Poetry

She Grrrowls, He Slams

It’s summer, poetry fans! That all-too brief time in the UK for beach trips and ice creams in the garden and flip flops and music festivals and barbecues and reading in the sunshine. I hope you’re all enjoying as much of these things as possible, but in case you feel like you’ve not had the opportunity (too disillusioned by Andy Murray’s departure from Wimbledon and England’s departure from the World Cup, too baffled by John Barrowman in the Commonwealth Games opening ceremony, too disappointed after S Club 7 performed in Norwich last weekend minus Rachel, Hannah, Paul and Jo), I’m delighted to be able to offer you two more gifts in the form of the eighth and ninth Nasty Little Intros.

As you’re probably aware by now, Nasty Little Press have been scouring the UK for new voices in poetry and, supported by the Arts Council England, have been gradually publishing a series of ten pamphlets showcasing some seriously impressive up and coming talent from all over the country.

You’ll find a list of all the Intros we’ve published here on the NLP website, but right now, I’d like to introduce you to Carmina and Ben, our antepenultimate (oh yeah, that’s a word) and penultimate NLP Intro poets.

carminaCarmina Masoliver hails from southwest London and has been writing and performing poetry since 2006. She is the creator and host of She Grrrowls, an arts event in Bethnal Green showcasing talented women in poetry, comedy and music, and has worked alongside Ross Sutherland, Niall O’Sullivan and Michael Rosen to facilitate poetry workshops and projects. This summer, you may already have seen her perform at Latitude or the Secret Garden Party, and in September, you may also be lucky enough to catch her at Bestival. You’ll find a whole lot more information about Carmina on her website and here on her NLP profile.

benBen Norris is a Birmingham-based poet, playwright and actor and reigning UK All Stars Poetry Slam Champion. He founded UniSlam!, the UK’s first inter-university poetry slam championship and was recently commission to write two new poems by the Southbank Centre, which were performed at the Royal Festival Hall and broadcast on Radio 3. He’s also Literary Evens Officer for the University of Birmingham’s Creative Writing Society and runs and hosts two poetry nights in the city. You can find out more about Ben on his website as well as here on his NLP profile.

As with all our Intros, Carmina’s Nasty Little Intro #8 and Ben’s Nasty Little Intro #9 are limited editions, so do buy one (or two) here before they sell out like the hot cakes. Or Cornettos, depending on the temperature.

Leaving The Garret

garret

First up you can catch Molly Naylor, Elvis McGonagall, John Osborne and Tim Clare at PORT ELIOT FESTIVAL. There’s a quick fire NLP cabaret on Sunday 27th July on Walled Garden Stage at 2pm. NLP Editor Luke Wright is the social glue/compere.

Then we’re off to Scotland where NLP takes over The Spiegeltent at The Edinburgh International Book Festival for one night only. Friday 15th August (from 9pm) is all about Nasty Little Press as Luke introduces Tim, Molly and Elvis, this time accompanied by Salena Godden and Martin Newell.

The NLP event is one of ten that Luke Wright has programmed on behalf of EIBF. The series, aimed at bringing spoken word to the festival, is called Babble On and is one of the book festivals main themes for 2014.

Have you met Martin?

At the risk of being that person at the party who introduces two people to each other who have not only met but know how the other takes their coffee, already think each other are pretty funny and have possibly holidayed together in the south of France, I’d like to (re)acquaint you with Martin Figura.

martinMartin’s been a published poet for nearly fifteen years, and an NLP poet for four. He featured in This is What a Poet Looks Like, our (currently out of print) collaboration with Norwich’s fabulous Book Hive, and we have also had the great pleasure of publishing two of his poetry pamphlets, Boring The Arse Off Young People and Arthur.

It’s the last of these that I especially want to draw your attention to, as Poetry London recently had some very nice things to say about it. Unfortunately, you will have to hunt down a hard copy of the magazine to read the review in full, as it is not featured on their website, but for those without the time or sleuthing skills to track down a paper copy of the magazine, here are a couple of highlights:

Even the most dramatic moments of war are conveyed in simple, declarative sentences with the clarity of a newsreel…

…this humming tension of repression is what allows for the pamphlet’s striking moments of emotion release

You can buy Arthur here on the NLP website, and you’ll also find out more information about Martin on his website, where you will also be able to keep up with where he will be performing.

A really, really late Christmas present from NLP

Poetry fans, would you believe me if I told you I’d found a magical land in the back of a wardrobe and for the last few months had been helping free that magical land from the grip of an eternal Winter? Or that I’d faked my death and had been undercover in a Hungarian jail for MI5? No? Oh fine.

Do I at least get points for coming back from my magical-adventures-slash-espionage to tell you about a new NLP poet? How about a nice review? How about a new NLP poet, a nice review AND a poetry book about sex? Sold!

First up, I’d like to remind you you about Nasty Little Press’ Intros. Supported by Arts Council England, NLP has been scouring the country for the best new voices in poetry. Small but perfectly formed, these limited edition poetry pamphlets are sold here on the NLP website but are also sent out to literature and live lit industry figures. NLP will help their authors to get bookings for readings or performances and mentor them through the editing process with a view to publishing a longer collection in the future.

syeAll caught up? Excellent. Let me introduce you, then to Sye Sanders, NLP’s latest Intro author. Having spent much of his twenties living in Ibiza, Sye has a degree in Imaginative Writing from John Moores University and is a popular performer on the Liverpool scene. He collects vinyl, writes letters to the NME and includes Philip Larkin, Emily Dickinson and The Smiths among his extremely wide-ranging influences. You can buy Sye’s Intro #7 here on the NLP website, and I recommend that you keep an eye out for him performing in the near future.

Next up, I have the happy task of showing you a fantastic review for Nic Aubury’s Cold Soup. You can read the whole thing here, but here are the highlights:

Humour comes naturally to most but few can get up on stage and be funny. These poems look like anyone could’ve written them but you try. Getting end rhymes isn’t so hard; it’s varying the rhythm within a tight metre that’s the bugger and this is, for me, where Aubury excels.

They hold their own against the best and best-loved—comic verse by the likes of [Ogden] Nash or Spike Milligan.

 

If you like the sound of that, you may also be interested to know that you’ll also find Mr Aubury’s work in a shortly-to-be published collection from Viking Press. The Poetry of Sex is a raucous, highly enjoyable anthology by acclaimed poet Sophie Hannah, and features poems from a wide range of authors including Shakespeare and Carol Ann Duffy, not to mention NLP poet and managing editor Luke Wright. As you will read on the Penguin website, Hannah’s selection ranges from ancient Rome to modern New York, from gay to straight, but her principle has been to go low on the sugar and high on the excitement. It’s published on 30th January, just in time for Valentine’s Day! Or a really, really late Christmas present.

A new member of our gang

Poetry fans, it’s a new season (accompanied by the slamming door of Summer leaving), a new term (new books, sharp pencils etc etc), and in that vain, I want to introduce you to a new NLP poet and his new NLP-published book. Not that this poet is new to the poetry scene, far from it. Martin Newell has been a rock musician since the 70s and a poet, author and columnist since the 90s. He’s previously published a dozen collections of verse, two social histories, a collection of his columns and a memoir of his glam rock days.

martin2The Wife of ’55 is Newell’s latest book of verse, and we’re thrilled to be publishing it. Leading the reader down the “laden lanes and ledges” of his beloved Essex and into the thrifty kitchen of his Edwardian grandmother, it’s a series of love-letters to England and Newell’s childhood, and it’s full of his wit and lyricism.

You can read all about Martin on his website and on his author page here on NLP, and then buy The Wife of ’55 here in the NLP shop. Don’t just take my word for it, though. Like Lois Lane (I’m thinking Teri Hatcher, by the way – gotta love a shiny bob), pen poised over my pad, I spoke with Luke Wright (poet, co-founder and managing editor of NLP) to gauge his excitement:

I’m delighted to be publishing Martin Newell. He’s been a huge influence on my work and is truly one of the greatest poets of the last 30 years. He shunned the back-slapping literary world in London and instead chose to write his chippy, often satirical poems from his outpost in the Essex marshes, from where he sends them to newspaper editors who publish them. The thing is, people like Martin Newell’s poetry because he writes about the real world in way people can understand. His words are clear so the reader can see into the heart of his poems. He’s everything Nasty Little Press is about and we’re chuffed to have him in our gang.

Craughing with The General

Like a horse-bound postal rider, poetry fans (I’m watching Pride and Prejudice, I’m sorry), I bring you news of one of our NLP poets, Salena Godden!

salena

If you’ve not been introduced to her before, or discovered her NLP-published pamphlet Under the Pier, let me do the honours. Described variously as ‘The doyenne of the spoken word scene’ (Ian McMillan, BBC Radio 3’s The Verb), ‘The Mae West madam of the salon’ (The Sunday Times) and as ‘everything the Daily Mail is terrified of’ (Kerrang! Magazine), Salena writes and and performs poetry, fiction, memoir, radio drama and lyrics. She is known as The General of the Book Club Boutique, a literary salon in Soho, and has appeared on radio programmes including Woman’s Hour and Saturday Live.

Salena’s latest project, a book called Springfield Road, is being funded and produced by Unbound, an organization that puts the power of publishing in the hands of the authors and readers. You can read her pitch here in full, but here are the highlights:

Springfield Road is a journey into childhood. My childhood, maybe your childhood too. I set out to capture a snapshot of the seventies, a world without health and safety, a time of halfpenny sweets, fish and chips in newspaper, cassette tapes of the Sunday night top ten, scrumping apples and foraging for conkers, through the eyes of my child self.

It is the memoir of our family home on Springfield Road in Hastings, but it is also a memoir of the journey I took writing this book … They haven’t told our story like this before, and I believe it’s about time. This book will make you craugh, cry and laugh at once. When you read it I imagine you will say, Hey! I remember, we did that too! You might say I remember being closer to the ground; I remember riding my bike with my feet off the pedals; I remember summers were longer and how oranges were bigger; I remember struggling to comprehend sex and death, heaven and hell, war and God, and perhaps you’ll say, I remember I missed my dad too. This is my story but I think maybe it’s your story too. With your help and with thanks to Unbound Books this story can finally be shared.

If this has whetted your appetite and you’d like to pledge to this project, please go to Springfield Road’s page on Unbound, where you can also read about the goodies you would also get for your pledged amount.

Do go and read about Salena’s book and pledge if you can; we’re very proud of our NLP poets and want the whole world to know how ace they are!

A Story, A Musical, A Comic

islanders

The Islanders is a story in several parts. It’s the story of teenage couple Amy Mason and Eddie Argos who, in the late 1990s, went on holiday to the Isle of Wight. Thirteen years on, this story was turned into a lo-fi musical at this year’s Edinburgh Fringe starring both Eddie and Amy, with prose by Amy (now a writer and performer), lyrics by Eddie (now the lead singer in Art Brut) and music by award-winning folk musician Jim Moray.

Now, having garnered fantastic reviews including this one from The Skinny and this one from BroadwayBaby, we are delighted to announce that The Islanders has been brought to the page by artist Steve Horry and Nasty Little Press and is available to buy now from the NLP shop.

Far from being the simple re-telling of a teenage holiday, The Islanders is about how we experience and then remember the world around us. As innovative as its stage equivalent, it’s told in prose, in song lyrics, in comic panels and in postcards from Eddie and Amy, addressed back in time to their younger selves, and is already getting great reviews. We are incredibly proud of The Islanders and can’t wait for you all to read it; it’s funny, bittersweet, refreshing and moving.

Orbiting A Rhyming Planet

Last night I went to the cinema to see Joss Whedon’s Much Ado About Nothing, a black and white movie with a tiny budget which Whedon shot in 12 days at his house with a bunch of his actor friends. If you like Shakespeare comedies, if you like spotting old cast members from Buffy and Firefly, or if you simply want to experience some serious envy at Joss Whedon’s house, this is a movie I would heartily recommend to you.

I do have a point though, poetry fans (As fascinated as I’m sure you are by my thoughts on the week’s movie releases. Next week: Man of Steel– not as good as Lois and Clark: The New Adventures of Superman – DISCUSS). No, my poetry-related point comes from one of the lines from Much Ado that stuck with me as I was walking home yesterday evening in the sunshine. Benedick, attempting to write a sonnet for Beatrice, tries out a bunch of dreadful rhymes and then gives it up, complaining “I was not born under a rhyming planet”.

small-talkI’m dreadful at rhyming. My poetry got a whole bunch better when, at the age of ten, I thought I had invented the concept of blank verse. Turns out I hadn’t, of course, but I’ve never been very good at getting my poems to scan and rhyme as I wanted them to. That’s not to say that I don’t love rhyming, though, and it’s with very great pleasure that I’m able to tell you that NLP are shortly to publish a new pamphlet by the fantastic Mr Nic Aubury. If you’ve not come across Nic’s previous pamphlet Small Talk, you really should. Quite apart from the fact that it sold out of four print runs and was named by Sophie Hannah in the Sunday Express as one of her books of the year, it’s just really, really great.

Cold Soup, published by NLP in July, promises more of the same from our favourite part-time pedant and armchair philosopher. In this pamphlet you will witness Adam and Eve contemplating the walk of shame, you will hear about the ire of the 5’8” man, but you will also read something of the simply beauty in every day family life, all delivered to you in verses that rhyme and scan in a way that will make you want to read them out loud to your nearest and dearest.

our-friendsIn other NLP-related news, I’m really excited to tell you about an upcoming show written, performed and co-produced by NLP poet and playwright Alex Gwyther. Our Friends, The Enemy is Alex’s debut solo show combining theatre and spoken word to capture the events surrounding the Christmas truce from the First World War. Using a mixture of diary entries and third person narrative, Alex takes on the persona of James Boyce, a young soldier from Surrey who experiences the truce first-hand and takes the audience on a magical, haunting journey through the events surrounding the first Christmas of World War One.

Alex with be performing Our Friends, The Enemy in Edinburgh from August 2nd – 24th at theSpace UK @ Surgeon’s Hall, before taking it on tour in December. Find out more here.

Cold Soup by Nic Aubury is available for pre-order here, and Alex’s Nasty Little Intro #4 can be found here on the NLP website.

Reassuring News from NLP

So I don’t want to upset you, but recently, JLS split up*. And Reese Witherspoon got arrested. And People magazine ran with the headline ‘Suri Cruise Gets Bangs!’ (that’s a fringe, UK readers, in case you were wondering).

Other stuff happened too, of course, but in these crazy, mixed up times, it’s reassuring to know that the sun continues to rise (whether or not we get to see it), E4 continues to show The Big Bang Theory over 50% of the time and over at NLP, high quality poetry books continue to hit the (metaphorical and literal) shelves and continue to garner great reviews.

hattieIn New Pamphlet news, I’m delighted to introduce you to Hattie Grünewald, whose excellent work is showcased in NLP’s sixth Nasty Little Intro. Beginning her career at the age of four with the awesomely named Naughty Teddy, Hattie was Foyle Young Poet of the Year in 2009. She has had her work published in The Independent, YM and Myths of the Near Future, and in 2010 one of her poems was published on London Underground trains as part of the Young Poets on the Underground scheme. She is twenty years old and is currently studying English and Creative Writing at the University of East Anglia, while watching cooking shows, dressing as a giant boob for charity and running the UEA Feminist Society in her spare time. Hattie’s Nasty Little Intro #6 is available to buy now from the NLP website.

In other NLP-related Good News, Martin Figura’s Arthur was reviewed recently by Sphinx as both ‘honed, concentrated poetry that does a lot, convincingly, in a small space’ and ‘sensitive, sad, and in places arresting.’ Head over here to read the review in full!

As always, you can keep up with NLP here on the website and on our facebook page. Lots of our poets are touring or performing at the moment, very possibly at an arts centre or festival near you. Check out the links to their various websites and blogs on their profile pages.

*Though the TV just told me that they’re going to be doing Deal or No Deal soon. You’re welcome.