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Nikesh Shukla at the Vanguard Readings

Great night yesterday at The Bear in Camberwell for Richard Skinner’s Vanguard Readings. It’s an excellent series, basically offering a showcase to writers at all stages of their writing journey. It means you get to hear both new and seasoned authors, and sometimes poets too. The readings are free to attend […]

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Breaking this week (poetry and tech)

The eagle-eyed reader of this blog may have noticed a few wee changes in the look of it. Yes, I’ve changed the Theme, but it all happened rather more quickly than I was expecting, and the day before I was giving a blogging workshop. So I spent four hours trying to […]

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The poetry competition game

Perhaps that could be a poem title? Should I send it to the Poetry London comp, or is more of a Poetry on the Lake sort of title? Could I get some kind of double meaning out of ‘game’ in order to make it a nature poem and would it appeal to Simon Armitage when judging the Rialto comp?

(click on the title to read more… 602 words)

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A model rejection letter

The other day I received an email rejection letter from Rattle, an excellent US magazine I both subscribe to and aspire to being published in. So yes, it was a blow to have my poems rejected. But I didn’t feel dejected. Here’s why. Editor Tim Green sends out what I can only describe as a model rejection letter.

Click on the title to read more (495 words)

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Reading at Lewes Needlewriters

Last Thursday I had the pleasure of reading at a Needlewriters event – a quarterly evening of readings, both poetry and prose, at the Needlemakers cafe in Lewes. It’s the only event of its kind I know round here, combining prose and poetry. (Disclaimer: I’m on the organising committee… although still a new girl.)

Click on title to read more (339 words)

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Let’s talk poem titles

Help! I can’t be the only one who has this problem. Poem titles. What the &%$?!*?

I seem to have a issue with both the creative and the administrative aspects of poem titles.

Sometimes I’m pleased with a poem, but the ‘working title’ just doesn’t cut it. Or I don’t even have a working title. Sometimes I save a poem under its working title and then can’t find it. Sometimes I submit a poem with ‘title X’ which, after four or five rejections, I rework a bit and change the title, then can’t find either the poem or where I submitted it. Sometimes I have a GREAT title in my head, but can’t write a poem to go with it. Maybe it’s a pamphlet title? But I haven’t written the pamphlet either. Sometimes I look at the titles of poems in magazines and wonder at their length or quirkiness, and I TRY to write long, quirky titles to my poems. But they resist and resist until they’re just one or two words again. The first one often being ‘The’. (click title to read more – 195 words)

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A writing retreat, and other treats

I always think of January as being a bit dreary, so it tends to be the time of year I make plans for things to look forward to. Number one is a short writing retreat – I did a DIY retreat a couple of years ago and got a lot out […]

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An evening at the T S Eliot Prize readings

Since being introduced to this annual event about 5 years ago by poet friends Julia and Charlotte, I’ve made it a fixture on my calendar. Held at the cavernous Royal Festival Hall on London’s Southbank, the T S Eliot Prize readings seem to be as much about the socialising and the […]

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