Claire Trévien

100 poems in one day & other oddities

100 Poems 2014: the aftermath

Many thanks to everyone who has supported me once again in writing 100 poems for Refuge. My JustGiving page closes today and I’m £5 short of £1000 which is incredible! As a group, with Cat Conway, Hel Gurney and Tori Truslow, we’ve managed to raise £2000, which is staggering! Their donation pages will remain open for longer if you’d like to donate.

The poems are now offline, but you might see them again, either as a postcard if you claimed one, or published somewhere, almost certainly after a good edit!

As before, it’s been both exhilarating and daunting  to publish such unpolished poems online – I’m looking forward to a more leisurely pace of writing now though!

Thank you again,

Claire x

 

Have you claimed your #refugepoetry postcard?

Hi everyone!

A little over a week has gone by since the challenge and I am preparing both my return to England and the posting of the postcards to those who want them. As a reminder, you can claim any and as many as you want (as long  as you’ve donated here). I’ll be claiming postal addresses soon, and the online versions will disappear after 27th….

These are the ones claimed so far, if your name doesn’t appear and you thought you were getting one, do comment below the relevant poem/postcard clearing stating that you’re claiming it!

Claimed postcards

#94 ‘Swimming in Sauce': for Claire S.

#88 ‘Oil on Panel': for Carrie B.

#87 ‘Something Bit Me': for Natalya A.

#85 ‘Stories Under the Corset': for Gillian P.

#82 ‘Take care… the water’s full of sharks': for Ruth S.

#76 ‘Bigoudenes': for Kathy P.

#70 ‘The Nurse Remembers': for Sarah J.

#67 ‘Too large a ghost': for Mark A.O.

#54 ‘Splendour in the Graveyard': for Lavinia

#53 ‘A Brick Remembers': for Hel

#53 ‘On a Forthcoming Marriage': for Louise L.

#46 ‘The Colour Yellow in post-Victorian Accessories': for Amy K.

#45 ‘Brain Cake': for Helen W.

#43 ‘Green Terrapin/Blue Water': for Susie

#35 ‘Remind me to thank John for a lovely week-end': for Rhys

#32 ‘Stab Variation': for Ben

#20 ‘Full Tilt': for Eleanor T.

#16 ‘Margot': for Annik C.

#7 ‘La Chevre': for Clouds

 

 

 

Welcome to the #100poems challenge 2014!

Here is the rundown: I am writing 100 poems on postcards on 15th August to raise money for Refuge (if you’re wondering why, read here). Three awesome poets are also taking part in challenges that day, check them out here. The poems will start appearing below this post tomorrow.

Do you want a postcard?

  • Claim it! Write a comment below the poem/postcard that you like. First come first served. I’ll post it to you once I’m back in the UK (27th).
  • Please donate, even if it’s just 10p!

How can you help?

  • Suggest a title! or a prompt! or a weird constraint! You can do that on twitter, or as a comment here, or when you donate.
  • Help spread the word about what we’re doing! We’re using the hashtag #refugepoetry

#100poems

One more sleep before the 100 poem challenge begins!

Thank you so much to everyone who has donated so far, either to me and/or to my team-mates, we’re all fundraising for a common cause, and I really hope our efforts can make a difference. If you’d like to donate, it’s not too late, click here.

I’ve got my postcards at the ready as well as some words I’ve cut out from the English magazines I could find here (I <3 English Junior, in case you’re wondering), plus there’s the leftover of an Ayn Rand I’d already desecrated two years ago by wallpapering part of my wall with it, so that should come in handy as erasure/censorship poetry….

The biggest challenge I think is to deal with the technical side alongside the creative, i.e writing poems on computer, hand-writing them on postcard, taking pictures, uploading them with suitable tags etc to here. I might end up doing them in batches to see if that’s more efficient. It might give my brain a bit of a break too…

Anyhow, just going to create a ‘sticky’ post if I can, with all info on it, including how to claim a postcard, and then settle down for the evening. Thanks again to everyone for their support, and I hope you enjoy my flailing tomorrow! 

#readwomen2014

As a distraction from my impending #refugepoetry challenge and the realization that we are over halfway into #readwomen2014, an initiative led by Joanna Walsh to change our reading habits, I thought I’d do a haphazard list of suggestions. These are completely idiosyncratic, I just woke up with an urge to share a couple of names, so here they are.

Poetry for a friend going through a difficult time at a hospital

I found myself playing the role of poetry-prescriber on Friday for a friend looking for poetry recommendations for a friend about to undergo chemotherapy. This was an interesting challenge and made me realize how hard it must be to find the right poetry book when you’re not ‘in the know’. Google ‘inspirational’ and ‘funny’ poetry and you’ll get an onslaught of trite rhyming sweets rather than the substance you’re after. If in doubt, ask a poet, eh? If you want to know what she left with by the way, they were: Ruth Padel’s Rembrandt Would Have Loved You, Jo Shapcott’s Of Mutability, and Luke Kennard’s The Harbour Beyond the Movie. I worried that Shapcott would be too obvious, but shared it anyway, and she loved the book, so sometimes obvious is just right. Padel and Kennard weren’t ones I had originally included in my suggestion pile but talking to her about her friend’s dark sense of humour and love of old masters and music made them seem like obvious choices. [Yes, I do realize that Luke is a man, but his collection was the right one for this job].

Poetry for people wanting to discover the next young thing

I love reading the Foyle Young Poets’ anthologies, not just for the poetry, but also the thrill of guessing who will becoming the next Helen Mort. Among the 2012 winners, Flora de Falbe stood out at first with her amazing name, then with her Kennard-ish poem. It’s been great to see her name pop up since, in Rising, or as the winner of the English National Ballet challenge. In the 2013 crop, the stand-out poem was by Emma Lister, a poet who has already accumulated a fair few awards for her age as a former National Trust poetry competition winner. While a Google search doesn’t elicit much proof of recent activity, I am sure this isn’t the last we’ll hear from her… The art world often puts too much onus on artists’ youth and pressure to achieve notoriety before an arbitrary sell-by date. While I hope these two poets fulfil their potential, I also hope they take the time to lead a varied and interesting life.

Quickfire suggestions

Poetry for culture vultures: Penny Boxall’s Ship of the Line, Fawzia Kane’s Houses of the Dead, Sue Rose’s Heart ArchivesAmy Key’s Luxe

Poetry for your favourite feminist: Sonia Hendy-Isaac’s The Contradictions of Flesh, Sophie Mayer’s The Private Part of Girls, Clare Pollard’s Ovid’s HeroinesAnna Percy’s Livid Among the Ghostings, Salena Godden’s Fishing in the Aftermath.

Poetry for someone going through a weight-loss program: Claire Crowther’s Incense.

Poetry for your favourite midlander: Liz Berry’s Black Country.

Poetry for Bingo-lovers: Maria Taylor’s Poetry Bingo.

Poetry for fans of history of medicine: Kelley Swain’s Opera di Cera.

Poetry for fans of insects: Helen Clare’s Entomology.

Poetry for fans of old-skool video games: Hannah Faith Notess’s Ghost HouseKirsten Irving’s Never Never Never Come Back.

Any suggestions for other categories, or for additions to these?

 

 

 

 

 

Second time around: the 100 poems challenge

I am back!

As some of you may remember, I wrote 100 poems in a day last November to raise money for Refuge. You can read my report about it here.

Unfortunately, the situation has been getting worse, not better, for victims of domestic violence with the closure of numerous vital centres across the country.

So I’ve decided to revive the challenge and write 100 poems on 15th August 2014. This time, I’ll be writing the poems on the back of 100 postcards (and uploading the images to this here blog). You can claim the postcards you like by commenting below the posts, or by leaving a comment when donating.

Here is my JustGiving page, please donate! I have a very ambitious target this time, but we raised nearly £700 last time, so I think we can do it!

Here’s what you can do to help:

  • Join in! The more the merrier. Setting up a fundraising page is fast and easy.You don’t have to write 100 poems in a day to join in, you can do something that fits in around your life better. Join our team page here.
  • Suggest titles for poems!
  • Retweet me and others taking part in the challenge (or the Facebook equivalent). We’ll be using the #refugepoetry hashtag.
  • Donate. Whether it’s 10p or £100.

Freelancing (poetry-style)

Well this has been a proper full-on poetry week.

Monday

Monday my publisher/producer/director/magician Tom Chivers and I met with Sarah McCartney of niche perfumery brand 4160 Tuesday, who is going to be creating a scent for the show-version of The Shipwrecked House. Sarah was very generous with her time and let Tom & I smell all sorts from her collection, I think my favourite was The Dark Heart of Havana, which I am definitely saving up for. I don’t normally get vivid colours when I smell something for the first time, but this evoked to me the colour of honey. Really, it’s a perfume about the dark side of the night, it’s sugary and dark, and exuberant, what’s not to love really? Me being tangentially involved in perfume thanks to Penning Perfume is quite funny really, mainstream brands tend to remind me of the insides of cars, but working with all sorts of creative and wonderful perfumers has shown me a much more invigorating and intriguing side to that world. So if you are someone who doesn’t think perfume is for you, I do recommend you sample some of Sarah’s wares.

I listened to myself reading some of the poems that will feature in The Shipwrecked House show on the way up in an attempt to learn my lines. It’s slowly working, though poems that have a call and answer (such as Sing Bird) are proving tricky to remember in the right sequence.

Tuesday

On Tuesday, I returned to Oxford to judge and give a short reading at the Martin Starkie Prize, named after the founder of the Oxford University Poetry Society. The last few weeks have been interesting for me, as I judged not one but two poetry prizes for the first time (results of the Iain Rennie competition should be announced soon). I’ve edited before but judging is a very different kettle of fish, you don’t always find yourself rewarding the poems you fall for, you find yourself swayed by a brilliant image here, the promise of future brilliance there, an intriguing concept elsewhere. You find yourself worrying whether the winner is incontestable (whatever that means!), you start doubting your very own ability to judge, you want to reward poems that weren’t afraid to fail a little in their attempt to push boundaries.

It must be very different when you’re part of a panel, more compromises, more debate, other people to blame for your choices. On the flipside it’s also been fascinating to sift through such a variety of voices, some loaded with so much potential. In the end though, I remained pleased with my final choice, Theophilus Kwek’s ‘Ultimate and Penultimate Things’, which subtly grew on me the more I read it. I’m a real sucker for forms going hand in hand with content, and this was an excellent example of it.

Results:

Commended

Daisy Johnson
Conor McGillan
Sarvat Hasin
Adam Leonard
Nasim Asl

Winner

Theophilus Kwek

I was glad to finally put a name to poems, and had a wonderful time both at the readings and at the drinks afterwards… Particularly good to meet the new OUPS president Leo Mercer, whom I’ve been in virtual contact with before, and a previous OUPS president April Pierce.

I made the most of my Oxford visit to also catch up with my Other Countries: Contemporary Poets Rewiring History co-editor Gareth Prior to discuss the current submissions. Our consensus so far is that we need more pre-early modern history poems, and also more non-European voices (which isn’t to say you should restrain yourself from submitting that 18th century Lithuanian poem if you have one).

I also popped into the end of the Hammer and Tongue final to say hello to Salena Godden and catch the winner (the lovely Tina Sederholm), so all in all quite a busy whistle-stop visit.

The wonderful Salena Godden

The wonderful Salena Godden

Wednesday

Wednesday I travelled to the University of Kent in Canterbury to give a talk with Helen Ivory and Kate Birch (of Ink, Sweat and Tears). It’s the third time Helen and I have been on a panel together, all very different experiences (the Poetry Library and the Ivy Club were the first two). I think this was my personal favourite in terms of audiences, which mostly consisted of their MA students. The students were very entrepreneurial and engaging, and I hope that we’ve given them some hope and ideas of what they can do to promote their endeavours. I think it’s drawn home for me the need for students to have access to more help and advice when it comes to things such as social media and arts council applications, and fewer attitudes of gate-keeping. We were wonderfully looked after by Patricia Debney and David Flusfeder, and I came home loaded with goodies to read…

Oh and they took us out to dinner in a place that has a Shipwreck Tart, I kid you not (cf picture).

photo 2 (1)

Thursday

After travelling in the morning, I spent the rest of my day preparing for my Poetry School course livechat in the evening. This week I’d asked my students to personify a home and while they did admit that it was a challenge, the results were seriously impressive. It’s a real pleasure working with them – they all have different styles and accept this rather than trying to mould each other’s poems into a factory-setting. I’ve just sent out the last assignment, one more livechat to go in a fortnight – I shall be sad when it is over!

Friday

No travelling, hurray!

Friday was mostly spent catching up on various pieces of admin that had accumulated while I was away. The Arts Council Grant for The Shipwrecked House also finally came through so I took my brother out for lunch and tried to convince him to let me cut his hair (he said no).

Plans are afoot to maybe visit NYC in the autumn, I have never been to the USA before and hate flying, but it would be wonderful to see in the flesh the backdrop of so much pop culture. I’d love to combine the visit with some readings, so if you have any pro-tips, I’d love to hear them…

Saturday

So far, writing this, in an elaborate procrastination scheme: I’ve been commissioned to write a poem for someone’s 50th (in French and in English). It’s nearly there, but reaching the stage where I need to print everything out, take out the blue pen, and possibly start again.

This really has been an exclusively poetry-based week, which looks set to continue in coming weeks with the start of The Shipwrecked House rehearsals.

2013 in poetry

It’s not my habit to use this blog for anything other than briefly-lived projects that go into hiding, but I’ve been increasingly yearning for a place to put longer pieces (my blog over at http://clairetrevien.co.uk is extremely unwieldy for that sort of thing as it refuses any kind of formatting beyond bullet points, no doubt something I should fix this year), so here goes.

I’ve been reading all sorts of end-of-year blogs over the last few days and admire them both for their memory (January 2013 feels like another land to me) and ability to succinctly summarize an unwieldy amount of information. I recommend among many others Tim Cresswell’s, Jayne Stanton’s, Rob Mackenzie‘s, the Poetry School’s, Jenna Clake’s,  … They make me wish I’d kept track as the year progresses.

Obviously, the problem with these kind of summaries is that they make everything feel instagrammed and glorious, while on a personal-level, I’ve had some pretty awful lows and was probably ill more often than in previous years. This is probably due to holding down at first a full-time day job, and then two day jobs (totalling 4 days), while juggling the extra-curricular projects. I’m aiming for a better balance next year. Poetry-wise, I do have to be grateful, I have had a wonderful year, which I’ll try to summarize in a format inspired by Kim Moore, with the addition of favourite things read (hard to remember by month, so there may be errors):

January-February: Penning Perfumes did its first tour to Manchester, Oxford, Bristol and Birmingham, involving both new poets living locally and poets from the original project. I also had some of my poems translated into French and made them into a limited edition pamphlet thanks to Lucie Forejtová at Immaginacija. Submissions for the first issue of Verse Kraken opened.

Favourite Things Read: Poetry London, Bernardine Evaristo’s issue of Poetry Review, and all the poems Christian Ward plagiarised.

March: The Verse Kraken submissions closed, nominations for the Saboteur Awards opened leading me to become far too intimately acquainted with Excel spreadsheets, and The Shipwrecked House was published and launched in London and Paris.

Favourite Things Read: Poems in Which, Superbard’s The Flood

April: Published a free e-book edition of Penning Perfumes vol.2, launched The Shipwrecked House in Oxford and Beaconsfield, voting opened and closed for the second round of Saboteur Awards voting (less work-intensive thanks to Survey Monkey), and I was ‘exhibited’ for the first time thanks to Crystal Bennes, at the Hanmi Gallery in London as part of a collaboration between poets and photographers. After 7 months of persuasion, my workplace agreed to create a blog. Read at the Chipping Norton Literary Festival which was great fun (with thanks to Dan Holloway who has been super supportive the whole year to me and so many other writers and deserves some kind of rat-shaped medal).

Favourite Things Read: Sculpted: Poetry of the North WestLullabies to make your children cry by Lucy Ayrton.

May: The Saboteur Awards took place  to a sold-out audience and I was thus able to regain some control over my life. I did one of my favourite readings at Outspoken, featuring Anna Hobson, Ceri Lloyd, Amy McCauley and Katherine Stansfield: the audience was really warm and responsive and the mirror format really made me appreciate each poet’s reading fully.

Favourite Things Read: Lune by Sarah Hymas, this awesome poem by Emily Hasler.

June: Tori Truslow and I launched Verse Kraken after staying up all-night making the hard-copy editions and we also led our first writing retreat with the wonderful Lucy Ayrton. An interesting challenge for me was being part of a panel at the Southbank on the digital alternative thanks to Chrissy Williams at the Poetry Library with Helen Ivory and Caleb Klaces.

Favourite Things Read: Hannah Lowe’s Chick, Luke Kennard’s Holophin.

July: Well, the big news for me was finding out that a) I had a highly commended poem in the Forward Prizes and that b) I was longlisted in the Guardian First Book Awards.

Favourite Thing Read: Luke Wright’s Mondeo Man.

August:  I was ill for the entire month but did manage to organize an Oxford reading with James Brookes, Amy Key, Charlotte Newman, Tori Truslow and James Webster which was a lot of fun.

Favourite Things Read: Melissa Lee-Houghton’s long-awaited second collection Beautiful Girls, Clare Pollard’s Ovid’s Heroines.

September: Loved helping Kiran Millwood Hargrave launch her latest collection Splitfish in Oxford, and a podcast on my poem ‘Whales’ came out. Otherwise I mostly tried to concentrate on moving flats, getting a year older, and starting a second job.

Favourite Things Read: Kiran Millwood Hargrave’s Splitfish, Helen Mort’s Division Street.

October: This was a busy month for readings, starting with the finale of the Swindon Festival of Poetry with the lovely Kim Moore, and meeting Sam Loveless, Michael Scott and Hilda Sheehan. Then I got to be on a panel on the future of poetry publishing at the swanky Club at the Ivy with Helen Ivory again and chaired by Sir Andrew Motion. Next, Gareth Prior kindly included me in one of the best organized readings I’ve ever attended at the Jericho Tavern, where I was especially glad to hear Patrick McGuinness, Jenny Lewis and Ben Parker read. Last but not least, I read at a Nine Arches Press event in Leicester alongside Mario Petrucci, Matt Merritt and Alistair Noon – very grateful to Jane Commane, who is another relentless and passionate champion of poetry.  I was also glad to make it to the launch of the Interpreter’s House where I finally put a face to names such as Josephine Corcoran and Paul Hawkins. Finally, Sabotage Reviews had a long-overdue make over…. Thankfully, I started working 4 days a week rather than 5 which should have made things more manageable were it not for the mountain of marking….

Favourite Things Read: Matt Merritt’s The Elephant TestsTim Cresswell’s Soil, Kim Moore’s If We Could Speak like Wolves.

November: was a busy month on all fronts with one week in particular which often involved catching a train/bus in the morning from one place, changing into increasingly ridiculous outfits before catching another train/bus, doing an event and then running for the last train home. And repeat. Highlights included: writing 100 poems in a day, reading at the Magma launch, going to the Writer’s Return event in York and catching up with JT Welsch and Inua Ellams there, performing at Wordsmiths&co at the Warwick Arts Centre, reading at the Interrobang Festival, going to the Guardian First Book Awards at the Tate Modern and leading a second Verse Kraken retreat with Tori Truslow. Being the Poetry School’s first digital-poet-in-residence was also a stand-out moment for me and reminded me that I love blogging.

Favourite Things ReadInterpreter’s House #54, Tim Wells’ Rising #60, Amy Key’s Luxe.

December: This was a month which I hoped would be a little quieter after the intense last two, but it began with the Penning Perfumes Christmas Special for which Lucie Forejtová and I handmade forty-odd cards – great to hear John Clegg, Kayo Chingonyi, Amy Key, and Charlotte Newman read again and in such a unique setting. The Betsey Trotwood Christmas All-Dayer was also excellent fun, Renée O’Drobinak, Chrissy Williams, John Canfield, Alice Walker and John McCullough stole the show, and our table won cheese in the quiz. Submissions for issue 2 of Verse Kraken closed. And just to round things off nicely, Robert Peake included me in his 5 British Poets to Watch in 2014 list over on the Huffington Post blog.

Favourite Thing Read: Michael Symmons Roberts’ Drysalter, Emily Berry’s Dear Boy, Rachel Piercey’s The Flower and the Plough.

My new year’s resolutions in light of this are to read and write more and organize less, but we’ll see how that goes…

What are yours?

The Aftermath

The 100 poems challenge has been and gone, thank you so much to everyone who showed their support, threw titles, images, songs at me in the hope some would stick. I was overwhelmed by your loveliness and found out all sorts of things, from the name for button-phobia, to a detail in a Titian painting I had never paid attention to.

Thank you especially to the 46 of you who have donated to Refuge via my JustGiving page, I cannot believe that it raised £615! If you enjoyed the poems at all, or the sheer absurdity of the task, then please consider making a donation, the page will apparently stay up for another three months so there’s still time!

Update: I have now made the poems private, but the JustGiving page lives on. I have written a blogpost for the Poetry School about the experience. Thanks again for the support xx

Tomorrow, it begins.

Only a few hours to go…. I have bookmarked some websites which I expect will be key to managing this, I’ve got a spreadsheet with most of the titles that have been suggested to me on it (still a couple to add), and endless (almost) supplies of tea and cuppa soup are now in my bedroom along with a kettle. I’m as ready as I’ll ever be…!

A quick plug to my friend Agnes Davis who has done the same thing yesterday and raised an incredible amount for the Phillipines. Do read them here.

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