Posts Tagged ‘Duncan Yeates’

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

I use a word processor now –
although when I first started
it was the
fist fight of a typewriter
that really inspired me.

The slow deliberate press,
the looping right hook of the
letter “L”; bruising the paper thin-
skin of the page.
The platelets
of ink would smudge
ever so slightly like
a real
contusion as I
punched my imaginary
audience with fists of words.

I marvel at it now – that
inarticulate barrage of blows –
body shots which missed their marks
scarring the youthful face
of prosody.

During our last fight; punch
drunk with words I tied the broken
ribbon of failure around
my hand like
gauze hand wraps.

I thought a word processor would change
me – my fingers would dance
along the keyboard like miniature Isadora Duncans
– I would use fluent feminine grace to
show subtle ideas of eloquence and perfect poetic
reserve.
I would tap the keys with the translucent grace
of errant butterflies on a bright summer lawn.

Nothing’s changed though:
as every key press still jabs at
the page with the
oblivious martyrdom
of a bee
sting.

(“Styles Make Fights” – from Lallocropia 2)

An ongoing, tragic, manic discourse doggedly fought out through a typewriter – very Lallocropia.

Lallocropia 1 and Lallocropia 2 (both written and produced by Duncan Yeates in 2012) each comprise a single sheet of A4. This simple format conceals a dense complexity of language within – “lallocropia” being a diagnostic term for a person’s tendency to use offensive vocabulary in speech, even in the most inappropriate circumstances. There is no evidence of any such cursing in these so-named pamphlets: au contraire, the language deployed is self-disciplined and direct. In fact its efficiency is what draws in the reader’s eye and mind, the rhythm and rich imagery of its blank verse sustaining attention.

Amid the unexplainable dirt,
sweet wrappers and loose change
I have hidden something.

Under the fabric greased with a thousand
sittings, a mood board to the minutiae
of everyday experience, I’ve left you
with a small work of questionable worth.

A sentiment, selected from similar ones:
not profound – a piece of fluff to be
brushed off the cushion of the consciously
cyclical motions of empirical experience.

It’s the best I can do when I write
down what’s been said so many
times, a cliché that gags on my pen
nib; that draws mucus from its influenza
flecked throat of a barrel.

It’s the most I can promise you
to say that if you discard this Rizla-thin
epithet you’ll miss no profound sentiment;
that, in its utterance, removes you from
the spell of everyday life.

However, if perchance you find it,
the gluey biro ink smeared like tears
across a “Dear John” letter, cautiously invest in it:
no reading is necessary – just the rhythmic brush of your
fingertip will
suffice.

(“A Small work of Questionable Worth” – from Lallocropia 1)

The Small Work alluded to above, for all I know, might be a note that someone rang for you half an hour ago, selling double glazing. It could be an admission that will tear your relationship free by its roots. It might be a nice little ditty. That’s the spirit of Lallocropia – there’s no way of telling what is at the the final destination of a Lallocropia poem, but it’s a rough and fun hike getting there, even if you’ll need your helmet, boots and crampons on the way to gazing into that misty, Brocken spectre of a view from the end. Speaking of which, you’ll probably need an encyclopedia too: names are dropped eruditely and playfully like mantraps for anyone following the poems’ scent too closely.

Duncan’s best work in Lallocropia 1 & 2 happens where, in unforced runs of sense, a tale is told, a point made, an important argument calmly passed on in text clear, compelling and concise. That’s my opinion – but then the verses of Lallocropia are often deliberately diffuse and very hard to focus on. Enough to make you curse. 🙂

You cannot force time. The fiercest push on the plunger of the hypodermic syringe that contains it only emits a wheedling stream. Nevertheless, you plunge it into your bloodstream; feel that limiting prick of consciousness on skin. When you were a child and the first set of goose bumps erupted on your skin like mini adrenal volcanoes, this was your first revelation of mortality – your first taste of time.

(from Lallocropia 2)

This review has included a taster of Lallocropia and Lallocropia 2: for copies, please just e-mail Duncan at lallocropia@gmail.com , sending your postal address, and he’ll send you it in pamphlet form. Duncan’s inventory of poetry will be featured in future on Cornish Lit blog.

Notes:

Isadora Duncan


Duncan Yeates lives in Redruth, and is a founder member of Red River Poets. He has published various non-fiction articles and regularly performs his poetry at The Melting Pot in Redruth (where he helped to organise and promote the recent spoken word event) and The Unplugged Chameleon in St Ives – in fact he’ll be with the other Red River Poets, and many more, at the Be Spoken Word event in the Farmers Arms, Penzance, this Wednesday 20th (tomorrow) @ 7:30pm. Duncan’s appearance with Sue Farmer on Redruth Radio’s Do The Write Thing, on Friday 15th June, can be listened to online [EDIT: CL blog just listened to that and now probly ‘gets’ A Small Work of Questionable Worth a bit better :-)]. His first short poetry collection, Lallocropia, can be found hiding inside in the poetry books of Redruth Library or wherever else he might carelessly decide to leave it for your edification. Lallocropia 2, too, has now been produced. To contact him or to receive a free copy of Lallocropia, please e-mail: lallocropia@gmail.com.

(more…)

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.


A prufrockian Prince Hamlet;
is a pitch perfect oxymoron
to perpetuate the orthodoxy
of an ordinary man:
a fish eyed falsity glimpsed in
the yellow bead of sweat on a poet’s brow –
those fools who would immortalise anything
to try and cheat that million
eyed card sharp that is death.

And me, worse than most,
with neither the shame nor modesty
to disdain the self-immolation of others
as anything less than poetic;
the bloated selfishness of
malcontents drunkenly
divested of lineaments,
slack jawed and foolish.

More retrogressive
than this limp wristed age of
liberal humanism
through which we trawl knee deep
in the lymph drained
from humanity’s thickening scab.

Underneath which white blood cells run riot;
poisoned from killing metal; while those
red blooms of sacrifice wither on the
vanity
of a flat surfaced world: a place
in which we are all equidistant from equanimity.

How many platelets form a scab ?
Ho many grains of sand on a beach ?
How many stars in this galaxy ?

Yet I would mummify myself; write on those bandages
words of sanctity; preserve my paper entrails of supposed significance

although
I am legion;
I am many.


Notes:

Simon Fujiwara

Prufrockian

Duncan Yeates lives in Redruth. He has published various non-fiction articles and regularly performs his poetry at The Melting Pot in Redruth (where he helped to organise and promote the recent spoken word event) and The Unplugged Chameleon in St Ives. His first short poetry collection, Lallocropia,  can be found hiding inside in the poetry books of Redruth Library or wherever else he might carelessly decide to leave it for your edification. To contact him or to receive a free copy of Lallocropia, please e-mail: lallocropia@gmail.com.

Duncan is one of the Red River Poets, who will be appearing at Heartlands on Sunday 3rd June at about 11:30, reading from Lallocropia. He will also be interviewed by Sue Farmer on Redruth Radio’s Do The Write Thing, on Friday June 15th.

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 :-)).

On Wednesday 23rd May starting 7:30, as scheduled after Clive Baker’s regular Kernewek tutorials (5:30) at the famous (or it should be) Melting Pot cafe, Redruth, was held an evening of poetry readings and music, in the convivial and punk-baroque setting of the cafe itself, on perhaps one of the first really sunny evenings in west Cornwall this year.

Abigail Wyatt, who I believe did much the of the organising of the event, started the spoken word, and read the only rhyme poems, I think, of the evening –  ( 😦 I d’like rhyme :-)) . These began with A Long Time Coming, about the trial and subsequent putting to death of Carlos de Luna by the state of Texas in 1989, shown to have been a miscarriage of justice. Following that was her Lullaby for a By-Election, commenting on George Galloway’s adventures in Bradford West. The first was poignant, the second playful.

Next to brave the stage was Duncan Yeates, who read A Small Work of Questionable Worth (which was actually very good) from his collection Lallocropia – following this with a piece inspired by Gabriel Dante Rosetti’s interment, and subsequent disinterment, of a volume of poetry with the body of his lover. Both poems concerned sincerity and sourness at the end of relationships.

A similar theme motivated the second of the items read by Craig Taylor-Broad of Redruth from his impressive catalogue of work, headed thus: Your Pet Name Was Button But All My Pets Are Dead, which has a long title, true, but a pugnacious and pithy content. Preceeding that was Creation for Currency is Corruption – without wishing to be ironic, I’d say that the poem hit the nail on the head and did exactly what it said on the can.

By the time Lorna Hoskings of Penzance took her turn, the setting sun was shining right through the windows of the cafe (which, aptly, was the library room when I went to ‘druth lower school there) and warmly dazzling straight into the eyes of the readers, but her March Moody Blues and January 2012 were atmospheric, and, though in mostly blank verse, had rhythm – particularly at the endings of lines.

Sue Farmer of Redruth Radio, who also helped organise the event, employed the word not spoken but sung, a sharply sardonic and satirical composition of her own about The Scum The Sun newspaper, appropriately accompanied by herself on ukulele, followed by a more serious unaccompanied protest solo about the plight of migrants to the UK.

I should add here that punctuating the varied poetry were musicians of equally varied genres: all of the artists (The house musicians, Mr Bones Presents, Aston Drees and Ice & Slice) being a pleasure to listen to and good complement to the spoken word. Some really brilliant music; guitar and close harmony a capella (tis always good to hear On The Trail of the Lonesome Pine 🙂 ).

Patricia Finney of Truro has had an impressively vast catalogue of work published, in a variety of genres – at Truro library on Fal River Festival’s Poetry Day, 8th June, she’ll be hosting some literary events: a kids’ workshop in the morning and an adults’ poetry performance workshop in the afternoon (more details from Patricia or Truro library). Her brace of poems this evening covered chocolate and bankers – objects of diametrically opposed desire and loathing. Apropos of chocolate, her latest book of poetry contains culinary verse and recipes juxtaposed, which if nothing else is highly practical.

A midlife crisis was the subject of Colette Loftus41, both humorous and touching. Then If Education Is A Weapon I Think I’ve Got A Bomb – scientia potenta est, as applied to the everyday life of the underdog – was the second poem, and the final poem of the evening’s first half. By this time the sunset, tho’ picturesque for the audience, was focussed in on the stage so all readers had done extra well in its spotlight.

I left at half-time. Hopefully by then all readers had read a little of their material – any further information on the event from full-timers will be gratefully received and posted. The next spoken word at the Melting Pot is scheduled in August, but Abi Wyatt has hopes of one sooner – you might hear more here.