Tuesday, February 23, 2010


A couple of months ago I entered poems for the Cinnamon Press Poetry Award competition. I thought the prize was pamphlet publication but then later realised it was for full-length book publication so embarrassingly I had to withdraw my submission. The publisher was very nice about it and wished me well in my poetry so I went ahead and submitted my poems elsewhere.

Well this morning I received a letter saying that I had made the top ten short-list for the competition which means they are going to print three of my poems in their stories and poems anthology to be published later on this year. The problem is that the three poems they've picked I've now submitted to three different poetry magazines. So this morning was spent writing embarrassing emails and probably hacking off editors of magazines I would like to publish poems in, in the future.

Normally I'm super-careful about such things and read submission guidelines very thoroughly but I don't know what's happened to me this month, I've been such a prize twit (I messed up with another sub also). Please someone tell me they've done something similar to make me feel better!

I do have exciting news which I don't know much more about but can't keep to myself any longer...Calder Wood Press are going to be publishing a pamphlet of my poems sometime next year!!!
I was delighted when Colin emailed me about it the other week. Calder Wood Press has published many Scottish poets I admire including Kevin Cadwallender, Morgan Downie, Jayne Wilding and Juliet Wilson. I met Colin at StAnza last year and he is such a lovely man, I'm really looking forward to working with him on putting together a pamphlet collection.

On the poetry readings front, I'm able to make it to the open mic night next month at the Aye Write Glasgow Book Festival. So I shall go armed with my poems and hopefully get a reading slot.

Monday, February 15, 2010

So it's been a rough couple of weeks - we all caught a nasty head cold, both kids included. But thankfully we're over it now so hopefully I'll get back to some writing.

Quite some time ago Rob MacKenzie asked me if I would give a poetry reading at one of his monthly 'Poetry At The...' events in Edinburgh, so I've been booked up for the June event for ages. Well I nearly fainted the other day when I saw whom Rob had managed to book for the other two reading slots on the night: the renowned Scottish poet, David Kinloch and the also renowned American poet Phillis Levin. I hadn't heard of Levin but I've been reading up on her work since and I very much like what I've read, to say the least.

I'm really excited about the reading. I'm trying to organise a local get-together of writers to see if there's much interest in putting on a local poetry event here in Dunoon, something I've been thinking about for ages but the thought of my first poetry reading being in such esteemed company has given me the kick-up-the-backside to get on and do something locally and hopefully at least get in a practice run. I know it's only February but I've already organised the poems I'll be reading and the order of them. In fact I practice reciting the one's I've memorised when I'm out walking, under my breath of course!!

I've also got some other exciting poetry news which I'll reveal when I know more about it!

Saturday, February 06, 2010

I'm sad to be missing out on StAnza this year, it had become a bit of a yearly escape away for a few days and especially since none other than the Seamus Heaney is going to be doing readings and some lucky people are even getting to a round table reading with him!

Ruby, as you can see, is just too young to be abandoned for a couple of days so StAnza will have to wait till next year.

However...I have booked a ticked to hear none other than the Don Paterson reading with Robin Robertson during the Aye Write Glasgow book festival!!

It seems a bit silly to have Aye Write and StAnza on at roughly the same time, I'm never normally able to make Aye Write events because the budget won't allow day trips up to Glasgow in the same week as a weekend up in St. Andrews.

Anyhow I'm excited to be able to make it to this reading. There are plenty more exciting events at Aye Write with a great line up of poets and authors but being bound by ferry times I can only make afternoon events.

I've never been a huge fan of Paterson so perhaps this reading will change that. I'm really looking forward to hearing Robertson, since googling his work I know I'm really going to enjoy it.

Friday, February 05, 2010

Rob facebooked an interesting submission request from Succour.
So for all you clever people out there who do weekly poetry challenges, how about giving this a shot -

Succour: The New Fiction, Poetry and Art Magazine

Submission Details

For Succour 11, our Spring/Summer 2010 issue, we would like to invite submissions which pertain not to a theme, as has hitherto been the case, but which adhere to a pair of conditions.

Condition 1: All submissions should be written on Saturday February 6th, 2010.
Condition 2: What you write should not be an attempt to execute an idea – for a story, for a poem, etc – that has previously occurred to you. Rather, we would prefer you to write whatever happens to come into your head at that particular time.

The idea for this issue was inspired by 20 Lines a Day by Harry Mathews, in which the author sets out to follow a rule Stendhal once set himself, to write ‘Twenty lines a day, genius or not’. Mathews undertakes this project in an attempt to overcome ‘the anxiety of the blank page’; it becomes part of his writing practice, his way of starting off, getting in the zone, before going on to whatever his main writing project may be. We would like submissions to February 6th, 2010 to be written in the same spirit.

We will be accepting submissions to February 6th, 2010 from Saturday February 6th 2010 until Monday February 8th 2010 – thereby allowing a couple of days for typing up etc.

Tuesday, February 02, 2010

I blogged about the Carry a Poem campaign a while back here. Well these lovely free books were distributed throughout Edinburgh yesterday, here's the link to my story in the book about William Carlos Williams's To a Poor Old Woman.