Thursday 28 December 2006

Highlights & Good News

In the last days of the year I always find myself reviewing my publishing records to reckon the year's progress and see what work remains under consideration. This has been a good year, with first-time acceptances from respected American journals Aufgabe and Sentence and British journal Stand and a return to the pages of TLS, The Liberal, Shearsman, and other good journals. I'm also pleased to have a prose poem, "Collecting the Ridges," forthcoming in an anthology of London poems, to be published by the University of Virginia Press--they produce beautiful books.

Two recent pieces of news bring the year to a happier close than I'd anticipated. Though I haven't been writing much haiku lately, a senryu of mine that originally appeared in Snapshots (I'm so disappointed this beautiful quality magazine has folded) has been selected for publication in the annual Red Moon anthology of the best English-language haiku and senryu in a given year, here 2006. I've appeared in the anthology once before, in 1997, and am delighted to be included again.

When I think about the writing I've done this year, I realise 2006 is notable for its great focus on a single project, Imagined Sons. That's why I'm particularly happy to report that PN Review will publish a sequence of twelve Imagined Sons in a forthcoming issue, I expect March/April. Hurrah!

Sunday 10 December 2006

Winter Break

I've given quite a few readings this year, with readings averaging biweekly the last few months, and I've also spent a lot of time on reviewing this autumn, with three reviews for TLS and a five-book, five-thousand word review for West Branch just submitted last weekend. That's in addition to my teaching at Bath Spa and The Poetry School, both the biweekly Opportunities of Form class and monthly Saturday seminar. These activities have given much pleasure, but the pace has been a little hectic for my taste. I miss reading books of my choosing. I've been wanting to read Neil Gaiman and Rob Gelbspan for a long time and hope amid the marking I'll have time this break.

Next year already looks exciting and busy. My teaching continues, and I have a handful of readings already agreed. I've started work on a paper on politics and public language in Peter Reading's extraordinary -273. 15 for the Poetry and Public Language Conference at the University of Plymouth at the end of March, and I'd like to make it a full-length research paper and then devise a shorter conference version. Last Thursday I spent the afternoon at the British Library beginning the reading for it, and getting stuck into research again quickened and excited me. I recommend Lyn Hejinian's marvelous essay, "The Rejection of Closure," to all poets and critics of poetry.

Regarding my creative work, I've put so much into Imagined Sons I am quite happy with the current manuscript, but The Cult of the Eye requires some revising and Divining for Starters will take a great deal of work. I've brought it together in rough form and need to read it through and think about the order and the selections before giving it to a few trusted readers for feedback; I also think I'll need to write a little more for it, to bring it to fruition, so to speak. I hope to return to the manuscript during the break; I feel guilty for how long I've been away from it. But it still has to wait until Bath Spa breaks up this week and I've had my last Poetry School seminar for this year on Saturday--just one more week--

Tuesday 21 November 2006

Non-Stop Poetry

What a week it was! Thursday was Irish Poetry Night at The George, and in spite of the unfortunate absence of Karen Hoy, it was still a splendid evening, with excellent, impassioned readings of Tom Paulin (by Matt), Brendan Kennelly (by Alan), Vona Groarke (by me), Tom French (by Tim), and Michael Longley, Derek Mahon, and Medbh McGuckian (by Claire). We had a good turnout that increased over the evening, and The Raggle-Taggle Gypsies provided lively music at the interval and afterward. Thanks to everyone who came out for it.

Friday night was the Bath Spa Poetry Slam--students v. lecturers, and of course the students won. Sam and Emerson of Ambidextrous organised the event well, and it proceeded beautifully. A fun evening.

On the 30th I read at the Salisbury Arts Centre, and after that, she says with a sigh, a long and deserved rest!

Saturday 11 November 2006

Current Issues

Yesterday's issue of TLS carries my review of Vona Groarke's Juniper Street, and I have poems in the new issues of Stand ("The Sty," "The Separation") and Magma ("Old House, New Home").

The Separation

The diaphragm flattens and holds.
My sister, twenty-seven, offers a medal of St. Christopher.
My friend loses another earring between her floorboards.

The tongue tucks behind the teeth.
My niece, four, asks when I’ll come down from the sky.
My friend and I imagine future anthropologists, interpreting the hoard.

The feet perceive the extra miles.
My mother, fifty-eight, voices true and untrue platitudes, one and the same.
My ring knows the way to the foundation.

The hair swings because it can.
My nephew, six, says the world will go on long after he’s dead.
Someone will find the diamond and see in its clarity the colour of loss.

Tuesday 7 November 2006

April 28, 1940

WGLT recorded my reading of this poem by Michael Donaghy for their programme, Poetry Radio, and the programme with my reading is temporarily available online if you'd like to hear it: just click here.

Thursday 2 November 2006

Wednesday 1 November 2006

Irish Poetry Night on 16 November

Come to The George on Thursday, 16 November to hear Irish poetry read by its admirers. Matt Bryden, Claire Crowther, Karen Hoy, Tim Liardet, Alan Summers, and I will read from the work of Eavan Boland, Tom French, Brendan Kennelly, Louis MacNiece, Medbh McGuckian, Tom Paulin, and other Irish poets; traditional Irish music will be played before, during, and possibly after. The George is at 67 Woolley Street, Bradford on Avon, and the reading will begin at 8 p.m.

Come one, come all!

Monday 30 October 2006

Still A California Poet

Five years in England, and I have a poem in the newly printed Blue Arc West: An Anthology of California Poets. I feel homesick just looking at the list of contributors, such poets I used to see all the time: Ellyn Maybe, Cecilia Woloch, Elena Karina Byrne, Laurel Ann Bogen, Charles Harper Webb, S.A. Griffin, Jamie O'Halloran.... I need to get back, soak up some sun and Mexican food....

Friday 20 October 2006

Parasol Unit reading on Halloween

Here is the official notice:

The next reading in the series at Parasol Unit takes place on Tuesday, 31 October, at 6:30 pm with Sue Hubbard and Carrie Etter.
Sue Hubbard is an award winning poet, novelist and art critic. Twice winner of the London writers´competition she was the Poetry Society´s Public Art Poet and created London´s largest poem for the IMAX at Waterloo. She has published a number of pamphelets and two acclaimed collections, Everything Begins with the Skin (Enitharmon) and Ghost Station (Salt). Her first novel Depth of Field was published by Dewi Lewis. She is the recepient of a major arts council award to support the writing of her current book. As an art critic she writes artists´catalogues and regularly for The Independent.

American expat Carrie Etter has published poems in Jacket, The Liberal, Oasis, Poetry Review, Shearsman, and TLS. On her chapbook Subterfuge for the Unrequitable (Potes & Poets, 1998), Ron Silliman remarked, "To 'register the tongue's torque,' Carrie Etter's poems show great skill and a willingness to take risks, both rare things in a 'first book.' This writing is simultaneously 'out there' and always also immediately present (in the most literal sense of 'with it'), an experience that is by turns centering and dizzying. It's quite a ride."
The third reading for the season will be on Tuesday, 28 November, 6:30 pm with Allen Fisher and Drew Milne.
The readings are organized and introduced by Barry Schwabsky. Previous readers have been Tim Atkins, Guy Bennett, Kelvin Corcoran, Linh Dinh, Mark Ford, Lee Harwood, Vincent Katz, Redell Olsen, Anthony Rudolf, Leslie Scalapino, Barry Schwabsky, John Seed, Simon Smith, Carol Szymanski, and Catherine Wagner.
Readings begin at 6:30 PM and are free to the public. Parasol Unit is located at 14 Wharf Road, London N1, near the Old Street and Angel tube stations.

Friday 6 October 2006

Imagined Sons

is finished as of last night. I can't quite believe it. I wrote the first poem for it in 1995, but became engrossed with the manuscript as a project in February; it's occupied a great part of my consciousness since.

What does it mean for a manuscript to be finished? All the poems feel essentially done, and all demand inclusion in the manuscript. Weak poems have been weeded out. There's an order that makes sense without feeling too technical. I expect to revise and move around poems in response to feedback, but I don't anticipate drastic changes--though I'll consider anything my respondents have to say.

Matt and I went for last orders at The Dandy Lion to celebrate, and, bless him, he read the manuscript straight through while I wrote in my journal and restrained from speaking until he began.

The next stage will be to share it with a very few trusted readers for feedback while continuing to circulate the poems to magazines, which began only recently. I'll report my progress from time to time here.

Tuesday 26 September 2006

Stand Up Poetry: The Bath Spa University Reading Series 2006-07

Here are the readings for the upcoming academic year. All readings are on Thursday nights beginning at 8 p.m. and convene at The Bath Royal Literary and Scientific Institute's Duncan Room, 16-18 Queen Square, Bath. Please e-mail me (carrie dot etter at gmail dot com) if you have any questions.

12 October 2006: Gerard Woodward and Matthew Sweeney

30 November: Fiona Sampson and John Burnside

14 December: Greta Stoddart and Penelope Shuttle

11 January 2007: Annie McGann and Philip Gross

8 February: Patrick McGuinness and Peter Porter

(No March reading on account of the Bath Literature Festival)

12 April: Richard Price and Mimi Khalvati

10 May: Lucy English and Rachel Pantechnicon

14 June: Carrie Etter and Moniza Alvi

Thursday 31 August 2006

Forthcoming readings, changed dates

The reading formerly on 27 September at 7:30 p.m. will now be 28 September at 8 p.m.--As part of the Bradford on Avon Arts Festival, there will be a reading by myself and featured readers Matt Bryden, Karen Hoy, and Alan Summers, and the reading will be at The George on Woolley Street. There will also be an open mike, welcoming poems on any subject as well as acoustic music.

The reading formerly scheduled for early October will now be 16 November at 8 p.m.--As part of The George's Irish Week, there will be an Irish poetry night with readings from Irish poets as well as traditional music. The other readers include Matt Bryden (reading from Paul Muldoon), Claire Crowther (reading from Medbh McGuckian and Eavan Boland), Karen Hoy, Tim Liardet (reading from Tom French), and Alan Summers.

Friday 25 August 2006

More interest in "Divorce"

On the 22 August 2006 post at Puisi-poesy, the author appreciatively discusses my poem, "Divorce," and the discussion is carried further in the comments. It's interesting and pleasing to have such engaged readers; I'm delighted.

Monday 7 August 2006

Malmesbury Carnival's Poetry Platform on 31 August

My student Sue Chadd is one of the organisers for the following event.

POETRY PLATFORM : A Question of Identity
Thurs Aug 31st at 7.30pm Venue Malmesbury Library

Malmesbury Writers' Circle and Malmesbury Library welcomes writers and readers to another evening in the company of local poets. Why not bring along your own or favourite verses to share with our friendly group. We are always keen to discover new writers, so don't be shy! Poems can be on any theme but this year we are devoting the first part of the evening to the National Poetry Day theme of 'Identity'. So who do you think you are? Bring along poems to prove it! Includes laughter, discussion and grey cell stimulation!

Entrance £2. Light refreshments 50p. Carnival Poetry Raffle and Book Stall. (All proceeds donated to The Carnival.)

Malmesbury Library is located in the centre of town, next to the Catholic Church. Parking is available in Cross Hayes Car Park, outside the Library (in the town square.) Post code is SN16 99BG, so you can look it up on multimap to help you find it.

All Welcome!

Sunday 23 July 2006

Forthcoming Readings & Workshops


27 September, 7:30 p.m.--As part of the Bradford on Avon Arts Festival, there will be a reading on its "Mystery" theme and other poems besides. My fellow readers are Matt Bryden, Karen Hoy, and Alan Summers, and the reading will be at The George on Woolley Street. There will also be an open mike, welcoming poems on any subject.

early October--As part of The George's Irish Week, there will be an Irish poetry night with readings from Irish poets as well as traditional music. The other readers include Matt Bryden (reading from Paul Muldoon), Claire Crowther (reading from Medbh McGuckian and Eavan Boland), Karen Hoy, Tim Liardet (reading from Tom French), and Alan Summers.

31 October, 6:30 p.m.--I'll be reading in Islington at Parasol Unit with Sue Hubbard. Parasol Unit is located at 14 Wharf Road, London N1, near the Old Street and Angel tube stations.

30 November, 8 p.m.--Salisbury Poetry Cafe at the Salisbury Arts Centre

14 June 2007, 8 p.m.--I'll read with Moniza Alvi on Bath Spa University's Poetry Series at the Bath Royal Literary and Scientific Institute, Queen Square, Bath.


1 October, 10 a.m.-Noon. As part of the Bradford on Avon Arts Festival, I'll be doing twenty-minute tutorials on publishing poems in magazines; each tutorial is £10. For further details and/or to book a slot, please e-mail me (carrie [dot] etter [at] gmail [dot] com).

From 11 October, 7-9 p.m., and meeting fortnightly for five sessions in the autumn, five in the winter beginning in January, and five in the spring beginning in April, I'll be offering a course on poetic form for The Poetry School. Courses will run at the Bath Royal Literary and Scientific Institute, Queen Square, Bath.

Saturday 8 July 2006

"Divorce" as Ritual

In this commentary on one of the themes in New Writing 14, the author comments on my poem "Divorce" as about a ritual.

Poetry and Public Language Conference--Call for Papers


Poetry and Public Language

A conference on contemporary poetry

Invited speakers: Barrett Watten and Lyn Hejinian

For Watten see:

For Hejinian see:

A conference on contemporary poetry in English, 30 March to 1 April 2007 at the University of Plymouth and with a performance at Dartington College of Arts.

The organising committee invites proposals for papers (250 words) on any aspect of Poetry and Public Language in all schools, tendencies and factions of contemporary poetry in English: on the use of public language in poetry, on poetry and ideology, and on the role poetry creates for itself in the public sphere. Proposals on the work of the invited speakers will be especially welcome.

The deadline for proposals is 30 November 2006. Send, preferably by email, to: Poetry and Public Language 2007, Sue Matheron, Faculty of Arts, University of Plymouth, Drake Circus, Plymouth, PL4 8AA, United Kingdom;

Organising committee: Tony Lopez, Anthony Caleshu, John Hall, Mark Leahy


Sunday 18 June 2006

London Reading on 1 July

The Poetry School's reading series continues on 1 July at Ev Delicatessen (a Turkish place) on Saturday, 1 July, from 7-9 p.m. Ev is located at 97-99 Isabella Street, SE1 8DA, and close to Southwark tube station.

This will be the London launch for Linda Chase's new book, Extended Family, and I'll be reading from manuscript in progress Imagined Sons, consisting mostly of prose poems. Poetry School students also reading include Claire Crowther, Alice Allen, Trevor Barnett, John Mackay, Roger Moulson, and Kathryn Simmonds.

Entry is by donation, and all proceeds go to the Poetry School's bursary fund.

Thursday 15 June 2006

New Writing 14

New Writing 14 is out, and I'm in good company--Carola Luther, Paul Muldoon, Don Paterson, Jamie McKendrick, and Greta Stoddart, among other poets. The London launch was a week ago. After I confirmed I'd attend, I received a letter asking me to read my poems at the launch, and I thought from the reference to a poetry reading that all the poets were going to read. To my great surprise, that was not the case. As the event was mostly a mixer, the British Council Literature people had decided to have just an informal introduction to the anthology by the British Council and the editors, Lavinia Greenlaw and Hebon Hebila, and a reading of the works therein by--me. I was startled and honoured.

There's also a large review of the anthology in tomorrow's TLS. About yours truly, Hal Jensen remarks, "Carrie Etter, with no collection as yet, has two poems in NW14. 'Divorce' is a nice spurt of sourness, beautifully contrived to make the reader flinch, and short enough to quote in full...." There's a new way to get a poem in TLS!

Monday 12 June 2006

Translated into Portuguese

In March of this year, Vitor Alevato, a teacher of English literature at the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro, contacted me to ask whether he might use some of my poems in his course. I agreed heartily, and while students have been reading poems of mine in English, Vitor has translated one of my poems into Portuguese. I'll give it first in English then his translation. It originally appeared in the TLS.

I'm very grateful to Vitor both for his translation and for his allowing me to publish it here.

The World at Dusk

Along the lanes, in the emerging day,
a body in the world is a body
on an errand. The aching calf
knows the passage of time.

Injury once left me long
on the window’s warmer side, gazing
at the snow blown through
the poplars’ leafless branches.

All day, each day, the world was at dusk,
the change of light incidental.
When at last I walked to the postbox, afternoon
was everywhere. I had decades to live.

Mundo em crepúsculo

Ao longo da alameda, no dia nascente,
um corpo no mundo é um corpo
em missão. Pernas cansadas
conhecem o passar do tempo.

A injúria me deixou
do lado mais quente da janela, a olhar
a neve que se movia
nos galhos nus dos álamos.

Todo dia, cada dia, o mundo era crepúsculo,
a mudança de luz incidental.
Quando por fim eu fui à caixa de correio, a tarde
estava em todo lugar. Eu tinha décadas para viver.

Wednesday 7 June 2006

Tim Liardet and Gerard Woodward Reading in Bath

I'm a little late posting this, as I assume many in the area received one of Annie's e-mails about the event. Tim Liardet and Gerard Woodward will read at the Bath Royal Literary and Scientific Institute, 16-18 Queen Square, Bath at 8 p.m. on Thursday, 8 June. This event will launch Tim's new collection about his time in juvenile offenders prisons, The Blood Choir. £5 general, £3 concessions.

(Unfortunately I won't be able to attend--I'll be at The British Council and Granta Books' launch of New Writing 14 in London.)

Saturday 27 May 2006

Forthcoming Conference Papers on Prose Poetry

Hello, all. I know some of my readers are fellow prose poetry enthusiasts, so I thought I'd let you know about some forthcoming conference papers I'm giving on the subject.

For the Great Writing Conference at the University of Portsmouth in June, I've organised a panel, "The Prose Poem: Pedagogy & Practice." I'll be talking about the use of prose poetry to transform the personal, particularly in undergraduate creative writing; fellow presenters Andy Brown and Jane Monson will talk about "The Prose Poem as 'Set-Piece'" and "The Object Poem in Prose," respectively.

For the British and Irish Contemporary Poetry Conference at Oxford in September, the topic is "The Line in Contemporary Poetry." My paper, "What Line? The Place of Prose in Contemporary British Poetry," will look at the use of the prose poem in the work of Michael Donaghy, David Harsent, and Peter Redgrove. I'm focusing on these mainstream, male poets to stress that the form is not so marginalised in the UK as one might think.

I'd be glad to hear your thoughts on these topics.

Friday 26 May 2006

Current Issues--Reviews

It seems my recent reviews have all appeared in print at once. My review of Fiona Sampson's The Distance Between Us is in today's Times Literary Supplement, my review of Owen Sheers' Skirrid Hill in New Welsh Review came in today's post, my review of Vicki Feaver's The Book of Blood should appear any day now on Poetry Matters at Tower Poetry, and my review of Ted Mathys's Forge should be in the just published issue of Verse, though the issue hasn't reached me yet. Also forthcoming is my review of Gabrielle Calvocoressi's The Last Time I Saw Amelia Earhart in PN Review. I guess I've been busy....

Wednesday 17 May 2006

Upcoming Readings

Monday, 22 May, 8 p.m.--The Rialto reading at The Troubadour in London with Julia Casterton, Joanna Guthrie, Lorraine Mariner, Sam Riviere, John Siddique, and Lizzie Thistlethwayte

Thursday, 8 June--private launch of New Writing 14 in London

Saturday, 1 July, 7 p.m.--"Poetry & Independence," The Poetry School's Summer Reading with Linda Chase, Claire Crowther, and others at Ev Delicatessen, 97-99 Isabella St, London SE1 8DA

Wednesday, 27 September--"Poetry & Mystery" reading for the Bradford on Avon Arts Festival with Matt Bryden, Karen Hoy, and Alan Summers at The George on Woolley Street. There will also be an open mike for those interested in joining in.

early October--Irish Poetry Night at The George in Bradford on Avon with poets reading the work of Irish poets. Other readers include Matt Bryden (reading Paul Muldoon), Claire Crowther (reading Eavan Boland and Dorothy Molloy), Karen Hoy, Tim Liardet (reading Tom French), and Alan Summers

I've also been asked to read on another series in London in the autumn and to take my turn on the Bath Spa series during the next academic year; I'll post details as I have them.

Saturday 13 May 2006

A Life in Poetry

I've had a brilliant, poetry-driven week. On Monday night, I went with Joelle Adams and Annie McGann to an open poetry reading at Bath Spa's student union pub. I was impressed by the inventiveness and assurance of some students finishing the second year performance poetry class, and I was glad to hear Annie read after so long a time. I contributed with reading four new poems, "The Apprentice (1)," "The Apprentice (2)," "The Weather in Normal," and "The War's Fourth Year."

Tuesday night Tim (Liardet) and I met up to talk about undergraduate poetry &c. at The Globe, and Wednesday night, waiting for the bus back to Bradford on Avon, I ran into my friends Karen and Alan; we headed in to All Bar One (the tapas partly redeems the yuppie atmosphere) and talked life and work and poetry for hours. I arrived home feeling giddy from both sauvignon blanc and good conversation.

Thursday Deryn Rees-Jones and Gabrielle Calvocoressi read at BRSLI for the Bath Spa Reading Series, and while I'd have liked to see a larger crowd, I had no other disappointments. While their reading and writing styles are very different, Deryn and Gabrielle complemented one another well, and I enjoyed hearing them both. Some of Gabrielle's new work especially struck me, making me eager for her next book. We all went round to The Eastern Eye for a delicious curry, making for a perfect end to the evening.

Lytton Smith, my friend and publicist for Persea Books, Gabrielle's publisher, stayed the night at Matt and I's place on Thursday, and in the morning we talked about the state of British and American poetry until he had to catch his train. It's a conversation I never tire of. And Friday night, my old workshop resumed when Claire came round for dinner, and Matt, Claire and I workshopped new poems. I found it invigorating, as everyone had strong, original work to contribute, and the discussions about the poems proved ideally constructive (well, at least I feel that way about the feedback I received, and I gathered the same from Matt and Claire). I'm glad we're due to meet again in just a couple weeks' time.

I wouldn't want so much activity every week, but how grand to have such weeks now and again!

Sunday 7 May 2006

Fabulous reading this Thursday

There's going to be a fantastic reading this Thursday at the Bath Royal Literary and Scientific Institute with Deryn Rees-Jones and Gabrielle Calvocoressi, two women poets whose poetry evinces both keen intelligence and enchanting lyricism. The BRLSI is located at 16-18 Queen Square, Bath, and the reading will begin at 8 p.m. The cost is £5/£3 concessions.

Salt Publishing's Poetry Survey

Give the wonderful Salt Publishing your perspective on poetry publishing and purchasing by filling out their survey:

Sunday 30 April 2006

Freudian Slips

Hello, all. I just realised that in my last Current Issues post I originally had the poems in TLS as "Magnum Opus" and "The Weather in Normal" instead of "Magnum Opus" and "The World at Dusk." I suppose the two titles have the same grammatical structure, but I find it interesting that I should put the working manuscript title in place of the title of a poem therein.

I'm feeling better these days as my divorce is at last final. I feel no bitterness; I simply feel like my own person again, liberated and independent. I hadn't expected this.

So The Weather in Normal (my hometown) is a manuscript title, but that work is slowly coming forward as my focus is on completing Imagined Sons, a collection of prose poems, and on placing my first collection, The Cult of the Eye. I'll keep you informed!

Friday 14 April 2006

Lopez and Caleshu

A splendid reading last night at the Bath Royal Literary and Scientific Institute--Tony Lopez reading largely from new work and Anthony Caleshu from The Siege of the Body and a Brief Respite. Lopez was especially impressive, both for the excellence of his work and his soft-spoken, focused reading style; if you don't know his work, check out False Memory.

Sunday 9 April 2006

The Problems of Publishing Poetry in a Small Country, I

Hello, all. I find several problems in publishing poetry in the UK that I did not have in the US. For one, in my early days of submitting poetry in the UK, I submitted poems to journals I didn't really like, simply because they had a good reputation and the range and number of venues for publication are so limited compared to the States. To be truthful, I still catch myself doing this occasionally, most recently because a fellow poet had a different opinion about a magazine and urged me to submit. I suppose I'm confessing here in the hope that it will help me to avoid such weakness in the future.

Another problem that I haven't had but I've seen and that I worry about for my students: I fear that some of my students who write more original poems will find it harder to find place their work in UK journals and will take that as a measure of the quality of their poetry. I hope bringing in American journals and facilitating greater exposure to the better online magazines will help every student writing well find his or her own place. Am I naive to expect that every good poet will find publication? I'd be glad to hear others' experiences and opinions about publishing poetry in the UK--please join in.

Saturday 18 March 2006

Want to see more poetry in The Times' Books section? Read on!

In the 4 March 2006 Books section, Erica Wagner writes, "I'd like to know if you'd like to see more poetry (discussion of, or the poems themselves) in Books. Single poetry reviews? Poetry round-ups? Poetry discussed in the Books group? We're open to suggestion, here."

The full article can be viewed at,,923-2066902,00.html .

Poetry lovers, please write in!

Thursday 2 March 2006

Lovesick and homesick

Hello, all. My partner is teaching in Italy for the next week, and I haven't seen my family since late December, so I'm missing everyone at the moment and thought I'd post this photo of Matt and my nephew Nathan, from Matt and I's Christmas visit to my folks.

Going American

After my posting about my need to "mix it up" with other poetries besides British, especially by reading more American poetry, I suppose it's appropriate that I'm going to the Associated Writing Programs annual conference in Austin, Texas next week. The list of exhibitors at the bookfair almost makes me want to weep. So many journals I've heard about and wanted to see, quite a few journals I've appeared in before, presses I admire, etc., etc.--I'm going to go from just dabbling in the American scene again with a few publications in various magazines to being immersed in it--dropped in as though I were sitting in the dunk tank at the county fair. It can only be good, right?

I'll let you know!

Tuesday 31 January 2006

Poetry in Bath and environs

What does it take to make a poetry community? I feel as though one is emerging here in the Bath area, but perhaps I feel that way because I am directly involved in a number of community poetry activities--the new Bath Spa reading series at the Bath Royal Literary and Scientific Institution on the second Thursday of each month (through June, and resuming again in the autumn), The Poetry School's first proper course offerings in Bath next academic year, my own seminar group at my home in Bradford on Avon, and the new Aloud series run by David Berridge here in BoA (in which I am "involved" as a regular attender--there have been two so far!--and reader). Then we have a Poetry Society Stanza group developing under Nikki Bennett-Willetts' direction, possibly meeting at the University of Bath in the near future.

What I miss about London poetry is the conversations I'd have with others involved in poetry in different ways, especially with my Poetry School students at the Poetry Cafe before our class on Friday nights last spring and when I'd run into other poets at readings and we'd go for a drink afterward. We would talk about new books, magazines, reading series, other poets, etc., and I loved it. I miss it.

Sunday 8 January 2006

The Drunkenness of Things Being Various

While in my hometown over Christmas, I made my usual visits to Milner Library, one of my favourite places, and felt liberated by the variety of excellent poetry I found in such magazines as Denver Quarterly, American Poetry Review, etc. I remembered what I've often realised on previous trips home: when I focus my reading on British mainstream poetry, I tend to suffocate on account of the lack of air, the narrowness of scope. This manifests in a tendency to write and read less poetry in general, but I never seem to recognise the cause until I also see the solution.

How does this happen? Why don't I always "mix it up"? As I've only become properly acquainted with British contemporary poetry since moving to the country in 2001, and since I was working on my thesis on Victorian fiction and early British criminology until autumn 2003 (not to go into my health problems, jobs, divorce, etc.), I've had a lot of catching up to do. Meanwhile, publishing continues and I see new titles that interest me; it doesn't help that Shearsman's received an Arts Council grant to increase their publishing from 2005-7. As the people around me are generally talking about (mainstream) British poetry, referring to poems I haven't read or poets I barely know, I tend to sink into long periods of reading only British poetry of the last ten to twenty years.

One of my goals for 2006 is to keep my reading wildly various. My friend Lytton Smith was kind enough to bring me copies of Lit and American Letters & Commentary this past summer, and in Chicago I picked up Fence and Poetry. The presence and improving quality of online journals will also help.

I also hope to broaden the conversation with fellow poets and my students by sharing copies of American magazines and adding links to noteworthy American and online journals to this blogsite. In each category, there's a range of styles, from rather mainstream through experimental, in the hope of appealing to a range of tastes while broadening them.

Here's hoping--