Author: Robin Houghton

Robin Houghton #quirkychristmas and a very happy Christmas from the shed

Originally posted on The Poetry Shed:
Father Reindeer He came to us over the leads – a connoisseur of chimneys and gnarly parapets – he slid between church roofs, ground his joints on mossy tiles while pinnacling. For the joy of each chase down he endured the up, chiseling hoof-holds in slate, following twizzles of breath blown from his brothers’ nostrils up front. He never looked down to the bald tops of trees or roads asleep, the town’s grotesquerie. Over the sky parlours, chequers and marlipins he came, over the weather vanes, toeing the gutters and leaping from gable-ends to bring us each a tangerine, a walnut in its knobbly shell, a book of Aesop’s Fables to read by torchlight. Robin Houghton has been published widely in magazines including Poetry News, The Rialto, Antiphon, Mslexia, Brittle Star, Prole, Ink, Sweat & Tears, Obsessed with Pipework and Agenda. She won the 2012 New Writer poetry competition, the 2013 Hamish Canham Prize and the 2014 Stanza Competition, the latter with a poem that was nominated for the…

Bo's Cafe Life - Entry Fees

Submissions stats for 2015 – the good, the bad, etc

I know there’s nothing festive about submissions stats, but I haven’t shared any in a while so in case you’re interested here goes… Recent acceptances/ currently forthcoming One poem in Brittle Star, one in Ink, Sweat & Tears and two in Obsessed with Pipework. All due to appear sometime in Spring 2016. Big Love & Thanks to editors Jacqueline Gabbitas, Martin Parker, Helen Ivory and Charles Johnson. Just for fun, here are some facts about these four poems (they’re not necessarily in the same order as above): Poem A – written Feb – April 2015, 2 drafts, first submission Poem B – written July 2014 – Nov 2015, 5 drafts, 2 previous rejections Poem C – written June 2014 – Nov 2015, 10 drafts, 1 previous rejection Poem D – written August 2014 – Nov 2015, 6 drafts, 1 previous rejection Poems currently out and waiting on 2 out for 85 days/12 weeks 6 out for 71 days/10 weeks 2 out for 53 days/8 weeks 2 out for 41 days/ 6 weeks 1 for 32 days …

The Reading List, week 11 – Clare Best’s ‘Cell’

It seems my blog posts of ‘micro reviews’ have set some sort of trend – who’d have thought?  Anyway, I haven’t posted one for a couple of weeks as other aspects of LIFE have rather taken priority. The original idea to read a book a day was ambitious,  but the blogging of the reviews has proven to be the hardest bit, and something I haven’t always managed to find time for. But that doesn’t mean I haven’t been reading. Rather than waiting until I have the time to write three or more reviews at once, I think I’ll sometimes just get them out singly. So coming up soon – thoughts on Mark Doty’s  T S Eliot Prize-nominated Deep Lane (Cape) and Wendy Pratt’s pamphlet Lapstrake (Flarestack). But today I’ll focus on one pamphlet.   Cell –  Clare Best & Michaela Ridgway (Frogmore Press 2015) An unusual pamphlet, both in physical form and concept. Clare Best’s award-winning sequence ‘Cell’ is in the voice of Christine Carpenter, a 14 year old girl who, in 1329, took a vow of  ‘solitary devotion’ and …

Poetry Audio and Video Recordings

Originally posted on Proletarian Poetry:
Image by Justin Lynham* I have started a list of poetry podcasts, audio and video recordings of different organisations and initiatives. I have not included individual poets because that is beyond me. Please add other audio and video recordings I will have missed in the comments section. Happy listening and viewing! Poetry Audio and Video The Poetry Foundation The Monthly Magazine – http://feeds.poetryfoundation.org/ThePoetryMagazinePodcast Poem of the Day – http://feeds.poetryfoundation.org/PoetryFoundation/PoemOfTheDay Poetry Now, where poets read and share insights on a new poem, http://feeds.poetryfoundation.org/PoetryFoundation/PoetryNow Poetry Off the Shelf, explores the diverse world of contemporary American poetry with readings by poets, interviews with critics, and short poetry documentaries. http://feeds.poetryfoundation.org/PoetryOffTheShelf Poem Roundtable, discussion of a single poem with a series of rotating guests http://feeds.poetryfoundation.org/PoetryFoundation/PoemTalk Poetry Archive As with the Poetry Foundation, the Poetry Archive has endless audio recordings of poetry reading their work, http://www.poetryarchive.org/ Scottish Poetry Library Monthly podcast with over 200 episodes, http://www.scottishpoetrylibrary.org.uk/connect/podcast The Poetry Library Nice collection on Soundcloud of events hosted at the library, such as their monthly Special Editions, https://soundcloud.com/the-poetry-library…

Robin Houghton reading at Mayfield Poetry Festival

Should poems be read from memory?

I’ve only really started reading poems from memory this year, but rarely an entire set. I admire those poets who not only memorise long, often VERY long poems, but communicate them with panache and seeming ease. But is reading from memory a requirement of a memorable reading? Does reading from memory always enhance the listener’s experience? Just how much extra work are you setting yourself – and is it worth it? What if the poet’s nervous enough already – isn’t it better for them (and the audience) to stick with reading it off the page? I asked two poet friends (and experienced poem-memorisers) to get their views on it, and also asked myself the same questions. Tony Gill, aka Gilli Bloodaxe, has performed in clubs, a crypt, a barge and at festivals little and big. His first collection Fin was published this year by Matador. Peter Kenny is a poet, playwright and serial collaborator, having worked with musicians and writers in all kinds of genres. His pamphlet ‘The Nightwork’ was published in 2014 by Telltale Press. What makes you …

The Stanza Bonanza poets, November 2015

A Bonanza, a Finale and a look ahead to 2016

It’s been a busy week, still catching up, but I wanted to post a recap of things before we’re into the pre-Christmas week when events seem to accelerate. Last Monday I was I privileged to be a member of the Brighton team (especially considering I now live in Eastbourne) at a Stanza Bonanza with Kent & Sussex Stanza at the Poetry Cafe. Bonanzas are the regular readings organised by Paul McGrane of the Poetry Society. They give Stanza members a chance to read at the iconic venue and meet/socialise with other Stanza poets. Always great fun, and this one was a corker. Poet friends Jill Munro and Jess Mookherjee were on the opposing team and it was lovely to hear them read, and Brighton definitely brought out the big guns – Peter Kenny, Tony Gill, Andie Davidson, Susan Evans and Marek Urbanowicz. Thursday saw the launch reading of Clare Best’s poem ‘Cell’ which has been produced beautifully by the The Frogmore Press in a fold-out pamphlet alongside striking artwork by Michaela Ridgway. Michaela organises and generally hosts the …

My Dear Watson anthology

A poetry anthology comes to life via Facebook

Look what arrived today – my copies of the lovely new anthology from Beautiful Dragons (mastermind: Rebecca Bilkau), My Dear Watson. It’s a celebration of the 118 elements on the periodic table. Each poem takes one of it the elements as its inspiration, and 118 poets have contributed. Poets were sourced and Rebecca organised the whole project via Facebook. Social media platforms elicit strong feelings. Not so long ago it was the internet itself. In 2001 you could say “I hate the internet/I don’t DO the internet” and you’d find plenty of folks agreeing with you. Now it’s kind of unusual since the internet is difficult to avoid. These days it’s social media. “I hate Twitter/I don’t do Facebook.” All fine, and I’m not suggesting in ten years everybody will be ‘doing’ Facebook and/or Twitter. But in 50 years everyone will be using similar (and hopefully much improved) tools because communication methods are constantly changing. Remember: the first people to have telephones in their homes also ran the gauntlet of ‘Are you Mad? What on earth …