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From Picasso to Garsdale: news roundup

Taking a leaf out of Peter Kenny’s book, here are seven items from the imaginary newsdesk at Kenny Houghton Towers (sorry Peter – but as Picasso said – possibly – ‘Good…
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About

Poet, author, post-marketer

The official poet biog

Robin Houghton’s work appears in many magazines including Agenda, Bare Fiction, Envoi, Magma, Poetry News and The Rialto, and in numerous anthologies. Also in The Best New British and Irish Poets 2017 (Eyewear). She won the Hamish Canham Prize in 2013, the Stanza Poetry Competition in 2014 (and was runner-up in the same competition in 2016) and the New Writer Competition in 2012. Her pamphlet The Great Vowel Shift was published by Telltale Press, the poets’ collective she co-founded in 2014. In 2017 she self-published a handmade limited edition mini-pamphlet Foot Wear. After winning the Cinnamon Press Poetry Pamphlet competition in 2017, Robin’s third pamphlet, All the Relevant Gods is out from Cinnamon in February 2018. She blogs at robinhoughtonpoetry.co.uk

The chatty version

After 30+ years of trying to write poetry, I decided to stop mucking about and to set myself the goal of getting a poem published in a reputable magazine. I needed a sign, if you like, that I had some modicum of talent worth working on.

The Gods of Poetry (in the shape of Michael Mackmin at The Rialto) gave me that sign in 2010, and it made me serious about writing and reading poetry.

Since then I’ve had quite a few poems published, and my third pamphlet (short collection) All the Relevant Gods is published by Cinnamon Press in February 2018.

In 2014 I got together with Peter Kenny to form Telltale Press, a poets’ publishing collective. We now have five members, and as well as publishing members’ pamphlets we also hold regular readings and events. It’s fun and inspirational to work alongside other poets, encouraging and promoting each other and the Telltale ethos. I’ve learnt a lot from the experience. 

Until recently I lived in Lewes, a town with a vibrant community of fine poets from whom I’ve learned masses, among them Clare Best, Charlotte Gann, Jeremy Page, Catherine Smith & Janet Sutherland. I’ve also benefited greatly from workshops & courses led by Mimi Khalvati, Anne-Marie Fyfe, Carol Ann Duffy, Gillian Clarke, Jack Underwood, and John McCullough for New Writing South, an organisation that has supported me in many ways, for which I am grateful.

For a year or so I was the Brighton Stanza Rep, and now I’m a member of the Hastings Stanza, a fine and supportive workshopping group run by Antony Mair.

When I think about it, I’ve written for a living for over 20 years – but the kind of writing that pays isn’t poetry! As a marketer and copywriter it’s been words all the way, and since getting an MA in Digital Media in 2000 I’ve worked in online communications and latterly social media. (I was what they used to call an ‘early adopter’.) In recent years I’ve written five ‘how to’ books, three of which were commissioned and are still selling well in good bookshops. My agent is Charlotte Howard at Fox & Howard.  

Poetry published

The story so far: where published, competitions, awards etc. Plus links to reviews & interviews.

A couple of poems

Before the splicing

Once she’s cut her rope from the spool
it has a job to do: it may tie a boat to a cleat,
secure a headsail in fair wind, bind a spell
to teach her standing from her working end.
The line is her friend. She’s witnessed time
and again the trouble caused by a heckled
lay, how hard to untwist, unmake the same –
worked so many nights, twined and reeled,
shaped-shifting coiled sisal and greyed hemp,
she’s whipped up frays and braided edges.
So why does she fear the heat of the lamp
and the slipping loose of a thousand fastenings?
She will dig out the core, feed a new line through,
strong for the passing and the coming-to.


First published in Prole 23, 2017

1 Poultry

Shoot up in the fast lift,
poke the faux grass with toothpick heels.
Late lunch at the Coq d’Argent –
accept a drink, plan your exit.

After two pm the old religion can be smelt –
some urban Plague myth – even here,
halfway to the holding stacks
of City-bound planes.

Look out to where domes are clouds,
black antennas stricken trees, people
blips fading from someone’s radar.
A good place to fail.

Tender is the man-made view.
Look down where a scrawl of red tail-lights
sings stop in the name of love
and windows laugh open.

Two sips of Sauvignon Blanc and all London
is under you, your parapet bends
eye-level with skinny cranes,
arms turning in a show of listening.


First published in The Rialto 89, 2017

Rishi Dastidar reviews ‘1 Poultry’ on The Rialto blog

Poetry Pamphlets

My latest pamphlet All the Relevant Gods was published in February 2018 by Cinnamon Press.

In November 2017 I self-published a limited edition, hand-stitched, illustrated and numbered mini-pamphlet called Foot Wear. Some copies still available directly from me.

My first pamphlet The Great Vowel Shift was published by Telltale Press in 2014. 


All the Relevant Gods

All the Relevant Gods

“…persistently compelling” – Becky Varley-Winter in Sabotage Reviews

“…an impressive range of reference… it deploys the specific to hint evoactively at larger concerns”  –  Ian Gregson

” Confidently playful as well as seriously clever, these are poems that lodge in the memory and under the skin.” – Catherine Smith

“Robin Houghton’s All the Relevant Gods bears the confident hallmarks of an accomplished poet ready for a first full collection. […] There is a nicely insinuated examination of mutability throughout this book, as well as a wry critique of globalisation and the contemporary mores….[…] what lends her critique moral strength is the fact that Houghton implicates herself in the million sins of expediency that we all commit while deploring their aggregate results. Her own experience of the corporate world yields an authenticity to poems like ‘Handmade in Guangzhou’ ‘1 Poultry’ and ‘She discovered the internet’. – Martin Malone in The Interpreter’s House

“It’s refreshing to read a pamphlet willing to experiment with voice and style instead of tightly winding poems to a theme or restricting form to give poems a uniform feel.” – Emma Lee

“Robin Houghton is a subtle poet: we recognise the places and circumstances of her poems yet, at the same time, she draws our attention consistently to what might be in ‘the unreachable corner of the room.'” – Pam Thompson in London Grip

“the strength of good writing […] when a phrase or stanza unpeels itself weeks later, somewhere deep in your skull without you even remembering it was there in the first place” – Abigail Morley at The Poetry Shed


February 2018, ISBN 978-1-910836-95-8

All the Relevant Gods – £4.99 to buy on the Cinnamon Press website.

The Great Vowel Shift - Robin Houghton

The Great Vowel Shift

This debut pamphlet brings together poems published in a range of magazines including The Rialto, The North, Poetry News and Obsessed with Pipework.

“a perfect little book full of powerful, subtle poems” – Hugh Dunkerley

“… equally at home in poignancy and exuberance”– John McCullough

“… an admirable balance of tenderness and terseness” – Hamish Canham Award judges on ‘Ellipsis’

“… a sense of the oceanic is achieved with the minimum of words and props” – Pascale Petit on ‘Midnight Pickup’

“… there is cleverness here, playfulness and personality” – Martin Noutch at London Grip. Read the full review.

“… a beautifully balanced short pamphlet collection… each (poem) absolutely earns its place”– from Clare Best’s review in The Frogmore Papers 84


March 2014, ISBN 978-09928555-0-5

The Great Vowel Shift, £4 plus 60p postage (UK)

Buy Now Button

If you’d like to order more than one copy, or for orders outside the UK, please drop me a line at robin@robinhoughtonpoetry.co.uk 

'How to' Books

I’ve written some ‘how to’ books on blogging & social media, based on 15 years’ experience in online marketing…

Blogging for Writers by Robin Houghton
Blogging for Writers (Ilex Press, 2014)

“Really helpful book with clear explanations and good examples.” 

£14.99 from good booksellers or from Amazon.

Blogging for Creatives - Robin Houghton
Blogging for Creatives (Ilex Press, 2012)

“Easy and inspiring for beginners and those blogging for a while.” The example websites are now most out of date, but much of the advice still holds.

About £12 from good booksellers or from Amazon.

Golden Rules of Blogging - Robin Houghton UK cover2
The Golden Rules of Blogging (and when to break them) (Ilex Press, 2015)

“An extremely easy to read, yet supremely useful, publication.” 

About £10 from good booksellers or from Amazon.

How to Use Twitter (ebook, 2016)

“A primer of actionable tips with easy-to-follow illustrations shows how best to use this powerful networking tool..”  Tablet/Kindle and PDF versions.

£2.99 – full details and download/buy from my business website. (Offer: £4.99 for both Twitter ebooks in PDF format).

Get More Out of Twitter by Robin Houghton
Get More out of Twitter (ebook, 2017)

More tips on how to manage Twitter and make best use of it – finding people and topics that matter, getting organised with a dashboard and  building your valuable Twitter network. Tablet/Kindle and PDF versions.

£2.99 – full details and download/buy from my business website. (Offer: £4.99 for both Twitter ebooks in PDF format).

Readings & Events

Watch

Ellipsis
Long haul

Keep in touch

You'll find me on Twitter and LinkedIn. I don't use Facebook any more - if you're curious you can find out why here...

Contact me on robin@robinhoughtonpoetry.co.uk