Two new pamphlets this week, and two new PoemCards. A frenzy of packets and packaging!
One was Kirsten Irving’s What To Do. Kirsten is one of the remarkable young editor/poets at the helm of Sidekick Books. (Jon Stone is the other one.) Anyone who has even glimpsed the recent Birdbook 1 will be agog to see her own first poetry collection. She has a full collection already scheduled from Salt next year but this is a chance to get a taster. She is a smashing writer. Read her!
Then there’s the irrepressible Ross Kightly, author of Gnome Balcony. Decades divide these two poets, insofar as age is concerned, but they have energy and unpredictable bounce in common. And this is Ross’s first collection too. An Australian by birth, he mixes voices and methods and sometimes mayhem. There is no holding him, and in fact, at several points he seems to be about to escape his own pamphlet.
On top of these, two lovely new PoemCards. At least I think they’re lovely. Tom Vaughan's The Mower is a winner for Spring gardeners, lawnmower lovers, and anyone who can’t stop working. The illustration is perfect.
The other card, Stewart Conn’s, was originally devised for Valentine’s Day but it would be lovely for any romantic occasion. And it has an insert. Titled Cupid’s Dart, the dart itself (with another copy of the poem on it) is folded inside the card, ready for hurling at the heart. Really neat.
Behind the Scenes
That was the official bit. Behind the scenes, a frenzy of parceling and packaging and bone-folder folding. This is what had to be done:
- Twelve author copies of What To Do in four different packets to author.
- Twelve author copies of Gnome Balcony in four different packets to author.
- One packet of fliers for What To Do in packet to author.
- One packet of fliers for Gnome Balcony to author.
- One box of 23 additional copies of What To Do in lieu of payment to author (packaged in a Suzuki drivebelt box, very useful)
- One box of 23 additional copies of Gnome Balcony in lieu of payment to author (packaged in Suzuki drivebelt box)
- Twenty author copies of The Mower to be folded, packaged and sent to author, with another twenty he had ordered and some copies of his Sampler, also ordered.
- Twelve author copies of Cupid’s Dart to author: cards to be folded and inserts (much more complicated) to be folded.
- Three copies of What To Do, Gnome Balcony, Michael Mackmin's From There to Here, Peter Daniels' Mr Luczinski Makes a Move, and Matthew Stewart's Inventing Truth to Poetry Book Society for consideration for pamphlet choice (six years so far without a recommendation: can our special moment ever happen?)
- Five copies of Gnome Balcony and What To Do to Agent for Copyright Libraries with accompanying letter.
- One copy of Gnome Balcony and What To Do to British Library with accompanying letter.
- Two copies of Gnome Balcony and What To Do to National Poetry Library with invoice, as well as copies of new PoemCards.
- Two copies of Gnome Balcony and What To Do to Scottish Poetry Library.
- Copies of cards and poems to Webmaster Sarah Willans, to Gillian Rose (who does the cover images), to two members of my family who get everything, two friends who get most things, and several other people.
- Copies of Gnome Balcony and What To Do to three Sphinx reviewers.
- Six other assorted orders despatched to customers and authors.
The Cupid’s Dart PoemCard is a labour of love. I want you to know that the folding and preparation (by hand) takes a considerable time, though it costs no more than the other cards (because I am nuts). So if you can think of anyone for whom it would be appropriate, please send for one. (You’re unlikely to get this one slipped in with an ordinary order.) And by Valentine’s Day next year, I expect a run.
I purchased all the new William Morris stamps from our local post office and had a cheery conversation with the Evil Postman, whom some of you will know of old from Chapters of the Story. I arrived on Saturday at five to twelve, and the ladies at the poet office made him wait for my two drive belt boxes to be duly labeled and put into his bags, by which time it was two minutes after twelve and he was snarling (he snarls with evil charm).
I’ll put them in the SLOW bag. That’ll mean they’ll take at least a week to get there.”
I don’t believe him. He has a gleam in his eye when he says (as he always does):
“You should get up earlier”.