What to buy for Sebastian? And Robin? And Uncle Jock?


There are four new HappenStance poetry pamphlets. Would your friends and relatives enjoy one of them as a seasonal gift? Which one? I don't know. love them all.   

But ever helpful, I thought I'd offer some buying tips. (All are the same price – £5.00, or £3.75 to subscribers.)

Bookmarks, D.A. Prince

A set of poems inspired by the markers we leave in books. It would appeal to the sort of person who loves reading, and leaves piles of books lying around (it comes with its own bookmark so that's a special touch). Poets should be inspired by it too: there's food for thought here about poem-stimuli. All D.A. Prince's poems have layers: you can read them for their surface meaning and immediate interest, and then go back many times over.

Honeycomb, M.R. Peacocke

This is a slender set, only 24 pages long. The poems inside are delicate, careful and emotive. The connecting theme may be age and ageing but the touch is light. It does make a good gift for the older reader, but I think those who love lyrical work would also take to it instantly, at any age. And for anyone who already knows M.R. Peacocke's work, it's a must.

The Lesser Mortal, Geoff Lander

This is a great gift for scientists —perhaps in particular scientists who don't think of themselves as poetry readers (also a good gift for artists who don't think of themselves as scientists) — or young folk planning on science degrees. The contents are beautifully formal (rhymed and metrical) and fun to read, though far from trivial in their preoccupations. Geoff Lander is meticulous in his footnotes too, added value and pleasure here.

Briar Mouth, Helen Nicholson

An unusual first collection by someone who hails from the west coast of Scotland —some of her more eccentric Scottish relatives feature here, as does her experience of growing up with a stammer. Helen Nicholson, (a founder member of Magma) writes with wit, subtlety and charm. An especially good gift for those with Scottish connections, or interested in communication (Helen is now afundraiser for a Dundee-based charity for children and young people with speech, language and communication difficulties).

And what about Now the Robin by Hamish Whyte, published earlier this year? There's a seasonal bird on the front cover, and two festive robins on the last page too (see illustration below). One of the finest feats for a poet is to write simply: Hamish Whyte does it with bells on. Now the Robin will appeal to anyone who loves sitting in a garden. And of course people called Robin.

Last but not least, there's a HappenStance poetry party next Saturday at the Scottish Poetry Library where you can see these publications and decide for yourself. Do come if you live near enough — but reserve a place because space is limited. There'll be cakes from Alison Brackenbury's Aunt Margaret's Pudding, something festive to drink, and of course some poets and poems.

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It’s the month of new publications!

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Guest — James
I'll miss the launch by one day - too bad!
Sunday, 24 November 2013 12:51
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Gerry Cambridge, the paperback, is about to appear!

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Guest — Rosie Miles
Re. The Many and Varied Tasks of a Small Poetry Press Publisher/Editor: if poetry has saints, you are one of the many!
Monday, 11 November 2013 18:52
Guest — Nell Nelson
Thank you, Rosie (*adjusts halo to a rakish angle*) ;-)
Monday, 11 November 2013 19:22
Guest — Frank Wood
I was briefly acquainted with Duncan Glen, a pleasant and helpful man. He was Head of the Graphics Division of what was then Pres... Read More
Thursday, 14 November 2013 22:17
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The order makes a big difference.

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Guest — Mary Wight
Really looking forward to when you feel this book is ready to....... well, launch. I feel he is, was, one of those few people who ... Read More
Tuesday, 29 October 2013 19:40
Guest — Nell Nelson
Yes, I think he was, as they say, something else. I've been so profoundly moved by working on these poems that it's almost impossi... Read More
Tuesday, 29 October 2013 20:55
Guest — Brad Morley
Did you really mean to write, "Male poets are especially good at coming up with definitions of poetry"? In this day and age? I sus... Read More
Monday, 26 October 2020 00:41
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