Salford Punk Poetry Sadness Death New Life (Guest post by Dominic Carlton Jones)

SalfordPunkPoetry

Salford Punk Poetry Sadness Death New Life is the title of my debut album released By German Shepherd Records on 05/10/18. It’s a nine-track album of 36 minutes in length, bringing together a vast and eclectic style of musical form and spoken word. Ballads mixed with the experimental. Electro pop mixed with poetry. Its Diversity is an ethic I’ve always held to and striven towards and serves as a great medium for the emotional content of the album.

The album centres around my Dads death from Bowel cancer in January of this year, and goes on to explore themes like Geographical place, connection with your community, death, the afterlife and self-harm. There are references to actual places around Greater Manchester/Salford, people I’ve met and bands such as The Chameleons and The Fall. The Fall reference is in the song “Mark” which is a tribute To Mark E.Smith, who also battled the disease. The Chameleons reference is in the First track “The Lines That are Drawn”. Both of those bands have had a significant influence on me over the years and considering the theme of the album, I wanted to make reference to them.

The album starts with the Spoken word. A track called “The Lines that are Drawn” which depicts connection with local people. These things came more into focus after my dad’s death, so I wanted to highlight that feeling. The track really sets the tone for what is to come.

At a gig I played, I noticed a spoken word crowd was drawn to my songs, so felt that this genre incorporated with my music would be a good addition, added to the fact I value words and think words in themselves delivered in the right way can be very powerful. A video promo is currently underway for this particular track.

Next up is “Set Aside”. This is a throwback to post-punk, dealing with violence in the streets Of Oldham and violence in the streets of the mind. Its existence is quite widespread in these northern streets.

“The Spring within” deals with spiritual connection whilst “Forward Momentum” feels like a blinding burst of energy amongst the everyday. Three songs then follow about my Dads death with “Fall over into something new” being the standout track of the album and in contention for song of the year 2018 by Twitter group FIND A SONG.

“Mark” is a tribute to ex leader of The Fall, Mark E Smith, who also battled Bowel cancer. The album ends with a 10-minute synth composition called “My right eye is bleeding”, A Great contrast to the wordiness of the album. The title came about through words of my father in a dream to my girlfriend in which he asked her to look after me through mistakes I was making, resulting in my right eye bleeding. A fitting end…

Since the album’s release I have been offered a gig at The Kings Arms on the 25 January 2019 under The EL-Manisero banner, which is in effect a monthly showcase event for Manchester artists This was reviewed by Ian Leslie of The Salford Star as being synonymous with Salford’s Changing landscape and poetry for the people, and cited in Louder then War Magazine as an album that’s making Waves Locally.. It already feels a success but would be even more so if people reading this either listened, shared, sent me feedback or bought a copy. £2 on every sale through the link below goes back to German Shepherd Records, which helps us to continue putting out local cutting-edge music.

https://germanshepherdrecords.bandcamp.com/album/salford-punk-poetry-sadness-death-new-life

Poem about pain – votes needed

neck pain

Some of you may know that I suffer from pain which started in my neck about 5 or 6 years now. It then spread to my back and shoulders (and sometimes my hands). I recently changed doctors’ because mine said it was unnecessary to send me for a scan.

Because I reached the point where I crave a full night’s sleep without constantly waking in up pain and having to swirl my head around to unlock my neck, I registered with a new doctor. Also, I worried that continuing the exercises prescribed by the physio could be making it worse, without a scan to tell me what the problem was. I’m now waiting for the appointment to come through. Hopefully, they’ll be able to help when they know what the cause is.

As a writer, I decided to write about my pain after seeing a submission request from Coalition of Texans with Disabilities (who were looking for entries worldwide). My poem “The Pain you don’t See” made it to the final 38.

This is where you can help. I’m lagging behind those with the most votes and would appreciate if you could have a read and throw a vote my way, and maybe share the link if you can.

If I won, this would be my first poetry prize, and it would mean a lot for something good to have come out of the whole experience.

Thank you in advance.

Please vote here

Stabbed in the Back (poem)

The Death of Man

This poem was inspired by the (above) picture from Mark Sheeky, which is called “The Death of Man”.

You can find out more about the artist and his work here:

https://www.facebook.com/msheeky/

http://www.marksheeky.com

***

 

Friend’s don’t stab each other in the back

But lovers do, it seems

He thought, as he knelt dying

The weapon still embedded there

And she was nowhere to be seen

He grasped that one rose wasn’t enough

To make up for his indiscretions

His head went down, praying

To whatever God there might be

Pleading for forgiveness

For taking her heart and soul

And twisting it

Until only bitterness remained

But it was too late

His hands sunk into the ground

As he became a ghost

Performance Nerves or Imposter Syndrome? (guest post by Emma Lee)

imposter

Everyone gets stage fright, the heightened anxiety and rush of adrenaline, before a performance or reading. Experienced performers see this as a good sign: it makes them more alert and attuned to their surroundings and enhances performance. But if nerves are giving you nausea, making you feel dizzy or leaving you too anxious to read, something else is going on. If it’s not a previous bad experience, chances are it’s Imposter Syndrome.

Imposter Syndrome is where someone, no matter how qualified or experienced, feels like a fraud and senses that when standing on stage to read or perform poems, the audience will somehow catch them out and discover they’re not as good as they’d hope to be.

There are five types of Imposter Syndrome

  1. Perfectionist – always sense they could do better even when others rate them brilliant.
  2. Superhuman – workaholics who push themselves to stay longer and work harder, frightened that if they stop and take a breather, someone will overtake them.
  3. Genius – need to get it perfect first time and feel shame if a first try (inevitably) fails.
  4. Individual – those who refuse assistance and believe they should be able to perform without guidance.
  5. Experts – fear being exposed as incompetent or lacking in knowledge.

Conquer it

  • You deserve stage space as much as anyone else and even seasoned performers had a first gig
  • Choose some published poems to read so you know that an editor has endorsed your work even if you’re reading for the first time
  • Rehearse so you know you can read/perform your poems smoothly in the time slot given
  • Think about and plan what you’re going to say to introduce your poems, but not so rigidly you freeze if you leave out a word or forget a bullet point
  • Sound equipment glitches, poor lighting, strange echoes in the venue or the fire alarm going off are not your problem
  • Focus on what you can control: your breathing, your pace, your choice of poems, engaging the audience
  • Silence is good; it’s the fidgeting, heckling, rustling, foot tapping that signal you’ve lost the audience
  • Remember audiences don’t respond immediately; often poems take a moment or two to sink in

Bio

Emma Lee’s most recent collection is “Ghosts in the Desert” (IDP, UK 2015), she co-edited “Over Land, Over Sea: poems for those seeking refuge,” (Five Leaves, UK, 2015), reviews for The High Window Journal, The Journal, London Grip and Sabotage Reviews and blogs at http://emmalee1.wordpress.com

 

 

Guest Post- Andy N

andy blog pic

 

Although (as discussed on Katy aka the Rebel Poetess blog*) having a breakdown at the age of 21 ultimately led me to becoming a writer, in a sense it taught me to fight for everything I have done in my career. However, going to university certainly was the trigger that pushed me up towards the skies.

I’ve interacted with a lot of writers since leaving, but university was where I learnt to look at my writing in a different way from the almost childish scribblings I was writing before – I’m being honest here. It came at the cost of watching lots of people give up, who in several cases I felt were better writers than me (at least then) including one friend of over twenty years – who I stopped speaking to recently for reasons I won’t go into here.

This gentleman in question is a case in point as he was an exceptional writer at university, but as soon as he left he simply fell out of the habit of writing and couldn’t get back into it when he started again years later. I’ve had moments like that over the years, but not as long. It proved challenging then, which leaves me thinking it would be almost impossible to start again after a such lengthy break as the one mentioned above.

I also recall other people like this gentleman simply gave up when they started receiving strong (sometimes cruel) criticism from tutors. My marks, it has to be said, were average before I reached my third year at university. Sometimes they were not so good, but I kept going.

Now in my case, I certainly can’t admit that I wrote masterpieces at university from 1998 to 200. In my opinion, I wrote some complete rubbish back then, but I kept going. I ended up joining a writing workshop in 2005 in Bolton. After that folded in 2008, I co-formed my own which still runs to this very day in some form or another.

At University however, although I clashed with some of the tutors there over my work, by the time I joined my first writing discussion group in 2005 I understood how to look at my work and others in a logistical way, even though I didn’t think I had learnt that at university.

Looking back at things many years later, perhaps I could have gone on to become the writer and artist I did without going to university. It’s unlikely that would have led to some of the adventures I’ve had though. At university, despite mixed relationships with some of the tutors, I made friends with certain writers, which have stayed with me until this time and taught me more than some of the tutors did. These writers, some of whom I don’t read anymore, set the foundations that what I did after university. I brought out my first book ‘Return to Kemptown’, then my second, ‘The End of Summer’. I literally had dozens of other adventures, all of which wouldn’t have happened if I hadn’t had a breakdown, then went to university.

 

*The blog mentioned is: here

Link

 

Andy N is the Author of three full poetry collections (the most recent is ‘The Birth of Autumn’ which was published in 2018) and numerous split poetry books. He is also the creator of the Barbarians of the Wall and Role Reversal series, and the editor and creator of the Spoken Label podcast series. With his partner, he co-hosts the Reading in Bed podcast, which reviews a selection of books each month.

 His official website is: http://onewriterandhispc.blogspot.com

 

 

Podcasts, a poetry reading in Bolton and a chance to win my book

kindle cover

Firstly, Andy and I were guests on Welcome to Bolton, which you can listen to here.

https://overcast.fm/+Mmf0m1iKk

Now, because I’m awkward, a lot has changed since the podcast was recorded. My book “While I was gone” is now called “Lost and Found: Part 1″ and is under the pen name “Aleesha Black”. The link to it is here.

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Lost-Found-Part-Aleesha-Black-ebook/dp/B07DY26Q72/

I will still be reading at The Wigan Diggers warm up bash in Bolton, but not from my book. Although, if you do want to hear me reading the first chapter, it is available at the link below. This was recorded back in May from the previous version, and I struggled in parts due to the words hanging off the pages, but the story is generally the same now, with the exception of improved editing and formatting in the new version.

http://www.podcastgarden.com/episode/amanda-steel-while-i-was-gone_128182

Finally, if you are in the UK you can enter to win a copy of Lost and Found: Part 1. All you need to do is go to my book trailer on Facebook and share it. One winner will be picked after the closing date of 1st September 2018

https://www.facebook.com/AmandaSteelWriter/videos/1833528343622063/

 

Things you should know about a potential publisher

questions

Traditional publishing can come with risks. I was going to write a post about the different things to look out for before jumping into a publishing contract. The main thing comes down to questioning everything though. Sometimes you need to be asking the publisher questions you may have. Other times you need to be looking for certain information yourself.

It’s a common rite of passage for most authors to receive tons of rejections before finally being accepted. It’s easy to mistake that first acceptance for a sign you’ve finally made it, but that is usually just the beginning. You’ve worked hard on your book and that is your time, which is worth just as much as anyone else’s. Don’t be dragged into the common belief that it’s just writing and it’s not like proper work. It may not be sixty hours a week carrying up to 15kg in a warehouse, but as enjoyable as writing can be, it is work. You don’t want to just throw all your hard work away.

I’m not suggesting you treat your new potential publisher like they are lying about everything. I believe in giving people the benefit of the doubt until I see something to make me think otherwise. It’s okay to look into their history before signing a contract though. Have there been any previous problems? Why? And if you see a term you don’t understand at first, look it up. That’s what Google is for. If you have friends with different areas of expertise who can help you understand something, ask for their help. It you don’t know anyone who can help, there are usually places where you can get free advice. Again, use Google to search for this help.

Another useful thing to know is how many other authors are signed with them? If it’s a small number, that means more chance of them giving your book the attention it deserves. If it’s high and the publishing experience resembles an author production line, then it will be difficult, if not impossible for the publisher to ensure that every book is properly formatted, edited and marketed in the way it needs to be to stand any chance of success.

The next thing to do to is check out other books published by your potential publisher. This doesn’t have to involve spending money. Amazon allows a free sample to be read on many of the books. What you’re looking for here are any errors or formatting issues. That could suggest that your book will be badly edited in the same way.

A question you can ask, is if you sign on the dotted line, will you be sent a proof copy to look through? In this digital age, a word document may be the fastest way to look through and approve your edits. However, if you haven’t seen a print version, you won’t know how it actually looks in print, or if there are errors in the blurb for example. The chances are, if a potential reader picks up a book, flicks through it and spots one of these errors somewhere, they won’t care how good the story is and will leave without buying your book. If they purchase the book online and find the errors after receiving it, they will probably remember you (not the publisher) for the wrong reasons.

Ask about Marketing: you usually have to do some, most or all. It’s rare you don’t have to do any at all. However, you want to make sure your book is going to be widely available before you start spending time and money on marketing, or you try to gain exposure by entering the book for awards. You can only market something or win an award if it’s readily available. So, you need to ensure the book isn’t going to become unavailable in any format for an extensive period of time. The more difficult it is to get hold of, the more likely your potential readers will buy someone else’s book instead.

Assuming your book is marketed, easily available to buy, published without errors etc; how can you be sure about the sales figures? The short answer is, you can’t. The tracking sites that I’ve found only track certain sources and some charge for this service. I think you can lessen the risk of being ripped off by following my earlier advice to research the publisher beforehand.

This article isn’t designed to put anyone off traditional publishing; just to make people aware of the things that can go wrong if you jump in blindly. Please feel free to add your own advice in the comments.