Blowing my own trumpet Book Launch Poetry Telltale Press

Launching Truths: A Telltale Press Anthology

7:30 Wednesday 25th April
Venue The John Harvey Tavern
Bear Yard (off Cliffe High Street),
Lewes BN7 2AN.


So just a quick note here about the launch of TRUTHS – A Telltale Press Anthology, edited by Sarah Barnsley, Robin Houghton, and myself.  Expect the anthology’s launch to contain readings, a few drinks and much optimism. Frankly this Anthology is far better than I had dared hoped — and it looks beautiful too, with cover art by Hannah Clare.

It is the fruition of conversations Sarah, Robin and I had last Summer about life in a post truth age. Ever since Plato banished poets from his Republic, poetry has had a complex relationship to truth. Poems often arise out of an honest attempt to explore and engage with the world and they express truths that are uncomfortable, because poets have always been in the business of confronting shallow thinking with far a deeper truth.

We have drawn on friends of Telltale to create an enviable list of contributors: Siegfried Baber / Sarah Barnsley / Michael Bartholomew-Biggs / Clare Best / Stephen Bone / Judy Brown / Rishi Dastidar / Helen Fletcher / Charlotte Gann / Robin Houghton / Peter Kenny / Martin Malone / John McCullough / Jessica Mookherjee / Abegail Morley / Katrina Naomi / E.E. Nobbs / Jeremy Page / Abigail Parry / Sue Rose / Catherine Smith / Janet Sutherland / Louise Tondeur / Marion Tracy / Rebecca Violet White.

For more, simply read the Telltale Press blog about it here.

I can’t wait. If you’re able to join us, please do.


When Love Came To The Cartoon Kid

Last night in Bath saw the official launch of When Love Came to the Cartoon Kid, the Telltale Press pamphlet from Siegfried Baber. Success has many fathers, so I’m delighted to point out that I had a small part, alongside Robin Houghton and Telltale Press, in the launch of what is a extremely assured debut by a writer in his mid twenties.

Siegfried’s work is often preoccupied with America. Such as Texas Boy At The Funeral of His Mother with its juxtaposition of a description of a sweltering funeral where ‘Distant relatives got naked and searched for/ a sprinkler to dance under’ while the bereaved son watches the ‘air above her grave/tremble and blur like the roof of an oven.’

In the title poem When Love Came To The Cartoon Kid, the cartoonish responses don’t occur ‘his boxing glove heart didn’t burst/clean through his chest and his mouth didn’t clang open like a cash register’ but in these denials a greater love is suggested. The cartoon floorboards are fallen through. In Crisis On Infinite Earths a  female superhero has been supplanted by someone younger, and is ‘wondering why Clark Kent hasn’t aged/a single fucking day’.

Another strand in Siegfried work, cuts below the cartoon surface to good old sex and death. Rabbit involves us in a skinning, ‘yanking it free from those overalls/of brown fur’, while the poem Milk is an eroticised encounter at a bus stop, with the I of the poem pouring milk over the naked body of the woman sitting next to him.

So simply do yourself a favour and get a copy here right now.

Below another excellent cover by Hannah Clare.


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 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

Poetry The Nightwork

The Nightwork

Satisfaction, vulnerability and a strange sense of shedding an old skin. It’s not every day you see your name on a new cover.

I collected a box of author’s copies of The Nightwork this weekend. Thumbing through the pages looking at the poems it contained, each one arising from (though not necessarily about) a particular episode of my life.  It’s a curious feeling to see these strings of words turned into a physical object.  I look at the pamphlet like a lizard examining its discarded papery skin. A curiously good feeling.

One of the really happy things about the collection is that I asked Rhona McAdam, whose poetry I have been reading for decades, to write a blurb for me. She did me proud. “In The Nightwork, Peter Kenny revisits the traditional hunting grounds of poetry – art, myth philosophy, history – and returns with fresh poetic plunder. His material ranges from the personal to the fanciful as he deftly lures us into an original poetic world with rich and supple language. An overdue collection from this fine poet.”

I called the collection The Nightwork, for the non-amazing reason that lots of the poems have a nocturnal flavour and were written at night. But also because some its recurring emotions – guilt, sadness, powerlessness and suppressed anger – seem to be the kind of things that plague you waking up in the middle of the night.

I am delighted with the way this wee collection turned out. With its cool cover from Hannah Clare, The Nightwork will be launched at readings alongside Robin Houghton, and her excellent The Great Vowel Shift in Lewes, Brighton and London soon. More details here when these dates are finalised.


Poetry The Nightwork

The Nightwork cover illustration

Just received the cover illustration by Hannah Clare for my forthcoming Telltale Press pamphlet The Nightwork. And I am really pleased with it. It is deceptively simple, but the more I look at the more I notice in it.

I wish I’d actually finished neurotically finalising the selection of the poems inside it. Luckily my old friend, the excellent Canadian poet Rhona McAdam has agreed to offer me some adult supervision.

I’m calling it The Nightwork for two simple reasons. The poems I’ve earmarked are quite dark and dreamlike and — even more prosaically — most of the poems in it were written at night. Bird imagery often crops up in my poems, which Hannah has nicely reflected too.


The Nightwork