Poetry Business News

Meet the Judges: Neil Astley

Posted by: katherine Category: General

Neil Astley shares what he will be looking for in the winning collections and other thoughts on The Poetry Business Book & Pamphlet Competition...     I've always thought that The Poetry Business Book & Pamphlet competition is especially valuable in making it possible for any poet to have a widely circulated pamphlet published purely on the basis of the quality of their work, regardless of any personal connections. A Poetry Business pamphlet can be a stepping stone to publication of a full collection either with Smith|Doorstop or another leading poetry publisher. Along with Michael Schmidt and Amy Wack, I've published a number of first collections at Bloodaxe by poets who started out by winning the Poetry Business competition.   While Michael Schmidt, Amy Wack and I have a lot in common -- recognising and championing literary quality and diversity -- we don't always favour the same kinds of work, which means anyone entering the competition this year will have the chance of having their work judged by three publishers whose editorial taste is refreshingly wide-ranging. If this is a first collection, entrants should make sure they include all their strongest poems. If it's not, then I'd recommend going for unity, assembling a collection which works well as a coherent whole. If you aren't sure whether to enter, I'd suggest showing the collection to a trusted writer friend.   What I will be looking for... I will be looking for a writer who is doing something new, something different. I want something more than just a collection of good, well-written poems: there are a lot of those about, so many collections, whether books or pamphlets, that could be written by anyone. I'm always looking for poetry which is distinctively and recognisably the work of that particular new writer. The poems should read unlike anyone else's and that writer's stamp has to be felt right through the whole pamphlet, so that the whole work feels like a coherent, consistently strong collection imbued with that writer's particular imagination and way of writing. That's my stance as Bloodaxe editor and I'd carry that over to judging the pamphlet collections submitted to the competition. Because the entries are anonymous, I'm expecting the stand-out collections to be noticeably different from the rest.   Neil Astley   Neil Astley, Hon. FRSL, is the founder and editor of Bloodaxe Books. His books include novels, poetry collections and anthologies, most notably the Staying Alive trilogy. He received an Eric Gregory Award for his poetry in 1982 and was given a D.Litt from Newcastle University for his work with Bloodaxe Books in 1995. He is a trustee of Ledbury Poetry Festival and a Visiting Fellow at Newcastle University.   The deadline for entries to the 2018/19 International Book & Pamphlet Competition is Friday 1st March 2019. For more information, or to submit your entry, visit the competition page on our website. 

Call for Submissions: Anthology of poetry on running

Posted by: katherine Category: General

This anthology will showcase a variety of new writing exploring and celebrating tracks and trails, distance and sprints, endurance and training, and the euphoria, challenges and team spirit surrounding running of all forms and paces. Editors Ben Wilkinson, Kim Moore and Paul Deaton will be selecting the poems they think create the ideal A-team for this anthology, to be published by Smith|Doorstop in October 2019. The Poetry Business and the Editors invite you to submit your running-themed poems for consideration, along with a 75 word biography including your favourite ways, places and personal motivations to run.   About the Editors: Paul Deaton Paul Deaton was born in London and raised in Wales.  A Watchful Astronomy  (Seren, October 2017), his debut collection, was a PBS Recommendation and a National Poetry Day selected title. His work appears regularly in  The Spectator , is included in York Press for GCSE poetry study guides and in various magazines & anthologies. He has a first degree in psychology, works as a commissioning art editor and addictions counsellor in Bristol.  Favourite marathon: London. Favourite race: Exmoor Stagger.  Every run is a little life, a proof in living, that you are alive - a bit like poetry.   Kim Moore Kim Moore was born in 1981 and lives and works in Cumbria. Her first full-length collection,  The Art of Falling,  was published by Seren in April 2015 and won the Geoffrey Faber Memorial Prize. She has won a New Writing North Award, an Eric Gregory Award and the Geoffrey Dearmer Prize. Her first pamphlet  If We Could Speak Like Wolves  was a winner in The Poetry Business Pamphlet Competition, judged by Carol Ann Duffy , was chosen as an Independent Book of the Year in 2012 and shortlisted for the Michael Marks Pamphlet Award and the Lakeland Book of the Year Award.   Ben Wilkinson Ben was born in Staffordshire and now lives in Sheffield. He has won numerous awards for his poetry, including the Poetry Business Competition and a 2014 Northern Writers’ Award. His debut full collection of poems,  Way More Than Luck , appeared from Seren Books in February 2018. A keen distance runner and lifelong Liverpool Football Club fan, he writes as poetry critic for the Guardian , among other publications. He teaches creative writing at the University of Bolton.   Submissions: If you would like your work to be considered for this anthology, send us your best running-themed poems by March 1st 2019. We will contact you by May 1 st 2019 to confirm if your poems are to be included. The poems should be no longer than 40 lines long. Please send a maximum of three pieces, along with a 75 word running themed biography. We welcome imaginative takes on the theme; strange encounters, praise poems, maledictions and anecdotes. We can only accept poems for which you own publication rights, generally these are previously unpublished, or have only been published in magazines. If you're not sure, please check with your publisher/magazine editor. If it had been published, please tell us the title and year of publication. Submit your poems by email to eleanor@poetrybusiness.co.uk with ‘Open Call: Running Anthology’ in the subject line. Please send poems as a word document.

Smith|Doorstop poet Louise Wallwein receives MBE at Buckingham Palace

Posted by: katherine Category: General


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The Poetry Business Writing School 2019/20

Posted by: katherine Category: General

The Poetry Business is offering an intensive course of study, workshops and peer-led discussion, over 18 months for up to 12 selected poets. The Writing School is an Arts Council initiative open to more experienced poets.  A customised form of the MA that Peter Sansom taught for ten years, it is a highly-structured advanced course, which depends upon the seriousness, experience and commitment of the writers who take part.  The main tutors are Ann and Peter Sansom. The course will be useful to any poet who needs direction and well-informed peer support, and particularly to those who have reached a stage where they wish to reassess their own practice. This will be the eighth in a series of extremely successful courses. How to apply - Applicants will normally have published at least one collection, but exceptions may be made, e.g. where work has appeared widely in magazines. - There will be eight Writing School days, beginning in March 2019 and covering an 18 month period. Each day will comprise writing exercises, a study session and critical workshop, and will take place in our offices in Sheffield, usually every second month (usually a Saturday 10.15am to 4pm). Dates of all the workshops will be agreed in advance. - Between sessions, you will work both independently and in small groups: to comment on each other’s work and to discuss poems and aspects of poetry. This can be done by email or by meeting together. - A reading list will cover all periods, but with an emphasis on contemporary poetry. - Assignments will be demanding but enjoyable and poem-centred.  Areas the course is likely to cover include form, translation, sequence and editing. - You will contribute to the construction of the course (with your own reading list and by swapping favourite collections to discuss with other writers); and you will lead a discussion of a poet or some aspect of contemporary poetry. - By the end of the course you will have produced a draft manuscript of poems. We also ask for a self-appraisal of your writing development over the period. - There is no formal assessment, but mentoring and a final editorial session will be available. - A Writing School Weekend is expected to take place in Spring 2020 in the Lake District, closing with a course-members’ reading at The Wordsworth Trust, Grasmere. Course fee: £850. This can be paid in two instalments. Please do not let shortage of funds prevent you from applying. Closing date for applications: 30 th November 2018 Please include: - Eight poems (published or unpublished). - A short covering letter stating why you want to come on the course. - A short cv with publication detail. -The titles of three individual poetry collections which are important to you. Send your application by post to: The Writing School, The Poetry Business, Campo House, 54 Campo Lane, Sheffield, S1 2EG or by e-mail to:   office@poetrybusiness.co.uk For more details or to discuss the course informally, please email, or ring 0114 438 4074.   The Writing School gave me space and a detailed structure to focus on my own practice as a poet -- and although I didn't know it at the time, I finished the manuscript that became my first full-length collection while on the course. There was a brilliant reading list as long as your arm and really imaginative ways of working with poems and poetry.  The other participants were highly skilled and experienced poets and I felt very lucky to be part of the group.  Ann and Peter were amazing throughout - professional, supportive and genuinely interested in helping us as writers. It was a wonderful experience.  –  Kim Moore

Now Open – Our 2019 New Poets Prize

Posted by: katherine Category: General

The Poetry Business is delighted to announce that the 4th New Poets Prize is now open for entry, this year judged by Mary Jean Chan.  

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