At The Storm’s Edge

Palewell Press and values-cropFrank McMahon’s first collection of poems ‘At the Storm’s Edge’ is being published in January 2020 by Palewell Press. The poems cover themes of love and loss, wonder at the natural world, anger at social injustice and the celebration of other creative voices. It will be launched at an event in Cirencester towards the end of January, and will be available for purchase at Waterstones and Amazon.

Palewell Press publications focus on environmental concerns, social justice and excluded groups and communities.


The Pig: A Natural History


Pigs – where would we be without them? That question is brilliantly answered in Richard Lutwyche’s brilliant non-fiction book:  ‘The Pig: A Natural History’. Published by Princeton University Press and beautifully illustrated, it tells the story of this prolific, ubiquitous, smart and adaptable animal, from origin to domestication and beyond. It would make a great Christmas present and is being stocked in Octavia’s bookshop in Black Jack Street, Cirencester, for the next few weeks, as well as being available on Amazon.

Richard is also the author of this month’s Cirencester Scene short story – a darkly funny tale about death. It was inspired by a creative writing exercise based on a picture from the Italian Alps showing the body of a man preserved for around 5,000 years. You can find his story here.

Richard developed his writing skills through a career in marketing. He has had articles published in trade journals and magazines including Country Life, The Field and Country Living and edited The Ark magazine for the Rare Breeds Survival Trust, a national charity, for over 10 years.

He has had four non-fiction books published – Rare Breed Pig Keeping (2003); Shetland Breeds (co-author), 2003; Pig Keeping (2010); Higgledy Piggledy (2010) – all of which hint at one of his main interests. He is proud of the fact that he won a lifetime achievement award at the BBC Food & Farming Awards for his work in conserving rare breeds.

Ragged Foils Wrap Party

RaggedFoilsWrapPartyClare had a great evening at Ragged Foils Productions ‘Wrap Party’ at a noisy pub in Soho last week where she met the talented podcast creatives for 12 very different stories: the director, sound recordist, actors and other writers for Season One. Her piece ‘An Ordinary House’ is available here on the SE website.

Happy Families

61183161_2507936349239520_123065798171295744_oLinda Dyson’s story ‘Happy Families’ is our story of the month for November – and is also being featured in this month’s Cirencester Scene. It will appeal to anyone who has ever braced themselves for a family get-together.

Linda joined Somewhere Else Writers in an attempt to get back into writing a novel started several years ago. Two of her short stories have been published in an anthology organised by the ‘Aspiring Writers’ group on Linked-in and a number of poems included in other collections. Her play ‘The Piano’ was broadcast on Corinium Radio earlier this year, and works for children have been performed at local schools. You can read Linda’s story by clicking on the ‘Story of the Month’ logo.

Japanese Garden

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The poetry magazine ‘Black Bough Poetry’ has just published ‘Japanese Garden’ by Iris Anne Lewis. Described by editor Matthew M. C. Smith as excellent imagist, precise, sharp poetry, ‘Japanese Garden’ was first conceived by a visit to a Japanese-style garden in the grounds of Warwick University.

‘Black Bough Poetry’ publishes micro-poems from across the world. Only the most compressed, the most pristine, the most vivid, make the cut. It takes its name and its ethos from a two-line poem from Ezra Pound.

In a Station of the Metro
The apparition of these faces in the crowd:
Petals on a wet, black bough.

‘Japanese Garden’, is published in issue 3, page 10, of the magazine, which you can find here.

From Organ Pipes in London to Masks in Swindon

Somewhere Else member Iris Anne Lewis reports on a weekend packed with poetry.

It was Swindon’s Big Poetry Weekend from October 4th to October 6th, with a range of workshops, readings and meeting up with poetry friends, old and new, all at the Richard Jefferies Museum. The Festival had a transatlantic feel to it this year, with digital poet Dave Bonta from Pennsylvania talking about poetry film, Nuar Alsadir from New York as poet in residence, and Jennifer Militello from New Hampshire leading a workshop and giving a reading.
The first day of the Festival coincided with a Camden Poetry Series event in London, at which I had been invited to read, so after attending a morning workshop on ‘Writing Obsession’ with Jenifer Militello, it was off to London for my own reading in Camden. The event was in aid of cold weather shelters for the homeless and was held in Trinity United Reform Church — the same venue that acts as the cold weather shelter It was the first time I had read in front of an imposing set of organ pipes but any initial feeling of intimidation while waiting for people to take their seats was soon dispelled by the warmth of the welcome by organisers and audience. Then it was back home for a good night’s sleep before two full days of poetry in Swindon.
Saturday morning kicked off with a workshop with Fiona Benson on letting different voices into our poems. For this we each had to don a mask and enter into a different persona as embodied by the mask — I had great fun striding around the room as a rather angry man. The rest of the day was less energetic with readings from well known poets; Carrie Etter in conversation with poetry publishers Claire Crowther (Long Poem Magazine) and Sarah Leavesley (V. Press);  and the Battered Moons prize giving.
Another workshop on Sunday morning — Letters to the World. Led by Zoe Brigley, a Welsh poet who now works  as assistant professor at Ohio State University, we explored what we might learn from the intimacy and directness of writing a letter. More readings in the afternoon, from poets, both international and local, well established and recently published. The Festival finished with the Domestic Cherry launch party, with special guest Julia Webb and hosted by Hilda Sheehan, as usual in playful mood.
Then it was off home, with a bag full of books, a head full of ideas and a sense of belonging to a warm and welcoming community.


An Ordinary House

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Clare Finnimore’s script ‘An Ordinary House’ has been accepted by Ragged Foils for their next Ragged Scratch Podcast.

Directed by Natalie Winter, the play is currently being rehearsed in London. ‘An Ordinary House’ explores the lives of those left behind when their sister and daughter goes to war. It will feature the voices of Amber Muldoon, Jamie Newall, Florence Olivea and Sharita Oomeer.