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

Happy Publication Day, Vindication

It’s publication day, and here are some of the readings from  last night’s launch at the Poetry Cafe

 

 

Adrienne Silcock reading Drought, Winter 1929

 

Carrie Cohen reading Sarah Lawson’s Leda

 

Anne Macaulay reading two flamenco inspired poems, Traje de Lunares and Palmas Return

 

Carrie Cohen reading Sarah James’ Ye Olde Tavern

 

Elinor Brooks What Country, Friends…

Additional reader for Vindication Launch

I am pleased to announce that we have actor Carrie Cohen coming along to the launch (Next Wednesday, Poetry Cafe) to read a couple of poems apiece for Sarah Lawson and Sarah James, so that the audience gets a feel for the breadth of style in the book.

Carrie Cohen

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

 

Five by five launches tonight

If you aren’t coming to Out of the Brew tonight for cocktails and stories in the garden, you’ll be needing this link, to buy the book.

If you are coming, see you at 7.30. Grab a drink and head into the garden where we will be setting up to read to you.

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.

 

Poetry Book Fair readings – video and audio

We were at the Poetry Book Fair a couple of weeks ago, but it’s been so busy since I’ve not had a chance to get the recordings of the readings up.

Here they are!

Jeremy Dixon Flax, San Francisco, Pearls over Shanghai, and Tabernacle Lane from Liberty Tales

Math Jones (the end of Grithspell) from The Other Side of Sleep

Sarah James At The Hotel de la Lune

Lisa Kelly Daylight Saving Time

#Arachne5 I missed Jeremy!

I don’t know how that happened – actually I do, the live feed on Facebook of Jeremy Dixon reading In Retail (xxiii) (from The Other Side of Sleep) was getting so many plays I forgot to upload the more professionally recorded version!

Here it is…

And here is audio of him reading his Liberty Tales poems, later in the evening when I had run out of camera battery

Jeremy is joining us at The Poetry Book Fair at Conway Hall this Saturday, and will be reading from around 4.30 in the garden cafe in Red Lion Square, alongside Sarah James and Lisa Kelly.

Jeremy is on our list of people to publish over the next three years. Just got to land some funding!

Live lit events coming up

Being busy people we can’t always arrange our own events as regularly as we might like, so we are very happy when we get asked to take part in other people’s.

Next Friday 22nd September 7pm Liam Hogan is reading from Happy ending Not Guaranteed at the launch of London Writers’ Eclective at Waterstones 11 Islington Green, N1 2XH

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

On Wednesday 27th September 18.15 we are at Archway with Words at Archway Library, Hamlyn House Highgate Hill N19 5PH where Liam is reading again, alongside Katy Darby, Cherry Potts, Carolyn Eden, and Wendy Gill

On Saturday 30th September we are at Free Verse Poetry Book Fair at Conway Hall where we will have a stall all day, and are reading in the Red Lion Square garden cafe at 4.30, with Jeremy Dixon, Lisa Kelly and Sarah James.Experience a flush of openness in San Francisco, a long day on a till, an even longer night in a hotel, and time shifting about the three occupants of a house.

In October we are off to the Shoreham Word Fest with a Liberty Tales/ Songs of Protest evening at the Yacht Club on Thursday 12th at 19.30 (£10) with Elinor Brooks, Greg Page and Carrie Cohen reading poetry and Cherry & Liam reading prose, and Ian Kennedy & Sarah Lloyd and some of Vocal Chords singing. We will be teaching two very simple protest songs!

Followed on the Saturday Morning at 11am with a Children’s event in the Library, (Free) with The Old Woman From Friuli by Ghillian Potts being read by Tash Fairbanks, and a kind of demonstration of woodcut printing from Cherry Potts, because we couldn’t get hold of Ed Boxall, the illustrator of the book, to join us. No sharp objects will be let near children!

Significance #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  Sarah James whose poem and flash fiction we published in  Shortest Day, Longest Night.

Significance

Is the number five more or less significant to a writer than anyone else? Five fingers for writing. Five senses we can use to make that writing as atmospheric as possible. Five days to the working week…or, at least, there used to be.

Working hours have shifted for everyone in our always switched-on society, but writers have never really had a day off as such. As a poet and fiction writer, my subconscious is always busy –  listening for stories, rhythms, the sounds of words.

Maybe I’m trying too hard here to find symbolic links and connections to the number five because Arachne Press is celebrating its fifth birthday. But this is what language and writing are all about – evocative symbols that we use to make connection between us and other people, the page and the reader, the performance and the audience.

In any case, all of these observations filter one way or another into the writing of my poem ‘At the Hotel de la Lune’ and short story ‘Cut Short’ in the Arachne Press anthology Shortest Day Longest Night.

The man in 512 is trying to sleep
but he can hear his ex’s breath
in the air conditioning’s webs…

(From ‘At the Hotel de la Lune’)

There is a phrase ‘If the walls had ears…’ that sums up both part of my writing process and the background to ‘At the Hotel de la Lune’ in particular. The poem hangs on the passing flow of visitors through the hotel and all the stories they bring with them, if only the hotel rooms could pass these on. The beautiful thing about being a writer rather than a wall is that I not only have ears to hear but also a tongue to speak and hands for writing or typing. As writers, readers and audience, we also have something else that’s even more important – imagination.

These aren’t real stories, only stories that could be real. The hotel is a fictitious place conjured up by my mind. Each of the rooms , with its characters and its stories, is a room inside my head. Each character in this poem also has their own rooms inside their heads, with their own stories, hopes and dreams.

But who is in charge of all these rooms? Is it me as the writer/dreamer? The night porter, Billy – a potential modern-day Shakespeare (in his own head at least) – who aspires to theatrical stage stardom? Or the spiders and bugs that scuttle in the mind’s shadows and across this poem’s mundane yet nightmareish everyday stage?

Perhaps the ultimate control is actually with the reader or individual audience member – choosing how to interpret the words and scenes that they’re presented with…

“Damn, late again! I fidget with my car keys, a reflex action, as I’m tempted to bail on lunch. Sundays should be the longest day – lazy sex, coffee in bed, newspapers, novels, Netflix, not getting dressed until three, if at all… Ever since university, I’ve made it my personal quest to stretch these twenty-four hours of the weekend as far as humanly possible. But not today…”

(From ‘Cut Short’)

While ‘At the Hotel de la Lune’ is infused with a touch of A Midsummer Night’s Dream madness, my writing approach for the flash fiction ‘Cut short’ is more inspired by Shakespeare’s “All the world’s a stage,| And all the men and women merely players” (As You Like It, Act II, Scene VII) .

The family politics and matriarchal power dynamics in this short fiction are ones most likely being played out in homes across Britain even as I type this.  At one level, the plotline is a small almost invisible everyday drama. Yet it’s one that moulds the very

personalities of every character in the story and, by extension, wider society.  What can the young woman in this story do to change things? And what will happen if she does try to rock the existing structure?

Tradition and innovation

It might sound like an overly grand aim but in many ways literature as a whole is constructed on two principles brought to a head in this flash fiction – building upon the existing tradition while simultaneously reacting against and rocking it.

This brings me back not to ‘five’ but to ‘thrive’. As a poet, my most immediate response to the word ‘five’ is how close it is in sound terms to ‘thrive’. As words, these are similar yet different. As a writer what I strive for is to create pieces that are both similar (to real life, existing exemplars…) yet different (innovated, unique…). And, of course, yes, I also want my work to be strong, to thrive.

Five years of publishing is a strong stepping stone on thriving’s path. I hope this is a word that will keep resonating, both through my own writing and Arachne Press’s work ten, 15, 20 years from now.

Image: ‘Handling artistic imagination’ by S.A. Leavesley

Come to the 5th anniversary party!