Posts Tagged ‘publishing’

Featured poem, ‘Embroidering Chinese Pin Cushions’ by Jennifer Wong

Tuesday, October 2nd, 2012

103/365 (Explored!) Chinese Pin Cushion

Embroidering Chinese Pin Cushions

We start with a satin circle,
fill it with wood shaving or cotton,
steady the centre, cut out

six square cloths to make
six little dolls whose hands
are almost touching.

Grandma lets me draw their beady eyes,
their meek smiles. You fix them in the right places.
Grandma teaches me how to plait their hair.

From early evening until midnight
We’d sit, talking as we work,
the kerosene lamp glowing in the dark.

We’d make enough to fill
the red-and-blue tarpaulin bag:
three dollars for a cushion. A fortune.

Next day we’d bring our satin needlework
to the missionary church
where the sisters would teach us a song,

Admiring the stained glass windows
and the brass eagle on the altar,
we’d hide our blistered fingers in jingling pockets.

Originally from Hong Kong, Jennifer’s poems have appeared in magazines and anthologies such as Lung Jazz: Young British Poets by Cinnamon Press, Frogmore Papers, Iota, Orbis and others. Her poetry collection, Summer Cicadas, was published by Chameleon Press and her second collection is forthcoming from Salmon Poetry. In 2012, she was writer-in-residence at Lingnan University of Hong Kong, and took part in the Poetry Parnassus hosted by the Southbank Centre. She is based in London and works for Magma Poetry.

Want to see YOUR poem featured on ONS? Read this post first: submission guidelines are at the bottom. Good luck!

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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!

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Featured poem, ‘Most Fateful Day: A Ghazal’, by Susan Chast

Tuesday, September 18th, 2012

Autumn Apples

Most Fateful Day: A Ghazal

A hiss echoed from its spiked tongue and you thought
That the snake had not lied to you in word and in thought?

Watch it slide away and take the apple along too
Neither giving it to you nor to God as we thought

Your tell-tale teeth marks are in it too, along with my own—
Seeing our DNA together, the snake will know that you thought

We’d be together in Eden or in jail and– no matter how much
We pay for it–happiness follows this ability to have thought.

But doubt is quite difficult. I liked it much better
When fate was determined and we need not have thought

About all of the options, the leaves of the trees, whether
To beat you or to love you. I wish I had thought

This before, dear Lady, I opened my mouth to your pleases
And caresses and most seductive scatterings of thought.

Susan Chast’s work has been workshopped at dVersePoets and Imaginary Gardens with Real Toads. One of her poems was recently published in the first issue of Nain Rouge Magazine. She blogs at Susan’s Poetry, and you can find out a bit more about her in this interview at Poets United.

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Want to see YOUR poem featured on ONS? Read this post first: submission guidelines are at the bottom. Good luck!

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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!

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More words of wisdom: Douglas Maxwell on the writing process

Wednesday, September 12th, 2012

Stage mic

Roughly two years ago I posted here about my first ever encounter with the incredible Scottish playwright Douglas Maxwell. He gave a great masterclass on theatre writing — and just on writing in general — for the Scottish Universities International Summerschool, and I was blown away. Since then, I’ve got to know Douglas’ work much better — most recently, I’ve bought his new book, Plays for Young People (psst, it’s awesome), and this Festival I went to see his Dream Play at the Traverse (it was called A Respectable Widow Takes To Vulgarity. Needless to say, it was excellent). But best of all, he was back at SUISS again this year with more words of wisdom for our young writers. Here are just a few I wanted to share with you…

“[Writing] isn’t craft. This is art. There is no rule you must always follow, no matter what all those books say… and you will learn more from just doing your own work than from anything beardy fools like myself say.”

“The temptation for a writer to give up is probably the most constant temptation you’ll face — and you’ll never really break through to a time when everything you write is classic. But you must not give up.”

“You’re writing for a small audience of people like you, not Lord and Lady Such-and-Such. It all works better when you think of the audience as us. Not them — not, I’m going to shock them, or, I’m going to educate them. That’s not the way to go.”

“It’s subterranean autobiography. We’re writing about us. You can write about a world event, but what does it mean to you? Start with real life, and then drop a storybomb in there.”

“There’s nothing wrong with writing as a hobby, but if you really want to really do it you have to finish. You have to write ‘The End’, and send it out there. Otherwise it doesn’t count.”

“Who wants to read a writer who’s got a thick skin? Who says, ‘I love his writing — he’s completely oblivious to the thoughts and feelings of others’? Writers have to have thin skins, they have to be sensitive people.”

“Emotional writing is where it’s at. But when it goes badly, the blood gets everywhere.”

“You’ve got to remove guesswork — either by writing about your own life, or through research. But never guess.”

“It’s hard, because how do you find a voice? It’s a bad phrase, it’s the wrong way around. You’re not trying to find your voice, you’re trying to find a song to sing that suits your voice.”

“If you’re doing it for the money, don’t do it. It’ll kill you… you write it first and then you try to find a home for it. That’s how it really works.”

You can read more of Douglas’ tips for writers in his Playwright’s Guide To Being A Playwright.

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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!

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Featured poem, ‘Pre-Genesis’ by Daniel Dowe

Tuesday, September 11th, 2012

Secret Garden

Pre-Genesis

Seven grey and rainy days
And no one to say It is good.
The backyard smells swampy
The mosquitoes are forming posses
And sunlight sends postcards saying
Wish you were here.
Meanwhile we wait for a change
For brighter and clearer and knowing.
These days, though, do fit my waiting mood.
For waiting is neither light nor dark
But somewhere in between
A dim room before the switch
The refrigerator as the door unsticks
The filled mailbox while the hinge squeaks.
Answers and arrivals have strong color—are vivid and loud
But waiting is like these seven grey and rainy days
And now I invite the sunshine and the changes in,
So God and I can say, Let there be light.
And my mud is like Adam’s, ready for a bite of knowledge.

Daniel Dowe is a high school English teacher with a Ph.D. in English and American Literature. He is from a big family. He likes old movies and red wine and talking.

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Want to see YOUR poem featured on ONS? Read this post first: submission guidelines are at the bottom. Good luck!

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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!

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Eavan Boland on inspiration, the writing process, and failure

Wednesday, May 23rd, 2012

Cathedral Quarry, Langdale

“I have never been sympathetic to the idea of inspiration. […] I always think of myself as working at a rock face. Ninety days out of ninety five, it’s just a rock face. The other five days, there’s a bit of silver, a bit of base metal in it. I’m reasonably consistent and the consistency is a help to me. It helps me stay in contact with my failure rate, and unless you have a failure rate that vastly exceeds your success rate, you’re not really in touch with what you are doing as a poet. The danger of inspiration is that it is a theory that redirects itself towards the idea of success rather than to the idea of consistent failure. And all poets need to have a sane and normalised relationship with their failure rate.”

— Eavan Boland, from Sleeping with Monsters: Conversations with Scottish and Irish women poets, Polygon, 1990.

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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!

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Featured poem, ‘King Water’ by Kevin Cadwallender

Tuesday, May 22nd, 2012

River Clyde in New Lanark

King Water

King Water opens himself
Tips his transparency into the day
Doodles a river on the landscape
Blots lakes and spills oceans.

Apologising for his absence
In desert and in drought,
Offers no explanations
His smile dangerous,
Tidal, sweeps us away.

Greeted like a god
He takes our worship,
Our need, and ignores it.

Moving off ,
Head in a cloud.
His memory only
Returning when he is gone.

He takes us for granted
And we take him if we can.

Kevin Cadwallender is an enigma wrapped up in a mystery except on the days when he is a puzzle shrouded by questions. He lives and writes in Edinburgh often at the same time. Google him!

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Want to see YOUR poem featured on ONS? Read this post first: submission guidelines are at the bottom. Good luck!
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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!

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Adrienne Rich on how poetry is taught.

Wednesday, May 9th, 2012

No Dark Sarcasm in the Classroom

You must write, and read, as if your life depended on it. That is not generally taught in school. At most, as if your livelihood depended on it: the next step, the next job, grant, scholarship, professional advacement, face; no questions asked as to further meanings. And, let’s face it, the lesson of the schools for a vast number of children — hence, of readers — is This is not for you.
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To read as if your life depended on it — but what writing can be believed? isn’t all language just manipulation? Maybe the poet has a hidden program — to recruit you to a cause, send you into the streets, to destabilize, through the sensual powers of language, your tested and tried priorities? Rather than succumb, you can learn to inspect the poem at arm’s length, through a long and protective viewing tube, as an interesting object, an example of this style or that period. You can take refuge in the idea of “irony”. Or you can demand that artists demonstrate loyalty to that or this moral or political or religious or sexual norm, on pain of having books burned, banned, on pain of censorship or prison, on pain of lost public funding.
Or, you can say: “I don’t understand poetry.”

— Adrienne Rich

from As if your life depended on it, What Is Found There: Notebooks on Poetry and Politics, WW Norton & Co, 2003.

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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!

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Featured poem, “Casebook” by Roddy Shippin

Tuesday, April 24th, 2012

red carpet

Casebook

The last king, by the entrails of the last priest, in the conservatory.

The speaking clock, by the candlestick, in the director’s cut.

The bull, by the horns, in the china shop.

My honey, by the light of the silvery moon, in June.

The mourner, by the waters of Babylon, in high tide.

The hospital, by the Conservative, in the bill.

The author, by the post-structuralist, in the library.

Roddy Shippin is a young (though greying) Edinburgh-based writer/call centre lackey. He’s had poems on the Poetry Scotland Open Mouse and a handful of stones, as well as various incarnations of the St Andrews student writing society (Inklight) journal. He probably spends more time thinking about snooker than is technically necessary.

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Want to see YOUR poem featured on ONS? Read this post first: submission guidelines are at the bottom. Good luck!

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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)

Featured poem: ‘My Granddad Buries King at Souter Lighthouse’, by Jake Campbell

Tuesday, April 17th, 2012

Souter Lighthouse

My Granddad Buries King at Souter Lighthouse

I can see him pulling
up at Souter. Beam
of the lighthouse scanning
the bonnet of his Escort Estate
as he opened the boot, lifted out
the rug-rolled corpse, delicate
as a pile of firewood.

Wellying the spade
into the grass, I imagine others
passing along Coast Road
after nightshifts
and engagements in car parks
will have seen him:
mosquito to England’s neckline.

The radio might have been on,
the passenger door ajar as ‘Golden Brown’
sprinkled out of the stereo.
Three feet down, he’ll have wiped
his brow with a shirt sleeve,
dug the spade in like a flag-pole,
lifted the corpse of King
into a pore
of earth.

Refilling the hole would have been
the easy part, the headstone
the problem. Rolling the rock
over the mud blemish, he must have cursed
the stupid mutt for dying

Back in his car, slipping the gearbox
into third as he growled up Lizard Lane,
the sun opening over the North Sea
like a tangerine, he’ll have begun singing:
‘Golden brown, texture like sun,
lays me down with my mind; he runs…’

Jake Campbell was born in South Shields in 1988. His debut pamphlet of poetry, Definitions of Distance, is due from Red Squirrel Press in May. Last year, he won the Andrew Waterhouse Award from New Writing North and graduated from the University of Chester with distinction for his Creative Writing MA. Having thus far avoided the ‘real world’ (whatever or wherever that is), he tries to present the semblance of being a professional writer in order to keep his parents off his back. Follow him trying to do that at: jakecampbell1988.blogspot.co.uk

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Want to see YOUR poem featured on ONS? Read this post first: submission guidelines are at the bottom. Good luck!

Participate!: all-female poetry slam to celebrate International Women’s Day 2012

Monday, March 5th, 2012

No More Nice Girls

International Women’s Day is fast approaching, and I for one didn’t want to be caught unawares this year with nothing to do celebrate (like I was last year — the centenary year! — when all I managed was this post). So, I started thinking: what would I really like to do to celebrate International Women’s Day 2012? I reasoned that I should definitely keep up my tradition of giving as big a chunk of money as I can afford to a women’s charity… and that gave me an idea. Why not do something to encourage other folk to give their money to a women’s charity, too?

And thus, the International Women’s Day 2012 Edinburgh All-Female Slam (catchy, no?) was born.

At first, I wanted to hold a poetry slam simply because I know they never fail to get a good crowd through the door, and that would mean more pennies in the bucket for whatever charity I decided to pick (also, I just love a good slam). But then I realised that a poetry slam might also be a good place to raise awareness about women’s issues within the poetry community.

I’m not for a moment suggesting that female poets have it as bad as, say, the ladies in the photo above. Thanks to the pioneering work of ladies like Sylvia Plath, Anne Sexton, Adrienne Rich, Sharon Olds, Maya Angelou, Margaret Atwood, Carol Ann Duffy, Liz Lochhead and many more, these days being a female poet is considered no weirder, really, than being a male poet. Female writers — although we still have a lot of catching up to do — no longer have to fight tooth and nail to be allowed to write, publish, perform and be reviewed. Most of us, I think, just get on with it.

What’s more, my local literary community plays host to a vibrant performance poetry scene that boasts some of the UK’s finest female performance poets: among them Jenny Lindsay, Sophia, Laura Hainey, and numerous others. We’re in Scotland, of course, so things aren’t as intersectional as they are in, say, Leeds or London… and they’re perhaps not as intersectional as they potentially could be. But there’s still a lot of poetry buzzing around and a lot of ladies getting involved.

However: Scotland’s poetry slam scene does still seem to be dominated by men. Our current Scottish slam champion is Young Dawkins, and when I try to think of the really great performance poets Scotland has to offer, I find myself coming up with far more male names than female ones (to mention but a few, Scotland can boast the vocal stylings of Bram Gieben, Colin McGuire, Kevin Cadwallender, Harlequinade, Robin Cairns, Jim Monaghan, Tickle McNicholl, Tim Turnbull and Harry Giles). Furthermore, slam itself could be described as somewhat chauvinistic: the focus is on competition, on “knocking out” one’s opponents in “head-to-head” finals. What’s more, slam has gained a bit of an unfair rep among non-slammers as being all about shouting the loudest or rapping the fastest.

Understandably, this view of Scottish slam puts a lot of performers — and mostly, it seems, ladies — off. I know many a female poet who just “won’t do slams.” And I think this is extremely sad, given that a) slam is a super cool movement with a huge and growing audience and b) Scottish performance poetry is crying out for a greater variety of voices, and is, in my experience, always friendly and welcoming.

Therefore, this slam is about faciliating the female performance poetry that I know is out there. I’ve seen all the poets on our spectacular bill performing at open mics and at traditional stand-up readings (and sometimes at “quiet” or “friendly” slams), and each time I’ve thought, THE SCOTTISH SLAM SCENE NEEDS YOU, LADY! Contrary to what several poisonous detractors (now blocked, don’t worry) on the event’s Facebook wall have somehow decided, this event IS NOT about bashing men and it IS NOT about favouritism towards women. It is about welcoming twelve exciting performers a little further into the performance poetry scene, and providing them with the encouragement they need to get out there and take the world of slam by storm.

If you like the sound of a FRIENDLY, ALL-INCLUSIVE slam featuring poetry from both male AND female performers; if you like the sound of raising a ton of money for Scottish Women’s Aid while sitting in a pub and listening to some fine verse; if you like the sound of discovering some new poets you never knew existed but whose work is guaranteed to blow your tiny mind… well then, get yourself to:

THE BANSHEE LABYRINTH
on
TUESDAY 6TH MARCH
at
7PM (doors) for 7.30PM (start)
and
BRING YOUR FRIENDS, YOUR APPLAUSE, AND YOUR GENEROUS DONATIONS

Check out our Facebook event for more details.

SEE YOU THERE!

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One Night Stanzas loves mail. Say hello via claire@onenightstanzas.com. 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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