New Old News

When it comes to publication, the news tends to come in two parts: acceptance and appearance. Sometimes, the gap between them can be a long one. Sometimes, it’s even be longer than anyone could’ve expected, even the people putting together the literary journals. But, on the bright side, it gives writers two opportunities to get excited.

Though I initially got excited about being accepted by Elbow Room and Impressment Gang quite a while ago, the relevant issues have now finally landed in my lap and I’m thrilled all over again.

In the case of Impressment Gang, the news is bittersweet though, as the release of their Issue 3:2 comes with the sad news that they’ll be throwing in the towel after two more issues. It’s not too late to show this little magazine some support. I’d be thrilled if you bought this issue, as I’m particularly proud of the three poems that I have in it (Murmuration, Two Ways I Might Like It to Be, and The Stone’s Question). But don’t stop there! Buy their last two issues as well. Help them to go out with a bang and feel appreciated for the great work they’ve done. After all, 3:2 really does look great.

The story  with Elbow Room is a little different. Issue 14, which features my poems Monument and Fundamentalism, was actually launched at an event back on 23rd September 2016. Unfortunately, I didn’t find out about it until it was too late and therefore, was unable to attend. My contributor copy was on it’s way though, right? Well…something must’ve gone truly screwy with the postal service because it took no fewer than three attempts before it finally got to me! That said, I must thank the people at Elbow Room for their persistence. They must’ve thought I was just feeding the issues to my dog (and I don’t even have one). Anyway, I finally got Issue 14 a few weeks back and now that I’ve got a minute, I just wanted to sing its praises. The stunning art by Xiaoqiao Li and Minami Wrigley adds an extra dimension and the writing’s top notch as well. After reading Harry Denniston’s short story, Happy Anniversary, I thought “I want to meet these people, they sound wild”.

Issue 14 doesn’t appear in Elbow Room’s online shop yet, but I’m sure if you contact them (via social media?), you’d be able to get a copy.

Successful Launch

I’m pressed for time, but I just want to thank everyone who came along and participated in the London launch of my debut poetry chapbook, (Reasons for) Moving. It was an intimate gathering, which is code for small, but loads of fun. I particularly wanted to thank Lucy Furlong, Dino Mahoney, and The Flying Horse for letting us use their cosy basement venue, which I now know is called St. Giles Bar. I’ve borrowed/stolen photos from various people below, so thanks to all of you as well. I plan on promoting this book through a variety of other events and readings, so keep an eye out for more news as it becomes available.

Also, almost forgot: the reading at Kingston went well too. It was a great honour to read with Mario Petrucci. I really enjoyed listening to him and chatting with him as well.

Reading at Kingston University

Thanks to a little last minute change of plans, I will be taking part in Kingston University Writing School’s superb Reading & Lecture Series this coming up Wednesday evening (26/4/17). I’ll be filling in for Rowena MacDonald and reading with Mario Petrucci. I’ve read at Kingston before and listened to Mario perform his work as well, so I can verify that he is an outstanding poet and these evenings are always good fun. For more information on Mario, check out his site and for details about the event, see the flyer below. I’ll have copies of my debut chapbook, (Reasons for) Moving, for sale, so you can hear the poems in person and go home with your own copy. Hope to see you there!

Launch Party!

To celebrate the publication of my debut poetry chapbook, (Reasons for) Moving, I’m throwing a little launch party in London. If you’re interested in poetry, please spread the word and come along to show some support. If you aren’t, then just fill the seats, humor me, and enjoy a few drinks in a great venue.

Some fast facts:

What? Poetry Reading
Where? The Cellar of The Flying Horse, Oxford Street’s Last Alehouse
When? 20th May, 7-8:30 pm
How much? Free Entry
Who? Me (David Russomano), Lucy Furlong, and Possibly One More TBA

I’ll have a stack of copies on sale at the launch for just £5 each, but if you’d like to pick up a copy of (Reasons for) Moving beforehand, you can find it in Structo Press’s online shop.

For more about Lucy Furlong, look up her new poetry book, Villiers Path: Scalloped Time.

For more information about The Flying Horse and how to find it, check out their site.

Hope to see you all there!

Buy My Chapbook

Hear ye, Hear ye! This is only the most important news of my literary career thus far: my debut chapbook is available to purchase as of TODAY! It’s called (Reasons for) Moving and represents the culmination of years of work. If you have any interest in poetry generally, or my poetry specifically, then why not pick up a copy? It’s not expensive. I promise. And it’s available in both print and digital formats. Also, I provided the cover art, which just happens to be the same piece of my pi art that was recently featured in The Enemies Project’s recent exhibition at The Museum of Futures in Surbiton. The good folks at Structo are the ones publishing (Reasons for) Moving, so you can buy it from their website or read their glowing blog post about it. Or both.

News from Both Sides of the New Year

Here it is January and I’m already behind on my updates! So, what’s the news?

To start with, you can find my poem, Up, in Volume 4, Chapter 2 of Visual Verse (page 92 if you’re looking through the whole chapter). What sets Visual Verse apart is that they provide a compelling image and invite authors to submit responses to the prompt, whether they be fiction, non-fiction, or poetry. But, as their About Us page states, “Visual Verse is a challenge”: 50-500 words in one hour. This is great, because it keeps writers from over-thinking and over-working. The visual prompts also offer a good cure for writer’s block.

Visual Verse was my last publication of 2016, but I’m also excited about my first publication of 2017. You can find my poem Second-hand or the ghosts of company in Issue 2 of All the Sins. Like Visual Verse, All the Sins is an online journal and, though it’s a new addition to the literary scene, it’s certainly off to a solid start. Coincidentally, Second-hand is one of the poems I was referring to back in September when I discussed the unique and unusual things I’ve found in different used books. Here’s your chance to match the text to its inspiration – an old photo left in a 70 year old Steinbeck novel.

I’ve been working on more than just poetry though. For the first time, a piece of my pi art (which I talked about back in May) is due to appear in an exhibition! In February and March, Surbiton’s Museum of Futures will be hosting The Enemies Project and I’m thrilled to be involved. I’d love to say more, but their site explains it better than I could, so be sure to check it out.

A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to Publication

So, a little while back I announced my publication in Issue 6 of Phantom Drift. But last night, I realized that there was a little mix-up when they were printing the issue and…they didn’t actually include me in it! On their website, I’m listed among the contributors and at the end of the issue, my bio appears with the other authors’ bios, but my poem is nowhere in sight. After a brief chat with the editor, it’s clear that this was just a glitch and it looks like the best way to remedy this honest mistake is to put me in Issue 7. I don’t know when that’ll come out, but as soon as I do, I’ll pass that info along. And, FYI, when I was flipping through Issue 6, I noticed that it had some truly great illustrations; you should really check them out.

Fun for the Whole Family

Last Thursday (6/10/16), I made my way down to The Museum of Futures in Surbiton to celebrate National Poetry Day and what a celebration it was! The whole event was run by Lucy Furlong and she did a fantastic job. Geared toward adults and children alike, the day/evening included activities like Haiku in a Bottle, Messages of Light, Poetry Lucky Dip, and more.

Each of these may seem simple on the surface, but take a second look. Haiku offer a superb introduction to formal poetry. They’re compact, but done well, they can really pack a punch. Also, experiencing the generative power of formal constraints can be a real eye-opener to people who’ve only ever dabbled in free verse.

On the other hand, the Lucky Dip takes an almost Dadaist approach and makes experimentation fun and accessible. Instead of forcing people to write when they don’t think of themselves as authors, it gives them pieces of language to play with. That way, writing becomes a game where people can ask themselves and each other ‘What can we do with these words and sentences? Can we re-order them into something that actually makes sense?’ And, more importantly, ‘Is making sense always the most important thing?’

Sometimes, though, people just need a starting point, a prompt. Left to their own devices, they’ll rack their brains and stare into space, but tell them to write a little note about light and/or light houses and the ideas come pouring out.

To cap off the event, everyone was given an opportunity to read anything that they had worked on, brought along, or prepared for the occasion. Below, you can see some (low quality phone camera) images of the evening and read a few of the things I cooked up while participating. Happy National Poetry Day everyone!

 

For Haiku in a Bottle:

At the beginning

of October, there was rain –

then there were rainbows.

 

For Messages of Light:

In fair weather,

like a Christmas tree

at any other time of year.

 

For the Lucky Dip:

Hey You:

Lots of Love

reverting to a bog in the bracken.

To feel nostalgia for the present; already

he saw the weather written on the pane.

“Oh, come, come, come,” Said the sardine’s mum.

“Pedal at first, then let the road take you down

and lollop round the pick-up truck.

Hey You,

Blossom where the rose should grow.”