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Poetry Telltale Press

A bit of bardic business

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Peter Kenny, Siegfried Baber, Helen Fletcher, Martin Malone (and the back of Robin Houghton’s head)

Quite a bit of bardic business this week. On Wednesday I did a Telltale and Friends reading with Martin Mallone a top poet who also edits The Interpreter’s House and finished the evening by accidentally setting his poetry file on fire. He is currently writing about the first world war, and there was some laughter as he remarked about his incendiary work as the room filled with the smell of burnt plastic. With Martin was Helen Fletcher who travelled down from Carlisle and gave us beautifully-read deft and delicate work. While Siegfried Baber stepped in at the last moment to cover for a poet who couldn’t make it. He is the next Telltale Poet, and will be launching his collection When love came to the cartoon kid shortly in Bath. In his mid-twenties, Siegfried’s work is fresh, and assured beyond his years. I can only guess at what heights he will reach poetically.

The night was hosted by Robin Houghton, and the Lewes Arms was a really cheery venue. Catherine Smith told me a while ago, that if you throw a stone in Lewes you will hit a writer. The audience was filled with some dauntingly excellent poets, not least Catherine herself. My nerves not helped by making the schoolboy error of reading out a brand new poem. It was about the The Brontës and foxes, and was supposed to be funny, but was heard in pin-drop silence.

Then, a bit panicked, I performed an old poem of mine called Someone-else’s patch, which is a monologue of someone who is paranoid about having a double. It was originally published in the sadly now-defunct Iron, which was for some time my favourite magazine. I teed it up by saying that it was written by the younger, better-looking slimmer Peter Kenny and I have suspicions about him, playing with the double idea. I did it from memory, having relearned it last week. Robin has been thinking about memorising her work, and she wrote about it here in her blog. I’d forgotten how freeing not having to read your work out can be.

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Me performing from memory

And talking of blogs, Roy Marshall who, like Robin, as well as being a highly-regarded poet has an extremely well-regarded blog to boot. Flatteringly enough, he did a post featuring me.  And in Roy’s next post he featured Siegfried.

Today (Sunday 19th April) I have a poem Hooked on the Ink Sweat and Tears site.  Really chuffed by this, as Helen Ivory manages to round up some amazing work. It was written ruefully recalling how I spent many childhood summers slaughtering as many fish as I could, and this poem is a kind of atonement. By coincidence, I have a poem on the Guernsey Poets website today, called A Glasshouse, also written about Guernsey.

Categories
Music Poetry Telltale Press

A stocktake

Thanks to hefting a sack of wet sand just before New Year, January was a trapped nerve. Weeks of sleepless and painful nights left me groggy. In one fanboy moment I tweeted (it seemed right) Pascale Petit about her fabulous poem Ortolan about her father eating a songbird. She told me that it was written after a sleepless night in Paris. I wish insomnia made me anywhere near as creative. Anyhow, with January swept under the carpet this is a snapshot what I’m up to, and who I’m up to it with.

  • Board Games a rather surprising entry this. But I find that I am long-range adviser to Amanda Milne, doyenne of New Zealand’s board game inventors at SchilMil, who is planning to set a game on an island well known to me.
  • Music I have begun a new collaboration with Helen Russell, a Hove based composer, who got in touch after hearing the Clameur CD I did with Matt Pollard. My project with Helen is in its infancy, but it is a longer piece of music with orchestra and singers. We are basing the piece on a story by Jose Saramago. This is the first time I have worked with an existing text as a springboard but, now I have adjusted to the idea, I’m quite enjoying the structure this provides. It is exciting to sit at the piano listening to Helen play some of her emerging beautiful fragments and sketches. I’ve already begun to supply some words, and I’m fascinated to see how this project unfolds.
  • Peter Kenny The Writer Ltd. Already this year I have been working on  IBS and swine health projects. Annoyingly other more glamorous projects are about to go live, but I cannot yet speak of them due to commercial sensitivity. In the could-do-better department, however, I am also working to improve my marketing blog.
  • Poetry Under the benign influence of Robin Houghton, I am being more methodical about sending my poems out for publication. There was room for improvement. But after a few weeks I’ve already had an acceptance already from Helen Ivory at Ink Sweat & Tears. I am also now firmly part of Telltale Poet’s Collective with Robin Houghton. We are about to go into Borg mode and assimilate new poets. Further readings and publications will be announced. I’m also consumed by a passion for reading poetry again. Poets I’ve read in January included (in no particular order) Pascale Petit, David Harsent, Rhona McAdam, Tamar Yoseloff, Ester Jansma, Jorie Graham, Catherine Smith, Kathryn Simmonds, John McCullough, Stephen Bone, Tara Bergin, and Tua Forsström.
  • Prose I have vowed this year to finish my children’s novel featuring a character called Skelton Yawngrave. I have been writing this off and on for about eight years. It must end now, mustn’t it?  Could this be the year Skelton Yawngrave emerges from the shadows?
Skelton Yawngrave
Skelton Yawngrave