Friday, October 15, 2010


Come and find me at my new home here...

Or sit with me on my bench blog.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010


An (old-ish) article of mine about the joys of Getting Lost has just appeared on the Psychologies Magazine website. Really happy to have it out there where I can find it because I am quite the expert at getting lost myself....!!

Monday, October 11, 2010

Another Poetry Competition...

Expensive this one, but it is highly respected.

(sponsored by NAWE)
The Poetry Business is now inviting entries for its 25th Book & Pamphlet Competition. Entrants are invited to submit a short collection of poems (20-24 pages), for the chance to win:
book publication & six free copies (for the overall winner),
pamphlet publication & 20 free copies (for three/four first-stage winners),
a share of £2,000 prize money,
a poetry reading hosted by The Poetry Business,
and publication in The North magazine.
JUDGE: Simon Armitage
DEADLINE: Last posting on Monday 29th November 2010 (or for online entries, 1st December)
ENTRY FEE: £25 (or £20 for Friends of the Poetry Business and North magazine subscribers). A £1 surcharge is applied to entries submitted online.
Enter online, download an application form and find full details on the Poetry Business website at

Tuesday, October 05, 2010

Some publication news...

I'm very pleased that one of my short stories, For the Sake of the Children, first published in Night Train was chosen for the Chamber Four Fiction Anthology, a selection of 'outstanding stories from the web during 2009/2010'.

You can download the anthology here and please do, not least because it's FREE!

Also I wanted to tell you that a poem I wrote during Pascale Petit's wonderful Monday nights at the Tate Modern is included in the pamphlet, Poetry From Art. This is only available from the Tate, but I really recommend you getting a copy. Not just for my poem, of course, but for those of the other contributors including Karen McCarthy Woolf, Naomi Woddis, Malika Booker, Rowyda Amin, Matthew Paul, Anne Welsh, Rebecca Farmer, Zillah Bowes, Cath Drake, Rishi Dastidar, Beth Somerford, Roberta James, Cath Kane, Kaye Lee, Lynn Foote, Seraphima Kennedy, Ali Wood, Julie Steward, Elizabeth Horsley, MJ Whistler, Andrea Robinson, Angela Dock, Beatriz Echeverri. Good stuff.

It really is such a privilege to walk around a gallery like the Tate Modern after hours thinking and writing poetry, but what gets me most is how good it feels just to sit and stare at ONE thing, rather than do what I normally do which is to try and see everything. Thank you Pascale!

Here's a poem I wrote in response to Anselm Kiefer's amazing installation, Palm Sunday:


Down in the root ball of the ship
the plant collector is making a nest.

He counts his catch, tucks each seed
up in its own handwritten box, an ebony

cabinet ticking with paused hearts.
He dreams of growing a fresh desert

one day, of these dried moments
in the old land coming back to life.

His bones ache as he waters
the dust, while on the deck above,

sailors sleep, the wooden mast dances
again in perfect tune with the winds,

until reaching for water, it leans
too far, loses balance. White sails,

like baby gowns, christen the sea.

I also have poems in two more anthologies coming out soon, WordAid and South East Poets, but more on those shortly.

Monday, October 04, 2010


Somehow I like it even better when it all goes a bit wrong - do LOVE Kim Addonizio and want to make my own videos now. The only recent one I've got is of me doing my party trick of sucking up a creme caramel directly from the plate and believe me, that is neither pretty or poetic.

Sunday, October 03, 2010



Here's a copy of the email I've just received in case you're interested in this excellent poetry prize:

Dear Poets

Some last-minute reminders in the run-up to our 2010 deadline as you're deciding which poems/how many to submit...

- shortest turnround of any major competition: poems in on/by Fri 15th Oct, winners know by Mon 22nd Nov, results by e-mail to everyone else after announcement on evening of Mon 29th Nov;

- no sifters/chuckers-out, both judges read every poem;

- not just £1000 top prize but 22 other prizes and the chance for every prizewinner to read at Troubadour Prize Celebration on Mon 29th Nov;

- every submission, whether one poem or ten, supports our fortnightly Monday night readings in London's liveliest, longest-running and best-loved literary landmark venue, now surviving without Arts Council support and relying increasingly on poets around the country and around the world to keep literature 'live' in London.

Do feel free pass on the word to anyone you know who's writing and who mightn't be on our newsletter lists. And many thanks to all those of you who've already submitted.

Best wishes


4th Annual Troubadour International Poetry Prize 2010

Judges: Gwyneth Lewis & Maurice Riordan
(Both judges will read all poems).

1st prize £1000, 2nd £500, 3rd £250, plus 20 @ £20 each
Spring 2011 Coffee-House Poetry Season Ticket
prizewinners' Coffee-House Poetry reading
with Maurice Riordan & Gwyneth Lewis
for all winning poets
on Monday 29th November 2010 at the Troubadour

Submission deadline: Friday 15th October 2010
See for previous winners & winning poems, 2007-2009;
See below or for judges, rules and submission details.


Gwyneth Lewis was the first National Poet of Wales (2005) and her words appear over the Wales Millennium Centre, opened in 2004. Educated at Ysgol Gyfun Rhydfelen, a bilingual school near Pontypridd, and at Oxford, Columbia and Harvard Universities, she has written oratorio as well as having written on clinical depression and 'Two in a Boat - The True Story of a Marital Rite of Passage', inspired by a sailing journey during which her husband was diagnosed with cancer. Her poetry collections in English include 'Parables and Faxes' (1995), 'Chaotic Angels' (2005) and 'A Hospital Odyssey' (2010, all Bloodaxe).

Maurice Riordan (b. Lisgoold, Co, Cork, 1953) is the author of three collections of poetry, 'A Word from the Loki' (Faber, 1995, a PBS choice), the Whitbread shortlisted 'Floods' (Faber, 2000) and 'The Holy Land'(Faber, 2007) which received the Michael Hartnett Award. A Next Generation poet, he has been Poetry Editor of Poetry London and is currently Professor of Poetry at Sheffield Hallam University, has translated the work of Maltese poet Immanuel Mifsud ('Confidential Reports', 2005), has edited and co-edited anthologies on science, space and ecology, and has edited a selection of Hart Crane's poems for Faber's 'Poet to Poet' series (2008).


General: Entry implies acceptance of all rules; failure to comply with rules will result in disqualification; competition open to poets of any nationality over 18 years; no competitor may win more than one prize; judges' decision is final; no individual correspondence will be entered into.

Poems: Poems must be in English, must each be no longer than 45 lines, must fit on one page of A4, must be the original work of the entrant and must not have been previously broadcast or published (in print or online); prizewinning poems may be published (in print or online) by Troubadour International Poetry Prize and may not be published elsewhere for one year after Friday 15th October 2010 without written permission. No limit on number of poems submitted. No alterations accepted after submission.

Fees: All entries must be accompanied by fee of EITHER £5/ 6EURO/$8USD per poem, if fewer than 4 poems, OR £4/ 5EURO/$7USD per poem if 4 or more poems submitted; payment by cheque or money order (Sterling/Euro/US-Dollars only) payable to 'Coffee-House Poetry' with poet's name (and/or e-mail Entry Acknowledgement Reference, if appropriate) written on back.

By Post: No entry form required; each poem must be typed on one side of A4 white paper showing title & poem only; do not show author's name or any other identifying marks on submitted poems; include a separate page showing Name, Address, Phone, E-Mail (opt), Titles and Number of Poems EITHER @ £5/ 6EURO/$8USD each OR @ £4/ 5EURO/$7USD each; no staples; entries are not returned.

By E-mail: No entry form required; poems must be submitted in body of e-mail (no attachments) to; entries should be preceded by Name, Address, Phone, Titles and Number of Poems EITHER @ £5/ 6EURO/$8USD each OR @ £4/ 5EURO/$7USD each; acknowledgement will be sent to entrant's e-mail address showing Entry Acknowledgment Reference; send payment by post within 14 days quoting Entry Acknowledgement Reference; e-mail entries will be included only when payment received by post.

Acknowledgement/Results: will be sent to all e-mail entrants; postal entrants should include stamped, addressed postcard marked 'Acknowledgement' and/or stamped, addressed A5 envelope marked 'Results' if required.

Deadline: All postal entries, and postal payments for e-mail entries, to arrive at Troubadour Poetry Prize, Coffee-House Poetry, PO Box 16210, LONDON, W4 1ZP postmarked on or before Friday 15th October 2010. Prizewinners will be notified individually by Monday 22nd November 2010. Prizegiving will be on Monday 29th November 2010 at Coffee-House Poetry at the Troubadour.

Anne-Marie Fyfe (Organiser)
coffee-house poetry at the troubadour

Saturday, October 02, 2010


What's going to happen to all our old, unwanted letters?

Well, do not fret. Because I have just found out that help is at hand.

They are being collected at the Museum of Letters in Berlin, the only collection of letters in the world so far.

I have to say that finding out about this, and looking at all the photographs of letters, has given me an enormous gust of pleasure.

And it means that I no longer have to feel quite so sad when I see pictures like this...