some poetry links and other stuff from the busy world of Baroque

Sorry: a housekeeping post. Not much to report here on the Baroque front, nor any energy to report it with. Had to leave the house at 7am today, which anyone who actually knows me can imagine what that was like. (I know people do this every day. I will say they are used to it.) I blagged a takeaway cup in Tinderbox yesterday and took some coffee with me on the tube – I knew I’d never make it otherwise. Having had a cup of it here. And had two more as the morning progressed, at the event. It was an event. There were canapés. All I’ve eaten all day is coffee and canapés. Then back to the office, rewrote a speech and an article, then left at what seemed like an unfeasibly early 4.45, but was really nearly 9 hours in without a lunch break; then Tesco in Seven Sisters, and four bags of shopping in the rain. One of them split. Mlle B had to be rung and asked to come to the bus stop with an unsplit one.

There is now beef stew in a pot, laundry in the machine, and some half-price red wine in a glass.

My iCal has not survived the reinstallation of my OSX yesterday. Any geeks out there, can you help? Weirdly it was like the only thing that was working before the reinstallation… Now it just jumps once in the dock and goes back to sleep. I’m on Tiger plus every known update. I was updating for hours. And I’m a busy woman, across several platforms; I need my iCal…

Went to Borders in Islington yesterday. Very depressing; Robert McCrum may well be right to say Britain is not big enough to support more than one big American-style chain (I wish someone had thought of that before); he’s certainly right to say he’s sorry it was Borders and not Waterstones that buckled. The poetry section in particular, very funereal, not least because it had several books in it by friends… the place was packed. And depressing. Gangs of urchins running loose in the CD section. And, oddly, a young woman with bare feet. Perfectly normal otherwise to all appearances.

Seriously, guys, what are we going to do? Remember the days when you had a favourite bookshop? Or indeed clothes shop? Now you just have a favourite chain. And then the chains can’t hack it, and then you’re left with just a favourite Amazon. CRAP. Ah well.

Let’s see. Two links. First there is this, a press release so well-written that I am just giving it to you whole. I’ve worked in very high-powered press offices that couldn’t have delivered a press release like this. It’s a new poetry site I really think you should check out and bookmark, and it is run by the totally indefatigable Tom Chivers:

With newspaper coverage of contemporary poetry and non-mainstream literature dwindling, a bold newcomer has entered the field of literary journalism. Inspired by the speed and energy of blogging, Hand + Star is an online compendium of new writing and reviews, launched today.

The offbeat e-magazine is published by independent poetry producer Penned in the Margins and takes its name from the Fleet Street workshop of Tudor printer Richard Tottell, whose 1557 Songes and Sonettess popularised the work of Thomas Wyatt and the Earl of Surrey.

Hand + Star offers intelligent, fresh perspectives, open to the interplay between text, technology and popular culture. The editor, poet Tom Chivers, is committed to seeking out “new, independent and lesser-known voices in poetry and fiction” and hopes to encourage “debate, discussion and disagreement about writing”. The editorial team also features former contributor Julie Palmer-Hoffman, whose lively blog has already covered topics as diverse as Twitter, bad sex, lexicography and Walt Whitman.

Content currently available includes reviews of books by Richard Brautigan, Philip Gross, Thomas A. Clark, Billy Collins and the Faber New Poets, essays on poet Alice Notley and the art of translation, as well as new poetry and fiction that captures the energy and intelligence of a new generation of writers.

After that is the slower-paced but extremely interesting Verse Palace, run by Frances Leviston. I owe her a piece on line breaks and the function of the line. (Bet you can’t wait!) But seriously, there is some great stuff up there already, so go have a look! And bookmark it so you don’t miss my piece.

And finally, editing in here, and thanks to Heather Phillipson for the link –  a really interesting Radio 3 programme (yes, yes, I know) called Exploring Our Amazement: Poetry and its Audience. Really well worth listening to. Which you can do until this coming Sunday, the 13th.

PS – Editing in to say I have now eaten delicious stew, with many vegetables plus chilis in it. Hurrah…. zzz…

PPS – And Tom Chivers is reading at the Lemon Monkey café on January 9, along with Matt Haydon and Heather Phillipson! More details to follow.

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