End of the Year Wrap Up

As the great revolving door of time simultaneously swings closed on one year and opens onto the next, I thought I’d take a minute to review what I’ve been up to and make a few announcements about what’s to come.

First, I’m delighted to be reading at the launch of Dino Mahoney’s debut poetry collection, Tutti Frutti. It’s happening on Thursday 31 January from 7:30-9:30pm at none other than London’s infamous Poetry Cafe. This is sure to be a wonderful evening, and Dino was kind enough to read at the launch of my chapbook back in 2017, so I’m looking forward to returning the favour. Why not come along? It’s free!

It’s also worth mentioning that Volume 39 of The Worcester Review, which features my poem Rorschach, is now available to purchase from their site. The Worcester Review is one of the relatively few literary journals who actually manage to offer their contributors a small payment for their work. These small payments mean a lot to authors like me, so I would really encourage people to purchase an issue and help make it possible for them to continue this rare and admirable practice. They just sent me two contributor’s copies as well; an early present just in time for Christmas. 🙂

In addition to The Worcester Review, I’ve appeared in two other publications this year: Where the River Rests: Poems from ‘Tide’s End’, and What the Elephant Said to the Peacock (scroll down to find it). Both of these opportunities arose out of my involvement with local open mic nights over the course of the last year. I’ve been attending the monthly Poetry Performance nights at The Adelaide in Teddington on and off since Oct 2017, so when they opened submissions for their Where the River Rests anthology, I was happy to contribute. In Jan of this year, I branched out to Guildford and tried 1,000 Monkeys, another great monthly event. In this case, the organisers were the brilliant minds behind Dempsey & Windle publishing, and when I heard about their annual Brian Dempsey Memorial Prize, I was keen to enter. Though I didn’t come away with the grand prize, simply being long-listed and appearing in the anthology were an honour.

In addition to reading at open mics, like Write Out Loud Woking, Paper Tiger Poetry, and Platform 1, I was invited to take part in some other events, like Poetry Cafe at the Hampton Hill Theatre (which was positively reviewed by Arts Richmond) and the final iteration of Elbow Room Live. Speaking of Elbow Room, I contributed a little piece to their blog about my experience of getting a chapbook published.

Last but not least, I tried an ask me anything on AMAfeed.com as part of their #AuthorsAMA week. Their site seems to say something about ‘Taking a break’ (whatever that means), but you can still read all of my questions and answers. Well, that’s it for my annual recap. Happy Holidays, everyone!

WR2018_FrontCover
Worcester Review Volume 39

 

Advertisements

The Last Elbow Room Live

In its own words: “Elbow Room […] is a series of art journals and live events celebrating art in all guises.” Despite the fact that they featured two of my poems back in Volume 14 and a postcard-sized piece of my pi art later, I never managed to participate in one of their Elbow Room Live sessions. But the last of these eclectic events took place on 3rd November, at The Harrison and, not only did I have the privilege of attending, I was also invited to read. This particular Elbow Room Live was both a launch of their final Volume (20) and a retrospective of all that had come before. It’s worth saying something here about exactly what had come before. Again, quoting from Elbow Room’s page, each volume was “individually curated”, “produced in limited edition”, and “hand bound”. This level of personal care and attention really made these slender volumes stand out as the unique objects that they were, and that’s without touching on their high quality content, which naturally spilled over into their live events. Sadly, with train strike madness as it was, I had to leave early and missed the last few acts. But I did manage to catch the sonorous sounds of Winterfalle and the evocative travel writing of Nicholas Herrmann, among others.

As Elbow Room was just one part of As Yet Untitled and (cliche as it is) endings and beginnings are not so easy to separate, I’m very curious to see what sort of things come next from this promising independent publisher.

Soon, I’ll be announcing the publication of my latest poem in the Worcester Review and my upcoming guest spot at the January launch of Dino Mahoney’s Tutti Frutti, so don’t touch that dial. Ever.

 

Platform 1

In my last post, I mentioned an event called Platform 1, which I planned to attend and report back on. As I am a man of my word, here’s the low down.

Platform 1 takes place monthly at The Poetry Cafe in London. It’s £5 with lots of open mic slots, a few featured author, and an animated host named Ernie Burns. The crowd of roughly 25 was a good fit for the room, cosy without being claustrophobic. The evening’s readers included some familiar faces from my recent visit to Paper Tiger Poetry and even someone from The Adelaide in Teddington. But the stars of the show (i.e. the featured poets) were Shaun Rivers and Robert Yates. Shaun performed some of the poems from his collection Twisted and Chewed and the idea of performance is key here. He was one of those enviable wordsmiths who can actually recite their work from memory, but he didn’t stop there. He went further, making the entire room his stage by standing on chairs, laying down on the floor, and seating himself next to audience members while locking eyes with them. These theatrical elements greatly enhanced his set and engaged the crowd. Though Robert had a different approach, he also held everyone’s attention with what I took to be a sort of gritty, urban, and somewhat northern aesthetic peppered with cult references (I enjoyed the Lovecraft) right alongside French poetry in translation! His poetry deserves more time to sit down with in order to fully digest and appreciate all of its rich, detail and nuance.

All in all, it was a good night. I met some nice people and even managed to sell a copy of my chapbook. Next up is Elbowroom’s final event on 3rd November…if I can overcome the train strikes to get there. Stay tuned for updates.

National Poetry Day

I can’t believe it, but National Poetry Day has crept up on me again and I don’t have anything prepared. But now is as good an opportunity as any to talk about a poetry event I recently attended. After spending a fair amount of time reading in Teddington, Woking, and Guildford, I felt like giving London another try. So, I popped over to a cosy little venue called Tea House Theatre, just a short walk from Vauxhall Station. They host a monthly event called Paper Tiger Poetry and I’ve known about it for years, but last Friday, I finally went. I enjoyed a nice pot of spiced chai tea, read a poem from my chapbook, (Reasons for) Moving, and enjoyed the other readings by a mix of newbies and established regulars. It was an eclectic evening including music and even stand up comedy alongside the standard poetry. I’m always impressed by poets who can perform their work from memory and there were a fair few of those as well as multicultural perspectives that really helped to enrich the night. Paper Tiger Poetry is put on by Jason Why of London Poetry Books and I also appreciated his friendly, welcoming manner. If you’re interested in places to read your poetry, this one is certainly worth a try.

Now that I’ve turned my attention to London, I don’t want to stop at just one reading though. I’m hoping to try out Platform 1 at The Poetry Cafe next weekend (I’ll tell you how it goes). And on 3rd November, I’ll be reading at The Harrison for the final Elbow Room Live event. This is a bittersweet occasion because this wonderful little publication will be celebrating the release of their latest edition, Vol. 20, but they’ll also be saying goodbye to the world of poetry. I’m honoured to take part in the festivities, especially since I haven’t been able to participate in previous Elbow Room release parties, but I’d trade that to have them stick around and keep doing what they’re doing.

Unfortunately, Elbow Room aren’t the only ones selling their final issue. Impressment Gang’s last release is also now available. I’d encourage you to pick up a copy and give them one more bit of support. They put out a quality publication and I’m sorry to see it go. While you’re at it, it wouldn’t hurt to order their 3:2 issue as well, since it had a few of my poems in it.

Updates & Corrections

The events that I’ve been promoting in my last few posts, Poetry Cafe at the Hampton Hill Theatre and the launch of What the Peacock Said to the Elephant, have come and gone now. Both were lovely to participate in with great crowds and, in the case of Guildford, sweltering summer weather. It was also very nice to have the Hampton Hill event, including my performance, positively reviewed on Arts Richmond’s official site, even if some of the details were slightly off.

Celia Bard had this to say: “David Russomano is much travelled, and this is reflected in his poetry. Many of his poems are enigmatic no more so than in ‘On Pompano Beach’ which succeeds in making a tantalising mystery from an unrecognisable object found on the beach. This poem like many of the poems he presented can be found in his publication, Reasons for Moving.”

Just to clarify, my chapbook is titled (Reasons for) Moving. The parenthesis are significant because they encourage readers to interpret the title in more than one way and that approach is very important to my own personal poetic (as pretentious as that might sound). Furthermore, On Pompano Beach isn’t actually about a place that I’ve personally visited; it’s about something I read about online. This poem also doesn’t appear in (Reasons for) Moving. It will, however, be in my next collection if I can get anyone to publish it. Until then, you can read On Pompano Beach at The Missouri Review, where it was Poem of the Week.

In other news, this is my 50th post! So…hooray for me, I guess.

fullsizeoutput_3bfullsizeoutput_60

 

Anthologies, Anthologies, Anthologies!

One of my local open mic nights, Poetry Performance at the Adelaide Pub, has recently put together an anthology with the invaluable help of Bob Sheed. This majestic little tome, called Where the River Rests: Poetry from ‘Tide’s End‘, features the work of their regular attendees and I’m happy to count myself among them. You can find four of my poems in the anthology (Two Coincidences; What Begins and Ends With Water or June, 2015; Reflections; and Haunting), all of which also appear in my chapbook. But it’s worth mentioning that Two Coincidences first appeared in issue 67 of Obsessed with Pipework and What Begins and Ends with Water first appeared online at Seethingography. This information didn’t make it into the acknowledgements page, so I just wanted to give credit where credit is due. Now that that’s out of the way, I also want to encourage you to pick up a copy of Where the River Rests from Amazon.co.uk.

At The Keep in Guildford, the good people behind Dempsey & Windle Publishing run another open mic night called 1000 Monkeys. After meeting them there, I found out about their Brian Dempsey Memorial prize and decided to enter. Though I didn’t win, I did manage to get long listed, which means that my poem, Mischief, will appear in their new anthology: What the Peacock said to the Elephant. They’re also throwing a launch party at The Keep on July 9th, so be sure to pop down and pick up a copy if you can.

Poetry & Music in Hampton Hill

If you’ve got plans for the evening of Friday June 15th, go ahead and cancel them, because I’m inviting you to a night of poetry and music in the Noel Coward Studio at Hampton Hill Theatre. I’m excited to announce that I’ll be taking part in Poetry Cafe, the inaugural event of the new Arts Richmond Poetry Hub. In addition to myself, the evening will include top notch performances by Greg Freeman, Suzy Rigg, Frances White, Delia Gleave, and members of the band French Lessons. See the flyer below for details and get your tickets here before they all sell out.

 

Pi Day, With Some Delays

As you may know, yesterday was Pi Day and, as it just so happens, pi is sort of my thing. What I mean is that I’ve been creating works of art that are in some way or another determined by the decimal places of pi for the last several years. Most of these works are painstakingly time consuming. So, every year I tell myself that I just need to bulk up my repertoire of pi art enough to do some kind of event or exhibition. But it takes loads of free time, which always seems to be in short supply. Again and again, the day creeps up on me and before I know it, I find myself saying “maybe next year”. This year in particular, I thought I’d post about some new pi art for the occasion but I put it off and put it off until last night when, my WiFi was down. Typical. Anyway, here I am a day late and a dollar short, but with an assortment of work for you to peruse. Also, remember, I’m open to commissions, so if any of this interests you, please contact me. Happy Pi Day.

AMA: Trying Something Different

Despite my best efforts, I think it would be fair to describe myself as a relatively obscure poet. So, I was pretty surprised when someone from AMAfeed.com invited me to participate in their #AuthorsAMA week. I’ve never done this sort of thing before, but I thought, “What the heck?” Of course, the whole thing’s pointless if no one asks me anything. So, if you’ve ever wondered about my poetry specifically or poetry in general, make sure to drop me a few questions before this Thursday 8/3/18 from 2pm EST (7pm if you’re in the UK, like me).

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES