- I've said it before but I think it warrants repeating: Likestarlings is really brilliant. The Livestarlings bash down in London a couple of weeks ago was fantastic, not just for the range of poets, but for the underpinning shift in attentions. LK is using collaboration as a way of shifting attention away from traditional expectations of what a poem is supposed to 'do' (e.g. provide an epiphany about walking through woods, create an emotional effect, give 'meaning'). So even with a great range of poems on show, everyone was on the edge of their seat, waiting to hear how each poet in each chain responded. Likestarlings has also progressed into photography of late, where the reading shift is equally effective. And they've redesigned the website! Treats or what?
- Have been greatly enjoying Absurda's Interview Project - a David Lynch gig. As you'll see from that link, Lynch is still as mad as a bag of spiders. Utter genius. Reminiscent in some ways of David Greenberger's Duplex Planet. There's omething inherently good about the decisions underpinning the interviews and the way they're conducted makes it clear Lynch is on the side of the angels. It's not just in the dialogue, the techniques are incredibly well-controlled, a return to 'The Straight Story' vibe. I like how he starts the audio from the next cut before the previous visuals have ended. Also the weird visual intersperses - like in 'The Straight Story' where he used shots of harvests, here you get weird introductory captures of the locale, like random JCBs rolling about in the rain. Yes, this almost warrants a full on 'visual poetry' blog, but I'm feeling lazy, so it sits in the news.
- It's official: Rupert Loydell, busiest man in poetry. He has a chapbook, Lost in the Slipstream, out with Original Plus; anthology, Troubles Swapped for Something Fresh with Salt; and a new Shearsman collection, Boombox. At risk of becoming Rupert's PR machine, we're hoping to run a few pieces from Lost in the Slipstream some time over summer. Stride magazine also has some interesting new stuff up, even if I do say so myself.
- The Poetry Society & Carol Ann Duffy have announced what they'll do with the Laureateship stipend: The Ted Hughes Award for New Work in Poetry.
"The £5000 prize will be awarded to a UK poet, working in any form, who has made the most exciting contribution to poetry in that year.
Eligible works include, but are not limited to, poetry collections (for adults or children), individual published poems, radio poems, verse translations, verse dramas, libretti, film poems, and public poetry pieces.
Nominations for the award will be made by members of the Poetry Society..."
Jury's still out on whether this is another Basho Award. Full rules, and I'd expect judges, will follow in autumn, which may clarify. Either way, the list of eligible works is interesting, but doesn't mention internet publication, where most of the exciting stuff starts (though film poems may well include that kind of thing).
- Carcanet has launched its Summer Sale - 20% discount on all publications throughout July and August. They've also launched an audio library, including John Ashbery, William Carlos Williams, Edna St. Vincent Millay, etc.
- Compton Verney currently has an interesting exhibition on (formerly at the Whitworth at Manchester University) til 6 September: Surrealism and Contemporary Art: Subversive Spaces. The Editors partook and thoroughly enjoyed. Special mention to the very well analysed display of how surrealists appropriated 'the female disease', hysteria, particularly the arch; and video artist Calin Dan who runs about Bucharest carrying a door on his back.
- Coming soon to a pub in Battersea: On a Trip to Cirrus Minor: poems inspired by the music of Pink Floyd. I can't say that I've been waiting my whole life for this to happen, but it's happening, which is in itself impressive and at least one of the Editors will be there.
- Another event a week later - the xprmntl night at the ICA in London, 30th July, features Geraldine Monk, Chris McCabe, Peter Finch and Jeremy Reed. It's part of the ICA's Poor. Old. Tired. Horse. exhibition, work inspired by concrete poetry of the sixties, including work by Ian Hamilton Finlay, Henri Chopin and Alasdair Gray among others.
- And Peter Philpott has relaunched Modern Poetry with a new design and a new vibe. I'm particularly fond of the 'New Readers' sections, amongst other things. Really, someone ought to just compile that list of articles and publish it as a primer under the title, (Because you have forgotten) HOW TO READ. Admittedly, that would undercut Andrew Duncan's bizarre and entertaining Council of Heresy.
Various links added to the side bar...