 11th – Saturday 18th May. (NB That’s this coming Saturday folks ! :-)) A host of events are to be held at St Ives Arts Club, St Ives Library and Café Art. Books by festival authors are for sale from Harbour Bookshop.

  • Book Launches, Readings and Workshops.
  • Poetry And Music In The Square – daily in Norway Square.
  • Free Speech – Open Floor – daily at Café Art.
  • The Big Frug

    • On Friday 17th May. Local duo Tir ha Tavas, Delia and Dave Brotherton, have teamed up with guests Vaughan Bennett, Peter Burton, former Grand Bard of the Cornish Gorsedd Mick Paynter and fluent Welsh speaker Gareth Parry for an evening of words and music starring the Cornish language, Kernewek, with a tasty serving of Welsh alongside.

      “We will be presenting our personal selection of prose, poetry and song in the old Celtic tongue,” said Delia, “a language almost lost in the mists of time yet one that lives on in the daily life of West Penwith and beyond.”

      Featuring many original compositions, this special evening will be held at the St Ives Arts Club starting at 9pm and marks the first of several events over the coming months to raise the profile of the Cornish language in a performance.

      “The Celtic language of Cornwall is once more being embraced as a symbol of her historic past,” added Delia, “reviving from ancient roots, while ever changing in the hands of the next generation who cherish the old culture and nourish the new.”

      Tickets £6.50, or 5 for £30, are on sale now from Café Art in St Ives, tel 01736 799450, or from the St Ives LitFest organiser on 753899 or from Dee on 799305. There is a full programme with more information on the St Ives Literature Festival website www.stiveslitfest.co.uk


      John Phillips was born in St Ives. His poems pose questions about how we perceive the world through language and the senses, deftly weaving together details of the external world with reflections on the thought processes and on the nature of words. At the St Ives Arts club at 15:00 on the opening day of the festival, Saturday, the 11th May, he will be reading poetry from his work so far.

      His publications include Language Is (Sardines Press, San Francisco, 2005) and What Shape Sound (Skysill Press, Nottingham, 2011). He work has appeared and been reviewed in a variety of magazines in this country, the U.S., Australia, Austria, Japan and Israel; it can also be found in the following anthologies: From Hepworth’s Garden Out (Shearsman Books, Exeter, 2010), Haiku in English: The First Hundred Years (W. W. Norton & Company, New York, 2013), and Succint (Broadstone Books, Frankfort, Kentucky, 2013). He runs Hassle Press, which has published a range of poets.

      Tickets £ 5.00 from Cafe Arts, tel 01736 799450, at the door or ring Jasna Phillips on 07969727040.

Call for submissions for Murder of Krows 2

Posted: April 15, 2013 by lallocropia in news, poetry

Duncan Yeates and Abigail Wyatt are inviting poets and artists to contribute to our next Murder of Krows* anthology.

The submission guidelines are as follows:

1)    All contributors should be resident in Cornwall.

2)    Poetry of a serious nature is looked on more favourably than comic or light-hearted verse.

3)    Please do not submit any more than two poems although there is no limit on length.

4)    All submissions should be e-mailed to either lallocropia@gmail.com or abigailelwyatt@rocketmail.com. Please submit poems as .doc or .pdf attachments where possible.

5)   Artwork can be any style or theme. All work should be black and white and scalable to A5 size. Please submit work as JPEGs.

6)    The closing date for all submissions is 1st June 2013.

*Murder of Krows is an anthology of poetry by published and previously unpublished Cornish poets. The first volume was launched at the Melting Pot Café at Redruth in March 2013 and proved to be a great success, selling out its print run and attracting guest readings from Dr Alan M Kent and Les Merton. If you would like to get a feel for the content and style of the first anthology, a PDF of it is available by e-mailing lallocropia@gmail.com. There are also a very limited number of copies left at the price of £2.00 inc. P+P – again please e-mail lallocropia@gmail.com if you wish to purchase one.

There will also be opportunity for all contributors tor read at the anthology’s launch night at The Melting Pot Café.

book cover image enlarged

Following the “Call for Submissions” post in the Cornish Lit blog last year, Duncan Yeates and Abigail Wyatt are delighted to announce the launch of their poetry anthology, “Murder of Krows” on 20th March at 7:00 pm at The Melting Pot, Redruth.

Featuring guest readings from the prolific and talented Alan M. Kent alongside Les Merton, the editor of “Poetry Cornwall”, this promises to be both an exciting and significant occasion to make space for in your diary.  The anthology itself is a selection of local poets from the Redruth area and beyond and gives an insight into the sheer diversity of work being produced in the small community of people who often convene to perform their work at The Melting Pot’s late opening Wednesday nights. In addition to this are other previously published and well respected poets such as John Phillips, and visual artists who work with language such as Janet McEwan, ensuring that this is a collection of work that really does showcase what Cornwall has to offer.

The night itself will include a free buffet and drinks for all who attend and a chance to buy a copy of this numbered and strictly limited anthology at the sum of £1.00.  If you are interested in purchasing an advance copy, please contact Duncan Yeates at lallocropia@gmail.com.

Please come and support Cornwall’s burgeoning creative writing scene. We intend that this anthology will be the first of many to promote Cornwall’s many published and unpublished writers.

book cover image enlarged

Call for Submissions

Posted: November 12, 2012 by abigailelizabethwyatt in news, poetry

Call for submissions for an anthology of poetry to be produced by the Red River Poets early in 2013.

Submissions are open to anyone living in Cornwall but the editors want to encourage submissions from writers resident in the Redruth, Pool and Camborne areas. Up to 50 lines, any theme, any style but we admit that we will look favourably on work with something serious and substantial to say.

We regret that we are unable to pay contributors but the anthology will be widely distributed in Redruth and Camborne and the surrounding area. There will also be a launch evening at which successful contributors will be invited to read.

The editors will be Duncan Yeates and Abigail Wyatt. We will respond to all submissions as soon as we possibly can but, once made, our decisions will be final.

This is a not-for-profit project. Our objective is to encourage and support local poets and give a ‘heads up’ for creative writing generally. What we want from you is the right to publish your work in a limited number of anthologies that will be distributed via bookshops and arts venues locally. We may also publish samples of the work on the Red River Poets Facebook page for a period of three months following publication.

E mail me at abiwyatt[thesign]yahoo[dot]co.uk if you have further queries and submit your work to the same address no later than 15th December, 2012.