A couple of nice things happened to me recently: I found out, quite by accident, that I’d been shortlisted (twice!) for the Charles Causley Poetry Competition… AND I was featured in this exciting little anthology of new Scottish poets!
The spine must not be bent back and broken, the pages must not be marked with dog ears, there must be no underlining, no writing in the margins. Obviously, for those of us brought up on library books and school-owned textbooks (my copy of Browning bore the name of a dozen pupils who had used the text before me), there were simple and sensible reasons supporting this behavior. But the reverence went beyond a proper respect for those who would be reading the pages after you. Even when I bought a book myself, if my parents caught me breaking its spine so that it would lay open on the desk, they were shocked. Writing was sacred. In the beginning was the Word.
As an avid spine-breaker, page-folder, underliner and marginalia-writer, I approve this message.
This is really interesting: an infographic that shows you the number of books written in an author’s lifetime, at what age — and at what age their ‘breakout novel’ happened.
I know I was influenced by my father. He wrote dreadful poetry (The Death of a Crab under a Piece of Damp Seaweed) but he was fantastically good at limericks and chirpy doggerel, and was always making up rhymes about anything and everything. When we put our coats on he would push our arms into the sleeves chanting “Moley moley, down the holey”, and tooth brushing was accompanied by songs. “Yellowy teeth make Grandma frown, so swish your toothbrush up and down.” In a different time my father might have been an actor.
Reading about Vivian French’s dad really reminded me of my dad… which is why I loved this piece about what inspires her!
So hey, you know David Harsent probably won the TS Eliot Prize ’cause his bff was on the judging panel? Turns out his book is also incredibly misogynistic! Yay poetry!
But in much happier news, there is a new anthology coming, which will represent the poetry of visible and invisible disability, and it is going to be absolutely freaking amazing. Submissions are open!
When T.S. Eliot begins “The Wasteland” with a quotation from Petronius in the original Latin and Greek, he is in effect saying, “You must be this educated to read my poem.” Eliot relies on a complex mechanism of traditional imagery and symbolic structures to score his aesthetic points. [...] Collins’ plain-spokenness, on the other hand, welcomes greater numbers as they are, including readers who (by virtue of class, sex, race, or any number of factors) might not have had the opportunity to learn a half-dozen European languages.
If you want to feel like the laziest person in the WHOLE WORLD, listen to Kaite Welsh talking about her freelancing career on The Mountain Shores. (No really, it’s very interesting and entertaining!)
Inequality in literary magazines and inequality in pay are both important, and in connected ways. The visibility and status of women’s writing is important precisely because of a web of marginalization across all areas of life. If women’s voices are always peripheral to male voices intoning from the center of culture, then their voices are peripheral on all issues: the pay gap, consent, harassment, rape, domestic violence, reproductive freedom, the glass ceiling, childcare. The obscuring of women’s voices in media platforms, however elite, however niche, is part of the obscuring of their voices in general; and a lack of commitment to, or an inability to hear, their voices in literary culture is related to the same lacks and inabilities in relation to their voices in harassment, in sex, in courtrooms, and in the workplace.
This is a long read, but it should be required reading for basically every literary person. (My opinion? Screw the LRB and the logical fallacy it rode in on.)
Related reading: I am pleased to hear that VIDA has launched a brand new Women of Colour Count.
“And, hast thou slain the Jabberwock?
Come to my arms, my beamish boy!
O frabjous day! Callooh! Callay!”
He chortled in his joy,
and then he added,
“it’s actually about ethics in games journalism.”
I know I am too late for Valentine’s Day, but Romantic Poems for Misandrists is basically the best thing on the internet right now.
PETS WHO WANT TO STOP YOU FROM READING IS SUPER SUPER SUPER CUTE
There’s going to be an anthology of post-apocalyptic short stories and it sounds cool and you should totally back it on Kickstarter.
His Muse, if he had one, was a window
Filled with a brick wall, the left hand corner
Of his mind, a hand lined with grease
And sweat: literal things
The great poet Philip Levine died recently: here’s a wonderful poem about him by Dorianne Laux.
The Handmaid’s Tale: best novel ever? Probably.
Christian is not an interesting man. He doesn’t enjoy anything. I have no problem gallivanting about with someone who has issues and demons so long as they have some flavor, but Christian Grey is just bland and damaged. Throughout the movie Christian makes it clear he likes to be in control but he makes this known the same way he might tell you he enjoys pea soup. Ugh.
Here’s the amazing Roxane Gay being right-on (and hilarious) about 50 Shades at The Toast.
If you are an x-Files fan like myself, YOU MUST SEE THIS TUMBLR.
Hello, I would like to live in this house, because OMFG.
(Seriously, someone needs to gif Clementine’s “oh my god, I love this kitchen” moment from Eternal Sunshine, and put it in the comments of this story.)
Help save Tchai Ovna — it’s a Glasgow institution!
Edinburgh has been voted the world’s fourth most beautiful city, after the three really obvious ones. Woo!
I love this short film of fat women talking about their everyday lives, and busting some myths. (Featuring the amazing Bethany Rutter! Also, fabulous person with the glasses? I would like to know where you acquired your excellent shirt.)
Need a laugh? This is pretty great…
(even if it is on RHGN, and Russell Howard is a rape-joke-making fool.)
Ten years ago I was obsessed with Red House Painters, and then I kinda forgot they existed. I just rediscovered them and it was a great joy that made me feel 18 again.
Have a great weekend!
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!