Thursday, December 17, 2009

Well it's that time of the year again - time to stock up on poetry books.

With it being my birthday last week I bought the lovely big volume of the Collected Poems of George MacKay Brown which I've been keen to purchase since watching the GMB programme as part of The Poet's Guide to Britain series on the BBC a while back. I'm absolutely delighted with it.

I ordered Sarah Sloat's chapbook In the Voice of a Minor Saint which I'm really looking forward to coming in. If you haven't already, check out her blog - one of the funniest, original and constantly surreal writer I've come across.

I'm also waiting on Claire Crowther's The Clockwork Gift to come in. I bought this off the back of reading her poems in several magazines and thoroughly enjoying them.

And today I ordered several chapbooks from HappenStance. I cannot recommend enough Happenstance publishing. It's a fantastic, mainly pamphlet, publisher. Scottish poets such as Rob MacKenzie and Andrew Philips had their first publications with Happenstance. This year Alison Brackenbury joined the author list by publishing a chapbook with HappenStance.
A great range of high quality poetry at SUPER CHEAP prices, really!

For under £30 (including postage) I have just ordered -
A HappenStance Subscription (which includes a free chapbook of my choice and discount on all other chapbooks)
For my free chapbook I chose -
Slug Language by Anne Caldwell

Other chapbooks I ordered are -
The Body of the Green Girl by Paula Jennings
Embracing Water by Deborah Trayhurn
Shadow by Alison Brackenbury
a Three pamphlet lucky dip

and three issues of Sphinx magazine - 11, 8 and 7. Sphinx magazine has features about and interviews with independent poetry publishers, self-publishers and poets. Also it reviews pamphlet publications.

So all in all that's one subscription (which includes postal undates with sample extracts of new publications), seven chapbooks and three issues of Sphinx magazine all for less than thirty quid, how can you beat that? And they're all beautifully produced.

But it's not all poetry, I did buy a work of fiction - Jim Murdoch's first novel Living with the Truth. I've been following Jim's blog for quite a while now and he always surprises me with his very interesting and very well researched posts / essays. I've always enjoyed his writing so I thought it was about time I bought one of his books and this is what I'm currently reading.


An Honest Man said...

Belated Happy Birthday!

deemikay said...

Likewise. :)

And I hope you like the GMB... I think it's fabulous. Towards the end he veers into too much sentimentality, and he's got very few different things to write about (read up on St Magnus... it'll help!). But it's very, very good. Probably my favourite Scottish poet.

I really should visit here more. Sorry I haven't. :(

Anonymous said...

I'm still on a self-imposed book-buying ban - have been for the last six months. So a book would have to be really outstanding to make it onto my over-stuffed shelves, and I'd want to get rid of two for every one I add.
deemikay's comment on GMB's Collected is interesting. I love it too, but I felt a hint of sameness creeping in towards the end.

deemikay said...

Hi Colin,

Yes, you're right about the sameness. There's only so much about Orkney and fishermen and St Magnus to write about, and the first half is the best. Same goes for his novels. But I still find them all very readable. It's a bit like WS Graham as well... how many poems about "Language" can one mind produce? Plenty!

And I wish I was on a book ban... but what with Borders closing and getting up to 60% off.... :os

Sorlil said...

thankyou honest man :)

hi deemikay, I'm pleased anytime you visit :) though I've not been a great blogger over the last while.

interesting point about the sentimentality, I've actually been reading it back to front, I tend to do that with poetry books.

colin, I've no idea where I'm going to put these books when they come in (!!) but I haven't bought any poetry since StAnza so I'm deperately trying to catch up on the books I've wanted for a long time.

I was gutted to hear about Border's closing, mind you they really diminished the poetry section in the last while.

deemikay said...

I've not been the best at visiting blogs over the past few months. So we're sort of equal. :)

The best ones in the book, imo, start with The Year of The Whale.

Borders in Glasgow always had a fairly good poetry selection I thought, but it did get squashed down a bit. Now I'll have to take the walk up to Waterstone's...

Sorlil said...

I think that's what Douglas Dunn (my favourite Scottish poet!) says in the intro as well.

...but there's no Starbucks at waterstones :(

Anonymous said...

At the risk of making you jealous, I was talking to Douglas this afternoon.

Sorlil said...

yes you have made me jealous! looking forward to your blog post on writers working in prisons.
I was delighted to meet him at StAnza and to have him analyse my poem was special.

deemikay said...

I don't believe I have any idea what DD looks like... (google has just helped, I do now and I find out I did).He's also someone I've read shockingly little of. I shall remedy as soon as I can!

That's one thing that Sauchiehall St lacks - a decent coffee shop! Well, it's been a long time since I was up there, so maybe there is one now. I shall investigate.

Though for Glasgow coffee shop needs I can now recommend Tinderbox in the Merchant City. It's lovely. :)

Dominic Rivron said...

You've got me wanting to dig out my GMB books again. I first came across him when I went to see The 2 Fiddlers - an opera by Peter Maxwell Davies, based on one of his stories.

Sorlil said...

Tinderbox in the posh part of town, I shall give it a try next time I'm up :)

DD's Elegies are some of the best sequence poems I've ever read.

how interesting, dominic. I didn't know that about the opera!

Michelle said...

Isn't it a great feeling knowing new books and pamphlets are on their way? I also often read collections back to front, Sorlil.

Sorlil said...

So true Michelle, and would you believe the Happenstance pamphlets came this morning - I only ordered them yesterday!

swiss said...

starbucks!!!! the fact there's young children near your computer stops me offering an opinion! lol

i'll be looking forward to feedback on your happenstance selection. one of our lot got their short story collection this year so i saw that just the other day.

gmb? the books of his i love, i love and those i don't i really don't mainly because i agree with the comments above about him being limited by subject matter. the collected is one of those things i feel i really should have but i wouldn;t swap it for say, my collected maccaig.

storage? i currently have books piled in my living room. keeps the place warm!

Sorlil said...

I have a weakness for caramel macchiato's!
the maccaig collected is something I'll have to get around to at some point, but I wouldn't swap it for my gmb!

I think I might have to secretly weed out some of my husband's nonsense fiction to make room for my poetry!

An Honest Man said...

Be like me and just keep buying more book cases and expanding into the loft space!

Sorlil said...

I wish I could honest man, we're wall-spaced out for book cases - seriously! and being a downstairs flat we have no loft.
even sorley's books are bursting out of his bookcase!!

Roxana said...

oh, happy birthday, it must have been such a wonderful celebration! and now all these gifts still to come :-)

Sorlil said...

thanks roxana :) it was a special birthday

Dianne said...

Thanks for your comment. I look forward to reading more of your work. And your faves. I know how it goes with 2 little ones, an infant to boot!

Congratulations on your published work. I can't even think about it.

Sorlil said...

thanks dianne :) yes it's non-stop here with the kids, but my oldest starts nursery in jan so that'll give me some free time and hopefully I'll get back to writing!