Tuesday, 25 August 2015

Sheenagh Pugh's blog

I've been a regular reader of Sheenagh Pugh's blog for several years (it's been going even longer than Rogue Strands!). However, when enjoying her thought-provoking interview with Steve Ely last week, I realised that not only was it missing from my blog list but I've never featured it here. Time to put that right on both counts!

Of course, Sheenagh Pugh is a well-known poet and critic, so the blog acts as a complement to her other work. It's also an excellent place to encounter new verse, be intrigued and go out to buy books. This is because Sheenagh works tirelessly to review, discuss and interview, all drawing on her huge pool of knowledge.

I very much recommend a lengthy trawl through its archive, but I would start with her review of Paul Henry's most recent collection (see here). We share an immense admiration for his poetry.

Wednesday, 12 August 2015

Poets on Facebook: the nightmare of the news feed

I know it's my own fault virtually all my "friends" on Facebook should be poets, but that doesn't change the terrifying nature of my news feed at times, especially when I'm feeling vulnerable about the value of my own verse.

People are variously delighted to have work included in an anthology, so pleased to be publishing two poems in a magazine, reading at an event next week, bringing out a new collection in 2016, finishing off a new poem, celebrating having been shortlisted, linking to their new title on Amazon...

...what's wrong with you, Stewart?! Just look at what everyone else has achieved while you've been redrafting that poxy line for the fourth time. And deep down, you know it still isn't right even though you're urging yourself to fall in love with it enough to send the thing off this afternoon. If you read any more of that stuff on Facebook, you probably will.

Saturday, 1 August 2015

Ian Abbot's Finishing the Picture

The Jul./Aug. issue of The Next Review is now out, featuring my extensive review of Ian Abbot's Finishing the Picture. In it, I address questions such as the following:

"...Does Ian Abbot’s poetry stand up to scrutiny? Does it match the power of his life story? Is he, in the light of Finishing the Picture, a major poet about to be rediscovered and valued at last...?"

To find out more, you can get hold of a copy via this link. There's also an interview with Clive James, plus original work by Eve Lacey, Paul Howarth and others. Here's a shot of the cover: