Friday, 28 May 2010

Short Story accepted.

After I made a few revisions and resubmitted to Sam Matthews she's accepted my short story (assuming she has no further questions, which I don't think she will) for Route 57, and it will be appearing in the next issue which is published in June.
Always nice to have some good news considering that I keep getting rejections from poetry magazines, which is completely to be expected but obviously isn't the most positive thing.
So, I'll post a link on here when that goes up, making the whole story available.

I haven't written very much lately, I've had a few lines I'd like to work with kicking around in my head but they haven't particularly gone anywhere so far. Again, this is something to be expected considering how much of a 'boom-and-bust' writer I am (yeah that's right, I applied an economics term to poetry, eat it), and until a couple of weeks ago I was churning out pieces at a pretty good rate. Also, I've been rather preoccupied with writing my last ever essays and putting together thing for when I go to Canada.
That being said, I feel like I ought to cultivate some consistency in my output, and so will try and get a couple of things down in the next week or so, especially considering I have handed in my last ever essay and just have one exam to prepare for.
It will probably end up being about girls, so be prepared . . .

Over and out.

Wednesday, 19 May 2010


Finally heard back from Samantha Matthews about my short story 'Adam' that I submitted to Route 57, and they said they want to publish it! Yay!
Of course, that was "subject to minor revision", so I've got to give it a quick look at before they'll take it for sure, but I'm sure it won't be a big deal.

That's all for now.

Sunday, 16 May 2010


I finally got around to editing Sheriff Woods, and I've now submitted it to the competition. Here is a little section I particularly enjoyed writing, its from, sort of, the middle I guess. Early middle, let's say.

‘So then the Sherriff stood back up and looked around. His eyes fell on a young man by the name of White, young Jimmy White it was, and the Sherriff’s spurs clicked in time with the dull thud his boots made on the boards as he walked over. His percussive tread made the steely eyes he had fixed on Jimmy somehow more threatening, and you could tell Jimmy felt it in a chill up his back from the way he squirmed under that stare. Jimmy had been leaning up against the windowsill looking out with that hopefulness only known to the young, and the Sheriff span a chair round to put his boot up on, trapping Jimmy in his little corner of sun.
“Afternoon, Sheriff.”
‘Jimmy said, with a voice that shook as much as his hand when I saw him raise a Colt for the first time.’
“Good afternoon James.”
‘The Sheriff paused long enough for one of his rare smirks to curl the edges of his mouth, which just so happened to be the same exact amount of time that Jimmy could hold his breath in before he had to explosively exhale,
“Aw c’mon Sherriff, I’m dying here! What d’you want?! Whatever it is, I didn’t do it, I swear!”
“You know Jeremy James, James?”
“Yes sir, I do.”
“Were you drinking with him in here last night?”
“I sure was, we left around midnight, I remember because the church bell had gone off not long before. Of course, I live on ridge side and he lives down the valley so we went our separate ways at the door.”
“You sure you went your separate ways at the door?”
“Well yeah, I told him I’d meet him here today at three o’clock and said goodnight. Looks like he’s late.”
“Something tells me he’s a little more than late, Son. Jeremy James is dead.”
‘Jimmy White’s composure changed at the news, starting in his eyes and ears where the news first hit, then trickling through his body like the water up the top of the mountain where the river’s just a baby. Eventually his whole body was like a wet sack of malt and his eyes, normally as sharp as .45 slugs just pressed into the chamber, thinking excitedly of the moment they’ll be fired, were more like the empty shells that fall in the dust to be trodden on and turn to rust. He slumped against the window and slid down, spilling his drink as his body spilled limply onto the window sill.

I hope you liked it. I believe I should hear by the end of may whether I made it into the short list (of 3) which will go onto the website for further judgement. Fingers crossed till then.

Here's another (minor) redraft of a poem I posted not long ago that I revised after some constructive comments from one Christopher Littlefair (many thanks Chris). I read it at the recent reading with Joe Kriss and Kayo (I don't know how to spell his surname), and it went down very well.


When you look up from your drink
With hungover, listless eyes,
I see the sunrise on an autumn day,
crisp and hung with dew, which slowly
splashes the drowsy trees
shaking the tiredness from their leaves.

In my mouth the words taste like medicine,
as I try to explain, inarticulate and fumbling,
that I have to go away. I drain my cup,
Stand and look at this beautiful breaking day.

Oh, fuck it all. Perhaps I’ll stay.

That's all folks.

Friday, 14 May 2010

Reading went well.

The reading yesterday went very very well, my poems were well received and I got some encouraging feedback from the others reader and one or two members of the audience.
I also took a moment to say to Joe and Kayo how good it was to get to read with them, and Joe said he'd really liked my poems too, and that I should definitely submit some more poems to Now Then Magazine (of which he is the poetry submissions editor).
So, another excellent reading, despite my partially lost voice.

Definitely got to make myself go back and edit 'Sheriff Woods' because the hand in date is Sunday (shit). Also I need to make a decision about which poems to enter into the Poetry London competition that I mentioned before.

So, good things still happening and some more exciting things to come. Hurray!

Tuesday, 11 May 2010

a couple of small things.

Working on a little poem that's an attempt to write something funny, but I'm going to play this one a little close to my chest until I've gotten it straightened out, seeing as me trying to be funny doesn't always go very well.

On another note, my seminar group for my Contemporary Literature module had an extended class today with two "Slam" poets, Joe Kriss and Kayo (I think) I-forget-his-surname. It was good fun, Slam Poetry is pretty cool, pretty much just Rap but without music. I ended up having a little go at writing a short section and the Joe and Kayo said they really liked it, in fact Kayo said something along the lines of "you could start a side career in hip hop, I think" which was encouraging.
Those two poets are the headliners for the poetry reading tomorrow night, so I feel lucky to get to read along side some more very talented people. Its also one of my closest friends' birthday tomorrow and I've spent a not insignificant part of this evening preparing her gift, which I think she's going to love (fingers crossed).

So, a few things happening, I'm doing my best to stay active and get my name known a little. What else can I do right now?

Over and out.

Sunday, 2 May 2010

New Poems

I've just had my latest set of poems back from friend and mentor Helen Mort, addorned with her comments, suggestions, flattery etc.
I continue to get a very good response from her which is really encouraging, and my Mum phoned to tell me she thought I was "actually a poet now" after reading some of my scribblings that were sent back after I used an incorrect size envelope: god damn postal service just don't get it man, you can't stop poetry! lol. Still, good old Mum :)
I'm now waiting to hear back from the Route 57 chaps about the short story I sent them, although as I said before I think it'll probably be included just to fill up the space, if nothing else. Hopefully they won't make me edit it too much, and if they do it will all be constructive etc etc blablabla.
Need to get down to redrafting 'Sherriff Woods', so far my brother Nick's comments have been the most critical / productive, so I'll sit down with (at least) them in mind one day and redraft it like a mother's trucker.

I also need to decide what poem I want to send off to the Poetry London poetry competition (first prize £1000, second £500, third £200 and four "commendations" of £75 - big news!) in time to get them in by the 31st of may (oh dear that's this month).

For now, here are two (quite short) poems from the ones I sent to Helen, having edited them. This isn't necessarily the way they'll stay, of course, and comments are welcome.
Carry on . . .


First, hold it gently. Close your eyes, take a deep breath.
Next, a sip and swallow it for that first rush,
then a larger mouthful. Let it stay on your tongue,
roll it to the back and taste again.
Breathe through it, the air will loosen the composition
on your pallet and bring the flavours out.

Don’t speak or try to describe; just take it in.
Then listen to me say it again.


When you look up from your drink,
leading with your eyebrows then your lids,
I see the sunrise on an autumn day,
crisp and hung with dew, which slowly
splashes the drowsy trees
shaking the tiredness from their leaves.

In my mouth the words taste like medicine,
as I try to explain, inarticulate and fumbling,
that I have to go away. I drain my cup,
Stand and look at this beautiful breaking day.

Oh, fuck it all. Perhaps I’ll stay.

I hope you enjoyed them :)

p.s. sorry for swearing.
p.p.s. well, I'm not really sorry. In fact, I quite enjoyed it.