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Marketing Peter Kenny The Writer Ltd. Poetry Telltale Press

Peter Kenny The…

Let nobody tell you that moving house twice in five weeks is a good thing. Murderous impulses it produces aplenty, but writing… no. I now sit in my new study, white augmented by a recently applied shade of grey-green called Sophisticated Sage (what can I say, it spoke to me). A small room, with an elevated view west over north Brighton and rows of streets gleaming in the low sun. There’s even a windmill on the horizon. A visual lottery win compared to my last place, where, if you craned your neck, there was a choice of a square of sky or a guano-spattered brick wall.

ECCE-HOMOIn fact my new view gives me the heady feeling feeling I get looking at the Caspar David Friedrich cover on my old copy of Nietzsche’s Ecce Homo.

As the exhaustion abates, I discover I am happy. I am usually an optimistic person, but two years of property and legal stuff worked my nerve in some ways far more than a full-blooded crisis. Bleak House I understand you now: how appalling the sense of time, money and hope slipping away can be when nothing ever seems to happen except for Kafakesque correspondence, tetchily requesting installation details about the property’s non-existent ‘bulls-eye windows’, for example.

So what’s new? Well when not scraping walls of biscuit-coloured bobbly wallpaper, packing and unpacking boxes, mainly I have been copying my friend Robin Houghton and hoping her sheer professionalism will rub off on me. She and I are working closely on Telltale Press, a poet’s collective, and there will be more news in the new year. Meanwhile I understand The Nightwork is about to pick up a few reviews. Its first review, however,  is here at Sabotage, with the writer somewhat underwhelmed by my efforts.

On a more elevated note there will be a reading in London on Wednesday 7th January. My old friend Rhona McAdam will be gracing us with her poetic presence too, armed with her new book, her sixth, Ex-Ville. There will also be the frankly steamy Catherine Smith, shining new talent Siegfried Baber as well as Robin and I. I’m really looking forward to it.

I am also no longer just a humble Peter Kenny. For various reasons I have morphed into Peter Kenny The Writer Ltd. This all seems fine and dandy till my bank sent a bank card with my business embossed in plastic as Peter Kenny The.  I guess what comes after the The is the big thing.  I’m in the mood to prove it.

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Poetry Telltale Press The Nightwork

Catharsis in the Poetry Cafe

At last a moment to reflect on the Telltale three week mini-tour, which ended on October 1st at the Poetry Cafe with Robin Houghton and I reading with the excellent Rishi Dastidar and Anja Konig. I enjoyed all three readings immensely, not least being able to sit back and savour the work of poets like Robin, Rishi and Anja.

Rishi’s work is fascinating. I think it extremely accomplished with a lovely fluency and flow, and included some deft wrong footing and surprising turns which made it a treat to listen to. Definitely one to watch. I also loved Anja’s work, as she read from her new pamphlet Advice for an Only Child. There was a beguilingly light touch about her work. I’d love to hear her read again see some of her work here.

It has been about twenty years since I have read this regularly. And over the course of the last week the reason why I stopped doing readings and engaging with the ‘poetry world’ seems obvious. It is to do with the death of a close friend Tim Gallagher.

Tim and I used to collaborate lots, which culminated in us staging plays together at the Water Rats Theatre in London. He was like an infuriatingly talented older brother and as his death loomed (at the age of 37) I spent a year or so trying to help him as best I could, in getting a book of his produced, helping him to arrange performances from which he would literally climb out of his hospital bed to perform and so on. Somehow my great sadness at his death and that of his wife Rosa, who survived him by six months and whose hand I was holding when she died, weirdly blocked me from performing and promoting my own work.

Now it seems obvious that on some level I felt guilty to have survived when Tim and Rosa had not. The result was a big roadblock of guilt, that meant that although I still wrote poetry, performing it and promoting it felt weirdly disloyal. I think I am a fairly self-aware person but it has taken me years to unpick this. And it now seems no coincidence that three of the poems in The Nightwork  (Cicada, Postcard from Ithaca, and After death, at dawn) are about Tim.

For Robin and I the launch of Telltale is naturally an exciting thing to do. But personally it was a huge catharsis. Proof, if any were needed, that just getting on with what is important to you can be unexpectedly beneficial.

Below Robin Houghton, Anja Konig, Rishi Dastidar and myself in the poetry cafe.

Robin Houghton
Robin Houghton
Anja König
Anja Konig
Rishi Dastidar
Rishi Dastidar
Peter Kenny
Peter Kenny

 

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Poetry Telltale Press The Nightwork

Telltale in Hove

The Telltale tour rolls on. This week in the very smart interior of The Cameron Gallery in Hove. Some gorgeous visual art in there, and well worth a visit. Joining Robin Houghton and I this week were Catherine Smith, and John McCullough.

Despite me having to borrow Nick’s glasses having left my at home, I felt less nervy and was able to thoroughly enjoy Catherine, John and Robin’s readings – three poets at the top of their game. Listening properly I had a different view of Catherine’s work after this reading, and one poem’s imagery of sewing people’s lips up has unnerved me for days afterwards. John’s work on first encounter was scintillating. A poem about Tintin in Brighton could have been custom written for my mate Anton, who came to his first ever poetry reading having steadily ridiculed poetry for the two decades we’ve been friends. He came away curiously converted.

Robin and I are also hugely grateful to our respective partners Nick and Lorraine for being behind the scenes stalwarts. Next stop: London’s Poetry Cafe on Wednesday 1st October at 7:30.  Can’t wait.

Below slightly weird light/colour conditions in the gallery for iPhone snaps. But below, Catherine Smith, Robin Houghton, John McCullough and I.

Catherine Smith
Catherine Smith
Robin Houghton
Robin Houghton
John McCullough
John McCullough
Peter Kenny
Peter Kenny
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Telltale Press The Nightwork

Telltale launches ‘The Nightwork’ in Lewes

Just a swifty… Last night was The Telltale Press launch for Robin Houghton’s The Great Vowel Shift and my The Nightwork.  I felt lucky to be reading from my new pamphlet in the company of the excellent Catherine Smith and Robin Houghton with a attentive and supportive audience in Lewes, which is a town full of writers.

I can’t wait now for the next Telltale reading on Wednesday 24th September, at Cameron Contemporary Art, Victoria Grove, Second Avenue BN3 2LJ at 7:30. This time Catherine Smith, Robin Houghton and I are joined by John McCullough. Should be another great night – it is a guest-only beano so email publish@telltalepress.co.uk if you’d like to come along.

My wife Lorraine took these snaps of me mid-flow…. and good to know that they conform to the norm for such photos, i.e. a bloke with his mouth open.

IMG_0085 IMG_0095

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Poetry Telltale Press The Nightwork

‘The Nightwork’ launch, and Poetry from Telltale Press & friends

A hectic time for Robin Houghton and myself is upcoming, as Telltale Press starts its inexorable rise to poetic world domination with three showcase readings. I launch my pamphlet The Nightwork and Robin will showcase her just-published, The Great Vowel Shift – and we will be joined by some amazing poets over the three shows.

The first two events are invitation-only. For your invite to the Lewes or Brighton and Hove event simply email publish@telltalepress.co.uk or contact me through this site – and I’ll be sure you’re invited.

  •  Wednedsay 17th September, 7.30pm The Hive, 66 High Street Lewes BN7 1XG featuring Catherine Smith, Abegail Morley, Robin Houghton and Peter Kenny.
  • Wednesday 24th September 7.30pm Cameron Contemporary Art, 1 Victoria Grove, Second Avenue, Hove BN3 2LJ featuring Catherine Smith, John McCullough, Robin Houghton and Peter Kenny.

As well as it being the first launch of The Nightwork it is also an opportunity to meet Telltale’s resident cover artist Hannah Clare there will also be drinks, nibbles and music.

The final reading is in London’s Covent Garden.

  • Wednesday 1st October 2014, 7.30pm The Poetry Cafe, 22 Betterton St, London WC2 9BX all are welcome to this reading which also features Rishi Dastidar and Anja Konig – as well as Robin and I. See below.

Telltale invite