Category Archives: Publications

Liftoff!

Our book is now officially published! We launched it into the world last Thursday, 28th March, and what a joyous occasion it was. Holland Park Press hired the beautiful Gradidge Room at the Art Workers Guild, and we were overwhelmed by the number of people who came along to celebrate this milestone with us. The wine flowed, the room filled with laughter and chatter, books were bought and signed; and before we got too merry, Bernadette hushed the crowd and we gave a short reading from our collection. Then, more book buying and signing! More wine! Amazingly, by 9pm virtually all the books that Bernadette and Arnold had brought along to the launch party had been sold.

Our thanks to everyone who came along, especially those who travelled from outside London; those who sent congratulatory messages and bought the book online; and of course to Bernadette and Arnold at Holland Park Press for organising such a lovely party.

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Look at those books! Photo: Nick Rogers

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Ready for our guests Photo: Nick Rogers

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Photo: Sarah Sparkes

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Photo: Holland Park Press

Reading at the London Book Fair.

The London Book Fair attracts over 25,000 visitors. Who wouldn’t want to read at one of the publishing industry’s main trade fairs? When our publisher Bernadette at Holland Park Press suggested she could pitch for a slot for us to read from our forthcoming collection at this year’s fair we jumped at the chance.  Continue reading Reading at the London Book Fair.

Wine, poetry, and you, at our book launch March 28th

Whoohoo… our book is real! A 152-page actual thing.  To celebrate its publication, our lovely publisher Holland Park Press is throwing us a launch party right in the heart of Bloomsbury. And we’d like to invite you to join us there.

It will be in the fabulous Gradidge Room at the Art Workers Guild, 6 Queen Square, London WC1N 3AT on March 28th 7pm-9pm. Nearest tube is Russell Square.

 

Portrait of the poets

 

On a chilly and windy November day we met with poet and photographer Naomi Woddis at Tate Modern to have headshots taken for our book cover. Naomi has taken several celebrated shots of contemporary poets (Malika Booker, Raymond Antrobus, Rishi Dastidar to name a few) that currently grace biogs, book jackets and social media profiles. Naomi made the experience of being photographed great fun, and calmed our nerves. It was a laugh trying to work out what a poet should look like in a headshot – smiling? Serious? Quill in hand?

The results? All will be revealed on our book cover in March 2019.

Drumroll…

…our poetry collection, London Undercurrents, will be published by Holland Park Press in March 2019. Whoop!

We are beside ourselves with excitement. Over the moon, to quote Imtiaz Dharker. Thrilled to bits, jumping for joy…

Huge thank yous to everyone who helped us get to this point, especially our wonderful mentor, Jacqueline Saphra.

Thank you all at Spread the Word, for writing space and encouragement and to Arts Council England for the research and development grant which really propelled our practice forward.

And a big big thank you to Bernadette and Arnold at Holland Park Press for taking us on. We can’t wait to be one of your stablemates, alongside such illustrious names as Norbert Hirschhorn, Marilyn Hacker and Deema K. Shehabi (another poetry collaboration), and Vicky Grut.

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Photo by Roven Images on Unsplash

Poetry, song and Eritrean food

Joolz writes: As much as we love reading at The Poetry Cafe, it’s been a real delight to discover new venues while the cafe is being renovated.

Fourth Friday has relocated to Bar 48 in Brixton during the Poetry Cafe’s hiatus, and promoter Hylda Sims was worried that FF’s loyal fans wouldn’t be tempted out to this new venue. Her worries were unfounded – a warm and eager crowd turned up, and the hustle of the bar and relaxed atmosphere (comfy chairs!) added a ‘proper gig’ vibe to the evening. Lively. That’s how we like our poetry readings.

Seeing as it was our second feature at Fourth Friday together, we decided to mix things up a bit by reading our solo stuff as well as  London Undercurrents poems. I read first and unleashed a new set of poems about the sea onto a guinea pig audience. This included a bawdy sea shanty, which I greatly enjoyed reading. Then Hilaire read a batch of beautifully crafted and lyrical poems about gardening and gardens. Lastly we both read north and south London Undercurrents poems that have been published most recently (Lunar Poetry and Brittle Star).

The other featured artists were fabulous – folk singer Leon Rosselson‘s satirical songs were deceptively cheery while delivering relevant and timely social and political comment. Poet Abe Gibson delivered deeply moving poems with a delicate musicality that was spellbinding. To top the evening off, the food was amazing. It’s well worth putting this monthly event in your diary, every fourth Friday.img_6377img_6380

Lunar Poetry issue 10 launch

We’re delighted to have two London Undercurrents poems published in the latest issue of Lunar Poetry. With Joolz away at the Ledbury Poetry Festival, it was down to Hilaire to fly the flag for both sides of the river at the launch reading on Tuesday evening. Here she reports back.

The event took place at the Peckham Pelican, a light and spacious café bar with a relaxed atmosphere. Lunar Poetry editor Paul McMenemy started proceedings by picking out the opening of Strauss’s Also sprach Zarathustra on an upright piano – an acrobatic feat as he had to stretch across a table to reach the keyboard.

I was first up on the stage and read both poems included in the current issue: In the Ether, which reflects the experience of a young woman working in a gas mantle factory in Wandsworth in 1931; and Joolz’s poem Coining factory, N1, told from the point of view of a 13 year old girl helping in the family coin forging business in the 1880s. Staying north, I performed Joolz’s Thames freeze, north side, 1814. I love the young maid’s voice in this poem, so it’s a pleasure to read it aloud, despite the maid reporting that her ladyship is loathe to cross to the south / at all costs. I returned south with my poem Lady Cyclist, whizzing around Battersea Park in the summer of 1895.

There were strong readings from several other poets in this issue, including Lizzy Palmer, Rishi Rohatgi, Dennis Tomlinson, Gboyega Odubanjo and Christopher Williams; and a real mix of voices from the open mic readers, covering topics from the EU referendum fallout (in a haiku sequence) to a Dulwich Hamlet fan’s search for a plain honest Shippam’s Paste sarnie. Paul rounded the evening off with a few of his own fierce and funny poems.

The magazine is a bargain at £5 or £2.50 for the ebook version, and is back on track to publish monthly (hence ‘Lunar Poetry’). Launch readings are on the first Tuesday of the month at the Peckham Pelican, free entry, and plenty of open mic spots. Definitely worth checking out!

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Reading at the Peckham Pelican, 5th July 2016

Paul at piano
Paul McMenemy playing Strauss