Wednesday 30 January 2013

Josephine Corcoran's And Other Poems blog

Josephine Corcoran's And Other Poems blog has been a very welcome addition to the U.K. poetry scene over the last few months. As she herself puts it:

"And Other Poems is simply a quiet, uncluttered place to read poems...the blog’s aim is to give readership to poems which would not otherwise be available, for instance poems no longer elsewhere online, out of print poems, poems published in print but not online, and new, unpublished poems."

Moreover, And Other Poems is not just a haphazardly posted bunch of poems. Corcoran's editorial eye has meant that verse is chosen with care, often just one piece per poet. I very much recommend you turn off your mobile, settle back and explore her list of poets, which includes Alison Brackenbury, Richie McCaffery, Carrie Etter, Esther Morgan, George Szirtes, Hannah Lowe, Ian Duhig, Philip Gross and many, many more.

I'm especially pleased today because Josephine Corcoran has added my name to the afore-mentioned list. Formica, a poem that first saw the light of day in The Rialto and then appeared in Inventing Truth, is the feature piece today on And Other Poems. You can read it here.

Tuesday 29 January 2013

Over at Tongues & Grooves...

I'm currently the "Featured Poet" over at the Tongues & Grooves website, all in aid of promoting the reading I'll be giving in Portsmouth alongside Lydia Fulleylove on Sunday 24th February. Just click on my name once you get there and you'll be transported to a sample poem from Inventing Truth.

Monday 28 January 2013

The Frogmore Papers (again!)

Monday morning brought excellent news in the form of a letter from The Frogmore Papers to let me know they would like to accept some of my work for Issue 81 (March) of the magazine. This journal has previously published my poetry on three occasions, and I never fail to be impressed by its consistently high quality. This, however, will be the first issue in which two of my poems - titled The Play and The Leftovers - will be published at once. I very much look forward to getting hold of a copy!

Monday 21 January 2013

Tongues & Grooves

Tongues & Grooves Poetry and Music club is based in the Portsmouth area. It organises regular events, as you can see on its website here, and has played host to many local and national poets over the years.

I'm delighted to report that Tongues & Grooves' February slot will be something of a HappenStance Press special, featuring Lydia Fulleylove and myself as the two guest poets. The details are as follows:

Sunday 24th February from 8 p.m.
The Gun Room, RMA Tavern, Cromwell Road, Eastney.

HappenStance Poets Lydia Fulleylove and Matthew Stewart.
Music from Sue Apicella and Paul Horton of The Jelly Rollers.
Entry fee: £4.00 (includes free entry to raffle).
Open Mic - arrive early to book.

It should be a great night!

Saturday 19 January 2013

Miranda Warning, bilingual pop from Elche

I've posted on a couple of occasions in the past about the relative merits of pop in English and Spanish. Well, Miranda Warning, a group from Elche in Spain, provide an ideal point of comparison.

They recorded a number of their tracks both in English and Spanish with the added benefit of having an English graduate who'd lived in the U.S. (Lucía Martínez) as their lead singer. This means that they didn't just throw together dodgy translations. Instead, two versions were created of songs. Perhaps the best example (and my personal favourite) is Despierta/Wake Up. Here it is firstly in English and then in Spanish. The remarks below the videos are unusually worthwhile, as listeners express their linguistic preferences. There's a fair old difference of opinion!

Friday 11 January 2013

Real Chips

The last few years have seen a rise in fast food all over Spain. Burger franchises have appeared in most towns and cities, and many restaurants have started serving frozen chips. This process reminds me very much of my youth in the U.K., when the search for proper chips became key, when approval of a meal out hinged on whether potatoes had been peeled on the premises. What's the point of a terrific steak if it's served alongside something that resembles damp cardboard?

These days in Extremadura, our conversations about the relative merits of different tapas bars often end up in a similar vein. The following poem, taken from Inventing Truth (my first HappenStance pamphlet), explores just why those chips are so crucial:

Real Chips

Creamy dripping's polished
by constant, lilac gas
and spuds are chunked skew-wiff.

They reach a flour-stuffed crunch,
ready to tell my tongue
how childhood once tasted.

Monday 7 January 2013

Inventing Truth reviewed in The North

I'm delighted to report that Inventing Truth, my first HappenStance pamphlet, has been reviewed by Paul Stephenson in Issue 49 of The North. He remarks that the poetry is "beautifully observed" and "vivid and original", while he also highlights "a delicious fascination with the food of Spain".

It's a real pleasure to encounter this review in such a prestigious magazine, and I'm very grateful to Stephenson for his generous words. Don't forget Inventing Truth is still available to purchase from the HappenStance website - you can get hold of a copy here.

Wednesday 2 January 2013

Poetry Cake


- The binding power/flour of constant nods towards possible rhymes.
- Just under 40 almonds roughly chopped into lines. Don't worry if some are bigger than others. That adds to the texture.
- A pinch of fragmented storyline.
- One spoonful of an underplayed yet quirkily original simile. Just one, so as not to make the mixture too rich.
- The yolks of at least two well-beaten voices.
- A decent glug of vivid, rum-fuelled description.

Mix them well and bake for a few weeks. Try them out on your neighbour, Mum, lover or mentor before serving them in an anthology alongside similar morsels.