Showing category "resources" (Show all posts)

Valediction

Posted by Ken Edwards on Tuesday, July 12, 2016, In : Reality Street 
With the publication of Gravity as a consequence of shape by Allen Fisher, Reality Street ceases publication of new titles.

Since 1993 the press has published 67 books of adventurous new writing in poetry and prose, 52 of which are still in print. Reality Street will keep all these in print for the foreseeable future – in the case of those printed before 2003 by conventional means, so long as stocks remain; in the case of those issued or reissued since then as print-on-demand, until further ...
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The bumper books of Bill and Allen

Posted by Ken Edwards on Friday, June 10, 2016, In : Reality Street 
Phew! Allen Fisher's Gravity as a consequence of shape has at last gone to press - all 596 pages of it.

We're expecting the proof copy next week, and shortly thereafter will be sending out copies to the nearly 80 people who pre-ordered it as Supporter subscribers. The book, which collects together all the poems from the Gravity project (1982-2005) together for the first time, will also be on general sale from the end of June 2016.

Bill Griffiths' Collected Poems Volume 3, which weighs in at a s...
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Out again soon!

Posted by Ken Edwards on Wednesday, August 5, 2015, In : Reality Street 


I still have vivid memories of the day Out of Everywhere, that pioneering anthology of innovative writing by women, was launched in London in 1996. The small art gallery in Portobello Road that Reality Street had booked for the launch was inadequate for the number of people who turned up, and several had to strain to listen to the readings from the pavement outside. It cemented the reputation of the press, and the book has been in print ever since, and still sells.

There was never any intentio...
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Compensation

Posted by Ken Edwards on Tuesday, June 9, 2015, In : Reality Street 
Cheque in the post (a rare thing these days) and a note ordering a copy of Peter Hughes' Quite Frankly. But the cheque is for £12.50, the purchase price of the book only, with no provision for p&p (which should have been £3.50). I pack the book off, with a friendly (I hope) scribbled note on the receipt saying "I'll let you off the p&p this time." A few days later the person, who is known to me by name, sends me a copy of their own poetry pamphlet, a small envelope tucked inside it containi...
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El Ombú

Posted by Ken Edwards on Friday, May 22, 2015, In : Reality Street 


Reality Street is about to publish, under the ReScript Books imprint (ie not part of the regular Reality Street programme of contemporary writing) a new edition of WH Hudson's El Ombú - an important book in his oeuvre (1st published 1902) which is not currently available in a decent edition. This one is edited with an extensive introduction by the poet David Miller. We're very pleased with it. You can already order it from the RS website, and it will soon be available from online and offline...
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When Reality Street was live...

Posted by Ken Edwards on Wednesday, May 13, 2015, In : Reality Street 
I'm so pleased and relieved Reality Street Live 2 (Sunday 10 May) went off almost without a hitch, and that the readings, the music and even the weather were so enjoyable and enjoyed by all.

I suppose I wish I could replay it all now, because I was a bit too wound up - having to cater for guests, deal with the venue (the staff of The Crown were great), work out the scheduling, do the publicity (designing and printing flyers, doing online stuff), practise my bass so as to at least give a passab...
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Storm the Reality Studios

Posted by Ken Edwards on Friday, February 20, 2015, In : Reality Street 


It's an astonishing thought: the full run of REALITY STUDIOS, the magazine I founded in 1978 and ran for ten years, is now online. All of it - all 10 volumes, every one of the more than 1,000 pages. The early ones were typed onto mimeograph stencils on a manual typewriter. And now those words I typed have been magically transformed into downloadable, searchable and copy-and-pasteable text.

This miracle I owe to the University of Pennsylvania/Kelly Writers House/Jacket2 (never sure about the r...
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Lou Rowan and Peter Hughes to print

Posted by Ken Edwards on Monday, January 5, 2015, In : Reality Street 
Lou Rowan's Alphabet of Love Serial and Peter Hughes' Quite Frankly have now been uploaded to print, with the names of 84 Supporters inscribed. If all goes well, copies will start to be distributed to those Supporters and to reviewers within a couple of weeks.

Lou will be in the UK in May, so we're taking the opportunity to launch his and Peter's books then - at the revival of Reality Street Live on Sunday 10 May in Hastings. This will be an afternoon/early evening event (probably starti...
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A dirty weekend in Margate

Posted by Ken Edwards on Sunday, November 16, 2014, In : visual art 

How better to celebrate my dear wife's birthday than with a dirty weekend in Margate (with her)?

Never been to the town before. The main purpose was to see the Turner Contemporary gallery. (This was in advance of viewing Mike Leigh's magnificent Mr Turner - highly recommended. Though the "Margate" scenes were filmed in Cornwall because it doesn't actually look like that any more.)

Margate is well weird. The hotel we were booked into ... let's say it may be the subject of a surrealist novel I pl...
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Support us in 2015

Posted by Ken Edwards on Friday, October 17, 2014, In : Reality Street 
Really gratifying results from the first promotion of Reality Street's 2015 Supporter programme.

Within a month of announcing it, we already have nearly 60 Supporters for our package of three books. A lot of old friends rejoining: some who have been with us since the beginning (16 years ago - the press itself has been around for 21 years, though we forgot to celebrate our coming of age); but quite a few welcome newcomers too.

Typesetting and design of Peter Hughes' Quite Frankly and Lou Rowan's...
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They

Posted by Ken Edwards on Wednesday, September 17, 2014, In : writing 
They say that that’s what they say. They say that. They do say that. That’s what they’re saying I heard it on the radio. They do say that that’s what they say they say that they do. But do they? But do they they do. Believe me they do. No but do they? I don’t know I just heard it on the radio that’s what they’re saying. They said the same thing yesterday. Did they? Yes they did they said the same thing yesterday they’re always saying that. They’ve been on about it before. Yo...
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White zone and green zone

Posted by Ken Edwards on Saturday, August 9, 2014, In : writing 
There is a white zone of the province where white people live. They have lived there for generations tending their crops raising their children. And over on the other side live the green people. That is called the green zone. The green people have been there for centuries. From even before there were zones. The white people know nothing of the green people. The green people know everything about the white people all their culture and history and everything because they have read about them in...
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Export Zone commended

Posted by Ken Edwards on Wednesday, July 9, 2014, In : Reality Street 
Andrea Brady's poem "Export Zone", from her 2013 Reality Street collection Cut From the Rushes, has been Highly Commended by the judges of the 2014 Forward Prizes. You can download the poem here.

Famously, Jeremy Paxman headed the panel this year, but we suspect this commendation owes more to the influence of Vahni Capildeo, one of the panel members. Thanks, whoever it was.

This is the first time a Reality Street book has ever tickled the judges of any major poetry prize. We must admit we gave ...
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let me tell you on the radio

Posted by Ken Edwards on Friday, June 13, 2014, In : Reality Street 

Paul Griffiths has adapted some of the words from his Reality Street novel let me tell you as a libretto for an orchestral composition by Hans Abrahamsen. It receives its UK premiere next Wednesday 18 June in a concert at Symphony Hall, Birmingham (starting 7.30pm BST), with soloist Barbara Hannigan, soprano, and is broadcast live on BBC Radio 3.



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The English Fascist Party (2)

Posted by Ken Edwards on Monday, May 26, 2014, In : politics 
This is what Fascism is like. It's not a comical foreigner screeching incomprehensibly before an adoring crowd. It's not shaven-headed bully boys in uniform. No, this is the English version. It's waking up on a damp, grey Bank Holiday Monday morning to hear ignorant people squawking "The country isn't what it was", "Politicians - they're all the same", "They don't listen to us". And neither the media nor the mainstream parties can challenge this - they don't dare alienating these people by te...
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The English Fascist Party

Posted by Ken Edwards on Thursday, May 15, 2014, In : politics 
When I was a small child in Gibraltar I remember my mother telling me how she as a child herself had heard gunshots across the frontier. That was the Spanish Civil War. She also told me that in Britain you were allowed to criticise the Queen, but if you publicly criticised Franco in Spain you would be put in prison.

More recently, one of my aunts, now living in Spain, was reminiscing about her deceased husband, my uncle, who got into serious trouble in the 1930s when as a young man he attended...
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Live at the Palace

Posted by Ken Edwards on Wednesday, May 7, 2014, In : Reality Street 
Reality Street Live at the Electric Palace cinema, Hastings, ended on 23 April with a wonderful and rare reading by Denise Riley of new work, bookended by two remarkable ones by Richard Makin, aided by Miranda Gavin's images projected onto the screen behind him.

The series started in February with a visit to Hastings by Philip Terry, reading from his 1066-themed Reality Street novel tapestry, and also from his reworkings of Shakespeare and Dante. I read from Down With Beauty and with Elaine Ed...
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Next year on Reality Street

Posted by Ken Edwards on Friday, May 2, 2014, In : Reality Street 
Sorry I've gone a bit AWOL from this column recently. Since the fanfare of the publication of the second volume of Bill Griffiths' collected poems I've been taking a sabbatical from Reality Street business, to concentrate on writing. Yes, writing. That's where it all started for me, and will finish. I never really meant to be a publisher.

But I thought I'd better do an update on Reality Street's plans for the future, just in case people were beginning to think that was all over.

So the upshot i...
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Rough trade

Posted by Ken Edwards on Friday, March 7, 2014, In : Reality Street 
Book trade frustration ... A university bookshop contacts Reality Street, wants to order 30 copies of tapestry by Philip Terry, which is up for a major award. I question the quantity, but they insist they are ordering 30 each of all six titles on the shortlist, and they don't want RS as a small press to be disadvantaged in terms of display space. Oh, and can they have 45% discount, and can it be sale or return? I point out that our book is print-on-demand and therefore I will have to pay for ...
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Reading in Brighton

Posted by Ken Edwards on Friday, February 21, 2014, In : writing 
Just getting over the inaugural REALITY STREET LIVE at the Electric Palace, here in Hastings. Excellent night. Philip Terry read magnificently, and I enjoyed myself reading a short story from Down With Beauty and (most of all) performing with Elaine (who played flute and accordion) in a dramatised extract from Bardo. Amazingly, almost every seat in the 50-seater cinema was filled, mostly with people I didn't know, so that's a good omen for the rest of the series, which continues on 19 March a...
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Bill breaks the record

Posted by Ken Edwards on Saturday, February 1, 2014, In : Reality Street 
Attracting 120 subscribers, the promotion of Bill Griffiths' Collected Poems & Sequences (1981-91), just out, has smashed the record for the Reality Street Supporter scheme, which has numbered 70-85 subscribers annually on average over the past few years.

The Bill Griffiths volume is the only new title to be published by Reality Street this year. This is because I am taking a little breather, and trying to focus a bit more on my own writing during 2014. The success of some of the press's title...

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let me tell you

Posted by Ken Edwards on Tuesday, January 7, 2014, In : Reality Street 



Paul Griffiths' Reality Street novel let me tell you has been condensed into a poem that has been set for soprano and orchestra by Hans Abrahamsen. Here, the composer talks with Paul and with Barbara Hannigan, the soprano, who was evidently key to putting this project together.

The composition itself is a beautiful piece of about 30 minutes in length, and for a short while at least you can listen to a performance (with the Berlin Philharmonic) broadcast on Portuguese radio.


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From the rooftop

Posted by Ken Edwards on Tuesday, December 10, 2013, In : Hastings 
The view from the roof of our house - chiefly of other roofs in Hastings Old Town - is wonderful, especially on a very balmy, watery-sunny December day. But there's something illicit about it. I'm not supposed to be here. It's not very comfortable. I have just crawled out of the Velux window into the lee of the chimney stack and I have to twist my ankles into strange positions to wedge myself in the runnel below the chimney while simultaneously leaning against and trying not to dislodge a ban...
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Deadmans Beach

Posted by Ken Edwards on Monday, December 2, 2013, In : writing 
The tide was in at Deadmans Beach, and the wind was up. The fishing fleet was ranged on the banks of shingle being encroached by rushing and receding waves: an impressive if heterogenous collection of chiefly traditionally clinker-built vessels (but some of fibreglass), both larger trawlers and also punts, that’s to say, undecked boats, all with diesel engines, sitting on their greased hardwood blocks or planks, awaiting favourable conditions. Linseed oil dully gleamed and colours faded aga...

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After the Goldsmiths rush

Posted by Ken Edwards on Thursday, November 14, 2013, In : Reality Street 
Well, it's all over, and the result was both a disappointment - I can't pretend I didn't hope that Philip Terry's tapestry might win the Goldsmiths Prize - and a relief - not only that the suspense is finished with, but also ... well, the world of literary prizes and what they entail is not one that I am familiar or completely comfortable with, and now I don't have to deal with that.

For the record, the worthy winner was Eimear McBride for her disturbing and poetic novel A Girl is a Half-Forme...
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Dead Level

Posted by Ken Edwards on Friday, November 1, 2013, In : writing 
Two youths – the one, a hoodie, the other, a beanie – were observed at 10:57 sharing a plastic bottle of cider behind the electricity pylons. White Lightning. They moved hardly at all. The weather was clement, if still chilly. At the road junction for Deadmans Beach just beyond the Barbican Gate was an emptied pub (the Barbican Inn in fact, the faded sign said), half-timbered and lead-latticed, advertised as being for sale, with temporary wire mesh fencing mounted on breeze blocks barring...

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All that is the case

Posted by Ken Edwards on Monday, October 14, 2013, In : writing 

The case continues. It is built sentence by sentence. And so we are sentenced to death. The sea was lucid. The sea was impossible. How could we proceed? One plus one is two, but one times one is one. The story so far: still a south-westerly, with gulls wheeling in it. No further, then. But all these manila folders have re-emerged, bulging with cases, past and indeed ongoing. There are stacks of them. Filing cabinets needed, make a note of that. But these cases, closed or still o...


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"I like sentences that seem to run away with my thoughts"

Posted by Ken Edwards on Tuesday, October 8, 2013, In : Reality Street 
Johan de Wit's Gero Nimo hasn't had nearly the attention it deserves since it was published in 2011. So it's a pleasure to read Jim Goar's excellent interview with him in The Conversant. It's the latest in a series of "transatlantic interviews" wherein two poets can converse online about what it means to write poetry.



Johan talks about where his sentences come from and what happens to them when they get there. And how he gets started, overcomes blockages, revises.

"Day after day, chapter after ...
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Shortlisted

Posted by Ken Edwards on Tuesday, October 1, 2013, In : Reality Street 
When Reality Street took on Philip Terry's strange and wonderful novel tapestry it was, well, because I thought it strange and wonderful, and not with any expectation of public acclaim or commercial success.

Oddly, it was the second Oulipo-influenced novel with a lower-case title that we had published - after Paul Griffiths' let me tell you - and also the second after that book to achieve national press reviews, in the most recent instance, Nicholas Lezard's pick of tapestry as paperback of th...
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Molecule III

Posted by Ken Edwards on Monday, August 26, 2013, In : music 


Thanks to Howard Jones and COMA Sussex, this score of mine from a number of years ago was performed again last April (listen to it here) at St John sub Castro Church in Lewes. The score fits onto a standard postcard and I hope is self-explanatory (apologies for the typo in the instructions, which wasn't my fault). It was originally part of a project, Postcard Music, in which 12 composers based in London at the time each contributed a score/postcard. It's long out of print.

Howard and the ensem...
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Free Verse returns

Posted by Ken Edwards on Wednesday, August 14, 2013, In : Reality Street 


Free Verse, the poetry book fair, returns next month for the third year. The date to put in your diary is Saturday 7 September, from 10am-5pm. This year, having outgrown its previous venues, the 60+ participating presses and poetry organisations will be selling their wares at the Conway Hall, London. Reality Street will be there. 

This is the familiar site of the not-to-be-confused-with Small Publishers Fair, which has been running for many more years than that, usually in November. It looks l...

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Down With Beauty on Stride

Posted by Ken Edwards on Wednesday, July 31, 2013, In : Reality Street 
Forgot to mention earlier that Andy Brown has reviewed Down With Beauty at Stride Magazine. He says nice things. Thank you, Andy.



By now, copies of the two most recent Reality Street titles - Allotment Architecture by Peter Hughes and Cut From the Rushes by Andrea Brady - should have reached most Supporters. They will be on general sale pretty shortly. The official launch date is 7 September.


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Sale on

Posted by Ken Edwards on Tuesday, July 2, 2013, In : Reality Street 
Just thought I'd post that the annual Reality Street sale is on. A chance to catch up on the RS backlist at bargain prices - check it out. 

The summer sale always provides a little boost to the press's finances, not to mention welcome movement of authors' works from dusty shelves (or in the case of POD books, not so dusty megabytes) into readers' hands. 

As anyone who's ever worked in publishing at any level - from "major" publishers to the smallest of non-commercial presses - knows, the vast m...
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Big(gish) in Wales

Posted by Ken Edwards on Friday, June 21, 2013, In : music 
Today, Midsummer Day, The Moors play their first gig of this year in Hastings Old Town, at the Jenny Lind Inn, where we've performed eight times previously (the last being 28 December). I hope the sound balance will be improved from that occasion, when we were plagued by problems: our current drummer, Russell, will be taking charge of the PA and mixing this time, as he did in Brecon, Wales, at the beginning of this month.

That was kind of interesting. It was the furthest the band had ever been...

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Guardian review for tapestry

Posted by Ken Edwards on Friday, May 31, 2013, In : Reality Street 
In a rare (for Reality Street) emergence into the arclights of national newspaper coverage, Philip Terry's amazing novel tapestry, just published this month, has been given the thumbs up in Nicholas Lezard's weekly column in The Guardian. The online version appeared last Tuesday (28 May) and is in the print edition on Saturday 1 June.

And yes, it is "a nice touch that the publisher is based in Hastings". Our first "local interest" book, I think.


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Breaking news - the poetry market is down

Posted by Ken Edwards on Thursday, May 30, 2013, In : writing 
The news that Salt Publishing is pulling out of doing single-author poetry collections may have made Carol Ann Duffy "extremely sad" but has met with a more considered response elsewhere.

Salt were in many respects pioneers, and, as I have mentioned before in this space, Reality Street would probably not be surviving now had I not been impressed with Chris Hamilton-Emery's blazing a trail in print-on-demand publishing.

But, as I have also said before, the idea of trying to make a profit out of ...

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Sarah Kirsch 1935-2013

Posted by Ken Edwards on Thursday, May 23, 2013, In : Reality Street 


The German poet and lyricist Sarah Kirsch died on 5 May following a short illness.

Born Ingrid Bernstein in what later became East Germany, she changed her name to Sarah in protest against Nazi anti-semitism. Later political protest caused her to leave for the West.

Sarah Kirsch's pamphlet, the poem sequence T, with a parallel English translation by Wendy Mulford and Anthony Vivis, was published by Reality Street in 1995. It's a beautiful little item, physically quite unlike the rest of Reality...
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Launch on 21 May

Posted by Ken Edwards on Wednesday, May 1, 2013, In : Reality Street 

I'll be launching Down With Beauty and Philip Terry will launch tapestry with readings at The Blue Bus, on Tuesday 21st May, from 7.30 at The Lamb (in the upstairs room), 94 Lamb’s Conduit Street, London WC1. Admissions: £5 / £3 (concessions). 

The books will be on sale at the special launch price of £10 each – or if you can't get there, you can buy them online. Or join the Reality Street Supporter scheme to get these and other books published in 2013.


Ken Edwards: Down With Beauty

A seri...


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Golden Handcuffs #16

Posted by Ken Edwards on Tuesday, April 30, 2013, In : writing 

 
The sixteenth issue of the enterprising Golden Handcuffs Review is now out. A thing I like about the magazine is that, highly unusually for US literary journals, it features British and Irish writers as a matter of course. No "special British issue", no tokenism. In this issue are David Miller (the intro from The Alchemist's Mind), Maurice Scully, Brian Marley, Paul Griffiths and, er, me. Also Peter Quartermain, who is a Brit living in Vancouver. And in addition: Robert Kelly, Hank Lazer, Da...
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There's something in there...

Posted by Ken Edwards on Wednesday, March 6, 2013, In : music 
To Oxford last week (the proof copy of Philip Terry’s tapestry arrived just as we were leaving) to hear a rare performance of "There's something in there" - a piece composed a few years ago by John Tilbury using my words. 

Maybe a dozen or so red kites wheeling and hovering over the M40 around Beaconsfield, their forked tails slanting like rudders, as the sun started to emerge. I've never seen one before, and didn't realise they had got quite so common in this part of the world.

The concert w...

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Belated but welcome accolade for OOE

Posted by Ken Edwards on Monday, March 4, 2013, In : Reality Street 
Reality Street's 1996 anthology Out of Everywhere has been selected as as an Editor's Favourite by online magazine Cerise Press in its Spring 2013 edition.

OOE, edited by Maggie O'Sullivan,  has been selling steadily since it was published. A "daughter of OOE" anthology has long been planned, and may appear next year, edited by Emily Critchley.
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Back to life

Posted by Ken Edwards on Tuesday, February 19, 2013, In : Reality Street 
Reality Street is stirring back into life. Reality Street would support a parliamentary bill to abolish January and February, but it's nearly over. We've had the flu, and before that, the less said about the norovirus the better. Believe me. 

Philip Terry's weird and wonderful post-1066 novel tapestry, using the Bayeux images to weave stories in an alternative Middle English about alternative histories of the Norman Conquest, is almost ready to go to press.

My own Down With Beauty follows short...
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Anselm Hollo, 1934-2013

Posted by Ken Edwards on Thursday, January 31, 2013, In : writing 


Sad to report this morning that poet, teacher and translator Anselm Hollo has died, aged 78.

I never actually met Anselm, but we corresponded extensively during the editing and production of Five From Finland in 2000-01 - his translations of five contemporary poets from his native Finland. He was good to work with. 

He was also a very considerable influence on poetry in English (his chosen language) on both sides of the Atlantic from the 1960s onward.


Read Tom Raworth's obituary of Anselm in The...
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Paul Brown reviewed

Posted by Ken Edwards on Monday, December 17, 2012, In : Reality Street 
Here's a review by Michael Peverett of A Cabin in the Mountains.



Michael has also interviewed Richard Makin about Dwelling.

 

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Disappointment

Posted by Ken Edwards on Monday, December 10, 2012, In : writing 
Disappointment comes in many guises, and from unexpected directions.

Suppose you are a writer checking availability of your books on Amazon. And you discover that three secondhand copies of one book are being offered by third-party vendors. And the third copy, significantly higher priced than the other two but still below the retail price of the new book, is declared to be inscribed by the author (you) to a certain poet. And this poet had been very helpful in trying to get your book published ...
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White

Posted by Ken Edwards on Friday, November 30, 2012, In : Reality Street 
The last of Reality Street's publications for 2012 have now been launched and distributed to subscribers. I don't have anything more to say about The Alchemist's Mind, David Miller's admirable and fascinating selection of narrative prose by 28 writers from the UK and North America who are more widely known as poets. The poetic sensibility manifests itself in a diversity of ways in these extraordinarily varied texts, but the best introduction to the book is - er - the introduction itself, by D...
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Reality Street launches

Posted by Ken Edwards on Friday, November 9, 2012, In : Reality Street 
Reality Street will be be going on the road - well, on the train to London - for three days next week.

First, next Tuesday (13 November) to the Lamb Inn in Lamb's Conduit Street, London WC1, the site of the Blue Bus series of poetry readings, to launch The Alchemist's Mind, Reality Street's anthology of narrative prose writing by poets edited by David Miller. Readers will be David himself, together with Paul Buck, Brian Marley, Stephen Watts and MJ Weller. It begins at 7.30 for 8pm in the uppe...
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Black Huts

Posted by Ken Edwards on Tuesday, October 30, 2012, In : writing 


Etruscan Books' Black Huts film & poetry festival takes place in Hastings this weekend. Clicking on the above image should take you straight to a pdf of the complete brochure. I'm on at the Electric Palace cinema (just a couple of minutes' walk from Reality Street Corporate Headquarters) on Sunday afternoon at 3pm. I shall probably be reading from Bardo. I won't enumerate the other goodies; you can see for yourself. Just to mention that the striking image on the poster is by distinguished pai...
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Market forces (again)

Posted by Ken Edwards on Thursday, October 18, 2012, In : writing 
So Hilary Mantel has won the Booker for a second time with, run this past me again, the sequel to a historical romance that won the prize three years ago? I don't want to be curmudgeonly about a writer I haven't read - people have told me with some enthusiasm her early stuff is a little bit weird and quirky - but even a leader writer at The Guardian (normally a champion of the literary establishment and earlier this week quoting solemnly Sir Peter Stothard's embarrassing assessment that Mante...
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Gathered here today...

Posted by Ken Edwards on Monday, October 15, 2012, In : writing 
It seems unbelievable that Geraldine Monk is 60. But I'd better believe it, because here comes a festschrift or a bouquet or a garland or whatever you may call it in celebration of this fact. 

When I was asked to contribute to Gathered Here Today, I thought it would be a private publication but it's actually now available from the inimitable Knives Forks and Spoons Press. And you know what, it's worth reading in its own right even if you don't know Geraldine. Forty-six poets, writers and artis...
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Is it all over?

Posted by Ken Edwards on Friday, October 5, 2012, In : writing 
Peter Riley, in his always interesting regular slot for The Fortnightly Review, has been sounding off about a new Norton poetry anthology, American Hybrid, edited by Cole Swensen and David St John. 

Well, his piece is not really about this particular book, which was merely the trigger for a lot of stuff Peter has been wanting to get off his chest. Those who know him or his critical writing will recognise some familiar themes – but this publication has really got his goat and set him off on a...

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Songwriting in Hastings

Posted by Ken Edwards on Wednesday, October 3, 2012, In : music 
There's an interview with me at Hastings Online Times. It's mainly about songwriting, but there's a bit about poetry and Reality Street too.

Working on some more stuff to upload here: a response to Peter Riley, recent poetry publications, and previews of the forthcoming Reality Street books: The Alchemist's Mind and White, both being printed now for release next month. (Apologies to those contributors to The Alchemist's Mind who got advance copies - these contain an out-of-date list of Support...
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The Moors at the Standard

Posted by Ken Edwards on Monday, September 24, 2012, In : music 

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New and not so new books

Posted by Ken Edwards on Friday, September 14, 2012, In : Reality Street 
New books by Maggie O'Sullivan and Paul Brown were successfully launched last Tuesday as part of the Blue Bus series at The Lamb, Lamb's Conduit Street, London. Well, not so new, really: both Waterfalls and A Cabin in the Mountains have been out since the spring, but this was the first occasion on which we could assemble the poets to celebrate publication. Also, they both date back a bit: Paul's is the completion of a trilogy that was written back in the 1980s, and Maggie's is a paperback rep...
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Phantom book

Posted by Ken Edwards on Thursday, August 30, 2012, In : Reality Street 
The Alchemist's Mind - the anthology of narrative prose writing by poets, edited for Reality Street by David Miller with my collaboration - has gone to press. And very exciting it is. I think it's a wonderful selection, both thought-provoking and entertaining. You can't buy it just yet, as it's scheduled for a November release, but have a look at the list of contributors and download David's introduction for a foretaste.

But here's a thing. I've done the wherewithal (as usual) to get the book ...
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Last week of sale

Posted by Ken Edwards on Thursday, August 23, 2012, In : Reality Street 
The REALITY STREET summer sale enters its final week. You have until 31 August to buy selected titles from the backlist at sometimes massive savings. 

Biggest sellers in the first few weeks of the sale have been Denise Riley's Selected Poems and The Reality Street Book of Sonnets, followed by Bill Griffiths' Collected Earlier Poems. But there's a lot else too. Have a look. Reality Street continues to survive on its perennial shoestring, and the sale is making a significant contribution to its ...
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The Moors at the Stag, August 2012

Posted by Ken Edwards on Monday, August 13, 2012, In : music 

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Free Verse

Posted by Ken Edwards on Wednesday, August 8, 2012, In : Reality Street 


This year's Free Verse Poetry Book Fair takes place on Saturday 8 September at Candid Arts, 3-5 Torrens Street, London EC1V 1NQ (nearest tube: Angel). Reality Street will be among 50 poetry presses of all sizes and flavours selling their wares between 10am-5pm. Free entry. Put it in your diary now.
 
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Rasp from the past

Posted by Ken Edwards on Tuesday, July 24, 2012, In : writing 


Thanks to my friend Julia (who lived in Balfour Street at the time) for spotting this, in the current Iain Sinclair/Andrew Kotting Swandown exhibition in 
Dilston Grove gallery, Southwark Park. RASP was myself, Paul Brown, Allen Fisher – i.e. Reality Studios (as was), Actual Size, Spanner. Paul A Green, also now a Hastings resident, has reminded me that he and Vincent Crane (ex-Atomic Rooster and The Crazy World of Arthur Brown) also performed in the same series, to an audience of two people...
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Reality Street summer sale

Posted by Ken Edwards on Saturday, July 21, 2012, In : Reality Street 
The annual Reality Street summer sale is on. This year there are significant discounts (until 31 August only) on many backlist titles including such favourites as Denise Riley's Selected Poems, Bill Griffiths' Collected Earlier Poems and The Reality Street Book of Sonnets, as well as some of my own books and much else.

Just visit the Summer Sale page to see the full list and to buy!
 

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James Harvey

Posted by Ken Edwards on Monday, July 9, 2012, In : writing 

 
Just before I went on holiday, a week ago, David Miller told me the sad news that James Harvey had died. I didn't know James well, but he was a familiar presence at readings in London, always friendly and enthusiastic. His chapbook Temporary Structures (Veer Books) is recommended - you can read short extracts here. There will be a memorial reading at Birkbeck College London on 19 July - more details of that, and about James himself, here. My sympathies to his family and to his many friends i...
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All where each is now

Posted by Ken Edwards on Monday, June 11, 2012, In : writing 


An Andrew Crozier Reader is a highly unusual book. It's not quite a Collected Poems, but as good as. It brings back into print most if not all of Andrew Crozier's 1985 Allardyce, Barnett volume All Where Each Is, long unavailable – adding the few poems Crozier published since then, as well as a selection of his critical writings. The whole is arranged chronologically in nine sections, each prefaced with a short biographical introduction by the editor, Ian Brinton, and assorted ancillary tex...
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In Transit (again)

Posted by Ken Edwards on Thursday, June 7, 2012, In : Reality Street 
A reminder that Tony Baker's unjustly neglected book was published nearly eight years ago, shortly after the last time the event depicted on the cover happened. We hope it won't be another century before another book from Tony.




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Hello?

Posted by Ken Edwards on Monday, June 4, 2012, In : politics 
Hello, is there anybody out there?

Two days into the Great Compulsory National Rejoicing, and I am going out of my mind with boredom. The weather's terrible, nobody's emailed, nobody's called, nobody's buying Paul Brown's and Maggie O'Sullivan's terrific new books, and, since the heady rush of the launch week, nobody's buying or downloading the Moors' album. 

BBC4's Punk Britannia series has been cheering me up momentarily - powerful flashbacks, but as though nothing has changed as silver has g...
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30 years on

Posted by Ken Edwards on Tuesday, May 15, 2012, In : Reality Street 
To Royal Holloway University of London yesterday to talk to third year creative writing students about small press publishing. Feared I would dry up with nothing more to say and long minutes to go. But in fact, an hour was not enough time to pack in everything, and I had to skip bits. 

It's hard to remember that I have been a writer and publisher for over 30 years now (and Reality Street, in particular, is now in its 20th year). A shock to remember too that the students would never have seen a...

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The Moors launch (part 2)

Posted by Ken Edwards on Friday, May 11, 2012, In : music 
It's taken me a week to recover from the launch of The Moors' album, called, imaginatively enough (as John Peel would have said) The Moors.

Two really uplifting gigs: first, last Friday, opening the Hastings Jack-in-the-Green festival in the cavernous St Mary in the Castle. I don't know how many were there, maybe 200 (?) - anyway, it was a joyous occasion, all ages from kiddies to seniors, many of them bopping and a few of them buying the CD. Roland, who had engineered our album, mixed the sou...
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The Moors launch

Posted by Ken Edwards on Tuesday, May 1, 2012, In : music 
The Moors - the band I co-founded with Elaine - releases its first album today. You can listen to all 12 tracks online and buy the CD or download here. And there's more info here. And here.

 

We're launching it at St Mary in the Castle, Hastings, where the band plays the opening concert of the Hastings Jack-in-the-Green weekend this Friday 4 May, and in the Brighton Fringe Festival at the Brunswick pub on Sunday 6 May. It's going to be an exhausting weekend, but I'm looking forward to it.
 
...
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Other

Posted by Ken Edwards on Sunday, April 29, 2012, In : writing 
"Other" - that's been the box to tick for me since the start of my, er, writing career all those years ago. For example, I was in this, happily still available 13 years later (kudos to Peter Quartermain and the late and greatly lamented Ric Caddel for putting together that wonderful project). 

And now, The Other Room, whose third birthday I was delighted to attend last year as a guest reader. This ongoing venture in Manchester owes everything to the efforts and imagination of James Davies, Tom...
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New Reality Street books

Posted by Ken Edwards on Friday, April 20, 2012, In : Reality Street 
    

Paul Brown's A Cabin in the Mountains and Maggie O'Sullivan's Waterfalls are due to be published on 1 May - but as the books already seem to be available on Amazon and elsewhere (nobody seems to care about publication embargos any more) I might as well put them up on sale on the RS website. So they are.

Reality Street Supporters will be receiving their copies in the next few days - well, some will already have them, and the rest should arrive by the end of next week.

It's a cliché to say a...
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Christine Brooke-Rose

Posted by Ken Edwards on Friday, March 30, 2012, In : writing 
When I started the Reality Street Narrative Series, I devised some copy for the page of this website devoted to it - which you can find here - trying to give it some context. This included my necessarily highly selective listing of writers of out-there fiction whose influence I perceived to be crucial.

Well, selective or not, it was an unforgivable lapse on my part to forget to include Christine Brooke-Rose, who has recently died. Gifted writers outside the mainstream in Britain face enough ma...
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Denise Riley first in a decade

Posted by Ken Edwards on Monday, March 26, 2012, In : Reality Street 


Denise Riley has published her first poetry since Reality Street's Selected Poems more than a decade ago. "A Part Song" is an elegy or lamentation in different modes, following the death of her son in 2008, and appears in the London Review of Books (9 February).

Denise has also written an essay associated with this, Time Lived, Without Its Flow, published as a chapbook by Capsule Editions.

Fellow Reality Street author Peter Riley (no relation) reviews both at The Fortnightly Review. (He interpr...
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Burnt gorse

Posted by Ken Edwards on Thursday, March 22, 2012, In : Hastings 


A large area of gorse and heather caught fire on the East Hill, overlooking Hastings Old Town, yesterday evening (21 March). BBC Sussex reports that firefighters managed to put out the conflagration, though not before some houses 
below on Tackleway and All Saints Street were evacuated as a precaution. My picture was taken this morning - you can see that there is still some smouldering.

(PS: And in the background you can glimpse the remains of another, more serious fire: Hastings Pier, this wee...

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Jerwood opening in Hastings

Posted by Ken Edwards on Thursday, March 15, 2012, In : Hastings 
After years of eager anticipation and sometimes bitter wrangling, the Jerwood Gallery in Hastings Old Town opens this weekend (17 March). The gallery has been developed by the Jerwood Foundation to house its collection of British 20th century and contemporary art, and is part of a regeneration project which includes the creation of new open space and community facilities by the local council.

 

I last wrote about this almost exactly two years ago, when antipathy among some locals including a pr...
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Small press firebombed

Posted by Ken Edwards on Friday, March 9, 2012, In : undetermined 
Shocking news has reached us that the office of Vancouver's New Star Books was hit by an arson attack in the early morning of 7 March.

Thankfully, no-one was hurt, but water damage has ruined much of New Star's stock, including all copies of the fifth printing of Lisa Robertson's Debbie: an epic.

Reality Street was the UK co-publisher of Debbie (of which a few copies remain here), as well as Lisa Robertson's subsequent book The Weather. We are due to co-operate again with New Star in the next y...
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Reality Street update

Posted by Ken Edwards on Thursday, February 16, 2012, In : Reality Street 
Sorry for the longish silence. The truth is, I've been pretty busy since January: one thing and another and well, you know....

Since putting the finishing touches to Down With Beauty, my collection of prose fictions, I've not been doing much new writing, but music and publishing have taken up an extraordinary amount of my time.

Some of that has been taking part in the recording and mixing sessions for The Moors' new recording, our band's first full-length album. This has been an utterly fascina...
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Online VLAK

Posted by Ken Edwards on Wednesday, January 11, 2012, In : writing 
Issue 2 of VLAK: Contemporary Poetics & the Arts (May, 2011) is now available online.


 
VLAK is published by the enterprising Litteraria Pragensia and this issue is edited by Louis Armand, Edmund Berrigan, Carol Watts, Stephan Delbos, David Vichnar, Jane Lewty & Ali Alizadeh. The original print edition was a handsomely designed square block of a book. The online version is complete and free to read.

I have a vested interest in that my dialogue "Nothing Doing" (from the work in progress Down With...
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Reality Street 2012

Posted by Ken Edwards on Tuesday, January 3, 2012, In : Reality Street 
Reality Street's publication programme for 2012 has been announced. The books are:

Paul Brown: A Cabin in the Mountains - a long overdue collection of the 1980s poetry of one of the significant players in the British Poetry Revival
David Miller (ed.): The Alchemist's Mind - anthology of prose narrative writing by British & North American poets
Maggie O'Sullivan: Waterfalls - paperback reprint of a beautiful work previously only available in a very limited edition
Sean Pemberton: W...

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Seasonal

Posted by Ken Edwards on Saturday, December 24, 2011, In : Hastings 


A happy Xmas and a productive and peaceful new year to everybody from Reality Street.

(the photo was taken on the Stade, Hastings last year - this Xmas has not been like this at all)
 

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Bardo complete

Posted by Ken Edwards on Monday, December 12, 2011, In : writing 
Those who have followed the progress of my "Bardo" project (the sixth of its seven sequences was serialised on this blog the summer before last) may be interested to know that it is now out as a book from Knives Forks & Spoons Press in a handsome edition with seven colour plates. 



You can order it from their website for £8. (Also I think it's available as part of a three-for-£10 deal.)

Essentially the book is an irreverent/serious rewrite of the devotional work known in the West as the Tibeta...
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Dwelling and Head of a Man

Posted by Ken Edwards on Monday, November 28, 2011, In : Reality Street 
John Gilmore launched Head of a Man and Richard Makin launched Dwelling with readings at Stone Squid experimental art space, Hastings, East Sussex, UK on 5 November 2011.

A video of part of John Gilmore's reading can be accessed here.

A video of part of Richard Makin's reading can be accessed here.
 

 

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Three or four radical approaches to narrative

Posted by Ken Edwards on Saturday, November 5, 2011, In : Reality Street 
This week Reality Street launches three titles in its Narrative series: Dwelling by Richard Makin, The Raft by Leopold Haas and Gero Nimo by Johan de Wit. We're also giving a belated launch to Head of a Man by John Gilmore, which was published earlier in the year.

  

The Narrative series does not represent a retreat from poetry for the press - rather the contrary, it's a bold venture, an opening out of poetry, by which I mean the art of language, into the realm of imaginative prose. 

Narrative p...

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Bruised Rationals

Posted by Ken Edwards on Wednesday, October 19, 2011, In : music 
A text-music piece of mine from 1996, Bruised Rationals, is being revived next Tuesday (25 October) in a performance by the CoMA London Ensemble in their first concert of the autumn 2011 season.

As most composers will attest (and I am only a very part-time composer – writing the occasional song for The Moors being as much as I can manage right now), if getting a performance is hard, getting a second or third is almost impossible. I was fortunate enough at the time to be a member of the CoMA ...
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Carol in The Guardian

Posted by Ken Edwards on Sunday, October 2, 2011, In : Reality Street 
Well, I never - a review in The Guardian at last. Carol Watts' Occasionals is favourably reviewed by Carrie Etter this weekend. Thanks, Carrie.


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nine days

Posted by Ken Edwards on Sunday, September 25, 2011, In : Reality Street 
That was the hardest week I can remember for a long time, including the time I had a day job too.

It started on the weekend of 17/18 September with two Moors gigs - one a wedding in the heart of the Sussex countryside on the Saturday night and the other a Sunday afternoon performance in the open air at the Hastings Seafood & Wine Festival on a tiny uncovered stage where I feared we would have been both electrocuted and swept away had the rain and wind persisted (but fortunately the sun came o...
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Free verse

Posted by Ken Edwards on Friday, September 16, 2011, In : Reality Street 


On Saturday week - 24 September - Reality Street will take part in a poetry book fair at Exmouth Market, Clerkenwell, London. The remarkable thing about this is the range of presses and organisations taking part - see above. From Anvil to zimZalla, from Enitharmon to Penned in the Margins to, well, Reality Street. And Mike Horovitz is opening it.

Those reading this from outside the UK without first-hand experience of the stratification of British poetry may have little idea how unusual this is...
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RS sale postscript

Posted by Ken Edwards on Saturday, September 3, 2011, In : Reality Street 
I should have learned from last year, but I didn't - the announcement of the September sale resulted in a huge, immediate demand. But I have now managed to fulfil all the orders that came in during the first two days. Sadly, or happily, the previously unknown cache of Barbara Guest books is no longer available, selling out more quickly than anything else. Other stocks are depleting fast. I may put some additional items into the sale to keep it going - watch this space (or the space this links...
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Reality Street sale 2011

Posted by Ken Edwards on Wednesday, August 31, 2011, In : Reality Street 
This year's Reality Street sale takes place in the month of September. It's a chance to get your hands on some treasures from the past at bargain prices. Go to the sale page to find out more and to buy books. If you can't or won't buy online, and are in, or within reach of London, Reality Street will be at Free Verse, the Poetry Book Fair, on Saturday 24 September at Exmouth Market, London EC1R 4QE, where a selection of sale items will be available.

There will also be short readings at that ev...
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Interscribing

Posted by Ken Edwards on Wednesday, August 24, 2011, In : visual art 
I have never been very successful at collaborative writing. My few attempts at joint composition of poetry have not yielded much fruit, so I'm fascinated when other poets and writers do it. Perhaps I'm too much of a control freak in my writing; though it has to be said that collaboration in this area isn't that prevalent, and there may be good reasons for this.

Interscriptions, jointly credited to John Hall and Peter Hughes, and just published by the Knives Forks & Spoons Press, may be a speci...
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and the sonnet is not dead

Posted by Ken Edwards on Wednesday, July 27, 2011, In : Reality Street 
The ripples created by The Reality Street Book of Sonnets are still spreading nearly three years after its publication. Robert Sheppard has just concluded a 14-part on-line dissertation on "The Innovative Sonnet Sequence" which is in large part an extended review of this excellent volume. I'm not sure it adds a great deal to Jeff Hilson's exemplary introduction to the anthology, but it's worth reading nonetheless. The anthology is not as readily available in the US as I would like, and I am c...
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The Backward Prize

Posted by Ken Edwards on Monday, July 18, 2011, In : writing 
The announcement of the shortlist for this year's Forward Prize for Poetry has given me the second big laugh of the week, following former Assistant Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police Andy Hayman's Arthur Daley impression at the Commons Home Affairs Select Committee last Tuesday.

Goodness knows I need all the laughs I can get while I'm cooped up here with my left leg in plaster. Thanks, guys.

If the hacking scandal has, temporarily at least, exposed the corruption at the very top of Britis...
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Reality Street on The Verb (update)

Posted by Ken Edwards on Tuesday, July 5, 2011, In : Reality Street 
It's been confirmed that Reality Street poets James Davies and Carol Watts will be on the last programme in the current series of The Verb (BBC Radio 3), to be transmitted on Friday 15 July at 10:00pm BST. Listen out for them!
 
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Lame

Posted by Ken Edwards on Thursday, June 30, 2011, In : undetermined 
I am presently incapacitated - ruptured my left Achilles tendon on the tennis court yesterday morning. I was just going for a cross-court ball, and as I took off I was startled by what felt as though someone had whacked me on the back of the ankle with a tennis racket. I ended up on the floor. When I tried to get up, I couldn't - there was a spooky lack of pain, but a numb sensation from my calf to my ankle. As though my upper leg had become disconnected from my foot, which in a sense it had....
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Reality Street progress report

Posted by Ken Edwards on Sunday, June 26, 2011, In : Reality Street 
James Davies' Plants and Carol Watts' Occasionals have now been published and met with a gratifying response, including already a couple of online reviews of James' book and many viewings of the launch videos on YouTube. There have been a couple of glitches sending copies out directly from the printers to Reality Street's currently over 70 Supporters, but I hope they have mostly been resolved by now.



Right now, I'm working on production of Leopold Haas' The Raft, in some ways one of the strang...

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Reality Street on The Verb

Posted by Ken Edwards on Tuesday, June 14, 2011, In : Reality Street 
Just heard that both the authors of Reality Street's most recent books will be on The Verb, BBC Radio 3's weekly programme about the written and spoken word.

James Davies will be reading some of his "Unmades" from Plants, and Carol Watts, author of Occasionals, will interview him on air.

The programme is scheduled to be recorded on Thursday 7 July - transmission date to be confirmed.

More soon!
 

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The Moors - sound & vision

Posted by Ken Edwards on Saturday, June 4, 2011, In : music 


The band I play in - The Moors - did a festival gig in Sedlescombe, East Sussex, on Sunday 29 May, and a friend of ours videoed it. There are four videos on YouTube now, encompassing five of our numbers.

And the band has just succumbed to the Facebook plague, so do visit us there.

Please "like" us if you can - we only had eleven fans as of this morning, and we definitely have more than that!

And/or find out more about us on our website.

I'm going to be away from this blog for about a week, but wi...
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Carol and James launch videos

Posted by Ken Edwards on Saturday, May 14, 2011, In : Reality Street 
Knackered today after last night's gig by The Moors at the Jenny Lind, Hastings. Sound problems in the first half, resolved by replacing a mic. I thought we played really well in the second half, boosted by the appearance of the Iceni Belly Dancers, but boy was it intense. Nice that we packed out the pub despite Martin Carthy and Dave Swarbrick performing just down the road!

OK, I've posted short videos on YouTube, not of The Moors this time but of Carol Watts' and James Davies' readings to la...
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Carol and James launch

Posted by Ken Edwards on Thursday, May 12, 2011, In : Reality Street 
Excellent launch in London last night for James Davies' Plants and Carol Watts' Occasionals. There were maybe 30+ in the upper room of The Apple Tree, which I now am told is not after all the pub formerly called the Penny Black - that's another one in the vicinity, but both are/were traditional locals for posties at the now-doomed Mount Pleasant Sorting Office, and both are now converted into shiny gastro-bistro-winebaristico thingies. Though, having said that, I remember the pub we were in f...
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Reality Street launches into spring

Posted by Ken Edwards on Wednesday, May 4, 2011, In : Reality Street 
Reality Street's 2011 publication programme gets under way on Wednesday 11 May with the London launch of James Davies' Plants and Carol Watts' Occasionals. (James is also previewing Plants in Manchester the day before, at the International Anthony Burgess Foundation, Cambridge St, at 6.30pm.)

The double launch takes place at The Apple Tree, 45 Mount Pleasant, London WC1X 0AE, the new venue for the Xing the Line reading series, and starts at 7.30pm. The pub is the former local for posties worki...

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Reading in The Other Room

Posted by Ken Edwards on Tuesday, April 19, 2011, In : writing 
I was honoured to be invited, along with Alec Finlay, Carrie Etter and a virtual Derek Henderson (broadcasting live on the internet from Utah, USA), to read on the occasion of the third birthday of The Other Room in Manchester on 6 April. It was a joy to read to an appreciative audience. Many thanks to Scott Thurston, Tom Jenks and James Davies for being amiable and efficient hosts.

The pieces I read were:
"There's something in there..."
"Red", "Green" and part of "Rainbow (The Sea)" from Bardo....
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Support the Hay Poetry Jamboree

Posted by Ken Edwards on Tuesday, April 12, 2011, In : writing 
High-profile media-whoring is not the only activity in Hay-on-Wye in June. On the fringe of the Hay Festival is the Hay Poetry Jamboree. Run by volunteers on a shoestring budget, it's one of the most open-spirited, inquisitive and intimate of small poetry/arts festivals.

It takes place this year from 2-4 June at the Oriel Gallery of Contemporary Arts, Salem Chapel, Bell Bank, Hay-on-Wye. Poets reading or talking include Ralph Hawkins, Allen Fisher, Robert Sheppard, Carol Watts, Sean Bonney, Fr...
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Good times, bad times

Posted by Ken Edwards on Friday, April 1, 2011, In : writing 
Through my letterbox plops a package with two enticing looking books from Shearsman: Robert Sheppard's latest poetry collection Berlin Bursts, which is very welcome, and also a new collection of his essays, When Bad Times Made for Good Poetry. It's the cover picture that jolts me first with its familiarity.



An ever youthful Maggie O'Sullivan, all in red, holds her own with the redoubtable Bob Cobbing (1920-2002), "performing" Maggie's A Natural History in 3 Incomplete Parts in June 1985. (NB T...
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A chance to support Reality Street

Posted by Ken Edwards on Tuesday, March 29, 2011, In : Reality Street 
The Reality Street Supporter Scheme has been operating for - I can't believe this! - twelve years now. It started with a casual exchange on the British Poetry discussion list in 1998 about what people could do to support small presses publishing innovative writing. I said I would welcome donations of £50 (I think it was) in return for which I would give the donors free copies of all the press's output for three years and acknowledge their help publicly in the back of the books. To my amazeme...
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RF Langley, 1938-2011

Posted by Ken Edwards on Sunday, March 6, 2011, In : writing 
The only obituary that I know has appeared in the national press thus far is Jeremy Noel-Tod's in The Times. In case you haven't paid Rupert Murdoch's entrance price, Jeremy has posted the obit on his blog - it has the added merit of being the unedited version. I can add nothing to this. A fine poet, sadly missed.
 
PS No sooner had I posted the above than Peter Riley's obituary of RF Langley appeared.
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Golden Handcuffs Review

Posted by Ken Edwards on Thursday, March 3, 2011, In : writing 
Lou Rowan says he was told the choice of name for his magazine was unwise, and perhaps the search engines will now bring a minority of ultimately disappointed visitors here too, but what the hell. It's actually a very fine journal, published from Seattle, Washington, of a kind we don't really have in the UK: featuring contemporary modernist fiction alongside adventurous poetry. (I continue to have hopes for the Cambridge Literary Review, though I feel it needs to cast its net a little more wi...
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Reality Street is grilled

Posted by Ken Edwards on Sunday, February 13, 2011, In : Reality Street 
20 questions mainly about Reality Street are answered by me as best I can on Rob McLennan's blog. I hope I got them right.
 
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Allen Fisher proposes

Posted by Ken Edwards on Wednesday, January 26, 2011, In : writing 


Here is the opening move from Allen Fisher's new book, Proposals:


When I first came to Crewe
I saw the death of my mind 
and started work again
to bring it back to life
through nourishment unknown
to me until then with
vegetables and fruit already
known with tactics
already tried and sometimes
previously tested until
on the third day after
the railway declined
I stood on the grime of
platform 5 and revived
my confidence in
a lack I now recognised
as necessary as demanding

It's a clear summatio...
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end of Bardo

Posted by Ken Edwards on Wednesday, January 19, 2011, In : writing 
I meant to post by now a consideration of Allen Fisher's Proposals. While I am still striving to do justice to this fine book, a dozen copies of my little pamphlet millions of colours are delivered in the post. It comprises the final section of "Bardo: forty-nine prose pieces over seven days". It's a lovely little cream letterpress handmade thing bound with red thread, and you can get one from Richard Parker at Crater Press. You will need, as he says, a letter knife or similar utensil.


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After Oulipo

Posted by Ken Edwards on Thursday, January 6, 2011, In : writing 
The "After Oulipo" edition of the online magazine Ekleksographia, published by Ahadada Books, is out. Guest edited by Philip Terry, it's a fascinating collection of current rule-based writings, inspired in various ways by the example of the original Oulipo group, members of which include Georges Perec, Jacques Roubaud, Italo Calvino and Harry Mathews (who is included in this issue).

The spirit of Oulipo, which sought to free literature by, paradoxically, introducing constraints on its producti...

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Captain and Monk

Posted by Ken Edwards on Monday, December 20, 2010, In : music 


 I saw and heard Captain Beefheart and the Magic Band play the Rainbow Theatre, formerly the Finsbury Park Astoria, London, in 1973. I remember the performance being wild and other-worldly; but then, an hour beforehand I had partaken of a slice of cake baked by my flatmate which contained a special ingredient that may have messed with my mind somewhat. That was de rigueur then.

Little evidence remains of any of this, though there's a rather iffy sound recording on YouTube. Soon after, I wrote ...
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Cage against the machine

Posted by Ken Edwards on Wednesday, December 15, 2010, In : music 
Cage Against the Machine is a campaign to get John Cage's 4'33" to No 1 in the singles charts for Christmas. This may have started as a joke against the ubiquitous X Factor, but it isn't any more - there's a real chance of this happening. And if it does, a number of charities stand to make real money - every purchase benefits the young people's mental health charity C.A.L.M., Youth Music, the British Tinnitus Association, the music therapy group Nordoff Robbins and Sound & Music.

You can downl...

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Stuck in Hastings

Posted by Ken Edwards on Wednesday, December 1, 2010,
I'd been hoping to travel to Manchester this morning to read in The Other Room series this evening (Wed 1 Dec). Unfortunately, rail services between Hastings and London have been severely disrupted, so I can't even complete the first leg of the journey and have had to cry off. Very disappointing.


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Manchester and Hastings

Posted by Ken Edwards on Wednesday, November 24, 2010, In : writing 
Busy week next. Up to Manchester a week from today to read at The Other Room. Here's the announcement:

The next Other Room is a week away, on 1st December 2010. We are back at our usual venue of The Old Abbey Inn, 61 Pencroft Way, Manchester, M15 6AY (on Manchester Science Park). Start time is 7 PM and admission is, as always, free. The performers are Neil Addison, Ken Edwards and Louise Woodcock.
Please note that this is a change to the earlier billing for this event.
There will be a well stock...
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Small Publishers Fair

Posted by Ken Edwards on Monday, November 15, 2010, In : Reality Street 

 
It was great to meet people at the Small Publishers Fair in the Conway Hall, London, over the past weekend. Some of the usual poetry addicts were otherwise engaged at an Olson conference, but there was a good attendance nevertheless, undaunted by the competing attractions in the capital of the Lord Mayor's Show and the rugby international at Twickenham. 



This is me taking part in a mini-Bill Griffiths showcase for the Collected Earlier Poems. My co-publisher on this book, Alan Halsey of West ...
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Hastings disassembled

Posted by Ken Edwards on Thursday, November 4, 2010, In : Hastings 
Researching post-industrial imagery for some writing I'm doing, I have been fascinated over the past week by Andrew Moore's photographs of Detroit Disassembled (published with an essay by the poet Philip Levine). There are awesome images of abandoned car factories, theatres, ballrooms and the ruin that was once Michigan Central Station.

You can also view some of these and other images accompanying an excellent recent piece in David Byrne's blog

This sort of thing has sometimes been disparaged...

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Past-loving gaze

Posted by Ken Edwards on Wednesday, October 20, 2010, In : writing 
The Review of Contemporary Fiction has run a review of my Nostalgia for Unknown Cities, by A D Jameson. (You can, of course, should you wish, buy this book on this very site, I mean here.)

The magazine itself arrived this morning, and it looks like another interesting issue, "Slovak Fiction", to follow spring 2010's "Writing from Postcommunist Romania". We in the Anglophone West are so abysmally ignorant of literary developments elsewhere, so I am grateful to RCF for its continuing endeavours....

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National Poetry Day

Posted by Ken Edwards on Thursday, October 7, 2010, In : writing 
What did happen to it?
That October Thursday
or whenever?
A voice like a self-
satisfied weasel 
or a caried and measled
inkslinger
coolly delivered its four words deep
into my orifice:
English poetry is dead. 
 
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US trip part 2: Reading at the Poetry Center, San Francisco

Posted by Ken Edwards on Sunday, October 3, 2010,
I'm late with this update on my reading in San Francisco over a week ago (Sat 25 Sept). After a wonderful sojourn of two weeks in the US, we had a pretty tedious trip back, courtesy of a British Airways flight delayed by nine hours. It wasn't quite as bad as the eight-hour delay returning from Cuba two years ago - San Francisco International offers slightly more amenities than Havana airport - but it's not how I want to spend my waking hours.

Anyway, two days back in the UK I still feel semi-d...
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US trip, part 1: The Church of St John Coltrane

Posted by Ken Edwards on Wednesday, September 29, 2010, In : music 
On Sunday we went to church.

Haven't done that for a good many years, but this was different. I had always been curious about the St John Coltrane Church in San Francisco - wondered if it still existed, but there it was mentioned in the guidebook: services between 12 noon and 3pm every Sunday.

The church was founded by Franzo Wayne King, now Archbishop of the St John Will-I-Am African Orthodox Church, after he had had a religious experience listening to Coltrane's music.

Finding it was another m...
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60

Posted by Ken Edwards on Monday, September 13, 2010, In : writing 
Many thanks to everyone who came to my belated birthday celebrations in Hastings on Saturday 11 September - including a few who travelled from quite far afield. The Moors were the resident band, and I think gave a great show. By the end of the action-packed weekend, I was somewhat ... well, let's say that, briefly, I did feel my age, but the feeling soon passed and I'm back to my adolescent self.

I am off to the USA soon: Chicago, Seattle and San Francisco. Mainly a holiday, but I look forward...
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Sometimes I think we all need a little forest glossary

Posted by Ken Edwards on Saturday, September 4, 2010, In : writing 
Nothing has cheered me up quite so much this week as receiving Jeff Hilson's In the Assarts from Veer Books. It's a square book, Denise Riley-style (I love this) containing 68 numbered sonnets, one to a page. No, to be exact, 68 numbered 14-line poems alluding to the sonnet tradition, except that some maybe have 13 lines and a couple are double sonnets. If I sometimes have a gripe with the otherwise inestimable Veer, it is that the type in some of their books is a little too small and ugly, b...
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Back online

Posted by Ken Edwards on Saturday, August 21, 2010, In : Reality Street 
Apologies if you tried and failed to access this blog or the Reality Street site on 18-19 August. We were offline for a couple of days. The website host, Yola, had apparently been subjected to a hacker attack, and for one heartstopping instant when I read the emergency announcement I thought we might have lost both the Reality Street and Moors sites. However, a small techno-tweak happily restored business as usual eventually.

Meanwhile, let me take this opportunity to remind you that the Reali...
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The hollow men

Posted by Ken Edwards on Friday, July 30, 2010, In : writing 
"Feted British authors are limited, arrogant and self-satisfied" says a recent Guardian article. The piece, by Dalya Alberge, is based on an interview with Sussex University research professor, novelist and critic Gabriel Josipovici.

Josipovici's remarks are focused on such multi-awarded novelists as Salman Rushdie, Ian McEwan and Julian Barnes, whose work he charges as hollow. Describing their success as a "mystery", he says: "It's an ill-educated public being fed by the media – 'This is wh...
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Expatriations

Posted by Ken Edwards on Monday, July 26, 2010, In : writing 
There's a piece of mine in the  "Expatriations" edition of Gangway (Issue 40). It's a dialogue forming the closing section of my book of fictions in progress, Down With Beauty (it appeared previously in a different version in a different context).
 
You have to click on "current issue".

The issue, edited by Helen Lambert, also includes writing from: José Kozer (translated by Mark Weiss), Vahni Capildeo, Laurie Duggan, Catherine Hales, Shelby Matthews, Kent MacCarter, Anne Elizabeth Moore, ...

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One more day

Posted by Ken Edwards on Monday, July 19, 2010, In : music 
I'm awake. I have been granted another day. Maybe twenty, twenty-five years, who knows? Some charlatan is trying to push big society ideas at me. I don't buy it. I'm very fortunate. There is someone who cares. I was born into a world where Thelonious Monk existed. Not to mention Captain Beefheart's Magic Band, which came later. Desert blues. Still rocking. How low can I go? The sky is blue, the sea is green, a bicycle is being pedalled. Yesterday Nelson Mandela was 92. I shall, in celebration...
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Reality Street summer sale

Posted by Ken Edwards on Wednesday, July 7, 2010, In : Reality Street 
First day of the month I announced a big clearout on the Reality Street website. The idea was (a) clear some bookshelf space here; (b) get people reading some of the excellent books the press has published over the years rather than have them gather dust; (c) generate some cash for the press in the doldrums of summer; (d) draw attention to our rather nice website.

 Two days later I was absolutely overwhelmed by orders. I just sent out a whole bunch of packets this afternoon and more will follo...
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Fanny Howe launch - brief report

Posted by Ken Edwards on Wednesday, June 23, 2010, In : Reality Street 
In a rush this morning, as I have to travel back to London to catch up with old work colleagues (and in the process watch with trepidation England's last group match in the World Cup) - so just a brief message to report that Fanny Howe's Emergence from Reality Street was safely launched yesterday at a reading for the Blue Bus at The Lamb. London. Here's a rather poor photo snapped with my mobile phone:



Also reading was Tom Raworth, who prefaced his performance by reading a short selection from...
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Mating season update (2)

Posted by Ken Edwards on Monday, June 7, 2010, In : Hastings 
The breeding season for Hastings' rooftop herring gulls is well under way, with chicks hatching all over the place. On our rooftop, the roof valley site has once again acquired considerable nesting debris but there is no sign of actual nesting here. However, on the top chimney at least one chick has hatched. You can see it below, just to the right of the middle chimney pot, while its parents stand guard. I would estimate it's a week or so old.



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New Reality Street books

Posted by Ken Edwards on Wednesday, May 26, 2010, In : Reality Street 
It's been 15 years since Reality Street published O'Clock by Fanny Howe. It's hard to believe the press has been going that long (in fact, for 17 years in total). But anyway, it's high time we published another book by Fanny, and here it is, out this week and soon to be mailed out to Reality Street Supporters.



Emergence doesn't contain much that is completely new - what it is is a complete reimagining of some of Fanny's poetry originally published in the 1970s, 80s and 90s and now out of print...

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The Whole Island

Posted by Ken Edwards on Monday, May 17, 2010, In : writing 


I first visited Cuba in 1982, just before the Falklands War broke out. I've always been fascinated with the country - its politics, its music and (because of my bilingual background) its literature. 

On that first visit, I made it one of my projects to scour Havana's bookshops for contemporary poetry. I didn't really know what I was looking for, but it certainly wasn't the Marxist-Leninist tomes and Spanish translations of Agatha Christie novels that seemed to form the bulk of the stock. In th...
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David Chaloner, 1944-2010

Posted by Ken Edwards on Tuesday, May 11, 2010, In : writing 


I'm sorry to report that David Chaloner died on 10 May after an eighteen-month illness. Born in Cheshire in 1944, he moved to Manchester, where he became involved in poetry and jazz, his poetry being included in Michael Horovitz's seminal anthology Children of Albion. Later he founded One magazine, and in recent years had been dividing his time between London and Amsterdam. His fine Collected Poems was published in 2005. My sympathies to his family and friends.

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Choice

Posted by Ken Edwards on Thursday, May 6, 2010, In : politics 
A beautifully sunny morning for a General Election. I waited till mid-morning to walk up to All Saints' Hall to cast my vote. Normally at this time the polling booths are empty of human traffic, but there was a small queue.

As always with a UK General Election, under the fossilised rules we have, the "choice" available to us is a chimera. I am not one of the "they're all the same" brigade; what I mean is, our vote is a crude bludgeon with no possibility of finesse or nuance. 

I was accosted in ...

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Mating season update

Posted by Ken Edwards on Sunday, May 2, 2010, In : Hastings 
Mayday in Hastings. This is Jack in the Green weekend, when ancient rituals are enacted once more: Jack is taken from his hiding place in the Fishermen's Museum, and, accompanied by bogies and sweeps, as well as giants and green-painted entities of all shapes, escorted through the Old Town and up to Hastings Castle, where he is ritually slaughtered, thus ushering in spring. Alternatively, it's yet another excuse to dress up and drink a great deal....

Meanwhile, high on the rooftops, the mating...
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A Rae of sunlight maybe

Posted by Ken Edwards on Sunday, April 18, 2010, In : writing 


A poet I know and like winning a major prize? And whose poetry I like too, I mean? This couldn't happen here. Many congratulations to Rae Armantrout, who has won the 2010 Pulitzer Prize for Poetry for her book Versed. The best reaction I've seen this side of the pond, by the way, comes from Jeremy Noel-Tod.

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Writers Forum lives

Posted by Ken Edwards on Thursday, April 1, 2010, In : writing 

The Sound Of Writers Forum from openned on Vimeo.

Writers Forum (yes, it's spelt like that, no apostrophe) is synonymous with one man: Bob Cobbing (1920-2002). From 1963 until his death it was a regular poetry workshop in London championing and encouraging experimental work, AND also a small press with a no-holds-barred approach. 

In recent years, the technological phenomenon of short-run printing and print-on-demand, together with the internet's instant availability has resulted in "small" pre...

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Unknown countries (10): Discussion and conclusions

Posted by Ken Edwards on Tuesday, March 23, 2010, In : writing 
 
This is an investigation of eight novels incorporating the fantastic, with a view to drawing some conclusions about the place of speculation in fiction.
 
Let’s recap what I am trying to do here. I wanted to consider eight books with non-naturalistic content. I chose eight I had never read before, because I wanted this to be an open-ended investigation, a kind of thinking online without preconceptions about what I was trying to achieve.
 
I also stated at the outset that part of ...

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Mating season

Posted by Ken Edwards on Monday, March 15, 2010, In : Hastings 
A wonderful, sunny spring morning - so I decided to check the seagull habitat on our roof before the mating season begins in earnest next month. 

Herring gulls (on the endangered list in the UK) nest in profusion on the rooftops of Hastings Old Town, and our house does not escape. Each year we usually have two resident pairs: one nesting between the chimney pots of the bigger, higher chimney, and the other in the roof valley in the lee of the rear chimney. It's this latter that cause the probl...
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Unknown countries (9): The Prestige

Posted by Ken Edwards on Wednesday, March 3, 2010, In : writing 

This is an investigation of eight novels incorporating the fantastic, with a view to drawing some conclusions about the place of speculation in fiction.
 
I need to be careful discussing Christopher Priest’s The Prestige (1995). This is one book where any detailed discussion of the plot risks spoiling a first-time read; it’s not so much a whodunnit as a howdunnit.
 
The novel concerns two 19th century stage magicians, Rupert Angier and Alfred Borden, whose bitter rivalry has tragic co...

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Unknown countries (8): Perdido Street Station

Posted by Ken Edwards on Wednesday, February 17, 2010, In : writing 

This is an investigation of eight novels incorporating the fantastic, with a view to drawing some conclusions about the place of speculation in fiction.

Many years ago, I used to read a lot of SF and then I got bored with it and stopped. When I started browsing for it again on the shelves of new and second-hand bookshops (ah! remember when it was so easy to do that? real bookstores with real books!), there were a few names that were new to me, one being China Miéville. Strange name. I thought...


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Unknown countries (7): Uncle Silas

Posted by Ken Edwards on Tuesday, February 9, 2010, In : writing 

This is an investigation of eight novels incorporating the fantastic, with a view to drawing some conclusions about the place of speculation in fiction.

Joseph Sheridan Le Fanu is principally known these days as a writer of ghost stories. In particular, the classic “Green Tea” has been anthologised countless times. 

No doubt this has coloured public perception today of his novels, but it is the case that they are not supernatural fantasies. In her 1946 introduction to the novel in question,...

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Bill Griffiths on Radio 3

Posted by Ken Edwards on Thursday, February 4, 2010, In : Reality Street 
Yesterday (Wednesday  3 February) I travelled to BBC Broadcasting House in London to record an interview with the redoubtable Ian McMillan for Radio 3's The Verb about Bill Griffiths' Collected Earlier Poems. The poet Sean Bonney was also interviewed about what Bill had meant to him. I hope they'll also be broadcasting a snippet of Bill reading from a CD I took in.



 We talked a bit about how Bill was just getting known towards the end of his life for his work on Geordie pit dialect - indeed, I...
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Unknown countries (6) : After London

Posted by Ken Edwards on Friday, January 29, 2010, In : writing 

This is an investigation of eight novels incorporating the fantastic, with a view to drawing some conclusions about the place of speculation in fiction.

I’d heard of Richard Jefferies’ 1885 novel After London, or Wild England for a while before I got round to reading it. Given that this is meant to be one of the great ur-texts of the English Catastrophe tradition – it is granddaddy, whether authors or readers are aware of it or not, to Ballard’s The Drowned World, John Wyndham’s The ...

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Interlude on e-books

Posted by Ken Edwards on Wednesday, January 27, 2010, In : Reality Street 
We interrupt this series to pose a question.

Recently, a couple of authors who have Reality Street books forthcoming have enquired about e-book versions of their published work. Am I planning to make such available? Or if not, do they retain the right to do so?

The answer to the first question is that I haven't given it much thought, but a moment's reflection suggests that there isn't (yet) a history of readers willing to pay for e-book versions of small press poetry collections and works of im...
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Unknown countries (5): The Unconsoled

Posted by Ken Edwards on Wednesday, January 20, 2010, In : writing 

This is an investigation of eight novels incorporating the fantastic, with a view to drawing some conclusions about the place of speculation in fiction.

This is the one that surprised me most out of the eight – and in a favourable way.

The book had lain on the shelves here unread for ten years. To be honest, I’d never had any great desire to get started on it, or on any other book by Kazuo Ishiguro. Nor had I seen the 1993 film made of his earlier Booker Prize-winning novel The Remains of t...
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Unknown countries (4): The Possibility of an Island

Posted by Ken Edwards on Sunday, January 17, 2010, In : writing 
This is an investigation of eight novels incorporating the fantastic, with a view to drawing some conclusions about the place of speculation in fiction.

I knew a bit about Michel Houellebecq, the supposed bad boy of French letters. How he was prosecuted unsuccessfully for racism for asserting in his 2003 novel Platform that Islam was the stupidest religion. How he hated his mum and his mum hated him. That he’d written a book about H P Lovecraft. His repudiation first by French leftist writer...
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Unknown countries (3): The Man Who was Thursday

Posted by Ken Edwards on Monday, January 11, 2010, In : writing 
This is an investigation of eight novels incorporating the fantastic, with a view to drawing some conclusions about the place of speculation in fiction.

Terrorism isn’t something that was invented on 11 September 2001, nor even thirty years before that in Northern Ireland. A hundred years ago, terrorism obsessed the Western world much as it does today. The bogeymen in those days were not Islamic extremists but revolutionary anarchists. Dynamite was the weapon of choice.

Conrad’s The Secret ...
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Unknown countries (2): In the Country of Last Things

Posted by Ken Edwards on Tuesday, January 5, 2010, In : writing 
This is an investigation of eight novels incorporating the fantastic, with a view to drawing some conclusions about the place of speculation in fiction.

Paul Auster has been getting it in the neck from The New Yorker critic James Wood. Wood takes the opportunity of a review of Auster’s most recent novel, Invisible, to parody his oeuvre, concluding with a damning precis of what he takes to be the stereotypical Auster novel:

“A protagonist, nearly always male, often a writer or an intellectua...
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Unknown countries: speculation in fiction

Posted by Ken Edwards on Friday, January 1, 2010, In : writing 
A Happy New Decade to all regular readers and to those stumbling across this blog from wherever.

One of the projects I set myself in the year just gone was to research what exactly I mean by “speculative fiction” – a term coined in the days of New Worlds magazine in the 1960s/70s as an alternative spelling-out of the initials SF.

The idea was that the term would seek to encompass not just science fiction but any narrative that involves an element of fantasy, or to be more precise (since ...
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New decade, new Bill

Posted by Ken Edwards on Wednesday, December 23, 2009, In : Reality Street 
Santa Claus arrived early this week in the guise of the courier from Reality Street's printers, delivering eleven large packets containing brand new copies of Bill Griffiths' Collected Earlier Poems. It looks good, and it really is the first occasion on which Bill's poems (up to 1980) have been properly put into their historical context.



So I shall spend some time during and possibly after the holidays re-packing them to send out to all you kind people who have subscribed to it or have become ...
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Grace Lake, 1948-2009

Posted by Ken Edwards on Thursday, December 17, 2009, In : writing 


Grace Lake, poet, also known as Anna Mendelssohn, has died aged 61. Here is Peter Riley's obituary.


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If p then what?

Posted by Ken Edwards on Wednesday, December 9, 2009, In : writing 
I'm recovering from last night's reading in the desperate for love series curated by Alan Hay and friends at Komedia, Brighton. I had the pleasure of supporting Tom Raworth, one of the great presences in British poetry over the past few decades. He is a formidable performer as well as poet. I also enjoyed hearing the third poet on the night, Rowena Easton.

Equally amazing to me was the audience - young, engaged, and, unusually in my experience, about 90% unknown to me. I guess there were aroun...
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Moors at the Stag

Posted by Ken Edwards on Friday, November 27, 2009, In : music 
Well, now, here's something else. This was recorded by our good neighbours Shirley & Don at the Stag Inn, Hastings Old Town, last Saturday night (21st). There are two other songs now uploaded to YouTube. It was an excellent evening. I look a bit too serious (nervous) here, but I did enjoy myself, honest.  Great playing from Jenny, Richard and Andy, and storming solo by Elaine.

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Live Reality report

Posted by Ken Edwards on Monday, November 16, 2009, In : Reality Street 
The Small Publishers Fair at the Conway Hall (13/14 November) was good, if not quite great. There seemed to be more presses exhibiting their wares than ever before, and it was encouraging to see more poetry presses to balance out the artists' book people - eg Shearsman, attending for the first time.

I'd never been for the whole of the Friday before this year, and was surprised at how much activity there was throughout that day. It made me anticipate a truly overwhelming Saturday, but it never ...
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Live Reality

Posted by Ken Edwards on Wednesday, November 11, 2009, In : Reality Street 
Once again, I'm attending the annual Small Publishers Fair in London this coming weekend on behalf of Reality Street. As I don't have a day job any longer, I shall for the first time be able to man the stand on the Friday as well as the Saturday.

I'll be bringing as much stock as I can carry on the train in a wheelie bag and a shoulder bag, which should include copies of most of Reality Street's titles published over the past five or six years - plus some oldies but goodies and slight seconds...
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Maggie O'Sullivan & Tony Cook

Posted by Ken Edwards on Friday, November 6, 2009, In : visual art 
A wonderful online archive has been opened up at Maggie O'Sullivan's website: high quality images of 165 paintings, mixed media sculptures and works on paper by the late Antony Cook, dated between 1970-2003. The works are abstract almost from the start, many at first glance minimalist in content but revealing on closer inspection an extraordinary richness of texture and movement. You can click on each of the 165 thumbnails to be delivered a higher resolution version of the same work.


untitled ...
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In Town this week

Posted by Ken Edwards on Tuesday, October 13, 2009, In : writing 
I thought this from the redoubtable Vahni Capildeo and cohorts was well worth a look, even if you don't get the full benefit unless you happen to travel to (or live in) Trinidad (now the chill is arriving, I wish ...).



The magazine is fragmented/distributed across townscapes for folks to encounter at random. A much better idea than the patronising, airbrushed, subsidised package that is  "Poems on the Underground" in London - cf the ghastly traduction of WCW below:



(original image here)

They sho...
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from the Old School

Posted by Ken Edwards on Friday, October 9, 2009, In : writing 
Kent Johnson, Quite Interesting US Poet/Annoying Bastard (delete according to preference), has posted a blog here under the image of a Union Flag (he says it's upside down) about what he describes as the New British School of poetry.

He talks of 'a con­stel­la­tion of per­fectly excit­ing UK poets writ­ing “in wake of” the Cambridge-​based greats J. H. Prynne and Tom Raworth– who could be seen, in their two pres­ences, genealog­i­cally speak­ing, as some­what to their later...
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Songbook

Posted by Ken Edwards on Wednesday, September 23, 2009, In : writing 
Having a new book out is still a bit of a thrill, I must admit, even when it's a book of work that is not that new. I have to thank Tony Frazer, of Shearsman Books, for the good production job he did on Songbook, which makes its debut around about now.

The title is a bit of a misnomer, I suppose. An intentional misnomer. Let me explain. I have recently been getting back to doing something I last did in my 20s, writing songs - "proper" songs with verses and choruses and middle eights, and much...
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Introducing Botsotso

Posted by Ken Edwards on Tuesday, September 1, 2009, In : Reality Street 
Today Reality Street publishes Botsotso: an anthology of contemporary South African poetry. Here's what I wrote for the preface of the book:



In April 2004, at the Cambridge Conference of Contemporary Poetry (CCCP), I encountered Ike Mboneni Muila from Soweto. He had previously been compared by someone to Tom Raworth, for his high-octane delivery. Opening the Saturday evening session, he amazed me by riffing flawlessly and rapidly in several languages: Afrikaans, English and more than one nativ...

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unparalysed

Posted by Ken Edwards on Tuesday, August 25, 2009, In : undetermined 
Suddenly another August is almost over, and there are signs the strange and beautiful paralysis of summer is coming to an end. It's been my first summer in many years without a job, and without the prospect of one for the autumn. Redundancy has led to some novel outcomes. I could never have predicted a year ago that I would have spent much of this season playing bass guitar and singing with an Eastern-European-influenced band (founded by Elaine and myself), in front of local audiences ranging...
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Moors on record

Posted by Ken Edwards on Monday, July 27, 2009, In : music 
This week I take delivery of a limited run of a seven-track CD which the Moors - the band I co-founded with Elaine - will use to promote themselves. The CD will be launched at our forthcoming gig as part of the free Hastings Beach Concerts, where it will be on sale at £5,  £1 of which goes to the Royal National Lifeboat Institution. The concerts, attracting thousands of people, are an annual event, marking the beginning of Hastings Old Town Week, and benefiting the RNLI locally.

We're on a...
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The Sea (7)

Posted by Ken Edwards on Saturday, July 18, 2009, In : writing 


Tide in, blowy breakers, deep grey-green with silt in it. Sky is wet, bent over. A word “crystallised” in it. Drifting, long-lining, seining, trammelling, trawling, again, and always. And above that, more light, and here comes the evaluation: that everything will evaporate into nothing, that this book will capture nothing, that everything that is narrated here has occurred within the space of a split particle, where there’s nothing, where no one can hear you think. Hello! Sorry at this ...
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The Sea (6)

Posted by Ken Edwards on Monday, July 13, 2009, In : writing 


Immense glitter sparkle in the distance. Split particles show splutters in chardonnay. Fishing with Higgs the bo’sun, fielding for godlets. Keep those figures floundering, flittering. So how do you know that you exist? When your whole life flashes? Can you describe this, Jack? They knew him as a fisherman, not as a fiddler. He flew into the light off the edge of the harbour arm on an old clinker craft with an elliptic stern, and was seen no more. What kind of language is that? What are you ...
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The Sea (5)

Posted by Ken Edwards on Friday, July 10, 2009, In : writing 


Turquoise in the lee of the groyne, a white sheet where the sun is upon it. Turns out this is an unnamed paragraph, about nothing, written in a “hotel of real spies”. A trumpet in the shape of a boat. At first glance, it extruded the body language of convergence, then it became convenient, and then a commodity, and so it goes on, day after day, beginning after ending after beginning, persons and events and horizons in a blur. History turns into salt – to what purpose? We are never told....
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The Sea (4)

Posted by Ken Edwards on Tuesday, July 7, 2009, In : writing 


Pale grey-green, almost no waves, tide out. An aircraft disintegrated over mid-Atlantic, very peacefully. Zombies very nice peoples. No, they are vampires. They are Dover sole and plaice, and other flat fish such as dabs, flounders, lemon soles, also brills, turbots, cod and the various types of dogfish, large shoals of mackerel, herring, sprats, lobsters, shrimps and whelks. I love crashing flounders, please. Then your own thoughts start to cluster in. Build your own groyne right here and pu...
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The Sea (3)

Posted by Ken Edwards on Wednesday, July 1, 2009, In : writing 


A twinkling expanse in the morning sunshine. On a portable radio, sweet talk from across the globe. Sounded like she was singing from a nest of wires. Don’t think about it. The downtown retail sector is in a state of devastation. Hungry creatures roam, look like they’ve been punched senseless selling unsustainable debt to each other. I love my black Moorish bass. But I’ve been beaten over my metaphorical head too, and I’m much too nervous to stand up. (Stop it, you’re hyperventilati...
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The Sea (2)

Posted by Ken Edwards on Tuesday, June 23, 2009, In : writing 


Bands of green and blue, little rippling waves. And, may I say, a feather, of diseased appearance. The diseased head of a man. Who gave me the whooping ’flu, you swine? Is that a dog talking? Have we come to this? Take me to the cliff, and drop me there. Let me fall through space, and so become alive. Dolls and ghosts and dogs, daddy and mummy bears, gorillas, pigs and mice and all the hybrids in between. Breeding in a tight corner, sounds almost hooman. I ain’t scared of the sea, but it...
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The Sea

Posted by Ken Edwards on Sunday, June 21, 2009, In : writing 


A dazzling white sheet from afar. A blade shines from horizon to horizon, its light much too white for the eye. Light leaching out of it. Mild, variegated, lacking definition; but with a hard frosty glitter in the distance. Milk and dirt heaving rhythmically, water breathing in and out. Heavy easterly, the water brown with silt inland, and pale green further off, clashing waves in your face. Swirling muck in the shallows. Bumpy and glittering, then clean and clear.

An intending surfer undresse...
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Duffy's Politics

Posted by Ken Edwards on Monday, June 15, 2009, In : writing 
Well, our new Laureate has now published her first official poem, and here it is.

The official position of Reality Street on the Laureateship is, of course, one of studied indifference. The institution has as much relevance to poetry, or to contemporary life, as - well, the House of Lords with its wigs and knee-breeches, say. Its incumbents have historically been either good poets past their sell-by date or dusty nonentities nobody has read for hundreds of years. In recent times, we've had a r...
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Hazy in Hastings

Posted by Ken Edwards on Friday, June 12, 2009, In : undetermined 
Hazy morning in Hastings Old Town; emails ping into my inbox. Tony Frazer has sent me the proofs of my next Shearsman book - Songbook - which collects lyrical poems as well as scores of textmusic pieces done with Elaine around 10 years ago. After lying around undisturbed all this time, they will suddenly be published this October. And Fanny Howe has sent me the ms of her next Reality Street book, set for next year, also short poems, and most excellent ones too. Hooray. And an email from Emily...
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David Bromige 1933-2009

Posted by Ken Edwards on Thursday, June 4, 2009, In : writing 
I'm just delving into my journal from 1994 now to help me recall one of several happy memories of David. I was visiting the US and he'd booked me to do a reading in a series he was curating at the Johnny Otis Café in Sebastopol, California (yes, it really was owned by the rhythm & blues singer of that name).

Kathleen Fraser drove me to Sonoma County, and Susan Gevirtz and Cydney Chadwick were there too, also Steve Tills. I stayed overnight in David and Cecelia's house and met young Margaret ...
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Save our Salt

Posted by Ken Edwards on Monday, June 1, 2009, In : writing 
Good news that Salt Publishing's internet campaign to save its business from going under has had a positive result. The Bookseller reports that Salt received more than 400 orders in a single day in response to its plea to customers to "buy just one book".

Chris and Jen Emery's enterprise has been a shot in the arm for poetry in the UK, and I was happy to respond to the campaign (the book I ordered on this occasion was Chris McCabe's Zeppelins - which has a wit comparable to Tom Leonard, and be...
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textmusic

Posted by Ken Edwards on Sunday, May 24, 2009, In : writing 
The textmusic symposium at Birkbeck College yesterday (Saturday) was a stimulating day of discussion about theory and poetic/musical practice. It's just the kind of area that interests me, and so I was sorry I wasn't able to get to London in time to hear Will Montgomery on the connection between Frank O'Hara and Morton Feldman and Steve Dickison (over from San Francisco) on reggae. I did enjoy David Grubbs (Brooklyn College) on his musical collaboration with Susan Howe, Frances Kruk on her co...
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The Moors have arrived!

Posted by Ken Edwards on Monday, May 18, 2009, In : music 


Goodness, that was really something. The Moors had an enjoyable debut at the Hastings Motor Boat & Yacht Club last Saturday (16 May). At least, we enjoyed it and we believe the audience did so too.

What started ten months or so ago as Elaine and I jamming with a few friends on some klezmer and Balkan tunes has turned into a real, live band with a distinctive style. I'm really proud of what Andy (drums), Richard (guitar), Jenny (fiddle), Elaine (sax/flute/fife) and I (bass guitar/vocals) have a...
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Wendy Mulford and Peter Jaeger

Posted by Ken Edwards on Sunday, May 10, 2009, In : Reality Street 
This Tuesday (12 May) I am travelling to London to host the launch reading at the Calder Bookshop of the latest Reality Street books - by Wendy Mulford and Peter Jaeger. Everyone is welcome - see the Reality Street home page for details.

I am pleased that we are doing a book by Wendy. Although she is no longer involved with Reality Street, she is a co-founder of it - part of its heritage is Street Editions, which published Prynne, Raworth, John James, Veronica Forrest-Thomson, Denise Riley and...
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JG Ballard and the lost English avant garde

Posted by Ken Edwards on Saturday, May 2, 2009, In : writing 
On 19 April we lost a great English visionary. I use the qualifier deliberately: JG Ballard, perplexed ever since his arrival as a youngster from Shanghai by his newly encountered homeland (see his memoir, Miracles of Life), by its absurd fixation on the past, seems ostensibly an alien observer, at odds with the literary and socio-political mainstream of England. And yet I see him as an exemplar of an English dissident tradition; the nearest comparison among writers might be with Blake.

I met ...
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Bob Dylan at the Roundhouse

Posted by Ken Edwards on Tuesday, April 28, 2009, In : music 
I promised to report back from this. I am not a diehard fan, except for his high water period, in my opinion, between Highway 61 Revisited - John Wesley Harding. I last saw him (in the distance) at Earls Court, 1981, a mostly terrible gig. The recent albums have been quite good, though.

Sunday 26 April in Chalk Farm, London, was a bit of an ordeal. Having endured the crashing Roundhouse  website a few weeks ago to obtain tickets, picking them up at the box office (and being wrist-tagged) was t...
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Why I like David Byrne

Posted by Ken Edwards on Wednesday, April 15, 2009, In : music 
Because he's not a brainless rock'n'roller. Check out the journal he's been keeping on his current tour.

Caught the Brighton date last night. A terrific five-piece band, plus three backing singers, three acrobatic modern dancers, all in virginal white. They moved all the time. You couldn't take eyes nor ears off them. Below is a pic stolen from earlier in the tour - I never got round to getting out my camera.



David Byrne has been a favourite of mine since the classic Talking Heads albums he ma...
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Maggie's Waterfalls

Posted by Ken Edwards on Tuesday, April 14, 2009, In : writing 
Maggie O'Sullivan's Waterfalls, promised for I forget how many years by Etruscan Books, is out at last. Completed 10 years ago, it's the companion work to red shifts (also published by Etruscan, 2001); the two books are a kind of diptych comprising the poetic project her/story:eye.

This beautiful book draws on Maggie's Irish roots, and on (in her words) "riddle, lore, tale, song, lament, elegy" and  "the Great Famine of 1845-52, the clearances, dispossession and exile". Here's a sample spread...
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Canting, Sean Bonney, Gilad Atzmon

Posted by Ken Edwards on Tuesday, April 7, 2009, In : writing 
Last Thursday (2 April) was a great day for visiting London. The sun shone on an eerily quiet capital - commuters and, particularly, bankers appeared to have largely stayed away, greatly afeared of the imagined repercussions from the clash of G20 leaders and "protesters" of various stripes. In the event, there was no such clash on that day.

I had a day off to (a) have lunch with two of my soon-to-be-ex-colleagues, (b) lose a couple of intermediary hours browsing bookshops in Charing X Rd and b...
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Reality Street update 3: Bill Griffiths

Posted by Ken Edwards on Wednesday, April 1, 2009, In : Reality Street 


Last week I announced Reality Street's forthcoming publication of David Bromige's Collected Poems. Work on that essential volume is only just getting going, but in the meantime our other major current project, a collection of Bill Griffiths' poetry from his earliest work up until 1980 - the period that roughly precedes the Salt collection The Mud Fort - has progressed apace.

Bill (pictured above) died in 2007. You can read my obituary of him here. He was a poet of wonderful invention and ener...
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Reality Street update 2: David Bromige

Posted by Ken Edwards on Tuesday, March 24, 2009, In : Reality Street 
I'm delighted to confirm that Reality Street will be collaborating with New Star Books, Vancouver, Canada, to co-publish David Bromige's Collected Poems. The book is being edited by Ron Silliman with help from Bob Perelman. We're hoping to get it ready next year (2010).



David (pictured above by Andrea Auge) is not currently in the best of health but he's looking forward to this.

There has been some confusion about whether the collection would be limited to David's later books, but I can confirm...
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Runnymede, bardo, birds

Posted by Ken Edwards on Sunday, March 22, 2009, In : writing 
Read at the Runnymede Festival, Royal Holloway University of London, yesterday afternoon. First, we were delayed by a faulty train from Hastings, then by rugby fans, half of them kilted, travelling to Twickenham, then it was hard to find the venue, with the consequence that I missed Robert Sheppard and Ulli Freer while we were wandering around the campus. Met Ulli very briefly just before I finally found the "Management Auditorium"; he was muttering about having to "get to South London" and d...
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Is it academic?

Posted by Ken Edwards on Friday, March 20, 2009, In : writing 
In my last post I said "I'm ambivalent about the increasing academicisation of innovative/parallel tradition poetry..." I think there may be one too many syllables in one of the words there, but I hope my meaning is clear, if not the precise detail of my ambivalence. I'm prompted by an announcement by my good friend Robert Sheppard of the proposed launch of a Journal of British and Irish Innovative Poetry which he is to edit with Scott Thurston (the publisher is Gylphi: www.gylphi.co.uk).

The ...
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Prynne and "Prynne"

Posted by Ken Edwards on Sunday, March 15, 2009, In : writing 
I have been taken to task by one or two subscribers to the UK Poetry discussion list for - well, I'm not sure what for, advocating closing down of discussion about poetry, I guess. To explain: UK Poetry, numbering some couple of hundred subscribers, is hosted by Miami University, Ohio, and dedicated to discourse around contemporary innovative British/Irish poetry. It is a great source of information and, sometimes, intellectual stimulation (though I'm ambivalent about the increasing academici...
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Reality Street update 1

Posted by Ken Edwards on Sunday, March 8, 2009, In : Reality Street 
Supporters and regular readers may like to know that The Land Between by Wendy Mulford and Rapid Eye Movement by Peter Jaeger, both featured on our home page, are now in press. I hope copies will be available within the next few weeks, in good time for the official launch on 12 May.

I am very pleased with them, and I shall have more to say about them both before they are published.

Meanwhile, Richard Makin's forthcoming book, provisionally titled St Leonards, now has the new title Dwelling. Ric...
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Eliades and the Casa de la Trova

Posted by Ken Edwards on Thursday, March 5, 2009, In : music 
Eliades Ochoa was probably the youngest member of the band that recorded the Buena Vista Social Club album ten years ago (apart from Ry Cooder, that is) - he's only 63 now. On that album he sang "Chan Chan" and "El Carretero". He comes from eastern Cuba, and plays country style, with a strong son montuno flavour. He played the Brighton Dome last week. It was a must-hear for me.

He was much the same as the last time we saw him, six years ago at the Barbican, cowboy hat and all, though I don't ...
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Phase shift

Posted by Ken Edwards on Tuesday, March 3, 2009, In : undetermined 
It's with extreme trepidation that I embark, I can tell you. I've long resisted any temptation I might have had to add even more to the babble of online discourse.

So why have I started this blog? Well, part of it is that I'm entering a phase shift in my life. At the end of April, I get made redundant from the full-time day job that has sustained me for the past eight years. At my age, that means effectively saying goodbye to the world of permanent employment, which is quite scary. At the sam...
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About ...


Ken Edwards This blog is written by Ken Edwards, co-founder and editor/publisher of Reality Street, and it's mainly about the press. Ken's personal blog can now be found at http://www.kenedwards.eu/