Tag Archives: Pamphlet

Day 24: Small Press Advent Calendar: HAPPENSTANCE

day 24The book behind the 24th door of the advent calendar reminds me of the underbelly of Christmas time; those moments you have as a child when you’re not really sure what’s going on, but you just know somehow that things are not as they should be.

‘Giant in the Doorway’ by Marion Tracy, Published by HappenStance

HappenStance is an independent publisher based in Scotland that specialises in poetry pamphlets. In addition to publishing, they review chapbooks and provide information about pamphlet publishing in general, mostly via their sister site Sphinx. They also operate an interesting subscription scheme that is worth looking into:

For just £7.50 pa, you receive:

– 1 free publication of your choice.
– The latest chapter of The HappenStance Story.
– Information about each new publication (snail mail).
– News about press activities during the year.
– 25% off the cover price of each publication.
– A free PoemCard with every order:
– Feedback on up to twelve poems of your own, if sent during reading ‘windows’.

Find out more information and/or subscribe HERE.

‘Giant in the Doorway’ by Marion Tracy is a collection of poems that begins with an evocative account of one day and night in a holiday cottage, from the point of view of a child struggling to make sense of her mother’s psychiatric illness. The subsequent poems extend the narrative through a mature (but no less emotive) reflection on the mother’s life, death and legacy.

Here’s a taster poem, as featured on the HappenStance site:

Giant in the Doorway   Marion TracyGiant in the doorway

10.

I’m in the double bed next to judith
lennie is asleep in the cot moon lays down
a clean bandage onto the floor I can hear

the sea singing with my mother
their voices mutter and shout
and dip and scream together below

and outside I know the word mad
but when I ask judith what’s wrong
with mummy exactly and judith says

she can’t spell it or pronounce it I know
judith doesn’t want to talk about it
I shouldn’t talk about it

Buy ‘Giant in the Doorway’ direct from HappenStance now for £4.00.

[Day 24 on the Poetry Advent Calendar is ‘You are Not’ by Nathan Lunt]

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Day 21: Small Press Advent Calendar: HOLDFIRE PRESS

day 21It is now too late to order for delivery before Christmas, but this advent calendar continues so that you will know what to spend your book tokens on! Day 21 brings you…

‘The Necropolis Boat’ by Luke Kennard, Published by Holdfire Press

Holdfire Press is a new, small publisher based in Liverpool.  Their first 8 pamphlets were released in May 2012, and they aim to continue to publish pamphlets and also full collections by emerging UK poets.

‘The Necropolis Boat’ by Luke Kennard was selected by the Poetry Book Society as their Autumn Pamphlet Choice, which makes it even more surprising then that there there seem to be no descriptions of this intriguing 28-page mystery on the internet (nb. I’ve not searched the whole internet, but little is forthcoming). But as I’m a massive fan of Luke’s work in general, I’m sure he’s a great introduction to Holdfire.

We do get a bit of info about this pamphlet though on Luke’s blog, Planet-Shaped Horse. He writes:

Necropolis boat“My pamphlet, The Necropolis Boat, takes place within one of the lines of a poem from Planet-Shaped Horse, so could be considered a sequel or prequel or whatever you call a follow-up sequence the narrative of which occurs within one of the lines from the preceding work. A nested sequel, is what I’m going to call it, I think. But you don’t have to have read PSH to enjoy it! It stands alone! Like a man! On a jetty! On his own!
 
I hate the word jetty. I could have said anywhere and I went with jetty.”

 

For those of you not familiar with his work, here’s a short intro to him and poem lifted from the Poem a Month website (check them out!):

“Luke’s writing reflects his own personal interest in mental health and the way society perceives it, often using humour in his poems.”

The following poem, ‘Chorus’, is a poem from his second collection The Harbour Beyond the Movie. Luke gives us this insight:

harbour meyond the movie“I wrote it about seven years ago, at a time when I was writing these little fourteen-line anti-sonnets which explore a single tragi-comical scene. I wrote over a hundred and my editor selected ten to go in the middle section of the book. The other ninety were terrible. This one I wrote for a close friend who was going through a particularly nasty spell of clinical depression.”

CHORUS

The choir hadn’t left him alone since the first day of summer;
He awoke to find them stationed around his bed.

One day the choir arrived without warning or explanation,
Sang the choir in four-part harmony, handing him toast.

On his first day back at work, the choir stood at his desk,
Singing, The choir are making his professional life impossible.

Two weeks later his partner left him for an osteopath.
Hannah cannot stand the choir any longer, they sang.

That night he pummelled the choristers with his fists;
He beats the choir in frustration, but though they are bruised

And bleeding at the lip, they sing with redoubled vigour, sang the choir.
Then they sang, He cannot get to sleep, he cannot get to sleep,

He cannot get to sleep, in perfect fifths, until he fell asleep.
In time you may even grow fond of us, they sang, quietly.

– Read more on Poem a Month

Buy ‘The Necropolis Boat’ via the Book Depository now for £4.98 (free p&p).

[Day 21 on the Poetry Advent calendar is the very appropriate ‘Solstice’ by Russell J. Turner]

 

Day 16: Small Press Advent Calendar: CRYSTAL CLEAR CREATORS

day 16If you like your poetry served up with a large slice of what one might term ‘gritty northern realism’, then this next pamphlet is for you. Behind door 16 we turn to…

‘Citizen Kaned’ by Andrew Graves, Published by Crystal Clear Creators

Crystal Clear Creators is a not-for-profit arts organisation based in the East Midlands, devoted to developing, producing, publishing and promoting new writing. It records, produces and broadcasts spoken-word material; it publishes anthologies and pamphlets of new writing; it runs dayschools and courses on creative writing, media and heritage; and it hosts live events, including readings. It works with new, up-and-coming and established writers, actors and producers, as well as other partner organisations.

They also currently run a literary magazine, called Hearing Voices, the first four issues of which can be purchased from their website.

‘Citizen Kaned’ by Andrew Graves is collection of work more often seen on the stage, under Graves’ performance name ‘MulletProof’. Reviewer, Matthew Herbert, advises however, that “there’s far more scope for enjoyment if Citizen Kaned is read without such preconceptions.”

I’ve got a feeling that fans of John Cooper Clarke might enjoy this collection. Herbert’s description continues:

CitizenKaned_COVER“Rhythms and rhymes gallop through these deft observations on the inherent incongruence of life in Nottingham, yet there are also underlying layers of subtlety. Rather than using clichés as lazy shortcuts, Graves is capable of turning expressions upside down. Witness this line from ‘Ceremony’:

their love spins round like kebab-house meat

Graves then completes the poem by summoning a sense of beautiful grottiness:

they emerge embarrassed, wasted and sweaty
to shower in the headlights and raindrop confetti.”

There are those who won’t like this pamphlet, but if you’re into the stage/page cross over then I think you’ll like this. Just the snippets I’ve read certainly made the rainy northern/midland-ish town I grew up in jump straight back into view!

Read more reviews of ‘Citizen Kaned’ on the fantastic Sphinx Poetry Chapbook Review website.

‘Citizen Kaned’ is available to buy now from Crystal Clear Creators for £4.00.

[Day 16 of the The Poetry Advent Calendar is ‘Snowman Poem Written on a Sunday Night’ by Rob Auton]