Monday, 29 August 2016

Peter Hughes at Litter

There are four poems by Peter Hughes, after Giacomo Leopardi, in the latest edition of Litter. Take a look – some other very interesting stuff there too, as always.

Friday, 26 August 2016

The Forward Book of Poetry 2017

The 25th annual Forward Prize anthology is out on September 15th – it contains all the poems shortlisted for this year's prizes, plus a selection of those highly commended by the judges. Those featured include Vahni Capildeo, John Clegg, Maura Dooley, Ian Duhig, Leontia Flynn, Kathleen Jamie, Luke Kennard, William Letford, Melissa Lee-Houghton, Hannah Lowe, Roy McFarlane, Helen Mort, Alice Oswald, Denise Riley, Carol Rumens, Ian Seed, Julia Webb and Luke Wright.

Thursday, 25 August 2016

Magma 65

Issue 65 of the always excellent Magma is out now - you can find further details here.

Reviews include Kathryn Gray on Ian Duhig, Andy Willoughby and Claire Askew; Ian McEwen on Martin Stannard, Matthew Caley and Barbara Cumbers; Rob A Mackenzie on Judy Brown, Lisa Matthews and Adam Crothers; and Pippa Little on Anne-Marie Fyfe, Martin Figura and Andrew Shields.

Wednesday, 24 August 2016

Summer sale at Nine Arches Press

There's a summer sale on at Nine Arches Press, with 50% off lots of their poetry books, others available for just £3, and free postage – the offer ends on September 1st, though, so hurry. There are collections from the likes of Daniel Sluman, Tony Williams, Mario Petrucci, Jo Bell, Bobby Parker, Angela France, Richie McCaffrey and many more in there, plus several anthologies.

My own The Elephant Tests is there for £4, while my previous collection, hydrodaktulopsychicharmonica, is still available at £8.99.

After a long sojourn in the land of prose these last couple of years, I'm finally getting back to writing some poetry at the moment. Not entirely sure where it's going, but then that's half the fun, isn't it?

Monday, 22 August 2016

A Sky Full Of Birds in Bournemouth

I'll be reading from A Sky Full Of Birds (and who knows, maybe a poem or two), at Bournemouth Natural Science Society and Museum this Saturday (August 27th), at 2.30pm.

The talk takes place in the Lecture Hall of the building at 39 Christchurch Road, and there's a suggested donation of £3. There'll also be the chance to buy copies of the book, and of my poetry collections, at discount prices.

Wednesday, 17 August 2016

A Sky Full Of Birds reviewed in the Times Literary Supplement

Very pleased to have been reviewed in the latest Times Literary Supplement, alongside Mike Dilger's Nightingales In November, and very grateful to Richard Smyth for his thoughtful and generous reading of A Sky Full Of Birds.

Tuesday, 16 August 2016

Birdfair reading

I'll be reading from A Sky Full Of Birds at the British Birdwatching Fair, at the Egelton Reserve, Rutland Water, this Saturday at 9.30am. It takes place in the Author's Forum (next to the main Events Marquee), and I'll be signing books afterwards.

I'll be at Birdfair all three days, as usual – the Bird Watching Magazine stand is in its usual place in Marquee 6, so if you're there, pop by and say hello.

Saturday, 13 August 2016

A Sky Full of Birds at Wigtown Book Festival

I'm going to be reading from A Sky Full Of Birds at the Wigtown Book Festival, Dumfries and Galloway, on Thursday September 29th. The event takes place at the Main hall of the County Buildings at 1.30pm, and you can find more details, including how to book, here.

Wigtown Bay is a pretty great birdwatching spot itself, especially at that time of year, so it will be great to combine the reading with some time in the field. Might just be too early for the geese to be back on the Solway, but there should be plenty of waders going through.

Friday, 12 August 2016

Autumn anthology

It's not often I get the chance to say that a poem of mine is appearing in an anthology alongside poems and nature writing by the likes of Gilbert White, Richard Jefferies, Gerard Manley Hopkins, Patrick Kavanagh, Shelley, Tennyson, Yeats, Edward Thomas, Dylan Thomas, Thomas Hardy, Coleridge, John Clare, Ted Hughes, Helen Macdonald and Alison Brackenbury, so you'll have to excuse me being quite excited today.

My poem, about Long-eared Owls, appears in Autumn, the latest "anthology for the changing seasons", edited by Melissa Harrison, published by Elliott & Thompson, and in aid of The Wildlife Trusts, who don't always get the same high profile as some conservation organisations, but who do an incredible amount of vital work at the local level.

It's out on August 25th, so order your copy now - it's a wonderful celebration of the season.

Thursday, 11 August 2016

Provenance, by David Belbin

I've been reading David Belbin's superb Provenance: New and Collected Short Stories, which pulls together 18 stories dating back as far as the 1980s.

There's a wide variety of subject matter (one which deals with child abuse is particularly effective), but the style is uniformly realistic, economical and exact – David Belbin's particularly good at dialogue. It all means that the stories' impact rather creeps up on you – there's no heavy-handed signposting of significance, or meaning, and you're left, as the reader, with a little work to do yourself (as you should be). Take the time, though, and you'll certainly come away from the book the better for having read it, so precisely does it capture the uncertainties of contemporary life (generally with an East Midlands flavour, too, refreshingly).

It's from the always-excellent Shoestring Press - you can order a copy here.

Wednesday, 10 August 2016

Falcon, by Helen Macdonald

You probably know Helen Macdonald as the author of the best-selling H Is For Hawk, which was Costa Book of the Year 2014 and also won the Samuel Johnson Prize that year. It combined a moving memoir of the writer's loss of her father with a diary of the training of a Goshawk, the most difficult to handle of all falconers' birds.

This new release, Falcon, was originally published in 2006, but has been reissued with a new preface by Macdonald that brings it up to date. As well as looking at the use of the birds of the title in falconry, the book explores the natural history of falcons, and their role in history and myth. The end result is an absorbing, entertaining and enlightening read (well illustrated, too).

Macdonald is also, of course, a poet of note, and her collection Shaler's Fish is well worth seeking out (although it's not easy to come by). I'm glad to have snapped up a copy a good few years ago – it's a book that repays repeated readings.