Yesterday evening, I was staffing the HappenStance stall at the Poetry Pamphlet Party and Fair in Edinburgh along with Eleanor Livingstone.
The “party” element was free wine. The fair itself was quite busy, despite the stormy, miserable weather, and the HappenStance stall sold fairly well. There were lots of poetry reading sessions, each poet with a two-minute slot. As always at these events, some read well and others really need to stand in front of a mirror and take a long, hard look at themselves reading poetry.
I bought a few chapbooks and exchanged several. Namely:
23 Poems – Michael Mackmin (HappenStance)
The Theory of Everything – James Wood (HappenStance)
The Small Hours – Tom Duddy (HappenStance)
Under the Threshold – Dorothy Lawrenson (Perjink)
Landing on Eros – Tony Lawrence (Tiplaw)
The Faithful City: Visual Poems - Stephen Nelson (afterlight)
Pillars of Salt – Judy Brown (Templar)
Peeling Onions - Apprentice (Tyne and Esk Writers)
Also, I can report that the new edition of Sphinx (number 5) is just out, and looks very interesting, with articles on Shoestring press, Dreadful Night Press, and Donut Press, along with a hatful of chapbook reviews, including my review on Here, a chapbook by Shetlandic poet, Lise Sinclair.
In addition, a cute publication titled The HappenStance Story: Chapter 1, by Helena Nelson, is hot off the press. It tells the story of HappenStance and all its writers from the editor’s point-of-view. It gives an insight into the workings of a small publishing press, and includes an example of work from each chapbook. A good, entertaining overview.
I bumped into the editor of a Scottish literary magazine on the way home, and we took the bus to Princes Street. We’d both had a few glasses of wine, and…let’s just say the editor was forthright on the dire state of Scottish poetry today. I don’t agree, but it made me think on whether the top Scottish poets today will still be so admired in 20 or 30 years time. It’s hard to know, of course.