Monthly Archives: February 2010

Infinite Difference: Other Poetries by UK Women Poets

Infinite Difference: Other Poetries by UK Women Poets
(edited by Carrie Etter) (Shearsman, 2010)
An anthology of radical new women’s poetry from the UK, featuring work by:  Sascha Akhtar, Isobel Armstrong, Caroline Bergvall, Elisabeth Bletsoe, Anne Blonstein, Andrea Brady, Emily Critchley, Claire Crowther, Carrie Etter, Catherine Hales, Frances Kruk, Rachel Lehrman, Sophie Mayer, Marianne Morris, Wendy Mulford, Redell Olsen, Frances Presley, Anna Reckin, Carlyle Reedy, Denise Riley, Sophie Robinson, Lucy Sheerman, Zoë Skoulding, Harriet Tarlo, Carol Watts.
“Here’s a new anthology with a job to do, which introduces a whole range of committed writing at the intersection of the personal and political. Here is the text of war, nature after ecological threat, ID in the information age, autobiography and displaced language turned into poetics, sexuality, anger and love. It’s a beautiful sampler, a way in, and a report from the front: very soon now it will be indispensable.”
—Tony Lopez
“A dearth of experimental women writers in the UK? Here is proof to the contrary: 25 articulate voices explore ‘other’ poetries. This is where the energy is. Get with it.”
—Rosmarie Waldrop
Order Infinite Difference from the Shearsman online store.
Visit Carrie Etter’s blog for launch details and sample poems from the anthology.
About the editor

Carrie Etter

Carrie Etter is an American poet resident in England since 2001. Previously she lived in Normal, Illinois (until age 19) and southern California (from age 19 to 32). In the UK, her poems have appeared in, amongst others, New Welsh Review, Poetry Wales, Poetry Review, PN Review, Shearsman, Stand and TLS, while in the US her poems have appeared in magazines such as Aufgabe, Columbia, Court Green, The Iowa Review, The New Republic, Seneca Review. Her first collection, The Tethers, was published by Seren in June 2009, and her second, Divining for Starters, containing more experimental work, is due for publication by Shearsman Books in 2011. She is also the author of two recent chapbooks: Yet (Leafe Press, 2008) and The Son (Oystercatcher Press, 2009). She is Senior Lecturer in Creative Writing for Bath Spa University and has been a tutor for The Poetry School since 2005.

Two invitations from The Poetry Business

Simon Armitage, The Motorway Service Station as a Destination in its Own Right
You are invited to the launch of Simon Armitage’s new pamphlet, The Motorway Service Station as a Destination in its Own Right (Smith/Doorstop, 2010).
Bank Street Arts, 32-40 Bank Street, Sheffield S1 2DS (map)
Monday 8 March, 7:30pm
Tickets £5 (£3 concs)
To book tickets, email The Poetry Business
at or call 0114 346 3037.
The English Astronaut
Simon Armitage
He splashed down in rough seas off Spurn Point.
I watched through a coin-op telescope jammed
with a lollipop stick as a trawler fished him out
of the waves and ferried him back to Mission
Control on a trading estate near the Humber
Bridge. He spoke with a mild voice: yes, it was
good to be home; he’d missed his wife, the kids,
couldn’t wait for a shave and a hot bath. ‘Are
there any more questions?’ No, there were not.
I followed him in his Honda Accord to a Little
Chef on the A1, took the table opposite, watched
him order the all-day breakfast and a pot of tea.
‘You need to go outside to do that,’ said the
waitress when he lit a cigarette. He read the
paper, started the crossword, poked at the black
pudding with his fork. Then he stared through
the window for long unbroken minutes at a time,
but only at the busy road, never the sky. And his
face was not the moon. And his hands were not
the hands of a man who had held between finger
and thumb the blue planet, and lifted it up to his
watchmaker’s eye.
from The Motorway Service Station as a Destination in its Own Right (Smith/Doorstop, 2010)
Sally Baker
Reading alongside Simon will be Sally Baker, whose latest pamphlet — The Sea and the Forest — has just been published by Smith/Doorstop.
The Sheffield Poetry Prize 2009
The winners of the 2009 Sheffield Poetry Prize — chosen by Andrew Motion — will also read their winning poems, and will be presented with their prizes.
The Sheffield Poetry Prize is sponsored by The University of Sheffield.

George Szirtes and Ann Atkinson reading in Sheffield
Poetry Readings and State of the Art Panel Discussion
Thursday March 4th, 7:30pm
Bank Street Arts, Sheffield S1 2DS
A rare chance to hear the T S Eliot prizewinning poet, George Szirtes. Also appearing are Nathan Hamilton (poet and editor of Egg Box Publishing) and the poet and translator Agnes Lehoczky. Plus Derbyshire Poet Laureate and former editor of Staple, Ann Atkinson, whose brilliant pamphlet Drawing Water has just been published by Smith/Doorstop.
Readings and discussion plus questions from the floor on the State of Contemporary Poetry — in terms of contemporary practice, issues of availability, audience, canon formation — and life after a creative writing degree…
Tickets £5 or £3 concessions/Bank Street Arts members.
Pay on the door.
Email or call 0114 346 3034
for more information.

Dream Streets

“In dreams, everything is simultaneously strange and familiar. We find ourselves easily navigating streets of cities we have never visited, encountering people we have known for years as well as strangers whom we recognise at once. Although some say we cannot dream in colour, who hasn’t awakened from a particularly vivid dream that was drenched in shades of Chinese red, cobalt blue, or sun-gold yellow?”
– Susan Sully

“Dreams surely are difficult, confusing, and not everything in them is brought to pass for mankind. For fleeting dreams have two gates: one is fashioned of horn and one of ivory. Those which pass through the one of sawn ivory are deceptive, bringing tidings which come to nought, but those which issue from the one of polished horn bring true results when a mortal sees them.”
– Homer, The Odyssey

Anthony Burgess on his ideal reader

“The ideal reader of my novels is a lapsed Catholic and failed musician, short-sighted, colour-blind, auditorily biased, who has read the books that I have read.”
– Anthony Burgess, The Paris Review
Read ‘The Art of Fiction’, Anthony Burgess interviewed by
John Cullinan for The Paris Review.
Visit the International Anthony Burgess Foundation and the
Anthony Burgess Centre.

Julie-Buffaloe-Yoder’s-Price Reduced Again

She Told Me Money Does Not Buy
Happiness, Then She Hopped In Her
BMW And Drove Away
Julie Buffaloe-Yoder
Money does not buy happiness.
But it does buy a house,
lights, heat, a warm belly.
It buys a full night of sleep
on a Posturepedic mattress.
It buys freedom to write about
suburban angst and anger.
A shelf full of books.
Poetry conferences.
Art on your walls.
A night at the opera.
A bra not held together
with safety pins.
Shoes without holes
that leave blisters.
A car with a windshield.
An engine that won’t
bubble and hiss
after ten miles.
A cute new suit
for a job interview.
It buys a world where
duct tape is not
home renovation
and the Dollar Store
is not one-stop shopping
for the holidays.
It buys a ticket out
of hand-me-downs.
An honorable discharge
from the Salvation Army.
It buys meat that’s not blue.
A week without measuring beans.
A blessing without mold,
cilantro, crisp baby asparagus.
It buys standing in line without
scraping the bottom of a
broke-handle pocketbook.
It buys a life where you
have so much dignity
you walk by
a fountain of coins
and have no desire
to dive in.
It buys people
who will listen
when you scream.
It buys gas or a train
or a plane so you can
go all over the world,
stand on a soapbox
and chide me for daring
to be so shallow as to
want something this
vile, filthy, despised.
You are so right.
I should know better
than to think
all that grubby green
will ever set me free.
from Price Reduced Again (Backback Press, 2009)

Julie Buffaloe-Yoder

Julie Buffaloe-Yoder’s work has appeared in various journals, including ouroboros review, Calyx: A Journal of Art and Literature by Women, Grain Magazine, The Panhandler, Pemmican, The Wilmington Review, A Carolina Literary Review, storySouth, Clapboard House, Muscadine Lines: A Southern Journal, Side of Grits, Poiesis #2, Shoots and Vines, Rusty Truck, The Dead Mule School of Southern Literature, I Can’t Be Your Virgin and Your Mother, The Telling Time, Don’t Call Me Plath, Big Hammer, Southern Women’s Review and Plain Spoke.
Julie is a winner of the Ohio Arts Council’s Individual Excellence award in poetry. Her first chapbook, Price Reduced Again, is published by Backpack Press.
She lives in North Carolina with her husband, Roy Yoder. Their daughter, Amber Yoder, is a filmmaker and a producer for
Respect Films. Amber created the cover art for Price Reduced Again.
Read some of Julie’s poetry at her blog, The Buffaloe Pen.
Price Reduced Again can be purchased through Backpack Press. Copies are available by sending a request and $8 US or $11 (outside US) to:
Shoots and Vines
Backpack Press
PO Box 489
Poseyville, IN 47633
Please make cheques payable to Crystal Folz.
Queries may be addressed to

On reading

“Reading is a passport to travel elsewhere. When we enter a story we are often transported beyond known horizons, lifted into a new world, where we begin to think, see and feel the world differently.”
– Susheila Nasta

Essence and alchemy

“In a bouquet of mixed roses, most people can distinguish at a glance the delicacy of a tea rose from the voluptuousness of a cabbage rose, but how many could so readily differentiate between the tea rose’s scent of freshly harvested tea and the spicy, honeylike, rich floral scent of the cabbage?”
– Mandy Aftel, Essence & Alchemy (Bloomsbury, 2001)

Anaïs Nin: “There is always more mystery”

Anaïs Nin (Bettmann/Corbis)

Anaïs Nin was born in Neuilly, France, on 21 February 1903.
“The personal life deeply lived always expands into truths beyond itself.”
– Anaïs Nin
“If what Proust says is true, that happiness is the absence of fever, then I will never know happiness. For I am possessed by a fever for knowledge, experience and creation.”
– Anaïs Nin

“I will not be just a tourist in the world of images, just watching images passing by which I cannot love in, make love to, possess as permanent sources of joy and ecstasy.”
– Anaïs Nin
“If you do not breathe through writing, if you do not cry out in writing, then don’t write, because our culture has no use for it.”
– Anaïs Nin

“The possession of knowledge does not kill the sense of wonder and mystery. There is always more mystery.”
– Anaïs Nin

“The role of a writer is not to say what we all can say, but what we are unable to say.”
– Anaïs Nin
“Something is always born of excess: great art was born of great terror, great loneliness, great inhibitions, instabilities, and it always balances them.”
– Anaïs Nin
“There is not one big cosmic meaning for all, there is only the meaning we each give to our life, an individual meaning, an individual plot, like an individual novel, a book for each person.”
– Anaïs Nin
“We don’t see things as they are, we see them as we are.”
– Anaïs Nin
“When you make a world tolerable for yourself, you make a world tolerable for others.”
– Anaïs Nin

Read more about Anaïs Nin.

Magic is alive

“I don’t think magic belongs to one culture or another. It is a part of family, history, tradition – it is everywhere.”
– Alice Hoffman
The House of the Spirits, Isabel Allende

Dona Flor and Her Two Husbands, Jorge Amado


Gabriela, Clove and Cinnamon, Jorge Amado

The Master and Margarita, Mikhail Bulgakov


Invisible Cities
, Italo Calvino

Nights at the Circus, Angela Carter


The Magic Toyshop
, Angela Carter

The Bloody Chamber
, Angela Carter


Like Water for Chocolate, Laura Esquivel

Love in the Time of Cholera
, Gabriel García Márquez

One Hundred Years of Solitude
, Gabriel García Márquez


, Joanne Harris


The World to Come, Dara Horn

The Unbearable Lightness of Being, Milan Kundera


The Third Policeman
, Flann O’Brien


The Famished Road
, Ben Okri


Songs of Enchantment, Ben Okri


Stars of the New Curfew
, Ben Okri


My Name is Red
, Orhan Pamuk

Bel Canto, Ann Patchett


Jitterbug Perfume
, Tom Robbins


Midnight’s Children
, Salman Rushdie


The Ground Beneath Her Feet, Salman Rushdie


Of Bees and Mist
, Erick Setiawan


The Girl with Glass Feet, Ali Shaw


Perfume: The Story of a Murderer
, Patrick Süskind


Broken Things
, Padrika Tarrant


Lighthousekeeping, Jeanette Winterson


More magical writers

Kathleen Alcalá, Aimee Bender, Louis de Bernières, Jorge Luis Borges, Ray Bradbury, A.S. Byatt, Guillermo Cabrera Infante, Peter Carey, Alejo Carpentier, Susanna Clarke, Julio Cortazar, Mia Couto, Katherine Dunn, Louise Erdrich, Jeffrey Eugenides, Connie May Fowler, Janet Frame, Carlos Fuentes, Neil Gaiman, Günter Grass, Mark Helprin, Alice Hoffman, Zora Neale Hurston, Franz Kafka, Kelly Link, Yann Martel, Zakes Mda, Toni Morrison, Haruki Murakami, Audrey Niffenegger, Milorad Pavic, Lily Prior, Jonathan Safran Foer, José Saramago, Amy Tan, Luisa Valenzuela, Mario Vargas Llosa, Alice Walker, Virginia Woolf, Carlos Ruiz Záfon

Ian Parks’s Love Poems

Ian Parks was one of the National Poetry Society New Poets in 1996. He was made a Hawthornden Fellow in 1991 and received a Travelling Fellowhip to the USA in 1994. His collections include A Climb Through Altered Landscapes (1998), Shell Island (2006) and The Cage (2008). His pamphlet, A Paston Letter, is just out from Rack Press. Recent poems have appeared in The Observer, The Independent on Sunday, Poetry (Chicago), The Liberal, London Magazine and Stand. He has taught creative writing at the universities of Sheffield, Oxford, Hull and Leeds and is now writing full-time.
Love Poems 1979 – 2009 is published by Flux Gallery Press.
In the Foreword, Ian writes:
“I never started out to be a love poet. In some moods, I don’t necessarily think of myself as one even now – although the existence of this collection would seem to belie it.”
“How do you write love poems that are still recognisable as such without merely repeating what has already been done much better by others? And how do you write a love poem that attempts to address wider issues?”
“The earliest poem was written in 1979 when I was twenty; the most recent in 2009 when I was fifty. Thirty years seems like a good round number. You have to draw the line somewhere. And here it is.”

Ian Parks

The Lighthouse
Ian Parks

Think back: remember the lighthouse
poised on the windswept head;
or rather, the approach to it –
a long road unwinding through acres
of dark pasturage and fields of gorse,
affording glimpses of its vivid beams,
distinct at first but losing their identity,
criss-crossing over miles of open sea.
This is what it’s like to be in love:
to find perspectives shifting constantly;
to always be approaching some fixed point
but never arriving at its source.
Tiger Lilies
Ian Parks

Did you get back to find them
starved of air, unopened
in the hot room where we danced?
I held you and you wore
your velvet dress: black, absorbent,
swallowing the night.
Or were they open-throated
when you came, turned to the window
where you used to sit –
self-centred, self-contained –
distilling their potential
as the moon burned fierce and red?
All night their fragrance
promised something more: a scent
too like the scent of death
suspended in the air;
the crude Byzantine crucifix
I nailed above our bed.
Gideon Bible
Ian Parks

That night in the Chelsea Hotel
with nothing to read
but the Gideon Bible
propped in the folds
of the silken counterpane.
You were fresh from the shower,
caught in a fragrant fall
of talc. Solomon
was singing the delights
of eyes like diamonds,
teeth like pearls,
hair like a fountain –
smooth, cascading down.
Forgiveness was still possible
or so it seemed
for those who left these pages here
inside the slighty scented drawers
for somone to discover
on a future night like this:
the pulse of neon
flashing out its message
in the dark; a city
unrepentant, unredeemed.
The Leavetaking
Ian Parks

I could see from the way you were waving
from across the windswept road;
I could tell by the way you blew me a kiss
that for you it was not worth saving.
So I turned and walked away.
Not the river tipping all its weight
over the smooth, precipitous weir
or the swans – so brutal when they mate –
locking soft necks underneath the wall
but you stood at the open gate
not ready to become a ghost
but hesitating, fading fast,
turning from familiar you to unfamiliar she
with the love gone and the poems gone
and with such finality.

Ian Parks, Andrew Oldham and Gaia Holmes

“The finest love poet of his generation.”
Chiron Review
“He is a love poet in the sense that Auden was a love poet – a poet of all love’s complexities.”
– Ian Pople
“He has re-invented love poetry for a new generation.”
– Andrew Oldham