Poetry Road Trip – Join us on the A470

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This spring and summer we’re taking A470: Poems for the Road / Cerddi’r Ffordd on the road! Join us at one of the bilingual events below, as we visit libraries and bookshops up and down the A470 (and surrounding areas…).

  • Saturday, 28th May: Cardiff Central Library Hub, 3 – 4.30pm
    Join us at the library for readings from Kevin Mills, Tracey Rhys, Mike Jenkins, Nicholas McGaughey, Morgan Owen, Christina Thatcher, Jeremy Dixon and Sian Northey. The readings will be followed by a Q and A session.
    Book your free ticket now.

  • Monday, 30th May: Storyville Books, Pontypridd, 6pm
    Nicholas McGaughey, Jeremy Dixon, Stephen Payne and Sîon Aled will read from A470 in an evening of poetry, with music and nibbles too! Book your free ticket now.

  • Tuesday, 31st May: Siop Lyfrau’r Hen Bost, Blaenau Ffestiniog, 7pm
    Simon Chandler, Sara Louise Wheeler, Haf Llewelyn, Lowri Williams and Sian Northey will read from A470 – join us for poetry and conversation in Blaenau Ffestiniog. Free to attend – find the shop here.

  • Wednesday, 1st June: Pen’rallt Gallery Bookshop, Machynlleth, 6.30pm
    Pulling up outside Senedd-Dy to stretch their legs and catch their breath, editors Sian Northey and Ness Owen will talk about how A470 came about, the process of creating a bilingual book and the translation decisions they had to make, reading some of their favourite poems from the book on the way. Poet Sara Louise Wheeler and translator Sandra Evans will also join the conversation. Find out more and book your advance ticket.

  • Thursday, 30 June: The National Library of Wales, Aberystwyth, 7pm
    Join us at The National Library of Wales for an evening of bilingual poetry readings and conversation with several of the poets included in A470. Book your free ticket now.

  • Sunday, 24th July: The Poetry Pharmacy, Bishop’s Castle, 2pm (tbc)
    Meet some A470 poets at the world’s first walk-in Poetry Pharmacy. More details to come.

You can track all our events on our interactive A470 map too.

See you on the road! If you’d like more information about any of these events, please email outreach@arachnepress.com

 

 

Popup Event: Plotting for the Future

Plotting for the Future: Survival Renewal and Optimism

Bottleworks Bookshop, 8 Riverside Walk, Byker, Newcastle, NE6 1LX

24th May 2022 19:00-21:00

Free

Join local authors, short fiction writer Lily Peters, and poet Rob Walton, as they read from their recent Arachne Press Publications, Accidental Flowers and This Poem Here.   They will talk about how their very different writing (Science Fiction and poetry) connect in their themes of navigating the personal and political through an imagined, but horribly likely, ecological disaster and an all too real pandemic, to make room for optimism for the future… and an accidental connection through allotments.

Join in with Q&A and an opportunity to write your own 100 word story including at least one of the words Survival, Renewal & Optimism – or a variant of them.

Books will be available to buy at the event – if you can’t make it, head to our shop

Thanks to our sales partners Inpress for setting up this popup bookshop and inviting us to come along.

Arachne Press at Lambeth Readers and Writers Festival

We’re pleased to announce that we will be at Lambeth Readers and Writers Festival on Tuesday 17 May with a panel event based on Where We Find Ourselves: Poems and Stories of Maps and Mapping from UK Writers of the Global Majority.

Join us at Clapham Library for readings and a Q & A discussion with:

Ngoma Bishop

Marina Sánchez

Nikita Chadha

Farhana Khalique

Rick Dove

Emily Abdeni-Holman

L Kiew

The event is free, but ticketed.  Book your tickets here.

You will be able to buy a copy of Where We Find Ourselves at the event, or you can buy one from our webshop now.

70 poems for a 70th birthday

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.

Jane Aldous

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.

Happy Birthday, Jane!

Anniversary party plans and survey

Still thinking about our 10th Anniversary and how to celebrate…

We are planning a festival-come-party/celebration-come-conference type thing [FUNDING PERMITTING] which will include panel discussions, workshops and OF COURSE, readings from all our books. We’d like our authors, readers and collaborators to contribute ideas on this so there are a rash of surveys below, to help us choose the lineup. Vote for your favourite poem or story in each of the books. There is a prize draw of a selection of books (of your choice!) as well, if you give us an email address to communicate with you.

story/poem mix anthologies survey
Stories only survey
poems only survey

Solstice Shorts Festival survey This one is slightly different, as it will also lead to a ‘best of’ ebook to replace this year’s festival, so you get more than one vote. With the 10th Anniversary festival we can’t manage both, and our ambitious plan for the next Solstice Shorts required a weekend, so 2024 it is! There is also going to be a competition to choose one additional story and poem to add to the ebook.

We will deal with forthcoming books separately, and our YA books will get a separate showcase, probably in the morning.

Julian is disappointed that he does not get a vote.

 

 

 

#Arachne10 In Retail Jeremy Dixon

Yesterday was the third anniversary of Jeremy Dixon’s first pamphlet, In Retail. to celebrate, here is a video of Jeremy reading (along with the audience) from one of the first poems from the collection that he shared with us, published in The Other Side of Sleep, and read here at our 5th anniversay celbrations!

The combination of our enthusiasm for LGBTQ writing and of this being LGBT History Month, and our wily marketing plans means there are going to be a few more LGBT posts this week.

Watch this space, for this and other anniversary news.

You can vote for your favourite poem from this collection, and others VERY soon, to help us plan the programme for our anniversary party.

Writing the Diaspora, A Conversation

Join Arachne Press poets to talk about diaspora experience and the power and significance of creative response

Tickets free/donation/with book

Chaired by Nikita Chadha, our panel will include Alex Williams, Gita Ralleigh, Seni Seneviratne, Des Mannay, Marina Sánchez and Catherine Okoronkwo. The panel will consider questions such as: How important is your diaspora identity to your writing? and As a writer, where do you feel like you belong?

This is an open event – we want to hear your voices too and there will be plenty of break-out and Q and A time, to encourage you to share your thoughts, reflections and experiences – and, if you would like, to write about them.

Different breakout rooms will allow time for shared conversation and deeper exploration of the ideas raised by the panel or provide an opportunity to attend a short writing session/ workshop.

This is an online event on Zoom. We will use auto captions.

 

Time and Tide- Clydebank- audio

In the tidying up of the website, it has come to our attention that some of the Time and Tide material from Solstice Shorts 2019 performances never got uploaded – I blame lockdown! Starting to edit the video from this year reminded me to search it out. Result!

Here are the Clydebank performances, in audio. Still looking for where I hid the Maryport recordings.

You can still buy the book (please do, it spent lock down in closed bookshops, and we sold almost none.)

Performers

Beth Frieden
Stefana Margarint
Seonaid Stevenson
Carla Woodburn
Jane Aldous

Arrival by Valerie Bence

Casting A Daughter Adrift by Emma Lee

Church Mary Sounds the Sea by Jenny Mitchell

Clearance by Christine Ritchie

Crossing the Black Water by Reshma Ruia

False Light by John Richardson

Fisherman’s Daughter by Claire Booker

Half A Dozen Oranges by Mandy Macdonald

How Women Came to Tristan Da Cunha by Claire Booker

Points of Interest by Olivia Dawson

Sea Lessons by Ness Owen

The Arctic Diaries Bird Wife by Melissa Davies

The Arctic Diaries Halibut by Melissa Davies

The Watchers by Elizabeth Parker

We dig the pig by Angel Warwick

Stories

The Fisherman’s Wife by Linda McMullen

Listen, Noah’s Wife by Roppotucha Greenberg

Words From the Brink publication day!

Today is publication day for Words from the Brink our Climate Fiction and Poetry collection for Solstice Shorts 2021. We’ve been sending books out early to make sure they arrive in time for Christmas, and there is still time to do that, so feel free to place an order!

We will be launching the book at the (online) festival on 21st December at 6.30 with readings from actors of the whole book, plus original music, a quick hello for Komal Madar, the artist whose painting we used for our cover, and a couple of open mic sessions too.  Get your Tickets (there are some free ones…)

If you would like to take part in the open mic please contact us and let us know, you can do that from the ticket site.

Solstice Shorts Festival is Time-themed, and with its origins in the importance of marking the turn of the year, the shortest day.

In ancient times, this was a moment for holding of breath as the sun paused and seemed to wobble in the sky – will it ever get light again? What must we do to convince it to do so? And from this came the tradition of burning the yule log, and bringing evergreens into the house.

To get you in the mood, here is a piece of music, May the Long-Time Sun, from poet Robert René Galván, who gives a new meaning to the word multi-talented with this three part performance. Robert René recorded this for last Solstice, so very appropriate!

And there was also the question, What can we do while we wait? 

Tell stories! Make music! Recite poetry! Make art!

We will have been doing that for eight years come this Solstice; and when we meet in real life we do the other essential Solstice thing – we feast.

Solstice Cake

Of course we can’t quite manage that online. So we thought we’d make serving suggestions and let you create your own feast to eat while you watch and listen! (you can get the recipe for Solstice Cake as part of your ticket if you want.)

Watch out on social media for recipe suggestions and imaginary cookery book titles. Follow #SolsticeFeast, and join in with your own favourites.

Of course, this year we have our minds on the brink – the danger our planet is in. There is a bit of me thinking that feasting is a wildly inappropriate bit of fiddling while Rome burns. But that is another thing about the Solstice Feast – we acknowledge the hard times coming; it is the feast before the famine, the last blow out before the tightening of the belt (how many more clichés can I get into this paragraph??) So we will feast, but we will also mark the cost with our stories and poems.

 

 

Favourite memories of Solstice Shorts

Solstice Shorts – our annual celebration of original poetry, stories and music for the shortest day – is rapidly approaching. We asked Solstice regular, poet and writer Rob Walton to share some memories of the festival, and accompanying anthologies, from years gone by. This year’s theme is Words from the Brink – writing and music in response to the climate crisis.

Rob Walton: I count myself lucky to have been included in more than one of the Solstice Shorts books, and fortunate indeed to have had my work performed/read by others. It was a great thrill to hear ‘Words on Paper’, a story of which I’m very fond, read aloud in Carlisle. It’s a story that’s close to my heart, and I’m chuffed it was recorded for posterity and also appeared in print.

Ben Brinicombe reads Words on Paper by Rob Walton, BSL translation by Karen Edmondson

I’ve definitely enjoyed seeing some of my more, er interesting pieces reach a range of audiences – I wonder what the crowds (I’m guessing) in Lisbon and Maryport made of ‘The Dowager Duchess of Berwick-upon-Tweed May or May Be Bottling It’? I’ve written micro-fictions shorter than that title!

This year’s offering, ‘Mr King Has Decided to Pursue Other Avenues’, is inspired by a long-standing commitment to environmental change and, possibly, that time I had to leave my primary school class behind on the beach trip when I was stung by a weaver fish. These things stay lodged somewhere and appear, transformed, years later…

Read an extract from ‘Mr King Has Decided to Pursue Other Avenues’:

It was a liberal and progressive school – some would say slack and lackadaisical – and when Mr King said he wanted to stay at the beach at the end of the trip, they wished him well and happily set off without him. It was almost time for the long holiday, and when he wasn’t there to take registration the following morning they arranged temporary cover, and later replaced him with somebody younger with a similar name and the same tattooist. (Mr Prince would be pleased to get the job because Hokusai’s expertly inked The Great Wave off Kanagawa, which covered all of his back, had been very expensive. And quite painful. Also, he knew it would be a star turn on a staff night out.

Words from the Brink is available to pre-order from our online shop.

Buy your tickets for Solstice Shorts 2021 on Eventbrite.