May Update

Hello,

A short update, this time, as there isn’t too much to report – or at least very much I can make interesting. Work on the website continues, and I’m looking forward to putting a testable version up next month. There is actually quite a lot of stuff that I, at least, find interesting about the process of trying to make a useful bookselling website, and I might try and describe some of the difficulties involved once the test version goes up. I’ll be looking for feedback and suggestions, so perhaps a description of the process might be useful.

Other than that, I am taking a few extra days to tidy up LP11. Due to the length of time since poems under consideration were submitted, it is likely some have since been published elsewhere. Personally, a poem being published in more than one place has never particularly bothered me: the poetry periodical milieu is so disparate that the chances of coming across the same poem in two different publications are fairly slim; and if it’s a good poem, so what? However, I know most editors, and some poets, do not take that view, so I am currently trying to work out how many poems I can include without the issue becoming malnourished if a certain number of poems are no longer available, or obese, if every poem I would like to include was unpublished elsewhere. No matter how many I choose, I will still be leaving some good poems out, and I think issue 11 ought to be a pretty good one in any event.

I’ll have a bit more to say next month, when the website beta and the final proofs of LP11 are done. Until then,

Cheery,
Paul

April Update – LP11, Bookshop schedule, &c.

Magazine

Issue 11 of Lunar Poetry will be published on 1 July. Initial proofs will be sent to contributors on 1 May; final proofs on 1 June.

After that, LP will enter suspended animation until December 2018. Submissions will be closed until late 2018, and any poems already submitted to LP after May 2016 are not under consideration for LP 11 and will not be held over for LP 12. LP 11 is likely to be a bumper edition in any case, and it is fair that those who have waited longest get to feature, and I cannot justify holding on to any of the poems submitted in the last year for any longer than I already have.

Reviews from LP 10 will be going up on this blog over the next week or so, and reviews from LP 11 will go up simultaneously with the print publication.

There may be the odd bit of non-magazine publishing in the intervening period, depending on time and resources, but most of my attention and energy are now going to be taken up by the

Bookshop

The magazine is being officially put into stasis in order to allow me to focus exclusively on the bookshop. As you will recall, we raised a little under £4,000 after Indiegogo fees to open a shop. Once our initial venue and its absurdly small rent fell through, this was not enough to feasibly do so straight off the bat. It will, though, pay for two things: a website, and a van – and what more does anyone need in life?

Here is the schedule for the bookshop:

1 June 2017 – Prototype internet poetry bookshop

A link will be put up on this blog in order for the site to be tested and improvements suggested.

1 August 2017 – Live internet poetry bookshop

The website goes live, selling actual books to actual punters

1 December 2017 (depending on success of online shop) – Mobile poetry bookshop

Mobile bookshop parking in various parts of London and hopefully further afield selling poetry books

Profits from these will go towards getting a bricks’n’mortar shop – I’m not putting a date on this as I currently have no idea how long it will take to get the necessary funds. However, as the process goes on, we should get some idea of how we’re doing and I will be posting updates on this blog on the first Monday of the month from now on. Leave a comment on the blogpost if you want to get in

Contact

There is currently no Lunar Poetry email address – there will be one by 1 May; in the meantime, if you have a question I haven’t so far answered you can leave it as a comment on this blog and I will attempt to answer it in next month’s update.

The Facebook and Twitter pages will remain up, but only as amplifiers of these blog posts. Useful tools that they are, they are also a mess of anger and anxiety and I have quite enough of that to deal with in my day job, thanks.

Finally, Lunar Poetry Podcasts (currently nominated for a British Podcast Award and a Saboteur Award, which continues unaffected by anything said above (and can now be found on iTunes and Soundcloud), is a separate entity from Lunar Poetry – think of them as sister publications. Its full-time focus is producing high-quality pieces of audio infotainment about poetry and ancillary concerns. Don’t ask David Turner or anyone else involved about the magazine or the bookshop, because they won’t be able to tell you anything more than what’s on this page.

Cheery,
Paul

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Newsletter – August 2016

Hello folks, here’s what’s happening.

Magazine

Lunar Poetry will publish its last issue in its current format in September. It will be a double issue. There will be no issue this month. After that it will become a quarterly publication from December onward. Current subscriptions will still apply to the magazine in the new format. Poets waiting for news on work submitted prior to June 2016 will receive a response this week. Lunar is accepting submissions as usual; if you prefer to write to a brief, the Themes page will be rejigged shortly.

Put simply, producing a decent quality poetry magazine once a month is a full time job. The magazine has got to the point where it more or less pays for itself, but it is a long way away from paying for all the time I currently put into it.

Lunar’s original goals were to be frequent and cheap. Currently it is not particularly cheap and only sporadically frequent. I think such a magazine is possible and would be useful, but the publishers and editors of such a magazine would need to have far larger resources than I do.

Since Lunar cannot meet its original aims, I had considered winding it up. However, since it has begun, I think it has come to fill other roles not currently being supplied by the poetry press. First, it publishes a wider range of poetry than most other magazines, and I am pretty sure that a number of the poems published in Lunar would not be published elsewhere. You may, of course, think that they ought not to have been published anywhere but I would rather publish eclectic and interesting poetry, some of which will certainly be hated by some of the magazine’s readers, than forty copies of the same, perfectly good, poem.

Second, we are still, as far as I know, the only print poetry publication that gives serious coverage to spoken word. I have said many times that I think it is absurd that most poetry publications ignore half of contemporary poetry. Admittedly, it is difficult to do justice to spoken word in print, but hardly impossible – we manage to write about music, theatre, comedy and other artforms which exist primarily as a live experience: there is no reason we cannot do the same with spoken word.

These, I think, are important things which someone ought to be doing, so Lunar may as well carry on doing them. In addition, there are plenty of other things which I think poetry magazines could be doing which they currently are not; moving to quarterly publication will allow Lunar to attempt to do a few more of them.

Podcasts

The podcasts are continuing with a regular schedule – if you missed the recent blogpost on this, you can find out what’s happening here, and by following @Silent_Tongue on Twitter.

Also, I will be in Edinburgh for the festival this month, conducting as many short podcasts as I can. If you have a show (or a floor to sleep on) get in touch.

Reviews

Reviews printed in Issues 9 and 10 will be appearing on the blog over the next month, as will as many reviews from Edinburgh as I can get written.

Bookshop

Our first pop-up shop(s) will be appearing at live poetry events in the first week of September. We are ironing out the details this week, and they will be appearing on the blog very shortly, so keep your eyes peeled.

I think that’s everything for just now.

Cheers,
Paul.

Lunar Poetry Podcasts Update

A quick update to let you in on some good news about the Lunar Poetry Podcast. The Podcast has received some funding from Arts Council England in order to extend its reach and improve its quality. David Turner and his team have already managed to bring you podcasts from Sweden, Turkey, Cuba, Nigeria and all over the UK – with this funding they will be able to get out of London more often and record interviews and performances they would previously have been unable to. They will also be able to set up a dedicated website from which all past and future podcasts will be downloadable.

This all takes a bit of setting up, so things will be a little quiet on the podcast front until the beginning of September, when there will be a new 12 month programme of guest hosts and episodes from around the country.
That said, if you do happen to be in London on Sunday 24th July, you will be able to see a live Lunar Poetry Podcast being recorded as part of the Betsey Trotwood Poetry All-Dayer between 3 and 4pm, featuring readings from LPP regulars.
Keep up with what’s going on in the meantime by following @Silent_Tongue on Twitter.
Also, while I’m here, a quick reminder that the Issue 11 Launch will be at the Peckham Pelican from 7.30pm on Tuesday 2nd August. More details shortly.

Newsletter – June 2016: Issue 9 Launch

Cover 9contents 9

Hello, it’s been a while since the last newsletter, so we’ve a few things to catch up on.

First of all, if you’re reading this online and are wondering why you haven’t seen it in your inbox (if you are subscribed to this newsletter), check your spam folder. We had a little trouble with spammers a few months ago, which seems to be sorted now, but which has led to some of our emails being marked as spam by some email services.

Issue 9 Launch

Issue 9 is at the press right now, and will launch at The Peckham Pelican on Tuesday, June 14th at 7.30pm. We have ­­­­­­­­­a number of readers from the issue, including Mark Floyer, MJ Duggan, Gillie Robic, Tim Kiely, Colin Pink and MV Williams, plus open mic spots. It’s free to get in, and it should be good.

Our previous launch was our first one at the Pelican and it was a lot of fun, and I’m glad to say we will now be there every month, provisionally on the first Tuesday of the month, from July 5th onwards. And yes, this means that we are finally returning to monthly publication.

Also, for next Tuesday, we will have ebooks ready to buy from the main site. Formatting poetry for ebook publication is a finnicky process, but one that is increasingly worth doing: in some ways, poetry is perfectly suited to be read on an ereader – consumed in short bursts while travelling or in waiting rooms, etc.. Unfortunately the technology isn’t quite at the point where converting poetry to ebook form while keeping its formatting is an easy thing to do. I’ll be discussing this further in a blog post shortly, because I think it’s an interesting subject, and a post might be of some use to anyone else considering doing the same thing.

Finally, there is no Audio Page corresponding to Issue 9. We are looking at another way of showcasing audio poetry. With any luck we will be able to give you more details by the end of the month.

Saboteur Awards

A quick congratulation to all the winners and nominees, which included one of our new co-editors, Stuart A. Paterson, for best pamphlet. Lunar Poetry Podcasts was longlisted for Best Wildcard, and many former podcast interviewees featured on the shortlists, including winners Emily Harrison (Best Spoken Word Performer), Bethany W. Pope (Best Reviewer, for which our own David Turner was longlisted) and Abi Palmer (Best Wildcard).

Bookshop News

We have provisionally organised our first pop-up appearance – as you may know, until we are able to find permanent premises, we are planning to pop up at various poetry events and venues. As soon as we have concrete details, we’ll let you know. We are also planning to set up online: the website is progressing, and I’m hopeful we’ll have something to show there too pretty soon.

Thanks for reading – maybe I’ll see you at The Peckham Pelican next Tuesday.

Cheers,
Paul.

 

Nominate LP Podcasts for the Saboteur Awards

I mentioned the other week that the Saboteur Awards are now open to nominations. This year they have introduced a new category, the Wildcard, which covers poetry-related stuff which does not fit any of the other categories. Lunar Poetry Podcasts meets this criterion. If you have listened to any of the podcasts and enjoyed them, please consider nominating it.

I feel less awkward about canvassing for this than I would for the magazine, because the podcasts are primarily the work of someone else, and I have been little involved in them.

Not long after I started Lunar Poetry David Turner spoke to me about an idea he’d had of starting a series of podcasts talking to poets and spoken word performers about their work, including some examples of it in the podcast. I had had a vague notion that something along those lines would be a good idea, but did not have the time, energy or expertise to do it myself. When David offered me the option of including the podcasts under – for want of a better term – the LP aegis, I jumped at the chance. Shortly after, we recorded the first Lunar Poetry Podcast with Pat Cash in my kitchen.

Since then David, with occasional help from Michelle Madsen, Lizzy Palmer, Kyla Manenti and myself, has managed to bring listeners over 70 interviews and performances from Turkey, Sweden, Cuba, Nigeria and all over England. I think these offer something important and unique to the world of contemporary poetry. There are other poetry and literature podcasts, but none which offer the breadth of subjects LPP does, or which give such prominence to spoken word performers who are poorly served by mainstream poetry coverage, presenting their work in a suitable medium.

In recent months, the Podcasts have included subjects such as collaboration, criticism, issues surrounding gender, sexuality and race, and the rediscovery of the work of Rosemary Tonks.

I know that David wants to expand the podcasts, taking them outside of London more often, but Lunar Poetry Podcasts is entirely unfunded and relies solely on David and the other presenters’ ability to find the time and resources to research and record them. Recognition such as a nomination for a Saboteur Award would be extremely helpful to attempts to build the Podcast’s profile and improve its ability to expand as we would like it to.

So, as I said, if you think these podcasts offer something useful to the discussion of modern poetry, please think about nominating them. The deadline for nominations is April 24th. If you have not yet listened to any of the podcasts, you can find the whole archive on YouTube, and follow the Podcast page here, where we are currently updating the archive at a rate of one a day – we should be up to date by the first week in May. You can keep up to date with new podcasts by following @Silent_Tongue on Twitter, and checking in with the Podcasts’ Facebook page.

Five Things for Friday 01/04/16

Before we look at this week’s five things, a quick reminder that The English PEN Modern Literature Festival I mentioned last week is on tomorrow, starting at 2pm.

  1. After exhuming this feature last week, I had thought of digging up Poetry in the Papers – a feature where I looked for poetry-related content in the previous week’s press. To be honest though, ploughing through newspaper websites last weekend and finding that the top poetry story seemed to be the fact the Radovan Karadžić is apparently a fan, kind of bummed me out. I did, though, find the Guardian Books Podcast, which last week interviewed Luke Wright and Holly McNish about their new books and, in Wright’s case, show. Wright discusses class and late nineties politics, and McNish talks about attitudes to motherhood, and it’s a pretty entertaining hour. However, although both poets say some amusing things, the funniest line comes from interviewer Claire Armitstead. To Wright: “You’ve published a collection, and pamphlets, which is what young poets do.” (Attenborough voice: “It has been a hard winter. The young poet leaves the cave for the first time this year. He is going to publish a pamphlet.”) Anyway, it’s worth a listen; Wright also writes a little about the production of the book and show, again in the Guardian, here. And, if podcasts are your thing, I may as well remind you that we are publishing one Lunar Poetry Podcast on this blog every day this month, until we are caught up with the YouTube page.
  2. We’ve also updated our Briefs page and are, as ever, open to submissions. Briony Bax recently set out a few guidelines for submission to Ambit which seem pretty sensible to me:

    If you choose to write about birds, photographs, pictures, impending death, illnesses and nature (mainly beaches and sunsets) just be aware that many other people are writing about these subjects, so you’ll need to do something new and interesting with them to grab the editors’ attention. Avoid clichés and heavy-handed sentimentality, as these two things can send your work straight to the reject pile.

    I’d like to add gardens, holidays, pets, trains and generalized philosophical maunderings to the list. Write about whatever you like, but do something new with it.

  1. Here is something new: Swimmers. What it is, exactly, I don’t know, but it looks like it might be interesting. A series of free pamphlets with a print run of 35, according to the article in Frieze. There is a little more information on their Facebook page, but not a whole lot. The first pamphlet is “introduced by a brilliant essay by Kayo Chingonyi addressing how the promotion by prominent British critics of a modest, ‘restrained’ style in poetry is tantamount to silencing those voices who do not belong or accede to the dominant culture.” That sounds like something with which I’d probably agree; unfortunately, printing 35 copies and barely advertising you are doing so doesn’t necessarily seem like the sort of noise that will carry very far over this silence. “The resistance is there, if you want it.” And if you can find it.
  2. Lack of information about new poetry publications is frustrating, isn’t it? Swimmers is free, but most collections and pamphlets (which are what young poets do, you’ll remember) cost a bit of money – sometimes a lot – but are often just as coy as Swimmers. The mainstream press isn’t much help, and the standard of reviews in the poetry press is, let’s say, inconsistent. I’m sure I’ve mentioned Dave Poems on here before, but probably not since he’s set himself up with a Patreon account. Intelligent poetry reviews are worthwhile; hopefully people will also think they’re worth money. If you pledge $5 a month or more you get this nifty wee ‘zine.

    Netflix and Kill

  1. Dave Coates won Best Reviewer at the Sabotage Awards last year, and it’s almost that time again. Nominations open today. Small presses, magazines and live literary performances don’t get much in the way of recognition; Sabotage has been making a case for the importance of these outlets for over five years now. If you’ve read or seen something in the last year you think the wider world should know about, this is a chance to spread the word.

Five Things for Friday – 25/3/16

I’m going to be putting the odd blogpost up here from time to time. No promises of regularity, but you know what they say: “If it’s worth doing, it’s worth doing sporadically.”

So here are five things which interested me this week.

  1. The English PEN Modern Literature Festival, hosted by SJ Fowler, takes place at Rich Mix in Shoreditch on Saturday, 2nd April, from 2pm. It is free to attend, with the goal of raising awareness of the work PEN does representing writers facing political persecution. There will be 30 excellent poets (full programme here) responding to work from writers currently facing state oppression. I highly recommend getting along if you can.
  2. One of the poets whose work will be discussed is Ashraf Fayadh, still Imprisoned in Saudi Arabia on apostasy charges. You can read some of his poems, translated into English by Mona Kareem, here, here and, by the author, here. There are also some useful links in this article from The Poetry School.
  3. Okay, so we’ve “raised awareness” of some bad things going on in the world; perhaps we’ve given some money to someone who might possibly be able to mitigate some of these bad things. Perhaps we’ve even gone to see the bad things for ourselves – to “bear witness”. Here’s an interesting little bit in Granta by Eliza Griswold talking about the queasy act of bearing witness in relation to her poem, ‘Friday Afternoon with Boko Haram’.
  4. This vicarious martyrdom is the sort of thing which could make you hate poetry. And so to Hate Poetry, an interesting German cabaret night which attempts to draw the sting of hate speech by pointing out how bloody silly it is. Here’s an article from The Guardian last year giving an overview, and here is an article on one of the night’s founders, Hasnain Kazim.
  5. Finally, plenty of people hate poetry for rather more mundane reasons. David Clarke wrote a rather interesting blog post about it recently; the conversation in the comments serves as a pretty good illustration of his point, too.

Newsletter

Hello,

The last of the subscriber copies of LP8 should be arriving in the post over the next day or so. This includes those ordered as bookshop crowdfunding perks. Postcards, back issues and pamphlets will be going out over the coming months. For where we are on the bookshop you can have a look here. We should have a bit more news on that soon.

On March 8th we had the launch of Issue 8 at The Peckham Pelican in South London. It was a very good night, and we had fantastic readings from Miguel Cullen, Lizzy Palmer, James Ross-Edwards, Aidan Fadden, Alex Marsh and Jason Pilley, all of whom have work featured in the issue, plus some excellent open mic performers.

It’s great to be back publishing the magazine again. Hopefully, it has been worth the wait. I now have a cadre of co-editors – Robert de Born, Hannah Gordon, Stuart Paterson and Magdalena Wolak – helping me go through submissions, which should mean that we never go on year-long hiatus again. Currently we are operating on a bi-monthly schedule; so Issue 9 will be out in May. Until we build up our subscriber base again, it is simply not affordable to go monthly. However I am hopeful we will be able to return to monthly publication before the end of the year.

On the plus side, this gives me more time to work on the blog and website. We’re currently updating the podcast archive, adding one a day over the next few weeks. Alternatively you can listen to them all via Youtube, and keep up to date with them by following @Silent_Tongue on Twitter. I’ll also be updating the Reviews page on a similar schedule and adding the odd bit and/or piece to the blog while I’m at it.

Cheers,
Paul.