The Poetry Blog
Submissions, writing, what’s happening, other doodads …
New: A Guide to getting publishedin UK poetry magazines
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New: A Guide to getting publishedin UK poetry magazines
click to buy
Rather unlike me but I decided on the spur of the moment to go to the Cork Poetry Festival! Having followed a tweet about it, I looked to see how possible/expensive it might be to go, and before I kne… January 28, 2019Robin Houghton Blog,Events,Writing Cork International Poetry Festival,poetry festvals Read More
One of the first books I bought and consumed (once I started thinking it possible I could write the odd semi-decent poem) was Mary Oliver’s A Poetry Handbook, along with Julia Cameron’s Th… January 20, 2019Robin Houghton Blog,Books,Inspiration,Writing Brain Pickings,creative process,Mary Oliver Read More
This is the first year in a while that I haven’t been driving up to the Southbank for the T S Eliot Prize readings this evening. I’ll look forward to reading all about it on various blogs.… January 13, 2019Robin Houghton Blog,Books,Mags & Blogs,Readings,Submissions city walks,claire dyer,jo bell,katy evans-bush,kith,london,nine arches press,obsessed with pipework,reading poets cafe Read More
Dear oh dear. Well, I promise to deliver the ‘ups and downs’ of poetry submissions, and 2018 was slim pickings for sure. Number of poems sent out to journals: 25 Number accepted: 4 Numbe… January 7, 2019Robin Houghton Blog,Rejections,Roundups,Submissions 2018 roundup,acceptances,rejections,submissions Read More
I’m a big fan of yoga teacher Adriene Mischler, whose ‘home practice’ videos I’ve been following for about six months. I’ve just started her latest ’30 Days of Yoga… January 6, 2019Robin Houghton Angst,Blog,Events,Inspiration buzzwords cheltenham,katy evans-bush,reading poets cafe Read More
I’m just taking a moment to post what will probably be my last of 2018, and I have to be careful not to descend into a sort of ’round robin’ where I refer to myself in the third pers… December 21, 2018Robin Houghton Blog,Events,Roundups abigail parry,Alice Oswald,cinnamon press,Danez Smith,garsdale retreat,ian duhig,katy evans-bush,Raymond Antrobus,swindon poetry festival,The Poetry Book Society Read More
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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.
The story so far: where published, competitions, awards etc. Plus links to reviews & interviews.
Awards & Commendations
Cannon Poets ‘Sonnet or Not’ Competition 2017, Highly Commended. Judged by Liz Berry.Anne Born Prize 2017, Commended. Judged by Rachael Boast. Cinnamon Pamphlet Competition 2017, winner. Judged by Ian Gregson.Poetry Society Stanza Competition 2016, Runner-up, for ‘Performance’. Judged by Ros Barber. Poetry Society Stanza Poetry Competition 2014, 1st prize, for ‘Searching for the Police Tower, Orford Ness’. Judged by Les Robinson. Hamish Canham Prize 2013 for ‘Ellipsis’. Judges Carole Satyamurti, Paul McGrane, Kate White and Mike Sims. Poem first published in 2012 in Poetry News. Selected by Stephen Knight from members’ poems on the theme of ‘Absent’. The Plough Poetry Prize 2014, 2nd place, for ‘Gifted’. Judged by Liz Lochhead. The New Writer poetry competition 2012, single poem category, 1st prize, for ‘Midnight Pickup’. Judged by Pascale Petit. Poetry Society Stanza Competition 2012: ‘Handmade in Guangzhou’ – commended. Judged by John Siddique.
In print magazines
Forthcoming:Obsessed with Pipework 86 (May 2019) ‘Statistics’, ‘Seeing the Small Picture’, ‘The Metallurgy of Eddie van Halen’Published:The North 60 (August 2018) ‘Runner’, ‘Under Hammersmith Bridge, 2016’The Interpreter’s House 68 (June 2018) ‘The Beauty Forecast’The Frogmore Papers 91 (March 2018) ‘And there was that time’The Cannon’s Mouth (March 2018) ‘Hat for Earrings’Coast to Coast to Coast 2 (December 2017) ‘Faux’The Rialto 89 (September 2017) ‘1 Poultry’, ‘The summer we went to funerals’Brittle Star 40 (June 2017) ‘Office’Magma 68 (July 2017) ‘Outtakes’ Obsessed with Pipework 79 (August 2017) ‘Orientation’, ‘Dream | Job’ & ‘Reorganisation’ Prole 23 (August 2017) ‘Before the splicing’Envoi 176 (June 2017) ‘First Salsa in Cusco’ The Bees’ Breakfast (anthology, Beautiful Dragons Collaborations, May 2017) ‘Far from Noise and Smoke of Town’ Best New British & Irish Poets 2017 (Eyewear Publishing, March 2017) ‘She discovered the Internet’. Selected by Luke Kennard. Under the Radar 18 (Autumn 2016) ‘Thoughts my own’ The Interpreter’s House 62 (June 2016) ‘Long haul’ Brittle Star 38 (Summer 2016) ‘Not Found’ Bare Fiction 7 (April 16) ‘Alchemnesia’, ‘Four Star’, ‘#WakeUpPhilae’ Live Canon, Project 154 – Anthology to celebrate Shakespeare’s 400th anniversary (April 2016) – ‘A Suggestion from the Rival Poet’ Prole 19 (April 2016) ‘Two Honeymoons’ Poetry News (April 2016) ‘The houses are coming’ (Selected by Richard Price from poems on the theme of ‘Territory’) Obsessed with Pipework 74 (Feb 2016) ‘She discovered the Internet’ and ‘Sometimes you bring me your poesy’ The Chronicles of Eve (anthology, Paper Swans Press) ‘Calamity’ Envoi 171 (Autumn 2015) ‘Eltham’ Elemental (Anthology, Beautiful Dragons Collaborations, Autumn 2015) ‘Sleeping Partner’ Canterbury Festival Poet of the Year Anthology (October 2015) ‘Taken’ Brittle Star 36 (May 2015) ‘To turn a perfect cartwheel’ Prole 16 (April 2015) ‘I ask Don Paterson to read at my funeral’ The Needlewriters Anthology (March 2015) ‘Interval’ BlueGate Poets Anthology (December 2014) ‘Hydrangea’, ‘Blue Willow’ The Rialto 81 (October 2014) ‘The long-haired girls’ South 50 (October 2014) ‘Hydrangea’, ‘Lunch in Brighton?’ Heavenly Bodies (Anthology, Beautiful Dragons Collaborations, April 2014) ‘Small Horse’ The Interpreter’s House 55 (March 2014) ‘East from Seahouses’ Envoi 166 (January 2014) ‘Closure’, ‘Fermata’, ‘Interval’, ‘Caretaker’, ‘Map Reading’ Brighton Stanza Poets Anthology (Bramley Press, Nov 2013) ‘Poem starting with a line by Emily Dickinson’, ‘Sports photography in the 1970s’ The Rialto 78 (October 2013) ‘The Great Vowel Shift’ The Frogmore Papers (Aug 2013) ‘On Wiley’s Bridge’ The New Writer (July 2013) ‘Midnight Pickup’ Obsessed with Pipework 62 (April 2013): ‘Calamity’ Poetry News (Winter 2012): ‘Ellipsis’ The North 49 (December 2012): ‘Geography Lesson‘ Iota 91 (October 2012): ‘The Return’, ‘Container’, ‘Commute’ The Rialto 75 (July 2012): ‘The Last’Poems from the Old Hill (anthology, Frogmore Press October 2012): ‘Invasion’, ‘River Ouse, Rodmell, 1941’ Mslexia 53 (March 2012): ‘At the plastic bag museum’ The Interpreter’s House 49 (Feb 2012): ‘Invasion’ Obsessed with Pipework 56 (Autumn 2011): ‘The Last Word’, ‘My life as an alien’South 44 (October 2011): ‘All out at Peak Frean’s’ Agenda 46/2 (Autumn 2011): ‘River Ouse, Rodmell, 1941’Iota 89 (Spring 2011): ‘Prussia Cove’, ‘I was once the Pope’The Rialto 70 (Autumn 2010): ‘Second Sight’
Online:Mary Evans Picture Library (September 2017), ‘Ladies’ Hour’Proletarian Poetry, (Sept 2017), ‘Teatime in the Seventies’Mary Evans Picture Library (March 2017), ‘London Bridge to Waterloo East’ Poetry Society website (October 2016), ‘Performance‘ Poetry Society website (April 2016), ‘The houses are coming‘ Ink, Sweat & Tears (Feb 2016) ‘Tying the Bowline‘ Abigail Morley’s The Poetry Shed (December 2015) ‘Father Reindeer’Ink, Sweat & Tears (Spring 2015) ‘Small Horse’ The Needlewriters Companion (anthology, March 2015) ‘Interval’ Plough Prize website (March 2015) ‘Gifted’ Poetry Society website (October 2014) ‘Searching for the Police Tower, Orford Ness’ Rebecca Gethin’s blog, (May 2014) ‘Small Horse‘ PoetsOnline (April 2014) ‘Poem beginning with a line by Emily Dickinson’ Morphrog (Issue 8, Jan 14) ‘The Old Days’, ‘Still Life’ Antiphon (Issue 9, Dec 13) ‘Willow Pattern’ BlueGate Anthology (September 2013) ‘At the plastic bag museum’, ‘I was once the Pope’ Abegail Morley’s The Poetry Shed (April 2013) ‘Geography Lesson’ Ink, Sweat & Tears (March 2013) ‘Left’ Poetry News (Winter 2012): ‘Ellipsis’ And Other Poems: (Dec 2012) ‘Container’ Agenda Online Edition Retrospectives (April 2012): ‘When my sister is old’ Ink, Sweat & Tears (Jan 2012) ‘Night Visitors’
True Tales from the Old Hill (contribution to memoir anthology, Frogmore Press 2015) Poetry News, Spring 2015 ‘A small stake in cyberspace’ – feature on poets who blog
Reviews of All the Relevant Gods:Review by Becky Varley-Winter at Sabotage ReviewsReview by Rachel Playforth at SphinxReview by Pam Thompson at London GripReview by Emma Lee on her blogReviews of The Great Vowel Shift:Review by Steve McQueen in The Interpreter’s House 62 Review by Jan Fortune in Envoi 172 Review by Martin Noutch at London GripReview by Afric McGlinchey at Sabotage ReviewsReview by Rebecca Gethin on her blogReview at Sphinx by Josephine Corcoran Review by Clare Best in The Frogmore Papers.
A couple of poems
Before the splicing
Once she’s cut her rope from the spoolit has a job to do: it may tie a boat to a cleat,secure a headsail in fair wind, bind a spellto teach her standing from her working end.The line is her friend. She’s witnessed timeand again the trouble caused by a heckledlay, 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 lampand 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
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 stacksof City-bound planes.Look out to where domes are clouds,black antennas stricken trees, peopleblips fading from someone’s radar.A good place to fail.Tender is the man-made view.Look down where a scrawl of red tail-lightssings stop in the name of loveand windows laugh open.Two sips of Sauvignon Blanc and all Londonis under you, your parapet bendseye-level with skinny cranes,arms turning in a show of listening.First published in The Rialto 89, 2017Rishi Dastidar reviews ‘1 Poultry’ on The Rialto blog
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“…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 ShedFebruary 2018, ISBN 978-1-910836-95-8All the Relevant Gods – £4.99 to buy on the Cinnamon Press website.
The Great Vowel ShiftThis 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 84March 2014, ISBN 978-09928555-0-5The Great Vowel Shift, £4 plus 60p postage (UK)If you’d like to order more than one copy, or for orders outside the UK, please drop me a line at firstname.lastname@example.org
‘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 (Ilex Press, 2014)
“Really helpful book with clear explanations and good examples.” £14.99 from good booksellers or from Amazon.
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.
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 (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
Readings 2017 – to date
11 January 2019 – Poets Cafe, South Street Arts Centre, Reading28 November 2018 – Open Mic Poetry, Chichester5 October 2018 – Poetry Swindon Festival25 April 2018 – launch of Telltale Press Anthology, Lewes5 April 2018 – Needlewriters, Lewes20 March 2018 – Kent & Sussex Poetry Society, Tunbridge Wells22 February 2018 – launch of new pamphlet All the Relevant Gods (Cinnamon Press) at the Printers Playhouse, Eastbourne. Reading with Stephen Bone who is launching his Indigo Dreams pamphlet Plainsong, and special guests Antony Mair and Sarah Barnsley.19 December 2017 – launch of Coast to Coast to Coast 2 at the Open Eye Gallery, Liverpool13 November 2017 – Loose Muse, Discovery Centre, Winchester1 November 2017 – Telltale Press & Friends, The Poetry Cafe, London10 October 2017 – InWords, West Greenwich Library, London SE10 – with contributors to the ‘Pictures & Poems’ blog of the Mary Evans Picture Library27 September 2017 – Eastbourne Poetry Cafe, the Underground Theatre, Eastbourne, with Hastings Stanza poets28 July 2017 – reading at launch of Magma 68, The London Review Bookshop30 June 2017 – Hastings Stanza reading at The Bookkeeper, St Leonard’s on Sea2 April 2017 – launch of ‘Best New British & Irish Poets 2017’ (Eyewear)
Readings 2016 and previous
201629 November 2016 – reading at The Troubadour, London 5 October 2016 – reading at the launch of Jess Mookherjee’s The Swell (Telltale Press) at the Pitcher and Piano, Tunbridge Wells 29 July – reading at the St Anne’s Festival, Lewes 9 July – reading at St Leonard’s Festival event with members of Hastings Stanza 8 July – reading at The Writers’ Place, Jew Street, Brighton, for New Writing South 29 June – reading at the launch of Abegail Morley’s The Skin Diary (Nine Arches Press) at the Pitcher and Piano, Tunbridge Wells 20 April – reading at Poetry at the Underground Theatre Cafe, Eastbourne, event includes open mic 13 April – reading at Telltale Press & Friends, The Lewes Arms, Lewes with Abegail Morley, Sarah Barnsley and Rebecca White 23 March – reading at Word on Wednesday with members of the Needlewriters collective – Jeremy Page, Janet Sutherland & Clare Best, at the Nineveh Art Gallery in Havant 7 March 2016 – reading a poem at Coffee House Poetry at The Troubadour, ‘Sea’ themed night2015 23 November – reading for the Brighton Stanza at Stanza Bonanza with Kent & Sussex, Poetry Cafe, London 29 October – reading at Words & Ears, Bradford-on-Avon 16 October – reading at Albion Beatnik Bookstore, Oxford, at the launch of Martin Malone‘s new collection Cur 14 October – reading at launch of South 52, Cluny Hall, Lewes 22 June – reading at Camberwell Arts Festival, with Richard Skinner, Roy Marshall and Josephine Corcoran 18 June – reading at Telltale Poets & Friends, Poetry Cafe, London 14 June – reading at St Anne’s, Lewes, with Ann Segrave, Jeremy Page and Mandy Pannett 20 May – reading at the launch of Brittle Star issue 36, Barbican Library, London 3 May – reading alongside Patricia McCarthy & Jill Munro at Mayfield Fringe Festival 30 April – reading alongside Andreea Stan at Pighog/Red Hen Poetry Night, Brighton 25 April – on the expert panel at New Writing South Publishing Industry Day, Brighton 22 April – Poetry in the House, reading at Lauderdale House, Highgate Hill, London. Hosted by Shanta Acharya 15 April – Telltale Poets & Friends (hosting), The Lewes Arms, Lewes 26 March – reading at the Needlewriters Anthology launch, Lewes 9 March – reading at Troubadour themed night Big Yellow Taxi! 22 January 2015 – Needlewriters, Lewes – reading alongside Kerry Evans and Bethan Roberts 7 January 2015 – Telltale Poets & Friends, Poetry Cafe, London – reading alongside Catherine Smith, Rhona McAdam, Siegfried Baber & Peter Kenny 2014 8 December 2014 – Brighton Stanza Seasonal event, reading 26 November 2014 – Reading at the Poetry Society Annual General Meeting, Keats House, London, alongside Daljit Nagra and Susannah Fitzpatrick 1 October 2014 – London, Poetry Cafe, Telltale Press public launch 24 September 2014 – Lewes, Telltale Press private launch event 17 September 2014 – Lewes, Telltale Press private launch event 25 June, Stanza Bonanza (poets from Brighton and Palmers Green) at the Poetry Cafe, London – reading and sharing the MC 5 June 2014, Special poetry evening in memory of Jo Grigg, Brighton 2 June 2014, Lamb Festival, All Saints Church, Edmonton 6 March 2014 – Albion Beatnik Bookstore, Oxford – launch of The Interpreter’s House 55 2013 28 November 2013 – Tunbridge Wells Library, reading with Abegail Morley & friends 8 August 2013 – Bluegate Poets, Swindon 17 January 2013 – Ten Voice Stanza, Brighton 2009 and 2012 – Pecha Kucha Nights, Brighton: poetry inspired by and performed to photographs by Simon Dale
Keep in touch
Sites I like
Jill AbramSiegfried BaberSarah BarnsleyClare BestJane CommaneJosephine CorcoranClaire CrowtherCaroline DaviesCarrie EtterJohn FieldJohn FogginAnne-Marie FyfeFrances GalleymoreCharlotte GannRebecca GethinRebecca HurstMaria JastrzębskaKathleen JonesPeter KennyJenny LewisMartin MaloneHarry ManRichie McCafferyJohn McCulloughJessica MookherjeeKim MooreFiona MooreAbegail MorleyKatrina NaomiE E NobbsRobert PeakePascale PetitSam RiviereIsabel RogersSarah SalwayDon ShareClare ShawRichard SkinnerCatherine SmithCherry SmythJayne StantonMatthew StewartJanet SutherlandGeorge Szirtes Sian ThomasPam ThompsonAdam ThorpeJack UnderwoodJackie WillsAnthony WilsonCliff Yates
Advancing PoetryAnd Other PoetryAgendaAmbitAntiphonBare FictionBrittle StarCinnamon PressEnvoiObsessed with PipeworkThe Interpreter’s HouseLighthouse MagazineThe Poetry BusinessThe RialtoPoetryRattleOxford Poetry52 PoetsProleProletarian PoetryInk, Sweat & TearsFuselitFrogmore PressFlarestack PoetsNine Muses PoetryPindrop PressPoetry LondonSeren BooksShearsmanTears in the FenceTelltale PressUnder the Radar