Thursday, 10 December 2009

off we go to the pamphlet fair

organisationally we're spot on. i pick t up from work, car stocked with food after her long day, and off we go to the scottish poetry pamphlet fair, an event to which she's not been before.

and much busier than last year. lots more readings, a two minute limit, rigorously enforced by the employment of a cymbal, worked well for me but caused perhaps a few slightly ruffled feathers elsewhere. perhaps, we gently suggested later, it was a bit raucous for the more mature ear and that maybe the duck caller employed at the poetry library recently would work better. or a loud yawn and tumbleweed as one wag suggested!

but, it seems, the readings served to get people to actually buy the pamphlets, which can only be a good thing. we bought many things. perjink press's rather lovely wild flowers, featuring poetry from giles conisbee and kirsty lorenz. in the south apparently they have two pamphlet prizes, one for the poetry and one for the design. if that was the case here then surely this would be in with a shout just by virtue of sheer loveliness. we were equally taken by the forest mob's selection of pamphlets where they'd opted for a see thru plastic cover with a contrasting design on the paper below. very much liked that. and they had lots of short fiction, which was even better. i walked away with dave coates' cover story. i've heard him mentioned on claire's blog but this is the first i've read. i'd highly recommend it.

calderwood press was well represented. kevin cadwallender's dog latin has a number of poems i've heard him perform before but which, i'm happy to report work equally well and maybe, whisper it, even better on the page. very much in contrast, performance wise, was jane mary wilde's words, words, words. i'd already bought it but by the time she did bone woman (i think) i was ready to buy it again. i've only flicked thru it today as i'm saving it but the breadth and depth of it so far are really impressive. it was a great shame there was no-one there to read david purdie's the godothin, a work which surely begs to be read out loud. if david purdie needs a proxy reader, colin will, i'm your man.

i was happy to see the words on canvas group's pamphlet and snapped that up. a quality product and no mistake as well as a project i'm very keen on. i'm hoping to go to some do of theirs in january so more of that later my shifts all being well. last but definitely not least i got a c clarke's aleph to zayin a reflection/humorous aside/acrostic something about the history of the alphabet. with illustrations! i couldn't resist it!

i had a lovely wee conversation with claire's partner, whose name i should know, but thanks to her blog shall always be 'the boy'. we noted that while there was a good turn out he, claire and the forest lot were perhaps in the youthful minority. a shame but how to fit in more readers? for me tho, halfway i guess on the age ladder, while i like the energy of the younger poets, there's something about the quieter insights of the 'more mature' that i'm finding increasingly more attractive.

and the readers? too many to list. kevin, almost singing, a highlight. gavin bolus we very much liked, jane mary wilde as above, whoever the woman was at the end who did the thing in scots. someone who looked not unlike my mum, who both t and i thought was going to do somethig much different when she said 'incident with a roadie' but which turned out to be 'incident with a roe deer'. dave coates, who i didn't realise was dave coates, did a surprisingly. in my head, low key reading given his material. jenny lindsay, who has something coming out on red squirrel once she's finished fiddling with it, who i jinxed by thinking, she's really good at this memorising thing. and colin donati, who i didn't request to do it, but t would have, and wasn't disappointed to hear, his scots version of jabberwocky. if there's a prize for a single poem in scots then the campaign for colin to get it starts here.

and many more.

a fine event and t bubbling with enthusiasm on the way home. with any luck it'll have been reflected in sales for those on the stalls. stanza next. can't wait.


Anonymous said...

Excellent post, swiss. I bought Susie Maguire's How to hug (Mariscat), the charity anthology The Gift of Words (Sick Kids), A C Clarke's Aleph to Zayin (self-published), and Nalini Paul's Skirlag (Red Squirrel). Also chatted to dozens of folk, between manning the stand and listening to readers. And I like the way poets and publishers are interacting more with each other these days.

Claire A said...

Thanks for the mention, and good on you for buying Dave's chapbook -- so worth two quid, right?!

My purchases: also the Sick Kids anthology which is a lovely book -- props times a million to Aileen for putting it together in a stupidly short amount of time (really, less than a month I think) and for charming so many excellent poets into contributing! Also Fiona Morrison's short fic chap from Forest. I meant to grab a copy of Dog Latin too but totally forgot in all the excitement! I also loved the lady towards the end who did the short Scots poem, too.

Oh and psst... Boy's real name is Leon! :)

swiss said...

colin, i very much agree. shame it's only once a year!

claire, dave's chapbook a steal. and the homebaked cookies will always work as a sales point for me. i need to catch up with you sometime to get advice on how to make these pamphlets. i was well liking the hands on approach. plus yoou said something once about ageing paper...

you need to keep me up to speed about this lot reading. i'd like to hear more.

the scots poet woman - did she mention eichendorff? i need to know now!

and leon. yes now i remeber. but he'll always be the boy! lol

Anonymous said...

The poet who mentioned Eichendorf was Mary Johnston. She read a poem from her chapbook - Ring o' Sangs (self-published) - which was joint runner-up in the Callum Macdonald Award this year. The book is a version in the Doric of poems by Eichendorf which Schumann set to music, the Liederkreis. Mary sings them too. I've published her 2009 chapbook, Fa dis she think she is?.

swiss said...

colin, you're a star. and thanks to the wonder of the internet i maybe won't be able to read the originals but i can listen to the schumann. great!

Rachel Fox said...

Thanks for the report. I have made it to this event (once) and did really enjoy it (although had to leave early for last train). Sounds like this year's was a great success.

The pamphlet fairs at StAnza never feel quite the same (what with all the other stuff going on around...) but the Xmas one is an on-its-own event and I like that about it (plus people are in the buying mood it being Xmas and all).