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Showing posts from May, 2009

Just One Book - Salt Publishing

As those of you who read other poetry & literary blogs and/or drop into UK poetry forums will know, the enterprising poetry publishers Salt have hit hard times. Partly due to discontinued grants from Arts Council England and the current economic downturn, this is particularly depressing as Salt have always been committed to building a poetry press eventually capable of sustaining itself, something it has worked towards by seeking out and publishing some of the most impressive new poets to emerge in the UK in recent years (Rob A Mackenzie, Julia Bird, Luke Kennard, Mark Waldron and Katy Evans-Bush, to name but a few) as well as more established writers including Jane Holland, Tim Dooley and Tobias Hill. It also has what promise to be strong first collections on the horizon from Abi Curtis, Tom Chivers and Tony Williams.

To help save Salt, then, please consider the following:


1. Please buy just one book, right now. We don't mind from where, you can buy it from us or f…

Reviews and The Sparks

I was talking with the poet Conor O'Callaghan the other week about the dwindling number of poetry reviews published these days, particularly by the bigger publications and magazines. When his first full collection, The History of Rain, came out in 1993 with Ireland's Gallery Press, it apparently received around 25 reviews; I sincerely doubt many first books - even those published by the commercial presses - receive that kind of critical attention nowadays.

Unsurprisingly, poetry pamphlets and chapbooks (or short collections) receive even less attention from print magazines, with the notable and admirable exception of a few, particularly Poetry London and its autumn round-up of their 'top ten' (or so) pamphlets of the year. Increasingly then, much reviewing of poetry seems to take place online, in magazines like those I mentioned here recently, and on various widely-read literary blogs. And why not? Many of these blog writers are published poets and reviewers for print a…

Critical Perspective on Mick Imlah

Some months ago, shortly after the poet Mick Imlah sadly passed away and his excellent collection The Lost Leader won the Forward Prize, I mentioned that I had written a piece for a profile of his work due to appear on the Contemporary Writers website. A few Wasteland readers expressed an interest in reading this piece, and as unfortunately it won't now appear, I thought I'd include it here instead. I hope it gives a flavour of Imlah's work, of which I'm a big fan, and encourages those not familiar with both of his collections (the aforementioned Faber volume and his first book, Birthmarks, published in 1988) to search them out.

Mick Imlah: A Critical Perspective

Alongside Michael Hofmann’s Nights in the Iron Hotel, Mick Imlah’s Birthmarks (1988) is perhaps the most original debut poetry collection of the 1980s: witty, irreverent and often darkly comic, its poems tread a line between the stylistically prosaic and the syntactically inventive and, in many instances, reveal…

The Manchester Review

In certain quarters of the poetry world, there can be a certain snobbery surrounding publication online - one that maintains that print literary magazines are usually better than online journals. This argument is usually based on the idea that many (though certainly not all) established poets only send their work to print publications, and so the best quality work ends up being published in them, especially given the added incentive that the bigger players pay for poems:Poetry Review, The London Review of Books, the TLS and so on.

Though not entirely untrue, fortunately this is only part of the bigger picture, as a number of online poetry and literary magazines in the UK and further afield are growing in considerable authority. These include the likes of Salt Publishing's Horizon, edited by Jane Holland; Blackbox Manifold, edited by Adam Piette and Alex Houen at the University of Sheffield; the longstandingJacket magazine, and those print journals which also publish much of the mat…

Poetry Reading Tomorrow

Poetry reading with Simon Armitage

featuring short readings from Chris Jones, Liz Cashdan, Matthew Clegg, and Ben Wilkinson

Wednesday 6 May, 6.30–8pm

St George's Church, St George's Terrace (off Broad Lane), Sheffield

Event soundbyte:

A poetry reading by Simon Armitage, one of the most popular and prominent poets of his generation. His nervy, slangy, chatty poems explore depths of language with vitality and a sharp vision of the North, its classes, dialects and living cultures.

There will be book stalls in St George's Church before and after the poetry readings. The guest authors will be available after the readings to sign books purchased at the event. Signed copies of books by Simon Armitage, Ciaran Carson and Carol Ann Duffy may also be ordered from Rhyme & Reason Booksellers who will provide a list of available titles on request (