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a writer's life Blogging Poetry Publishing Telltale Press Theatre

A new play, poetry and other news…

I have been a bit AWOL from cyberspace this summer. A blissful two weeks in the south of France with my wife. I had been using Duolingo to try to refresh my French before I went. Not that the French I was trying to refresh was any good in the first place. However I tried to speak to people. Sometimes it worked, other times I would launch my français and watch people flinch as if in physical pain. New for me was attempting to read poetry in French. It helps if you are fairly familiar with the poetry in translation. So I am re-reading Léopold Sédar Senghor and Aimé Césaire, poets who were founders of Négritude in 1930s France. It has been a struggle and I must keep referring to translations for words I don’t get. But I’m getting a better feel for the poems, and it’s an improving experience.

Returning from France, my alter ego Peter Kenny the Writer Ltd has been hard at it, with two pitches won, and clients with whom I hope some work to be proud of is possible.

New play to be staged this December – We Three Kings

As for the plays, A Glass of Nothing will be staged again by Brighton Blonde Productions this December at the Marlborough Theatre, and old stomping ground for me and Beth Symons. More ‘deets’ here soon.

The show will be of two plays: a slightly tightened A Glass of Nothing, (fresh from its Brighton Fringe success) plus a new short play We Three Kings that I am writing now. Also a comedy, in an edgy, existential, post modern kind of way. Loads of laughs in it I hope.

Poets and poetry

I’m having the dissonant experience of writing what I think of as some of my best work, but going through a spate of rejections. To quote Wordsworth ‘The poet, gentle creature as he is…’ [no female poets obvs.] ‘… Hath, like the Lover, his unruly times; His fits when he is neither sick nor well, Though no distress be near him but his own Unmanageable thoughts.’  A glut of rejections and I get if not quite unmanageable thoughts, certainly the odd gloom.

More happily, I went last weekend to Free Verse: Poetry Book Fair where I was on the Telltale Press stand, with fellow Telltale poets Sarah Barnsley  and Jess Mookherjee. It was the launch of Jess’s pamphlet The Swell, which is pretty exceptional. I also bumped into Charlotte Gann, whose book Noir is hot of the press. I greatly admire Charlotte’s work so I snapped up my copy right away. By far the most exciting poet I heard read was Judy Brown, reading from her book Crowd Sensations. More about Crowd Sensations, The Swell, Noir, and John McCullough‘s stonking new book Spacecraft, here at a later date.

Below a snap of me and Sarah Barnsley getting slightly overexcited at the poetry book fair. Then one of  Jess Mookherjee, with Sarah. Sarah edited Jess’s pamphlet The Swell.

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Categories
Performance Poetry Readings Telltale Press

Off the bench

Forgot to mention here that I was a last minute substitute for a poorly Siegfried Baber on a recent Telltale and Friends night at Telltale’s old stomping ground of the Poetry Cafe. A quick reshuffle meant that Robin Houghton introduced the event instead of me. Uncharacteristically I was not really in the mood for doing a reading, but having done so I was very pleased I did.

John McCullough read from his new book Spacecraft which is wonderful, and I will write something about it on this site soon. Sarah Barnsley read some extraordinary new and playful poems. Jess Mookherjee, the newest Telltale recruit and gave us a preview of her new pamphlet Swell, due out this Autumn. It’s lovely work, sensitive and direct.

All participants had to hare off afterwards due to the unspeakable Southern Trains debacle. Jess headed off to Tunbridge Wells, while Sara, John, Robin and I got the train to Brighton. Unusually for poets after the meeting, stone cold sober but the journey home passed in a flash with such good company.

Below left to right, Sarah Barnsley, John McCullough, Jess Mookherjee and me. Photo taken by Robin.

july-16-readers-800

Robin has long held an ambition to film Telltale performances, but for all kinds of reasons this has not worked particularly well.  During the evening Robin took a film of me reading Postcard from Ithaca. Seeing this film below has already had one positive outcome. I have started a frowny new diet.

Categories
Poetry Readings Telltale Press

Telltale & Friends reading 7th July

Just a quick note on here about a Telltale & Friends reading coming soon. I shall be hosting the evening. A great bill… First, and hotter than a sizzling hot thing, is John McCullough right now. He’s a long-term Telltale friend, and his spanking new collection Spacecraft is already going down a storm. On the night we’ll also showcase Telltale’s latest recruit Jess Mookherjee, whose collection Telltale will be launching later this year. You’ll also find on the bill are fabulous Telltale stars Sarah Barnsley (The Fire Station) and Siegfried Baber (When Love Came To The Cartoon Kid). 

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Categories
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