Archive for March, 2011

‘The Mermaid & The Sailors’: my debut pamphlet NOW ON SALE!

Monday, March 28th, 2011

The Mermaid and the Sailors cover

It’s been three years in the making — I’ve been a total perfectionist, and more latterly, a total idiot, about releasing it, and as a result, I’ve been nagged, mocked and nagged some more about it. But after much blood, sweat, tears and nerves, it’s here: my debut poetry pamphlet, The Mermaid and the Sailors.

There’s nothing worse than talking about your own creative output, so I won’t. If you want to know what kind of book it is, check out the stuff that some very fine people have said about it, below. All I will tell you is this: I currently have only a very few copies available, so if you want one and you don’t want to have to wait, get in there. It’s four quid, plus postage, and if you’re in the UK, you’ll get it first class — hopefully within a couple of days of ordering it. If you want it signed, or if you’d like a personal message, leave a note as you pay, and I’ll sign it. Finally, I’ll say: please buy it. I’m on an unfunded PhD programme, and… well, you can imagine.

Oh yes… if you’d like a copy for reviewing purposes, drop me a line with details to claire@onenightstanzas.com. Please note that review copies will be sent out at my publisher’s discretion so a) you’re not guaranteed to get one and b) it may take a little while, because it’s not coming direct from me. If you want one yesterday, buy a copy!

CLICK THE BUTTON TO BUY THE MERMAID AND THE SAILORS HERE!


Praise for “The Mermaid and the Sailors”:

‘Claire Askew’s verse can be enjoyed for its playfulness and sharp wit. More rarely, it can also be treasured for its sureness of voice, its rich linguistic texture and deep emotional core. Rooted in the everyday, she has an ability to make the ordinary startling. Often funny, frequently startling in her imagery, she is adept at giving us the surprises, anxieties and estrangements of the modern world. But a series of poems about grandparents, of vividly rendered domestic interiors and Northern landscapes, also haunt with their poignant sense of belonging and loss. The Mermaid and the Sailors offers a procession of poems that have been honed with precision and skill, but which are effortlessly entertaining, echoing in the mind long after one has read them. This generous debut pamphlet confirms that Claire Askew is one of the most distinctive young poets to emerge in Britain in recent years.’

ALAN GILLIS

‘These finely tuned poems, studded with arresting and memorable images, often resonate with loss and longing, absences and distances, yet many are shot through with a wry and sometimes very dark humour which unsettles even as it delights. People’s inner lives come alive in these poised and telling narratives. Claire Askew is a fresh and highly distinctive new voice.’

BRIAN McCABE

‘Askew’s debut pamphlet displays great assurance. Her poems impact immediately, offering brief yet memorable vignettes of quiet lives and moments … one senses a major talent emergent in The Mermaid and the Sailors.’

ROBERT ALAN JAMIESON

‘Claire Askew is a young poet at once cosmopolitan and distinctively northern, with a fine ear for the aptly-placed colloquialism, the unusual word. A skilful and understated user of form, at times she is painterly, allowing sequences of images to play out like stills from a lost reel of footage, and at other times joyously musical, creating an interplay of word-sounds whose sheer energy draws the reader onward. “The Mermaid and the Sailors” is a welcome first publication from a sparky new writer.’

KONA MACPHEE

‘Askew writes with haunting precision, bringing to life the magic and wonder of the things we ordinarily overlook or take for granted. These are poems to savor, poems of electrifying intimacy and startling beauty.’

SAM MEEKINGS

CONVINCED?


Any questions? Want to let me know what you thought of it? I’d love to hear from you! Email claire@onenightstanzas.com

Cover image: Miriam Parker // Cover design: Leon Crosby (leon.a.crosby@gmail.com) // Editor: Kevin Cadwallender // Publisher: Red Squirrel Press

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Starving hysterical naked: my thoughts on the HOWL movie

Sunday, March 27th, 2011

Howl
If you’ve spent any time at all at this blog, you will know I am a super-massive Allen Ginsberg fan. I first discovered the great man’s work in my third year as an undergrad English Lit student (I know, it took me long enough), and within months had voraciously read enough of his poetry to know that this was what I wanted to write my undergraduate dissertation about. After much deliberation, I decided to focus on the ‘Howl’ obscenity trial, and its still-ongoing repurcussions — at the time, there was much talk of whether or not ‘Howl’ was “a useful text”. My essay discussed whether or not it was, in fact, useful back in 1956, and more importantly, whether or not, and in what ways, it could be seen as useful now.

I was unfortunately limited to a paltry 6,000 words for my undergraduate dissertation — the shortest word limit for such a piece of work that I have ever heard of, in fact. But I was so fascinated by Ginsberg that I read, and have continued to read, far more about his life and works than was necessary for the completion of my essay. I remain fascinated by Ginsberg’s mother, Naomi, who suffered with crippling mental health issues and was institutionalised on and off throughout her life (when he was twelve, young Allen checked his mother into a mental hospital himself following an embarrassing scene in a chemist store; by the time Allen was 21, his father Louis had abandoned Naomi and Allen was forced to sign papers admitting her for full-frontal lobotomy). I made a trip to San Francisco and spent time in North Beach, encountering Lawrence Ferlinghetti, visiting the Beat Museum and hanging out in as many of Ginsberg’s haunts as I could track down. I continue to read everything I can about the great man, as well as collecting Ginsberg memorabilia — I’d rank my signed copies of ‘Howl and Other Poems’ and ‘Wichita Vortex Sutra’ above any of my other possessions, I think.

So when I heard that there was to be a Hollywood film about Allen Ginsberg — and specifically, about the very subject of my dissertation — I was enormously excited. I was also terrified. What if it got things wrong? What if it gave ‘Howl’ the horrible Hollywood treatment and totally warped everything? What if the person they cast as AG gave a dreadful, untrue performance? What if it sucked?

Needless to say, by the time I rocked up to the Filmhouse to buy my ticket on Friday night — the film’s first ever Edinburgh screening — I was a bag of nervous excitement. By now, I’d heard so much hype about the movie. I’d seen the trailer, and clips of James Franco’s performance as Ginsberg, which got me very excited. Franco, it seemed, was a great choice — it was clear from the snippets I saw that he’d totally nailed Ginsberg’s voice (to quote Jack Lemmon, “nobody talks like that”), surely the trickiest part of the role. However, I’d also read a whole plethora of reviews of the movie, and critics seemed to be less than enamoured with it. Reviewers seemed to be queuing up to slag off the animated sequences of the film; others apparently found the whole thing rather tedious or pointless. Mark Kermode, reviewing the movie for the BBC’s ‘Culture Show,’ charitably noted that “someone writing on a typewriter for hours” is difficult to make into “something interesting.” Overall, ‘Howl’ seemed to be receiving a resounding three out of five stars.

However, I needn’t have worried. For me, the film was absolutely, utterly perfect. The only things I can find to criticise are so totally minor that it’s almost ridiculous to even mention them — James Franco’s beard in the 1957 ‘interview’ scenes is rather obviously fake, for example, and some of the music in the animated sections is a little Royksopp-esque, which doesn’t always sit well with the period jazz of the live-action scenes. Otherwise, the movie far surpassed all my most optimistic expectations. It really is bloody brilliant.

I can see why critics don’t get it. What I’d failed to acknowledge as I read reviews of the movie in the Guardian’s film blog and elsewhere was this: probably none of these film critics are Allen Ginsberg enthusiasts. Sure, some will have a working knowledge of who the guy was, one or two may even have read some of his stuff. Chances are, many will be acquainted with him solely thanks to his Wikipedia article. It’s unlikely that many of them really know what the guy was all about. And in that case, I can totally see why they didn’t get it.
This is most definitely a movie for fans — perhaps not just Ginsberg obsessives like myself, but certainly Beat Generation fans. The film kind of assumes that you know the basic Beat story — Jack Kerouac, Lawrence Ferlinghetti, Neal and Carolyn Cassady all feature, but none of them speak throughout the movie. Names that only a fan would know are mentioned briefly in passing — for example, at one point Ginsberg mentions Lucien (Carr, one of the “founder members” of the Beat Generation) — and there are little nods and hints at all sorts of cool stuff that a non-aficionado might miss. For example, the scene that shows Allen sharing a camp bed with Neal Cassady is a close filmic adaptation of the poem “Many Loves,’ a poetic recollection of the event written by Ginsberg in August 1956. So many of the scenes in the film looked familiar, because they were designed to mimic real photos taken of (and by) Ginsberg at the time. Finally, much of the dialogue is lifted verbatim from interviews given by Ginsberg, from his Journals: Early Fifties Early Sixties, and from the obscenity trial’s court transcripts. Something I couldn’t get over was the total lack of Hollywood-treatment. The film is an astonishingly accurate record.

And James Franco is a triumph. He truly captures the highly complex animal that was Allen Ginsberg. He is at once arrogant and bashful, at once flippant and sincere, at once tortured and carefree. As I mentioned earlier, his command of Ginsberg’s vocal tone and intonation is masterful — I grinned from ear to ear the first time he said the word ‘poetry’, using AG’s classic pronounciation: poet-ree. The performance really shines in the Six Gallery scenes — it is clear that Franco has studied the film and audio recordings from this event in depth, and that he took delight in re-enacting them. The moment in the 1957 interview when Franco’s Ginsberg is asked to speak about his mother’s illness had me in bits; the final scene, in which Franco/Ginsberg (he really does become AG) recites ‘Footnote to Howl,’ was just brilliant. And I loved the animation, too. It was utterly, utterly strange — dark, silly, surreal. But it really fit, not only with the poetry, but with the bigger ideas behind it. This is the depiction of a long, deep, dangerous and self-destructive drug trip; it is also a mental institution hallucination. It’s damn weird, but that’s surely a necessity. It works.

This film took all my most hopeful expectations and hit them for six. It really is fantastic — and although I’m in no real place to speculate, I’m going to say it anyway: I think Ginsberg would have bloody loved it. Sure, he never much liked to be in the spotlight — in an ideal world he would probably have preferred a movie about Cassady or Kerouac or Burroughs in which he was only a minor character (as the first Beat to gain widespread notoriety in the mid 1950s — pretty much as a result of the ‘Howl’ trial — Ginsberg threw far more of his energy into using his fame to throw opportunities in the direction of his fellow Beats than he ever did into promoting himself). But I think he’d have approved of this movie’s warmth, its wackiness and it’s honesty. I certainly did. Go and see it already.

(Photo)

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Procrastination Station #88

Saturday, March 26th, 2011

P1150846
Better late than never!

A poem about typewriter jewellery? Thanks to Julia for sending me this.

Why marginalia is awesome, and e-books can suck it.

…and speaking of which, screw you, Google Books!

Loved this poem about poems posted by Swiss.

AL Kennedy has GREAT advice for just-starting-out writers.

The art of poetry: Anne Carson and Hollywood’s portrayal of writers, from the Paris Review

RIP Liz Taylor. Check out these amazing photos of her with the great David Bowie.

I frickin’ love The Rejectionist, have I mentioned?

ONS fans and friends’ activities this week: McGuire reviews the truly great Ryan Van Winkle // new work from William Soule // Russell Jones gave a (grudging) shoutout to my poetry slam!

Subnormality is my new favourite webcomic. I especially loved Sexier Th>n, and also reverse land and an afternoon of TV

Awesome Douglas Adams tattoos!

Cute as f_ck: kitty! and hedgehog!

Pirate ship bedroom? Ohmygod yes.

The best “Keep calm and…” I have seen yet.

And speaking of geekery… this is hilarious (and yes, I am obsessed with slambitious’ tumblr!)

A history of art…

Stunning mural… love this!

Waaaay better than the original.

& check out this stop-mo of Helen’s alternative portraiture workshop for this collection!

A Map of Me: Maddi Barber from thiscollection on Vimeo.

Enjoy the rest of your weekend!

(Photo)

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this collection: FRIENDLY POETRY SLAM

Thursday, March 24th, 2011

this collection is throwing its first ever poetry slam — but forget what you’ve seen and heard before. This is not your usual slam: there will be no brownie points for shouting, no judges, and the poet with the most mates won’t win automatically. This is a friendly slam — all styles, personalities and poetics are welcome. See below…

The this collection friendly slam will take the following form:

ROUND ONE: all poets perform under a 2.5 minute time limit. You can do ANYTHING YOU LIKE with those 2.5 minutes — shout, rap, whisper, read off paper, read from memory, read one poem, read fifteen haiku, whatever.

ROUND TWO: the five poets with the lowest scores (see below) will be eliminated, and the remaining poets will perform again — same time limit, same rules.

FINAL: the three poets with the overall highest combined scores from both rounds (and possibly a wildcard) will slug it out in the final (3 minutes this time) for the title of this collection slam champion — and for our lovely prizes (see below).

SCORING: no scary judging panel, no howling audience whooping extra loud for their friends. Each poet will be scored by the other poets performing. Every poet gets a scorecard, and marks their fellow performers out of 30 (marks out of 10 for content, delivery and each scorer’s personal response). Scoring will be ANONYMOUS as scorecards will be collected and tallied by an adjudicator after each round. All poets — including finalists and eliminated poets — will give scores on all three rounds. Please note, poets can’t score themselves!

PRIZES:
1ST — £25, and a mystery prize pack (contents TBC!), plus the title of this collection slam champion!
2ND — £10, and a mystery prize pack
3RD — £5, and a mystery prize pack

PERFORMING ON THE NIGHT!
Stephen Welsh // Scottish Slam Champion 2011 Young Dawkins // Bram E Gieben // Fiona Lindsay // McGuire // Tickle McNicholl // Russell Jones // Mairi Campbell-Jack // Andrew C Fergusson // Andrew Philip // Alec Beattie // Dave Forbes // Sophia Walker // Chris Lindores // Cat Dean // Dave Coates

THIS COLLECTION ALL-WELCOME POETRY SLAM! Come and slam with us for a chance to win some cash!

Invite your friends to our Facebook event! Hope to see you there!

(Photo by Kyre Wood)

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Procrastination Station #87

Friday, March 18th, 2011

Link love!

I finally got caught up with the Guardian Books blog after months of not checking my Google Reader (I am so never letting that happen again by the way… phew!). Some great stuff I found waiting for me:
Is reading overrated? // writing about depression and “the velvet rage” // where are literature’s daring heroines? // your past in books // ten of the best fictional poets // the return of chapbooks!

and some innnneresting Beat stuff, stirred up by the Ginsberg movie (at Edinburgh’s Filmhouse in t-minus eight days!)
Two quite negative reviews of the movie here and here (bloodboil at the latter’s — “the question of why we should read Ginsberg now is unanswered.” Well frankly, smug critic, if you’ve read Ginsberg and still can’t see why you should be reading Ginsberg, you’re clearly a bit of a dead loss as a human being, to be perfectly honest), but a more enthusiastic one here. Then there are yet more thoughts on the film here, if you’re not bored of the Guardian’s film windbags yet…
Lastly — some folk who knew Allen personally talk about him a bit. Yay!

A rhino statue in Edinburgh to celebrate the Paperback Bookshop? HELLS YES PLEASE!

30 chat-up lines from literature

Confessions of a literary magazine editor

Dave Coates reviews Alan Gillis’ latest at his fab new(ish) blog.

I LOVE RAY BRADBURY.

Chris Emslie features a great poem from Jon Stone

Want a literary t shirt designed by MARGARET ATWOOD? If you didn’t just say HELLS YEAH!, there is something wrong with you.

Contests specifically for young writers!

Folded Word (who’re awesome) have a new quarterly coming out.

ONS fans and friends: your movements this week…
Christian Ward at a handful of stones // new work from William Soule // new work from Lucy Baker // new work from Sharon Harriott (Facebook)

A moment to talk about Japan: what’s really happening in the Japanese nuclear reactors (and more on this) // 20 photos of the aftermath // and more from the Big Picture // one of the better blogarounds I’ve seen on the crisis // Donate (UK) // Text REDCROSS to 90999 to donate $10 (US) // wise words from FishnorFowl

I loved these photos of people dancing.

Amber Riley is amazing

That’s hot.

So it this.

Dear Media… a feminist rant

This is totally something my flatmates and I would do. Also from PassiveAggressiveNotes: Kitty Containment! // Oh. How embarrassing.. // My eyes!

I love owls.


Inneresting…


Frickin’ love this song — and the video!

If you didn’t see it already, check out the video of the super-awesome zine workshop I hosted this week!

Zine Madness @ Tollcross Art Room 15th March 2011 from Stefanie Tan on Vimeo.

broken heart.. it usually sprays out love…, originally uploaded by bitzi ☂ ion-bogdan dumitrescu.

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this collection zine-making workshop: the results

Thursday, March 17th, 2011

Anyone who’s been reading this blog for any amount of time will know that I am a huge fangirl of zines. From late 2007 to early 2010 I ran my own, Read This Magazine (currently in the process of being dismantled in order to make way for something new, by the way); I am a follower/subscriber of many other small independent literary zines (including The Letter Killeth — see work by Chris Lindores in their latest! — and Words Dance) and will always encourage others to follow my lead. About eighteen months ago I was gifted a huge stack of vintage music fanzines by local Edinburgh zinester and blogger, Nine. All of this somehow led to me leading a zine-making workshop at Tollcross Community Centre on behalf of this collection on Tuesday night.

I just want to say a huge thanks to everyone who came along — not least my sister and Lovely Boyfriend who didn’t have a great deal of choice in the matter. Thanks also to Sean Cartwright, Sue Steele, Julie Logan and Dave Forbes for your attendance and enthusiasm, and thanks of course to Stefanie Tan and everyone at TCC for the inspiration/organisation side of things.

Overall, the workshop was a massive success. I introduced six total zine virgins to a brand new artform, and we created seven beautiful Xeroxed and hand-bound creations to promote poetry, crafting, recycling and counter culture. It was such a success I might even run more! Give me a shout — poetry@thiscollection.org — if you’d be interested in such a thing. Some photos and a fab timelapse from the evening below…

Zinesters
Assembled zinesters: Steve, Dave, Sue, Julie, Sean, Stefa, Helen and myself.

Organ: Issue 42
Sean checks out some old 90s music fanzines for inspiration.

Zinesteristas
The cutting and sticking begins!

Steve's zine
Steve, aka Lovely Boyfriend, working on some (rather fabulous) blackout poems

My zine
My zine coming together — this collection needs you!

Dave's zine
Dave’s finished zine — complete with glitter!

Print media is dead: long live zines!

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Procrastination Station #86

Friday, March 11th, 2011

Protestor on Bicycle With Riot Cops in Distance as Sun Begins to Set, Oakland Riots, 2010

What’s that I hear you cry? You thought I was dead? No, readers, fear not. I was just snowed under with work, trying to survive a visit from the regulators. Thankfully, I have come through unscathed… I think. Time for some link love…

Women writers looking lovely — glad to see so many of the Beat ladies represented here! Thanks to @kirstylogan.

A shocking visual representation of the gender bias in magazine publishing — and an article about it.

Literary bars? Yes please.

I loved Katie Sokoler’s account of stuff she learned on the street recently and things that make her giggle.

Maya Angelou: living legend.

McGuire has reviewed Jim’s poetry collection, and Juliet has reviewed Venti by JoAnne McKay

The Rejectionist explains publishing.

How’s your pronounciation?

ONS fans and friends’ adventures in Internetland: Howie Good was found by PoetHound // he’s also at a handful of stones, with Christian Ward // AND he’s interviewed here // Stephen Nelson is interviewed by Jim // he’s also been shortlisted for the Crashaw, most deservingly! // speaking of deserved… Regina is in the Ramshackle Review // and NEW POEMS MAKE ME HAPPY! Here are some fine ones from Kerri Ni Dochartaigh, McGuire and Alex Williamson

Hillary Clinton rocks my socks.

Amazing 100-year-old tinted photographs.

Got to love David Shrigley.

Yep (in my case, it’s my PhD supervisor).

I realise this is super superficial but I want this girl’s hair.

Octopus + tea = ultimate wisdom

…and speaking of which: no one likes you, Dave.

and I cannot lie.


Love this song, love this version.


Dude.


And I just had to show this again.

Have a great weekend!

Photo by Thomas Hawk

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A few women who inspire me

Tuesday, March 8th, 2011

It’s International Women’s Day 2011, and the 100 year anniversary of International Women’s Day to boot! I hope you’re all doing something awesome to mark the occasion. For my part, I a) educated a well-meaning but misguided man when he came to my Facebook page to ask “why do we need a day for women anyway?” (he was mainly disgruntled about the fact that there is “no Man Day” — except, er, there is you guys! Yay!), and b) donated £50 to World Pulse. I’ve also been trying to spread the message about What Day This Is to the people around me, and as part of that, I’ve decided to write a wee post here about the women who inspire me. I’ve taken the idea from my super-talented and fabulous sister Helen, who made the short film at the bottom of this page.

Margaret Atwood
Margaret Atwood
I don’t really need to say much here, do I? I’m sure you’re all aware of what a huge literary force of nature Margaret Atwood is, even if you don’t love her writing (not meaning to alarm you, but there’s something wrong with you, by the way). As well as being an incredible novelist and poet, she’s also written extensively on the nature of writing as a craft, on Canadian writing and on women’s writing. She is a tireless campaigner for all manner of green and other political issues, and — I’ve met her! — a lovely person into the bargain.

Mrs. Pankhurst in Wall St. (LOC)
Emmeline Pankhurst
Again, I’m sure most of you have at least a vague idea of who this lady was, but for those of you who need some clarification: Emmeline Pankhurst is one of the most influential female political figures of all time and has been named one of the 100 Most Important People of the 20th Century. As the founder of the WSPU she played a leading and pivotal role in the UK women’s suffrage movement, campaigning tirelessly and, controversially, sometimes violently to gain political agency for British women. Along with her daughter Christabel and her dedicated legion of WSPU followers, she changed the face of British — and by extension, world — politics forever.

Marie, Lady Stubbs DSG
Marie Stubbs is an inspirational Scotswoman and a fantastic teacher and educator (now retired), whose story was recently told via Ahead of the Class, a TV film starring Julie Walters. Stubbs took over the governance of St George’s Roman Catholic Secondary School in Maida Vale following the shocking murder of its former head teacher Philip Lawrence, and after regulatory bodies had rated the school’s education provision and learner engagement and well-being as dangerously poor. Stubbs took a radical new approach, with the motto “every child should be intrinsically valued,” managing to execute a truly inspirational turnaround in the school’s fortunes, engaging learners and staff in innovative new ways. As a teacher, she’s one of my heroines.

Gabourey Sidibe
Gabourey Sidibe
I’ll be honest — there aren’t that many Hollywood actresses I’d fancy going out for a pint and a chat with (though there’s another exception below), but Gabourey Sidibe? FOR SURE. Although I’d probably be totally tongue-tied when it came to the ‘chat’ bit, because I think this woman is a frickin’ goddess. She shot to fame a couple of years ago in the movie Precious, but unfortunately it was apparently impossible for critics and audiences to talk solely about her acting abilities. This woman must have faced more scrutiny about her weight and appearance than half of the rest of Hollywood put together, and I can only imagine how frustrating it must have been for her to be nominated for an Oscar but only able to read articles with headlines like “who the hell is going to dress Gabby Sidibe for the red carpet?!” Sidibe is not a trained actor and Precious was her first role, yet she has handled the immense (and often negative) media attention like a pro, managing to maintain the air of a genuinely nice person at the same time. Personally, I think she is super-talented, absolutely gorgeous and seriously inspirational.

Kate Winslet
Kate Winslet
I love Kate Winslet as an actress — she plays the female lead in what is possibly my all-time favourite film, and has also portrayed one of my all-time favourite literary characters. However, I also love her for her tireless campaigning for women — Winslet is one of very, very few Hollywood actresses prepared to speak out about the damaging beauty standard perpetuated by her profession. She is a very vocal supporter of eating disorder charities, has spoken out on numerous occasions about the airbrushing and retouching of actresses and models in the media, and speaks regularly in interviews about her disdain for beauty and fashion magazines and their direct negative impact on the self-esteem of women and girls. And even if this stuff isn’t something that bugs you, you have to admit… she’s a great actress.

Melissa McEwan
Melissa McEwan is the founder of my all-time favourite blog Shakesville, founded in 2004 as Shakespeare’s Sister. I won’t say too much about Melissa herself, because she’s only one of a small but hardworking group of contributors and a much wider and even more vocal group of commenters who keep Shakesville going, and who keep it awesome. But I’ve picked her out in particular because it’s usually her posts, thoughts and comments that particularly chime with me. Shakesville has fundamentally changed the way I look at myself, other women, men, the media and politics. Here’s a little more about it, from their “About” page:
Shakesville is a feminist blog, and a feminist’s blog. It is a progressive blog. It is a safe space. It is a community. It is a blog whose contributors are resolved to be willing to self-examine and learn, and whose community members are expected to do the same. Forward movement, progress, on cultural, political, and individual levels is woven into the fabric of Shakesville. Our key objectives are equality, liberty, and justice for all, empathy, self-awareness, growth, momentum, compassion, and laughter. We blog about domestic politics, foreign policy, high culture, pop culture, books, film, telly, food, the patriarchy, oppression, repression, religion, philosophy, parenting, not parenting, marriage, cats, why women’s trousers have so many buttons, and anything else that we feel like discussing. With photos. Many of them doctored for maximum hilarity. All are invited. Whether you are welcome is up to you.

Naturally, this is only a tiny selection of the women who inspire or have inspired me at some point in my life. If I listed them all here, this post would never end, so I’ll sign off at that — though not until I mention a few other supremely inspiring women in my life. My late grandmother, Pauline Annie, whose loud, proud, rude, crude Northern voice is forever in my head; my mother — likewise, only without the ‘rude, crude’ part; my awesome colleague Lorna, one of the coolest teachers and most fabulous ladies I have ever had the pleasure to meet; and finally my baby sister, whose International Women’s Day 2011 film (below) is only the tiniest tip of the iceberg of her talents. NOW GO CELEBRATE THE WOMEN IN YOUR LIFE. They’re amazing.

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Make your own poetry zine: workshop

Tuesday, March 1st, 2011


MAKE YOUR OWN POETRY ZINE WORKSHOP
TOLLCROSS COMMUNITY CENTRE
TUESDAY 15TH MARCH
5pm — 7pm
A MERE £3 PER PERSON!

Calling all poets!

Come and learn about the awesome art of zine-making: find out a bit about zine culture, read some classic fanzines, and use our resources to create your very own zine — a compendium of your own work that you can give to friends, sell at readings or turn into a series.

You’ll need to bring:

* yourself
* at least one of your poems (printed/typed/handwritten/whatever)
* enthusiasm
* OPTIONAL: stuff to decorate your zine — anything 2D that will stick to a bit of paper. Photos, drawings, newspaper clippings, locks of hair, random scribblings, stickers, ticket stubs –anything that inspires you. We will supply a whole array of this stuff too, but the more you bring, the more original and personal your zine will be!

Come along and meet fellow poets and zine enthusiasts, use our resources and create something cool! All we ask is that you bring along three shiny pounds — this will cover the cost of making copies of your zine for you to take away!

Claire Askew is the Editor in Chief of Read This, a literary zine founded in 2007, based in Edinburgh and printed with assistance from the Forest Free Press. Read This has to date produced twenty issues showcasing the best in poetry, prose and drama from brand new writers worldwide. The zine is due to re-launch soon after a year-long hiatus. Claire is currently reading a PhD in Creative Writing and Contemporary Scottish Poetry at the University of Edinburgh and lectures in Literature and Communication at Edinburgh’s Telford College. Her poetry has been published by The Guardian, Poetry Scotland and The Edinburgh Review, among others, and she also runs the writing blog One Night Stanzas.

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