We’ve counted the votes, disqualified the people voting for their own work (tsk, tsk, did you think we wouldn’t check??) and can now announce that (subject to contract) the folowing poems and stories that will join this year’s winners, in the Solstice Shorts 2022 ‘best of’ ebook Hiatus, are:
After Before by Mandy Macdonald After Sun, Before the Stars by Jane Aldous Against Daylight Saving by Gabriel Noel (This year’s competition winner) At the Hotel de la Lune by Sarah James Beach Clean by Ness Owen Fire at Midday by Susan Cartwright-Smith Fisherman’s Daughter by Claire Booker In Between Dog by Pippa Gladhill Jackdaw by Elaine Hughes Mock Posh & Tatters by Moira Quinn Pause by Karen Pierce (This year’s competition winner) Rewilding by Jackie Taylor Sir Thomas Wyatt’s Catby Elinor Brooks Stone Baby by Sarah Evans The Surgeon’s Mate by Maria Kyle Volunteer by Jane McLaughlin Wednesday Afternoon by David Mathews What He Doesn’t Know by Frances Gapper Yes, Twilight by Math Jones
Where there was a dead heat (which happened several times) I’ve included both. We’ll announce the winner of the prize draw shortly – going to experiment with the cat doing the draw…
We are delighted to let you know that we have a grant confirmed from Arts Council England, which will allow us to hold our 10th Anniversary online festival, of workshops and readings, and an exhibition of cover art at Stephen Lawrence Gallery in Greenwich, both in January 2023, and to publish the following poetry titles:
It is Arachne poet Jane Aldous’ birthday today. She is seventy, and to celebrate she has spent the last year writing 70 poems. We will be publishing these next year, on International Women’s Day, 8th March.
To get you in the mood here is Jane’s ‘birth announcement’ poem from her debut collection, Let Out the Djinn.
Telegram from Doris Court Nursing Home
Greetings! Here she is your chick, your slick of blood, skin, bone. Here they are, your ma and pa, they’re terrified, she’s sore, he thinks he’s going to drop you. Congratulations. Love, Min and Avis. Stop.
Following hot on the heels of National Poetry Day, Arachne Press is delighted to announce we will be at Gloucester Poetry Festival later this month with a number of the poets we have published over the last 9 years. Join us for our showcase online to hear these poets read from their work, and a brief Q&A afterwards. Readings from (in order of appearance):
The event is free, but ticketed. You can register here. If you can only use a voice line to dial in, please see the Gloucester Poetry Festival page for this event (scroll to the bottom of the page), here.
to celebrate we have bundles of 3 books by the authors available until just after the event – take a look
Jane: I’d love to know about your first piece of published writing?
Jeremy: My first experience of poetry as an adult was from being involved in the Bristol poetry scene, which was extremely active in the 1990s. A friend secretly entered me for a weekly slam competition and then told me that as I was always talking about how I wanted to write poetry, I now had one whole week to compose and perform two poems. I made it through the first round of the competition and was awarded a Bristol Poetry Slam pen (which I still own, and I still know the compere who gave it to me). So leading on from that my earliest pieces of published writing are two (not those first two) poems included in the 270 page Bristol Poetry Slam Anthology, published by the Pimps of the Alphabet in 1998. One of the published poems was about bumping into a man in the park late at night and the other was about being called names because I was a Take That fan, so as you can see the path of my poetry was determined at a very early stage!
Jane: What’s your favourite poem in IN RETAIL and why?
Jeremy: I just want to say how grateful I am to Cherry for showing such faith in my work and for agreeing to publish my debut poetry collection IN RETAIL. It came out last year and my relationship to the published book is still evolving, once the poems become a physical object they seems to take on a life of their own. I see the book as a complete work in it’s own right and so every poem is contributing it’s part and needs to be there. However in the process of going out (or now, staying in) and reading the poems in public there are a few that have grown very dear to me due to the way they seem to bloom and change in front of an audience. A great example of this is 00/10 in which every couplet begins with the line; This is a customer announcement. When I read the poem I love the repetition that this line allows me, meaning I can change how I perform this set of words nine times in terms of timing and emphasis and voice. I have also realised that the poem and delivery prompts a much more humorous response from an audience than I ever imagined it contained when I was writing it down and then having it printed on the page. This poem has made me push my goals when reading and to see that there are many more possibilities open to me as a performer of my own work.
Jane: Is the Coronavirus crisis having an impact on your writing?
Jeremy: Initially when the lockdown began I found myself making lots of lists of things to do and then getting involved in lots of tidying up around the flat. I seemed to be able to do a task if it was physical, but doing anything that involved any kind of mental or creative concentration was impossible. I also found that I could only really do one thing a day and then I would be totally wiped out and have no energy. This started to change when I moved teaching my physical Yoga classes onto the online Zoom platform. The discipline of Yoga helped restore my energy levels and the classes gave me a tiny routine and structure to the week and slowly the desire and ability to write began to return. At first it was through revising and editing existing work but now I have actually begun some new poems. I am also attending a lot of Zoom poetry readings, lectures and workshops and again this has given support and an impetus to my creativity.
Jane: What writing project would you like to fulfill long term?
Jeremy: The long-term writing project I am working on at the moment is a much more personal project then IN RETAIL, but it actually has it’s beginning in one of the book’s poems, 00/13. This poem was the first time I had successfully (in my own terms) written about being bullied as a teenager and the process of writing it and then publishing the book has given me the confidence to develop this idea further. I am calling the current work-in-progress A VOICE COMING FROM HIM and it will deal with the long-lasting and ongoing effect on a gay person’s life of experiencing childhood homophobia, bullying and in my case, a teenage suicide attempt. Now that all sounds really heavy and depressing, and in some ways it has to be, but in my opinion the topics involved need to addressed and acknowledged. However I also want the book to be hopeful and optimistic and to reflect (as does IN RETAIL) my interests as a maker of artists’ books. So in that respect I’m looking to include Found poems, health records, photographs, statistics etc to give the book more a sense of a whole life or lives. Some of these new poems already been published and performed and have met with positive responses, so I feel I am on the right track with the project.
Jane: What person or object would you most like to collaborate with creatively?
Jeremy: What a very timely question! I have just sent out to a local festival a proposal for a collaborative event between myself and a friend who works at Cardiff University as a Senior Assurance Advisor. We have known each other since the mid-1980s and last year we each published our first books. Our collaboration would look at our experiences since then as a female BAME writer and as a male queer poet, from dealing with labels and categorisation, underrepresentation and how it can be addressed, to creating safe spaces through creative work and the unexpected outcomes that result from publication. We are still in the very early planning stages but are aiming to create a joint performance of both of our work, trying to include different types of media and to develop new collaborative writing especially for it.
You can buy IN RETAIL and all other books mentioned, from our Webshop
If you would prefer eBooks, all these books are available from your usual retailer. we recommend Hive for ePub.
You can see Jeremy perform poems from IN RETAIL here:
With the booktrade suffering, we wanted to make it as easy for you to get lovely things to read as possible, so we have worked very hard to get these in the vitual shops for you. Thanks to Inpress for organising conversions and uploading!
Phew, a bit late in the week, but let’s fly the flag here, before I go back to the emergecy fund application to ACE, refreshed with reminding myself why I do this.
We publish everyone. (Except people who aren’t writers, obviously).
But my first publications as a writer were with a lesbian press, and while we aren’t a lesbian press we are a lesbian-owned press, and we can still use that visibility.
So in celebration, here are our lesbian authors and poets, together with the books they are in, all of which are available from us direct, and from intrepid bookshops, and as ebooks from your usual supplier. There are probably more, but if they don’t tell me, I can’t celebrate them.