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Poetry Publishing

TELLTALE PRESS at the Free Verse Poetry Book Fair – Conway Hall, London Saturday 26th September

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Yay! Telltale Press will be represented at the Free Verse Poetry Book Fair this weekend. Come to our stand say howdy to Robin Houghton, Siegfried Baber, Sarah Barnsley and myself. We’ll be armed with revolutionary pamphlets and plenty of chat. Plus you have to grab hold of Sarah Barnsley’s spanking new ‘The Fire Station’ as is it is released into the wild for the first time.

I had a blast last year there as an attendee, sloping about with Robin and feeling the poetry buzz – amazing publications, elegant design, live readings and much  bumping into old friends. I feel proud that just one year later Telltale is now a robust little press able to take its place at the fair too. See you there!

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Marketing Poetry Travel

Chad, Telltale Press and some poetry acceptances

I am off to Chad. In less than a month I shall be going to what is, according to the United Nations human development report 2011 is the fifth poorest nation on earth. I will be part of a small team to fact-find and shoot film for fundraising activities. I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t a bit twitchy about the idea at first (Chad being roughly three thousand miles outside my comfort zone) but this rare opportunity to do something good in the world has to be seized. My trepidation is rapidly being replaced by curiosity and excitement at the opportunity to grow as a writer and a person.

Telltale Press news… The Poetry Book Fair is happening on Saturday 26th in The Conway Hall London. I’m really proud to be on the Telltale stand (it’ll be our first time and we are sharing a stand with the lovely folks at The Frogmore Press) with Robin Houghton, Siegfried Baber and Sarah Barnsley.

Sarah’s spanking new Telltale pamphlet, The Fire Station, is about to released into the wild, and having read it I can tell you it is wonderful.

My own poems have had a couple of cheering acceptances lately. From Under the Radar magazine another with The Island Review which is a beautiful site visually and in content. While the excellent poetry anthology edited by Josephine Corcoran called And Other Poems will also feature a poem later this year. No doubt I shall be bragging about these more when they see the light of day.

Chad

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Poetry Reading Telltale Press

Telltale poets with Tamar Yoseloff and Sue Rose

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Robin Houghton, Peter Kenny, Sarah Barnsley, Tamar Yoseloff and Sue Rose

So another cheery Telltale night. First our special guests… Sue Rose, who I have had a bit of a poetic crush on after hearing her read from The Cost of Keys earlier this year was warm and fantastic. Tamar Yoseloff read from two books, both collaborations with artists. The excellent Formerly made with photographer Vici MacDonald, Her latest book Nowheres is a collaboration with artist David Harker whose fine exhibition Drawing the Line was, handily enough, running at the Poetry Cafe. David’s fine pencil drawings are gorgeous.

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Carriageway by David Harker

Telltale’s newest recruit is Sarah Barnsley, who gave an excellently assured reading of excerpts from her pamphlet, The Fire Station, forthcoming this year. Sarah has a particular affinity for US modernist poetry, but there is something absolutely English about her robust and deft writing.

Having been lucky enough to hear Robin Houghton read lots lately, I have watched her transform into an exceptional reader. A sequence of poems about working in a male-dominated corporation was wonderful.  I am increasingly aware of  ‘fit subjects for poetry’ writing about subjects that are already somehow ‘poetic’. These poems of Robin’s drag poetry from corporate glass offices and where attractions, put-downs and the gamut of human emotions occur in the corporate canteen or the business hotel rather than against some picturesque sunset.

Laura Donnelly was over from New York, although from the mid-west, kindly read a couple of outstanding poems from her phone.

As for myself… I did some poems from memory, which I am finding increasingly freeing. But annoyingly I am making the same mistakes again. The last couple of readings I risked untried material before I’m convinced of its quality. I do this because I think the reading should have a little edge to it, but in fact what happens in reality is that while I’m reading it, I can feel my confidence seeping away. The next reading I do is going to be bullet proof.

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Performance Poetry Reading

A quick humblebrag – reading tonight 18th June

A quick humblebrag… I’m on tonight at the Poetry Cafe at 7.00pm as a part of a Telltale Press and Friends reading, with new Telltale recruit Sarah Barnsley, plus the brilliant Tamar Yoseloff who I’ve not read with since the 90s, Sue Rose whose new book I love plus multiple award-winning Robin Houghton. The Poetry Cafe is here.

Please come along if you can.

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Uncategorized

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.

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Categories
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.

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Poetry Readings Telltale Press

Reading in Lewes on 15 April 15

Really excited to be doing this reading in Lewes, and to meet Martin Malone, editor of The Interpreter’s House, Helen Fletcher who is trekking from Carlisle to share her poetry with us and Ryan Whatley  an exciting new poet whose work Robin Houghton and I read recently and really liked. A bonus is that it that the reading is in The Lewes Arms, which is an utterly excellent pub.

Lewes reading

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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
Categories
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

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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.