This is the penultimate post in this ‘Seven Questions’ series, I’ve hope you’ve enjoyed it as much as I have – there have been some really interesting and surprising answers, but also a fair bit of consistency – particularly when it comes to recommendations for non-poetry readers, and reactions to being asked to read at the Festival Hall!
Rosemary Badcoe is well known as one of the editors of Antiphon, an excellent online poetry magazine. But, just like many poetry magazine editors, she’s an accomplished poet in her own right. I sometimes think poets who submit their work to magazines may not know (or imagine) that the editor is also a poet, and also submitting elsewhere themselves. I know this was something I was ignorant of when I started sending work out. Editing a magazine has to take time away from the business of writing, so my feeling is it’s the least we can do to help promote them as POETS. (Ooh, I sense another blog post coming here…)
So – my thanks to Rosemary for playing this particular game, and on with the questions.
1 – What was the last poetry book you read, that you would recommend?
The latest poetry book I’ve read is Millstone Grit, which is a new anthology we’re creating as part of Sheffield Hallam University’s Catalyst festival. I’m working with fellow Antiphon editor Noel Williams and journalist and Senior Lecturer Carolyn Waudby, but I’ve given myself the job of designing and creating the book. It’s been a great learning curve, tackling typesetting software and layout, but we’ve just received the proof copy and are delighted with it! It’s the first book we’re publishing via Antiphon Press. But the proper answer would be Dark Matter, by Christine Klocek-Lim. All the poems are based on images from the Astronomy Picture of the Day website but are personal and moving.
2 – Philip Larkin and Dannie Abse are both alleged to have said they only wrote one or two decent poems a year. How is it for you?
I find however much I write I tend to end up with about one poem a month that I’m really pleased with. But book creation has got in the way of that recently.
3 – What would be your ideal place for a writing retreat?
Hmm, not sure I’d be good with a retreat! I like the internet too much. And bookshops…
4 – Do you enter poetry competitions?
No, not generally. I can never guess which poems they might like!
5 – You’re asked to give a reading at the Royal Festival Hall, to thousands of people. What goes through your mind?
Aargh! Followed by ‘I wonder if they’d mind a quick plug for Antiphon?’
6 – Why is end-rhyme considered a good thing in performance poetry, but rarely found in contemporary magazines?
Possibly because if not used carefully end-rhyme can swamp the rest of the poem. It works best in poems with a proper rhythmical format, which performance poetry often has, but which people don’t always use on the page.
7 – A murmuration of starlings, a murder of crows etc – what would you call a group of poets?
A confusion? Is there a word for a group of people all staring in different directions?
Rosemary Badcoe’s collection Drawing a Diagram is coming out with Kelsay Books early next year. As well as the main Antiphon website, there is an accompanying blog featuring recordings of poets reading from the issue.