Posts Tagged ‘young poets’

You should read this: “Be The First To Like This: New Scottish Poetry”

Tuesday, October 21st, 2014


Forgive the dullness of my photographs, everyone. I am having a totally jam-packed week — working six and a half days — so the only time I could find to take pictures of this rather excellent book was about 7.45am. The sun was only just starting to come up so the light was crap, but I’d just got back from a wee holiday and was so excited to find this book waiting for me, I just had to share it asap!

^ Look! Robert Crawford has heard of me!

I was present at the StAnza Poetry Breakfast in 2009, when Stuart Kelly announced that the reason Scottish poets weren’t winning Eric Gregory Awards anymore was because Scotland didn’t have any poets under thirty who were talented enough. I was 23 at the time and halfway through my MSc in Creative Writing (Poetry) at the University of Edinburgh. I was also utterly baffled by his statement. At the time, I was surrounded by talented Scottish poets under thirty — and I was aware that my knowledge of the Scottish poetry scene wasn’t even that in-depth. Back then, I’d never heard of the Eric Gregory Award, but I got the gist that it was apparently the only yardstick worth using to measure a young poet’s potential. (A yardstick invented by the literary establishment south of the border, natch… though of course I drank the Kool-Aid anyway and subsequently entered it.)

^ Look mum, I’m famous!

Since then, Niall Campbell has of course broken the no-Scottish-poets-winning-the-Gregory streak, bagging one in 2011. (That guy sure does know how to write a ‘yardstick approved’ poem — in their Edwin Morgan Award judges’ report, Jen Hadfield and Stewart Conn called him “a safe pair of hands.” Thank goodness one of us Scots knows how to do this stuff!) But I still contend that Stuart Kelly was wrong in 2009. He mistook “young Scottish poets aren’t being noticed by the London-based literary establishment” for “young Scottish poets aren’t that good.” If only that were the reason, Stuart — if only.

In fact, young Scottish poets are great — and there are loads of us. We may not be doing the sort of work that wins Coveted Prizes from Established Institutions, but if anything, that makes us all the more exciting. Be The First To Like This, edited by Colin Waters and published by Vagabond Voices, is a hugely varied, deliciously riotous gathering-together of Scotland’s fearsome gaggle of new and upcoming voices. I’m utterly delighted and genuinely humbled to be part of this colourful crowd — and guess what? All the poets I’m joined by in this volume are SUPER FREAKING TALENTED.
(Pardon the swearing. It had to be done.)

^ Thanks to my talented baby sister for taking my classy author photo!

Some of my all-time faves are here. People whose writing careers I’ve been keeping an eye on for years, watching their stars slowly rise: Colin McGuire, Ryan Van Winkle, Marion McCready, Theresa Munoz. Some of the people here are not only talented poets but also, like me, gobby fighters for the rights of minority poets: I’ll admit, I’m thinking especially of the excellent Jenny Lindsay. Some folk I only discovered more recently, but I’m loving the fact that BTFTLT gives me chance to see more of their work: Nuala Watt, Sam Tongue, Billy Letford. And there are also names here that I didn’t know at all — I’m excited to make brand new discoveries!

Be The First To Like This proves for me, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that Scotland is in fact a land rich in talented young poets. As the product description itself says, throw a stone in Edinburgh or Glasgow and you will hit one. Believe me? Buy the book. Don’t believe me? Still buy the book: you clearly need to be educated.


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] I reply as swiftly as I can!

Dear poetry newbies: “why is my work always rejected?”

Monday, January 20th, 2014

A version of this post first appeared at One Night Stanzas in November 2008.

1. The standard isn’t high enough.
And by this I just mean that your poems aren’t “fit” for publication yet… but not that they never will be! If you’re sending out first drafts, poems that have only been hastily redrafted or edited, or poems that even you don’t think are all that amazing, then it might well be that you haven’t done quite enough to catch the eye of an editor. It’s easy to write a poem and then be overcome by a fervent desire to get it sent out immediately, but resist! Never send first drafts, and always devote a good chunk of time to redrafting and editing your chosen pieces. If possible, put them away for a while (a week, two weeks…) and then come back to them. And never send anything you’re not sure about. Work on it til you ARE sure about it, or send something else.
(NB: One of the best ways to get your poetry up to publication standard is to read the stuff that poetry magazines actually do publish - and if you can get hold of a copy of the specific magazines you want to submit to, even better!)

2. You’re not following the submission guidelines properly.
Some editors are happy to chuck a submission onto the slush pile for the slightest thing, so it’s always important to read and follow the submission guidelines carefully. Make sure you do everything according to the guidelines wherever you can; it can be a total pain, but it can also make the difference between acceptance and rejection. And don’t assume that one magazine’s guidelines apply to all! Read everyone’s guidelines, and follow them every time!

3. You commit minor - but deadly! - submission crimes.
A lot of poets reckon they can get away with sending the same four poems in the same email round to a whole load of editors at the same time - don’t do it! This suggests to editors that you don’t really care who picks up your poems or whether they’re published simultaneously. You also shouldn’t send “speculative” emails out before sending a submission. It may seem like politeness, but if an editor receives an email saying “check out my website and then maybe I’ll submit later”, they’re going to think a) you’re arrogant and b) you haven’t read their guidelines. Just put your submission together and send it! And don’t send snotty or pushy emails to editors until at least three months (yes, really, I’m afraid!) after the date you sent your submission. If you haven’t had a reply, there’s probably a reason, and going “oi, what are you messing about at?” after only a week or so is not going to make you any friends. Basically, when it comes to submissions, put in the work, follow the rules and be patient - that’s all there is to it!

4. Your cover letter needs a rewrite.
Have a good look at your cover letter (if you have one! If you don’t - write one!) and see if there are any of these common mistakes in it: heaps of biographical information (3 - 4 lines should do it); anything that could be interpreted as dishonest or boastful (”my work has appeared in 300 journals worldwide,” or the like); excessive negativity (”you’ll probably just reject me, but…”) anything that criticises or questions the publication or editor you’re writing to (”I found your website really hard to navigate” — keep it to yourself for now!); and of course, typos, grammatical errors or any unnecessary rambling! Exorcise all these things! It may leave your cover letter very short, but a couple of lines is all you need.

5. You’re submitting to the wrong magazines.
There are a lot of creative writing magazines out there and most of them are open for submissions for at least part of each year… so technically, you can submit to any of them. However, if you’re new to the whole submitting thing (or even if you aren’t!), it can be hard to know which are the best to choose. The sad fact is that a lot of editors are wary of publishing people who have never been published before, but fortunately, there are more and more magazines out there whose mission-statement is to provide as many writers as they can with their first publication opportunity. Many others specify that they welcome “unknown” or “emerging” writers, and you’re probably better off submitting to these if you can. You do get “unknown” writers in, say, Poetry Review, but if you want to give yourself the best chance of being accepted, it’s better to walk before you run, as they say!

6. You’re not ready to publish yet.
Only you can really know whether or not you’re ready to publish, but if you’re trying to get your work out there and the rejections are getting you down in a big way, then maybe you’re not 100% ready for the submission process. This might be hard to accept, but it’s better to wait until you’re better prepared than to make yourself suffer every time one of those pesky rejection letters lands in your mailbox. Give yourself six months, even a year. Spend that time writing - and more importantly, reading! - and then try getting back on the horse. You might find you still feel the same and need more time… if so, no worries. Or you might suddenly find that there’s the odd acceptance letter among those rejections; or that the rejections don’t bother you so much. Either way, the “time off” will have been well spent!


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] I reply as swiftly as I can!

(Photo credit)

Dear Poetry Newbies: to blog, or not to blog? That is the question…

Monday, May 20th, 2013

A version of this post first appeared at One Night Stanzas in September 2008.

I recently met a writer who was super, super keen to get people reading his work, and wanted my advice. One of the first things I said was, “do you have a blog?” He looked horrified at the very thought! However, I was keen to persuade him. I’ve been writing at One Night Stanzas for nearly five years now, and this blog has brought me publication opportunities, paid work, connections to cool people and all sorts of other amazing stuff. However, I know that if you’re coming to blogging for the first time, it can seem a bit like handing copies of your secret diary out for everyone in the world to read. Sound about right? If so, I wrote this for you!


- If you choose to, you can make your blog visible to everyone on the web. That means a potential audience of hundreds of millions of people - probably more readers can you could ever get publishing in more traditional ways.

- Because so many poets already have blogs, signing up for a blog gives you access to a giant online community, to which you can quickly and easily get connected. You can link to and write about other poets’ blogs and get links to yours in return, thus directing readers back and forth.

- Having your own blog means you don’t have to rely on social networking sites or subscriptions to display your work online. You also have full control over your content, layout, whether you run ads, etc.

- If you have a blog, you can give the address to anyone who’s interested in seeing your work… without having to give them print outs, write out emails or mile-long URLs, or direct them to third-party sites.

- Putting your name to a poetry blog means that people can Google you and find your poetry with just a click.

- Regardless of what some people may say, blogging is a form of self-publishing and can make a good addition to your literary CV.

- If you want to, you can make money (usually only a little) by posting ads on your blog.

- You don’t just have to post your own poetry on your blog - you can use it to promote other sites and fellow poets that you like, or tell people what you’ve been reading and what you thought of it.

- You can use a blog to provide information on where your poems have been accepted for publication, where and when you’re doing a reading, or which poetic events you’re thinking of attending.

- Some poets have even turned their blogs into fully-fledged e-zines!


- A lot of new bloggers worry that by putting your work on a public blog, they’re laying yourself open to plagiarism. The risks are small, but they are there… even if you make your blog visible only to friends or subscribers.

- Blogging is essentially like writing a journal, and journalling is generally a very personal thing. Bear in mind that, if you put your deepest secrets and most radical thoughts onto your blog, people WILL be able to read them. If it’s on the web, it’s practically public in every way!

- Blogs are usually open for comments, and that means that some people are bound to disagree with you. There’s a common misconception that it’s OK to be rude to other internet users (especially if they’re trolling you) because you’ll never meet them and it’s fairly harmless. However, you never know who’s reading your snarky responses or watching an ongoing fight between you and an anonymous commenter (the same goes for YOUR comments on other blogs, too). A potential new boss or a magazine editor might well change their mind about you even based on something as trivial as this - so tread carefully!

- You have to be careful what you say in your blog posts, too. When it comes to putting up your poetry, you should maybe avoid things like “if you don’t like this poem then f**k you”, and take a more “I appreciate comments but please try to be constructive” approach.

- Once you start a blog, it may be forever. If you don’t want people to read your adolescent scribblings 10 years down the line, then make sure that your blog provider offers you a get-out option, and that you know how to get rid of your content should you need to.

- The same principle applies in a more general way, too - as I said before, you don’t know who’s reading, or how long their memory is. Just about everyone knows how to use the Print Screen function!

DOs and DON’Ts

- DO sign up with a reputable blog-provider and, if you’re going to be posting your work, read up on their copyright policies. Do they claim the copyright of anything you put in your posts? DO shop around.

- DON’T part with any cash to set up your blog. You can definitely find a good blog-provider who’ll host you for free. Anyone who asks for money is scamming you!

- DO look around at the blogs of other poets and writers to get an idea of how other people run their blogs.

- DO ask folk for their advice on finding your audience, writing content etc. DON’T feel obliged to act on it if you don’t want to, though. Your blog should be as much your personal creation as your poems are.

- DO be prepared for the fact that, once you put your blog “out there,” anyone can see it and comment on it. Even if you have closed comments, there’s nothing to stop people from writing their own blog post about you. Responses to your blog may not always be positive, so DO make sure you have a thick skin and a whole load of patience before you take the plunge.

- DO bear in mind that many people get bored of their blogs after a while and just let them fall by the wayside. If this happens, DON’T leave your poems posted on your disused blog - people may think that makes it OK to nick them. You might also be the victim of spam attacks if you leave your blog unattended for too long.

- DON’T feel pressured into putting ads on your blog unless you really want them there. Yes, they make you money, but you can’t always control their content, or know where they lead to when clicked.

- DON’T be afraid to tell other people about your blog. Blogging is all about connecting to other people and sharing your thoughts and ideas! However, DON’T feel obliged to link to someone else’s blog or site just because they’ve linked to yours.

- DO include your blog in your literary CV, if you feel it’s relevant.

- DON’T feature other people’s work on your site unless you have their permission.

Final note: I love blogs. I could probably spend my whole life reading blogs, geeking out on Tumblr, and tweeting cool stuff I’ve found… if, you know, I didn’t eventually get motion sickness from too much screen time, or have to pay rent. If you do decide that blogging is for you, I can highly recommend Wordpress. I’ve written in a ton of Wordpress blogs — the lovely One Night Stanzas of course, but also Bookworm Tutors, Girlpoems, Shore Poets, The Peripatetic Studio and others — and I always find it the cleanest and most user-friendly platform.

Good luck!


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] I reply as swiftly as I can!

Procrastination Station #118

Friday, December 21st, 2012


Lovely lovely links to keep you stimulated and inspired this chilly Friday!

Stephen Nelson is just on a roll with his new vispo at the moment! I love these two, and this Zen garden inspired piece!

I CANNOT WAIT to read the debut novel from Sarah McCarry (aka The Rejectionist!). CANNOT. WAIT.

I also really want to read Dora: A Headcase, which may well be in the same vein…

The moral cores of the series are Vimes and the witch Granny Weatherwax, characters to whom Pratchett has returned again and again. Both are feared –Weatherwax’s nickname from the trolls is “She Who Must Be Avoided” and to the dwarves she is “Go Around the Other Side of the Mountain.”

Terry Prachett is a total badass, basically.

In my post the other day I mentioned the GiftED book sculptureshere are some more fabby paper sculptures for your eyeballs to ogle!

Books just never stop being useful. They make excellent insect-homes!

Fan of The Feminist Press? Here’s a cool interview with its lovely founder, over at the City Lights Bookstore blog.

You never know what you might learn about your nearest and dearest if you convince them to be your poetry groupies. I once brought a reluctant friend to an open mic, promising her I’d buy her a pint afterwards. She was so taken by the atmosphere of come-and-have-a-go creativity that she penned her first ever poem during the interval and read it on stage in the second half.

I can’t remember if I posted about this before or not, but hey… along with Harry Giles of Inky Fingers, I helped the great Charlotte Runcie of Toad & Feather to draw up some open mic tips for noobs. Hope it’s helpful!

Can I just say: minature fairy book scrolls.


Have you guys seen these portraits of famous writers “in their own words”? SO COOL!

Walden, or Life in the Woods: UPDATED!

Make a notebook… out of your old coffee cup.

“I wonder what real life wizards think of Harry Potter?” …and other stupid things commercial artists hear from clients!

And speaking of artists… the wonderful Mandy Fleetwood now has a shop! And I particularly love this print, which combines two of my favourite things: tattoos and Joni!

I just jettisoned about 70% of my Facebook friends because of stuff like this!

What if your friends acted like your pets? So funny, so true.

I totally love small builds, tree houses and all other innovative living spaces. So of course, I couldn’t resist including this!

The January issue of Cosmocking is out! Kinda more depressing than funny, though… sadface.

This is one smart seventeen year old.

The evolution of mobile phones (in pictures!) is pretty fascinating.

I am so not a habitual napkin-using kinda gal. But OMG, these!

I plan to look like this when I am 60.

I’m not 100% sure what’s going on, but I really enjoyed this wee stop-motion. Thanks Mandy!

Not as good as the Tumblr, but I still love Texts from Dog.

The Hobbit… BUT WITH CATS!!!

I finally watched Anita Sarkeesian’s TED talk. SHE IS AN INSPIRATION, PEOPLE.

And if you click nothing else in this post, click this. Hilarious, political and important. THIS is how you tell rape jokes, assholes!


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] I reply as swiftly as I can!

(Photo credit)

Dear Poetry Newbies: Rejection Therapy

Monday, May 28th, 2012

Photo by Didrooglie.

An earlier version of this post appeared at One Night Stanzas in September 2008.

What are the eight words no writer ever wants to hear? “We are not using your work this time” of course! Most of us see that sentence and silently translate it to “you’ve been rejected, therefore you suck,” and for some people, that’s enough to throw their writing off track for days, weeks, months or even years.
However, if you want to be a writer, you need to accept that rejection is as much a part of the writing game as inky fingers and writer’s cramp (or, these days, repetitive strain injury). But if you’re still finding the rejection pill hard to swallow, then read on…

Everyone gets rejected.
The first thing you need to realise is that you are absolutely NOT alone in your rejection misery. I don’t think there’s a single writer alive who hasn’t felt the sting of rejection in one form or another - even the most famous, successful and established writer will be able to tell you the tale of their worst rejection experience (or experiences)! Basically, rejection comes with the poetic territory… so don’t allow that nasty, negative voice in your head to do the whole “what’s wrong with you? Everyone else gets accepted” routine. Don’t believe me? Join a writing group, workshop or forum and just mention the R-word… I guarantee that everyone will have a story to tell.

It’s not personal… or it shouldn’t be.
Why is it that your confidence takes a massive nosedive when you hear your work has been rejected? Probably because you make it personal - and don’t get me wrong, that’s not unusual, but it’s also not a good way of dealing with it. It’s important that you realise it isn’t personal - chances are, the rejection has nothing to do with who you are as an individual. The editor hasn’t turned you down because they have a personal vendetta against you, or because they hate young / old / gay / straight / male / female writers like you, or because they could tell from reading your stuff that you sometimes surreptitiously listen to Cliff Richard. And if they DID turn you down for personal reasons, then they’re just a bad editor - no two ways about it - and you’re better off not being associated with their publication. So there!!

It does NOT mean your writing sucks.
There are heaps of factors that can influence an editor’s decision. First and foremost, they have to find pieces that will physically fit into their publication - it might be that your poem exceeded their maximum length, or the formatting was just too tricky for them to work with. And your work also has to “fit” in a more abstract sense… so just because one magazine perhaps doesn’t think your work belongs on their particular pages, that doesn’t mean every zine in the world will turn you down. Reading submission guidelines is really important, because knowing what kind of place you’re submitting to and making sure you follow their rules to the letter can eliminate these possible-rejection factors. You also need to bear in mind that any successful magazine has a rigorous selection process, because only a small percentage of submissions can be accepted. Sometimes, editors are even forced to reject work that they actually really love.

All editors are different…
…and this is important for two reasons. One: there are some editors out there who will reject you for something as minor as a typo, or an uncredited reference to another writer. Others are more forgiving when it comes to the little details, but draw the line at things like an absent cover-letter when they specifically requested one. And there are some editors who’ll forgive you just about anything as long as your poems are good enough - problem is, you just don’t know what kind of editor is on the other end of your submission!
And two: at the end of the day, the editor you’re sending your work to is just another reader - and you can’t expect every single reader to love you, can you? Admittedly, a bigger, more democratic editorial team makes for a better magazine, and so most publications have a kind of “panel” system by which they decide who to accept. Lone editors often have to base their choices on personal taste, which seems unfair, but it’s the way the cookie crumbles. And just because one person - or even a four-person team - didn’t love your work, that doesn’t mean there won’t he heaps of people out there who do!

Rejection is no fun for anyone.
Believe it or not, most editors hate the whole rejection thing as much as you do. Sure, you meet the odd sadistic weirdo who loves to put eager young poets down (I’ve met with one of these so far), but generally - unless someone’s been really annoying, ie, ignored submission guidelines or been rude - sending the rejection letters is considered one of the least fun parts of the job. I used to HATE sending out the Read This rejections, because I know all too well that awful sinking feeling you get when your personal turn-down reaches your mailbox. So take comfort in the fact that, somewhere, there may well be a magazine editor squirming with guilt as they imagine you reading your rejection letter!

Or… you could just do this*:

*Don’t do this.

Your worst rejection? Care to share?


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] I reply as swiftly as I can!

Dear Poetry Newbies: a checklist for submitting work to magazines

Monday, May 21st, 2012

An earlier version of this post appeared at One Night Stanzas in August 2008.

Last week I wrote a post designed to help you start submitting your poetry to magazines. Avoid missing out a vital step in the process by reading over this checklist - print it out and stick it on the wall if necessary; that way, you’ll stay in the good books of every editor you submit to!

1: Choose your publication.
Read any info you can find about your chosen magazine, journal or anthology carefully. Consider: does your work belong there? Would you be happy for your name to appear in the publication?

2: Choose your poems.
Make sure you’re not sending too many (most places specify a limit which could be anything from 3 to 15) - and if you don’t know how many is too many, limit yourself to 4 or 5. Also to bear in mind - have your poems been sent off to or published in another place? If so, is the publication you now want to submit to OK with this? If you’re not sure, ask.

3: Read the submission guidelines…
…and read them carefully! Make sure your poems are presented and sent to the publication according to their rules. You should ALWAYS read the submission guidelines - and not only because editors love you for it - the guidelines often give you a wealth of information about the place you’re sending your stuff to as well.

4: Write your cover letter.
Your cover letter should always include your full name (or pen name), and a return email or mailing address… at the very least! It’s also a good idea to drop the name of the publication you’re submitting to. This sounds weird, but it’s not unheard of for editors to use submission email addresses for multiple projects. Also, naming the publication shows eds that you’re not just cold-calling every literary magazine you can find.

5: Check for typos and spelling errors.
Better still, get someone else to cast an eye over your submission. I’m really bad at spotting typos - after a while you can just stop seeing them. Make sure you check your cover letter, too!

6: Send your submission with care.
Make sure the editor will be able to contact you if they need to (this is particularly important for those of you submitting by post). Remember, it is YOUR responsibility to provide a SAE if you want your poems back - it is NOT the job of the magazine staff to buy sufficient postage for you (even if you do send them the money - go and get the stamps yourself, lazy)! With email submissions, make sure your return address is fully functioning, and be sure to add the publication’s email to your safe list or address book to prevent any replies from disappearing into your Spam folder.

7: Be patient.
After you’ve sent your work, there’s little you can do - just cross your fingers and wait. Bear in mind, you may need to wait up to 3 or 4 months. While some people like to send nagging emails to try and find out what’s going on with their work, I’d strongly advise against this. Generally, if you haven’t heard anything after 3 months, you can send your work elsewhere - and if a magazine wants to publish you after that point, just be sure to let them know if you’ve since sent elsewhere any of the pieces they want.

8: Deal with the fallout.
Rejected? Feel miserable for a bit, have a cup of tea, then chalk it up to experience, and try again. DO NOT EVER EVER email the editor back in response to a rejection. EVER.

9: Alternate your poems.
So, you’ve painstakingly sent a bunch of poems to a magazine, having chosen carefully, and read all the guidelines… hopefully you’ll get a positive response! Now you just need to give those poems a rest for a while - if you’re submitting to other magazines, try to avoid submitting the same poems simultaneously until you know the outcome.

10: Take the critique on board.
Very few editors take the time to write even a couple of lines about your work when they send their response. However, on occasion you will get a bit of feedback, usually in the form of suggestions for possible improvement if your work is rejected. If an editor suggests that perhaps your linebreaks aren’t so hot, for example, don’t be angry or offended - chances are they’re only commenting because they can see you have potential. Put their advice into practice and it could mean the difference between rejection and success next time!

Good luck!


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] I reply as swiftly as I can!

(Photo credit)

Things I Love Thursday #60

Thursday, May 10th, 2012

Since last week’s post was a bit of a heavy one, here’s a bit of TiLT lite: a visual TiLT! Click on each picture for more info. Here’s what I’ve loved this week:

Thrift store bargains! (and getting back into doing Wardrobe Remix — chronicling my dedication to cheap, eco-friendly dressing — again, after two years!)
What I Wore 27/4/12

Hula hooping!
Hula hooping

Great new finds for Edinburgh Vintage!
Amazing vintage finds

Cinco de Mayo!
Cinco de Mayo

New and exciting books!
New books for my PhD thesis

Finding a statement that you JUST SO AGREE WITH.
I so so so so agree.

Yet more vegan brunch! (How cute is my rainbow mug? Part of a set, nabbed from RustBeltThreads, one of my all-time favourite Etsy stores.)
Vegan brunch

Lovely Boyfriend!
Lovely Boyfriend

What are YOU loving this week?


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] I reply as swiftly as I can!

Things I Love Thursday #54

Thursday, February 2nd, 2012

Last nights beautiful special dinner at David Bann. BTW I've had better

Stuff I love this week.

Lovely Boyfriend getting old
Last weekend, Lovely Boyfriend turned 27 whole years old, which gave me an excellent excuse to turn the whole weekend into one long parade of cool stuff. I spent my Friday off building a birthday tent in the living room, for example: LB and I have a long-running joke/tradition of tent-building indoors after I scoffed at the idea of winter camping and flatly stated that the only way he’d ever get me to sleep in a tent between the months of November and April would be to build said tent inside my flat. This tent was built in the middle of the living room and was festooned with balloons, bunting and fairy lights and filled with presents. It was an excellent venue for cake-eating and movie watching, and I was pretty sad to finally take it down on Tuesday morning. I was also brave enough to cook LB, an accomplished chef, a fancy dinner on Friday night, and miraculously I managed even the choux pastry without a hitch!
The rest of the weekend was spent taking in some heavy-duty bookshopping; the newly-revamped National Portrait Gallery; cupcakes from Bibi’s; a screening of the fantastic “Apart Together“, followed by a somewhat awkward audience discussion!; bento boxes and veggie sushi at Tang’s; Sunday brunch at the nom-tastic veggie heaven that is David Bann’s (pictured); a mega West Wing marathon (we’re well into series four and I’m slowly changing my mind about Amy Gardner!); and pints and craic at the Brew Dog Bar. What presents did I buy him? Among them were a tea-and-chocolate hamper from the world famous Betty’s, the super fabulous Middle Eastern veggie cookbook Veggiestan, Four Tales by Philip Pullman and a signed copy of Alasdair Gray’s Collected Verse. I know, I know — he’s a lucky boy.

Gifts from the Universe.
After the ups and downs of 2011, I was in need of a boost at the start of the new year — some kind of omen to suggest that maybe in 2012 things were going to get a bit better. And holy cow, did January knock my socks off in terms of positive goings-on! At the start of the new year, my poem Male Privilege won the Mookychick 2011 FemFlash contest, which handed me a few very-handy-indeed post-Christmas quids, as well as a subscription to the frickin’ excellent BUST Magazine. I was approched from all sides to read my work at all manner of cool literary later-this-year events, including March’s Literary Death Match Edinburgh and Trashed Organ’s forthcoming Belonging Fest. After a handy nudge from a super-cool Edinburgh feminist and live literature promoter (you know who you are), I started proper plans for a mega-exciting poetry event to celebrate International Women’s Day (more info soon). Towards the end of the month received a very lovely acceptance email from Popshot, which is pretty much my all-time favourite literary journal (even more so now!), to say one of the poems I sent them had been picked from over 3,000 submissions to grace the pages of their “Power” issue, out in April (squee!). Finally, just as January was drawing to a close, I received some hyper-exciting but still-top-secret writing-related news that just dropped a perfect, shiny cherry on the top of the whole Excellent January sundae (I’ll tell all soon, promise!). I’m also ahead of schedule with my PhD thesis and, for now, my supervisor seems pretty happy with me. Thanks, January! February: bring it on!

Honourable mentions:
Vaclav & Lena by Haley Tanner — such a sweet, sad, happy, wonderful, original first novel. Read it, everyone. // Book-buying sprees with Lovely Boyfriend — so much new poetry to consume! // Talking with baby-boomers about how their generation made the best pop music ever // Getting my teeth into this semester’s new classes // TED Talks — the greatest classroom resource of all time, bar none // Twitfolk, and their hilarious, aggravating, oh-so-useful fabulousness // Oulipo — look out, poetry, this is about to be My New Thing // Lie-ins, early nights, naps, and all manner of excellent natural sleep! // Croissants // This song.

What are you loving this week?


One Night Stanzas loves mail. Say hello via NB: I am physically unable to reply to non-urgent stuff unless I have a free afternoon and a cup of tea in my hand. Please be patient!

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Procrastination Station #97

Friday, January 13th, 2012

12/365 (1/366): Hello 2012

Hello 2012! There hasn’t been a Procrastination Station in these parts for AGES. Here’s a bumper round-up of my recent reading…

I know it says 31st Dec, but the James Kirkup Memorial Poetry Competition’s deadline has been extended to 31st JANUARY! If you like free entry (yeah!) and want to get your pamphlet published by my smashing publisher, get entering!

Got writer’s block? Try lowering your standards.

“How to read ‘Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone’? Why, very quickly, to begin with, and perhaps also to make an end. Why read it? Presumably, if you cannot be persuaded to read anything better, Rowling will have to do.” — Harold Bloom (and others) brings the snark.

Matt McDonald tells you pretty much all you need to know about writing poetry.

Want to see how much heat you generate when you type? There’s an app for that.

Have you guys ordered your HOT MALE LIBRARIANS calendar for 2012 yet?

Well-read is not a destination; there is nowhere to get to, and if you assume there is somewhere to get to, you’d have to live a thousand years to even think about getting there, and by the time you got there, there would be a thousand years to catch up on.” … and who wants to be ‘well read’ anyway?

I always, always write longhand, so I emphatically get behind this.

& similarly: in praise of notebooks.

Classic Penguin titles’ bookcovers redesigned as tattoo flash. Throw in a typewriter and that is ALL MY FAVOURITE THINGS AT ONCE.

I know I keep saying this, but I seriously cannot understand how I lived my life for 25 years without knowing of the existence of HTMLGiant. Check out these great — and very frank — responses to the question, “how do I get a wider readership for my work?”

Keira Knightley and her evil quest to appear on ALL THE BOOKS.

“All songs ultimately are about love… with the possible exception of Pinball Wizard.” < -- A lovesong for librarians! If you click on nothing else in this post, click this!

What books do when you’re not looking… (Thanks, Sally!)

& I know everyone in the world has already seen this, but because I’m sure you won’t mind… here it is again. (Thanks, Martyna!)

Have a great weekend, everyone!


One Night Stanzas loves mail. Say hello via NB: I am physically unable to reply to non-urgent stuff unless I have a free afternoon and a cup of tea in my hand. Please be patient!

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Christmas presents for poets: Keel’s Simple Diary

Wednesday, December 7th, 2011

Simple diary volume one
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I have waxed lyrical about Keel’s Simple Diary before: indeed, I have recommended it as a Christmas gift before. Good news for those of you who took my advice last time and found the diary was a hit — Taschen have just brought out volume II, and it’s just as good as the first one. The diary’s cheery slogan is “Shrink Problems!”, and although you might take a first look at the inner pages and raise an eyebrow, these little books are actually pretty effective.

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Journalling is something I wholeheartedly subscribe to, and encourage others (namely, my long-suffering students) to do, too. But even I will admit: it can be tiresome work. You feel a sense of duty to do it at least semi-regularly; I am always beset with feelings of narcissism if I go beyond a page a day. The Simple Diary removes the hassle from journalling. Given a tiny page each day and very little space within that page to actually write, you’re forced to concentrate your thoughts, feelings, anxieties and worries down into just a few words. I’ve found that doing this really does automatically make them feel smaller. You’re also given prompts — multiple choice questions, pick-a-word questions, etc — that often make you think “eh?”, but they force you to pause, think laterally, maybe see things a little differently. The Simple Diary is like a good therapist, only much cheaper; like a self-help book only nowhere near as irritating. This is journalling for busy people, for cynical people, for list-makers. Most of all, this is journalling for poets. Seeing each page as a writing prompt would be a damn fine experiment. Any takers…?

Find out more at or buy a copy of Vol 1 or Vol 2 at Taschen.

What do you want for Christmas?