This Autumn we’re taking A Voice Coming from Then on tour in Wales, to celebrate the collection winning the English Language Poetry Category in the 2022 Wales Book of the Year Awards. Join us at one of the events below for readings and conversation with poet Jeremy Dixon (and occasional guests).
Links to tickets for all the events will be updated as they become available.
If you would like any more information about any of these events, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
We are crowdfunding to support this tour! We have the dates booked, but we need some money to pay for travel and accommodation and at the moment, we are not receiving any grant support.
All the events above are free, and the book sales we make won’t cover our costs, but it’s really important to make the most of the award, and to get this book out into bookshops and libraries and talk about it.
As a result of the limit on entries this year, our Hiatus competition finished early, allowing us to announce the results today, on the Autumn Equinox. [For time obsessives like me that was at precisely 3:04 BST this morning.]
Congratulations to our Shortlist:
Thank you for surprising us, and/or making us laugh.
The winning spots were very close fought indeed, so unusually, we’re announcing the Runners-up:
and our winners are:
Gabriel Noel with Ode Against Daylight Saving and Karen Pierce with Pause
Congratulations to Gabriel and Karen, both of whom are new to Arachne Press. Their work will be published in eBook form, in time for the Solstice, alongside…
Remember! we have a public vote for the BEST story/poem from each of the previous Solstice Shorts anthologies, which will join Karen and Gabriel’s work in the ‘Best of’ eBook, to mark this year’s Solstice, while we wait for the next time the Solstice falls at a weekend, and the next festival. You can vote here (deadline 30 Sept 2022)
We are crowdfunding! We want to take Jeremy Dixon’s fabulous award winning poetry book A Voice Coming From Thenon the road – we have dates booked, and need some money to pay for travel and accommodation. Sales will never cover this, but it’s an important book and winning the Wales Book of the Year Poetry category means that bookshops are taking some notice. If you’d like to help, you’ll be even more our friends for ever than you are now. If you share the link and persuade people we don’t already know to help, you will be elevated to ‘absolute star’ (or possibly, as Jeremy describes it in his pamphlet, In Retail, ‘Unicorn’ status.)
Rewards include signed books, original artwork, handmade badges, T shirts… It’s a quick fire effort this, we have 20 days to raise £1000all-or-nothing.
Expect to be inundated with nudges to contribute or share. (Not really, we’ll try to keep it below ‘annoying’ level.)
We completely understand that many, many people are having to draw their horns in financially (we are too) but if you can contribute anything, it all adds up, and if you can bring the crowdfund to the attention of friends, family or neighbours feeling less pressured, that also helps!
Today is Suicide Prevention Day. You might think, What’s that got to do with Poetry?
Quite a bit it turns out, for poet Jeremy Dixon, who recently won the Wales Book of the Year Poetry award.
We have a flash sale today only 50% off with the code PREVENT50 on print book from our webshop and audio or ebook from our e-store
Jeremy’s collection A Voice Coming from Then charts the homophobic bullying he experienced as a teenager and his subsequent suicide attempt, and recovery forging an identity for himself that rejected the negative image he had forced on him by the bullies. Along the way it is heartbreaking and hilarious and joyful.
Reading the poems in manuscript when Jeremy first submitted the collection I was sobbing uncontrollably within pages.
This is the precise response I sent to Jeremy whilst still mopping my tears.
Content warning notwithstanding, you may have to wait a while for a coherent answer, I’m already in tears and I’ve only got to Anne Sexton. Not feeling strong enough for this right now, but if they are all like this, it’s going to be an emphatic YES.
and not much later the same day
And then I had to go back and finish, and of COURSE it’s YES.
I don’t often weep over a MS, but as I know Jeremy a bit from publishing him before and meeting at events, it was probably tougher than reading these from a stranger. Which brings me to the vexed question of Content Warnings.
Jeremy has this to say on the subject in the introduction:
// a note on content warnings
For me content warnings really work. If I am not prepared then sometimes just seeing the word ‘suicide’ has an emotional effect.
And I get it, I really do, I have had a complete melt down from authors sending me (sometimes unsolicited, grrr) graphic distressing material without warning. Some of that is outrage that they think they can do that, at least in a bookshop you’ve chosen to pick the book up, in a MS there’s nothing to indicate what’s there until it’s too late. And I don’t voluntarily read things that are going to upset me, real life is quite sufficient, thanks. BUT it means I probably won’t pick up a book with a content warning on the cover. And other people may think twice too.
When we were recording the audiobook (voiced by the MAGNIFICENT Nigel Pilkington) we cautioned both Nigel and our sound engineer, Jess, that it was potentially an emotional listen, and Jess in particular just shrugged, and said ‘powerful, isn’t it,’ because we had warned her.
The book is peppered with statistics and there are resources at the end.
just one accepting adult
in a LGBTQ+ young person’s life
can reduce the risk
of suicide by 40%
The Trevor Project, 2019
I wanted to be make the book as safe as possible. So as part of that I decided on this, the structure of the poems as couplets so that there would be nothing about the structure or the forms of the poems that would throw people, and then tied to that was the use of statistics to give a kind of grounding to give an overview, to give it a different voice, a research voice, but they were still formatted in the same way as poems so that they’re like tiny, tiny little poems themselves.
Homophobia, bullying, cruelty, suicide attempts… hard, hard things to experience, hard to write about, but in Jeremy’s careful, compassionate hands, emotional, but rewarding, cathartic and inspiring.
As Andy Welch one of the judges of the Wales Book of the Year said during the announcement on Radio Wales,
It just took me aback completely. It was so shocking, but something so beautiful to come out of it.
And Jeremy at the launch of the book said this:
I wonder if [writng the book] is another form of potential protection… in some ways, it’s been a very healing process… once the poem’s written, and especially when it’s in a book, there’s another distancing. I think for me this relates to the book as an object. It’s like everything is contained in that book now, so I don’t need to carry it around with me anymore.
So if, like me, you shy away from a content warning, be encouraged, this is a generous kindly book that doesn’t want to steep you in trauma, it wants to share recovery and particular joy of looking back at a tough time and realising it really is the past, and that by writing about that past we can change our future.
We went the for the whole gamut of launches for A Pocketful of Chalk, outdoors, in a barn, in a museum and on line! Here’s the online version, a triumph of technology that took a lot of setting up – those downs are beautiful, but they interfere with Claire’s internet signal. A lot of testing and rearranging of kit was involved, and turning off of interfering phones etc, but it worked!
Today is exactly one year since we published A Voice Coming From Thenby Jeremy Dixon. Largely written and edited during lockdown, A Voice Coming From Then recently won the English-language Poetry award at the Wales Book of the Year 2022 and this has given us another chance to celebrate Jeremy and his extraordinary collection in real life.
We’re building an A Voice Coming From Then tour of Wales this Autumn, with events already planned at several libraries, independent bookshops and Waterstones stores across Wales this October and November.
If you run a bookshop, library, arts venue or poetry night, then please get in touch with us on email@example.com and let us know if you’d be interested in hosting an event with Jeremy Dixon as a part of this tour.
If you’re in Wales (or close by) and would like to see Jeremy reading from A Voice Coming From Then, please keep an eye on our blog and social media channels for the event dates and locations – coming soon!
A Voice Coming From Thenstarts with Jeremy Dixon’s teenage suicide attempt and expands to encompass themes of bullying, queerphobia, acceptance and support.
As well as exploring identity, the tragic effects of bullying and the impact of suicide, this collection also includes unexpected typography, collage, humour, magic, discotheques and frequent appearances from the Victorian demon, Spring-heeled Jack.
One of the Wales Book of the Year judges commented: “I really admire Jeremy’s ability to be so vulnerable. I felt like he just really put his heart and his whole self into the collection.” Congratulations to Jeremy on having this immensely personal and moving collection out in the world for a whole year.
As we head towards a bank holiday weekend and you are perhaps thinking of a walk, here, somewhat delayed, are the poems from A Pocketful of Chalk that Claire Booker read en plein-air in Seven Sisters Country Park, above Cuckmere Haven, in perfect walking weather back at the end of July.
Towards Beachy Head
Hey Diddle Diddle
Long Man Dreaming
On Beacon Hill
buy a copy of A Pocketful of Chalk from us Print eBook