Happy National Poetry Day 2018!

To celebrate National Poetry Day, here are some more poems from the Vindication Launch on September 26th.

(you can buy the book direct from us, or from your favourite bookshop

Carrie Cohen reading Sarah Lawson‘s Driving up to Renfrew

 

Anne Macaulay reading the title poem, Vindication

 

Carrie Cohen reading Sarah JamesWaking Woman

 

Elinor Brooks reads Consulto et Audacter

 

Adrienne Silcock reads Bees

Launch Info for Vindication

We are launching Vindication on Wednesday 26th September 19:00-21:00

at the Poetry Café 22 Betterton Street London WC2H 9BX

with readings from Jill Sharp, Elinor Brooks, Adrienne Silcock, and Anne Macaulay

The Sarah’s (James and Lawson) can’t join us, but we hope their friends will come anyway!

Everyone Welcome, but please RSVP!

Vindication is part of Arachne Press’ celebration of #WomenVote100, Poems from Sarah James, Sarah Lawson, Jill Sharp, Elinor Brooks, Adrienne Silcock and Anne Macaulay.

A showcase for poets published previously by Arachne Press in our anthologies The Other Side of Sleep, Shortest Day Longest Night and Liberty Tales, given an opportunity to explore a wider perspective with up to 10 poems each, wild, audacious, silly, and deeply serious.

On the subject of poetry – we will be at FREE VERSE Poetry Book Fair

Saturday 22 September 2018, 11:00 am5:00 pm Senate House. London

 

Year of the woman

Today is International Women’s Day, in the centenary year of partial suffrage for women.

So an important day for women, but, you know, women are women every day, and there’s still plenty of work to be done, on all sorts of fronts, so celebrate and then roll up your sleeves…

Our small contribution is to do what we do anyway, but do more of it. We are publishing a number of books over the next nine months and most (not all) will be by women.

April
Kate Foley Poetry Collection: A Gift of Rivers

Kate is reading from the collection at Gay’s the Word on 5th April and we are investigating a launch in Amsterdam.

May
Cathy Bryant Poetry Collection: Erratics.

Cathy and Kate are taking part in a seminar on diversity and inclusivity in the poetry world at London Book Fair on 10th April at 17:30 at the ‘Poet’s Corner’

June
The final installment of The Naming of Brook Storyteller: Wolftalker arrives from Ghillian Potts.


Also in June we have the official launch of Dusk which will also kick off thinking about 2018’s Solstice Shorts festival, Dawn!

July Five by Five: 5 short stories each by Katy Darby, Joan Taylor-Rowan, Cassandra Passarelli, Sarah James, Helen Morris

August
We are teaming up with Liars’ League for our official #womensvote100 anthology, We/She featuring stories about women by women. Final line up yet to be finalised but expect stories from:
Carolyn Eden, Katy Darby, Elizabeth Hopkinson, Elisabeth Simon, Elizabeth Stott, Fiona Salter, Ilora Choudhury, J. A. Hopper, Arike Oke, Jennifer Rickard, Jenny Ramsay, Lucy Ribchester, Peng Shepherd, Rosalind Stopps, Joanne L. M. Williams, Swati Khurana, Uschi Gatward.

September
Vindication: an anthology of up to 10 poems each from
Sarah James, Sarah Lawson, Jill Sharp, Elinor Brooks, Adrienne Silcock and Anne Macaulay

November
We are commemorating the end of WWI with poetry and short story anthology An Outbreak of Peace.

 

Dusk: Video – Ynys Mon – The Dogs of Delhi

Trefor Stockwell reads The Dogs of Delhi by Jill Sharp

BSL interpreted by Ffranses Wharton-Faraut

The unpublished poems and stories from these events are in the forthcoming anthology Dusk.

You can buy the book, and the ebook only from us now! Not in shops until June

Dusk: Poets already published by Arachne Press

Inevitably, when you make a call out for submissions you get a fair few from people you’ve already worked with. Here are links to the poet-page for poets we have already worked with. Strangely, most of them will be read at Ynys Mon.

Jeremy

Jeremy Dixon Driving To Blackpool To Visit My Sister, Ynys Mon

Carl Griffin Sea Wedding, Ynys Mon

Joy Howard Factory, Carlisle, Ellon, Lancaster

Lisa

Lisa Kelly Match Girl, Greenwich

Alison Lock Crow Haibun, Carlisle, Ellon, Rossendale

Ness Owen Female Blackbird Sings, Ynys Mon

Jill Sharp  The Dogs Of Delhi, Ynys Mon (previously published, so won’t be in the book)

 

Anniversaries, war and diaries #Arachne5

As part of our Arachne 5th Anniversary celebrations, we’ve asked all of our authors to come up with a blog, that might have something to do with writing or anniversaries. Some of them responded! This one is from Jill Sharp whose poems we published in The Other Side of Sleep and Shortest Day, Longest Night.

August 17th 1944

‘There are moments when I would give anything just to get into a car and drive home, saying I was fed up with the whole show and they could look for someone else to fill my job. The making of plans is child’s play as compared with putting them into execution.’

 

It may be the 50th anniversary of the Summer of Love, but for me it’s been a summer of war, reading the edited WWII diaries of Alan Brooke. Brooke masterminded the very tricky retreat of the British Expeditionary Force to Dunkirk, and then oversaw Home Defence during 1940 when a Nazi invasion seemed imminent. For the last four and a half years of the war, he was at Churchill’s right hand day and (often) night, advising on military strategy as Chief of the Imperial General Staff.

The diary was written as a daily note to his wife back in Hampshire, about events at the decision-making hub in London, and became a safety-valve for a man experiencing almost unbearable stress and responsibility. Reading it, you’re closer to the uncertainty, fear and anxiety of the lived experience than any detached historical account can provide. It demonstrates the value of an immediate record, both as a historical source and also as an insight into the individual human psyche during momentous events.

I’ve been deeply impressed by Brooke – a man who managed to negotiate tricky human situations as well as military ones. It was a revelation to me how much skill was needed to steer Churchill and our American allies, let alone to devise overall military strategy.

Because the US had the greater number of allied forces in 1944, Brooke was passed over as Commander of Overlord in favour of Eisenhower. In his diary, he expresses deep frustration and concern at the American general’s often hesitant strategy, feeling the war in Europe could and should have been concluded that autumn, with a very different outcome for the political map of Europe.

March 5th 1945

‘Breakfast with Ike and another long talk with him. There is no doubt that he is a most attractive personality and, at the same time, a very, very limited brain from a strategic point of view… He only sees the worst side of Monty and cannot appreciate the better side… I see trouble ahead before too long.’

Brooke may have received all the official honours due to him, becoming Field Marshal Lord Alanbrooke. But this modest man, whose name, I feel, should stand as high as Nelson’s in our national consciousness, had to sell his beloved collection of bird books after the war, when his military pension was insufficient to support his family.

I’m grateful that Brooke finally agreed to make public what is a very private and personal document. So many similar texts are destroyed by their authors, out of consideration for their own reputations as well as others’. But what a unique form of writing a diary is, when it’s done with such non-self-regarding honesty.

Come to the 5th anniversary party!

Shortest Day, Longest Night on Tour: Bath – Video

We had a great night in Bath, with our join Liberty Tales/Shortest Day, Longest Night outing,with a very enthusiastic crowd, and readings from, in particular, Nick Rawlinson who not only read his own Into the Blue (Liberty Tales), but helped out Pippa Gladhill with Mercury and tackled David MathewsMouse.  Nick felt the story was so intense it didn’t need the distraction of him performing and sat with his back to the camera! And Jill Sharp (On Reflection), was not happy to be filmed so we just have sound for each of these.

Mouse:

On Reflection:

Also reading from Shortest Day, Longest Night and very happy to be filmed, was Cherry Potts (The Midwinter Wife)

Buy the book: Shortest Day, Longest Night

Help us crowdfund for the rest of the tour and the next books

catch the tour:

Tomorrow! Sat 14/01/2017 3pm Wivenhoe Library, Wivenhoe, Essex.
Stories: Rosalind Stopps, Cherry Potts, David Steward, Katy Darby, Poem: Lisa Kelly

Wednesday 7pm 18/01/2017 Brockley Deli The Story Sessions: Winter Tales Poems from Karina Lutz and Megan E Freeman (read by Annalie Wilson) Stories from Rosalind Stopps, plus other non-Arachne authors.

The Liberty Tales section of the Bath event will be posted later, watch this space.

Solstice Shorts Video: On Reflection

On Reflection, a poem by Jill Sharp, read by Ray Newe and BSL interpreted by Paul Michaels at Solstice Shorts Festival 2016: Shortest Day 21st December 2016 at Made in Greenwich Gallery London #ACEFunded

 

Catch us on tour

TONIGHT!!! Wednesday 11/01/2017 7pm Lewisham Library, Lewisham High Street SE13 6LG
Poems: Lisa Kelly, A J Akoto. Stories: David Steward, Cherry Potts, Liam Hogan

Sat 14/01/2017 3pm  Wivenhoe Library Essex
Stories: Rosalind Stopps, Cherry Potts, David Steward, Katy Darby, Poem: Lisa Kelly

Buy the book: Shortest Day, Longest Night

Help us crowdfund for the rest of the tour and the next books

Arachne Press at Swindon Poetry Festival

We have a little cluster of poets in the South West, and we like to give everyone an opportunity to get out and read their work, so this year we asked the lovely people at Swindon Poetry Festival if we could come and read with them, and they said, of course! We’ve managed to persuade a couple of poets from further afield to join us, and we are going to have a lovely time, and hope you will come along and enjoy it too.

Jeremy DixonKate FoleyElinor Brooks

Cherry Potts copyright Tom Dingley 2014

bernadette howley

Jill Sharp

SUNDAY 4/10/15 3pm to 4:30pm
Central Library Regent Circus, Swindon SN1 1QG

Cherry Potts presents: The Other Side of Sleep
Following a short discussion between the poets, the editor, and the audience on what makes a narrative poem, some of the contributors to The Other Side of Sleep will read their work. Each tells a story – sometimes in a straightforward purposeful way, sometimes in a roundabout way, but somewhere there is a thread of narrative woven through. Narrative, but by no means traditional poems, by contemporary voices Kate Foley, Bernie Howley, Elinor Brooks, Jeremy Dixon and Jill Sharp. Kate will also be reading part of the title (narrative) poem from her VERY SOON to be published collection, The Don’t Touch Garden.

Tickets £5 plus booking fee from http://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/festival-program-2015-tickets-17467712398 we are near the bottom of the page!

Reviews of The Other Side of Sleep

Review from SOUTH 51 by D A Prince

This is not, despite the title, a book of poems about dreams but an anthol­ogy – twenty-five poets, twenty-five poems – of narrative poems. Some tell their stories in sequences, others let the story run unbroken, but all are al­lowed a generous length – not always to the poem’s advantage. Tighter edit­ing and attention to structure would have benefited several. I gave up with two, when neither language nor nar­rative could hold my interest. Perhaps the best way to read this anthology is as an exercise in what makes longer poems effective – control of detail, variety in language, shifts in tone. Even in long poems less is more. Jennifer A. McGowan’s ‘Troy: Seven Voices’ varies tone and form for its first-person angles on the effects of war. An­drew McCallum’s Hamnavoe’ (a hom­age to George Mackay Brown) has the most effective opening – ‘listen/ I want to tell you something ordinary’. In ‘Lir’ Angela France succeeds with the son­net corona, fourteen sonnets where the last line of each sonnet is reinvented as the first of the succeeding sonnet, returning finally to the opening line. Brian Johnstone’s sequence ‘Robinson’ is outstanding in every way, running to eighteen pages and never a word too long. Taking the life and poems of Weldon Kees (the American poet who vanished from the Golden Gate Bridge in 1955) as a starting point, Johnstone imagines Robinson surviving a leap from ‘a bridge some miles from the city/ known to all’ and slipping on a series of new identities in his subse­quent travels – Mexico, the Atlantic, the Aegean – writing, smoking, a mys­tery to others, always a solitary who is searching for himself. Whatever name he adopts he remains ‘Robinson’. This poem makes the whole anthology worth searching out.

And from Anne Stewart in Artemis:

The Other Side of Sleep is titled for the Long Poem category winner in Second Light’s 2014 competition. The poet is Kate Foley, whose more recent collections are narratives. The poem tells the story of “Certified Dream Walker: / Death Coach”, Tracy, who is “shrewd as a cat in a bush / full of birds” and her client Basil, who is sceptical but has, nevertheless, sought her out. “Truculence” says Foley, was “a word coined for him.” Basil is within months of dying. Tracy is to mentor him through the process. The characters are well-drawn and their interaction lively. Dream sequences are packed with imagery and walk that (familiar to edgy dreamers) line between strangeness and sense. Most of the poems in the selection are utterly engaging and well-wrought. Jill Sharp’s On the Hunt with Mr Actaeon has us shadowing Actaeon and his dog, Percy (“I can’t have Percy bothering the corgis / so I tie him up outside”) in a very modern update to the myth – and very nicely done “She’s responding to my gaze of wild desire / with such Olympian disdain and cruelty / I gasp and flee”. Bernie Howley – one of several new names to me in the selection – handles her ‘statement and response’ poem I Have No Feet expertly, keeping the two distinct voices (aloof, teacherly, for statements and galvanised, personal for responses) and styles (line break stanzas for the statements and unbroken stanzas for responses) consistent and convincing: “One really should stand poised. // But I grip the cliff wall wishing with fervour that my fingers ended in suction pads”. Brian Johnstone’s Robinson, with 6 titled poems and numbered sections within each, is a joy. p a morbid’s The Black Light Engineer has us lost with the speaker in the vast and empty darkness of (whether literally or metaphorically) space. In a longer review I’d quote from several other poems which impressed me and I will certainly revisit and enjoy again. There were 2 pieces which I felt let the side down badly. Other than that I found it an interesting, entertaining selection and was glad to see an anthology focussing on this much-neglected genre.

Buy a copy