When I opened the first yellow cardboard folder full of poems, I had no idea what I’d find. That is still the case, though now I can make some guesses.
I’d assumed there would be enough very good poems to force some really difficult choices. That hasn’t happened yet, though there are enough to make me open every folderful with interest and in hope.
This may be because of the way we choose poems. We read and read, every now and then accepting a poem, until we’ve got enough for the next issue of the magazine. The winter issue is starting to fill up. So soon there may be a race between poems and time. It could go either way: we might have to turn down a few poems we like a lot because the magazine’s almost full, or accept a few we’re less sure of because it’s time to get the issue out.
I’d assumed there would be some imitation-Wordsworth and neo-Georgian poetry. There’s very little of either. Maybe those who would have written it are no longer here. Sometimes it’s fairly easy to tell from a submission what generation the writer belongs to, sometimes not. Not that I try to tell – it’s one of the many signals a poem can give out. (There’s more to say another time on who is sending in.)
Reading the poems is very enjoyable. I didn’t assume that. I was afraid of getting depressed by the sheer weight of poetry, and possibly also by its quality. Instead, I’m amazed and drawn in by the variety; the amount of thought, craft and creativity that’s out there. Also, I know what it feels like to print off some poems, address and seal the envelope, walk to the letter-box, take the next and irrevocable step…
Most poems are in free verse. The best show skill and a knowledge of contemporary poetry. They fly – take off in form and language, make new. Others are competently written. Quite a lot have not been worked on enough. Some read like diaries or postcards, with flat linebreaks that tend to go automatically with the syntax and do nothing to give the poem music or pace. Some are inchoate.
Specificity makes a connection with the reader. Abstractions / generalised descriptions have to be earned; and made new. All roads lead to Ezra Pound. This passage is to remind me, as both editor and writer, never mind anyone else:
Don’t retell in mediocre verse what has already been done in good prose. Don’t think any intelligent person is going to be deceived when you try to shirk all the difficulties of the unspeakably difficult art of good prose by chopping your composition into line lengths.
Against this background, striking subject-matter stands out, though if the poem hasn’t found its form etc then it won’t prosper. What’s important is often less the subject than getting a good angle on it; and making form, music, tone, language, metaphor all work together for take-off. I said ‘often’, because of course sometimes the subject matter is so original and/or engaging that it plays a part in a poem’s success. I can now see why poems with unusual content often win competitions.
By the way, The Rialto gets sent plenty of bird poems, maybe chosen for bird-watcher Michael Mackmin, a few of which fly straight into the magazine. I’ve only seen two cat poems so far, maybe for the same reason.
It’s interesting to see whether the poems in a submission are similar or different in form. Sameness (except when it has a purpose, as in a series) can mean that the writer has a default mode and is not challenging him/herself. That’s a broad generalisation with many exceptions – the writer may have found a golden vein of form to exploit.
Since the two calibration exercises described in my last post, Michael has given Abigail Parry and me our own sets of poems, from which we’re bringing shortlisted ones to a meeting, with a view to reducing the backlog. To start with I read everything twice, with a gap in between – conscious that this was a luxury Michael, who gets dozens of submissions every week, couldn’t afford.
Now, for the first time, I’m reading most submissions once only. Then interesting and borderline ones a second time, and a third/fourth/fifth if necessary. (By the way, we are now reading poems that arrived in August, though Michael is still going through a few from May.)
I suppose this means I’ve gained confidence, which should be on the basis of having learnt something… After reading a lot, it’s easier (or at least, I think it is) to identify what stands out: is original, truly interesting and engaging; creates its own space on the page, and inhabits it; takes off. I’ve learnt not to judge a submission from the poem on top, because there may be a better one lower down. And points of detail from Michael, for example: if a poem has a quote as an epigraph, it mustn’t need to lean on the quote in order to stand up. I’ve also learnt from Michael – who’ll say at a meeting, That’s enough – to stop reading submissions as soon as my concentration level starts to fall.
I’m still haunted by a short, quiet poem that Michael spotted back in September when the three of us were all reading the same set of poems. It had passed me by. How many others have, or will?
The autumn issue has just arrived. This time it felt different: my name is on page 2, as one of the Assistant Editors (note the capitals), along with Abigail Parry. We have got this job for the next two issues, winter and spring, under The Rialto’s Editor Development Programme. which is being run in conjunction with the Poetry School. We are helping Editor Michael Mackmin choose the poems for the winter issue. Then we will have 15 pages of the spring issue to edit ourselves.
I’m going to write here about the experience. Part of that is, of course, the poems – what it’s like to read unpublished poems in large numbers. Panning for gold. Hoping to find a nugget the size of my fist. And what it’s like to turn the chosen poems into a magazine.
I’ll also write about other aspects. I knew that a poetry magazine is much more than the sum of its poems. Design, money, online presence, publicity and marketing, distribution, associated activities such as readings and competitions, money again… But I didn’t realise the complexity of some decisions. We went to a meeting of The Rialto’s advisory board in Norwich, and were impressed by the quality of the discussion, and the people Michael has got supporting him – staff members Nick and Helen (listed on page 2, more about them here), and the ‘local heroes’, as Michael calls them, who act as advisors.
It won’t be possible to write about everything. There are some subjects that poetry magazines tend not to talk about: their subscription numbers, for example. But the larger ones, including The Rialto, are registered charities, so you can read their accounts on the Charity Commission website. For the avoidance of doubt, Michael made it clear at the start that the secrecy of the confessional applies to individual submissions.
He was generous to name us in the new issue, for which all we did was proof-reading – our first serious task because we started at the end of the magazine production cycle, when it was about to go to press.
Not that proof-reading is easy. Contributions to The Rialto have to be sent by post. This is not an electronic-age anachronism. Printing out poems and posting them, with SAE and covering letter, takes a little time and thought. Time and thought is good, for submitting to poetry magazines. At least it is good from the editor’s point of view.
So: every time there’s a new issue, Michael has to type out around sixty poems from the paper copies. Near impossible never to miss out a word, or a line, or even a stanza. Or change something slightly. Get indentations wrong. When reading through the proofs, already corrected once, I was haunted by the memory of reading a poem in another poetry magazine which had been republished from the previous issue, with an apology: it had been attributed to the wrong author.
The subconscious can take over when copy typing. Michael asked us to check the two poems by Les Murray extra carefully. Once, Les Murray had written in a poem for The Rialto, ‘God exists’. Michael transcribed this, rather excellently, as ‘God exits’.
Anyway, I did find mistakes, which, perversely, made me pleased – that such a nerdish activity had real purpose. No missed stanzas or wrong names. Mostly the occasional missed-out or mistyped word (not the sort of mistype a spell check would find), and wrong spacings, and one mis-spelt name. I made a few layout suggestions, most of which weren’t valid because the magazine looks different when it’s three-dimensional, with a spine.
The number and names of poets listed in the contents page matched those on the back cover, but the biographies were one short. One poet has reason to be grateful…
I’m not that good at it. I actually read two sets of proofs, with a tricky conversion process done by Nick in between, from word document to properly laid-out and paged pdf. I picked up things in the second set that I hadn’t noticed first time round. Already I am thinking that poetry magazine editors have superhuman powers. And hoping someone isn’t, right now, contacting Michael to point out a mistake.
While an issue is being finalised, reading of submissions has to continue. Michael let us in gently. He gave us each two fat yellow folders, containing photocopies of around 30 submissions. After a couple of weeks the three of us met and went through them, to calibrate reactions. Then we went through the same process again, with another 30. We marked them No and Maybe, with the occasional Yes.
I think we were all surprised that our No’s and Maybe’s matched so closely. One poet’s work got a unanimous Yes, and the only decision needed was which poem(s) to take. Otherwise, the discussion centred on which of the Maybe’s could make it to a Yes – with one exception in the first round, where Michael was the only one to notice a short and intriguing poem. He persuaded us easily. That submission had been the last in my pile. Lesson for me: don’t read too much at once, and learn to notice when you’ve reached capacity. If you read the submissions twice (which I’m doing, so far), change the order you read them in.
Michael has now given us each around 50 submissions, not photocopied. We are to read these and shortlist the ones we like enough to bring to a meeting, where we will all read each others’ and make decisions. No Michael as a safety-net for the rejection of poems not shortlisted. Our intention is to reduce the backlog of poems to be read. We are just starting on poems sent in July.
Next time I’ll write about the experience and process of reading the poems.
The new Rialto Bridge Pamphlet What I Saw by Laura Scott is now available to buy here.
‘Laura’s poems seem to have been blown in on a breath of wind and air. A true lyric poet, she knows how to ‘paint light’, how to arrest our fleeting moments of sensation, those images in the corner of our eye, and magnify them so that we feel more sentient, more fully alive. And beyond the lyricism, a supple and questioning intelligence is quietly at work. I love her poems for their freshness, subtlety, and their delicate power to surprise.’
‘Laura Scott’s subtle, haunting poems pierce the surface without strain, and they encapsulate a sense of what is beyond, yet can be vividly glimpsed. Frequently, they astonish with their imaginative leaps, their lightly achieved transcendence:
And for a moment, the father looked up
from his work and was scared by the boy
who could paint God’s light across the water,
the air’s joy at being empty-handed.
Clearly, this pamphlet announces a very valuable new voice.’
Click here to buy it now.
John Clare and the Gypsy – David Morley
Two New Poems by Les Murray
Alan Brownjohn – A Bottle and The Lights
Sixteen Bears – Chrissy Williams on Chrissy Williams
John F Deane’s Mercian Hymn, Liz Berry’s The Assumption
Hamsters, Dodos, Apples, Flash Mob Flamenco – Sixty-one Poems by Fifty Poets
Dean Parkin’s Rumours, Michael Mackmin on Seamus Heaney
Cover image: Dee Nickerson
BUY A COPY HERE
When I came to type up the poems I’d accepted for the ‘Summer’ Rialto (No. 78) I found I was several pages short of an issue. So I have had to do some concentrated reading to find more, excellent, poems. And at about the same time as I was doing this Seamus Heaney died. I thought that we needed to mark this huge loss, and, after trying to persuade a few other people to do it for me, set about writing about him. I then found myself suffering (it lasted a week) from a sharp attack of writers’ block – who am I sitting here trying to put into a couple of pages the work of a major figure? Etc.
We are now back on track and the typescript of the new issue – more of a Late Harvest issue now, than a Summer one ( Yesterday I drove past a huge lorry loaded with what I call French beans but are known around here as Bobby beans, presumably on their way to be frozen) – is with Nick, who is setting it all up and getting it ready to go to be printed.
We now have two Assistant Editors. Ollie Dawson, director of the Poetry School, and I spent an intense day in September interviewing a very competitive shortlist (compiled from a remarkably well qualified long list) of candidates for these posts. They all spoke enthusiastically and knowledgeably about poetry. They were all reading quantities of it, and all writing it. I’d hoped to hear that, but what hadn’t occurred to me was the commitment and the relish they had for our art. Moreover I sensed that they don’t feel alone and isolated in their pursuit of poetry, they belong to a community. More than one person said that this is an exciting time to be a poet. A remark that for me has a huge wow factor.
We chose Fiona Moore and Abigail Parry: Fiona has a pamphlet The Only Reason For Time, published this year by HappenStance, Abi is just finishing a Ph.D on wordplay in contemporary poetry. They are already reading poems that have been submitted to the magazine. I’ll be mentoring their work, and I’ll continue to read all the intake myself. They will have a voice (voices) in the selection of the poems for the next issue (No.79, Winter 2013/14). If you are a poet anxious about change in the selection process please be re-assured, they’re definitely not duffers and we will be working closely together. By the Spring 2014 issue they will be in charge of selecting the work for fifteen pages of the magazine. This will be the culmination of their participation in our Editor Development Programme. And by this time we will have selected two more Assistants to succeed them. I have every confidence that this inclusion of new and very talented people will be a good thing for The Rialto.
There is still (just!) time to enter the Rialto/RSPB Nature Poetry Competition. The closing date is September 30th – that’s September 30th this year, in less than ten days time, not next year as some of you may be thinking. Last time our lead in was many more months longer than this time, but we are trying to ‘maintain momentum’.
How can I convince you of the importance of sending us some poems ( and some money)? I’m more than convinced myself by the prizes, not so much the cash prizes as the other two. Where else can you win a week on a writing course, and at such an amazing venue? The Lleyn Penninsula is an astonishing place, running out into the sea towards Ireland – go up on the cliffs beyond Aberdaron, risking the single track road, and look west and listen to the sea and the sky. And then there’s the famous additional prize, a walk with Mark Cocker in Norfolk. Mark has just published his brilliant Birds and People – I’m working my way through it, inspired by the huge display of knowledge. And here he is, a generous and unassuming man, offering to share his encyclopaedic enthusiasm for the environment and its inhabitants. It’s a great opportunity.
What more can I say? It’s September but the world that inspired Seamus Heaney’s ‘Blackberry-Picking’ and Sylvia Plath’s ‘Blackberrying’, is changing, vanishing. I know from my own memory, and it’s not defective, aged, in this respect, how diminished most of our landscape is. Entering the competition will be a shout out for change, for hope. And, who knows, you may also get your poem published in The Rialto?
Please Tweet, Facebook and generally gently bludgeon your friends and relations and followers into taking part!
We are also about to publish No 8 in the Bridge Pamphlets series. This is What I Saw, by Laura Scott. If you’ve a keen memory you’ll remember Laura’s great poem ‘Turner’ from a recent issue of the magazine.
Here’s what Mimi Khalvati says: ‘Laura’s poems seem to have been blown in on a breath of wind and air. A true lyric poet, she knows how to ‘paint light’, how to arrest our fleeting moments of sensation, those images in the corner of our eye, and magnify them so that we feel more sentient, more fully alive. And beyond the lyricism, a supple and questioning intelligence is quietly at work. I love her poems for their freshness, subtlety, and their delicate power to surprise.’
Prices. I seem, somehow, not to have fully taken in the fact that, in the process of ‘preparing the business for privatisation’, the Royal Mail has been hiking up prices. It currently costs £1.40 to send The Rialto by second class post within the UK. The rates to Europe and what they call ‘The Rest of the World’ are vastly higher – £7.20 for a single issue to go to America. The cover price of the magazine, £7.50, has been carefully worked out to cover printing costs, costs of payments to poets etc., so we are financially in trouble here. We will have to work out new rates that take this postal price problem into account ( once upon a time, for example, there was a special rate for Printed Papers – not any more). We hope to maintain a concessionary rate for UK subscribers on a low income.
P.S. Since writing this, we have found that Abi got second prize with ‘The Wolf Man’ in the Poetry London Comp. Our congrats from all The Rialto Team. Abi and Fiona will also be blogging on here from time to time, or possibly quite frequently about their experiences in the editor’s chair at The Rialto. – Nick
E.D.P – The Editor Development Programme
The Editor Development Programme is now live. If you want to be considered for it you’ll have to make haste as the closing date for applications is at the end of this week. We have been talking about this programme for some time, but it’s only been with the help of The Poetry School that we’ve got as far as inviting applications. They’ve undertaken to work with us in making this project happen and I’m very grateful to them for their enthusiasm and professional input.
Basically this is an opportunity to learn about the process of putting together a poetry magazine. The focus will be particularly on the questions of choice and discrimination – how do you decide whether a poem works well enough to be published? – and participants will be working closely with me in a mentoring role. The culmination for the participants (who I’m proposing to give the title of Assistant Editor) will be the opportunity to be responsible for a section of the magazine.
The two candidates selected this month will be working towards being in charge of fifteen pages of the Spring 2014 issue of the magazine.
Please, if you are a poet submitting work, be re-assured that I, as editor, will continue to read all the poems that come in.
An application pack can be downloaded from the Poetry School’s website which is here.
As Simon Armitage says,
“Editing is the quality-control mechanism though which good poetry is maintained and transmitted. It’s an art form in its own right, and any scheme which aims to develop editorial skills, both practically and creatively, can only benefit poetry in the long term.”
The Rialto/Writers Centre Norwich reading at this year’s Norfolk and Norwich Festival went well. The poets – Don Patterson, Sophie Hannah and Hannah Lowe – were in good spirits and gave lively performances to a very appreciative audience. We all had a good time.
However we didn’t quite fill the Playhouse Theatre. We did very well indeed for a poetry reading but we’ve got used to filling the theatre. Please if you are a local poet or poetry lover (old fashioned term, but one I personally am happy to use about myself), can you let us know why you didn’t come to the reading. I’d like to know if we chose the wrong day of the week, or if the publicity didn’t get to you in time to book, or if you thought the event overpriced, or, even, if the poets were just not quite famous enough to attract you….
Hannah Lowe’s first collection Chick, by the way, is on the shortlist for this year’s Forward First Collection prize. We still have (very few) copies of her Rialto pamphlet The Hitcher……
We are aiming for a Summer issue of the magazine in September. The editor is currently reading poems that arrived in February, so there should be plenty of quality work waiting to be read.
We are also aiming to publish a new Bridge Pamphlet in September. This will be What I Saw, by Laura Scott. I think these are important new poems: Moniza Alvi says, ‘a very valuable new voice’.
The Rialto/RSPB Nature Poetry Competition is open. You can download an entry form from the website, or simply enter online (or look out for the entry forms in your favourite poetry magazine or independent bookseller’s shop). Please enter. I did actually read all last year’s entries (how could I not?) and they were rather wonderful. There’s still a great many people connected to the life of the planet, often very lovingly. Now that the various wildlife organizations have woken up to the great losses that are going on we all need to do what we can to help save species, be they birds or ants or orchids. The competition is online here.
Arc Publications are launching ten of their titles, current and classic, as ebooks. These are available now on Amazon, and will be available on Kobo imminently, followed by Barnes and Noble’s Nook, Google Play Books and Apple iBooks. For a publisher who specialises in the work of international poets writing in English and the work of overseas poets in translation, it is a compelling move. Inevitably it allows Arc to reach more readers and bring diverse poetic cultures together.
These first ten books were chosen for their diversity of language, poetic structures and typographical challenges. The selection showcases complex bilingual text in clear and adjustable ebooks, mastering a variety of diacriticals and alphabets. The ambition was to set Arc’s bilingual texts as clearly and as beautifully onscreen as they are on the page, to ensure an effortless read of the two languages. The English-language books were chosen for their complex layouts and international reach.
Arc are proud of the achievement, believing it to be a vital and instrumental step in their mission to bring foreign-language poets to wider audiences. They intend to add to this initial ebook catalogue, with the publication of ebooks alongside hard- and paperbacks of every new title. More information is here http://www.arcpublications.co.uk/ebooks
The ten launched are
Mayakovsky, Vladimir: Pro Eto – That’s What (Arc Classics)
One of Arc’s most successful publications, in a unique contemporary translation from the Russian by George Hyde and Larisa Gureyeva, includes extraordinary photomontages that Alexander Rodchenko created for this work in full-colour for the first time. Making the most of the ebook format and tablet screens, Mayakovsky’s complex poetic layouts flow around the high-resolution images.
Six Catalan Poets, ed. by Pere Ballart (New Voices from Europe & Beyond)
This is one of the first English/Catalan bilingual anthologies of contemporary poetry to be published as an ebook. Featuring the work of six of Catalonia’s leading younger poets – Josep Lluís Aguiló, Elies Barberà, Manuel Forcano, Gemma Gorga, Jordi Julià, Carles Torner – translated by a prize-winning translator, it has an introductory essay which sets the poets within a wider literary context.
Kristný, Gerður: Bloodhoof
Gerður’s retelling of an Icelandic Eddic saga is as beautiful on the page as it is linguistically. Chosen partly to be one of Arc’s first ebooks to show what can be done in terms of matching top design on a digital screen, it is also a compelling read for Arc’s younger readers.
Martinaitis, Marcelijus: The Ballads of Kukutis
Martinaitis sadly passed away this year. One of the most important literary figureheads of Lithuania, his work captures the very best of anti-censorship satire. This title and its provenance speaks to the importance of digital distribution for countries at a geographical distance from Arc.
Loseff, Lev: As I Said (Visible Poets No 32)
A pioneer Russian/US poet, Loseff’s collection published in translation by Arc is a foray into the booming American ebook market, and allows this popular poet to continue to be read beyond the obstacles of international postage and a limited print run.
Six Latvian Poets, ed. by Ieva Lešinska (New Voices from Europe & Beyond)
In this second of Arc’s first ebook anthologies introducing contemporary European poetry, we meet the younger generation of Latvian poets who started writing and publishing after the country gained independence following the disintegration of the Soviet Union.
Keskin, Birhan: & Silk & Love & Flame (Visible Poets No 35)
The Turkish poet Birhan Keskin’s poetry is finely-honed and minimal and at the same time, powerfully visual, evocative and exact. Meaning and music overlap, lines dissolve, restart and repeat – a language of flux which marries perfectly with the reflowable nature of the ebook form.
Byrne, James: Blood/Sugar (UK and Irish)
Byrne caught the attention of many with his second full-length collection. Innovative and complex poetical layouts jostle with traditional forms to show the possibilities for poetry to shine in a carefully constructed ebook. Byrne is an important figure in contemporary UK poetry whose reputation will flourish with an ebook market presence.
Pang, Alvin: When the Barbarians Arrive (International)
The ebook format perfectly matches Pang’s restless internationality. The epitome of the travelling poet, Pang can be seen in literary venues and festivals all over the world, including in his native Singapore – and now his wonderful collection can be wherever he is without logistical obstacles.
Forshaw, Cliff: Vandemonian (UK and Irish)
Forshaw’s text was arguably the most challenging to express in digital form, with the huge variety of poetic structures, typography, margin notes etc. It showcases the visual possibilities of different poetic forms in ebook format.
Peter Scupham at 80 – An essay by Jane Griffiths and Two New Poems By Peter
Luke Wright – Three Essex Poems
Luke Samuel Yates on Luke Samuel Yates
Ruth Padel looks east, from Aldeburgh beach to Damascus
Helena Nelson – two anti-poetry Poems
George Szirtes in the Banlieue
Poems from Jane Draycott, Emily Hasler, Tariq Latif, Hannah Lowe,
Lorraine Mariner, Graham Mort, Rebecca Perry, Tom Warner and many Others
Dean Parkin’s rumours pages
BUY A COPY HERE
Date – Saturday May 25th 2013
Three poets are invited: One well-known poet plus two protégés. The invited poet invites two lesser known &/or unpublished poets (whose work the guest poet feels is unfairly little known or under-rated).
All Day Events
Poetry Bookstall and coffee
Poetry magazines and other publications from the invited poet/publisher
plus a second-hand poetry bookstall.
An invitation to adorn the Poetry Tree with your favourite poems.
Choose one of the greats or write your own.
Individual events throughout the day
Poetry Is Nice To Eat – Fun With Words – Family Workshop 11.00am (Free)
A workshop for individuals or the whole family with Phil Barrett (MR B). Poems will be used to adorn the poetry tree.
Poetry Lunch 1.00pm
Buffet lunch and light refreshments on sale, or bring your own picnic.
Closely Shared – A Poet’s Choice/Masterclass 2.00pm (£5.00 or £10.00 including the evening reading)
A Close Reading where the invited poets share work that has influenced and excited them, including a close reading of (a) chosen poem(s).
Strictly Spoken 3.30pm (Free)
An Open Event providing an opportunity to perform ‘The Touch’ by Tom Duddy’s (chosen by Michael Laskey) and get feedback on your performance from a panel of judges, including one or more of the invited poets. The winning recitation will receive a prize of £20.00. Sign up at lunchtime for one of the 10–15 reading slots. Copies of the poem will be available.
Poetry, Cake and a Cuppa – ‘Open Mic Event’ 5.00pm (Free)
Whilst consuming cake and a cuppa, people are invited to bring and read a poem by an existing writer, or one of their own, on the theme of ‘Celebration’ chosen by Michael Laskey.
Poetry and Pimm’s – Poetry on a summer’s evening 6.30pm
A great opportunity to mingle and enjoy refreshments before and during the reading by our invited poets.
‘Reading’ 7.00pm – 9.00pm (£7.00)
Michael Laskey reads a selection of his own work, supported by readings from Dean Parkin and Robert Etty. The reading will be in two halves with Pimm’s and finger-nibbles available before the event and during the interval.
Michael Laskey has published four collections, most recently The Man Alone: New and Selected Poems. Two of these were Poetry Book Society recommendations and The Tightrope Wedding was shortlisted for the T S Eliot Prize. A founder of the Aldeburgh Poetry Festival, he directed it through its first decade. He co-founded and co-edited fifty issues of the poetry magazine Smiths Knoll between 1991 and 2012. He has also published a range of poetry pamphlets under both the Smiths Knoll and his Garlic Press imprint.
Dean Parkin was born in 1969 and left school at the age of sixteen to work at a printer’s and then in a bookshop. He has worked for The Poetry Trust since 1999 and is currently the Creative Director. His third pamphlet, ‘The Sunshine of Fortune’, was published in 2013 and was written as a part of a residency in the Stour Valley and is a response to the artists and writers of the area. He’s probably the only poet to appear on BBC1 reading a poem on the loo.
Rob Etty was born in Lincolnshire, where he still lives and takes part in poetry groups and events. He worked for many years as a teacher of English in a secondary school. His poems have been widely published in magazines (eg Smiths Knoll, The Rialto, Frogmore Papers, Poetry Review, The North, Other Poetry, Bow-Wow Shop). The most recent of his eight pamphlets and collections are Half a Field’s Distance: New and Selected Poems (Shoestring Press) and The Horncastle Executioner (Nunny Books). He has read from his work at several venues, including the Aldeburgh Festival.
Salthouse Church and British Columbia Hall (next to Salthouse Church)
For further information contact: Helen Birtwell at email@example.com;
or Rose Moreton at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Comments by previously invited poets:
It was such a special day. A real highlight of the year. All of my visits to Cley have been so memorable. I don’t know how you do it.
The Cley Little Festival of Poetry may well be unique — so relaxed, warm and welcoming and at the same time so intense and focussed. Cley is obviously a place where poetry matters — but not in a separate or rarefied way — it matters as part of life, in and among and relevant to the everyday. It is very well organised, the activities varied and engaging, and thought through. And the hospitality is rather wonderful, and the atmosphere that comes from great hospitality. This is a little festival where poetry means something to people, where poetry and people matter.
Co-director The Poetry Business
The Cley Little Festival is probably the nation’s senior poetry event. Everybody has read at it: Professor Germaine Greer; Sir Andrew Motion, when he was Poet Laureate; Peter Scupham; Peter Sansom; and many more.
This event was a joy to be a part off. If the Arts Council wants to see poetry alive and well this is the kind of event to support.
Please thank everyone for a great festival. I enjoyed it!
BRITAIN’S PRESTIGIOUS INTERNATIONAL POETRY PRIZE FOR YOUNG WRITERS AGED 11 to 17 YEARS OPENS FOR ENTRIES
The Foyle Young Poets of the Year Award is for young writers worldwide. Last year’s competition attracted 7,351 young poets from 60 countries, spanning the globe from New Zealand to Nigeria and from right across the UK, making it one of the largest literary competitions in the world.
Luke Samuel Yates was a Foyle Young Poet of the Year in 1998, 1999, 2001 & 2002. His pamphlet The pair of scissors that could cut anything was published by The Rialto in 2013.
Since it began 16 years ago, the Award has kick-started the career of some of today’s most exciting new voices. Many past winners have gone on to become published and prize-winning poets, including: Caroline Bird, Sarah Howe and Caleb Klaces. The phrase ‘Former Foyle Young Poet’, is now commonly found in professional biographies as alumni continue to make their mark on the wider literary world, their names appearing on bookshelves and at festivals the world over.
Through winning an award, young poets receive a programme of writing support – the top 15 poets are published in an anthology which will go out to more than 20,000 contacts worldwide in March 2014.
There are two prizes available for the 15 overall winners of the award. The 14-17 year olds get the chance to attend a week-long residential course at one of the prestigious Arvon Centres where they will be tutored by this year’s judges Hannah Lowe and David Morley.
The younger age range winners (11-14 year olds) will receive a visit to their school from a professional poet, followed by distance mentoring. The 85 Commended Winners also receive book prizes and a year’s Youth Membership of the Poetry Society.
All 100 winners of the Foyle Young Poets of the Year Award benefit from ongoing support and encouragement, via publication, performance, promotion and internship opportunities throughout the UK.
The phrase ‘Former Foyle Young Poet’, is now commonly found in professional biographies as alumni continue to make their mark on the wider literary world, their names appearing on bookshelves and at festivals the world over.
Hannah Lowe said: “I am absolutely delighted to be judging the Foyle Young Poets of the Year Award this year. I am certain we will discover some really exciting new voices.”
The competition is open to all young poets, whether they have been writing for a long time or just started – all they need is a passionate engagement with words. The Foyle Young Poet of the year award is free to enter and poems can be of any length and on any subject. The deadline for entries is 31 July 2013. Find out more at: www.foyleyoungpoets.org