Poetry Reading

Travelling Through and a kind of homecoming

Last week I found myself hearing Rhona McAdam and Tamar Yoseloff reading their work in the basement of a new bookshop and cultural hub behind Waterloo Station called Travelling Through. The event was so well attended that people sat on stairs to hear. Rhona and Tamar were joined by Sue Rose, whose work I thought excellent on this first hearing.

But personally the evening was all about seeing Rhona and Tamar. Lately I have had a strange sense of a homecoming and I’ve fallen in love with poetry, and its potential, all over again.  Happily this has led to me seeing several old friends again too.

I’d not seen and heard Tammy read for 20 years or more. Tonight she reading from a book called Formerly, a collaboration with photographer Vici MacDonald, and together they captured disappearing scraps of London in words and black and white images. Many of the sites photographed in the collection have been demolished since it was written. It is a gorgeous little book from Hercules Editions, and comes heartily recommended from me as Tamar’s work is playful, engaged, and full of energy, and Vici’s images are haunting. Great stuff. Buy the book from here.

Rhona was reading from her new book Ex-ville, and after she gave me a copy of Cartography which is the only one of Rhona’s six full collections I did not already own.

Although Rhona lived in London for over ten years, and is often moved to write about it from abroad, for me her work remains resolutely Canadian. There is a sense of space in her work that it is full of unobtrusive but difficult truths. Here is the end of one of her poem ‘I raise a glass’, addressing her unborn children:

They are one more never
in the chain of nevers
crumpling in my throat. I am the keeper
of their names, and their untold fortunes,
guardian of the wrongs I will never do them.

Rhona’s style is not showy, but I have found the quiet dignity of her voice to be compelling ever since I first read her work in 1988. In that well-worn phrase, she has her own voice, and it rings true.

Tamar Yoseloff Sue Rose & Rhona McAdam
Tamar Yoseloff, Sue Rose and Rhona McAdam
Rhona McAdam
Rhona McAdam
Poetry Readings Telltale Press

Kicking off the New Year at the Poetry Cafe

Robin covers what was a great night. Really good fun. Here’s a photo of us all too. L to R Robin, me, Rhona, Catherine and Siegfried.

January 7th

Poetry Reading

Reading in the Poetry Cafe, Weds 7th Jan 2015

Please come to this reading if you find yourself in spitting distance of central London. For, with no trace at all of post-festive wear, Telltale press and friends will burst from the blocks on Wednesday 7th January, at 7.00pm at the Poetry Cafe, 22 Betterton Street,  WC2H 9BX.

Rhona McAdam, one of the outstanding Canadian poets of her generation is launching Ex-Ville her spanking new collection. Meanwhile Catherine Smith is fresh from the triumphant launch of The New Cockaigne, published by Frogmore Press (a journey into a place of compulsory debauchery, where rivers flow with beer). Add to the evening, an exciting new talent: Siegfried Baber journeying from Bath to showcase fresh work, plus Telltale’s own Robin Houghton (who quietly bagged winning spot in The Stanza Poetry Competition a few weeks ago) as well as me too.

I usually think of January as the ghastly great Monday of the year. But this reading is making me feel weirdly positive.

London 7Jan

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.

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