Thursday, October 29, 2009

My launch and a link

I'm launching The Corner of Arundel Lane and Charles Street at the Showroom in Sheffield tonight, starting at 8pm (£4/3). Readings by me, Antony Rowland and Ben Wilkinson. Come if you can!

Completely unrelated, except that we're both interested in place, is the blog of In Between, 'Four writing residencies exploring place, community, connection and collaboration' in North London.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Sand and my mother-in-law

Elizabeth Baines describes the 'triumph' of having her sister praise her novel, Too Many Magpies (which by all accounts is excellent – just bought my copy two seconds ago*).

It's funny – all writers know that their family's opinion of their books is invalid; whatever the family member says, the personal relationship obscures the writer–reader relationship. Yet I understand Elizabeth's feelings: there are certain family members whose reaction to The Corner of Arundel Lane and Charles Street I am rather nervous of. In the last few days my mother-in-law has been one of several people to say they like 'Sand', the opening poem in the book; and I'm pleased, more so perhaps than if my own mother had praised it. Not entirely sure why – this having a book published business is an odd, continually fascinating experience.

* On the other hand, yesterday my brother bought something online (a book on design) for the first time ever. How the other half live!

Friday, October 23, 2009

Levertov, Holub, Frost

Three poems that I've particularly enjoyed this week:

On Monday I read a load of poems with some students, including Denise Levertov's 'Intrusion'. I really like it, but I was quite surprised that the students did too, on the whole. You never can tell. I've been meaning to read more of Levertov's work for ages, and maybe this i the shove I need.

Then last night I was at a poetry do and heard people read Miroslav Holub's 'The Door' (one translation here) and Robert Frost's 'Unharvested') – both poems I had known before, but it was a pleasure to be reminded of them.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009


Picked up a copy of The Corner of Arundel Lane and Charles Street from Jen Hamilton-Emery on Sunday, at the Northen Salt reading in Manchester. It was nice to meet Jen and some other Salt authors (Andrew Philip, Steven Waling and Elizabeth Baines, whose partner, John Ashbrook, was kind enough to give me a free copy of his 1980 collection In the Footsteps of the Opium Eater). I'm afraid I missed the reading, having come straight from a family lunch in Buxton.

I sat there gobsmacked at having a proper book in my hands, with my name on it, eating whipped cream off the top of a mocha. Later, I sat on the train home and read some of John's book (which I liked, not least for its 1980ish concerns) and, of course, all of my own. So far I've gathered the following stats:

Number of typos I've spotted so far: 1 (p55)
Number of sloppy punctuation moments: 1 (missing comma)
Number of words I wish I'd taken out: 1 ('a')
Number of unusual words infelicitously repeated a few pages apart: 1 ('occluded')
Proportion of myself trembling with joy: 1

Thursday, October 15, 2009

My book published

As of earlier on this afternoon, copies of The Corner of Arundel Lane and Charles Street arrived at Salt's offices. Hurray! This means that the book is now available to buy from the Salt website – please go and buy it and make a balding Midlands poet very happy!

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

New on the Horizon*

Issue 3 of Horizon Review is out, with a frankly massive sheaf of poems, fiction, translation, articles, reviews and so on. The interview with Craig Raine is the one people are talking about, though there are also interviews with Pascale Petit, Hugo Williams and AL Kennedy. And you can also read 'Solstice Tango', the poem I wrote collaboratively with Barbara Smith.

*Indicates latent sub-editorial tendencies

Thursday, October 08, 2009

The Launch of Arundel Lane and Charles Street

Thursday 29th October 8pm
The Showroom, 7 Paternoster Row, Sheffield

A reading to celebrate the launch of Tony Williams' debut poetry collection The Corner of Arundel Lane and Charles Street (Salt). Readings from Tony Williams, Antony Rowland (Salt) and Ben Wilkinson (tall-lighthouse).

Entry £4/3 concessions

Cost of entry discounted from the book's cover price – i.e. buy a copy of the book on the night and get in free.

Elegant, intelligent, charming and memorable, these poems reinvent the pastoral for dark times, crossing the contemporary English landscape from the city to provincial towns and villages. Their stylish and original treatments of the dreamy, the nightmarish and the absurd are both accessible and striking, both serious and very funny.

"Tony Williams' first book gives a cunning impression of limitless invention. He understands that wit, much as it may delight the reader, is always melancholy. The result is a voice with a unique lyric heft, its subtle praise-making poised between pity and dislocation."
WN Herbert

Hope you can make it folks! And sorry for any cross-posting and thyroidal automated Facebook feeds...

Friday, October 02, 2009

Zola to the de Goncourts

'Why, even your enemies admit that you invented your art. They think that's nothing, but it's everything!'

Surprising literary similarities: Anthony Trollope and Mervyn Peake!?

Reading Barchester Towers last night, I was struck how similar Mr Slope the chaplain is to Steerpike in the Gormenghast novels, not only in terms of personality (both manipulate women, for example), but also physical description, relation to power structures etc. Then it occurred to me how the world of Gormenghast and Barchester are also analogous – Gothic architecture, closed, hierarchical worlds, internal politics etc. I don't know if it's worth taking the idea much further, but it's one which seems to redound well on both writers – making Trollope seem less of a fuddy-duddy and emphasising Peake's underlying realism.