Monday 31 December 2012

2012 for the record

6 poems and 8 prose pieces accepted this year (several of which were written years ago), and 1 book published. 3 decent stories and 4 reasonable poems written.

This holiday I've sent 8 poems off, prepared a poem pamphlet and a story pamphlet, and assembled my Illustrated CV

Saturday 22 December 2012

Poetry sales

See the revised version of this article.

Saturday 15 December 2012

Creativity and madness

From "The Psychologist", December 2012 - Simon Kyaga et al (Karolinska Instiutet, Sweden) has compared the occupation of over a million mental health patients over a 40 year period. The conclusions were that

  • "people in creative professions, such as musicians, artists and scientists, were no more likely to have a mental health diagnosis than people in non-creative professions, such as accountants, with one exception - bipolar disorder"
  • "first degree relatives of patients with schizophrenia, bipolar disorder and possibly autism, were more likely than healthy controls to be in creative professions"
  • "In contrast with creative professions as a whole, focusing only on authors revealed a far stronger link with mental illness. Authors, compared with controls, were more likely to be diagnosed with schizophrenia, bipolar disorders, drug abuse, and to take their own lives"

For more details, see the Journal of Psychiatric Research Volume 47, Issue 1, January 2013, Pages 83–90

Friday 14 December 2012

Review of "By All Means"

Tony Williams has written the first review of "By All Means", for which much thanks. He points out that nearly all the characters could be middle-aged men, which is true. A previously published female-POV piece and 2 non-character pieces failed to make the cut. I've tried doing kid-POV, unsuccessfully.

He sorts the stories into three groups - "the artfully constructed personal histories, the metafiction-y ones, and the rest". When I submitted the long-list of stories, I sent a classification too -
  • Mainstream - Prague 86, The Big Climb, Late, Doors and Windows, Olga [4 others not chosen]
  • Pretentious - [all 3 not chosen]
  • Gloomy loner - Fractals [1 other not chosen]
  • Non-realist - [all 3 not chosen]
  • Comedy - [all 2 not chosen]
  • Narratively challenging - Method of Loci, Definitions [2 others not chosen]

Wednesday 12 December 2012

Magazines closing down

The WWW and increased postal rates make life ever harder for paper magazines. "Smiths Knoll" has published its 50th and final issue of poetry. An article is on Anthony Wilson's blog. There are poems I write that will now have no home.

But online magazines, some of which have been around for years, are falling away too. Keeping a magazine going is a slog, and even if there are no publication costs, online magazines use up as much editor-time as paper ones. Duotrope says that "Horizon Review" is permanently closed. The Flash outlets "Quickfiction", "Flashquake" and "elimae" (started in 1996?) all seem to be closing after lifetimes of years. "Fiction at Work" has gone too. And as Matt Merritt reported, "Umbrella" is closing after 6 years.

Wednesday 5 December 2012

Troubadour International Poetry Prize 2012

The 3 Troubadour prizewinners who I've met - Vanessa Gebbie, Judy Brown and Paul Stephenson - conveniently stood together in the recent Prize Night photograph. I went on weekend poetry workshops in Suffolk with Judy and Paul (he won 2nd prize). They've both lived abroad and have other interests. Judy's Loudness was shortlisted for the Forward and Aldebugh prizes, and Paul's in many mags (and has been anthologised in Adventures in form). He's often more experimental than the other two. A book is surely in the offing (or am I being old-fashioned?).

Vanessa Gebbie won the £2,500 first prize. Unexpected perhaps, because she's hardly published a poem, but she's been shortlisted twice in the Bridport and if you read her short-story collections and novel (The Coward's Tale) my guess is that your surprize will disappear. Congratulations to all of them.