Live Canon 2015 Anthology

Hello all, the new Live Canon anthology is available to buy on Amazon. In it you’ll find a new poem by Geraldine Clarkson, ‘After If–‘; Isabel Rogers’ ‘Boys in the Storm’; my poem, ‘Labyrinth’, and lots more besides. All the poems have been shortlisted for the annual Live Canon competition and the winning poem will be announced on the 22nd of November after a performance by the Live Canon troupe. Go to livecanon.co.uk to find out more.

Two shortlistings

Not long ago, I submitted six poems to the Primers scheme launched by Nine Arches Press and The Poetry School. These were shortlisted and I was invited to submit twenty poems for consideration by the judges, Kathryn Maris and Jane Commane. It’s a great scheme, offering a year of mentoring and the chance to give readings at a few events. We’ll see what happens. A book of shortlisted poems will be available.

Also, my poem, ‘Labyrinth’, has been shortlisted for this year’s Live Canon International Poetry Competition. It will be performed, alongside other shortlisted poems, by the Live Canon retinue at Greenwich Theatre on the 22nd of November. Isabel Rogers, a great poet who I first met through the Live Canon comp., has also been shortlisted with her poem, ‘Boys in the Storm’.

St. Augustine on the poetry game

This is possibly one of the least profound purposes for quoting from Confessions of a Sinner but, nevertheless, it’s a reminder about what matters in the art:

In public we were cocksure, in private superstitious, and everywhere void and empty. On the one hand we would hunt for worthless popular distinctions, the applause of an audience, prizes for poetry, or quickly fading wreaths won in competition…

— St. Augustine

Disclaimer: I’ve just entered a large number of poems for The Bridport Prize.

 

Live Canon 2013 poetry performance and prize giving

I’m chuffed to be among such good company in the Live Canon 2013 anthology. Congratulations to Tessa Foley who won the competition with a great poem, ‘Love Story’. And to Doreen Hinchliffe who won the borough prize with ‘Arachne’s Gift’.

My brother was playing a game to see if he could guess which poem was mine while it was being read. He had an inkling at the last line of Poet’s Corner ‘beyond the shore, where the waves are silent’. Great to catch up with him and my sis-in-law at such a good natured event.

I was also lucky to chat with some very talented poets. Isabel Rogers’ ‘The Cost of Living’ showed us the reality behind a political catchphrase. Josephine Corcoran’s ‘Thanks for not switching me off’ explored the inner experience of a patient on life support. David Bowe’s ‘Golem’ and Oona Chantrell’s ‘Vanishing Marsh’ were fascinating, mysterious incantations and very much up my street. All of the poems will bear many readings.

Glyn Maxwell, returning as this year’s judge, talked about how instructive it is seeing and hearing your words interpreted by an actor’s body. Helen Eastman did a brilliant job of bringing it all together and entertaining a room full of nervous poets. No mean feat. The performances were brilliant, as can be expected from Live Canon.

The competition anthology is available to buy from Amazon.

Return to Live Canon

I’ve been shortlisted for this year’s Live Canon poetry competition. Live Canon is a troupe of actors led by Helen Eastman. As well as an annual competition, they memorise and perform older poems you might not hear read aloud often. Their next show is a performance of Sweet Ways the World Ends, a piece specially written by Glyn Maxwell for Live Canon. It’s being performed this month and described as somewhere between ‘a poem, a play and a party’. Check out livecanon.com for tickets.

I’ve been shortlisted in this competiton a couple of times before. There’s a recital at Greenwich Theatre where the hopeful poems are performed. It’s surprising the rush you get when an actor recites something you’ve written from the stage. In 2011, I’d invested so much of myself (and the previous summer) in ‘The Clay Body’ it was really very moving. A release from the private world of the poem.

One of the great things about last year’s event was that I’ve managed to stay in loose contact with a few of the poets via Twitter, one of whom, Isabel Rogers, is shortlisted again. Andrew McMillan won with a great poem that year. I have commitments this month but I’m hoping to attend the performance and maybe meet a few more poets come the big day. I’m happy to be on the list again.