March 28th 2021 at 3pm: Launch event – Chaucer Cameron, Cheryl Moskowitz & guest readers

We’re delighted to be launching In an Ideal World I’d Not be Murdered by Chaucer Cameron and Maternal Impression by Cheryl Moskowitz.

Eventbrite for tickets

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In an Ideal World I’d Not be Murdered is part memoir/part fiction and is Chaucer’s debut pamphlet. The poems explore the impact of prostitution.

“These poems ring out like gunshots in the night; they will wake you from your sleep. Yet despite its distilled directness, this book is lifted by both mystery and surprise. Listen for the songs emerging from the dark centre of this transformative work of experience and survival.’  Jaqueline Saphra

Maternal Impression

“Every time I have heard Cheryl Moskowitz read “The Donner Party”, strange things have happened – a bell has rung with no-one at the door, candles have guttered in a church setting, and shivers always run down my spine. Moskowitz’s poetry summons spirits and spills beyond the words on the page into a mystical space where we are all connected in body and mind. These are poems that once read or heard, leave their mark. Mesmeric, soul-feeding, uneasy, I come back to them again and again for reassurance, admonishment, and recognition of what it is to hang onto the maternal in our collective journey. Maternal Impression is a call to arms – maternal arms – and all that implies in the Anthropocene. It has a beating heart that needs to be heard, felt, and heeded.” – Lisa Kelly

Guest readers:

IsabelleIsabelle Baafi is a writer and poet from London. Her debut pamphlet, Ripe (ignitionpress, 2020), was the Poetry Book Society’s Pamphlet Choice for Spring 2021. She was the winner of the 2019 Vincent Cooper Literary Prize, and was shortlisted for the 2020 Bridport Prize and the 2019 Oxford Brookes International Poetry Competition. Her work has been published in Poetry Review, Magma, Anthropocene, Tentacular, petrichor, and elsewhere. She was a member of the 2019-20 London Library’s Emerging Writers Programme, and the 2020 Griot’s Well Programme with Writerz and Scribez. She is also an Obsidian Foundation Fellow and an Editor at Magma.

lucy picLucy English: is a Reader in Creative Writing at Bath Spa University. She is a spoken word poet and novelist.  She is co-director, with Sarah Tremlett, of Liberated Words, which creates, curates and screens poetry films. Lucy’s most recent project is, The Book of Hours, a reimagining of a medieval book of hours in poetry film format. The Book of Hours contains 48 poetry films created in collaboration with 27 collaborators from Europe, America and Australia. Films from this project have been screened at many international short film festivals including Visible Verse, Canada; Weimar and Zebra, Germany; Lisbon, Portugal; Athens, Greece, and Newlyn in the U.K. She has a PhD in the placement of spoken word in poetry films.  Her first collection of poetry, Prayer to Imperfection, was published by Burning Eye Press in2014. Her second collection is the poetry from The Book of Hours published by Burning Eye Press in 2018.

Sarah Mnatzaganian reads at the launch of Night Shift by Jonathan Totman

bestSarah Mnatzaganian, one of our spring 2022 poets, is reading at to launch of  Night Shift by Jonathan Totman, which will be launched  by Pindrop Press on Sunday 31 January 2021 at 7.30pm (UK time).

This online Zoom event will also feature readings by Clare Best. Attendance is free but advance registration is essential. To register and receive the Zoom link, please email jonathan.totman@gmail.com

Creativity in Lockdown – poets and editors advice during these uncertain times

The Poetry Shed

How do we find our muse in these dark times? For some, I know that lockdown has deadened their creativity which is having an impact on their wellbeing, as they are also coping with isolation from friends and family. For those home schooling there’s no head space or time to write, and those working from home need a break from their laptops, they need to be doing back exercises, not crouching over editing.

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Over the next few months, with the help of various poets and editors, I’ll be posting articles to help you with your writing and wellbeing, to take away the loneliness and provide inspiration or just a kind, understanding word. The poets/editors who are supporting me in this project are: Deborah Alma, Robin Houghton, Sarah Leavesley, Jane Lovell, Cheryl Moskowitz, Helena Nelson, Caleb Parkin, Sarah Salway, Claire Walker.

I will also be having dialogues with artists to discuss…

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Writing in extraordinary times – Jane Lovell

Jane Lovell’s Metastatic came out from Against the Grain Press in 2018, a time when we took live, in-person, in-touching-distance-launches for granted. Jane performed from Metastatic at The Poetry Café, along with Timothy Ades, in what was billed as, Traversing a Dark Uncertain Landscape. Something that certainly resonates with us all just now.

TRAVERSING A DARK AND UNCERTAIN LANDSCAPE

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We’re catching up with Jane, in these current uncertain times, to find out about her writing process.

What I am Doing in Lockdown

Because I’m shielding, I’ve been hiding away since the end of last February. I suppose I’m lucky that most of my interests – writing, cooking, photography – take place at home. I thought I’d write more during lockdown but I haven’t. I started to learn Italian instead! I’ve also had much more contact with friends and family and, although it’s on a screen, I feel it’s brought me closer to people.

My writing in extraordinary times

Perhaps as a reaction to the increasingly unsettled world of lockdown, I have been editing poems more than writing. I have been storing up work for decades and now enjoy arranging them into possible pamphlets and collections. The writing I’ve been doing has been mainly to develop these collections, to add to them or replace work I’m not happy with.

Thinking back to the first lockdown how did it affect you and your writing?

During the first lockdown, I began writing a sequence on Inuit wayfinding and the history of Arctic exploration. Although this tilted very quickly into environmental themes and the horrors of hunting and whaling, researching for this project has been fascinating. Incredible stories have come to light: the giant meteor that gave rise to an early Iron Age in Greenland, the skeleton of an Inuit man displayed in the American Museum of Natural History as a curiosity from the far North, Caruso’s voice ringing out across the icy wastes from a gramophone left by an explorer. It’s so important, when you can’t get out much, to have stories and to experience new landscapes, even if they are imagined.

In relation to your Indigo Dreams publication – when did you send the manuscript to them and how long was it until it was published?

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I had tentatively put together a collection based on the experiences of living in rural areas – in Wales, in France and now in Kent. Poems that explored the hidden side of the natural world, its wildlife, traditions and lost landscapes. I really wasn’t sure if any editor would be interested in this but then I saw IDP’s competition and, having had work in Ronnie’s anthology to raise money for The League Against Cruel Sports ‘For the Silent’, I thought I’d send it off. Nothing ventured, nothing gained. Amazing news came through a couple of months later in March: my collection had won the Geoff Stevens Memorial Poetry Prize. ‘The God of Lost Ways‘ was published in November.

How was launching in lockdown?

I’m an absolute fan of Zoom launches! Anyone can attend regardless of where they live. Audiences are generally bigger, although strangely silent until you finish and everyone is unmuted! And the chat comments are lovely to look back on. It’s wonderful to have live feedback in that way.

Have you been sending work out since your publication and do you have work coming out in magazines?

Although it seemed very quiet in spring and summer, the last few months have been especially busy. I’ve had poems published in, amongst others, Agenda, Magma, Reliquiae, Dark Mountain and The High Window, and work is forthcoming in the anthology ‘Women on Nature’ edited by Katharine Norbury. In December, ‘The God of Lost Ways’ was Black Bough’s Book of the Month and I was their featured poet on their Silver Branch site. Last week I had the exciting news that one of the poems from my Inuit sequence, ‘Gallery of the Sea’, has been nominated for the a Pushcart Prize. I think this manuscript will probably be the next one I submit to a publisher.

Are you working on a book or pamphlet now?

At the moment I’m working on a collection based on the Hereford Mappa Mundi. It’s a wonderful resource and allows a huge diversity of poems – religious, geographical, historical and mythical. Great fun to research and write! I’ve decided to incorporate related art works so I have Giotto’s Final Judgement and Bruegel’s Tower of Babel alongside poems about Jerusalem and Mary Magdalene. The map itself was drawn on a single calf skin. The process of preparing the hide is described in the opening poem ‘Vitulus’, recently shortlisted for the Aesthetica Writing Prize.