How to be a Poet

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I received my contributor’s copy of what I suspect will be a very important book — for me, surely — and perhaps for others. How to be a Poet strikes me as not only “a twenty-first century guide to writing well”, but also a guide to living well as a writer.

I also quite like the alternative title proposed in the introduction: “A Poem-Writer’s Guide to the Galaxy.” After all, we contain multitudes.

It features the wisdom of two of my favourite poetry people: Jo Bell and Jane Commane, interspersed with excellent guest contributions by Mona Arshi, Jonathan Davidson, Clive Birnie, and many other well-known names in UK poetry. I thought I’d spend a moment or two thumbing through it on the couch when it arrived. I couldn’t put it down.

My own essay represents a manifesto of sorts — again, not about how to write, but how to be as a writer in this mad, mad world. It is called “Making Peace with Poetry”.

If you’re writing poems, or have secretly wanted to, know someone who writes, or are just curious to lift the curtain on the writing life — I can’t recommend this book highly enough.

The book is available from Nine Arches Press, with options for international shipping.

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Poem in Under the Radar 16

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Parts I to III of my long poem sequence “Nomansland Common” appear in the summer issue of Under the Radar magazine.

It is in good company alongside two pungent and haunting poems by Paul Stephenson, a trans-Atlantic observational poem by Jill Abram, several poems about identity by Josephine Corocan, and many other delights, including insightful reviews and prose.

You can order a copy of Issue 16, or even subscribe for the year, at the Nine Arches Press website.

Valerie and I also made part IV of “Nomansland Common” into a film-poem, which you can read and watch online here.

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The Knowledge E-book Now Available

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The Knowledge by Robert PeakeNine Arches Press in collaboration with Leeds Ebooks has done an excellent job bringing The Knowledge into an all-digital format. If you got a Kindle, iPad or tablet for Christmas, or have been holding off reading The Knowledge due to international shipping costs, now is your chance to get it for a song.

The e-book is on special offer for less than three quid (five bucks) throughout the twelve days of Christmas.

If you have a Kindle, you can download it directly from the Kindle Store. Even if you don’t have a Kindle, you can still read it on the Kindle app for your iPad or Android tablet.

I have a long list of e-book pet peeves, but this version has been expertly done. The table of contents is hyperlinked, font sizes can be adjusted to taste, and — best of all — it wraps long lines of poetry correctly with hanging indents. Apart from the formatting, you might also enjoy the contents.

Let it snow ones and zeroes!

Download The Knowledge e-book (US)
Download The Knowledge e-book (UK)

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Letting the Robin out of the Bag

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Robin Concrete PoemI have had poems coerced into handmade paper via letterpress printing techniques, laser printed on broadsides sheets, and even hung like advertisements in shop windows. I am really excited, though, to have a poem on a tote bag.

Not just any tote bag — a concrete interpretation of my poem “Robin”, beautifully designed by Jane Commane, on a classy natural canvas bag. It comes free with a subscription to the Nine Arches Poetry Book Club — itself an excellent idea that gets you six fine single-author poetry collections hot off the press, discounts on other books, and special invitations. Gift wrap available. Really, I hope they made enough bags!

I also like the idea that using this tote instead of a plastic bag might help a scruffy robin survive the long winter of our global mass-consumption.

As they say in the UK: “Bagsy!” And in my native California: “Totes amazeballs!” You get the idea. I’m exited.

Bag in splendour next to fine poetry books
Bag your six books

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