Archive for December, 2009

In 2009, I…

Monday, December 28th, 2009



I did a big post of this ilk last year — basically a TiLT on the grand scale, saying “thanks” for all the cool stuff that happened in my life in 2008. It got a great response from all of you, and some of you even followed suit and made your own lists, which I loved reading. So without further ado, here’s my love-letter to 2009. In 2009, I…

* Started up my own small press, Read This Press, and have so far produced four chapbooks: Skin Deep: An Anthology of Poems on Tattoos and Tattooing; You Old Soak: Poems by Chris Lindores; Sharks Don’t Sleep: Poems by Eric Hamilton; and Masters: an anthology of poems by the University of Edinburgh Creative Writing MSc Poetry Class of 2009.

* Was nominated for the Scottish Variety Young Scottish Writer Of The Year Award.

* Kept Read This Magazine going throughout its second year – now plotting a total overhaul to (hopefully) turn it into a far superior publication!

* Started making recycled and upcycled jewellery out of a variety of bits and pieces (but mostly typewriter keys) in order to financially support Read This Press somewhat. I have now found that I love doing this, and set up shop.

* Helped my friend Stefa to set up the this collection project – a collaborative project designed to bring together poets and filmmakers. It’s still in the works so watch this space!

* Celebrated my 23rd birthday by moving flats (yes, I am insane) — I relocated from Edinburgh’s very central Grassmarket to Stockbridge, a little community on the outskirts of the New Town. It feels like living inside a Shirley Hughes book, I love it!

* Went to StAnza Festival for the first time, to see the tall lighthouse poets, Kevin Cadwallender, Alan Gillis, and attend a talk on young Scottish poets. All good stuff!

* Went on my first writerly retreat on the shores of Loch Tay with my MSc classmates.

* Read at five nights of the Utter! PBH Free Fringe Poetry Festival and two nights of the Underword PBH Free Fringe Poetry Festival, as part of the 2009 Edinburgh International Festival.

* Read at the Edinburgh International Book Festival 2009

* Also read at: The Bowery Book Club, VoxBox, The Golden Hour, The Golden Hour Book 2 official launch, and a bunch of other places.

* Took up the post of Residency and Education Director at the London Poetry Festival and helped to organise readers and visitors for the 2009 festival.

* Celebrated One Night Stanzas’ first birthday.

* Set up a second shop to get rid of some of my huge vintage clothing collection: Edinburgh Vintage

* Continued my work as a Lecturer in Literature and Communications at Telford College, and did some freelance English and Creative Writing tutoring in my spare time.

* Graduated from my MSc in Creative Writing with distinction, and celebrated by going for high tea at the Balmoral Hotel in Edinburgh.

* Started my PhD in Creative Writing and Contemporary Scottish Poetry — if anyone has any info on William Burrough’s stay in Haddington or the Edinburgh Beat scene, let me know!

* Took Read This Press to the StAnza Poetry Market, the Scottish Poetry Library By Leaves We Live fair and the National Library of Scotland Christmas Poetry Pamphlet Fair.

* Started working on a super-top-secret but absolutely huge poetry project… I can’t wait to share it with you!

Magazine publications in 2009: Tontine, Issue 15 // Moloch, Issue 3 // Veto Magazine // Thirteen Myna Birds // The Glasgow Review // The Clearfield Review // Form.Reborn // Stop Buying Stuff // The Cadaverine // a handful of stones // The Chimaera // Tattoosday // Oxypoet // Trespass // Anything Anymore Anywhere // Umbrella

Other publications in 2009:
The Scottish Poetry Library’s 20 Best Scottish Poets of 2008 Anthology // The Scottish Poetry Library’s 20 Best Scottish Poets of 2009 Anthology (forthcoming) // 5Px2: An anthology of poetry in English and Italian // StAnza Festival’s Homecoming Haiku anthology // The Golden Hour Book Vol. 2 // Poetcasting Podcast for Pomeranate Magazine // Edinburgh College Of Art’s “DUO” anthology (collaboration with artist Lizzie Stuart) // Poetry Podcast for the Scottish Poetry Library // Poetry Podcast for Anon Magazine (under “Day 4″) // Vicious Verses and Reanimated Rhymes: Zany Zombie Poetry for the Undead Head // Edinburgh & South East Scotland: A New Edinburgh Travel Guide, ed. Vivien Devlin // The London Poetry Pearl Anthology // The Positivity Blog, // The Secret Society of List Addicts

(Image by Esther Aarts)

Don’t forget to visit The Read This Store, and its sister store, Edinburgh Vintage!

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End-of-year resolutions for poets.

Friday, December 11th, 2009

Think I’m a little early for resolutions? Think again. Those New Year’s Resolutions you make every year… how many of them do you actually do? I am guessing not that many really come to fruition, and here’s my theory: you need a deadline. If you’re against the clock, you’re more likely to be focussed and determined to succeed — in theory! See if I’m right — revisit your 2009 New Year’s Resolutions and see how many a) you still want to achieve (I find my ‘wants’ at one end of a year can morph into something very different by the time I get to the other), and b) you think you can get through by 31st December. If you don’t have any resolutions, try doing at least one of these…

1. Send your work to That Magazine you’ve been eyeing up. Everyone has one or two magazines that they’d really like to place their poetry in, but aren’t sure whether they’re up to it. I have a friend whose motto is: ye willnae ken until ye gan, or in other words, how do you know whether you’ll make it or not until you submit the darned poem and find out? The worst thing they can say is ‘no thanks.’ You have twenty days… so submit already.

2. Read your poetry at an event. OK, so plenty of my readers are old hands at the whole public reading thing, but I still get heaps of emails from people saying “I want to read my poetry to an audience, but I’m terrified!” Now is the time to get up there and just do it. I know of heaps of Christmas-themed poetry events happening in my local area, so it’s likely you can find one or two, too. Get thee to an open mic!

3. Enter a contest. I know there are plenty of people reading this blog who’ve never done this, either! The contest circuit is quieter at this time of the year than at other times, but there are still plenty open for entries… there’s a good list right here… just remember to read the rules/T&Cs carefully before you hit ’send’.

4. Sign up to Twitter if you haven’t already. Here’s why!

5. Buy a poetry collection from a small publisher — and buy it direct from the publisher! Don’t go giving Amazon all your money! Going to the small press’ own website will mean that the vast majority of your pennies go straight to them… and their fabulous poetry book gets sent straight to you!

6. Commit an act of poetic terrorism, Christmassy or otherwise.

7. Give up a crappy habit (for a while). Yep, this one comes up on just about everyone’s New Year’s Resolution list… which is why people often fail. Habits are incredibly difficult to crack — whether your habit is smoking, procrastinating or even just talking too much. So try this… give up your bad habit just until 31st December. That seems a whole lot more manageable than ‘for good,’ right? Then take it from there.

8. Write a poem. Believe it or not, there are even some people who stop by ONS who’ve never written a poem in their lives. People! Do it now! It doesn’t have to be the world’s greatest literary masterpiece… it can just be about your cat. But give it a try. You never know what might happen…

Let me know your end of year resolutions!

(Photo by smallbloc)

Don’t forget to visit The Read This Store, and its sister store, Edinburgh Vintage!

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