Thursday, 31 May 2012

no man's land

Here's an online magazine dedicated to contemporary German literature translated into English. In their own words:

"no man's land features first-ever translations of fiction and poetry by some of the finest writers working in German today. Ours is a virtual no man's land between languages and cultures - one which, like the former no man's land of the Berlin Wall, is now open for exploration."

Tuesday, 29 May 2012

Andy Hopkins Gig 7.07.12

Andy Hopkins Support Gig

In the North West at 8.00pm on Friday June 8th? As part of the Carlisle music festival legendary punk / new wave bands 'The Limps', 'The Exiles' and 'Combo Zombo' have come out of hibernation to do a one-off gig (see at Club Victoria. I will be dusting the guitar down and doing a support slot. Tickets are a fiver. Bargain!

If you come down you'll hear songs from the 'Ash Pony You Climb' EP published/released by Philistine last year. Actually, it's because of the Philistine interest in resurrecting 'Dark Horse Pictures' that I got asked to do the slot. See? Philistine Press = a power for good!

Thursday, 24 May 2012

Door by Patrick McManus

A film of the poem, taken from the anthology Beyond Bedlam: Poems Written Out of Mental Distress, Edited by Ken Smith, Matthew Sweeney, published by Anvil Press, 1997.

Thursday, 17 May 2012

Wednesday, 16 May 2012

National Flash Fiction Day 2012

Great to see flash fiction now has its own day - today!  

More details on the official website. I found this entertaining bit of fiction on there as well:

Monday, 14 May 2012

Anemone Sidecar

If you've never heard of it, allow me to introduce Anemone Sidecar, run by Ravenna Press. It's a literary publication featuring poetry, prose and art of real quality.

It's currently up to Issue 17, also known as Chapter 17.

Download them all for free here.

Tuesday, 8 May 2012

Interview - Gaurav Monga

Gaurav Monga interviewed by Frank Burton.  

Gaurav's short story collection, Tears For Rahul Dutta is available to read online or download for free here.

Were the pieces in the collection conceived as stand-alone stories or were they always intended to be part of a collection? 

These pieces were written over a span of ten years and were all individually intended as stand-alone works. The last piece I wrote in this collection was 'Missing Parts.' It was written in October, 2011. Earlier in 2011, I saw that these pieces somehow work together. I even toyed with the idea of the stories being chapters of a short novel, but it couldn't work like that. In the author's note, I have recommended that the stories should be read in the given order because even though they are stand-alone stories there is a sense of linear development. In the original version there was one more story which was weighing the whole piece down. I replaced that with 'Missing Parts' and it seemed to do the trick without being verbally heavy.

Are you able to describe your writing process?  Is there a specific process you follow when you write a story?  

This is very difficult to write about.  I can say is that it makes me feel that I'm not writing enough. I am a slow writer and I would rather have a fully polished paragraph than a rough complete story. I feel that I stop after a few paragraphs to grasp what I am writing and then restart and then stop and restart and so on. Perhaps, I should let it flow more, which I do sometimes but not enough. There, you go, self-criticism, right there.

What would you say are the book's central themes?  Is there one theme tying the collection together?  

I am fascinated by the concept of 'being' and as a result, also 'not-being' which I think is a consistently underlying theme which ties these stories together. In 'Tears for Rahul Dutta,' the first story I was trying to make Rahul simply disappear without real cause. It was not a death, it was not that Rahul was somehow hidden and could be found. He was simply no longer there. In the last story Rahul asks himself, 'whether it was possible to feel pain in a situation which didn't give rise to it,' which essentially sheds light on the existentiality of existence. Family, of course is the phenomenological theme of the narrative.

Would you call yourself an absurdist writer?  

I would like to, although I sometimes think I'm not as absurd as I would like to be. I enjoy reading Gogol,  Camus, Kafka and Kharms. They are all absurdist in very different ways. Although I like Kharms I don't think that my writing in anyway is like his. I would say that it would probably be closer to Kafka's breed of absurdism, so in that sense, yes, I guess I could call myself, at least in some instances, an absurdist.

Who are your influences?  

In this collection I can see the influence of  Franz Kafka, Nikolai Gogol and the contemporary poet, Matvei Yankelevich. 

We used Red Virginia Creeper by Edvard Munch as the cover.  What drew you towards this painting?    

Somehow I strive to visually be an expressionist. I love this painting and I think it captures the scene where Rahul leaves his home completely baffled by his father's unexpected enthusiasm about nothing. The house with the red creeper is where Rahul's parents sit at the dining table, twitching their noses and eyes. It is also the house where Rahul's mother sticks her head out from a window in the roof, as if a bird had just landed.

How do you feel about online publishing?  

I have a feeling that it is the future. E-presses are a little ahead of their times. Paper books, were also at one point an advancement in technology. If you have a kindle or some other good e-reader then it is as good as a book. The internet has allowed me to discover some great writing, which you can't find in bookshops and also the possibility to publish my own writing. I think the best literature is online because it is free and when the commercial aspect of publishing is gotten rid of, writers simply can give their art priority over commercial demands. I once tried to publish some of the same stories by submitting to Random House. They told me that I should try writing young lad lit which is literature for young lads about young lads. I'm glad I found a space to publish my writing just the way I like it - without any young lads in it.

Monday, 7 May 2012

Les Murray again

I know I've done this already, but just for the hell of it, here's a couple of Les Murray poems I plucked from Murray's official website. What a legend.

This one's from his most recent collection, Taller When Prone.

Port Jackson Greaseproof Rose

Which produced more civilizations,
yellow grass or green?

Who made poverty legal?
Who made poverty at all?

Eating a cold pork sandwich
out of greaseproof paper
as I cross to Circular Quay
looking down the last Harbour miles

the world-ships furrowed, bringing poverty,
dates this day to my midlife.

Out of the approaching then city
rise towers of two main kinds:
glass ones keyed high to catch money
and brown steeples to forgive the poor

who made poverty illegal,

and the first Jumbo jets descend
like Mates whose names you won’t recall,
going down behind the city.

This midlife white timber ferry
scatters curly Bohemian glass
one molecule thick, afloat on a
green dark of laws before poverty

and I hold aloft my greaseproof rose
for hand-to-mouth, great hoister of sails.

And this one's from the collection, Translations from the Natural World:

Mother Sea Lion

My pup has become myself
yet I'm still present

My breasts have vanished.
My pup has grown them on herself.

Tenderly we rub whiskers.
She, me, both still present.

I plunge, dive deep in the Clench.
My blood erects. Familiar joy.

Coming out, I swim the beach-shingle.
Blood subsides. Yet I enjoy still.

More at

Friday, 4 May 2012

Too Young to Forget by Philip Burton

Here’s a quick but very important announcement. My dad, Philip Burton, has just released his collected poems, Too Young to Forget, as an ebook through Smashwords. The book brings together over ten years of widely-published work.

Praise for Philip Burton’s work 

"...interested in words ... a sure sense of rhythm ... striking images" - Copland Smith

 "...he's got serious things to say" - Derrick Buttress

 "... a deft observer ... conveys felt emotion with no little skill" - Michael W. Thomas

 " ... poems sizzle and rasp ... not derivative but immediate and deeply felt ... deserves a wider audience!" - Barry Tebb

About the author Philip Burton was born in Dunfermline and raised in Ramsgate, Kent. He has been a Primary school head teacher in Lancashire and is married with five children. He is a 2005 Lancaster Litfest winner. In 1998 he was short–listed for The Kent and Sussex Open Poetry Competition , and for the Thetford and Wymondham Annual Poetry Competition in 1999.

 Philip Burton is known to children as “Pip The Poet”. Twelve of his poems for children have been published in major antholgies in the last few years. Steve Rudd, Managing director of The Kings England Press, (publisher of the phenomenally successful Gez Walsh) said of the collection The Treasure Shop, “..…cries out for a national publisher.” Many of his poems have been illustrated by Steve Hutton. Philip has visited over one hundred schools and libraries in the last few years, as a writer in education, providing poetry days for children 4–14, and has built a reputation for providing enjoyable and educational performances and workshops. In 2004 he gave a successful presentation at the NAWE annual conference in York on the theme of VOICE. He was appointed as a mentor by NAWE. Over two hundred and fifty of his poems have been published in a range of literary magazines during the last seven years, including: P.N. Review , Stand, Smiths Knoll, Orbis, Envoi, Brando’s Hat, The Frogmore Papers, The Swansea Review, Links, Prism International (Canada), and Troubadour (USA).

His first collection, The Raven’s Diary, published by Joe Publish, was greeted with enthusiasm on both sides of The Irish Sea. Six other pamphlets and a first full collection have followed. Admirers of his work include Michael Schmidt, Derrick Buttress, and Don Paterson. Five of his poems were included in the Peace Poems anthology (Crocus Books) in 2003. Jessie Lendennie at Salmon Publishing accepted a collection of his, The Raven’s Diary, for publication in 2001. Inflation, and an Irish government directive restricting publication of non–Irish writer’s, meant cancellation. Philip judged the Manifold Found Poem competition, and Rossendale Writer’s poetry competition in 2003. He was hailed by Rosie Rogosie as “a new voice come to Manchester”, and appeared in 2000 on the same bill as Adrian Mitchell at The Burnley Arts Festival 2000. Guest Poet slots have included: Manky Poets, Manchester, The White Hart, Todmorden and Live at The Trades, Haslingden.

 His website is