Posts Tagged ‘feminism’

Procrastination Station #129

Friday, July 11th, 2014

Something changed inside me,  you were fading away.

You write because you have an idea in your mind that feels so genuine, so important, so true. And yet, by the time this idea passes through the different filters of your mind, and into your hand, and onto the page or computer screen—it becomes distorted, and it’s been diminished. The writing you end up with is an approximation, if you’re lucky, of whatever it was you really wanted to say.
When this happens, it’s quite a sobering reminder of your limitations as a writer. It can be extremely frustrating. When I’m writing, a thought will occasionally pass unblemished, unperturbed, through my head onto the screen—clearly, like through a glass. It’s an intoxicating, euphoric sensation to feel that I’ve communicated something so real, and so true. But this doesn’t happen often. (I can only think that there are some writers who write that way all the time. I think that’s the difference between greatness and just being good.)
Even my finished books are approximations of what I intended to do. I try to narrow the gap, as much as I possibly can, between what I wanted to say and what’s actually on the page. But there’s still a gap, there always is. It’s very, very difficult. And it’s humbling.

Just one of the brilliant, comforting and very true thoughts from How To Write: A Year In Advice. Read it! Even Jonathan Franzen has something sensible to say!

Scottish poetry books to buy in July — thanks, SPL! (I already have Dat Trickster Sun and it’s great!)

This is a great article by Scottish Book Trust’s Chris, on why Michael Gove’s new “ideas” for the classroom are more harmful than people think.

I don’t even know what to say about this: “I don’t mean that Twitter is stupid but rather that it rewards careful phrasing, careful impersonating, brisk readings of cultural attitudes — in short, rhetoric.” Go ahead and replace “Twitter” with “poetry” in that last sentence and tell me if the meaning changes any for you.

How Not To Review Women’s Writing is just completely sublime.

I just discovered Kim Addonizio’s twitter feed, and it’s full of small poems she’s written specially for Twitter! Brighten up your lunch break!

Reading can ruin your life. Trufax.

Not many writers manage to get sober and those who do often suffer a decline in output: testament not so much to the power of alcohol as a creative stimulant as to its role in destroying brain function, obliterating memory and playing havoc with the ability to formulate and express thought in former alcoholics. But Duras wrote one of her best and certainly most famous novels two years after she stopped drinking. The Lover tells the story of a 15-year-old French girl in Indochina who has an erotic relationship with – yes – a much older Chinese man. Much of the book was drawn from the violence and degradation from which Duras had emerged.

This article about women writers who drank was so good that I went straight out and bought the author’s book.

Where to submit your writing this summer. You’re welcome.

Here is a list of all of the books referenced on Orange Is The New Black in case you wanted to know.

Would it have made Sexton happy to know she won the award by default? She thought she’d won based on the merit of her work. Everyone else (except perhaps those in the know, the literary elite) thought so, too. That’s how awards look—on the outside. In the end, none of the jurors got what they wanted. And the Pulitzer Prize made Anne Sexton a star. She was primed for it: beautiful, sexy, chain-smoking, death-obsessed—“the living Sylvia Plath,” as she came to call herself. The first two books she wrote after winning the Pulitzer, Love Poems and Transformations, were bestsellers. They’re Sexton at her apex. The prize gave her confidence; it loosened her up. In Transformations she even let herself have some good, mordant fun.

How Anne Sexton won the Pulitzer Prize.

I guess I have to stop making snarky comments about James Patterson now.

This is a super positive way to look at rejection!

So what happens to nerdy guys who keep finding out that the princess they were promised is always in another castle? When they “do everything right,” they get good grades, they get a decent job, and that wife they were promised in the package deal doesn’t arrive? When the persistent passive-aggressive Nice Guy act fails, do they step it up to elaborate Steve-Urkel-esque stalking and stunts? Do they try elaborate Revenge of the Nerds-style ruses? Do they tap into their inner John Galt and try blatant, violent rape?
Do they buy into the “pickup artist” snake oil—started by nerdy guys, for nerdy guys—filled with techniques to manipulate, pressure and in some cases outright assault women to get what they want? Or when that doesn’t work, and they spend hours a day on sites bitching about how it doesn’t work, like Elliot Rodger’s hangout “PUAHate.com,” sometimes, do they buy some handguns, leave a manifesto on the Internet and then drive off to a sorority house to murder as many women as they can?

Your Princess Is In Another Castle is one of the best things I’ve seen written about Elliot Rodger and the tragic Isla Vista shootings…

…and another is this poem by Freesia McKee.

I really want to see this movie (named after my favourite song).

Instead of your real phone number, give a guy who’s bothering you the number of the bell hooks hotline! (WE NEED THIS IN THE UK.)

Tattoos on old people.

I like this picture of my cellulite is rather heart-warming. (And possibly, ought to be a body acceptance hashtag.)

OK, everyone go home. This eleven year old wins at everything.

DOG GIFS ALL DAY LONG BECAUSE FRIDAY.


Who needs Westeros?


THANK YOU SO MUCH SARAH for sending this woman into my life. (Don’t ask questions. Just watch this.)


& finally… here is a cat beating a human at Jenga.

Have a great weekend!

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Like shiny things? Check out Edinburgh Vintage, a totally unrelated ’sister site’ full of jewels, treasures and trinkets. If you want to get in touch you can follow OneNightStanzas on Twitter, or email claire[at]onenightstanzas.com. I reply as swiftly as I can!

(Photo credit)

Procrastination Station #122: Christmas edition!

Tuesday, December 24th, 2013

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I haven’t done a PS post in ages, but I have still been saving up cool and interesting links to share with all of you. So this one goes out to all the folks who’re stuck in work on Christmas Eve. Have a cheeky gander at this stuff and the time will fly by! Merry Christmas!

The conversation about money (or privilege) is the one we never have. Why? I think it’s the Marie Antoinette syndrome: those with privilege and luck don’t want the riffraff knowing the details. After all, if ‘those people” understood the differences in our lives, they might revolt. Or, God forbid, not see us as somehow more special, talented and/or deserving than them.

If you read nothing else in this post, read this: on writers, money and lies.

Buildings inspired by books.

You pick one store. Make it an indie. Maybe the one closest to your house. Make sure they have a website. Make sure your book is available on their website. Make sure the store is willing to ship books to customers. Link to your book through the store’s page. Tell the store you are doing this. If you have a big enough following and sales result, they will surely notice in a hurry anyhow. Even if not a single customer finds them through you, they will be happy. They will be happy with you.

from There Are Exactly Zero Defensible Reasons For Authors To Link To Amazon. Teaching you how — and why, though you probably already know — your should team up with indies and save bookselling!

An old train transformed into a bookshop. Yep.

Intellectual Lisa, with her penchant for museums and libraries, is an outlier in her family, in her whole town. But her basic brain power could easily have come from Marge. Although, unlike her mother, Lisa would never put her dreams aside. (Oh, Marge, your life of quite desperation depresses me so. How could you throw so much away, no matter how hot that Mr Plow jacket is?) How did Lisa manage to escape the domestic trap that ensnared her bright, brittle mother?

I am Lisa Simpson. You are Lisa Simpson. We are all Lisa Simpson.

Why we abandon books.

As a child, the island seemed so vast and full of wondrous possibility. Today, it’s just another beautiful, yet remote location. I know there are no mythical beasts tromping through its forests. The people living across the bay on Sandy Hook Drive are just normal folk with lives that are probably as mundane as mine. There is no more mystery, and very few days dedicated to discovery.

On wonder and creativity: There’s Bigfoot in Them Woods

This gorgeous e-book is beautifully illustrated with portraits of, and full of facts about, amazing women who’ve changed how we look at the world.

The images on this page would be unsatisfying to most horror fans, as the hallmark of modern zombie films is now life-like, over-the-top gore. It will serve us better, though, to first explore the origins of this time-honored creature that began as an obscure Haitian folk myth but is now one of our most revisited horror archetypes. It may first seem that history has little connection to our fictional flesh-eating friends, but they have complex origins, too little discussed and too often ignored by historians and horror fans alike: here we hope to provide the first step in the exploration of the phenomenon.

Find out where the shuffling, blood-spattered Walking Dead zombie really came from in Haiti & the Truth about Zombies.

The twenty most spell-binding university libraries in the world.

I find it interesting that the two male heroes of The Hunger Games are so different from one another, and that they embody such different ways of being men. While Gale is the character we might typically think of in a story like this one—a story with plenty of violence, high stakes, and sacrifice—Peeta is not.

This article has uber-spoilers, so if you haven’t yet finished reading The Hunger Games trilogy, steer away. But if you have, read this piece, for it is amazing: Gale, Peeta and Masculinity in The Hunger Games.

Courageous people expose their insecurities for the camera: the What I Be Project is some amazing photographic storytelling.

Atwood is a polymath. She has ideas about how to fix almost everything and takes pride in her rugged resourcefulness – unlike so many namby-pamby authors who wouldn’t have a clue what to do if the lights went out. When she walks down a street, for example, she likes to point out to whomever she’s with what, in the natural world, they could eat, should the need arise. “I just want them to be prepared.”

If you still haven’t read the Maddaddam trilogy, you need to do so right now. (If you have no plans to read it, we can never be friends.) Check out this interview with the sublime Margaret Atwood, and see if you’re not convinced.

You want to read this new poem by Freesia McKee. Trust me.

“My investigation file expanded from one inch to four inches and then to eight inches. The contents included personal data about Moore and his associates, printouts from his website, copies of relevant articles and reams of information on other involuntary porn stars who were featured on his site. I’d found others, and I knew it would be difficult for law enforcement to ignore folks from all over the country.”
Charlotte Laws took on the infamous internet predator Hunter Moore, and, well… she’s a total badass.

Here’s a map of London’s independent bookstores. You’re welcome.

I suspect the vehement dislike of tattoos is really a fear of women’s skin. When a woman makes her own mark on it, she isn’t quite as available to receive whatever fantasies you might want to project on to her. If skin is a screen, and a woman writes on it, she is telling the world (or even just herself) that her own standards of attractiveness are more important to her than the standards of anyone else.

I am violently in love with this Guardian article on women and tattoos. I mean really.

You’ve seen these amazing mother-daughter artistic collaborations, right?

[Beyonce] a work in progress, as are we all. In 2010, she gave an interview saying she was a “feminist in a way,” because she valued her female friendships deeply. Earlier this year, she claimed she was a “modern-day feminist.” Now she is straight up embracing the term in her music and claiming her right to tell women to both bowdown and encouraging them to be self-confident from the moment they step out of bed… in the same damn song! I rock with that because her feminism is complicated, and ours is too. Tell the truth.

I’ve loved reading the various voices rising above the wall of stupid that went up in response to Beyonce’s new record. This might be my favourite.

Life advice from Amy Poehler. Worth passing on!
Speaking of Beyonce: I FREAKING LOVE THIS RECORD SO MUCH.
OMG Watsky. You may have jumped off a lighting rig at a gig like an IDIOT, but I can’t help but still love you.
Cool.

Merry Christmas everybody!!!

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Like shiny things? Check out Edinburgh Vintage, a totally unrelated ’sister site’ full of jewels, treasures and trinkets. If you want to get in touch you can follow OneNightStanzas on Twitter, or email claire[at]onenightstanzas.com. I reply as swiftly as I can!

Diversity & Scottish poetry

Sunday, August 18th, 2013

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So, it appears that a few days ago, I said some stuff (on Twitter) that pissed some people off. (I know, I know — so what’s new?) I’m generally seeing this as a good thing (I’ve started a conversation that needs to be had, IMHO), however, the statements most folk have seen aren’t as well worded as I’d like them to be (because Twitter), so I felt I ought to take to the blogosphere to clarify. Also, there’s a comment box here. Yay!

So what did you say now, you serial pain-in-the-butt?!
Basically, I wrote a tweet in which I celebrated the fact that Colin McGuire (that’s THE GREAT Colin McGuire to you, sunshine) had won his heat of the Edinburgh Fringe Fest BBC Poetry Slam. All fine and dandy, except in typical flip style, I added that this made me less inclined to think that said slam was a load of bollocks, or something to that effect.

Well, that’s pretty rude.
Yeah, it was rude. It also didn’t show a whole lot of respect for the many people who put a lot of time and effort into making the Beeb slam happen — particularly the performers, many of whom I not only admire as poets but also feel in awe of as humans generally. Nothing about these people’s work is a load of bollocks, and I apologise for being a totally crap human and tweeting that. Seriously: I’m sorry guys. (The tweet is still up btw. I take full ownership of my assholeishness.)

So that’s it?
Nope. Fortunately, the rest of what I said is a bit more coherent. Off the back of that tweet, I got chatting with the excellent Mr Bram E Geiben, who very sensibly prodded me and asked me to explain myself. He wanted to know the reason why I was not a fan of the Beeb slam. And the reason is its lack of diversity. No reflection on the performers — I’m sure it’s an absolutely cracking night’s entertainment (in fact, it’s a week’s worth! And free!). But I said that I felt — ’cause I do feel — that this event is a good example of the fact that Scottish spoken word (and poetry in general) needs to do more to include a wider range of voices.

Poetry in general?
Yeah. Actually, in comparison to “page poetry” (since folk insist on the divide I’m just going with it here, btw), any and all spoken word is far better at this diversity stuff. Read the Free Verse report if you don’t believe me.

So, what’s the issue?
OK, here’s where I make things a bit clearer. Because Twitter, one of my tweets made it sound like I was suggesting that the Beeb slam didn’t include enough queer poets. This isn’t the case — I think queer voices were generally well represented, and I think this is something Scottish spoken word is actually pretty good at, for the most part. What we need to work harder at is including, encouraging and promoting the work of poets of colour, disabled poets, trans* poets, and poets who maybe feel uncertain about getting involved because they fall outside the age range of the vast majority of spoken word performers (let’s say 21-35). Poets whose work is at an intersection, or intersections, in short (aha, now you understand my choice of top-of-post photo!) Lots of grassroots and regular local poetry nights are already working on this, and set a good example. Bigger, flashier events — especially ones like the Beeb slam that draw huge crowds, have money behind them, and claim to represent the national scene — ought to be following this example. When they don’t, I get pretty disappointed.

But isn’t it tokenism to include poets of colour/disabled poets/trans* poets etc, just for the sake of it?
Yep, but that’s not what I’m suggesting. We have this vicious cycle where poets whose voices are at intersections get less gigs (unpacking the reasons why is not something I feel qualified to do here, btw), which means promoters/audiences don’t get to hear about them, which means they get less gigs, which means… etc. These poets are no less talented than the ones who get gigs all the time, so including them is not tokenism. It just takes a bit more effort.
What I’m suggesting is that big, flashy events with lots of cash do the stuff that smaller events can’t or can’t afford to do. Big promoters who run “national” events have the ability (and if you ask me, the responsibility) to do the necessary research to find good poets from all walks of life and bring them to our attention. They have the ability to accommodate a variety of performer needs — travel expenses, accessibility, creating a safe space etc — in a way smaller events and un- or less-well-funded promoters might not be able to afford. They can do it, so they freakin’ well oughtta.

OK, but what makes you the oracle? Are you even a promoter? When was the last time YOU EVEN DID A SLAM?!
Nothing makes me the oracle, nothing at all! (In fact, I thought I was just having a wee chat with Bram — because I’m a bit of a numpty and forgot that Twitter is a public forum.) I’m just one poet who yeah, has actually retired from slams ’cause they scare the crap out of me. No one is in any way obliged to listen to me or do anything about anything as a result of what I say. If I decide your event’s not cool and don’t show up, I doubt it’s going to hurt you any. So feel free to totally ignore my grumpy feminist ass and carry on regardless.
However, I do still perform in Scotland (I’ve been on a hiatus for a while because two jobs & finishing a PhD & renovating a house & & &, but I’ll be back soon I hope), and I yeah, am a promoter. I want Scottish spoken word to be as awesome as it can possibly be, not just so my poetry can benefit, but so that more folk — folk like the women I worked with on the Making It Home Project, for example — can feel confident to rock up to an open mic or a slam with their poems in their hand and take to the stage.

So all the events you’ve ever organised have been perfect, have they?
Oh hell no. I’ve only really started to think about this stuff since I got properly into being an intersectional (feminist) activist, which I am still learning how to do. I was pretty proud of my International Women’s Day All-Female slam last year, and I am so, so proud of the work Making It Home have done to bring poetry and spoken word to brand new audiences (NB: I an take credit for barely any of this — the rest of the MIH team was absolutely stellar and deserve all the praise). However, with other events I ran in the past — like Watskyx2, for example — I was far too worried about how find a venue and how to get people through the door and how to balance the books and WHAT TO WEAR WHEN I MET GEORGE WATSKY to worry about making sure my line-up was inclusive and my event welcoming. So I understand that it’s hard. I’m still learning. I just want to get folk thinking about it!

You’re always complaining though. Don’t you ever say anything NICE?
THIS IS A TOTALLY FAIR POINT. I think I may have become the Grumpy Old Bag of Scottish poetry, which is a title I can happily live with if it gets people having important conversations about how to make our scene more welcoming, diverse and generally fab. BUT YES, there is a lot going on in Scottish spoken word that needs to be celebrated. Too much to list everything here, in fact, but my highlights would include the following:
- Inky Fingers do freaking great work, full stop.
- I’m really sad Ten Red is no more. That was a hell of a poetry night, and I will mourn it for a long time.
- New kids on the block Tricolour and Rally & Broad HELLO THERE. I am sorry I have yet to make it along to EITHER because of MY LIFE GOING AT 90MPH. However, there’s no question that these events are exciting and exciting poets are reading at them. (I am honoured to have been invited to read at Tricolour in September and I hope very much to be in the audience at Rally & Broad soon.)
- Blind Poetics. One of Edinburgh’s most accessible open mic platforms, and they now have a publication, which is extra exciting.
- There are so, so many individual poets whose work I love but here’s just a small selection: Camilla Chen, Colin McGuire, Theresa Munoz, Kevin Cadwallender, Sally Evans, Chris Emslie (I hope the US appreciates you, ’cause Scotland sure misses you!), Gayle Smith, Graeme Hawley, Rachel Amey, Priscilla Chueng-Nainby, Anne Connolly, Mira Knoche, Tracey Rosenberg, Nuala Watt, the aforementioned Bram Geiben, Ryan Van Winkle, Samuel Tongue, Jenny Lindsay, Nancy Somerville… OK, you get the message! There are tons of talented folk out there and I am SO HAPPY about this. If I don’t make that happiness clear enough often enough, I sincerely apologise. We’re great! We just could be even more great, basically!

So, what’re you actually doing about it?
I’ve decided it’s time to revive Read This Press. The last anthology I did was the Allen Ginsberg birthday one, and it was one of the most fun things I’ve ever had the pleasure to be involved in. (Some of you may recall I was planning a similar Adrienne Rich themed anthology? Yeah, that was before I found out she was a transphobe. Aint no way I’m celebrating that, thank you very much. More details on this soon.) That was two years ago and it’s time for the next thing.
I haven’t worked all the details out yet, but I want to create an anthology (the usual hand-made, DIY, zine-y style, of course) that celebrates poets whose voices a) are Scottish or connected with Scotland and b) explore an intersection or intersections. I’m still figuring it out, but watch this space for more details.

I think that’s it. However, if you want to clarify anything, ask anything, or yell at me, you can do so in the comment box. You’ll go in the mod queue, because everything does (sorry). I’ll get you approved asap, though.

(Photo credit)

Things I Love Thursday #78

Thursday, May 2nd, 2013

It’s been a busy week… so busy that last night I finally ran out of spoons and nearly burst into tears in a carpark, just because I was so, so tired. (Fortunately, Lovely Boyfriend was on hand to give me hugs, ply me with chips and pay for a taxi home.) However, it’s also been a totally amazing week. Here are just a few of the things I’ve been loving…

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Spring finally arriving (properly) in Edinburgh
I love Tollcross in the Spring… loads of daffodils everywhere, the Meadows two minutes away (so as soon as it feels even vaguely warm I can sprint outside to lounge), the Pine Tree Bakery smelling delicious… wonderful.

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Baking, of course
I recently discovered that the magical wonderland that is Real Foods stock frozen sour cherries, which basically made my LIFE. This week I baked the perfect (if I do say so myself) cherry pie, and Lovely Boyfriend and I got into Twin Peaks mode with pie and coffee.

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Hanging out in my sweet flat
Lovely Boyfriend and I are probably moving house soon… I don’t want to jinx it, because we haven’t signed on the dotted line yet, but we’re kinda sorta buying our own house. Oh my goodness. But as excited as I am to have my own place — do a ton of decorating and have a veggie garden (!) and get a dog (!!) — I am also a little sad to leave my crows-nest of a top floor flat in wonderful Tollcross. So I’ve been trying to appreciate it and enjoy it while I still have it. Thanks so much to Kate for making my living room look extra pretty this week!

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Ooh! New tattoo?
My half-sleeve is finally totally 100% healed, which means it’s finally photogenic! This is obviously only a section of it, as it wraps most of the way round my arm, but you get the gist! It’s a psychedelically-coloured Oliver No.9 typewriter with the words O beautiful Garbo of my karma spiralling up from it on an On-The-Road-style scroll. The words are from Allen Ginsberg’s Kaddish, which is a contender for my all-time favourite poem ever.

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Hanging out in the Forest Cafe
Forest, I shall miss you too when I move away! (Don’t worry, I’ll still visit for sure.) Pretty much the absolute best place for people watching in the whole of Edinburgh. Also, cool murals with dragons in them.

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Packed poetry readings
The first photo here is of the lovely Louise Peterkin, reading at the Shore Poets Open Night. She was absolutely brilliant, in spite of major technical difficulties, and as you can see, the audience is rapt! The second photo is my all-time favourite, Scotland’s most underrated poet (seriously), the great McGuire, bringing the awesome at the last ever Ten Red.

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My students
Often puzzling, occasionally aggravating, generally excellent. Some of them (I don’t know which) stole this sign, which reads IN HERE FOR HIGHER ENGLISH EVENING CLASS, and placed it on the janitor’s cupboard door. Those pesky kids…

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Filming for Making It Home
But the very, very best thing about my week was this: going out on set with some of the amazing participants from my poetry/film group at Women Supporting Women, to help them on their first ever filming session for Making It Home. We spent roughly five hours together, mostly on the beach under the most incredible volcanic sky, and I’ve never been so proud in my life. They were so confident and able, and such a great team — hard to believe that only a handful of months ago these women were intimidated by an Edwin Morgan poem! I felt like a bumbling idiot as I shuffled along in their extremely professional wake, mostly holding stuff! But so inspired and so, so proud.
There’s still a tiny bit of time left in our fundraising campaign, too: if you want to help these women to translate their experiences into a book that we can give out to the public for free and share their incredible journey, then please click here. Watch our video (bonus! derp-y shots of me), read about what we do, spread the word and, if you can, donate. I’ll love you forever!

What have YOU been loving this week?

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Budding writer? Creative person in need of a fun job? Check out the various resources and services at Bookworm Tutors. Alternatively, check out Edinburgh Vintage, our sister site. If you want to get in touch you can follow OneNightStanzas on Twitter, or email claire[at]onenightstanzas.com. I reply as swiftly as I can!

Making it Home: we’ve (nearly) made it!

Tuesday, April 30th, 2013

An update on the Making It Home Project, which I blogged about a few days ago: YOU ARE ALL WONDERFUL PEOPLE.

On Sunday, we reached our funding target of £1,000, which means we can make our magical book a reality. Thank you so much to anyone who read about the project, shared the link, sent folk in our general direction or best of all, donated a tiny little bit or a whole great big lot to help us make our book a reality. YOU ALL ROCK.

However, we’re not done!

There is still time before the funding deadline passes. There is still time for you to give us some money.

But why? I hear you cry! You’ve already got what you need! And yep, you’re right. We have the money we need to create our book and print a few copies and distribute them about the place, hopefully for free. BUT! There are various ways that, with your help, we can make our magical book even more magical. They are as follows:

- Right now, we’re only able to budget a very small amount for graphic design, which means we’re having to call in favours from our pro graphic design friends. We’d love to be able to afford more, so a) the book can look fancier and b) we can pay the people involved a proper rate.

- More money means a larger print run, which means more folk can get their hands on free books. FREE BOOKS are what make the world go around, amirite?

- While the fundraising’s been going on, we’ve been busily collecting quotes from printers and other book-creation folks. If we raise more money, we’ll be able to go for the option that’s best for us and our book, rather than just the cheapest options.

- Fancy binding! Fancy papers! END PAPERS! Basically a much more fancy, pretty, lovely book for all of YOU to read!

Convinced? Click on the title in the widget below (or click here) to head to the donation page! Not convinced? Click it anyway — it’ll take you to a video that shows you some of the amazing work our two groups of women have been doing. You can also read more about what we hope to achieve with this project, and that might help you to make up your mind about donating. Can’t afford to donate? Please don’t worry. You should still click on the link, because there are other ways you can help. Below the video are a series of tabs that will allow you to tweet or Facebook details about the project, or share them via email. Spreading the word is just as important as giving money… really!

Here’s the link:

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Budding writer? Creative person in need of a fun job? Check out the various resources and services at Bookworm Tutors. Alternatively, check out Edinburgh Vintage, our sister site. If you want to get in touch you can follow OneNightStanzas on Twitter, or email claire[at]onenightstanzas.com. I reply as swiftly as I can!

Got five minutes? Help me create a magic book! (Please.)

Monday, April 22nd, 2013

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Hey ONS-ers. I have a big, big favour to ask.

I don’t often ask you guys for stuff. I’ve never run ads here, and I even took down my tip-jar ’cause I felt bad about it. But now I’m asking for your help, because I know you’re all super-cool individuals who know a damn good cause when you see one.

I’ve spoken a bit before, here (scroll past the inevitable cake pictures!) about the totally life-changing (really!) work I’ve been doing over the past year with a thing called The Making It Home Project. I won’t say too much about it here, because I want you to go and read all the details at this link instead, but I will say: this is the sort of creative work that I deeply, passionately believe in. Forget fancy book launches, forget big anthologies, forget even the humble poetry slam. This is what poetry ought to be doing with itself: opening up amazing new creative possibilities to people who might otherwise never have read a poem in their lives.

I’m being mysterious, so go see what I’m talking about! But first, listen to the following, heartfelt plea…

You guys all know the power of books — you wouldn’t read this bookgeek blog otherwise. You know there’s something about a book: they’ve got a special sort of magic that no other object has. And a lot of you know how much more magical a book becomes if it contains something that you yourself wrote… right? Well, we want to make a really, really magical book. It’ll be a book we can give to the incredible women we’ve been working with, so they can also experience how awesome (literally) it feels to hold and read and share a book that has your words in it. It’ll also be a book we can give to all of you — for free! — to show you the amazing work these groups of women have been doing.

I’d like to ask you to do three small things.

One: watch our video.

RST Poetry Film taster from media co-op on Vimeo.

Two: click on the link in the image below, go and read more about what we’re doing, and how we plan to make our book.

Three: if you can (and only if you can), donate a pound or two to our cause. Any donation over £5 gets a reward… the more you give, the bigger and cooler your reward will be. If you can’t afford to donate, that is totally OK. But I’d be super grateful if you could spread the word around to anyone you think can help us.

These three things will take you what? Five minutes? If that. But your five minutes will make a massive difference and I promise, I will be very, very grateful to you!

Thanks guys. You rock.

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You can also visit Read This Press for more poetry (and typewriter paraphernalia!). Alternatively, check out Edinburgh Vintage, our sister site. If you want to get in touch you can follow OneNightStanzas on Twitter, or email claire[at]onenightstanzas.com. I reply as swiftly as I can!

I’m giving away a bunch of books and I want YOU to have them

Saturday, April 20th, 2013

UPDATE: guys, these books here in the photo? These aren’t the books I’m giving away — this is just a pic off Flickr! Scroll down for the full list in the blog text!

Things I'm Reading Thursday...

So guys, I’m likely moving house soon (VERY EXCITING), and between us, Lovely Boyfriend and I own at least a metric ton of books (really. I think this might be quite an accurate figure). Once I own a book, I am generally extremely loath to part with it again (hence the metric ton thing), but the prospect of carrying all the books we currently own down five flights of stairs and all the way across town has forced me to seriously consider the creaking, slightly-bowed problems that are my various bookshelves.

The list below is only a tiny fraction of my book collection, but it’s also only phase one: when my PhD thesis is finally finished, I’ll likely have a load more academic tomes and textbooks to offload. However, what little there is here I am throwing open to you lot before just sending it all to the charity shop. Would you like a free book? A bunch of free books? If you can come and collect them from Tollcross, they’re yours. Have a browse:

Poetry

GONE, SORRY!The Invisible Mender by Sarah McGuire (Cape)
GONE, SORRY!Looking Through Letterboxes by Caroline Bird (Carcanet)
Trouble Came To The Turnip by Caroline Bird (Carcanet)
Orphaned Latitudes by Gerard Rudolf (Red Squirrel Press)
GONE, SORRY!Cascade Experiment by Alice Fulton (Norton)
GONE, SORRY!Sensual Math by Alice Fulton (Norton)
On Purpose by Nick Laird (Faber)
Not In These Shoes by Samantha Wynne-Rhydderch (Picador)
The Janus Hour by Anne Stewart (Oversteps Books)
GONE, SORRY!Lyric/Anti-Lyric: Essays on Contemporary Poetry by Douglas Barbour
The Heart Aroused: Poetry and the Preservation of the Soul in Corporate America by David Whyte

Fiction

The Secret Agent by Joseph Conrad (Oxford World’s Classics)
Wieland: Memoirs of Carwin the Biloquist by Charles Brockden Brown (Oxford World’s Classics)
GONE, SORRY!Wetlands by Charlotte Roche (hardback)
GONE, SORRY!Ten Women Who Shook The World by Sylvia Brownrigg
The Mambo Kings Play Songs of Love by Oscar Hijuelos

Essays

GONE, SORRY!Wallflower at the Orgy by Nora Ephron
GONE, SORRY!Complete Prose by Woody Allen
GONE, SORRY!Mothers by Daughters edited by Joanna Goldsworthy (Virago)
The Bastard on the Couch edited by Daniel Jones

Women’s Studies/Feminism and Literary Criticism

Dropped Threads: What We Aren’t Told edited by Carol Shields and Marjory Anderson (2001)
GONE, SORRY!Flux: women on sex, work, love, kids and life in a half-changed world edited by Peggy Orenstein (2000)
Men Writing The Feminine: Literature, Theory and the Question of Genders edited by Thais E Morgan (1994)
GONE, SORRY!Is The Future Female?: Troubled Thoughts on Contemporary Feminism Lynne Segal (1987)
GONE, SORRY!The Female Gaze: Women as Viewers of Popular Culture edited by Lorraine Gamman and Margaret Marshment (1988)*
The Fragile Male by Ben Greenstein**
Critical Approaches to Literature by David Daiches (hardback) (1956)

Other

The Best of Cosmopolitan: The 70s and 80s (I know, wtf? I can’t remember when I bought it or why the hell.)
A Handbook of Games and Simulation Exercises edited by GI Gibbs (inexplicably, given to me by my parents, who’ve had it in their book collection — which makes mine look PUNY — since 1974, when it was published. Fascinating if you’re interested in the education system of 1960 & 70s Britain, I’m sure.)

I also have a bunch of 12″ spoken word LPs if you’re interested — mostly ‘great poets’ (Hardy, Pound, Robert Graves) and a few random kitsch things I bought on whims in thrift shops (an LP of the juicier scenes from Dracula, for example, and an LP of a totally trippy reading of Alice in Wonderland). Totally let me know if you’re into weird-literature-on-vinyl!

*Just to show what a small world Edinburgh is: I just noticed that this book has “Hannah McGill, Christmas 1994″ biro-d into the front flyleaf. It became mine via an Edinburgh charity shop.
**OK, this is a book by a Men’s Rights Activist, which I bought because I, stupidly, wanted to hate-read it. Thankfully, I never got round to it, but it looks HEINOUS.

Finally, NB: I haven’t actually read some of these books, so if you ask for a review first, I only might be able to provide one.

Drop a comment in the comments box or email claire[at]onenightstanzas.com to let me know if you’d like any of these!

You can also visit Read This Press for more poetry (and typewriter paraphernalia!). Alternatively, check out Edinburgh Vintage, our sister site. If you want to get in touch you can follow OneNightStanzas on Twitter, or email claire[at]onenightstanzas.com. I reply as swiftly as I can!

Things I Love Thursday #75

Thursday, January 24th, 2013

Vegan cupcakes

Isa Chandra Moskowitz

So, I’ve waxed lyrical about this lady a good few times already, but I am going to do it again, because she so totally rocks my world. For Christmas, Lovely Boyfriend bought me her Vegan Cupcakes Take Over The World (co-authored with Terry Hope Romero), along with a bunch of cupcake-baking equipment, and I have been cupcaking like a mad person ever since. Those starry babies in the photo above were my first effort: they’re the most basic chocolate cupcake in the book, but they came out beautifully, so I thought I’d get more ambitious. Next, I made the maple and candied walnut variety you see below, as a ‘birthday cake’ for Lovely Boyfriend’s brother. They were so good that he requested a second batch! So, for a family gathering (pressure!) I moved onto pistachio and rosewater (second photo down). These are super cool, because the cake is green and the icing is pink (excuse the weird orangey photo — it’s my kitchen light, not an Instagram filter)! I was kinda flu-filled on the day, so I couldn’t really taste my creations, sadly… but I’m told they were delicious. My most recent offerings were the double chocolate truffle cupcakes you see in the bottom photo. These are a variation on the basic chocolate, but with gooey ganache on the top and a Booja Booja truffle for decoration. FREAKING LUSH. What next, I wonder…? I am officially a cupcake addict!

Vegan cupcakes

Vegan pistachio and rosewater cupcakes

Vegan double chocolate truffle cupcakes

(PS: I made a Flickr set for all my vegan baking — and some of the vegan food regularly rustled up for me by the Lovely Boyfriend — so if you fancy following my spoon-lickin’ exploits, check back here!)

'Heritage Without Borders' Project

The Making it Home Project

I’m really excited that I’m finally able to talk publicly about my involvement with this amazing project! I keep mentioning this mysterious women’s community project I’ve been working for, but I’ve been unable to go into much detail until now. I’m happy to announce that we’ve been able to go public, thanks to an injection of much-needed funds from Creative Scotland. So, what’s it all about?

Poetry is an extremely powerful educational and social tool. It has all sorts of amazing uses — I’m sure that if you follow this blog, I don’t need to convince you of that. Making It Home was born when, a little while ago, the Refugee Survival Trust decided to harness the awesome power of poetry and use it to do cool stuff in some of Scotland’s local communities. They got in touch with Glasgow’s Maryhill Integration Network, Edinburgh’s Women Supporting Women (part of the Pilton Community Health Project), and the wonderful folks at the Scottish Poetry Library, with the aim of creating two poetry-reading groups for women. Through the poems read, discussed and shared in these groups, the women present would explore ideas about home: belonging, nationhood, community, family and everything else the word ‘home’ conjures up.

I feel incredibly lucky and blessed, because I was approached to be the creative facilitator at Women Supporting Women. My group of incredible women have given me a whole new understanding of what poetry is, and what it can do. They’ve discussed poems I’ve read probably hundreds of times, and made me see them in totally new ways. They’ve learned tons about poems and their ever-so-slightly magical powers — and so have I!

Oasis Women's Group Textiles Project

Even better: thanks to the funding injection, the project has grown a new arm. As of early January, the Making It Home groups teamed up with Media Co-Op, a brilliant independent film-making co-operative based in Glasgow. These guys are now working with the groups of women, teaching them how to translate their many, many great responses to the poems into short films detailing their personal journeys. It’s early days yet, but already it feels like a whirlwind of brilliant ideas and inspiration. I’m so happy to be part of the ongoing project, and feel really lucky to be able to witness the creative process behind what will, eventually — we hope! — become a full-scale film installation that all of YOU can come and see and support!

(Both these photos are from the Maryhill Integration Network’s amazing Flickrstream.)

What are YOU loving this week?

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You can also visit Read This Press for more poetry (and typewriter paraphernalia!). Alternatively, check out Edinburgh Vintage, our sister site. If you want to get in touch you can follow OneNightStanzas on Twitter, or email claire[at]onenightstanzas.com. I reply as swiftly as I can!

Procrastination Station #115

Friday, November 2nd, 2012

<3

Har! Brilliant lateral-thinking literary Halloween costume idea right here!

It’s pricey, but this is one of the coolest notebook ideas I have seen in quite a while!

And speaking of notebooks, here is a list of cool crafty bookish DIY projects for you to try, if your weekend’s looking empty!

We have forged something beautiful together,
in spite of all the darkness.

I love this beautiful, autumnal poem from Kerri Ni Dochartaigh.

IF YOU CLICK NOTHING ELSE IN THIS POST, click here for some WTF sci fi book covers. Amazing! (Thanks Adam!)

This passive-aggressive note got the English teacher treatment! (I also love these grumpy Halloween ones!)

I do not understand—I will not understand, I refuse to understand—why rape has to be on the table for every story with a female protagonist, or even a strong female supporting cast. Why it’s so assumed that I’m being “unrealistic” when I say that none of my female characters are going to be raped. Why this “takes the tension out of the story.” There is plenty of tension without me having to write about something that upsets both me and many of my readers, thanks.

Things I will not do to my characters. Ever. is great great great. A must-read for novelists.

Also fascinating: Saeed Jones on writing the second chapter.

These author-quote illustrations are pretty fabby (though, as with everything, Needs More Women & POC).

The wonderful Captain McGuire WROTE A POEM ABOUT BROCCOLI, you guys!

Looking at [the word 'fat'] as a neutral descriptor also steals its ability to insult. “You’re fat!” “Your observational skills are stellar!”

Everything Liss writes about fat acceptance is always so spot on. The above is from this post.

I had an article posted at xoJane! Everlasting squee!

I love Ruth’s photos of dewy, early morning plants and spider webs.

Next week I’ll be reviewing Patrick Green’s new album, Melodrama. Get the jump on my review by listening to the album in full here!

There’s three main reasons men (or anyone) don’t cook: Not caring what they eat, thinking someone else should cook for them, or not knowing how to cook. All three have different solutions and not one is “baby him along like you’re trying to convince a timid puppy to go out in the snow.”

I so love The Pervocracy’s monthly “cosmocking” of Cosmo. This month is particularly excellent.

Here are some fantastic photos of what President Obama has been doing to help with the Hurricane Sandy aftermath. And here is an article on why he’s a great (GREAT!) president (NB: go ye not below the line, there be assholes). Finally, in President-related news: this. (via)

Want to make your own colourful bird wings? OF COURSE YOU DO.

“Six people battle to save hedgehog trapped in crisp packet”? That’s my kinda news headline.

Food is lots of things. It’s comfort, it’s calories, it’s communion, it’s history and tradition, and it’s fucking yummy. Two things that it isn’t is GOOD or BAD (unless, you know, e coli). And you are not a good or bad person for eating.

21 Things To Stop Saying Unless You Hate Fat People WINS ALL THE INTERNETS.

I love everything in this amazing Etsy shop.

…and speaking of which, THERE’S NEW STUFF UP AT EDINBURGH VINTAGE!

Guys, please support my lovely friend Hannah, who’s doing Movember even though she’s a girl!

It was close, but I think this has to win cat gif of the week.


Look at this amazing time-lapse of Hurricane Sandy hitting New York City — check out 1:02 when the power goes off!

Lindy West at Back Fence PDX from Back Fence PDX on Vimeo.

Lindy West remains my heroine.


This is GREAT.


So is this.

Have a great weekend!

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You can also visit Read This Press for more poetry (and typewriter paraphernalia!). Alternatively, check out Edinburgh Vintage, our sister site. If you want to get in touch you can follow OneNightStanzas on Twitter, or email claire[at]onenightstanzas.com. I reply as swiftly as I can!

(Photo credit)

Procrastination Station #108

Friday, May 18th, 2012

{13/365} Tea, book & bed

STUFF that the INTERWEBNETS hath fruitfully provided this week…

“[N]othing changes here except in memory. I loved the way chimneys cast shadows on sunny afternoons, the way buildings were made to precede you and outlive you while housing you, as if you too will live forever. The haar that crept in from the sea. The cemeteries bumpy with centuries of flesh. The way locals asked ‘Where do you stay?’ and my neighbours invited me for a ‘fish supper’. The way nobody is too interested in you – a great British quality, this live-and-let-live discretion – and yet you end up talking with strangers in shops, because Edinburgh people have time. The worn stone steps that lead to unexpected passages of time. The palatial smugness of Morningside and the smashed-up people of Leith.”

I’m becoming increasingly sick and bloody tired of Scotland thanks to the perpetual winter that seems to be happening (worse than usual) this year. Thanks to Kapka Kassabova for reminding me why it’s actually a magic place.

The image, from this brilliant slideshow, of Hunter S Thompson out partying with Johnny Depp and John Cusack (OMG, dreamteam!) made me extremely happy.

An extra-super-useful list of (mostly North American) print journals that accept electronic submissions (and therefore deserve a cookie. Postal-only submissions are so not cool).

Decide it is time to go on a juice fast, yes definitely, you will get SO MUCH WORK done on a juice fast, but WHICH juice fast, haste thee to the internet, it is certainly not a good idea to go on a juice fast without EXTENSIVE RESEARCH, oh look here is an entire website devoted to funny videos of kittens.

The always-golden Rejectionist: when procrastination strikes!

I really enjoyed reading this interview with fellow typewriter enthusiast Rob of Rob Around Books!

I love this illustrated guide to the favourite snacks of great writers. (Thanks Camilla!)

“I remember after a reading somebody came up to me and said, I love that political poem of yours, and my husband, who was standing next to me, said, ‘Which one? They’re all political,’ and I was pleased by that. I would feel the same if she had said, ‘I love that feminist poem of yours.’ It’s a point of view, it’s a stance, it’s an attitude towards life that affects, and afflicts, everything I do.”

This article is great, but it should maybe be called ‘ten feminist poets you should know before you start reading the squillions of others.’

The Southbank Centre are seeking poets to help them build an arts village!

Dear movie of On The Road: please don’t suck as much as you look like you’re going to. Thanks, love C.

Although I am not a parent — and possibly never will be — I really love Dorkymum’s blog. And I particularly loved her take on Twitter… it is so utterly right-on.

“Somehow I understood it in my bones, as deeply and simply as know I have hazel eyes and cannot sing: I was never going to carry a child inside my body, and I was completely at peace with that. The need, want and drive are simply not there. Nearly three decades later, that hasn’t wavered, though it has hardly gone unassailed by others who have felt compelled to critique or to pry.”

And speaking of possibly-never-having-children and things that are totally right-on — I nodded furiously all the way through reading this article.

Aaaand from calm-and-collected protest to righteously angry diatribe: I love Margaret Cho.

I have greatly enjoyed reading and watching and seeing the various tales of first love over at Something Fine. Friend of ONS Rachel McCrum has a piece up there!

“I like my fat friends. I like my fat family members. I like my fat colleagues. I like my fat acquaintances. I like my fat neighbors. I like the fat members of this community. I like your fat partners and your fat kids and your fat friends, too. I like the fat people I see walking their dogs. I like the fat people I see at the grocery store. I like the fat people I see at the movies. I like the fat people I see at restaurants, on the local trails, at the vet, at the corner store picking up milk. I like the fat lady who told me, when I went out shopping in a sleeveless shirt on a hot day for the first time in my life at 38 years old, “I like your shirt!” And I love my fat self.”

Amen, amen, amen, amen, Melissa! Yet another diamond from Shakesville.

And in case that Shakesville post didn’t warm the cockles of your heart quite enough — here are some hedgehogs taking a bath. You’re welcome. (Thanks again to Camilla!)

Do you have a friend who is like me, and loves vinyl records almost as much as they love books? Yes? Here is an excellent gift idea for you!

Oh my goodness. You’ve got to love Edinburgh!


I just discovered the brilliant poet, activist and scholar Minnie Bruce Pratt. I could listen to her talk about this stuff for hours.


Have I posted this before? This man is my ultimate hoopspiration. Breathtaking. And a GREAT track.


This is actually pretty well done and a must for Disney fanfolk!

Have a great weekend!

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You can also visit Read This Press for more poetry (and typewriter paraphernalia!). Alternatively, check out Edinburgh Vintage, our sister site. If you want to get in touch you can follow OneNightStanzas on Twitter, or email claire[at]onenightstanzas.com. I reply as swiftly as I can!

(Photo credit)