Two Poems, and a Review of The Knowledge, in Poetry Salzburg Review

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psr28My copies of Poetry Salzburg Review 28 arrived today, with its signature surrealist cover holding nearly 200 pages of enticing poetry and reviews.

Among them are two new poems from me — “The Computer Programmer’s Wife”, to which I expect many a beleaguered techno-spouse might relate, and the off-kilter Anglophonic lament “Getting On With It”. I am also looking forward to mining out new nuggets from familiar names like Piotr Florcyzik, Kim Moore, and Rob A. Mackenzie.

The review of The Knowledge is a ringing endorsement (I had to sit down) from Ian Watson which concludes, “The problem with The Knowledge is that there are just too many striking images, too many poems to cite. Just go out and buy it.”

Along the way, he points out poems that take up topics that teachers will often advise beginning writers to steer clear from, such as common birds or writers’ block — and notes how these poems succeed, almost defiantly, anyway. He points out my preoccupation with fleeting detail, and calls the work, “erudite, urbane and at times intriguingly evasive.”

If you’re at all intrigued by any of this, you can order your copy of Poetry Salzburg Review 28 directly from their website, or better yet subscribe.

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Silk Road British Poetry Readings on Air

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As I mentioned earlier, I have been organising poetry readings for the poets included in the British poetry special feature I edited for Silk Road Review 10. The twist is that both of these readings will be conducted virtually and available globally, using Google+ Hangouts on Air. The dusts has settled, the dates (and stars) have finally aligned, and I am happy to announce two excellent lineups for these events. Save the dates!

Sunday, October 13th at 8PM BST / 3PM EDT / noon PDT
Featuring Patience Agbabi, Katy Evans-Bush, Isabel Galleymore, Chris McCabe, Andrew Philip, Paul Stephenson, and Claire Trévien
Silk Road British Poetry Reading on Air, Part I

Saturday, October 19th at 8PM BST / 3PM EDT / noon PDT
Featuring Liz Berry, Fiona Benson, Markie Burnhope, Abi Curtis, Helen Ivory, Ira Lightman, Rob A. Mackenzie, and Esther Morgan
Silk Road British Poetry Reading on Air

Click here for the latest news and updates from the Transatlantic Poetry community

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An Interview and Two Readings (Busy Week!)

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Books by Mackenzie and PhilipI recently had the pleasure of interviewing Scottish poets Rob A. Mackenzie and Andrew Philip for the Huffington Post UK. We conducted the interview using email, passing around batches of questions so that they we could bounce off one other’s ideas and create a conversation. It was the next best thing to sharing a table at a coffee shop with them both, and the results make for an an enjoyable read: “Music, Memory and Subversion: Two Scottish Poets’ Second Books“.

Andrew will also be featured on July 10th as part of the Transatlantic Poetry on Air reading series, paired with California poet Michelle Bitting. The response to that initiative has been extremely positive so far, with poetry lovers on both sides of the pond eager to tune in these very special kinds of readings that could only happen in this century. To sign up to attend this reading, as well as a reading on August 14th with Jane Hirshfield and George Szirtes, be sure to join the rapidly-growing Transatlantic Poetry Community on Google+.

Michelle Bitting and Andrew Philip // Transatlantic Poetry on Air

 

Jane Hirshfield and George Szirtes // Transatlantic Poetry on Air

Click here for the latest news and updates from the Transatlantic Poetry community

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British Poetry Special, Silk Road Review

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Silk Road Review 10Today I received copies of Silk Road Review Issue 10, containing a feature on British Poetry that I edited for the journal. It features a wide range (in terms of age, occupation, background, and geography) of poets whose work I have come to admire in the two years since I relocated to the UK.

From the introduction:

So what is “British” about these poems? First, there is a unique focus on language, its heft and chewiness. To some extent, all good poetry takes up this cause. But in Great Britain, one’s use of language is intimately tied to one’s place of origin. A phenomenal number of dialects, accents, and several distinct languages coexist in close geographic proximity. Place is therefore invoked the moment one opens one’s mouth. From Patience Agbabi’s cold fusion of hip-hop and Chaucer, to Liz Berry’s private defense of her father’s Black Country accent, to Andrew Philip’s Scots-language-infused quatrains — when it comes to place, language is as important as the soil (or concrete) under foot.

Furthermore, in a culture where two strangers can meet and converse for hours before finally (if ever) divulging their own names, deeply confessional poetry is eyed somewhat askance. Yet each poem can still be read as a precise autobiography of the poet’s innermost life. In lieu of the self, these poems are populated with eccentric characters, for the damp climate here seems as conducive to whimsy as it is to mushrooms. From shopkeepers to skeletons, “bear-solemn” organists to the figure of Pippi Longstocking cross-bred with Frankenstein’s monster, antic figures dramatise a panoply of selves.

You can order single copies or subscribe at the Silk Road website.

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Silk Road British Poetry Feature

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Silk Road ReviewI spent the past several months editing a special feature on British Poetry for the US literary journal Silk Road Review. The project came about as a natural extension of my private efforts to help expose more interested Americans to the remarkable scope and diversity of poetry I have encountered since relocating to London eighteen months ago. And what a scope it is!

I focused on poets writing in English on the isle of Great Britain. Silk Road celebrates literature of place, and in Great Britain, place is invoked the moment one opens one’s mouth — from Patience Agbabi’s cold fusion of hip-hop and Chaucer, to Liz Berry’s private defense of her father’s Black Country accent, to Andrew Philip’s Scots-language-infused quatrains.

The geographic range is wide in this collection — encompassing Scotland, Wales, and various distinct regions of northern and southern England — as the following map attests.

<a href="http://cdn.robertpeake.com/silkroad-map.html"><img src="/files/2012/11/silkroad-map.png" alt="Click here for map"></a>

These poets also vary considerably in age, occupation, and background. But above all it is the mix of poems I love — the heft and chewiness of language, the eccentric panoply of characters, the private moments keenly observed. The feature will appear in Silk Road 10, due out late spring/early summer next year. You can subscribe now to ensure that you don’t miss a word.

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