Monday 22 August 2016

Review of A Career in Accompaniment

We are delighted share details of the latest review for Alex Reed's autobiographical poetry pamphlet A Career in Accompaniment.

The following snippets are taken from a review by Beth McDonough in Dundee University Review of the Arts, which can be enjoyed in full here.

“Opening with the prose poem “Things illness stole”, we find Jan, prior to diagnosis, at the cusp of their relationship; rather as Les Murray’s poem “It Allows a Portrait in Line-Scan At Fifteen”, does the much-needed job of untangling his son from his autism, this offers a vibrant ten line picture of a woman, completely charged and changed by the title’s significance. The magnitude of their loss is caught in the final, soon-to-be-ironic words – “Everything’s going to be alright” – happily lipsticked on her mirror. Ominously, these words hang over a deliberately disproportionate whitespace.”

“never flinching in its pained and painful observation”

“V Press demonstrates that same integrity”

“Alex Reed can write.”

“In his final poem, he hymns…

Remove yourself.
Take these things –
pencil, prayer-wheel and blade
to fashion an opening.

In A Career in Accompaniment, Alex Reed has done all that, with dignity, courage and respect to his partner, their situation and to poetry.”

The full review and analysis by Beth McDonough can be found here

A sample poem and more information about the pamphlet may be enjoyed here

To order a copy of A Career in Accompaniment use the paypal link below

A Career in Accompaniment with postage & packing

Monday 8 August 2016

Chez Nous Recommendations for The Old Man in the House of Bone

Chez Nous Recommendation for ‘The Old Man in the House of Bone’ by David Calcutt, with illustrations by Peter Tinkler.

To enjoy this fascinating poetry sequence, prepare a slow roasted lamb shank. As you pull the meat off the bone, let the narrative unfold. As you suck the juice, hear the rich words. No-one will disturb you because:

            No-one comes calling at the house of bone
            there are no foot shuffles on the front step
            no yoo-hoos through the letter box...

The atmosphere is gothic, so light some candles, preferably in an old, tarnished candelabra. Imagine a mansion, with dusty corners, such as Miss Havisham might live in. It is full of whispers and silences:

            Listen, the house of bone is talking to itself
            mumbling something, charms and incantations, maybe
            fragments of old fairy tales, and the old man’s trying to overhear
            straining to catch the drift of those gummy mutterings...

The old man at the heart of the narrative is the centre of a fragmenting world, He tries to hold on to its integrity but cannot manage it. He is not strong enough. Fortify yourself with a glass of vintage poet. Relish it while you can. Calcutt speaks of the fragility of memory, of life itself. The illustration on the last page is an empty chair and a single shoe, casting their shadows. Each poem has a summative last two lines, separated from the rest by a stanza break and italics. Take a sip of your port and savour those summary couplets. Together they make a shortened version of the sequence. Each one is a prayer or a spell:

            Let the house of bone be a church
            where you kneel and pray to nothing

            Let the house of bone be the map of your world
            that stain on the bottom of the teacup

Let the house of bone be a leaf
clinging to the last branch of the tree

 Your plate is empty, apart from the shank, stripped of its meat. Your port glass is sticky with the port lees. You have walked with the old man on his last journey. You have held space for him. The old man could be anyone. There is magic in this book. These poems are knitted from cobwebs and love.

Angela Topping

Buy The Old Man in the House of Bone now using the paypal link below:

The Old Man in the House of Bone with postage & packing

A sample poem and illustration from the pamphlet can be enjoyed here.

Thursday 4 August 2016

Submissions Window Closed

A big thank you to everyone who has sent in work during our recent 2-month submissions window, which closed at the start of this week.

We are looking forward to reading the poems and flash fictions, and anticipate some tough decisions ahead. All submissions sent according to our submission guidelines will receive a reply. We hope to respond to the initial sample selections in September/October, but please bear with us, as reading this volume of submissions takes time and care.

Meanwhile, samples of some of the work we've published so far can be enjoyed in the video below.