Early August Mark, The Red Ceiling Press, sent me a PDF copy to look through for typos/formatting corrections. I found a few of those and made a few changes myself. After 5 attempts it was signed off on the 6th and I could go on holiday for two weeks. On 1 September 50 copies of the booklet arrived and are sitting beside me. Before the hols I was also thinking about the launch. London I thought, maybe the Poetry Cafe. It so happened that a friend, Kitty Coles, also had a book coming out at the same time. We pooled resources and got the Cafe (£65 for 2 hours) which would be handy for people to get to. We didn’t fancy spending all that time reading ourselves so thought about having friends reading. Greg of course, and Grant (who also has a book coming out and is disabled – Kitty works for a disabled charity). Kitty choose Melanie Branton (a friend of Robert Garnham) and Maggie Sawkins (also known and loved by me) – poetry is a small world. On 1 September it arrived in a sealed plastic envelope. Had a few drinks that night. Next day posted some copies off for review. I posted Raul a few copies to Mexico City, a few days later there was an earthquake, just saying.
My first preference is for none at all but then I thought maybe I should put down something about myself that shows I’ve been active in the poetry bubble. But should I also say how my little poetry machine works? A friend answered he was more interested in the end result rather than a Haynes type breakdown as to the process. No then. I have a couple of nice things some poetry mags have said about my poems so why not take them out of context and use them? I thought about Arthur Smith sending me an email – well done that man. I could have sent it out to friends of course but that can wait for a collection. The title of the chapbook comes from a book by Paul Potts (no, not that one), perhaps the most romantic book I’ve ever read. A few relevant quotes. Anything else? The cover. The final choice was a painting by Raul Cordero whose work I first saw when on holiday. I liked the three part structure, what was said and unsaid, the missing parts and the ghosts. There had to be some legal stuff about permission to use the painting.
Lives in Farnborough. He left school at 16, obtained a degree with the Open University, worked in the civil service and retired early. Since then he’s organised poetry reading and workshops, volunteered at his local arts centre in Aldershot, and performed in various venues, including the South Bank. Recent work has appeared in or is forthcoming from publications including Brittle Star, Envoi, The Journal, Magma, Prole, South, Stride and Tears in the Fence.
His work has been described as “innovative and moving” by Envoi and “powerful” by Chicago Review
“A lover that is not loved is a river which can never get to the sea…you have no more right to ask me to fall out of love with you than I have to expect you to fall in love with me.” Paul Potts
Cover by RAUL CORDERO “Per la vostra sicurezza”
2000. Oil and polyester on canvas
200 x 140 cm
Private Collection, New York
Photo courtesy of Raúl Cordero Studio and Mai 36 Galerie
They “publish contemporary poetry in the form of limited edition chapbooks. We like innovative, experimental and avante-garde poetry in particular.” I am very grateful, and surprised, that Mark Cobley decided that poems made by my little poetry machine fitted, especially after reading the prose poems of Gareth Twose and Katherine Sowerby. Now I’m close to sending 32 poems off, well Thursday actually. I did start with a few more but realised some didn’t fit and others were just bad. If anyone wants a look to spot typos, grammar errors and so on drop we a line with your email address and I’ll wing it your way.
This year I thought it about time I approached some publishers about a pamphlet. I soon found out most weren’t taking on any new work but some were. Eventually, someone replied saying they like my work and if I could add some more poems over the summer they’d be happy to publish. So I must do that and think about cover image, biog, blurb and review (for the back cover) of DANTE CALLED YOU BEATRICE. So thanks to everyone who helped me get this far and especially to Carrie Etter (who set me thinking of a new form), Todd Swift (who introduced me to new poets and gave me encouragement), Greg Freeman (who’s been a good friend and enthusiastic about poetry in general) and David Cooke (for his encouragement). The inexpert photo blow is a cut-out by my friend Dick Boulton.