OK, first and very briefly the pluggy thing - I have a new book out. Last Man Out of Eden is a collection of lyrical poetry. The paperback and audio download will be out later this month - the ebook is out now.
With a lyrical confessional style that takes in equal amounts from
Ferlinghetti, Tracey Emin, and Patti Smith’s Just Kids. These poems
celebrate the healing powers of time, non-violence, and remembrance but
above all carry a simple message:
Celebrate the lives of those
you love because one day they won’t be with you any longer and you’ll be
left writing poetry about how you wish you’d loved them more.
To get an idea, this is a video of me performing one of them, Hungerford Bridge, at the Hammer and Tongue Oxford poetry slam grand final a couple of days ago.
And this is my poem Mentalist, about the effect of welfare reforms on those with mental health issues - I was truly honoured that of the 16 poems in the first round this was the one that scored second highest. If it's an issue you care about, I'd love it if you pointed people to the video (the review site Sabotage were kind enough to say it was "a poem everyone in the country should hear"!) - better still any MPs - the URL is here.
And back to the subject at hand. Since I was last here, I've launched a new blog, The Cynical Self-publisher. It's the blog I've been getting around to for over three years now, which I hope means I won't be short of material and opinions.
I finally found myself rolling my eyes once too often at most regular self-publishing blogs and media coverage, with the endless focus on sales and marketing and the desire to make money, to go viral, to have one's work become a meme. For me self-publishing is the opposite of that, and the blog's manifesto sums that up. It is
"devoted to making sure that when people talk about self-publishing they
remember it's not just a home for the entrepreneurial but for those who
care so deeply about literature they want to explore it free from all
strictures and share their passion with the world, a home for those who
want the freedom to experiment and fail, to be unpopular, awkward,
uncommercial, and downright demonised."
I very much hope you'll join me on the road. so far we have been looking at the role of writers' collectives, at building communities, at examples of excellence, and at our relation as writers to reviewers.
Meanwhile, over at the Alliance of Independent Authors' self-publishing advice blog, I have been asking a central question that brings us back to the question of our distinctiveness and identity as writers: who are you and what do you stand for? Forget becoming a meme, going viral, being mass produced. What is it that makes you unique?