Friday, 9 May 2014

New Publications: Aviators and Anthologies

First Flight by Brocken Blue. Used under Creative Commons license

I was recently thinking that this blog feels slightly in the doldrums. Having recently re-read some of my earlier entries, as much as two and a half years ago, I wondered if I had more to say about the poems then. On the other hand, some blogs don't even last this long. And I never wanted to be prescriptive about the content; it can be a bit of everything, as long as there's poetry.

On the bright side, this year hasn't been bad at all (by my standards, anyway) for publishing bits and pieces and for writing poems. I'm very pleased about my most recent publications, for different reasons.

My poem 'As though we lived falling out of the skin into the soul' appeared last month as one of the weekend poems on The Missing Slate. This fascinating arts journal is Pakistan-based with an international staff and outlook. The poem was inspired by this extremely moving account on English PEN of the poet Ivo Machado and the English pilot, which troubled and haunted me from the moment I read it. Sadly, I suppose the missing Malaysia Airlines flight may also have been somewhere in the background, too. Pablo Neruda provided inspiration with the title and the quote.

The other publication actually was the culmination of years of work. In my day job working on the publishing program for LAMDA's examinations in speech and drama, I and some of my colleagues have been developing new Verse & Prose and Acting anthologies for use with the new syllabuses over the next few years. They have finally been published. If there are certain lessons I have learned from working on anthology development, it is that permissions are an absolute nightmare, and you can expect plenty of spanners in the works at the last minute. On the bright side, the new books look great and I think the content is really dynamic and varied. A couple of my poems made it into the Verse & Prose anthology, one of them being 'Andalucia', first published in Shot Glass Journal. The other is a poem called 'London, 7 July' which I wrote just after 7/7 and just before moving from Dublin to London. It is still very reflective of my emotions in the moment and I have to admit that when I see it in print, a part of me feels quite exposed.

The Verse & Prose anthology also features many of my favourite authors and favourite works, including the following, among others:

ELSEWHERE (Derek Walcott)

GARDEN STATUES (Al-Saddiq Al-Raddi)

RUBAIYAT (Mimi Khalvati)

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