Archive for April, 2011

Typewriter geekery: news roundup

Thursday, April 28th, 2011

Underwood Typewriter II

A lot’s been going on since my appearance in the Observer last Sunday. It spookily coincided with the very last manual typewriter rolling off the very last production line, and as a result I’ve been inundated with emails from folk wanting me to geek out about typewriters at their blog/publication/event, etc. It’s been fantastic. Oddities pending right now: an opportunity to speak on South African public radio, an interview for a major Polish newspaper, and quite a long piece on typewriters vs blogs for the Poetry Society. I’ve also had heaps of emails from people telling me their typewriter stories, wanting to know what models I have, wanting to gift me their old machines/ribbons/typewriter accessories, asking me for advice/giving me advice about typewriter restorers, good eBay stores for typewriter related stuff, the correct use of carbon papers and so on and so forth. I have absolutely loved getting involved in all these weird and wonderful projects, hearing from everyone and striking up so many interesting conversations.

I thought I’d do a wee round-up of all the stuff that’s gone on so far. Some interesting stuff here!

My typewriter poem (previously published in The Guardian) and interview were featured at Writing Ball

I was interviewed by BBC Radio Ulster (listen here) and BBC Radio Wales — you can hear me on the Good Evening Wales programme (available til next Wednesday), about 54 minutes in, geeking out about Underwood 5s and fighting off cheeky comparisons to Hemingway.

I was quoted in the Daily Express (gulp) as part of their obituary for the typewriter.

Exibart included me in their news round-up.

I got Magpie Writes thinking about the nature of anonymous commenting, vitriol and vexatiousness.

I loved this visual typewriter obituary.

More to come!

And in other news…
Chris Scott took a brilliant author photo of me — I absolutely love it.

I’m reading at The Store (as part of Poetry At The…) in May, and loved what The List had to say about my “razor-sharp wit”!

I now have a very pretty profile at A-Gender (thanks Jim).

The Allen Ginsberg blog gave a shoutout to the Starry Rhymes submission call (still seeking poets)!

Want me to geek about about typewriters at your blog/zine/wedding/bar mitzvah/funeral/etc? I’m available! No seriously.

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Things I’m Reading Thursday #26

Thursday, April 28th, 2011


It’s been a while since I’ve done a Things I’m Reading Thursday post, primarily because — cue the sad violins — I’ve had very little time to read anything other than thesis stuff, and no one round these parts wants to hear about academic papers with titles like “Who Killed Feminism?” (I shouldn’t think).

However, for the last two weeks I’ve been on holiday for Easter, and had chance to catch up on some much-needed reading. One of the best books I’m currently nosing through is True and False: Heresy and Common Sense for the Actor, by David Mamet.

I only recently discovered Mamet’s prose. Although I’m interested in theatrical writing, dramaturgy and whatnot, I never thought my vague interest would lead me in the direction of formal criticism on the subject. However — in keeping with the theme that seems to have developed in my reading — I got interested after Lovely Boyfriend recommended Mamet’s Writing in Restaurants on our very first date (expect a Writing in Restaurants post here sometime soon, incidentally)! Naturally, wanting to impress my gorgeous love-interest, I devoured the book and absolutely loved it. So when I spotted “True and False” in a great bookstore while on holiday in Amsterdam, I decided — even though I have very little interest in acting — to give it a go.

And I’m really glad I did. Mamet writes in such a brilliant way — concise, brutal, to the point, but also really enjoyable prose. And although the book is supposedly “for the actor”, the vast majority of it can be easily extended to apply to any creative person — writers in particular, as Mamet frequently draws from his personal experiences as a playwright to illustrate his points.

There was so much great advice in here, advice that really struck a chord with me and made me think “I have to share this with the writers I know!” So, courtesy of “True and False”, check out some words of Mamet wisdom, and see what you think!

On choosing writing as your “career” rather than your “hobby”:

“You will encounter in your travels folks of your own age who chose the institutional path, who became the arts administrators rather than the actors, the casting agents rather than the writers. These folks chose to serve an institutional authority in exchange for a paycheck, and these folks are going to be with you for the rest of your life, and you actors and writers and people who come up off the street, who live without certainty day to day and year to year are going to have to bear with being called children by these institutional types… [but] it is not childish to live with uncertainty, to devote oneself to a craft rather than a career, to an idea rather than an institution. It’s courageous and requires a courage of the order that the institutionally co-opted are ill equipped to perceive.”

On seeking fame and approval, and being competitive:

“We’d all like to be well thought of, to do noble things, to do great things, and to be respected. But is it worthy of respect to act in a manner we ourselves feel is trivial, exploitative, demeaning or sordid? How can that command the respect of others; and would we value the approval of someone who is taken in my behaviour which we know to be shoddy, grasping and mercantile?
And yet our truly noble desire to do good work, to contribute to the community, can become warped into an empty quest for something which we call success — that quest where many of you andmany of your peers will squander your youth. [...] The Stoics would say ‘act first to desire your own good opinion’.”

On performing well:

“Such remarks as ‘I am a fraud, I am no good, I was terrible tonight’ are the opposite of effective self improvement. They are obeisance to an outside or internalised authority — they are a plea to that authority for pity for your helpless state. You are not helpless. You are entitled to learn and to improve and to vary… [but] generally, the ‘I’m garbage’ and ‘I was brilliant’ performances were the same.
[...] The purpose of the performance is solely to communicate to the audience. If we bear this in mind, we will be less likely to go around berating ourselves.”

On editors, agents and other cultural gatekeepers:

“How will you act when you, whether occasionally or frequently, come up against the gatekeepers? Why not do the best you can, see them as, if you will, an inevitable and preexisting condition, like ants at a picnic, and shrug and enjoy yourself in spite of them. Do not internalise the industrial model. You are not one of the myriad of interchangeable pieces, but a unique human being, and if you’ve got something to say, say it, and think well of yourself while you’re learning to say it better.”

On keeping on writing:

“Perhaps no one in a situation demanding courage (that is, in a situation that has frightened him) can believe it — when the ramp comes down on the landing craft on D-Day, when the baby is ready to be born, when the time comes to address the court, or plead with the spouse for a second chance, or ask the bank for an extension — when the time comes, in short, to act, it becomes apparent to these people, as it should to you, that no one cares what you believe, and if you’ve got a goal to accomplish then you’d best set about it. To deny nothing, invent nothing — accept everything, and get on with it.”

What are you reading right now?


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OPENING NIGHT: this collection at The Glue Factory

Wednesday, April 13th, 2011

Glue Factory

Come and join Edinburgh-based community arts project this collection as we make our first ever journey west and open an exciting fortnight-long event at Glasgow’s infamous Glue Factory artspace!

At: The Glue Factory, 22 Farnell Street, Glasgow, G4 9SE
Starts: 7.30pm
Finishes: 1.00am


+ BLOCHESTRA: innovative and experimental noise-makers — “a band to turn the conventional music experience on its head.”

+ ZORRAS: poetry-music-video weirdness fusion. With megaphones.

+ DJ SET/SPECIAL GUESTS TBC: tunes inspired by this collection poems


+ breathtaking images from renowned graphic designer Ming Tse

+ a huge and stunning mural by illustrators Helen Askew and Laura Mossop

+ this collection’s ‘top 100 poems’ and the plethora of creative, collborative responses they have inspired so far


Honeymede will be on hand to supply their delicious home-brew ale at a mere £1 per pint!

TBC: this collection hope to provide a minibus to ferry faithful Edinburgh followers over to the event and back from Glasgow afterwards. Seats on the FilmPoetry Magic Schoolbus will cost a mere £3 and be allocated on a first-come-first-served basis. The bus is not yet 100% confirmed but if you think you would like a ride to the event, drop a line to to register your interest.

Click “attending” on our Facebook event!


this collection began life as a modest bouquet of 100 short poems on the subject of Edinburgh. Authors included all manner of Edinburgh residents from high school kids to University professors, and over the course of the past two years, their work has acted as a foundation upon which artists and creatives from all walks of life have built collaborative responses to the poems. Thus far, the project has primarily attracted short films, but more recently the artistic responses have included works as diverse as street art installations, handmade zines and improvised music scores.

this collection has hosted a plethora of community art events in Edinburgh, too – including a memorable poets’ and filmmakers’ speed-dating night, a huge multi-media showcase in the cavernous McEwan Hall, and an experimental ‘friendly’ poetry slam. Now, this collection is coming to Glasgow to seek out a whole new community, and to inspire new responses to the artistic works already produced under its umbrella.

The project will adopt The Glue Factory – an abandoned industrial space turned community arts venue – as its temporary home from 30th April to 15th May. Glasgow residents and visitors will be welcomed inside to peruse a wide and vibrant showcase of creative work inspired by the original this collection 100 poems.

We hope to see you there!


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Call for submissions: ‘Starry Rhymes: 85 Years of Allen Ginsberg’

Tuesday, April 12th, 2011

As you may already know, I am a huge Beat Generation enthusiast and I am particularly interested in the poet Allen Ginsberg. Friday 3rd June this year would have been Ginsberg’s 85th birthday, and I would really like to do something to mark the occasion.

Taking inspiration from Rob Mackenzie’s excellent ‘Norman MacCaig at the GRV‘ centenary event, I would like to gather a bunch of poets together who’d be willing to write a poem (of any style, form, and — within reason — length) inspired by Ginsberg. Each poet will be given a different poem by the great man himself, and asked to write a response to that poem (no prior knowledge of Ginsberg’s work required!). The climax of the project will be twofold.

Firstly, I’ll gather together all of the response poems, and publish them in a limited run (probably 100 or 150, depending on the number of poets) of handmade chapbooks (via my Read This Press micropress). Poets involved will each receive one free copy of this publication (entitled Starry Rhymes, after AG’s 1997 poem of the same name).

Secondly, I have booked out the Forest Hall (the space above Edinburgh literary landmark, the Forest Cafe) for the evening of 3rd June for the chapbook launch. I am hoping to screen archive footage of Ginsberg, play some recordings of the great man reading, invite academics and creatives to come and speak about Ginsberg’s life, work and influence, and to host performances by some of the poets whose work appears in the chapbook. There may also be live music/other delights. Poets who read at this event will be able to sell books/CDs/other merch — the event will be free but donations will be requested.

If you would like to be involved in the project, let me know asap by emailing and I will send you your mystery Ginsberg poem to respond to (sorry, I’m making it a rule that you can’t pick your own — otherwise I’m pretty sure I’d get 25 ‘Howl’ responses! But if the poem I choose for you is really not to your taste, let me know). Once responses are in, my editorial team (currently TBC) and I will select the poems that will make it into the chapbook, and let you know asap.

We’re looking for a diverse mix of writers for this project, so we’re happy to hear from spoken word and performance poets, visual and concrete poets and sound poets as well as those who write in more ‘traditional’ forms and styles. All are welcome to submit, so please do get in touch.

Deadline for final submission of responses: Sunday 8th May.

Let me know asap if you’d like to be involved, or if you have any queries!, as always!


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Procrastination Station #89

Friday, April 8th, 2011


It’s the Easter holidays! Wheee! Time for some link love.

So glad these guys have covered the Jacqueline Howett dramz so I don’t have to (if you don’t know what this is, read on: it’s basically How Not To Be An Author)

But does poetry + attention-seeking = success?

Why you should buy small press books straight from the publisher.

Writers and their instruments…

…and speaking of which, thanks so much to Peg for sending me this typewritery goodness!

The Poetry Book Society has lost it’s funding: and why that sucks.

Maya Angelou is great.

Why you should keep your love letters.

Check out My Unfinished Novels!

Female superhero outfits = sexist and stupid.

Stan Reeves: Edinburgh legend.

Save the Forest: give your art.

One Night Stanzas fans and friends this week: Lovely Boyfriend (sorry, poet Stephen Welsh) posted his first ever poem at his blog, Concrete Void! // Swiss (he’s writing again!) on his notebook // Stephen Nelson is doing NaPoWriMo! // Harry Giles handed out some free poems at his blog // Ryan Van Winkle featured by Poetry At The… // a lovely new piece from Cassandra // the Best Scottish Poems of 2010 are live! //

How ‘Independence Day’ promotes positive messages about sex work. Inneresting!

This is a brilliant photopgraphy project.

Whereas these photos (while amazing) are just plain weeeeird…

The much-circulated fake Smithsonian ads are damn brilliant.

Well hello there.


And I know I posted this before, but it’s getting to feel summery again, and well — it’s brilliant:

Wizard Smoke from Salazar on Vimeo.

Have a great weekend!


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Everyone loves a troll.

Thursday, April 7th, 2011

Vintage 1964 DAM Troll Doll

It’s been a while since I’ve been trolled, and a long, long time since I’ve had a classic example like this. It was just too good/tragic not to share with you…

Shortly after posting about the Swale Life Poetry Contest (which I am judging, folks!), I received the following amusing message from a male commenter who shall remain nameless:

You are charging an entry fee????
Isn’t that illegal … ????
I won’t enter a contest that I have to pay for…
I am already poor enough…
I am a freaking artist…
I have no money…

I had a bit of a giggle at this message but did nothing about it and thought no more of it. I assumed that hey, if he was so offended by my “illegal” contest, he just wouldn’t enter and everyone would be fine. But no. When I did not respond, I was bombarded by further messages. Check this one out:

I will never pay to enter a contest involving my art.
I think it is in poor taste for you to promote this event.
You have been a friend of mine for a long time. [NB: I do not know this person at all.]
But I sense that this will soon change.
No artist should EVER have to pay a fee to enter a contest.
I was you [sic] friend but soon may not be.

Oh Mr Troll. In what lovely rose-tinted world do you live? I want to visit.

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Being a good poet.

Thursday, April 7th, 2011

Hidden Talent

“I despair the distinction made between “page” and “performance” poets. A good poem is a good poem, it matters not one jot what style it is. If the writer is also able to give a verbal delivery that is enjoyable to an audience then surely that is a good thing. I fail to see how it could be other. Being a good poet does not mean one cannot be an equally good performer. And vice versa! Also NOT being a good performer has absolutely no bearing whatsoever on one’s ability to write good poetry. Anyone who writes good poetry, is able to deliver said poetry well, and WISHES to do so in public, should — to my mind — be encouraged to do so.”

Fiona Lindsay, Edinburgh-based, barefoot, slam-winning poet.


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this collection FRIENDLY POETRY SLAM: the fallout

Wednesday, April 6th, 2011

Cat Dean
Slam virgin Cat Dean wows the slam crowd at the Banshee Labyrinth.

I’ll admit – I was worried about how this event might go down. My aims for the slam were manifold. Firstly, I wanted to drag a few more “page” poets (i.e., poets who are normally more at home publishing in journals and books, and reading at traditional stand up readings) kicking and screaming into the performance scene – mainly to show them that hey, it’s really not that different or scary and look, there’s good poetry to be found here. Secondly, I wanted to get the message across to the performance crowd (although they do tend to be more receptive to stuff outside their own field of literary experience) that page poets can be fun, and that they can – sometimes, at least – perform. Mostly, I wanted to try and narrow the divide that – in spite of the best efforts of fabulous folk like Jenny Lindsay, who has been organising very open and approachable performance events for years – still stubbornly exists between page and stage in the Scottish poetry community.

As I say, this was by no means the first friendly slam that’s ever taken place. Indeed, I’m proud of the fact that Scotland seems to be at the forefront of new and innovative thinking when it comes to slamming and other performance poetry events. Over the past few years there have been one or two “sotto voce” or “quiet” slams about the place – the now-sadly-defunct VoxBox held a “quiet” slam specifically for page poets, and the Scottish Poetry Library also did a sotto slam in 2009, which yours truly here somehow managed to win. Working in this tradition, I wanted to further mess around with the traditional slam format, and by doing so, I hoped to chip away at some of the myths and misconceptions surrounding the phenomenon.

The main difference was in the scoring of the poems. I’m defiantly against the “traditional” slam scoring method, which involves the audience getting involved in rating each poet. In the US, where slams are always well-attended and often patronised by folk who are not either a) poets or b) friends of poets, I can see how this system could work… but in Scotland, where almost everyone in the crowd is a friend/enemy/editor/publisher/workshop buddy/love interest of at least one of the performers, it makes for skewed results. The poet with the most mates wins, to put it simply. The other traditional slam scoring option is the use of a judging panel. But this was a this collection event, and this collection is very much anti-hierarchy, anti-quality-control, anti-curation. To gather a panel of “esteemed judges” for the poets to impress was really not our style.

Instead, we decided to let the poets score each other. Each poet received a personalised score-card, which bore the names of all the poets performing, except for their own – so they could not award points for their own performance. Scores were out of 30 (10 for content, 10 for delivery, and 10 for that individual’s particular “overall opinion”), and recorded at the end of every poet’s performance. At the end of each round, all the scorecards were collected up and the scores anonymously tallied. Poets with high scores progressed through the ranks; poets with lower scores fell by the wayside – but everything was on a democratic, peer-review basis, and thanks to the wide variety of poets performing, we were confident that there would be little-to-no bias.

The scoring system did throw up some issues. Most obviously, it was a logistical nightmare. It wasn’t until I received the first batch of scores at the end of the first round that I realised: I was going to have to add up sixteen sets of scores out of 30 for sixteen poets within fifteen minutes. In round one alone, poets were competing for up to 580 points… that’s a hell of a lot of adding up. Fortunately, I had the help of two glamorous calculator-wielding assistants (my poor, long-suffering flatmates), and we managed, but if I were organising another event of this type, a more simplistic scoring method would have to be devised!

Secondly, several of the poets told me afterwards that they’d found the quick-fire nature of the scoring rather tricky. With only about 30 seconds or so between poets, they had to make snap decisions about the numbers they entered for each. Some said they appreciated this – it prevented them from getting bogged down in thinking and re-thinking their decision, and it meant that their responses were instinctive. Others said they found the whole thing rather stressful, and would have liked a bit more time to reflect on what they’d heard in order to give a score that they felt was reasoned and fair. Next time, I just need to spraff a bit more between performers, I think!

Finally, a couple of people said afterwards that they felt the poets-only scoring left the audience a feeling a little bit surplus-to-requirements. I was really pleased with the enthusiasm the audience were willing to give for each performance in spite of it being quite a long night, but I did note that things cooled off a little in the middle. I’m now thinking that perhaps a compromise of some scoring being done via audience reaction and some done by just the poets may be an interesting avenue to explore.

Otherwise, I was really pleased with the outcome of the scoring experiment, and really interested to see how poets reacted to other performances. Some folk were clearly being very harsh across the board, with some poets scoring certain performances with a big fat zero and never venturing into figures much higher than 6. Others seemed more than happy to dish out perfect 10s across the board to poets they really liked, and – my favourite part of the adding-up process – many of the scorecards came back with doodles, marginalia or explanatory notes decorating their margins. Overall, scoring was extremely close. Numerous folk have noted in their feedback about the evening that poets like Andrew Philip and Dave Coates deserved to move up to the second round, and I agree on both counts. However, it was literally the odd mark here and there that separated 10th place from 11th and 11th from 12th, etc. It was almost too close to call in some cases, and at one point my glamorous assistants and I actually did a re-count to ensure that the right person was getting the correct score. Poets who came lower than they would have liked – or perhaps lower than some of those in attendance felt they deserved – will hopefully be ever-so-slightly placated by the fact that it really was very close indeed.

The main discussion taking place in the aftermath of the slam – and may I take this opportunity to say how happy I am that so much healthy discussion has been generated by the event – concerns the old chestnut of performance vs page. Who had more of an advantage on the night? Who in attendance counts as ‘page’, and who counts as ‘stage’? Did one camp score the other unfairly – was there a bias for or against either side? And so on and so forth. Personally, while I am watching these discussions with interest, and chipping in every so often (of course), I’m kind of sad to hear these questions being raised. As I said above, my aim for the evening was to temporarily erase – or at least blur – the dividing line that exists between page and performance poets; to see the two sides of the poetry world come together and yes, compete… but also to listen to and acknowledge each other. And it felt like this happened on the night itself. In many cases it was difficult to ascertain who belonged to which camp – over at Tonguefire, commenters are scrabbling to define poets like Alec Beattie (whose set was decidedly performance-esque, but read from a book and something of a departure from his usual work), Colin McGuire (a poet who performs with great gusto but who normally shies away from performance-heavy gigs and whose stuff works brilliantly on the page too) and Emily Dodd (a poetry slam virgin… but one who embraces audience participation). I think it’s only later that the feeling of never-the-twain-shall-meet has begun to slink back in, which perhaps is inevitable. For me, the night itself did exactly what I wanted it to: it picked up the traditional make-your-own-slam kit and gave it a bit of a shake, and it got page-folk and stage-folk up to the same mic, and forced them to rate (or, indeed, slate) one another… all of which involved everyone listening carefully to everyone else. The array of talent on show was refreshingly varied and – if you ask me – of excellent quality, and everyone seemed to have a damn good night. It might take a few more of these things before folk really start thinking differently about how poetry is performed and received in Scotland, but for now, I’m really quite pleased.

Responses to the this collection slam:

“A great learning experience for us novices and some wonderful poems and performers.” – Alec Beattie

“It was a great success, with consistent quality and entertainment, from a controlled crowd of temporary human beings and poets…I think there may be more this collection SLAM nights to come. I hope so. Let there be mic!” – McGuire (more here

“I loved that Claire did something new with slams, and particularly that the ‘friendly’ tag encouraged folks to take part who usually wouldn’t touch slam with a barge pole. A couple o the scores raised my eyebrows - but that’s always the case with competitions isn’t it?” – Jenny Lindsay

“stand-out poems of the evening were Colin McGuire’s “Wrap the children in white”, Mairi Campbell-Jack’s “The Book of Antonyms” and Stephen Welsh‘s newspaper poem in the last round. Colin’s poem set me in mind of some of Neruda’s work, with its combination of surreal imagination, incantatory impetus and political edge. Mairi’s poem seemed to me to mark a significant and exciting step forward in her writing, and I was really impressed with how well she read. Stephen had cut up a Sunday Herald report of the weekend’s protests in London and blanked out certain portions, creating a beautiful, strange, quirky, lyrical, powerful poem — perhaps not so much found poetry as released.

Hearing those poems alone would have made it a worthwhile evening, but there were others. I particularly enjoyed “Scotland as an Xbox Game” by Andrew C Ferguson — just the sort of witty, imaginative examination of the hame nation that appeals to me. Dave Coates also read good work but unfortunately joined me in the junkyard after the first round; that’s just the risk you run at these things. And I liked the sci-fi poem that Russell Jones read in the second round.” – Andrew Philip (more here)

“I know what you were trying to do [at the slam] and there is movement in that direction we can see in the quiet slams that have been held. It’s fair enough and I really liked the poet judge thing.” – Tickle McNicoll

“The night was an enjoyable one, though, holding a friendly atmosphere and quick pace that kept things interesting. If you didn’t like a poet you only had to put up with them for 2.5 minutes, much like my love life.” – Russell Jones (more here

You can find photos of the event here.

Anyone else want to offer feedback? If so, link me to your thoughts or drop a line to All comments welcomed!

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Swale Life Poetry Competition: judged by me!

Monday, April 4th, 2011

Estimating the airspeed velocity of a laden swallow
So you may well remember my first foray into the world of poetry contest judging — I wrote quite a bit about my experiences as sole judge of the Sentinel Literary Quarterly Contest, including a piece on the contest for Anon Magazine. Anyway, I enjoyed the judging process so much that I have agreed to judge another contest — this time, the Swale Life April 2011 Poetry Contest. And I would like you guys to enter! Please see full T&Cs below. The deadline is soon, so get submitting!


Poems must be in the English language, but can be on any subject or in any style. The contest is open to any poet from/in any country.

Poems must not exceed a maximum length of 40 lines.

IMPORTANT: Poems entered MUST NOT have been previously published, or posted to a website or blog. The poems must also not be under consideration for publication anywhere.

First Prize £100.00
Second Prize £50.00
Third Prize £30.00.
Two Highly Commended poets will also receive £10.00 each.
The three winning poems and the two highly commended poems will receive first publication in Swale Life Magazine on 25th May 2011

Entry Fees:
£3.00 per poem, £12.00 for 5 poems. [A third of all entry fees goes to the charity Diversity House – publishers of Swale Life] All entrants who send the maximum of 5 poems will receive a FREE Sentinel Champions #4 e-book courtesy of Sentinel Poetry Movement.

Results will be published in Swale Life Magazine 25/05/2011
Competition Administration: Eastern Light EPM International (Organisers of Excel for Charity competitions)

An online entry form and Paypal link can be found here for online entries.
Click here and scroll down to download a postal entry form and read further submission instructions.

Good luck, everyone!


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NEW: the One Night Stanzas blogroll

Sunday, April 3rd, 2011

35/365 - Paper scrolls

One Night Stanzas has been going for two and a half years and has never had a blogroll, til now. Why? Because for the vast majority of that time, there was a Procrastination Station post every single Friday, without fail. Procrastination Station exists to document cool stuff from the web that week, and it seemed much more cool to plug a different happening from a favourite blog every week, than just to have a single link sitting in the ONS sidebar.

However, Procrastination Station posts have become less regular — sorry guys, I’m just super busy! — and I feel like I owe some folk a bit of limelight. Please do have a browse of the blogs and sites below… each has a wee description so you can decide before you click if it sounds like your kind of thing. But I guarantee they’re all packed with gold. Happy reading!

Stephen Welsh at Concrete Void Stephen Welsh is also known in these parts as Lovely Boyfriend — a title which automatically gets him top spot on my blogroll (among other priviledges, obviously). He is a damn fine experimental/concrete/visual poet and he’s just new to the poetry scene and the blogosphere. Please go check out his stuff, and give him some love.

McGuire at Notes from a Glaswegian Immaturity I’d class McGuire as one of the most exciting new poets working in Scotland at the moment. Writing in Scots and English and blurring the lines between page and performance, he’s been compared to Neruda, Ginsberg and Corso by more folk than just me. Check him out.

Chris Lindores at Non The Road Chris is another great upcoming young Scottish poet, recently described as “a beardy man of quick wit and self-deprecating humour” and, according to his pamphlet blurb, “a fucking funny guy.” See his latest work here, or check out his rarely-updated blog, Shit Stuff About Good Things.

Stephen Nelson at afterlights Scotland’s premiere visual poet — Stephen posts examples of his latest work here, and updates his readers on his publication progress. Really unique and exciting vispo and concrete stuff here. Check it out!

Kerri Ni Dochartaigh at she writes from a paper aeroplane One of Edinburgh’s most exciting young female poets. Read Kerri’s latest work here, and be amazed.

Dave Coates at Dave Poems A fabulous upcoming Edinburgh poet, Dave posts his latest poems here, and writes excellent, honest reviews of contemporary collections and anthologies. You can check out some of his older work here, too.

Daniel Watkins at Nothing to Report Daniel is a poet and playwright and he blogs about his latest projects (he just wrote, produced and directed a panto!), other stuff he’s up to, and er… Anna Kendrick.

Heather Bell at queenhrosie The latest work from brilliant US poet Heather Bell. Quirky, original, honest, dazzlingly brilliant poems.

Rob A Mackenzie at Surroundings Rob is a poet, reviewer and events organiser, and he blogs about all manner of contemporary poetry, arts and pop culture issues. He also writes reviews of new poetry collections and anthologies, and organises the popular Edinburgh poetry night Poetry At The…

Andrew Philip at Tonguefire Andrew posts his latest works, writes about contemporary Scottish poetic happenings and keeps his readers updated on his latest publications.

Morgan Downie at The Swiss Lounge Morgan, aka Swiss, posts great poems he’s come across on his travels, as well as chatting about his poetic activities and his passion for cycling. He also blogs occasionally at Travels in the Floating Elvis, where he posts his own work.

Mairi Campbell-Jack at a lump in the throat Mairi blogs about her life, work, poetry in general, politics, women’s issues and heaps more. She is also the editor of small poetry press Marvelou.

Jenny Lindsay at It’s The Party Line And I’ll Cry If I Want To Jenny is one of Scotland’s foremost performance poets, and an all-round excellent writer. She mostly blogs about politics here, but some poetry sneaks in there every so often.

Jim Murdoch at The Truth About Lies Frank, detailed reviews of books of all kinds; editorial-style posts on contemporary poetic issues. Jim is a legend of the literary blogosphere — go and see what he has to say.

Dr Julian Derry at OSqualitude Writer and academic Julian Derry gives his thoughts on topics as diverse as poetry, Darwin and the pros and cons of Twitter.

Michael MacLeod at The Guardian: Literary Edinburgh Beatblog Loads of info on Edinburgh’s literary and arts events, with guest posts from various Scottish poetry, literary and publishing types.

William Soule at fllnthblnk William is one of the most exciting young voices writing from the US at the moment — keep an eye on his work, he’s about to go supernova. He’s also the editor of the very fine Utah-based quarterly, The Clearfield Review.

Regina C Green at Red Bird Chronicles Regina is a US poet whose work is fun, sparky and original. Read her latest stuff, check out her numerous publications, and dig her passion for words.

Alex Williamson at Alex Williamson Poetry Brilliant poems. That is all.

Juliet Wilson at Crafty Green Poet A blog about Juliet’s own poetry, about her day-to-day life as a conservationist and ardent nature lover, about her work with Gorgie City Farm, and about her artwork and crafty activities. Juliet also edits the literary blogzine Bolts of Silk, which is well worth a look.

Marion McCready at Poetry in Progress Marion, aka Sorlil, blogs first drafts of her poems, talks about her publication highs and lows, comments on current poetry events and plenty more besides.

Chris Emslie at Quoi le Phoque? Chris describes himself as ‘a poet in training,’ and blogs about all things contemporary poetry, with some of his own work getting a look-in occasionally, too.

Russell Jones Russell blogs mainly about his publications, numerous speaking appearances and conferences, with some occasional opinion pieces, too.

Rachel Fox at More About The Song Rachel is currently on blog-holiday here, but More About The Song will not lie dormant forever. Poems, opinion, occasional rants and great warmth can all be found here.

JoAnne McKay at Titus the Dog JoAnne, aka Titus, uses her blog to post new work and to write generally about the writing life. She is a veteran of the Poetry Bus project and promotes her two excellent pamphlets, The Fat Plant and Venti via her blog, too.

Colin Will at Sunny Dunny Colin blogs from his hometown of Dunbar on all manner of poetic goings-on around Scotland, and beyond.

Kona Macphee at That Elusive Clarity One of Scotland’s best contemporary poets, Kona writes about everything Scottish, poetic, writerly and publishing-related.

Eric Hamilton at oldestboy Brilliant new work from New Jersey performance poet and hip-hop artist Eric, also known as Left Ginsberg.

Cassandra at Ophelia Blooming Poems, pretty pictures, whimsical thoughts. I like all of these things.

Howard Good at Apocalypse Mambo Oft-published US poet Howard Good posts new work, interviews, and links to publications, along with the occasional review.

Lindis Kipp at Miss Lovelace’s Cabinet of Curiosities Lindis is a writer and academic, but this is not a poetry blog as such. It’s just a tumblr full of awesome stuff, from lush photos of incredible libraries to geeky in-jokes from Star Wars and Super Mario. Hello escapism.

Lucy Baker at Dear Fish Lucy is a poet, Beat Generation enthusiast and one of my besties. This blog is primarily about her amazing travels and adventures, along with some very pretty outfits.


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