Archive for the ‘poetry events’ Category


Plain Words

September 26, 2012

It’s been a busy summer, and now I’m catching up with blogging ahead of some fast-approaching events at the start of term.

A few Saturdays ago I attended Book Artist Nancy Campbell‘s amazing workshop on altered books. We discussed a range of techniques, including blacking and cutting out sections before Nancy gave us each an old Pelican on which to experiment.

I was lucky enough to be given a copy of Sir Ernest Gowers’s The Complete Plain Words. After experimenting with watercolour pencils, I moved on to Sharpie pens. Of course, as a librarian, I know that these will eat the paper quickly, but the book was already pretty acid-damaged, and really it works as a series of images – lots of smaller pictures made from the pages of the book, rather than one piece made out of the book.

Some of the other participants used the exercise to find their own narrative or poems, using the restricted vocabulary of the words on the page. The Poetry School, who organised the event, has posted some of them on their facebook page.

As someone who has an academic interest in artists’ books, it was a great experience to see a couple of the basic techniques that are used. Although I will never be an artist myself, I have a different sort of appreciation of works like Humument as a result of the workshop.

If you would like to take part in an altered books workshop with Nancy, the next one is taking place at UCL on Saturday 6 October, as part of our Red Room series of events (of which more in a later post). Booking details here.



1. Plain Words. The idea is now as good as dead – Anne Welsh.

2. Sir Ernest Gowers. The Complete Plain Words. London: Penguin, 1969.

3. Plain Words. do not question – Anne Welsh. Photo by Nancy Campbell.


Proofing, proofing, proofs

February 21, 2012

Lung JazzAfter a weekend spent going through the latest set of proofs for Practical Cataloguing, this morning I received the proofs for Lung Jazz: Young British Poets for Oxfam, an anthology in which I am really pleased to have a poem.

As usual, Cinnamon Press have done a great job, but what makes this exciting is that all contributors can see the whole book.

Of course, we’re not allowed to share any wider, but it’s lovely to have a  preview of work by poets including Rowyda Amin, Jemma Borg, Isabel Galleymore, Jen Hadfield, Joanne Limberg, Lorraine Mariner, Agniezka Studzinska and Jane Yeh.

It’s also lovely to sneak into the age band for a book with “young” on the title page, and to be reminded, after weeks of working on the proofs of a very technical book, that proof-reading can be a joy (if only because in this book I only need to proof-read one poem).

Lung Jazz: Young British Poets for Oxfam edited by Todd Swift and Kim Lockwood (Cinnamon Press, forthcoming 2012), is available for preorder from the publisher, from Amazon and at the launch events in May (click through and scroll down for dates and details). All proceeds from book sales to Oxfam.


Loose Muse Anthology Launch

February 17, 2012

Wednesday 29 February at the Whitechapel Art Gallery

Loose Muse is one of my favourite events in London, and I’m delighted to have a poem in its first ever anthology of new writing. I’ll be reading alongside over 25 other poets, playwrights and fiction writers. Please come along and help us celebrate. It’s free, and copies of the book will be on sale.

Click on the picture to see it full-size.

Many thanks to Agnes Meadows and her team for all their work editing and organising the launch.


Photo: The Whitechapel Gallery by Steve Cadman. Creative Commons: some rights reserved.