Posted by: Rosemary Badcoe | June 2, 2013

Busy editors

Your stalwart Antiphon editors are sinking slowly under the critical mass of poetry surrounding Sheffield… Noel has been involved in the organisation of the Poetry Festival, and I believe heard at least 6 (or was it 8?) poets yesterday and talked to many more. I attended a most enjoyable reading by Gillian Clarke and Paula Cunningham. Gillian is the National Poet of Wales and well known to many – she read very movingly, amongst other things, a selection from her most recent book, Ice. Paula’s work was new to me – very sharp and witty and yet emotionally involving. I shall enjoy revisiting the poems in her new first collection, Heimlich’s Manoeuvre (Smith/Doorstop), which I think isn’t officially published yet, though the pile on the bookstall sold out pretty quickly. Do poetry books sell? The bookstall at the events I’ve been to seemed to be doing pretty good business. Perhaps those willing to pay to listen to poetry are also willing to pay to read it.

There was a nicely positioned poster for Antiphon, too! The poets we’ve spoken to seem very pleased with the special Festival issue, which is great.

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Noel’s postscript:

It was eight poets, actually, and every single one of them had something interesting to offer. I think I, too, probably enjoyed the Paula Cunningham and Gillian Clare reading most, but it was a close run thing. River Wolton was sharp, witty, lucid, and has the great skill of pretty much memorising her own work, making her reading direct and engaging. Julia Copus read some very tender pieces from “The World’s Two Smallest Humans” – they may, perhaps, be imagined pieces, but her reading convinces you that every one  is intensely personal. Paul Batchelor read a brilliant address to a Halfbrick, hardly a topic you’d expect to yield such rich material. Jean Sprackland favoured us with a preview of poems from her forthcoming “Sleeping Keys”, a book about interiors. I’m now reading her “Strands”, a collection of prose “meditations” from walking the beaches of NorthWest England. The two Irish voices of James Caruth (a friend of mine and excellent poet) originally from Belfast, and Bernard O’Donoghue, from Cork, could almost have read anything and lulled the audience with their lyrical tones. A really excellent day – and that’s just the start.

Everyone I spoke to complimented Antiphon. It’s pleasing to hear, especially when the compliments seem so sincere. They like the look and the content – so we’re going to have our work cut out to follow this issue with number #8.

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