The Maker The Charles Causley Literary Blog
May Musings by Sue Wallace-Shaddad
I have been coming across quite a few things Cornish recently. Firstly, Katrina Naomi has done a very interesting article on Cornish poetry in the winter 2022 issue of The Poetry Review: ‘Bardhonieth Yn Kernow (Poetry in Cornwall) Surveying contemporary Cornish writing.’ Then I discovered that a gallery near me, Gallery East, Woodbridge has an exhibition of the Cornish painter Neil Canning starting on 13th May. I definitely plan to see that. Here is photograph by Simon Cook of one of Neil’s stunning works, Atlantic Drift.
For anyone who missed the launch of my and Sula Rubens’ new poetry and art book Sleeping Under Clouds, published by Clayhanger Press, here is the link to the recording. I hope you enjoy it. I had a lovely evening and was delighted to have guest readers Mary Mulholland and Clare Best. Mary’s latest pamphlet is All About Our Fathers is a wonderful collaboration with Vasiliki Albedo and Simon Maddrell, following on from their earlier collaboration All About Our Mothers (both pamphlets published by Nine Pens). Clare has a new book coming out in June (more of that in a later blog).
It is hard work promoting a book. I had very good support from my publisher Roger Bloor of Clayhanger Press. As the book comprises both poetry and art, he prepared screenshares showing both poem and artwork alongside. I believe this made a real difference to how both aspects came across at the launch. It was the next best thing to being in a gallery! (Mandell’s Gallery in Norwich in Sula Rubens’ case, where her exhibition, Kind, is open till 20 May). I assiduously contacted poetry groups, many individual poets, family and friends and also some festivals to let them know about the book and invite them to the launch. My email inbox was under considerable pressure as I needed to keep up with replies to invitations I had sent out. However, this level of promotion is well worth doing and I recommend poets build up as many networks as they can. Roger Bloor also produced a press release and a flyer which I have used to promote the book to the press. I have had two radio interviews so far, one with BBC Radio Suffolk and one with Ipswich Community Radio.
The next stage is to secure reading opportunities, whether full readings or taking part in open mics. As the book came out very quickly, I was not in a position to organise early reviews. I am, however, expecting some reviews to come out soon and others in the autumn. Roger has contacted reviewers particularly supportive of small presses and I have contacted those who reviewed my pamphlet ‘A City Waking Up’ in 2020. Another administrative task is to update my wordpress site. I also need to visit local bookshops to ask them to stock the book, usually on sale or return (with a commission) though sometimes they buy copies outright. Two local bookshops have copies to sell at the moment but I will contact a number of others. And of course, I need to keep up doing social media postings too. Sula is sending out copies of the book to people who follow her work abroad. It is lovely that a book which is very much about crossing borders, is actually doing that!
I am delighted also that a local primary school has been in contact about collaboration as their year 6 pupils are studying conflict and migration issues this term. Sleeping Under Clouds is about journeying, kinship, nurture and survival from the perspective of children on the move. Working with a school will be a new area of development for me and I am looking forward to this (quite possibly involving the artist too).
If you would like to contact me to comment or follow up, please send me an email via the contact box on my website