REALITY STREET : Ken Edwards' blog


Showing Tag: "poetry" (Show all posts)

Export Zone commended

Posted by Ken Edwards on Wednesday, July 9, 2014, In : Reality Street 
Andrea Brady's poem "Export Zone", from her 2013 Reality Street collection Cut From the Rushes, has been Highly Commended by the judges of the 2014 Forward Prizes. You can download the poem here.

Famously, Jeremy Paxman headed the panel this year, but we suspect this commendation owes more to the influence of Vahni Capildeo, one of the panel members. Thanks, whoever it was.

This is the first time a Reality Street book has ever tickled the judges of any major poetry prize. We must admit we gave ...
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Free Verse returns

Posted by Ken Edwards on Wednesday, August 14, 2013, In : Reality Street 


Free Verse, the poetry book fair, returns next month for the third year. The date to put in your diary is Saturday 7 September, from 10am-5pm. This year, having outgrown its previous venues, the 60+ participating presses and poetry organisations will be selling their wares at the Conway Hall, London. Reality Street will be there. 

This is the familiar site of the not-to-be-confused-with Small Publishers Fair, which has been running for many more years than that, usually in November. It looks l...

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Is it all over?

Posted by Ken Edwards on Friday, October 5, 2012, In : writing 
Peter Riley, in his always interesting regular slot for The Fortnightly Review, has been sounding off about a new Norton poetry anthology, American Hybrid, edited by Cole Swensen and David St John. 

Well, his piece is not really about this particular book, which was merely the trigger for a lot of stuff Peter has been wanting to get off his chest. Those who know him or his critical writing will recognise some familiar themes – but this publication has really got his goat and set him off on a...

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Free Verse

Posted by Ken Edwards on Wednesday, August 8, 2012, In : Reality Street 


This year's Free Verse Poetry Book Fair takes place on Saturday 8 September at Candid Arts, 3-5 Torrens Street, London EC1V 1NQ (nearest tube: Angel). Reality Street will be among 50 poetry presses of all sizes and flavours selling their wares between 10am-5pm. Free entry. Put it in your diary now.
 
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Free verse

Posted by Ken Edwards on Friday, September 16, 2011, In : Reality Street 


On Saturday week - 24 September - Reality Street will take part in a poetry book fair at Exmouth Market, Clerkenwell, London. The remarkable thing about this is the range of presses and organisations taking part - see above. From Anvil to zimZalla, from Enitharmon to Penned in the Margins to, well, Reality Street. And Mike Horovitz is opening it.

Those reading this from outside the UK without first-hand experience of the stratification of British poetry may have little idea how unusual this is...
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Support the Hay Poetry Jamboree

Posted by Ken Edwards on Tuesday, April 12, 2011, In : writing 
High-profile media-whoring is not the only activity in Hay-on-Wye in June. On the fringe of the Hay Festival is the Hay Poetry Jamboree. Run by volunteers on a shoestring budget, it's one of the most open-spirited, inquisitive and intimate of small poetry/arts festivals.

It takes place this year from 2-4 June at the Oriel Gallery of Contemporary Arts, Salem Chapel, Bell Bank, Hay-on-Wye. Poets reading or talking include Ralph Hawkins, Allen Fisher, Robert Sheppard, Carol Watts, Sean Bonney, Fr...
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Good times, bad times

Posted by Ken Edwards on Friday, April 1, 2011, In : writing 
Through my letterbox plops a package with two enticing looking books from Shearsman: Robert Sheppard's latest poetry collection Berlin Bursts, which is very welcome, and also a new collection of his essays, When Bad Times Made for Good Poetry. It's the cover picture that jolts me first with its familiarity.



An ever youthful Maggie O'Sullivan, all in red, holds her own with the redoubtable Bob Cobbing (1920-2002), "performing" Maggie's A Natural History in 3 Incomplete Parts in June 1985. (NB T...
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National Poetry Day

Posted by Ken Edwards on Thursday, October 7, 2010, In : writing 
What did happen to it?
That October Thursday
or whenever?
A voice like a self-
satisfied weasel 
or a caried and measled
inkslinger
coolly delivered its four words deep
into my orifice:
English poetry is dead. 
 
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The Whole Island

Posted by Ken Edwards on Monday, May 17, 2010, In : writing 


I first visited Cuba in 1982, just before the Falklands War broke out. I've always been fascinated with the country - its politics, its music and (because of my bilingual background) its literature. 

On that first visit, I made it one of my projects to scour Havana's bookshops for contemporary poetry. I didn't really know what I was looking for, but it certainly wasn't the Marxist-Leninist tomes and Spanish translations of Agatha Christie novels that seemed to form the bulk of the stock. In th...
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David Chaloner, 1944-2010

Posted by Ken Edwards on Tuesday, May 11, 2010, In : writing 


I'm sorry to report that David Chaloner died on 10 May after an eighteen-month illness. Born in Cheshire in 1944, he moved to Manchester, where he became involved in poetry and jazz, his poetry being included in Michael Horovitz's seminal anthology Children of Albion. Later he founded One magazine, and in recent years had been dividing his time between London and Amsterdam. His fine Collected Poems was published in 2005. My sympathies to his family and friends.

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Writers Forum lives

Posted by Ken Edwards on Thursday, April 1, 2010, In : writing 

The Sound Of Writers Forum from openned on Vimeo.

Writers Forum (yes, it's spelt like that, no apostrophe) is synonymous with one man: Bob Cobbing (1920-2002). From 1963 until his death it was a regular poetry workshop in London championing and encouraging experimental work, AND also a small press with a no-holds-barred approach. 

In recent years, the technological phenomenon of short-run printing and print-on-demand, together with the internet's instant availability has resulted in "small" pre...

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Bill Griffiths on Radio 3

Posted by Ken Edwards on Thursday, February 4, 2010, In : Reality Street 
Yesterday (Wednesday  3 February) I travelled to BBC Broadcasting House in London to record an interview with the redoubtable Ian McMillan for Radio 3's The Verb about Bill Griffiths' Collected Earlier Poems. The poet Sean Bonney was also interviewed about what Bill had meant to him. I hope they'll also be broadcasting a snippet of Bill reading from a CD I took in.



 We talked a bit about how Bill was just getting known towards the end of his life for his work on Geordie pit dialect - indeed, I...
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If p then what?

Posted by Ken Edwards on Wednesday, December 9, 2009, In : writing 
I'm recovering from last night's reading in the desperate for love series curated by Alan Hay and friends at Komedia, Brighton. I had the pleasure of supporting Tom Raworth, one of the great presences in British poetry over the past few decades. He is a formidable performer as well as poet. I also enjoyed hearing the third poet on the night, Rowena Easton.

Equally amazing to me was the audience - young, engaged, and, unusually in my experience, about 90% unknown to me. I guess there were aroun...
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In Town this week

Posted by Ken Edwards on Tuesday, October 13, 2009, In : writing 
I thought this from the redoubtable Vahni Capildeo and cohorts was well worth a look, even if you don't get the full benefit unless you happen to travel to (or live in) Trinidad (now the chill is arriving, I wish ...).



The magazine is fragmented/distributed across townscapes for folks to encounter at random. A much better idea than the patronising, airbrushed, subsidised package that is  "Poems on the Underground" in London - cf the ghastly traduction of WCW below:



(original image here)

They sho...
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from the Old School

Posted by Ken Edwards on Friday, October 9, 2009, In : writing 
Kent Johnson, Quite Interesting US Poet/Annoying Bastard (delete according to preference), has posted a blog here under the image of a Union Flag (he says it's upside down) about what he describes as the New British School of poetry.

He talks of 'a con­stel­la­tion of per­fectly excit­ing UK poets writ­ing “in wake of” the Cambridge-​based greats J. H. Prynne and Tom Raworth– who could be seen, in their two pres­ences, genealog­i­cally speak­ing, as some­what to their later...
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Introducing Botsotso

Posted by Ken Edwards on Tuesday, September 1, 2009, In : Reality Street 
Today Reality Street publishes Botsotso: an anthology of contemporary South African poetry. Here's what I wrote for the preface of the book:



In April 2004, at the Cambridge Conference of Contemporary Poetry (CCCP), I encountered Ike Mboneni Muila from Soweto. He had previously been compared by someone to Tom Raworth, for his high-octane delivery. Opening the Saturday evening session, he amazed me by riffing flawlessly and rapidly in several languages: Afrikaans, English and more than one nativ...

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Duffy's Politics

Posted by Ken Edwards on Monday, June 15, 2009, In : writing 
Well, our new Laureate has now published her first official poem, and here it is.

The official position of Reality Street on the Laureateship is, of course, one of studied indifference. The institution has as much relevance to poetry, or to contemporary life, as - well, the House of Lords with its wigs and knee-breeches, say. Its incumbents have historically been either good poets past their sell-by date or dusty nonentities nobody has read for hundreds of years. In recent times, we've had a r...
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Maggie's Waterfalls

Posted by Ken Edwards on Tuesday, April 14, 2009, In : writing 
Maggie O'Sullivan's Waterfalls, promised for I forget how many years by Etruscan Books, is out at last. Completed 10 years ago, it's the companion work to red shifts (also published by Etruscan, 2001); the two books are a kind of diptych comprising the poetic project her/story:eye.

This beautiful book draws on Maggie's Irish roots, and on (in her words) "riddle, lore, tale, song, lament, elegy" and  "the Great Famine of 1845-52, the clearances, dispossession and exile". Here's a sample spread...
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Canting, Sean Bonney, Gilad Atzmon

Posted by Ken Edwards on Tuesday, April 7, 2009, In : writing 
Last Thursday (2 April) was a great day for visiting London. The sun shone on an eerily quiet capital - commuters and, particularly, bankers appeared to have largely stayed away, greatly afeared of the imagined repercussions from the clash of G20 leaders and "protesters" of various stripes. In the event, there was no such clash on that day.

I had a day off to (a) have lunch with two of my soon-to-be-ex-colleagues, (b) lose a couple of intermediary hours browsing bookshops in Charing X Rd and b...
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Reality Street update 3: Bill Griffiths

Posted by Ken Edwards on Wednesday, April 1, 2009, In : Reality Street 


Last week I announced Reality Street's forthcoming publication of David Bromige's Collected Poems. Work on that essential volume is only just getting going, but in the meantime our other major current project, a collection of Bill Griffiths' poetry from his earliest work up until 1980 - the period that roughly precedes the Salt collection The Mud Fort - has progressed apace.

Bill (pictured above) died in 2007. You can read my obituary of him here. He was a poet of wonderful invention and ener...
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Reality Street update 2: David Bromige

Posted by Ken Edwards on Tuesday, March 24, 2009, In : Reality Street 
I'm delighted to confirm that Reality Street will be collaborating with New Star Books, Vancouver, Canada, to co-publish David Bromige's Collected Poems. The book is being edited by Ron Silliman with help from Bob Perelman. We're hoping to get it ready next year (2010).



David (pictured above by Andrea Auge) is not currently in the best of health but he's looking forward to this.

There has been some confusion about whether the collection would be limited to David's later books, but I can confirm...
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Runnymede, bardo, birds

Posted by Ken Edwards on Sunday, March 22, 2009, In : writing 
Read at the Runnymede Festival, Royal Holloway University of London, yesterday afternoon. First, we were delayed by a faulty train from Hastings, then by rugby fans, half of them kilted, travelling to Twickenham, then it was hard to find the venue, with the consequence that I missed Robert Sheppard and Ulli Freer while we were wandering around the campus. Met Ulli very briefly just before I finally found the "Management Auditorium"; he was muttering about having to "get to South London" and d...
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Is it academic?

Posted by Ken Edwards on Friday, March 20, 2009, In : writing 
In my last post I said "I'm ambivalent about the increasing academicisation of innovative/parallel tradition poetry..." I think there may be one too many syllables in one of the words there, but I hope my meaning is clear, if not the precise detail of my ambivalence. I'm prompted by an announcement by my good friend Robert Sheppard of the proposed launch of a Journal of British and Irish Innovative Poetry which he is to edit with Scott Thurston (the publisher is Gylphi: www.gylphi.co.uk).

The ...
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Prynne and "Prynne"

Posted by Ken Edwards on Sunday, March 15, 2009, In : writing 
I have been taken to task by one or two subscribers to the UK Poetry discussion list for - well, I'm not sure what for, advocating closing down of discussion about poetry, I guess. To explain: UK Poetry, numbering some couple of hundred subscribers, is hosted by Miami University, Ohio, and dedicated to discourse around contemporary innovative British/Irish poetry. It is a great source of information and, sometimes, intellectual stimulation (though I'm ambivalent about the increasing academici...
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About me


Ken Edwards I'm the editor and publisher of Reality Street, and a writer and musician. More about me on my home page (click link on the left).