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INDIGO DREAMS PAMPHLET PRIZE 2016 Closing Date: 14 October 2016

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Details: Two winners will receive a royalty publishing contract from award-winning Indigo Dreams and receive 20 copies of their poetry pamphlet Submission: Full poetry pamphlet up to 30 pages 36 lines max inc line breaks.

Entry Fee: £15 per block of poems.

Contact:

All entries must be accompanied by cheque to correct amount made payable to ‘IDP’ or via PayPal.

See full submission rules at

http://www.indigodreams.co.uk/pamphlet-prize/4592772045

Postal submissions to

Indigo Dreams Pamphlet Prize, 24 Forest Houses, Halwill,

Beaworthy, Devon, EX21 5UU

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Mark Connors on Alison Lock’s Beyond Wings

ALBeyond Wings by Alison Lock
(Indigo Dreams Publishing, 2015)

In Beyond Wings, Alison Lock doesn’t merely reveal her versions of the world, she walks us through them. Indeed, with each poem I read, I was conscious of her steps and via the immediacy of tone and image she employs, at times I felt I was accompanying her on her journeys. This is quite a feat to pull off for any poet, and, with one so adept at bringing landscapes and wildlife to life so vividly, it’s a joy to walk beside her.

Lock is not afraid to experiment, with striking fixed forms and concrete poems popping up here and there in the collection. When she uses Japanese forms, it also allows the reader a glimpse of her prose style which is as equally rich in tone, touch and language.

But what I find most enjoyable in ‘Beyond Wings’ is what Lock gets away with. The world is full of poems about herons for instance, and when Paul Farley compared one to a pissed off husband nagged to go to the garage to get his wife a pack of Superkings, I thought no poet would get so close to an original take on a heron ever again. But Lock just manages to get away with it with her sharp eye for detail: A hieroglyph/an ibis/poised. And who needs another poem about the murmuration of starlings? Even done well, the mere mention of starlings has many of us sighing with despondency because no matter how great the poet may be, they will rarely get close to the breathtaking beauty of witnessing a murmuration with your own eyes. But when we are left with the pathos of one that doesn’t take place, and pathos handled so deftly I might add, then we can only applaud the poem’s startling originality. Then there’s the old magpie one for joy two for sorrow routine (one I hate to admit has featured in a recent published poem of my own). A central idea of such banality should not work, but when handled with such skill, Lock makes it work, and then some.

‘Beyond Wings’ is a surprising second collection, as engaging as it is life affirming. Her love of language and the natural world shine through each journey she takes us on. Wherever she ends up next, I’ll be more than happy to tag along.

Mark Connors

 

Mark Connors is an award-winning writer from Leeds, UK. His poetry has appeared in various anthologies including Out of Ilkley (Ilkley Literature Festival, 2010), Still Life With Wine and Cheese (Stairwell Books, 2014), How Am I Doing For Time (2014) and The Garden (OWF Press, 2014), alongside poets such as Simon Armitage, Andrew Motion, Antony Dunn and Kate Fox. Mark has had over sixty poems published in magazines, including Envoi, Dream Catcher, Prole, Sarasvati, Dawntreader, The Alarmist and The Word.

His debut pamphlet, Life is a Long Song was published by Otley Word Feast Press in 2015

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Poetry Pamphlets – Indigo Dreams spills the beans…

IndigoWe had been looking to create a poetry pamphlet division for some time, as it’s a format we enjoy. As a self-funding indie company we had to be certain the time was right and last year we made our entry to this market. We wanted our pamphlets to show the same production values we give to their big brothers, be perfect bound and have identity branding.

We like poetry pamphlets for many reasons. Among them is the thread that runs through many poetry pamphlets, a general theme that, although sometimes less obvious than others, unifies under one title. There may be insufficient numbers of such poems to fill a full-length collection, so they would be a section of the whole. Here they can be the entirety.

A glance through some of the pamphlets we have published to date show themes as different as the people of a village in Italy, the natural world, the human body, the various guises of ‘gods’, railways – even a correlation between poetry and poultry! Those yet to be published have themes as varied as the Solway Firth, the theatre, a relationship with a grandson…we love the diversity!

They are affordable (or more affordable) and can easily be read in one sitting, should the reader choose to do so. They no longer serve as an introduction to new poets, but are now an established and respected form in their own right.  And pamphlets do of course have their own awards and prizes, like the Michael Marks and Callum MacDonald, Templar,  Poetry Book Society, Cinnamon and, shortly, Indigo Pamphlets.

Brett cover

Bretts poem

Indigo Dreams has a very strong commitment to poetry, (and we were delighted to receive the Ted Slade Award for Services to Poetry this year) and will continue to combine new poets with the more established. One example of a first publication success was Brett Evans pamphlet, The Devil’s Tattoo. It can only help a newly published poet to not only be runner-up in its category in the recent Saboteur Awards, but also to read comments like ‘these poems cut like rust’, ‘a deeply divine read’, ‘displays both vulnerability and wit’, ‘eye-opening soul baring magic’. Greg Freeman’s ‘Trainspotters’ was read by Brian Patten who wrote to Greg saying his pamphlet has “more going for it than many a fatter collection. The poems are snapshots of gone and going worlds, more evocative than any photo.” That quickly made it to the back cover!

This year we will publish almost twenty pamphlets, some new voices with a track record in magazines but no previous publication, some by established poets including Bernard Kops, William Oxley and –don’t edit this out! – Abegail Morley. Your own pamphlet, Abegail, is a perfect example of how a pamphlet fills a void – a short series of poems based on the ruins at Scotney Castle, too small for a large collection, but perfect for a pamphlet.

Its popularity among poets is proven by the number of enquiries and submissions we receive each month. Along with our three magazines, collections and anthologies, our pamphlet division is here to stay. The amount we publish will, as ever, be determined by what we enjoy, our physical capacity and the quality of submissions we receive.
Ronnie Goodyer and Dawn BaulingCapture

 

 

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New pamphlet – The Memory of Water

When I started off on this Scotney Castle sequence I had no idea that I would be lucky enough to have Karen Dennison’s photographs in the collection. I’d asked her if she fancied collaborating and after she read the poems she said yes. We spent time wandering the grounds – Karen’s eagle eyes settling on the roots of trees that looked like woven rope, or collecting reflections from the lip of the moat.

We created a limited edition handmade pamphlet but the card I chose for the cover was too thick to staple so we ended up hand sewing them. They did look beautiful but I was hugely relieved we made so few!

A year later the text gave itself to a different story, one that found its voice and momentum in a completely new way. Actually, a way I really didn’t expect. The number of poems grew and found their own footing and Karen supplied more photographs, and we have a wonderful full cover colour – Karen’s stunning photo and Ronnie’s eye for design is brilliant. So here it is in all its glory….

TMOW matt to be changed LOW RES
Skin deep

Ripples recede as if the water sits back on its haunches,
geese glide into the space between air and knees.
The fluster of wings fetches him from the path,
running as if there’s a ghost at his heels and, like a boat

slipping its moorings, he bobs into view. The water licks
at its past: tastes the metal of broadswords as they slice
its tongue, the heady swell of wild garlic on its lips,
the bitterness of nettles hung around its banks each spring.

The custom of collecting buds from barely-warm ground
is lost on him as he slides, swan-like at the muddy edge,
pulls himself back in time. He looks up at the deserted castle,
the morning’s fog wraps around it like a scarf,

and somewhere in it are the stirrings of forgotten language:
ramparts, gatehouse, defences, keep. All of this is lost on me.
I see where he collided: the nest of eggs, how the sun
lights each one like a sonographer doing a scan.

Petrichor
(petra, meaning ‘stone’, + ichor, the fluid)

I kick off my shoes, roll jeans to knees,
cuffs up thin wrists. Sun prods

through leaves, flashes on my skin
like a slippery fish with interlocking scales –

I’m a single word, an unbuttoned shirt
flapping in the breeze. I’m thinking

I adore this weather, this history –
him – can smell the scent of my ancestors

in the shrubs, grass, soil, hear the dreamlike
way rain shifts quietly on the pelt of trees

when the sky gives nothing away. I didn’t know
rain could fall this lightly, this slowly.

 

If you’d like a signed copy let me know via thepoetryshed@hotmail.com, otherwise the lovely Dawn and Ronnie at Indigo Dreams will send it to you (cheaper and more quickly than Amazon!). Support small presses please… because they’re worth it.

There’s more from Ronnie and Dawn at Indigo Dreams Publishing in the next posting.

Box of books

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Jubilation Wood by Juliet Johns

A friend sent a stunning little book to me shortly after Christmas and a day or so later I heard from Ronnie at Indigo Dreams who mentioned it too, so I thought I’d share the details in case you’d like to scoop a copy up for yourself. Take a look on their website as there is a great deal for 2015.

JWThe poems in Jubilation Wood are linked to a theme of Nature with an underlying theme of the power of Nature as a fundamental life source—hints of the mythology of the older land. They are accessible without being trite or clichéd. They address the Universal rather than the personal viewpoint. The appeal is widened by the addition of beautiful linked illustrations by professional artist Eva Prus.

Juliet Johns is a poet whose work is inspired by the ancient land of Cornwall which is her heritage. Her writing is infused with the seas, woods and carns of her native land. She was educated in Cornwall, New York and London, and has since returned to Cornwall where she now lives, close to the sea and overlooking a vista of hills, woods and fields.

Nightwooowld

My lady the moon, spun of mist,
hangs in each branch
following me soundlessly
the owl is my bleak companion—
I am not fearful of the night
which creeps around me like another soul
entreating comfort
I tread dead apples underfoot
echo of fox is in the air
and the night mouse in his silent place

I would be part of this world
more often

‘Trees are a famous subject for poetry, from the Chinese Wang River sequence onward down the centuries to A. E. Houseman and beyond, but I have never before read a collection which captures the changing moods of a wood so perfectly. It reflects, poem by poem, the varying aspects of season, species, hour of night and day, and state of weather. This is real dryad verse, part embodying the experience of the human confronting the woodland, and part that of trees confronting the human. It succeeds. with what is to me a unique skill, in conveying that essential sense of the forest as at once something familiar and alien, colourful and shadowy, beautiful and frightening, belonging to us and barely tolerating us, understood and mysterious…’. Ronald Hutton, Historian, author.

‘Some people are deeply woven into a sense of countryside, and Juliet is one of these … “I would be part of this world more often” she says, as her fresh poetic voice leads us through the cycles of the year and the joy (and sometimes pain) of inevitable and continuing renewal. Lovely, sensuous poems, a joy to read and re-read.’ Caroline Carver, poet.

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Valerie Morton’s shed

valerie
 

Dad’s Place

I used to think my dad lived in that shed – our childhood
was his bald head bent over a latest project. Every Saturday

at 5 p.m. the transistor radio blared out the football results;
our cue to lay the table for tea. His private chapel,

a confessional that smelled of creosote, lawnmower oil
and hanging shallots. In winter the fermenting perfume

of stored apples made nostrils twitch, hid the tobacco smells
of his roll-ups, a foil for our own teenage puffs.

Until the night the roof blew off and all its secrets became
public – the radio soggy and silent, saws and rakes hanging

at an odd angle on unsteady walls, his boots full of rainwater.
Nothing was the same after that – private thoughts stayed

in the head. When the new roof went on even the shed protested,
creaked and whispered to spiders – some things can’t be reclaimed.
 
 
 

Valerie Morton returned to poetry after a long break and in the last ten years her poetry has been published in various magazines. She was runner up in the 2011 Essex Poetry Festival. In 2012 she won first prize in the Ver Poets Ten Liner competition. She has appeared online in Ink, Sweat and Tears and The Poetry Shed. In 2011 she completed an OU degree which included Creative Writing, and since then has run a Creative Writing Group with a local mental health charity. She is a member of Ver Poets and her poems have also appeared in three anthologies to raise funds for charity. Mango Tree (Indigo Dreams Publishing, 2013) is her first collection.

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Timelines by Carolyn O’Connell

Timelines72

Beautiful tender poems, rich in many ways: in O’Connell’s unique linguistic turns, where ‘hymns’ can be ‘conducted / by spiraling arcs of Spitfires’; in detailed imagery and its expression, whether the serenity of a single flower petal or the incessant shifting in a cityscape; in its unflinching observation of the ties that bind. Change whistles through these flawlessly-musical lines, wherein ‘emotions / are gathered with the fruit to savour / through the cold’…
Timelines has a vital energy that I know will draw me back to it.
Anne Stewart,
poetry p f

Timelines fascinates me. Carolyn writes on many themes and her poems- ‘Traces of Time’, ‘Before the Wedding’ and ‘Diamonds’, made me recognise all the charms and traditions of marriage. I have to mention her poem- ‘Time Lag’. It tells us about a tradesman’s job of plastering; how wiping himself with ‘yesterday’s newspaper sculptured’, Carolyn knows the artistic approach of the waiting and the plasterer’s waiting effects of the drying.
I could go on, captivating poems to choose from, – ‘The Art of Waiting’, the skill learned through time. ‘Approaching Charing Cross’, the old and new train lines, posters and more.
Johanna Boal

 

TIMELINES

Screened by odd shops lining the road
slotted between school and old church,
the tiny graveyard spread its mosaic:
paths, antique graves, and a quirky mausoleum.

A city oasis for childhood exploration;
classroom expeditions for wild flowers,
beetles, bugs in Natural History with Miss Condon

or to perfect our processional skills
in obedient lines along jagged paths
tailing a statue graphed by Sister Brendan.

Springing from the concrete playground
unwatched in this Eden we invented plays:
our props Hansom’s lichened stones,

Gribble’s borrowed grave tokens,
the iron grills latticing windows, doors
of the Bowden mausoleum – (a house?),

exploring the possibilities of unknown futures
unknown partners, unborn children
with the certainty of primary innocence.

As a woman I stood on the steps of
this Pugin church Newman dedicated –
studied by my past walled in the school
he built centred in fields of a lost village.

I’m ringed by my friends, family and maids
beside me a man who would be my future,
waiting to escort me to my tomorrow.

———————————————————————————————

Carolyn O’Connell’s poems have been published in Envoi, Interpreters House, Brando’s Hat & Aireings, Poetry Society “Celebrating Adlestrop” Tribute Poems and other online poetry sites and anthologies. She is one of the poets listed on Poetrypf.com and has taken part in the poetry translation project whereby her poems have been translated and broadcast in Romanian.
 
Carolyn is a member of the Ormond Poetry Group and attends Rhythm & Muse and the Tea Box among other poetry venues. She has previously collaborated with Kensington & Chelsea Arts Service in promoting inclusive poetry projects and with the Library and Theatre Group in Richmond.
 
Her poems were featured in National Poetry Day booklets published by John Powls for the National Probation Service in 2001 and 2003.
 
Carolyn lives in Richmond – on -Thames.

Timeslines is available from Indigo Dreams Publishing for £9.50

Alison Hill

Slate Rising: Alison Hill’s debut full collection

Slate Rising
Slate Rising Alison Hill
Indigo Dreams Publishing, £7.99

Alison Hill’s debut collection, Slate Rising is one of Indigo Dreams’ latest offerings. Hill’s pamphlet, Peppercorn Rent came out in 2008 from Flarestack, shortly after she set up Rhythm and Muse, a poetry and music event in Kingston-upon-Thames.

Several years ago I was delighted to feature her on The Poetry Shed with her poem The Women of Dorich House. Since then her poem To a Girl on Platform Three which appears in Slate Rising was nominated by South Poetry for the Forward Prize 2012 for Best Single Poem and a couple of other poems in the collection have been commended in the Yeovil Literary Prize and the Grace Dieu Writers’ Circle competition.

Hill provides a catalogue of female characters whose strong sense of identity, place and history are revealed to the reader, their lives and journeys unfolding in separate stories but with an interconnectedness that draws them together. “I am no woman, every woman” is the essence of the collection. There’s a timelessness, a self-perpetuating cycle of questioning femininity and expectation as these women try to find their way in the world as the past, present and future converge.

In the opening poem, Loose Change Hill’s woman “gives her the wet hills stitched/ with dry stone contours” the beauty of this is juxtaposed with the penultimate line when she moves to what seems the ordinary and every day, “She gave her the price of a bus ticket,” then draws up with the final line, “but she bargained on an open return”. In To a Girl on Platform Three Hill continues in this vein with a mother’s observation of her young daughter as she sees her in years to come looking back on this moment as her mother looks on it now:

“I see her in years to come, when she finds the dress
tossed at the back of her wardrobe, as she smiles
in fleeting recognition and passes it on.”

It is gentle, understated and universal.

In Rapunzel she “is girlhood without the games, / skipping without the rope”, in Stitching the Light, she “worked against the clock,/ defying its hands to steal her light”, this theme is picked up later in Blush where she “liked to watch the light/ shifting through the delphiniums”. These are at once fragile poems that tell tales of strength and triumph, her characters have delicate bones but filled with what Thoreau called “the marrow of life”.

Perhaps the heart of the collection is in the poem Awakening. It is Eve’s actions and the thousands of years of sisterhood that come to the fore in this book and it is the voices of these women whether daughters, wives, lovers, mothers, spinsters that ring out whilst at the same time trying to cast off their societal status.

Awakening

I saw the sculpture before the name;
body of a woman playful as a kitten.

Mid-roll in abandon, legs in freefall
stomach splayed for all to see.

Sinuous, graceful, eyes closed against
the world, she holds the apples aloft

Mine, all mine, she says.

For me, this awaited for collection from Hill is like the lines in Silver Lip Conch

“I have sheltered here
for generations,
fossilised, safe.”

Now excavated from the seams of the poet, Slate Rising finds its voice.

Alison is appearing at the following events:Alison_Hill_(2)[1]
Fourth Friday, Poetry Café London, Friday 26 September, 7.30pm
Loose Muse, Poetry Café London, Wednesday 12 November, 8pm

 

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UNFOLDING LOVE AND LANDSCAPE: A review by Valerie Morton

ShippenShippen by Dawn Bauling
ISBN 978-1-909357-04-4
80 pp. £8.99, Indigo Dreams Publishing,
24 Forest Houses, Cookworthy Moor, Halwill,
Beaworthy, Devon EX21 5UU.

 

I will take the platinum pins
from my silent sea of silver hair
let its spirals tumble down
to the briar and bracken.
 
He will know my shadow.

These opening lines illustrate the harmony in Dawn Bauling’s highly accessible yet challenging new collection Shippen – harmony with her environment, her man, her children, her dog and most of all with herself. She is a poet at home in her own skin who, with carefully crafted words, transcends the ordinary and transports us through her detailed observations, into the vibrancy of a life well lived. She misses nothing. Her poems are deeply rooted in time and place.

This is a collection of personal yet universal love poems – gentle and lyrical, unique and unsentimental. Bauling has a distinctive way of placing herself and thus her readers into her own shoes and those of others. At times she brings a light touch to serious subjects, challenging the reader to pause and think and wonder.

Divided into four individual (FIELD, GATE, HEARTH, LOFT) yet linked sections this collection begins in the wide open spaces of FIELD with its breadth of possibility. We are standing at a crossroads of opportunity, poised on the edge of adventure wondering which exit to take. But Bauling opens the door of the shippen and lets us in with tender humour as in ‘Kiss Me Quick’:

Quick has no future or promise;
slow has a right to roam, to hold
without rush or squealing
brakes of a getaway car.
There must be time to taste
each subtle spice, separate, divine,
not pecked in a single bite.

and the passion of ‘Dry Stick’.

You thought I had no life
within. Such foolery.
I was a red fire lily
dancing on a bright wind
who would leave
pollen on your trousers,
for the want of a match.

With meticulous balance we are lead towards and through the GATE where Bauling skilfully turns everyday events into sensuous happenings. Small, intimate things matter as in ‘Morning Coffee Tasting’:

Unsure of your taste
I have sent you coffee
Monsoon Malabar and Black Java
with names to dance treacled
love notes on your tongue
and the sense of healing in the comforting ‘Winter Cupped’
Not a dark cup this year
not cloudy fluid
with the potential to scold
or choke in the chest.
A fine glass for toasting
brighter than orange
with russets on the tongue
long-lasting, warm-hearted.
.
and finally,
.
Loving you, though lost;
licking this first Christmas

The third section, HEARTH oozes with the warmth of arrival, of belonging, of a coming together in ‘Stones’

we are at times
unalike
as leaf and flame
 
but together
inexplicably
logan stones
balanced perfectly
 
and in And so the clock ticks’
 
We are not so young we have to touch,
not too familiar to have forgotten why
it is necessary, accepting the promise of slow
so something otherwise can treat us.

In the final section LOFT we are treated to the beautifully lyrical ‘Swan’.

Swan

I believe you.
Even the small stars
you drew down my back
a constellation,
not a promise blown
away in the slyness
of sudden twisters.
My dark was never
too deep
for your word.
So I keep it,
and learn to love
like a swan.
 
and in ‘Over the Table’:
 

When you write
you are private
like a clam
who is not a clam at all
but an oyster
quietly turning
a piece of sand
into a pearl.
 

Throughout this collection Bauling never loses touch with time or place – each poem is focussed on the importance of family and nature which are central to her work. This is a confident voice, subtle yet strong, wild yet gentle and most of all one which gives the reader time to breathe. Although rooted in the landscape of Devon and Cornwall, it surprises with flashes of another world as with ‘Henna on her Hands’, ‘Swallowing my Father’, or a ‘Consultation of Nails’. Bauling threads the world together and lays it before us and dotted about its map are some revealing haiku, like ‘Sentence’:

In this life’s sentence
I have been finding commas.
You are my full stop.
 

Dawn
Shippen is a “waterfall of a gift” which the reader will want to revisit time after time.

Read more about the author and a selection of poems – this book can be ordered from Indigo Dreams Publishing.

The Poetry Kit Book of the Month

Malcolm Carson

Gifts and other goodies

I love to come home to A5 brown envelopes – the kind that are thick enough to contain a book or pamphlet, not thin enough to be a returned submission. This last week or so I’ve opened three such envelopes and have been chuffed to see the books and am grateful to the lovely poets who sent them: Derrick Buttress, Malcolm Carson, Alison Hill.

2014-05-10 12.27.22

A while ago I read through some of Malcolm Carson’s poems from Cleethorpes Comes to Paris. There is the obvious connection between us, Malcolm kindly endorsed Snow Child three years ago, but there’s the less obvious one – we were both born there (sadly Cleethorpes, not Paris). I was whisked away within weeks, not sure how long Malcolm stuck it out. The sequence of poems is published by Shoestring Press and recalls a trip to Paris of times past. Leaving from Calais the narrator says, “Pardon, monsieur, / quelle est la route à Paris”. Carson mixes what we know of Paris – Sartre, Gauloises, the Metro with a glimpse into its seedier side:

Round midnight when we saw her
haunched to piss, the pavement
flowed until she upped her drawers

alert now to our approach. Clochard,
we said, held back, watching
her embarrassed shadow skulk
against the Sorbonne’s gothic walls.

(Clochard)

Some great writing and my favourite lines have to be:

I caught him at the Gard du Nord
boarding the train for Cleethorpes.

(Chez Popoff)

I’ll leave the last words to Nigel Jarrett at Acumen and report on the other two books soon.

“Musical, resigned sensuous… So persuasive is Carson’s voice”.