Archive for February, 2009

Featured Poet Amy Blakemore Interviewed

Saturday, February 28th, 2009

You’ve seen Amy’s poems… now find out a bit more about her life, work and creative process!

Tell us about your poems.
My poems are about being a hungry animal. I write free verse.

How long have you been writing?
Since I was fifteen. The joke I repeat everywhere (actually true) is that I read some Carol Ann Duffy for my GCSEs and thought it didn’t look at all hard. So basically, I began writing poetry out of spite. Bet you’ve never heard that one before!

Do you have any publications to your name? What’s the next stage for your work?
I’ve been published here and there. I was one of the winners of the Foyle Young Poets of the Year competition in both 2007 and 2008, so I was published in the winners anthologies and the poetry society website. My work has been in Rising, Pomegranate, Iota, Cadaverine and Young Writer magazine.
I’m being published in an anthology by Bloodaxe next year – that’s pretty next-stagey. I suppose I should really be thinking about a pamphlet or a chapbook or something, but I don’t want to rush myself.

What do you think is your biggest poetic achievement to date?
I was well pleased with being chosen for the Bloodaxe anthology. To be honest, though, it was probably writing something, sitting back, and thinking ‘yes, this is good, this has some worth’ for the first time.

What’s the best thing about writing poetry? And the worst?
Damn. The worst thing is the frustration of thinking that no matter how much exposure you get, and no matter how good your work gets, it will always just be poetry, and for this reason you’re audience will probably always be limited. But I think you need to resign yourself to that, and write on. Writers’ block is up there, as well.
The best thing(s) are the people you meet. Mad, erudite people who you will love who write excellent things and help you write better things. You’re keeping something alive together. Then it’s the fact that you’re doing something that’s important. I’m making it sound like being a power ranger. It’s not, but writing poems is good and essential and should be done. It’s good to be part of that. Erm, so, writing poetry is the best part of writing poetry.

Got any suggestions for young, upcoming poets?
The way you write is going to be different from the way everyone else writes, so don’t feel obliged to take advice from other writers. Not that you shouldn’t listen to it, just don’t feel you ought to be doing things the way she does, or he does. That’s my number one suggestion.
After that – always write things down. You think you’ll remember that awesome line that came to you when you were in the bath but you won’t. So carry a notebook. Read – if you feel like it. Find time to watch stupid TV and fall in love and that. Carpe diem. Don’t be too precious about your poems. They’re not a mineral resource. Let them go out and play.
Most importantly, feel free to discount above advice. But not this advice; read, and submit to, magazines and blogs. Enter contests. Don’t stop.

Who/what influences your poetry?
Pop culture, interesting newspaper headlines, natural disasters, violinists, boys, girls, drunks, New Cross, makeup counters, the river Thames and reading other peoples poetry. Specifically Yehuda Amichai, Dylan Thomas, Sylvia Plath, and the vast number of excellent young poets out there.

Death At A Party

I’d never met death before,
only been to two funerals,
(great grandmothers — you deal- – never knew them)
but there he was in that
disordered deck of lethal

where the hour-glass and garden
went to bed with japanned spades and aces and the queen
and the priestess dropped acid
with pictures of pikachu on the tabs.

Keeping to himself, in the corner.
Not grim, but without that historical gumless grin

and a six-pack of stella later
he was flickering like an admiring eye,
crusted green with photophores

and dancing, dancing, a skull in bug-eye shades with day-glo vertebrae,
flicking like the eye that cautiously admires,
bending hands around my shoulders —

making sure we all knew he was famous.

Be a Featured Poet: send a few poems to… that simple!

(Photo by Stuck in Customs)

Don’t forget to visit the One Night Stanzas store & The Read This Store!

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More from this week’s Featured Poet Amy Blakemore

Friday, February 27th, 2009

I’ll be back tomorrow to interview Amy, but in the meantime, you can check out one poem and her bio here, and enjoy this little beauty…



a bridge that bursts with wanting
the glifting water running under its ribs.

I dreamt about you last night,
damp and insidious
behind my throat.

A mouth aching for the river.

(Photo by Nicolas de Fontenay)

Don’t forget to visit the One Night Stanzas store & The Read This Store!

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Skin Deep is here! On sale now!

Friday, February 27th, 2009

Well, you’ve all done a marvellous job, putting up with me these past few weeks while I’ve angsted and carped on about my first ever book project, Skin Deep. I’m really proud to say that it’s all paid off — the book came off the presses at Forest today and it is officially amazing, even if I do say so myself.

Every copy is lovingly handmade — the covers are 200gsm cardstock with black endpapers. The contents are printed on high quality 80gsm paper and the whole thing is bound and finished off with a sweet red ribbon bookmark. When you open the book the first thing you get to is the stunning foreword — I was really honoured to have tattooed goddess and internet superstar Ms Gala Darling on board to write it. Sneak preview here…

Once you get inside the book itself, you’ll find brilliant poems from Kim Addonizio (I was overwhelmed when I received a submission from this lady!), Lucy Baker, Kevin Cadwallender, Dave Coates, Morganne Couch, Drew, Eric Hamilton, Aiko Harman, Natalia Herrero, Jason Monios, Roxanne Paris, Lauren Pope, William Soule, Christian Ward, Noel Williams and Juliet M Wilson. There is also a contribution from tattoo expert Marisa DiMattia — another person I was very pleased to hear from!

Basically, the book is fabulous, and I want to thank absolutely everyone who got involved with submissions, suggestions and offers of help — Read This Press loves you, you are part of this very cool book. You don’t have to take my word for it when it comes to the quality and loveliness… there’s more information over at our Etsy store, and you can grab yourselves a copy there if you fancy it.

If you do order a copy, I hope you love reading it as much as I loved making it!

(Photos from my Flickr!)

Don’t forget to visit the One Night Stanzas store & The Read This Store!

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This week’s Featured Poet is Amy Blakemore

Thursday, February 26th, 2009

Amy Blakemore first began writing poetry when she was fifteen, after reading some Carol Ann Duffy and thinking it didn’t look that hard. She was named a Foyle Young Poet of the Year in both 2007 and 2008, and was commended in the Torbay Open Poetry Competition in 2008. That same summer she interned at the Poetry Society, and they taught her to photocopy and do other useful things. Her poetry has been published in a variety of magazines and journals, including Pomegranate, Cadaverine, Iota and Rising. She has also had the good fortune to have read her work on BBC London Radio and Radio Europe. She is now 17, and studying for A-Levels in History, Philosophy and English Literature at a funny little school in south-east London.

The virgin of Guadalupe

From the playground to the park,
she tore indiscriminately,

her hair wide behind her like a
flag; dripping with catholica,

purple and gold rosaries
at her snakey body’s every juncture;

velvet ribbon and scraps of lurex,
blue Mary’s and Theresa’s.

Through the city she blazed a trail,
her mouth became a lovely firetrap;

she smelt of men
with motorbikes and vintage ephemera.

They called her The Virgin Of Guadalupe,
for all her nailgunned roses, her weeping messiahs;

though the name was ironic.
You heard she mothered

noisily behind
the bus shelter at dusk.

In the summer her hair would burn
and the shrines she kept behind her ears would melt,

she’d tear through the city in ankle socks
and not much else;

It won’t be long you see,
before she tears no more –

becomes a legend
for the sewer’s glitterati

and perhaps
cleans rooms in a hotel somewhere.

Be a Featured Poet — send a few poems to… it’s that easy!

(Photo bt Cinematicsoundtrack)

Don’t forget to visit the One Night Stanzas store & The Read This Store!

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