Lockdown Interviews: No16 Jeremy Dixon, Interviewed by Jane Aldous

Jeremy Dixon (In Retail, The Other Side of Sleep, Liberty Tales, Dusk) interviewed by fellow poet Jane Aldous (Let Out the Djinn, Dusk, An Outbreak of Peace, Noon, Time and Tide)

Jane Aldous reading

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:

00/10

https://youtu.be/SzNgu1tskaE

 

00/13

https://youtu.be/BFjipnCmNdI 

Follow Jeremy on Twitter @HazardPressUK

Poetry goes Eeeeee

ALL our poetry books are now available as eBooks!

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!

Find these gorgeous words as Kindles on Amazon

and ePub on Hive

In case you were wondering, all our fiction is already available as ebooks. We aren’t set up to sell them ourselves, yet. Working on it.

Anthologies The Other Side of Sleep, and Vindication: poems from six women poets

With Paper for Feet Jennifer A McGowan

A Gift of Rivers, and The Don’t Touch Garden, Kate Foley

Foraging , Joy Howard

Erratics, Cathy Bryant

In Retail, Jeremy Dixon

The Knotsman, Math Jones

Mamiaith, Ness Owen

Let out the Djinn, Jane Aldous

The Significance of a Dress, Emma Lee.

 

Lesbian Visibility Week

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.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Lockdown Interviews No2 Sarah James interviews Jane Aldous

Second in a series of author-to-author interviews to distract them, and you, from lockdown torpor.

Sarah James

Sarah James

Sarah James (Vindication, Shortest Day Longest Night) aka S.A.Leavesey interviews fellow poet, Jane Aldous (Let Out the Djinn, Noon, An Outbreak of Peace, Time and Tide, Dusk)

Jane aldous

Jane Aldous

Sarah:   What are the main motivations and influences for your writing?

Jane:     Like you, I started writing very early in life, having been influenced and inspired by diverse writers such as Shakespeare, Brecht, Patten, Keats. I write because it feels like the best form of play I can think of. No-one tells me to do it, it’s just down to me. But writing is also the hardest thing I choose to do, and it gives me huge pleasure and pain!
My influences these days are many and varied and include many poets and writers whose books are crammed onto my bookshelves including Kathleen Jamie, Jacob Polley, Elizabeth Bishop, Robin Robertson, Tomas Transtromer and Tove Jansson. But I’m also influenced by nature, artists, musicians, architecture and archaeology in very eclectic and spontaneous ways.

Sarah:   What is your own favourite poem in your collection Let Out the Djinn and why?

Jane:     I think it has to be Doggerland.  Doggerland fascinates me hugely, and when I first read about this ancient land beneath the North Sea, my imagination became fired up and I knew I wanted to attempt a poem from the perspective of a hunter-gatherer, that tried to do justice to the immensity of the place and its eventual fate. There’s still more I’d like to write about Doggerland, its story is not just ancient history, there are many modern resonances too, such as climate change and mass extinctions.

Sarah:   You also have work in Time and Tide. Are water and time big themes in your poetry generally? If so, how and why do they fascinate you? If not, how did you find a way into the theme?

Jane:     I messed about in boats as a kid and when I moved up to Scotland over 30 years ago, I said I wanted to live beside the sea. Well in a way I do. Although we live in the suburbs of Edinburgh, the Firth of Forth is never far away and under normal circumstances, we go to the East Lothian coast and the NW Highlands very regularly. Water does feature in some of my poems such as Dave off in Five, With Meme on Mellon Udrigle Beach and Eel Ghazal, and whether it’s a river or loch, waterfall or incoming tide, I’m always drawn to watch. But I’m also aware of the theme of time in my poetry. Many of my poems are set in the past and are concerned with loss, love, death and memory. However, I think I made heavy weather about writing my Time and Tide poem. In fact I wrote two poems. The first based on a Clearance clachan or hamlet beside the sea in West Ardnamurchan was rejected. The second was based on a fictional character, a female ghost, who had once lived in 18th Century Leith, Edinburgh’s main port. I wrote it to accompany an embarrassingly bad film poem (quite rightly rejected). Thankfully the poem In the Shadows, on the Shore, Leith made it into the anthology.

 Sarah:  If you could change something, or learn one new thing in terms of how you work, or what you write about, what would it be and why?

Jane:     I’d love to be able to write and present a film poem. I think my best poems are the ones that began as a strong visual experience and I’d love to be able to learn about the process of making a poem come alive in a visual sense as well as on the page and in the mind.

Sarah:   What are your favourite reading, writing and performance spots?

Jane:  I love writing on our kitchen table. Although our kitchen is quite a busy space, with cooking and washing happening plus our cat bouncing around, I love it. I can look out onto the garden, listen to the radio and I’m happy!
I love reading in the kitchen too, but I also have a very comfortable chair in the lounge which is perfect for settling down with a good book.
In the summer the garden bench is a brilliant place to muse or read or write surrounded by birdsong and bumblebees.
In my very limited experience of performance, I’d say that The Lighthouse Bookshop, Edinburgh where I launched my debut collection Let out the Djinn and read at an open mic is a lovely welcoming space.

You can buy all the books mentioned from our webshop, we will post them out to you.

If you would prefer eBooks, all these books are available from your usual retailer. we recommend Hive for ePub.

 

Lockdown Interviews: no1 – Jane Aldous interviews Sarah James

First in a series of author-to-author interviews to distract them, and you, from lockdown torpor.

Jane aldous

Jane Aldous (Let Out the Djinn, Noon, An Outbreak of Peace, Time and Tide, Dusk)

Sarah James

interviews Sarah James (Vindication, Shortest Day Longest Night, Five by Five) aka S.A.Leavesey

Jane:      I’d love to know about your first piece of published writing.

Sarah:   Ooh, that’s a tough one because I don’t actually know what or when it was! Primary school age, I used to make my own newspapers – handwriting out actual existing articles. So, no proper copyright training in place, lol, but also only ever one copy! My mum was a great encourager and, age 6 or 7, I had a poem commended, or something like that, in a children’s poetry competition. I don’t remember much about the poem except that it was about a flea in a dressing gown, with rhymes on hopping and shopping! Of course, I realise now that all entries would have been commended… My first published pieces were probably in the school magazine, and I also had work in the national Early Times (I think that’s what it was called) children’s newspaper and a local newspaper that had a section for young writers. My mum did hand me a pile of clippings a few years ago, but I’ve not been brave enough to look at them, the likely cringe factor is too high!

Jane:      How do you write? Do you always write in the same place and the same time of day, or does it happen more spontaneously?

 Sarah:   I write wherever I am when I want to or have to write. If I can, I prefer to write poetry on paper first, and only type this up after a few redrafts. With fiction or articles, I tend to jot notes on paper but then go straight to my laptop to put them together. I’ve no set routines. I like some structure, particularly commissions and themed or dead-lined opportunities. When I don’t have an externally imposed/suggested framework, then I create my own by looking for prompts, themed submissions etc. In terms of totally spontaneous inspiration, I tend to need to be in a head-space that allows procrastination, a certain level of relaxation in which something will arise either to beat boredom or meet the inner impulse to create that is a very strong motivator for me.

Jane:      Is the coronavirus crisis having an impact on your writing or other creative work?

Sarah:   Like most writers, I’ve been hit financially by lost work. I’m busier with communication with other writers at the moment, and also sorting photo-poem combinations for some stunning Arachne poets’ work for the journal LitWorld2 that I run. I’ve been working too on poetryfilms to promote already published work, like Model Child for Arachne Press, and in collaboration with a film student. I had to write a new poetry narrative script for the latter, and I’ve really enjoyed doing this, but that’s about my only new work. I live with low level anxiety most of the time, but my anxiety levels, like many writers’ right now, are much higher than usual, which makes it harder to concentrate or find the right headspace to create. The worry, sorrow and grief aren’t things I’ve ever experienced on this scale before. Keeping busy is a healthy distraction though, which is why I’ve been busy working on/with things already written. The community spirit, help and hope being expressed worldwide are also incredibly uplifting, so I have a lot of gratitude too. I think this is increased even more by working in collaboration, as shared projects are always great fun and energy-giving!

Jane:      What writing or other creative project would you like to fulfil long term?

Sarah:   Gosh, another hard one. I have various manuscripts – several poetry collections, a flash novella and a memoir – that I’d like to see published eventually. But I’d prefer to let each have full time, attention and space individually to breathe, so I’ve no firm goals of what when, so to speak. Although I do find structure and focus extremely useful in writing, I also believe in leaving room for spontaneity and serendipity. The poetry-play version of my Forward Prize highly commended collection The Magnetic Diaries, wasn’t something that I’d set out to do in advance. It was an opportunity that came up, I went for it and it was really amazing! I’d have missed out on that completely if I’d had too rigid a framework of other goals set, because I wouldn’t have had room to be open to new possibilities.

Jane:      What person or object would you like to collaborate with?

 Sarah:    This isn’t something I’ve ever thought of! What a wonderful question, thank you. The possibilities are endless… I’m not really a ‘big celebrities’ kind of person. I guess I’d really love to meet the Dalai Lama, but can’t imagine that in terms of an artistic collaboration. I think one of the beautiful things about collaboration is the unexpected, the spontaneity, the resulting combination that none of those involved could ever have conceived of beforehand. So, for me, dream collaborations would probably be about working with people who are very open to what happens along the process, where I get to learn about and experience new art-forms, and where we share similar ideas and expectations in terms of commitment to the project and what to do with resulting collaboration once it is finished.

You can buy all the (Arachne) books mentioned from our webshop, we will post them out to you.

If you would prefer eBooks, all these books are available from your usual retailer. we recommend Hive for ePub.

 

Let Out the Djinn launch videos 2

Videos from the launch of Let Out the Djinn, debut poetry collection by Jane Aldous, at Lighthouse Radical bookshop, Edinburgh, with readings from Jane herself, and friends Lindy Barbour and Simon Maclaren

part 2: from prehistory to space…

Lindy Barbour reads  Doggerland

Jane reads A Dead Lamb in Polbain

Simon Maclaren reads Crow’s Eye

Lindy Barbour reads Eel Ghazal

Jane reads Goodbye Voyager 1

Let Out the Djinn launch videos 1

Videos from the launch of Let Out the Djinn, debut poetry collection by Jane Aldous, at Lighthouse Radical bookshop, Edinburgh, with readings from Jane herself, and friends Lindy Barbour and Simon Maclaren

part 1: Family and identity

Simon Maclaren reads Dave Off in Five – inspired by Jane’s Dad’s war time diary.

Jane reads Let Out the Djinn, the title poem – the title came first!

Jane reads With Meme at Mellon Urdigle Beach

Lindy Barbour reads Death Waiting

Jane reads In the New Leaf Co-op

 

more tomorrow…

National Coming Out Day 2019

11th November is National Coming Out Day. We like to tie in our LGBT titles to this day when we can. (Or history month in February!)

Yesterday we published Let Out the Djinn, by Jane Aldous, and tomorrow we are launching this delightful debut collection of poems in Edinburgh.

Not in Edinburgh? buy a copy here!

 

Three years ago we published Outcome by Tom Dingley to coincide with Coming Out Day, and we have now permanently reducing the price of this book of 80 photographic portraits buy your copy here for £15

Other LGBT poetry titles:

In Retail front cover copy In Retail, poems from Jeremy Dixon (just going into a second print)

9781909208537 A Gift of Rivers, Kate Foley

dont touch garden books The Don’t Touch Garden, Kate Foley

foraging-front-cover-copy Foraging, Joy Howard

Bryant, Cathy, Erratics, front cover Erratics, Cathy Bryant

LGBT Fiction

The Dowry Blade FRONT Cover final The Dowry Blade, Cherry Potts

CPotts_MosaicofAir front Mosaic of Air, Cherry Potts

 

 

Happy Publication day, Jane Aldous

Jane aldous jane aldous front cover

Happy Publication day, to Jane Aldous, as her debut poetry collection, Let out the Djinn hits the streets.

See you at Lighthouse Radical Bookshop in Edinburgh at 5pm on Saturday

for the launch!

2019-10-09 15.31.10

Cake in preparation

Order your copy direct

National Poetry Day 2019 – Truth

It’s National Poetry Day, and the theme this year is Truth.

To celebrate, here is a poem from Jane Aldous’s  debut poetry collection, Let Out the Djinn,  which is (let) out next week, on 10th October 2019.

 

How it was

Parcelled up in waistcoat and gun belt,
I killed every adult at point blank range.

I wandered out in sea-fog and kissed
a girl in a concrete shelter.

I searched the Bible and dictionaries
for someone like me.

With acne raging I bought chocolates
for the groundkeeper’s daughter.

I wrote to Woman’s Own.
Miss Crocker, the Chemistry teacher

played cricket for England, wore black leathers
and rode a 1500cc but for a while,

my heart belonged to Mrs Dunball
our English teacher.

I wondered if Miss Crocker and Miss Mulvaney
lived together and if they did, did anyone mind?

One day I told the groundkeeper’s daughter
I loved her and she said don’t be silly.

After that I kissed girls in draughty flats, cars,
and on sticky dance floors.

I read The Well of Loneliness as a rite of passage.
I had words for who I was and didn’t like them.

I didn’t like the poisonous letter, being sent
for a healing, or reading Miss A loves Miss D

chalked on the blackboard, or my mother shouting
It’s all about bed isn’t it! or Clause 28.

I never wanted a name to describe myself,
never wanted to feel: less than, unentitled.

And now looking back, my ghosts seem like
standing stones, silent crows,

they’ve done their worst, they’re only stories
now.

Jane aldousjane aldous front cover

Join us at the launch, with readings and cake, at Lighthouse bookshop in Edinburgh at 5pm on the 12th October.