Category Archives: poetry

PhD Studentship: Devolved Voices

Full details of the Devolved Voices PhD studentship are now available here. The topic of the PhD will be the role of women poets since Wales’s devolution ‘yes’ vote in 1997, especially those whose reputations have been established since that time. The PhD will be supervised by Professor Peter Barry, Principal Investigator for the Devolved Voices project. The studentship – which begins in September 2012 and covers fees and maintenance – offers the opportunity to participate in pioneering research. Closing date for applications is 17 July 2012.

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Filed under criticism, literature, opportunities, poetry, scholarship

And It’s Surely to Their Credit

So: Happy International Women’s Day.

I’ve been quiet. But I hope silence equates with substance. I can certainly assure you it equates with industry. Many books are underway – and I’ll tell you more about these over coming months. Plus, a very exciting 2013 all round. Some surprising, superb, established names – together with highly accomplished newcomers I’m proud to be introducing.

In the meantime, I want to flag the arrival in the autumn of our new poetry list. We’ve designed a series of uniform covers in beautiful colours. First up this year are Alan Kellermann and Anna Lewis. Of course, I come with my bias, but here are two excellent new poets. They’ll be promoting their books in the autumn/winter/spring 2012/13. Following that, we have poet Jemma King, with her lovely collection, in 2013. A very special group of promising voices.

In more personal news, a new anthology of British poets arrives in the late spring from Cinnamon, Lung Jazz, edited by Todd Swift and Kim Lockwood. It contains work by many poets I admire and whose planetary presence is undeniably a Good Thing. I am in it also, with a paean to Brandon Flowers. And it’s all for charity. You can pre-order here.

More soon.

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Filed under love, poetry, publishing

Poetry at the Royal Scottish Academy

Any readers based in Edinburgh or Scotland way, the Poetry Beyond Text project is now being exhibited at the Royal Scottish Academy. My contribution to the project is a selection of poems presented in an artists’ book, with images from my wonderful, remarkably talented collaborator (and curator of the exhibition), Mary Modeen. Other work features splendid contributions from poets including Robin Robertson, Deryn Rees-Jones and John Burnside. Find out more here.

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Filed under art, image, poetry, winter

When great things happen to great people

Today I enjoyed a wonderful lunch at the offices of Faber & Faber to celebrate poet Kona Macphee‘s award of the Geoffrey Faber Memorial Prize. Fine food, convivial company, and some familiar, lovely faces. I was not the only person present to comment: ‘Why can’t we do this every day?’

Kona joins a distinguished list of poets who have won this coveted prize (it alternates between poetry and fiction), including Seamus Heaney, Hugo Williams, Tony Harrison, Alice Oswald, Paul Muldoon, John Burnside, Michael Hofmann, Geoffrey Hill, Don Paterson, Kathleen Jamie, Greta Stoddart, Glyn Maxwell, and my late, great teacher Michael Donaghy – Obi-Wan Kenobi of an almost entire generation of younger poets. Kona received the prize in recognition of a splendid second collection, Perfect Blue.

Kona and I go way back to 2001. The two of us appeared together in the anthology Anvil New Poets 3. It is difficult to convey now my joy then when first I held that anthology in my hands – oh, how clever I am! – or my shame when I leafed through and happened upon two devastating lines: ‘He grips the gather of her waist / and pours her like a ewer into dance.’ At the foot of the page, the poet’s name: Kona Macphee. I was so utterly incapable of such concise, entirely apt and beautiful imagery. The sophistication was staggering. Reading further, the depression simply grew. Kona Macphee, I thought, you are just too annoyingly talented. But, as with all true talents, Kona is a terrific person, with humility, generosity and a rich sense of humour.
Kona published a first, acclaimed collection, Tails, in 2004. And, in 2010, she followed this with Perfect Blue. I published some poems which later appeared in the collection in New Welsh Review, so I had an indication that Perfect Blue was going to be a book of incredible quality, integrity and maturity. And so it is. I am thrilled that Kona has won this award, which will push her to the front of things – where she belongs. Buy the book!

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Filed under poetry, prizes, success

Poetry Beyond Text

I’ve been collaborating with artist Mary Modeen on ‘Uncertain Territories’, a series of poems and images as part of the Poetry Beyond Text project at the University of Dundee. This work will be exhibited, along with other artists’ collaborations with poets – including John Burnside and Robin Robertson – at Dundee Contemporary Arts this March, before it goes on to the Scottish Poetry Library and the Royal Scottish Academy later in the year. More details on this to follow, for any Scotland-based poetry/image enthusiasts.

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Filed under image, poetry