Posts Tagged ‘Abigail Wyatt’

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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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

New Editorial Team at Poetry24

Posted: December 2, 2012 by abigailelizabethwyatt in news
Tags: , , ,

Here is an announcement from Poetry24, site where ‘News is the Muse’.  The present editors, Martin Hodges and Clare Kirwan, who established and developed the site, are moving on in order to devote more time to their own projects.  I am delighted to say that the new editorial team includes me, Abi Wyatt so please have a look at the site at www,poetry-24.blogspot.co.uk and maybe consider making a submission. 

Sunday Review, and…. the New Editors!

 
Many thanks to the poets who have kept the submissions coming in during Poetry24’s time of transition – of which exciting news in a moment.

Not that it’s been a very cheery week: do we find it comforting or depressing to dwell on the suffering of others? Either way, there’s plenty of it around at all ages from Amy Barry’s bleak pieta of A Boy’s Life in Gaza to  David Subacchi’s no-frills old soldiers in No Country For Old Men. Also disappointed this week were Noel Loftus, whose thoughts on fractured Ireland churned like his washing machine in Fell fast asleep at noon and Abigail Wyatt’s nostalgicEngland, My England. “I did have the world on / a paper plate; / the family silver still belonged to you.” 

Where will it all end? Afric McGlinchey saw a bigger picture in Existential risk: while we muse on distant planets and ancient gods, the machines might just cull ‘the human herd’. Not so, says James Gordon, who sees us more as the saviours, the benefactors, who can save our Threatened heritage if we choose to do so.

Talking of saving a threatened heritage, I am delighted to say that Poetry24, on the brink of being culled, has been taken on by enthusiastic new editors, all of whom have had poems published here. Here are a few words from two of them:

Abigail Wyatt 

Hello, I am Abi. I was born in Essex but I am now based in Redruth in Cornwall. For many years, I was Head of English and the Expressive Arts at Redruth School but, in 2004, I retired from teaching following a period of illness. Since 2007, I have spent as much time as possible developing my own writing, mainly poetry and short fiction. I have been a regular contributor here at Poetry24 for about a year and I am looking forward to the challenge of becoming part of the editorial team

Abi’s blog is abigailelizabethwyatt.wordpress.com 

Hamish Mack

I am Hamish Mack, aged 50 mumble and living in new Zealand, a wholly owned subsidiary of the Lord of the Rings industry. 
I have been writing poems for about 3 years after being eased into it by an internet friend. I have found poetry to be a great help in dealing with sudden onset unemployment and the immediacy of Poetry 24 had me hooked from the first time that I visited it. Clare and Martin surprised the hell out of me by accepting some of my poems and I will always be grateful to them. This is part of the reason that I have volunteered for this position. That and the key to the Editors Liquor Cabinet, which has not arrived yet…
I will do my best for this site and for the poets that frequent it. This is a very important time time for poets to be speaking the truth to power. Keep  it up, folks.

Hamish blogs at Light of Passage

The other two poets who have volunteered for the editorial team – Martin Bartels and Mike Holloway – will introduce themselves next week.

I’m thrilled that Poetry24 will have this new injection of energy and I hope all you poets and subscribers will give the new team all the support you can – with plenty of quality submissions and by spreading the word. I’ll probably be still hovering in the background, too, like an anxious mum at the school gates when the bell goes…

Have a great week

Clare (and the new tea

In January 2011, Abigail Wyatt set herself a challenge, attempting to keep writing 1 new short story a week, for the One Million Stories project during that year. Nine months later in September, this massively quixotic endeavour’s deadlines proved impractical to maintain in terms of quantity . . . but such was the quality of her weekly submissions that Simon Million of the project got in touch with Abigail and asked to publish a selection of them. The result is this volume.

Starting in ruled Britannia AD 61, the absorbing Old Soldiers, Old Bones‘ virtuoso quality continues: as if in proof that the past not only fades gradually but leaves tangible traces for us to trip over, about half of the 22 compactly written short stories dwell on history, or myth. All are riveting, many framed in crafty ways and with intriguing references to chase up.

From the quiet Greek tragedy of philosophy, at the command of a fellow seeker of truth, going up in atoms of smoke in The Laughing Philosopher’s Last Stand, through to the regressive medieval: Yesterday, Tomorrow and Tomorrow is a burst of the most surreal, fabulous and yet poignant fiction, which calls to mind the fate of Matthew Trewhella of Zennor – perhaps then, not the worst that could have befallen. In another tale of benighted incarceration, Al Claro de Luna recalls Abigail’s poems on a similar theme, for example Queen Juana Receives News of Summer Rain (which you can hear Abigail reading on Redruth Radio’s Do The Write Thing with Sue Farmer). The stream of time rolls ever on to the dying of light and ebbing of revolutionary tides in far Beijing (The Long March Home). After that, we have the long reach of Hollywood in The Man Who Shot Liberty Vallance and then . . .

. . . if you enjoyed Dogma or, somewhat more poetically, Paradise Lost, and if the idea of angels going postal is still strangely appealing (it will not be so appealing after reading this, trust me), make sure you read Blue Monday. Less scary is the fable preceding, which channels Aphrodite and companion attempting to crash Will & Kate’s nuptials – perhaps a little less security would’ve been a good thing (we’ll see :-)). Poor Icarus I found a tricky tale to fathom: if you’re familiar with 20th century artists of landscape and war (such as Peter Lanyon of St Ives), and perhaps with one of Sartre’s more famous works, you’ll take away more from it than I did. I am nearly forgetting The Gecko’s Tale, which on its most obvious level alone makes an amusing and engaging study of industrial processes and relations – but I’m sure there’s more to it, which I failed to grasp.

Plain as daylight is Riding Goofy (in which no Disney® rights are infringed): the dialogue and outcome therein, between an embattled skateboarder at a Cornish secondary school and his conscientious teacher, outlines a thorny issue, which can be recognised as depressingly realistic and pressingly relevant. Staying in the present, and staying relevant, Audi Alteram Partem follows, where we hear another, chilling, side to the story of an eminent carer. As a short story collection, Old Soldiers, Old Bones &c. pays homage to the tradition of a cosy Christmas ghost story, before whipping back to the dystopian future with an X-Factor style mogul negotiating the return of trial-by-combat and gladius — for a fee, of course. The Voices of Sweet Reason in a retirement home send a shiver down the spine, for different reasons, but A Warm Day in May is a reminiscence of life for hard working Essex women in the middle of the last century. Thought provoking; as is The Worst Thing, in similar vein, of women’s life today, specifically as harmfully affected by their men. Lighter, but still with a message to ponder, For The Many Things I’ve Done is set in a guest house in Penzance – again a past projected into the present. Remember The Mess They Made and Three Ships are both set at the foot of a carn’s northern slopes – a scarred and still somewhat wild place where both the outcast and the unearthly sometimes make their home – the one is a tale of sadness and struggle, the other, in finale, a tale both mystic and apparently real, apotheosis-like, and affirming new hope.

Old Soldiers, Old Bones was published in 2012 by One Million Stories (OMSCWP).


Abigail Wyatt lives between Redruth and Camborne and close to the foot of Carne Brea. Formerly a teacher at Redruth School, she now writes poetry and short fiction which she is fortunate to have been able to place in a wide range of anthologies, journals and zines. Her latest collection of verse, ‘Moths and Nightjars‘, is currently available from Amazon for Kindle while ‘Old Soldiers, Old Bones and Other Stories‘, reviewed above, became available from One Million Stories on 22nd June, 2012. For more details, please visit www.millionstories.net.

Recently Abigail has appeared on Redruth Radio’s Do The Write Thing, broadcast on Friday afternoons.

Abigail will be reading, along with her fellow Red River Poets, at Penzance Litfest in late July.

The Red River Poets (Abigail Wyatt, Craig Taylor-Broad and Duncan Yeates), all based around the tin belt of Camborne-Pool-Redruth, have been very supportive of the Cornish Literature blog and also as a collective they have their own Facebook web page. Cornish Lit recommends you go take a look and see what they’re thinkin’, what they’re sayin’ and what they’re doin’ of ! 🙂

Upcoming times, dates and places for the Red River Poets’ spoken word include:

Some of you may have read Duncan Yeates’ first brief poetry pamphlet “Lallocropia” but the chances are you haven’t. Taking his obsession with the obscurity of Thomas Chatterton too far, he only photocopied about 40 and gave most of them to his friends. The remainder he hid in books in Redruth Library, considering them a “literary surprise” for unsuspecting readers.

Duncan has now produced a second pamphlet, oddly entitled: “Lallocropia 2” which he intends to distribute on a somewhat grander scale. Again, this contains some new poetry and prose which he has not yet performed live. If you would like to receive a copy for free, please e-mail him your address at: lallocropia@gmail.com. Do not concern yourself with postage as he considers your interest worth the price of a second class stamp. Reviews of Duncan’s Lallocropia and Lallocropia 2 will follow drekly on Cornish Lit. A further foil to obscurity will be Duncan’s interview with Sue Farmer on Redruth Radio, 15:30-16:30 this Friday 15th June.

Craig Taylor-Broad meanwhile has produced his disturbingly eloquent themed anthology In Absence of Clear Conscience, available in electronic and print formats. It’s reviewed here on Cornish Lit. Is it good ? It is very good, and stunningly imaginative, and it left at least 1 reader severely conflicted around inanimate objects. 🙂 More news on Craig’s productions as available.

Abigail Wyatt has published Moths and Nightjars , an anthology of her contributions to prose and poetry journals – collected from entries to sites such as poetry24 and myriad prose e-zines, the book aggregates Abigail’s talent with sharply topical and principled verse and account, in humorous and serious modes. In addition is her forthcoming collection of poems and atmospheric short tales: Old Soldiers, Old Bones, published by One Million Stories. CL blog suspects Abigail of being the enigmatic genius behind the RRP facebook site and hopes to cover her books, slightly later than drekly, but still in the near future.

In case you missed it, Red River Poets – providing a poetic pulse in the heart of Cornwall: live dates above and collected works in print.

Abigail Wyatt: Lee shore

Posted: June 1, 2012 by Peter J in feature, poetry
Tags: ,

I remember the day the tide went out,

with my toes in shifting sand,
the day we walked by the restless sea
with our backs to the huddling town:
when the salt breeze lifted up your hair
and I failed to understand
that, on this day, the sky would fall
and the stars flee underground.

We strolled from crop to rocky crop
across the sun-streaked shore,
and laid our fleeting tracks of time
where none had been before;
and I called to you above the wind
but it chanced that you did not hear;
for you turned your steps towards the waves
and I was left standing there.

Perhaps it was the sea’s complaint
that rose and fell in your head;
perhaps, it wasn’t me at all,
nothing I did or said.
I like to think you didn’t know;
that it took you by surprise,
the day you shook the heavens
till the stars fell from the skies.


Abigail Wyatt lives between Redruth and Camborne and close to the foot of Carne Brea.  Formerly a teacher at Redruth School, she now writes poetry and short fiction which she is fortunate to have been able to place in a wide range of anthologies, journals and zines.  Her latest collection of verse, ‘Moths and Nightjars‘, is currently available from Amazon for Kindle while ‘Old Soldiers, Old Bones and Other Stories‘, is due to become available from One Million Stories on 22nd June, 2012.  For more details, please visit www.millionstories.net.

Recently Abigail has appeared on Redruth Radio’s Do The Write Thing, broadcast on Friday afternoons.

Abigail will be reading, along with her fellow Red River Poets, at the totem circle at Heartlands on Sunday June 3rd, at 11:30am.

The Red River Poets – Abigail Wyatt, Craig Taylor-Broad and Duncan Yeates – have chosen this name for their collective because they want to identify with the industrial heartland of Cornwall. What better place, then, to hear them reading their poetry than at the totem circle in the shadow of Robinson’s shaft’s winding engine house at Heartlands, Pool, on this Sunday 3rd June, starting around 11:30.

A couple of miles from Redruth (Res Ruth: red river/ford), and not to be confused therewith, the historic once-ochred Red River ran its ruddy race from Hangman’s hill, then below Crofty, seaward, in the valley a few yards west of Heartlands’ Pool site. More homely, the Red River Cafe will be up and serving at Heartlands.

We’ll be showcasing the Red River Poets‘ (RRP) work on the Cornish Lit blog in the days leading up to the reading. The RRP will also be having examples of their poetry displayed in the windows of the old Arts & Graphics building in Fore Street, Redruth, starting Saturday. Please stay tuned for announcements of forthcoming gigs !

For a map and directions to get to & fro Heartlands please click here (there are plenty of buses between Penzance and Truro running past, even on Sundays, also there’s ample parking and it’s fairly pleasant to walk & cycle around there :-)).