Published: Birdbook: Saltwater and Shore anthology from Sidekick Books

I'm very pleased to have two poems (on the razorbill and the snow bunting) in the latest Birdbook from Sidekick Books, entitled Saltwater and Shore, edited by Kirsten Irving and Jon Stone (£12.00 + postage, September 2016, 140pp) 
http://www.sidekickbooks.com/birdbookiv.php

Saltwater and Shore is the final volume of Sidekick’s wildly ambitious Birdbook series – a collaborative alternative ornothopedia where every species gets equal billing. This time we find ourselves flung beyond the limits of the island, before being gathered in again at its outcrops, outposts, briny mouths and sandy fringes, where well-established stars like the puffin jostle with the lesser-known knot, scaup and razorbill, the whimbrel, spoonbill and turnstone. It’s a bustling, polyphonic cliffside colony of a book, a multitude of individual voices and dynamic images poised to spill into the air and take flight in the willing imagination.

Featuring poems by friends including Annabel Banks, Vahni Capildeo, Holly Corfield Carr, Rishi Dastadar, Sasha Dugdale, Harry Giles, Kirsten Irving, Jon Stone, David Tait, Kate Wakeling

Mexico : diario de la poesía #5 - Moctezuma's revenge & the Cervantino festival in Guanajuato

Into a muddy hole disappeared two or three days of my life in Mexico City. Travelling from Xalapa, I felt unsteady, but not concerned. The drive back into the megapolis was a chance to watch the country pass. Once installed into the Fiesta Americana - a massive, 25 floor corporate hotel sat right on the Reforma, the kitsch boulevard that centres Mexico City, once bullied into lifts with portly groups of men with greased back hair and far less gentle manners, once I'd eaten from the rich and seemingly endless buffet, the nausea and stomach ache turned into something else. 

I've been very ill travelling before. It's always a lonelying experience. You are a long way away from those you love, as you are sensorially, from comfort. It is a mental game. In the end I had trouble walking, it not just being projectile but with cramps, migraines and so on, and before we were to leave for Guanajuato, they had to have a doctor visit me. I was faced with a difficult decision as to whether to attend or not, but with such ripe disdain for that hotel room, that plush open room that sat on the 17th floor and took in most of Mexico City, that I hated, I went. Much is owed in easing my own will to those around me, the writers Nell Leyshon (who kindly ((!)) took this photo of me as the doctor visited) and Bee Rowlatt, the British Council staff, the organisers of the Cervantino and those back home who relentlessly insisted on getting me better when I wanted to crawl into a corner.

A five hour car journey then, still ill, but corked, listening to Veracruzian music sent me by new friends in Xalapa just gone. Into Guanajuato, an impossibly beautiful place. But I was blind to it, and hid again for another lost day, trying to get past the nausea. Student protests raged outside my room, hundreds, like thousands across Mexico, protesting the horrific torture and murder of a group of protesting students in Iguana. The brilliant Ioan Grillo wrote this article on the awfulness of what happened http://www.nytimes.com/2014/10/10/opinion/mexicos-deadly-narco-politics.html?_r=0

I woke up better yet, and being able to know the date, and the place. I walked around Guanajuato, also being to eat more than a bite for the first time in days. The city is unbelievable, every corner a scene in a film, every street a picture. Every colour on the buildings, rising up on hills and littered with parks and markets and small alleys, and tunnels. The city is build on tunnels that bore through the hillside, genuinely subterranean streets that hold bus stops and pedestrian walkways see cars pour through and pop out in brilliant sunshine. I talked with people again, bought things, felt like a person once more.
My nurses and friends and buoys, Nell Leyshon and Bee Rowlatt, and I, then attended our event, at the University, for the grand Cervantino festival. This is the 42nd year and the festival goes on for three weeks. That we were staying just a day seemed incongruous. We were self panelling on Shakespeare, and it turned out marvelous I thought. We all come from different backgrounds, different professions, different modes of thought. And it complimented. I stressed the need to interrogate the value of Shakespeare, pedagogically, to make sure the relationship was personal and not assumed, earned and not because the value of his works were so overbearingly lauded. I also talked about his role in the future, which was the theme, being the same as it was in the past, really, but that there were immense things to be taken from his prolific nature etc etc.. It went well and the students were positive. 
More time allowed me to visit Diego Rivera's house and the old market, before we bundled into a van for a brutal 6 hour crawl back south across Mexico into Mexico city once again. I was well and truly well then, for if I hadn't have been, I would've capitulated. Instead Nell and I shared the backseat and confused the Mexican car with conversation.

Mount London should be climbed

Sometimes the publication of such a beautiful book as Mount London goes by, and is properly celebrated, as this one has been, but it still feels somewhat improper that it passes by so quickly. The volume looks as it is, which is an all too rare quality in life; a truly unique achievement by Tom Chivers and Martin Kratz. The essays, which are as varied and agile as the subject matter, are utterly complimentary for their difference, and some of the writers have been real discoveries for me, as Ive read through the volume. Im also very happy with my piece in the book, being as it genuinely represents something about me, my style here is my subject. I thoroughly urge it upon people. The launch was really wonderful too, fine readings from Joe Dunthorne, Chrissy Williams et al. It felt like the heart of London's most spacially aware writing community had convened
 http://www.pennedinthemargins.co.uk/index.php/2014/03/mount-london/