Thursday, 22 July 2010


Anthony Caleshu's new book of poems Of Whales: In Print, In Paint, In Sea, In Stars, In Coin, In House, In Margins, is just published by Salt. It's a collection based on Melville's great American novel Moby Dick, using episodes and ideas from the novel and from Melville's sources, and criticism written on Melville, to dream up new poems haunted by seafaring and whaling, by drinking and voyaging in the literary imagination, and by relationships. It's a frankly obsessive book, maybe not quite so much so as Melville's, but completely literary in a witty and sometimes touching way. I read it right through with pleasure the first time and it grows on you, the enjoyment of an idea augmented and thoroughly developed in many different poems. The formal range of the poems is terrific and never fussy, as befits a humane book with a long literary memory. Plymouth is there in the Gin Factory and watery bars of the Barbican, in the night time imagination, alongside Bulkington, Ishmael, Hawthorne, Olson, Owen Chase, Thomas Beale, Starbuck, and all sorts of dodgy Melvillean characters, some of them born yesterday. You can find out more about Anthony Caleshu's books on his Salt page.


Steve Spence's book A Curious Shipwreck has been shortlisted for the Forward 2010 best first poetry collection prize. It's great that Steve's book has been recognized among the best debut poetry collections this year. You can find more information about Steve's work on the Shearsman website here.

Tuesday, 29 June 2010


The Language Club will be meeting on Saturday 3 July at 7.30 pm at Plymouth Arts Centre for their open mic evening of new writing in performance. Entry is £5 / £3, there is a bar and readers, musicians, singers and audience are very welcome. Special guest this time is Liverpool poet Scott Thurston, author of three Shearsman collections: Hold, Momentum and Internal Rhyme. You can find out about Scott's Shearsman publications here. He is co-curator of The Other Room reading series in Manchester and co-edits The Journal of British & Irish Innovative Poetry with Robert Sheppard. I got this photo of Scott from Tony Trehy's blog, (thanks Tony) all the others seemed to be earlier photos of Scott with Iggy Pop.

Wednesday, 7 April 2010


Plymouth poets Kenny Knight and Steve Spence will be reading at Plymouth College of Art and Design, in the Library, Tavistock Place, Thursday 29 April, 5PM, entry is free. Kenny Knight's most recent publication is The Honicknowle Book of the Dead, Steve Spence's new book is A Curious Shipwreck; they are both published by Shearsman of Exeter.

Friday, 26 March 2010


The next meeting of The Language Club, Plymouth Arts Centre, 38 Looe Street, Plymouth, is on Saturday 3 April at 7.30 pm with guest poets Susan Taylor and Simon Williams. Susan has published five collections, including The Suspension of the Moon and The Complete Bearded Stranger. Simon Williams' third collection Quirks was published by Oversteps in 2006. The dancer Katerina Kyriacou (photo T. Williams and K Kyriacou) will be accompanying Susan.
    The Language Club is Plymouth's regular open mic poetry event with artists' bar. Entry £5 / £3, poetry performers, musicians, everyone welcome. Open mic slots available on the night. Contact Tim Allen on 01752 661339,

Monday, 1 March 2010


I just heard that Tom Vowler is a winner in the Scott Prize run by Salt Publishing for new short story collections. Tom's collection They May Not Mean To But They Do was one of four winners in this open competition to find new talented fiction writers for this highly successful publisher of poetry and fiction. Tom's winning book will be published in hardback in UK and Australia and paperback in USA. Congratulations to Tom and to all the prizewinners in the competition.

Friday, 26 February 2010


If you're at the Language Club you might want to get a copy of this new poetry title now available from Shearsman Books of Exeter. It's Plymouth poet Steve Spence's first collection A Curious Shipwreck. Steve's work has appeared in Stride, Tears in the Fence, Tenth Muse, Great Works, Shearsman, and The Rialto. He completed an MA in Creative Writing at the University of Plymouth in 2007. Steve has been performing poems from this book for some time now; he's a regular at the Language Club and I saw him read a while back at Exeter Phoenix with Kenny Knight. Michael Mackmin of The Rialto writes: 'I think these poems are likeable, funny, intelligent, their satire exact for these times'. Good luck with the book, Steve.


The next meeting of the Language Club is Saturday March 6, 7.30-10.00PM at the Plymouth Arts Centre. The guest reader will be Chris McCabe, author of The Hutton Enquiry and Zeppelins, both from Salt publishing, who supplied the photo. The usual open mic and bar: readers, singers, musicians, everyone welcome. Tickets £5 and £3 concessions at the door. Contact Tim Allen tallentwataoldotcom.

Wednesday, 13 January 2010


Tom Vowler's short story collection 'They May Not Mean To But They Do' has been shortlisted for the Scott Prize for Short Fiction. Four of the shortlisted collections will be published by Salt. Tom is a Plymouth graduate MA in Creative Writing; I posted a previous story last year about his award from Arts Council England. He works on the editorial team of the journal Short Fiction. Tom's blog about writing is here.