Sunday, March 25, 2007

Pinoy Poetics

I've been meaning to mention this book for some time. I got it from Eileen Tabios in payment for writing a review. At the time it was a revelation to me, and I couldn't recommend it more highly. 'Pinoy Poetics' was developed by Tabios to be the first international poetics anthology of Filipino English-language poets. The word 'Pinoy' is used by Filipinos to describe their compatriots in the Philippines and around the world, and was coined by expatriate Filipino Americans during the 1920s. The book serves both as a book on poetics - taking in post-colonialism, gender politics and the experience of the Fillipino diaspora along the way - and as a chronicle of a forgotten history. The essays merge creative writing with critical analysis and autobiographical material. There's an invigorating range of subjects, including Taoism, hip-hop, Kali (a Filipino martial arts form), and the legacy of the important but now largely ignored Fillipino poet Jose Garcia Villa (1908-1997). I haven't absorbed all of this book yet, and maybe I never will (it's pretty substantial), but it's opened my eyes to a whole new poetic. Get this book from Meritage Press.

Friday, March 23, 2007

Good reading by Clive (aka CJ Allen) at the Flying Goose on Tuesday night. As usual, an excellent atmosphere and a full house. With a venue that small it'd be difficult not to have a full house of course. I sold several copies of Clive's Selected. I haven't sent any review copies out yet. Like most small press publishers, I find Life gets in the way of Art: as well as publishing and writing poetry I have to earn a living, ferry my children to their various activities, cook, clean, get the car serviced, talk to my wife occasionally (usually when we're both whacked at the end of the day) and have a social life. But the review copies will go out - probably after we have our Easter break (a week in Spain).

Theatre visits I'm looking forward to: King Lear, with Ian McKellen at Stratford. The Cherry Orchard with Joanna Lumley at Sheffield.

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Some of my prose-poetry has just been put on-line at the webzine Shadowtrain. Before the web was invented I once waited three years for an acceptance from a magazine - and then it folded without the poem ever appearing. This time it was submitted Saturday, accepted Sunday, published Monday.

Thanks to Shadowtrain's editor Ian Seed. To read the poem, click here.

Thursday, March 15, 2007

The next reading at the Flying Goose is next Tuesday, 20th March, 7.30pm, featuring Christopher Southgate and C.J. Allen (published by Leafe Press, of course).

Sunday, March 11, 2007

Paris bookshops. A couple of evenings last week I got off early and headed up to the Notre-Dame/St.Michel area. I looked in at Shakespeare and Co (open midday til midnight), which I'd never been to before - a nice remnant of 1950s American-in-paris bohemianism, still unspoilt, and complete with backpackers sleeping on the floor upstairs. I called in to several other bookshops in the district, most of which were as uncommercial as it's possible to be while still remaining a shop. I'd almost forgotten the sheer pleasure of browsing in a bookshop - I mean one which seems to care about books and writers. In Derby, where I work, there is only one - the dispiriting Waterstones, with its piped music and celebrity biographies.

So, Notre Dame cathedral in the late afternoon sun, cafes and bookshops - I could do with more trips like that.

I'm back home in Nottingham now, back to normal, and need to get the missing entries on Litter put back.

Saturday, March 3, 2007

I'm off to Paris on Monday morning for a four-day business trip (my day job is in IT). I probably won't see much apart from the suburb of Gentilly, where I'm working, but it'll still be nice to be in one of my favourite cities.

My ISP lost three weeks' worth of data from its clients' websites, so poetry by Kelvin Corcoran and Peter Dent, and the excellent Reznikoff review by Alistair Noon have disappeared from Litter. All will be restored. But I could do without this sort of thing.

And when I get back... As any editor will tell you, it's easy to get poetry submissions, but much harder to find people prepared to write reviews and articles. So I get lots of good review books which don't get reviewed. This is the case with two remarkable books from Meritage Press: 'Pinoy Poetics' (poetics in Fillipino poetry) and 'I Take Thee English for my Beloved' (poetry from Eileen R. Tabios). Both excellent, and both will get reported on after I get back from France. Au revoir.

Thursday, March 1, 2007

Just been to a talk at my local hospital. Well, not a talk, but a 'presentation' using the ubiquitous MS Powerpoint. "This talk is about the benefits of exercise". Click. 'The Benefits of Exercise' flashes up. "Exercise strengthens the heart. Click. 'Strengthens The Heart' appears, etc. Actually the talk was very good, but it would have been much better if the speaker had ditched the technology and just talked to the audience. As it was, both the speaker and the spoken-to were transfixed by the bullet points on the screen. But then again, I wonder if the audience (myself included) could cope with more than ten minutes oral transmission? We all spend so much time looking at screens that we're all conditioned to visualise rather than listen. Next time my attention wanders at a poetry reading, I'll tell my self this is the reason.