Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Shindig! in Leicester

Live poetry and open mic

Launch of Issue Two of Under The Radar magazine

Thursday, December 11th, 2008

Friends Meeting House, Queen’s Road, Leicester, 7.30pm.

Nine Arches Press, based in Warwickshire, present you with some of the finest Midlands poets, including:
Jane Holland – editor of Horizon Review, reading from her latest collection Camper Van Blues.
Matt Merritt – Leicestershire poet, reads from his debut full-length collection, Troy Town.
Matt Nunn – Birmingham’s finest poetic export, reads from his forthcoming collection, Sounds in the Grass.
Jane Commane – Warwickshire-based poet reads a selection of her recent work.

PLUS: Open mic slots available - turn up early to register for a place.

Monday, October 13, 2008

West Midlands Publishing Consortium, Anyone?

I was vaguely trying to do a mental list of the literary publishing houses in the region, but I'm sure I'm missing a few. Anyone help me out here?

Nine Arches Press
Tindal Street
Coal Press (now closed? published Roz Goddard then vanished)
Heaventree Press
Purple Patch?
Five Leaves (technically E. Mids, but published David Hart)
Leafe Press (ditto - Nottingham based)
Derek Walcott Press (an imprint of Heaventree)
Ragged Raven Press
Raka Books International (Roi Kwabena)

I'm sure I've missed a few... And there are probably plenty more in E Mids worth looking at.


Friday, October 10, 2008

Update on the Warwick Laureateship 2008-09

The launch of Nine Arches Press, with new Midlands poetry publishers Matt Nunn and Jane Commane (with me in the middle), at the first public reading of my long poem, "On Warwick Castle" last week.

So, about a week ago, I very cheerfully handed over the Warwick Poet Laureateship to Cathy Whittaker, who will hold that post from 2008 - 09.

During my Laureateship, I wrote my long poem, "On Warwick Castle", and published that last week along with other Warwick-related poems in a pamphlet from Nine Arches Press, plus wrote several locally commissioned pieces, as well as six riddle poems for Tescos and sixteen poems to accompany Anand Chhabra's photographs in the Warwick Words Poetry & Photography Exhibition. I also visited a few schools in the region as Poet Laureate, and performed at a number of social events, including a rather delicious fish and chip fund-raising supper at the medieval Lord Leycester Hospital in Warwick.

Meanwhile, although I shall miss being so closely involved with poetry in the Warwickshire region, I'm excited to be turning back to my own personal writing projects, and wish the new Laureate, Cathy Whittaker, all the very best in her year ahead!

Friday, September 19, 2008

Flarestack, a New Old name in Poetry Publishing

I’ve had a soft spot for Flarestack ever since I was in a poetry group with Charles Johnson when I first started writing poetry seriously. He set up Flarestack when he was at Redditch Library, mainly as a means of providing local poets with pamphlets they could sell at readings; it quickly built up a reputation for publishing innovative poetry that was not afraid to take risks. When Charles moved to Somerset, he took Flarestack with him, along with his magazine, Obsessed with Pipework, and both went from strength to strength, each pamphlet individually designed by Charles. Over more than fifteen years, Flarestack has built up a formidable reputation, with poems appearing in the Forward anthology and an honourable mention by Neal Astley in his article in The Poetry Writer’s Handbook. When, after more than twelve years of writing poetry, I finally decided it was time to put a collection together, it was inevitable that I would submit it to Charles, though actually I didn’t submit anything; Charles accepted it without seeing any of Blue until I delivered the completed manuscript.
Earlier this year, I heard that Charles was thinking of giving up the pamphlet publishing wing of Flarestack (he will continue to publish Obsessed with Pipework). I’ve been interested in publishing for a long time, possibly all my life, so I was keen to take it on, as, I soon discovered, was Meredith Andrea, whose Grasshopper Inscriptions is also published by Flarestack. After some intensive discussion and planning we were able to put a proposal to Charles as to how we would keep the spirit of Flarestack alive. We will begin publishing in autumn 2009, and our imprint will be called FLARESTACK POETS; Flarestack, under Charles Johnson, will continue to publish, until that time, pamphlets whose characteristic originality we aim to perpetuate with Flarestack Poets.
Flarestack pamphlets have a reputation for quality and diversity, and for encouraging work from new and established voices. To mark the launch of Flarestack Poets with new work, the first pamphlets to be published will come from the winners of a competition to be judged anonymously by Meredith and myself. The closing date is 28th February 2009. We're looking for poetry that dares outside current trends, even against the grain... collections that aren't bus queues or greatest his albums, from poets who are forging their own linguistic connections with the root-ball of experience.. For further details and rules of the competition, see

Poetry in the Heartlands: Welcome

Welcome to Poetry in the Heartlands!

This is a new blog, to be run by a team of multiple bloggers. Its aim is to allow potential adiences and readerships to know what's going on in poetry around the West Midlands, and also enabling writers and editors with a Midlands connection to chat about poetry in general.

If you are based in or around the West and East Midlands - or have a strong Midlands connection - and would like to join the team, email me with your details and any internet links to your work at j.holland442 @

Jane Holland
Founding Editor: Poetry in the Heartlands