Then spree

poetry & diary by Nia Davies

Tag: Amy Key

Poetry from Shingle Street

Shingle Street coastguard cottages

Shingle Street coastguard cottages

Tomorrow I will be in London at the launch of the Poetry School’s Spring term. Myself and Amy Key will be reading and discussing poetry made at our residency at Shingle Street in Suffolk. Thanks to the Poetry School we spent a week there in November 2013 in one of the tiny coastguard cottages which are right out on the shingle beach in a remote but extremely atmospheric spot. The week was very creatively invigorating with lots of time to edit existing poems, write new work and also to discuss and think through ideas, techniques and poetics. We started with cut-up text exercises and moved on to discussing feeling, the problem with poetry of place, teen noir, friendship, childhood memory and more.

You can read our blogs which present drafts of poems and discuss their process on the Poetry School blog Campus. Firstly there is a Q&A, then there is my blog about ‘Feelings’ (with a poem draft and brief discussion of Clarice Lispector’s novel Near to the Wild Heart) and the poem draft and reflection ‘people on the beach’ which considers the shifting sense of place,  ‘nation’ and the militarised nature of the landscape. These poem drafts are very much works in process rather than finished articles, designed to open up the process for people to see inside it. Amy’s blogs include a reflection on writing poems in response to scent How I did it: Violet-among-the-harpsichord and a short interview about the residency which includes tips for poets who want to go on their own residencies.

And finally you can even listen to the music of our residency on this playlist! (Though unfortunately it lacks a vital contributor: Joanna Newsom, whose back catalogue we sang along to in the car on our various excursions around the Suffolk countryside).

The event takes place at the Tea House Theatre in Vauxhall from 7pm.

Shingle Street residency

View from the coastguard’s cottage at Shingle Street

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Poems in Which #4 is now out

The new issue of Poems in Which is now live. It features poems by Mark Waldron, Éireann Lorsung, Lutz Seiler translated by Alexander Booth, Sarah Wedderburn, Karl Smith, Melissa Lee-Houghton, Giles Goodland, Anna Selby, John Canfield, Emma Hammond, Bobby Parker, Anat Zecharia translated by Irit Sela, Paul Stephenson, Dollie Stephan, Martha Sprackland, Samuel Prince, Abigail Parry, Fiona Moore, Nicola Gledhill, Francine Elena, Josephine Corcoran and Joey Connolly. Plus we once again have artwork from Sophie Gainsley:

Poems in Which #4 - illustration by Sophie Gainsley

Poems in Which #4 – illustration by Sophie Gainsley

You can take a look at the issue here: http://poemsinwhich.com/issue-4/

PS. Poems in Which is also now on Facebook.

Poems in Which Issue 3 – Now Live!

Poems in Which 3, illustration by Sophie Gainsley

Poems in Which 3, illustration by Sophie Gainsley

Issue 3 of Poems in Which is now live!

Poems in Which 3, co-edited by Amy Key and myself, features Poems in Which from Alison Winch, Anthony Adler, Charlotte Chappel, Chrissy Williams, Declan Ryan, Emily Toder, Fran Lock, Harry Man, Harry Giles, Julia Bird, Petra Kamula, Rebecca Perry, Rosie Breese, Sampurna Chattarji, Stephen Connolly, SJ Fowler and Wayne Holloway-Smith. We also feature guest poems from Roddy Lumsden, Mark Waldron and Wioletta Grzegorzewska (translated from Polish by Marek Kazmierski).

Visit  poemsinwhich.wordpress.com to read the poems.  And you can also visit our Poem in Which editorial for issue 3 to read what we were after for this issue!

Poems in which – issue 2

is now live. Edited by Nia Davies and Amy Key. With poems from WN Herbert, Sampurna Chattarji, Fran Lock, Kirsten Irving and more. Go to http://poemsinwhich.wordpress.com/ to discover…

The Next Big Thing

I’ve been invited by the poet Amy Key to take part in this blog series where writers answer the same set of questions then pass them on to four other writers. You can read Amy’s interview here and find your way back along the trail of writers.


Where did the idea come from for the book?

Many of the poems in the new pamphlet Then Spree were written without a book in mind, but some of the origins of some of the ideas and impulses include:  things seen from night-bus windows, the glitches, fissures and blooms of language and the world as experienced by a diver. As well as… things my friends say, unusual auditory environments, off-record histories,  folk song and story, watery places and the up hill struggle to learn a foreign language (Turkish!).

What genre does your book fall under?

Poetry

What actors would you choose to play the part of your characters in a movie rendition?

There is perhaps one distinct character (other than myself) in Then Spree – the man (or creature) in ‘Periphylla Periphylla’ who is trapped in a submerged world which is part deep sea, part London street.

I had already written this drunk lonely character’s voyage on the number 38 bus and was half way through writing the second part of his walk through Canonbury when the man himself staggered up to me. On seeing me he stopped, looked me in the eyes, (I was sitting on a garden wall writing by street-light), then he stumbled on. I would like this man to play the Jelly man, but it’s most likely I will never see him again.

What is the one sentence synopsis of your book?

Song’s outer reaches

How long did it take you to write the first draft of the manuscript?

I’ve been writing poetry seriously since I was a teenager and the poems in this pamphlet date back to around five years ago. The manuscript took around 4 months to bring together and edit.

Who or what inspired you to write this book?

I am incredibly lucky in that I have been able to travel and meet people who have opened up the world for me.

The poetry of Lutz Seiler, Sarah Gridley, DA Powell, Denise Riley and others have been vital to me – especially in the last few years of writing the poems in this pamphlet.

A book of Manley Hopkins poems given to me at secondary school by my teacher Mr Martin seems to have had long-range impact and so have nursery rhymes sung to me in Welsh and English, recordings of Michael Rosen’s poems for children and perhaps most importantly for all my writing – folktales from all over the world, told by my grandmother Liza Watts who is a professional storyteller.

From early on the poet and editor Roddy Lumsden encouraged me, challenged my writing approach and provided me with an ever-evolving and inspirational reading list.

And I recently read this which I love: “It’s necessary to maintain a state of disobedience against . . . everything. One must remain somehow, though how, open to any subject or form in principle, open to the possibility of liking, open to the possibility of using.” Alice Notely in the Poetics of Disobedience.

What else about your book might pique the reader’s interest?

In Then Spree there are secret staircases, vengeful saviours, a man with a jellyfish heart, nudism, white noise, stray ballerinas, singing bowls and obsolete instruments.

Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?

The pamphlet is published by Salt in the Salt Modern Voices series.

You can order a copy of the pamphlet on the Salt website

Poems in Which

Poems in Which headerThe first issue of Poems in Which is here, featuring poems from Sophie Mayer, Wayne Holloway-Smith, Charlotte Geater, Sarah Crewe and many others including myself with a Poem in Which I am at Stake. Poems in Which is an occasional journal of poetry in which the poems share a title but can travel in any number of directions. The first issue is curated by Amy Key but from issue 2 I will be co-editing the blog with her. Issue 2 is open for submissions.