Wednesday, 30 November 2011

Chapbook | Vol LV, Mo (Movember Special Edition)

Vol LV, Mo

Mo: Special Movemeber chapbook from Silkworms Ink. Featuring Corey Mesler, Nicolas Pillai, Kyle Hemmings, Desmond Kon Zhicheng-Mingdé and Teresa Chuc Dowell.

The chapbook is free for your enjoyment, but please consider throwing a couple of quid into the Silkworms Ink Movember fund raising page - HERE

Monday, 28 November 2011

Movember: Day 28 Update

Nicolas 'The Horseshoe'  Pillai - Film Editor
James 'Chevron' Harringman - Editor
Nearing the end of our Mo days now. We have raised a fantastic £185 so far, which I think is pretty good work. Although it's not over yet, so please chip in a few quid here.

Thursday, 17 November 2011

The Voyage: Edited by Chandani Lokuge & David Morley

Welcome to The Voyage, an innovative new anthology of writing by staff and postgraduates from both Monash in Australia and Warwick in England. We believe all writing, at its best, is creative writing. To that end we have drawn our distinguished contributors not only from English and Creative Writing but also from other departments in Humanities, from our Faculties of Science and Social Science, and from our Administration. What's more, we invited writers and scholars who have some practical connection with Warwick and Monash from both within and outside the academy.
We were open to all forms and genres: poetry, fiction, creative non-fiction including scholarship and biography, drama and most other forms of creativity you might imagine. We were happy for our contributors to write on any theme but we think that the core of the book is what it means to journey. These might be imagined or remembered journeys, physical or metaphorical journeys, or journeys into knowledge or across time.

See a video introduction of the book by editors David Morley and Chandani Lokuge here. Further, find below a series of readings by selected authors reading their contributions to this wonderful anthology.

Tuesday, 15 November 2011

Movember: Day 15 Update

James Harringman, Editor
Nicolas Pillai, Film Editor
Day 15. About half way through and I am proud to say we have raised £135 so far. I'd like to think that, now we are actually armed with fund raising moustaches we can do better in the second half.

It is all for the excellent cause of Prostate Cancer awareness, so please chip in HERE

Thursday, 10 November 2011

Movember: Day 10 Update

Nicolas Pillai - Film Editor
James Harringman - Editor-in-Chief

We have reached day 10 of our upper-lip shaving abstinence. I don't think either of us is worthy of the cover of Moustache Monthly quite yet, but the month is young. The reason for all this remains the same, to raise awareness and as much money as we can for The Prostate Cancer Charity. If you can spare some dollar, pound or yen, please drop it in the e-collection pot of the Silkworms Ink 'Mo Space'- link below. Thank you!


Tuesday, 1 November 2011

Silkworms Ink does Movember

This month Silkworms Ink will be supporting the Movember movement.


"During November each year, Movember is responsible for the sprouting of moustaches on thousands of men’s faces in the UK and around the world. The aim of which is to raise vital funds and awareness for men’s health, specifically prostate cancer and other cancers that affect men.
On Movember 1st, guys register at with a clean-shaven face and then for the rest of the month, these selfless and generous men, known as Mo Bros, groom, trim and wax their way into the annals of fine moustachery. Supported by the women in their lives, Mo Sistas, Movember Mo Bros raise funds by seeking out sponsorship for their Mo-growing efforts.


"The Movember Effect: Awareness & Education, Survivorship, Research
The funds raised in the UK support the number one and two male specific cancers - prostate and testicular cancer. The funds raised are directed to programmes run directly by Movember and our men’s health partners, The Prostate Cancer Charity and the Institute of Cancer Research. Together, these channels work together to ensure that Movember funds are supporting a broad range of innovative, world-class programmes in line with our strategic goals in the areas of awareness and education, survivorship and research."

For more information on the programmes Movember funds please visit the following:

Global Action Plan

What we have planned…

It's a secret. Although, surprise, surprise, we do have a few moustache themed tricks up our sleeve for the coming month. Stay tuned.

Day 1

Myself and the excellent Nicolas Pillai will be representing the Silkworms. Follow our upper lip adventures as we give you regular updates throughout the month.

We start here on November 1st. Clean shaven. 

James Harringman. Editor-in-Chief
Nicolas Pillai. Film Editor
Let Mo Season Commence.

Tuesday, 18 October 2011

Fiction | A Noun Of Nouns

(Spoilers. As ever)

In this rather sweet, in-depth interview with an Israeli newspaper, Salman Rushdie talks at length about that fatwa (you know the one I mean), his writing, religious influence in modern society – and the state of television, which is where he offers one of the most hilariously transparent self-justifications for lying on the sofa binging through fourteen hours of Prison Break I think I’ve ever seen:

"I watched all that because if I am going to work in this field, I need to know what it is going on. I have been making myself have whole-series marathons to get the point of how it goes."

I have this wonderful image of Rushdie, clutching an extra-large bag of Minstrels, pressing ‘next episode’ for the umpteenth time on the Dexter DVD menu, and telling himself, ‘This is an artistic exercise. I’m forcing myself to do this for the sake of my noble craft.’ Anyway, in the same breath Rushdie also politely demeaned HBO’s The Wire, claiming it was ‘just a police series’; naturally, this latest act of blasphemy caused a moderate internet hoo-hah, and he’s since agreed on Twitter that he’ll ‘watch another series’ of the show to see if he was wrong about it. (So you didn't watch it all the way through? Clearly not that committed to the artform, then, eh, Salman, you posturing dilettante?)

Yo, I know people be saying Midnight's Children is a multi-faceted analysis of India's awakening of independence through the medium of magical realism, but in the end, that shit is just a fucking superhero book.

Rushdie also said,

“There was a series called 'Game of Thrones' which was very popular here in the United States, a post-Tolkien kind of thing. It was garbage, yet very addictive garbage - because there's lots of violence, all the women take their clothes off all the time, and it's kind of fun. In the end, it's well-produced trash, but there's room for that, too.”

Once again, the award-winning author sounds like he’s desperately trying to explain why he Tivoed the entire thing, though frankly, ‘I’m watching it for the violence and the nudity and because it's sort of cool’, isn’t quite as defensible as ‘I have to watch it for work’. But, of course, he’s quite right on both counts, and I can feel comfortable saying that, as I have myself now worked my way through both the HBO series and two-and-a-bit of George R.R. Martin’s exceptionally long books. A Song Of Ice And Fire, as the entire series is known, is at times quite exceptionally trashy, no matter how many Guardian articles appear claiming that the fantasy genre has "grown up" by including moral shades of grey for the first time, like, ever.

That’s not to be hard on the series. As a matter of fact, I think it contains several of the fantasy literature elements that China Mieville found so lacking in Tolkein in this famous Socialist Review article; it largely refuses to deal in moral abstracts, it replicates the cruelties and uncertainties of reality rather than meandering away into escapism, and it’s been crafted with that marvellous conviction and lunatic obsessiveness to detail that old JRR also had, that enables a world to feel not simply vivid, but possessed of a past, a present, and a future.

One of its real problems comes with the world itself, which steers mostly clear of supernatural elements (which is a perfectly fine idea) in favour of a variety of faux-medieval locales and civilisations pillaged from Planet Earth, occasionally down to the most pointlessly copycat details (desert dwellers in the east ride camels; a flamboyant, foreign fencing instructor talks like Inigo Montoya). And when Martin does venture into high fantasy, it’s consistently with the most worn-out and over-familiar tropes and creatures. Dragons, giants, faithful wolves, broadswords called ‘Ice’ and ‘Longclaw’…to be fair, there’s also something called a grumkin, but it’s never actually described, and is, woozel-esque, deemed to be a fairy story. Most frustratingly of all, Martin tries to keep us interested in monstrous ‘Others’ lurking in the wilds beyond civilisation, long after he’s already played his big reveal; and it's turned out, disappointingly, that the Others are undead zombies. With blue eyes. And they want to kill the living, because of something something darkness.

However, it's the style of the books that's the series' biggest stumbling-block, tending towards the sombre, the stilted and the flowery with the occasional bizarre bit of American slang or anachronism thrown in; sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't at all, but more often than it should, it results in action sequences that have no real sense of weight, movement or space. It does improve, admittedly, as the series goes on (the first book has a lumpen, linebreakphobic attitude towards its paragraphs and contains three separate uses of the phrase ‘there was a sickening crunch’) but even then, for every pleasant sentence, like one about an army spreading out over hills like ‘an iron rose’, we get a,

“Tyrion could not have been more astonished if Aegon the Conqueror himself had burst into the room, riding a dragon and juggling lemon pies.”

-a sentence that couldn’t have been worse if an unknown quantity had ridden in on a cliché, hurling a bad attempt at comedy into the middle of a serious scene instead of just expressing a simple and recognisable sensation, that of astonishment.

But – and here comes the other side of the coin – it is, indeed, quietly addictive. Some of the main heroes and villains are thoroughly enjoyable company - though in such a large cast, it’s inevitable that others suffer by comparison (a lot of secondary and tertiary male characters are just Ser Glowering The One-Dimensional, quite a few of the female characters are 1) sexually-liberated shagpots 2) power-hungry villainesses 3) heroic tomboys yearning to prove themselves on the field of battle, there’s at least one too many callow youth, and the children all have to have a ‘young’ voice to differentiate them from the adult characters, which results in some awful R.L. Stine-esque passages like, ‘”You STUPID STUPID STUPID,’ she thought”). The storytelling element itself, weaving multiple plot strands and motivations together, is generally beyond reproach (though there’s some business in the first book with the ownership of a dagger that never really makes sense). And Martin looks like a genuinely nice fellow, a sort of scraggly, filled-out version of Doc from Snow White.

In fact, he probably only comes second to Jack Vance in the 'cuddliest-looking fantasy author' stakes.

I don’t know if I’ll read any more of the series, for now, at least – another colossal, multi-part tome is calling, and its name is 1Q84. But one final concern strikes me; since the very beginning of the very first book, A Game Of Thrones, the author has been playing up the idea of a fast-approaching threat to the entire world, a ‘winter’ that brings with it the evil Others. Five books of the planned septet have been written, and nothing seems to have moved on that front; instead, the world has expanded and expanded, creating more factions and plot elements that have yet to be resolved. ‘Winter is coming’, characters keep insisting; fifteen years and 4839 pages later, it still hasn’t bloody turned up.

Perhaps Martin will never actually follow up on that Chekhov’s Gun, but it’s so central, and it’s been so heavily built-up, that I couldn’t see that being anything other than an appalling anti-climax. But if he does send his undead beasties out on their prophesised rampage – then guess what? A Song Of Ice And Fire becomes just another story of various kingdoms and wandering heroes putting aside their differences and standing together against an abstract evil that rises out of a terrifying wilderness. Which wouldn't sit well with the idea of fantasy 'growing up' at all.

Thursday, 22 September 2011

Television | Fresh Meat - What The Hell Was That?

Well, I don’t know what to make of that.

Even now, as I sit, snuggled up in my own bedclothes, reading tweet upon tweet from quite a number of apparently real-life, comedy-appreciating human-beings about how much they enjoyed Channel 4’s new student comedy-drama Fresh Meat (what the hell does that even mean, ‘comedy-drama’? Is it just suggesting that it’ll be less funny than a comedy’s supposed to be, with more shots of people falling back against their beds, staring wistfully up at the ceiling about how they haven’t got together with that other person who’s also currently falling back against their bed in a brilliant mirroring shot, all while Jose Gonzalez moans faintly from somewhere in the sideboard?), I just don’t know what to make of it.

So this is comedy-drama, right? Less jokes, more cinematography?

To begin with a positive, the first episode, containing as it did no real plot other than a refreshingly unfamiliar ‘boy and girl can’t bring themselves to say how they feel about one another, both act foolishly as a result, hurt each other’s feelings’ story arc, did strike some pleasant, familiar notes. The student house, hideously narrow and high and baige, filled with furniture both antiquated and childish, felt very much like a genuine student house. The awkward atmosphere of people trying to forge a new, post-school identity for themselves was just right.

But then there were the bum notes, and here I can touch upon a long-standing theory of mine that the university experience, much like sex or dreams or philosophical discussions conducted under the influence of narcotics, does not translate well into a story told to others. That which we remember as being hilarious/erotic/terrifying/deeply profound often turns out, when we relate it to outsiders, to be just lame. Presumably Sam Bain and Jesse Armstrong, for instance, knew someone at uni who used to go around the pub asking people for a dribble of their pint until he had a drink of his own. ‘Hilarious!’ they chortle. ‘Remember how funny he was?’ No, Bain and Armstrong, I, the audience, don’t. I’ve never met anyone like that. You've just based a comedy routine on the kind of anecdote you'd run away from at parties.

I’ll admit – the fat Scottish man just baffled me. At first it seemed Bain and Armstrong wanted to make him the off-the-wall, semi-autistic, scene-stealing character. Cooking Peking duck in the nude! Just like everyone remembers from uni. Then he became a stingy, parasitic sort of student character, in the pint-dribbling sketch. Then it became clear that they needed Joe Thomas from The Inbetweeners (oh, we’ll get to him) to have a male character to take advice from in the legally required ‘boys and girls sit separately, talking about sex and each other’ scene*, so he became a comic sidekick and wingman. Then he started farting mischievously on the toilet. What is this character supposed to be, Bain and Armstrong? He isn't anything at all.

But what had me actually shouting at the screen was the straight guy role. Or, rather, all three of them, because what audience really want to see in comedy is lots of ordinary people with no distinguishing characteristics.

The first of these straight guys is a blonde girl. The second is a brunette girl, who is differentiated from the blonde girl by her occasional lying about things that don’t matter. The third is Joe Thomas, and as if to make it very clear that the writers aren’t going to bother doing anything more interesting with them than replicating his lovelorn character from The Inbetweeners, he gets described as ‘lonely’ and ‘sexually frustrated’ before we’ve actually seen any evidence whatsoever of that. Now, the blonde girl and Joe Thomas seem to like each other, so we have a (boring) sense of where they’re going to go forward as characters. Other than being the focus of a crap little plot based on ‘isn’t it terrible when people copy your work?’ that could just have easily have been given to the blonde girl, I have absolutely no idea what the purpose of the brunette girl is. At one point, she also admitted to liking Joe Thomas, but this was never brought up again. So out of seven main characters (six if the joke about the missing housemate is that he’s never seen) three of them are ‘normal’. In a comedy. This is not a good idea.

The last two characters were fine – that is to say, they had clearly defined personalities. Even if I’m not sure how far ‘from a rough background (hilarious!), reacts to everything with a dull stare and dull monotone’ can be stretched out over an entire series. But Jack Whitehall was surprisingly convincing, if rather cartoonish, as an insecure, posturing, posh sod who might well encourage collective masturbation over biscuits.

What’s really, really not fine, though? Another bloody ‘Evil Dean’ character whose only role is to thwart our heroes at every turn, his motivation being that he's all mean and evil and stuff. Seriously. Come up with something new.

It hasn't been funny since Dean Bitterman in The School Of Hard Knockers.

Also not fine is the show’s title, which allowed for a very cute butcher’s window series of adverts, but which seems less memorable and more meaningless every time I think about it. Is it meant to be a dick joke? Why not just ‘fresh’? Honestly, it sounds like something a rapist would call university students.

Maybe I’m being unfair on a new show; it certainly has potential, and talent behind it. But, Twitter, either I’m mad or that was a baggy, directionless, mostly unfunny forty-five minutes of comedy(-drama).

*Coupling, famously, managed to stretch this one scene out over three entire series.

Wednesday, 17 August 2011

Wider Reading | Interview With Mark Burnhope

With the world on tenterhooks over the imminent re-launch of Silkworms Ink, I thought it might ease some of the tension to have a good old-fashioned interview. And by old-fashioned I mean conducted online whilst using another window to choose appropriate images to Photoshop. Ah, the good old days.

This weekend we’re fortunate to be joined by the poetry pamphleteer, blogger and all-round decent bloke, Mark Burnhope, to talk about putting together his debut for the Salt Modern Voices series, as well as touching on literature’s loners, theology and Wallace Stevens.

Phil Brown: Afternoon Mark, and thank you for joining Silkworms Ink for the interview. To start things off could I ask you to introduce yourself to our readers?

Mark Burnhope: It's a pleasure to be here, thanks for inviting me. Hello readers. I write poetry and reviews. I'm an occasional painter and illustrator; and recently, I've probably been using the word 'kaleidoscopic' too much.

Phil Brown: The Salt Modern Voices series has some astoundingly talented new writing in it (yourself included). How did your place in the series come about?

Mark Burnhope: That’s a good question. I had my first poems published in Magma 48, just last year. Soon after that, I messaged Chris Hamilton-Emery on Facebook, just to say thanks for the books; they're collector's items, my shelves are creaking under their weight, and they'd really helped me along. In the next months, I was published in a few online magazines, I jumped on a lot of thought-provoking poetry discussions on Facebook, and he must have spotted my work somewhere. We got talking, and he asked if I wanted to put a pamphlet together. I'm thrilled, and very proud to have been chosen for the series, considering how long (or not) I've been published.

Phil Brown: What were the biggest challenges in putting together your own pamphlet?

Mark Burnhope: All I'd done before was to put together submissions; so, four or five go together in an email, and you might put what you think is the best at the top. That's pretty simple. But finding firstly what you think are your best poems, and then trying to bring together thematic strands on a larger scale, was a challenge I hadn't taken up before. I knew I couldn't have two poems doing 'the same thing', however few I thought were good enough. So, having enough good poems, then making them all do their own job in context, as well as being muscular enough on their own. Yeah, that was a new thing. I hope I got it right, to some extent.

Phil Brown: In your debut appearance in Magma, you have two poems, ‘Twelve steps towards better despair’ and ‘Deliverance’. Could you briefly take us through the thought process that lead you to picking one of those poems for your pamphlet, but not the other.

Mark Burnhope: Actually, 'To My Familiar, Queequeg' was in Magma as well. But as for why I didn't choose ‘Deliverance’: I'd written it from an impulse to respond personally to Andrew Philip's 'The Ambulance Box', as a poem but also as a collection. In a sense, I shared the experience of the loss of a child (miscarried, in my case) and the grief that goes along with that, and I wanted to try to address it, for myself as well as part of a process of learning to write something expressive as well as readable. I was very glad that it was deemed good enough to publish; I'm aware of the hazards of writing slightly personal stuff, because someone's got to read it. In terms of the pamphlet, I felt that it would have done too much of the thematic work by itself. I wanted these poems to be in conversation with each other, and together to add up to that emotional impulse. ‘Deliverance’ was probably doing more crudely what The Snowboy does as a whole pamphlet, I think. The Snowboy is central to the collection, and he sort of melts into all the subject-matter and themes surrounding him.

Phil Brown: The art of making poems in a collection converse with each other whilst speaking for themselves can be one of the most delicate equations...

Mark Burnhope: Indeed, and let's just say I haven't found a painkiller strong enough to get me through that process in a first collection yet.

Phil Brown: One of the thematic strands that runs through your pamphlet is an affinity with literature's outsider figures - Quasimodo, Queequeg, The Little Black Boy, Pinnochio. What is it that draws you to these particular figures in your writing?

Mark Burnhope: I know that the ‘outsider figure’ is a literary idea, but I’m not sure I was consciously thinking about that. I am interested in outsider poetries simply because they acknowledge that sometimes things can’t be said in the ways they have been. Language needs reformation all the time, even melding with visual art, in order to fully reflect and speak for, or about, anything in an increasingly complicated culture. I’m interested in ‘anti-poetries’, in a way, which aren’t trying to be obscure (even if they are), just trying to be honest. It doesn’t take effort to think about outside status for me, I just do. I try to deal with separate shards of living as an outsider though, and to bring them together in my writing. There’s a sense in which disabled people are ‘in the world, not of it’ – to bastardise a Bible phrase – that we’re inherently part of society, but pushed into the margins at various levels. I try to confront that, even if just on the level of language. Maybe that says something about my desire for social equality, I’m not sure. The pamphlet sprung from two contexts, really: disability and religion. 

When those clash together, you tend to get a tidal wave of prejudice. These outsider characters allowed me to draw together and explore these strands, because they, or their stories, touched on metaphoric aspects around belief – stereotype, xenophobia, sexuality, disability. These characters became vessels to embody these things. (I’m interested in words and poems as vessels for embodiment rather than just tools for description.) 'The Little White Poem', with an epigraph from 'The Little Black Boy', is kind of a satirical admittance to just how much of our tradition is white (whiteness is a motif in a few of the poems), and just how much our reflections on that -- poetic or not -- are wholly inadequate to address the real problems. Who am I to speak about these things? These are just poems, and ‘poetry makes nothing happen’, according to father Auden. It’s almost an apology for that.

Phil Brown: By interrogating so many famous loners and outsiders from the world of literature, are you subscribing to the idea that poets, by the very nature of what they do, have to be 'outsider' figures?

Mark Burnhope: Not really. To my mind, poets can be whatever they like, as long as the poems are effective in some way. I have a wide taste, and I value the mainstream: it's what got most of us into poetry, what stirred us to originally dive in, isn't it? So that's extremely valuable. But then, as I said, I also like avant-garde, strange stuff occasionally, not just because it’s strange, but because it honours complexity: a poet should be able, if he / she wishes, to deal with difficult subjects in an appropriately difficult way. So no, I don't feel the need to identify with the 'persona' of outside poet, but I do want to write honestly. Of course, that means that if a poem is extremely ‘clever’ but has forgotten to feel anything, I probably won’t take it much further, or I’ll change direction: ‘The Ideal Bed’ was going to be different, before I suddenly realized that for all its language play, it didn’t have any heart as it was. It’s very much more emotionally honest now, even if still a bit strange and suggestive.

Phil Brown: You open the pamphlet with a quotation from Wallace Stevens, who certainly had a fraught relationship with the poetry 'establishment' of his time. To what extent have Stevens and the modernists been influential on your work?

Mark Burnhope: I chose that quotation because it represented the title poem, but also addressed the reader, captured spirituality, and grief. So the line seemed all-encompassing for the whole book’s context. I love Stevens’ often over-the-top musicality: loads of assonance, alliteration. That stuff makes his poems serious (and this one’s pretty serious), but vibrant and hilarious as well. I love that he often deals with faith material, but he’s anarchic and witty in the way he challenges received religious certainty (all real faith should embrace a little agnosticism, or even a lot). 'Anecdote of the Jar' is just a Still Life poem about reflection(s), in one way; but in another, it describes a massive, *almost* magical realism transformation, where this object envelops the landscape. I've tried to take all that stuff into these poems, I think. One of the first things I absorbed when I first started workshopping seriously was the importance of the image, thanks to Pound and the Imagists, and Carlos Williams’ 'no ideas but in things'.

As far as Modernism in general goes, I spend a lot of time on the Internet, so a lot of my reading is sporadic. I tend to flick from poem to poem, poet to poet, rather than fully absorbing these massive movements (though I’ve been trying to rectify that for a while). So I’m not sure how helpful it is to make generalizations about Modernism or American poetry. Modernism is a couple of hundred years of poets, and America is a big place. So I take from Elizabeth Bishop, Eliot, Stevens, but then I scoot across to Confessionalism: Plath, Sexton, Lowell. At the beginning, that came out of the music I listened to, a lot of Seattle Grunge and Metal. Then I got a bit older, and learned the hazards of such writing, especially if one wants to be read. But I hope that honest frustration and difficult feeling is bubbling under the surface in my work. I hope that I've got what I like about Confessionalism through, in a gritted-teeth way, because I also try to be funny and joyful. Incidentally, just to go back to Lowell: I remember reading that he didn’t think he was Confessional at all. He was interested in strong, outspoken confession, but he wasn’t always using his own life material, and he was very prepared to fabricate and invent stories in order to get at emotional truth. I’m a bit like that myself, I think. So was Plath, contrary to popular opinion (myth, the land, fictional character, all served her). So confession is just another tool. If a poem is any good, it’s not self-indulgent gimmickry but a valid plea for some bloody honesty in the world.

I’m also into bits and pieces of the postmodern, avant-garde, most recently the Black Mountain movement, and their idea of page as field. I love Larry Eigner's take on that particularly, not just because he was disabled, but because his disability was an inherent part of his aesthetics and craft. It was a tool, just like the others. That fascinates me and I’m planning on pursuing it further, thinking about how one might apply it to other poetries which spring from disability.

Phil Brown: ‘The Snowboy’, as a poem, could be seen as quite confessional.

Mark Burnhope: Yes, partly, although it’s deliberately distanced by third-person. Stevens’ poem 'The Snow Man' developed my thinking about it. One of my family (I can’t remember who exactly) built this snowboy during the Christmas my partner had a miscarriage a couple of years ago. I remember staring at this structure one morning, by the time the sun had warmed the air, and the figure was deteriorating. It struck me as this perfect symbol for the silent but seething grief I felt, for a life which was never 'living', but was still a real, concrete, made thing. My partner’s pregnancy had been fairly miraculous, considering what doctors had said were my chances of fathering a child (virtually nil). I was suddenly conscious that miscarriage seems often undermined as something that ‘just happens’, instead of the tragedy that it is. 

There’s this flippant ‘Don’t worry, you can just try again’ attitude, which, like a religious doctrine, isn’t a one-size-fits-all truth. That seemed to be something nobody wanted to talk about. Snowmen seemed similar, in my strange head. You can’t write a poem about a snowman! Cliché! ‘The Snow Man’ has been done before. There was Frost’s ‘Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening.’ There’s also Raymond Briggs' 'The Snowman', which is beautiful, but it’s kids’ stuff. But the melancholy in Stevens' 'mind of winter', and even the ‘kids stuff’, was ironically very appropriate, so I knew the poem had to be written. I was drawn to solve this problem, that despite the danger of triteness, I had to get on this snowman bandwagon. ‘The Snowboy’ couldn’t be made ‘clever’, either. It had to be exactly what it was: a monument to death. If I couldn’t capture this thing without affectation, I wouldn’t bother.

Phil Brown: As well as snow and literary loners, 'the sea' becomes an important recurring theme in the pamphlet. Where does the sea fit into the thematic schema of 'The Snowboy'?

Mark Burnhope: Well, the clever-clever answer is that I'm interested in the problem of unhelpful dualities: mind, body; physical, spiritual; able, not able. Duality crops up in rhetoric and thinking around both disability and religion. Town and sea are one of these imagistic dualities that I dot around. The simple answer, though, is that I just love sea literature: Herman Melville, Hemingway, right through to Philip Gross, and everyone else writing sea poems now. People talk about ‘saturating the market’ with this, that or the other, but no; there could never be too many sea poems. Personally, I find almost perfect peace by the sea. I've lived in Bournemouth for a couple of years now, having moved there from Coventry, after having lived in London. The space and tranquility compared to the rush of the city is staggeringly cathartic. Also, it's exciting to be a part of somewhere with a literary history, particularly with Thomas Hardy and 'Wessex' in its centre. That makes place another thing I can't help but respond to. Of course, London has an incredible literary history as well -- Blake, for one -- but my move to Bournemouth happened around the same time as a massive increase in my desire to write and read very seriously, with an intention to be published.

Phil Brown: In 'Dream Invertebration' and 'The Serpentine Verses', the poetic 'I' shares an affinity with Scorpions and Snakes. Is this Ovidian branch to your writing a result of your theological background?

Mark Burnhope: Possibly, yes. I'm interested in animals, firstly. I love animals and I love animal poems. It's often been a frustration (I don't think that's too strong a word) that animals, when featured in poems, are often used crassly as metaphors for apparently more important 'human stuff'. I'm all for their use as symbols, especially in Biblical literature. But symbols are more encompassing than metaphor, and less of a straightjacket. Rather than narrowly implying that animal stands for human, I want them also to be completely themselves. Drawing on animals as mythological figures can occasionally be problematic; it can undermine their inherent 'animalness'. Why can't an animal just be an animal? Does this say something about our felt dominance over them (dominion being a big idea in traditional Christianity)? This leads me, I suppose, to be interested in knocking animals from their mythic soapboxes, just letting them crawl around on the floor and be animals.

Phil Brown: But in the lines
My legs fuse to form a scorpion tail,
rainbow over my itchy, flaky scalp in a way 
they couldn’t of course, not even over a sofa.
I quiz her on further matters maybe less
conducive to this telling. Only, she’s trying 
to fiddle the door lock with a feather, I guess 
in the fear that I might otherwise sting her.
Surely you are playing with the mythic/semiotic qualities of a scorpion, rather than using it from a purely biological stand-point?

Mark BurnhopeOh yes, absolutely, but ‘playing’ is a good word, because sometimes I’m doing it ironically. In ‘The Serpentine Verses’, I’m removing the snake from its original biblical context, and bringing it into a mundane, everyday one; deflating a myth, and making it just normal. My serpent is just an observer, unable, or just not bothered, to speak. It’s doesn’t take on an allegorical role. It colours the poem, gives it shape and structure, but its presence is morally neutral. It’s just a ‘seer’, looking on this act of love – this mutual submission of man and man. You can read further intention into it if you want (I am affirming same-sex marriage, for one thing), but here’s what happens: it’s a normal night, on a normal street, in a normal house. In the Bible, the Garden of Eden represents the world as it existed; I’ve brought the outside in, and this ‘world’ is just a couple’s house. These men are about to fuck, and a snake crawls into the room unnoticed, and then slinks out again. That’s it. The scene is trying to be beautiful for its unremarkable plainness, as is, I guess, the disabled body.

In ‘Dream Invertebration’, I'm hoping the inherent ridiculousness of this kind of metamorphosis comes across. Laurie Clements-Lambeth, in her collection Veil and Burn and particularly in the 'Reluctant Pegasus' sequence, writes about how myths and fabrications can be made around the body to support our feelings about it: embarrassment, awkwardness, disgust. In her poem, she reflects on the labels which can be pinned to the disabled body, and which ones she won't, or might inevitably have to, accept as descriptors for herself. ‘Dream invertebration’ came out of a dream someone had of me once (I can’t remember who) in which I wasn't in my wheelchair. I'd just forgotten to take it with me, left it at home (How?). Instead, I was walking on my hands. My ex wife and I were laughing about that, and I said something like: 'It's funny that I was walking on my hands, rather than just sitting on a sofa.' You know, people often say 'Oh, you're in a wheelchair?' and I often jokingly say 'Well, only during waking hours.' So the poem is really about what others imagine a wheelchair-user doing when they're not being a wheelchair-user... whatever one of those is. It ends by me having a poem critiqued on the Internet, based on that dream, and my critters being more interested in my wheelchair (which didn’t happen either, by the way, so the poem might also be about my paranoia that it will). In the end, my openness about my disability has backfired. I’ve stung myself. 

Anyway, so yes: the ‘I’ is just a person. The scorpion is just a scorpion. It’s the whole ridiculous construct, the events of the poem, doing the work of meaning… if you wish them to, that’s up to you. The poem ‘Our Jonah of Boscombe Pier’ came from the apparently true story about some guy who walked over a beached whale’s back in the middle of last century, right on the beach where I live. But my whale is just a whale. I speculate that the reason this guy jubilantly walked over it was to have some kind of mythic, religious experience of identification with the old whale tales, literary and Biblical, but the importance of that idea is undercut right at the end by a sexual innuendo. ‘Queequeg’ is a poem where the whale is more than just a whale, but Melville did some of the legwork there. I just rode him, as it were.

Phil Brown: As a writer with a physical disability, do you feel obligated to deal with issues of disability in your poetry or is it something that organically finds its way into your work?

Mark Burnhope: I have Spina bifida and Hydrocephalus, yes. 'Obligated' isn't the word, though; writing poetry in the first place isn't an obligation. For me, disability is a context from which I write, a lens through which I see the world. I'm aware that as soon as you say, 'I write about disability', some people will assume you have an agenda, or are on a soapbox. So I try to write from, rather than ‘about’ disability. Really, all poetry, all language, is culture-bound. Nothing is written in a vacuum and we can't help that. So yes, it's natural. I don't make a conscious effort to write ‘disability poems’ (if that’s what they are), and certainly I went through other ideas before finding that disability was becoming a recurring theme in the ones I was collecting together. 

My disability is an inevitable, completely mundane fact that I see no reason to deny, if I can manage to avoid the pitfalls. It’s how I live experience. All of our senses are filtered through our bodies, and there’s no generic body. So disability is an inevitable part of my work, sometimes, even when that’s not explicit and there is no ‘I’ (who of course needn’t be me anyway). I sometimes write 'I wheeled' rather than 'I walked', not because I want to say 'Hey! I'm disabled, remember?' but because I hope to make the reader more comfortable with the idea, neutralise it really. (Same goes with ‘spacker’, ‘cripple’ or even ‘fuck’.) Maybe there’s an element of redressing tradition as well. There's a lot of poetry about walking, but I don't walk. I'm not going to say I walked when I didn't, and I see no reason to wish I had in my poems. Other disabled people have a different approach, preferring to use 'walked' as a generic way of saying 'travelled', but that's mine, unless there's a good reason to speak about walking, as in 'Dream Invertebration', where I'm hardly walking in a conventional way anyway.

Phil Brown: And there is definitely the sense that the art of poetry is often concerned with defamiliarisation... and it can be of great benefit to encourage people to compare their take on 'mundane' with others'.

Mark Burnhope: Exactly. One person's mundane is another's exciting, and vice versa. A lot of people are excited by difference. But I’m trying to be honest, not different.

It’s worth me saying that my thinking about disability doesn’t have a great deal to do with naming or describing impairments (hence why so many of my poems are about construction, built things, bodies other than mine, bodies of water and land). There is a difference, in disability discourse, between two ‘models’. There’s the traditional Medical Model of Disability, which categorises us by our conditions and impairments. That’s only useful, really, for the medical industry. I try to write from the Social Model – first given a name in the 80’s, I think – whereby it is our environment which disables us. The opposite of an enabling environment is a disabling one. Prejudice, ignorance; lack of access to jobs, services, buildings: if all those things didn’t exist, the word ‘disabled’ might become obsolete, and we’d all just be people. If that sounds like I’m talking about Utopia, that’s because I am. 

But talk to the majority of physically disabled people themselves (attitudes vary, in mental health or deaf community for example), and that social model reflects an overwhelming majority way of thinking about their lives. That idea – that however diverse in our bodies, we share a vast amount of common experience, and that’s what binds us – allows me to open the umbrella to talk about all prejudices I’m concerned with, including those religious hot potatoes. The Social Model provides a framework, a landscape, and the materials to build upon it.

Phil Brown: Your career as a poet has got off to a great start and your pamphlet is clearly the work of someone with a strong future in literature. Do you have plans for a full length collection in the future?

Mark Burnhope: Thank you, that’s very kind. Yes, eventually. At the moment, though, I'm happy to keep trying out the magazines, write reviews, read reams and reams. I have a lot to learn; too much poetry, not enough days in the year. As far as collections go, I've been playing around with a couple of other pamphlet ideas. I'm excited by the potential of the pamphlet, as an object and artefact, really; I'm excited that they can contain ideas which are organic and might change. They're snapshots sometimes, a working through of aesthetics maybe not fully-formed yet. I'm happy to stay in that territory for a good while before I bite the first collection bullet, I think.

Phil BrownIf somebody wanted to write a poem that was the exact opposite of the sort of poetry you write... what would they have to do?

Mark Burnhope: Something which was entirely skeptical -- nay, downright dismissive -- of feeling. The first poetry I loved was William Blake, Sylvia Plath, Dylan Thomas: the impulse to speak about God, suffering, the land and our place in it. These days, there are so many barriers against delivering that kind of material effectively. I suppose, to be my antithesis, you'd have to give up trying, or just not be interested. You'd have to treat the poem entirely as an academic exercise. Speaking of which, I don't think I've used the word 'kaleidoscopic' once during this interview, have I? Sorry about that.

Mark Burnhope’s debut pamphlet, The Snowboy (Salt), is available to buy now.

Thursday, 4 August 2011

Silkworms Ink 2.0 Teaser #1

Silkworms Ink 2.0 Teaser from Philip Brown on Vimeo.

No, we aren't starting a series of Tom Waits assassinations, nor are we starting a series of dedications to Poetry Society interns or my girlfriend's new housemate (both of whom are lovely Marthas in their own way). We do however, have an exciting new partnership with a poet I respect and admire to be announced officially in the coming weeks which is going to rock your world... or at least get you to come to a few more live events.

Stay tuned.

Phil Brown
Poetry Editor

Monday, 1 August 2011

An open letter to readers of the popular new writing website, Silkworms Ink

RIP Lucian Freud, a man who wrote excellent letters


We were intending to post this a week or three ago, but then some Society had some sort of Meeting (or something) that got a bit shouty, so shouty that NOT A SINGLE PUNCH WAS THROWN, and so we decided to let Phil ‘EGM’s most affable bachelor’ Brown splash around the blog by himself for a while. And hasn’t he done well? Welcome, readers new; we’re thrilled Silkworms’ #PoSocEGM coverage has been useful, and look forward to showing you around the new site come the autumn (same goes for you, regulars and old hands, obviously).

The new site. More on that later. First, a bit of recent history.

Prior to THE IMPLOSION OF POETRY, we’d gone a bit quiet, having spent the preceding year and a bit spraying out shimmering new writing and incisive commentary on an almost daily basis. Friends, the flow had dwindled to a trickle. Silkworms As Was was a thrilling, if slightly chaotic place to be: a platform for a weekly mini-zine comprising of short articles about poetry, fiction, music, film and theatre, along with a chapbook of new work, a literary mixtape and a very small essay. Each riffing off an arbitrary theme (to revisit some of these, open your exercise books here). All four (then six) Silkworms editors were spending the time we had rifling through submissions, commissioning new work, and filling in the gaps with our own writing. Without giving ourselves the opportunity to ask: why? Why are we throwing all this stuff into the internet.

It took putting together chapbook L, our fiftieth, fattest, most well-connected publication yet – and being forced to slow down in order to worry about previously IGNORABLE things like subbing and COHERENT ORDERING and so forth – to make us realise…

We didn’t want to be just another blog-led website with a publication arm stuck onto it, like the poems on of our 100% cotton t-shirts. We wanted to really grab hold of and bloody utilise the new technologies and ever-expanding networks we’d taken for granted for 400 days – in a way that they hadn’t been utilised before. To help us metamorph into the first fully-realised, fully-streamlined, fully-equipped, fully-electric publishing house willing to dedicate itself to the catalysing, editing, writing, producing, displaying, reframing, curating, polishing, SWILLING AND SPITTING OUT of genuine eclectica. To help us do, in short, something different.

That was, and remains, the plan. A plan that clearly requires a great deal of time to be spent on development, commissioning, collaboration-making, path-clearing etc. in preparation for our MASSIVE RE-LAUNCH, scheduled for the end of the summer. In our first month of (relative) quiet, we’ve achieved a great deal, and designs have been refined, functionalities conceived, books written, venues booked and several other things. In our second month, we intend to finish off achieving these ends, and find at least five more ends to achieve. By the end of August, at least twelve ends will have been achieved and then, THEN we can talk. Hopefully you’ll find a place to read, to write, to talk, to listen, to reflect, to lurk, to learn, to forget, to offend, to plot…

So anyway, at this midway point between Silkworms 1.0 and Silkworms 2.0 – Silkworms 1.5, then? – we thought it would be polite to remind y’all of where we were, to let you know where we’re going, and to keep you reasonably abreast of what we’re doing at the moment. (Beyond offering indispensable resources for PoetryGate rubberneckers the world over.) So that when you have a think about who you’d like to publish your next collection of poems with; or who you’d like to propose an investigative or scholarly project to; or who you’d like to work with on your PARADIGM-REDEFINING idea for an event; or who you’d like to host the best thing you’ve ever written alongside the best thing a bunch of other people have written…

So that when you have that think, you think of us. Seriously, our future depends on the input of brilliant people – and as soon as possible, because we can’t keep rinsing the brilliant people we’ve already worked with (as brilliant as they are). So start a conversation, and let’s see where we can take it:

We look forward to talking to you all, throughout August, and then exploding from our silky chrysalis before autumn descends. Until then,

James, Phil, Jon, Sam and Rowan
Editors, Silkworms Ink

A rather less excitable reflection on Silkworms’ genesis, chapbook ‘L’ and the phenomenon we’re rather predictably calling The New Publishing can be perused in the latest issue of Arts Professional magazine, behind (alack) a paywall. We’ll liberate the article here in a few days’ time.

Sunday, 31 July 2011

Poetry Society 1000 Votes Reached

Poetry Society Petition Reaches 1000 Votes from Philip Brown on Vimeo.

A short video of thanks to all who got involved with the recent petition put forward by George Szirtes.

Phil Brown
Poetry Editor

Poetry Society EGM - Who's Signed So Far?

A cloud of support

Have you signed yet? These guys have...

1000. Ella Duffy 999. AJ Ashworth 998. Laura Fernandez-Kayne 997. Tinashe Mushakavanhu 996. Michael Scott 995. Chris Port 994. Ben Cartwright 993. Anjali Desai 992. Carole Bell 991. Simon Barraclough 990. Ra Page 989. Sue Spencer 988. Natalie Haynes 987. Jane Schaffer 986. Richie Brown 985. Robert Mullen 984. Peter Doyle 983. Imtiaz Dharker 982. Denni Turp 981. Fiona Beaton 980. Linda Black 979. Robert Beake 978. Jean Johnstone 977. Wendy Milne 976. Ian Blyth 975. Norman Bissell 974. Jacqueline Bradley 973. Julia Webb 972. Felicity Brookesmith 971. Robert Alan Jamieson 970. Terry Kelly 969. Jean Johnstone 968. Richard O'Brien 967. Laura Marsh 966. Maurice Riordan 965. Leela Soma 964. Shawn Mulachy 963. Anthony Farmer 962. Miriam Johnson 961. Daniel Barrow Barrow 960. Pey Colborne 959. Sonia Hendy-Isaac 958. Lesley Cookman 957. Ken Homes 956. Sharon Champion 955. Gwyneth Lewis 954. Heather Jones 953. Charlotte Geater 952. Victoria Ramsay Ramsay 951. Marilyn Ricci Ricci 950. Robert Doughty 949. Mary Hamer 948. Rachel Davies 947. JANET BAIRD 946. Annabel Chown 945. Lindsay Balderson 944. Philip Fried 943. Rob Lowe 942. Helena Petre 941. Heather Neill 940. Graham Burchell 939. Andrea Holland 938. Peter Halliwell 937. Jamie Jones 936. Sally Warrell 935. Rebecca Farmer 934. Eric Beston 933. Peter Davis 932. Annie Fisher 931. anne-marie fyfe 930. Cahal Dallat 929. Angela Rees-Jones 928. Bohdan Piasecki 927. Rebecca Guy Ver 926. Patience Agbabi 925. David Thomas 924. Margaret Speak 923. Susan Mackervoy 922. Andy Jackson 921. The Itinerant Poetry Librarian 920. JULIE O'CALLAGHAN 919. DENNIS O'DRISCOLL 918. patrick mcGuinness 917. Kenny Knight 916. Helen Dewbery 915. alicia stubbersfield 914. Miriam Scott 913. greg delanty 912. Matilda Leyser 911. Ann Atkinson Atkinson 910. Graham Mummery 909. Lawrence Sail 908. Michele Poet 907. Mary Stacey 906. Barbara Randall 905. Jim Dening 904. Simon Altmann 903. Timothy Walker 902. Jonathan Barker 901. helen constantine constantine 900. Katie Fesel 899. Ann Alexander 898. Hannah Copley 897. Bob Dew 896. Nadine Brummer 895. Elaine Borthwick 894. Benjamin Scott 893. Daniel Powell 892. Jennifer Hunt 891. Trish Davis 890. Peter Mortimer Mortimer 889. Jane Kite 888. Neil Astley 887. Joshua Allen 886. Susanne Chowdhury 885. cary archard archard 884. Sophie Yeomans 883. Pat Borthwick Borthwick 882. Paul McLoughlin 881. diana wilson 880. Nick Jarvis 879. Caroline Cook 878. Hannah Thomson 877. Don Paterson 876. Gabrielle Hatfield 875. Sarah Kemp 874. Donald Atkinson 873. Paul HYLAND 872. John Tufail 871. John Brown 870. David Brown 869. Esther Morgan 868. Caitlin Heffernan 867. Lyn Stephens Stephens 866. Jane Monson 865. Matthew Gregory 864. Tim Cockburn 863. Bill Greenwell 862. Clive McWilliam 861. Doug Robertson 860. Sue Rose 859. Hugh Dunkerley 858. Geoff Hands 857. Bill Trüb 856. Miki Byrne 855. Jenny Gladstone 854. Sarah Dallat-Laverty 853. maura dooley 852. Avril Staple 851. Stewart Conn 850. Julia Copus 849. padrika tarrant 848. Marc R. Sherland 847. James Goodman 846. Bill Greenwell 845. Sophie Hannah 844. Joelle Taylor 843. John Osborne 842. Rosalind Fairclough 841. Anthony Martel 840. Ruth Wiggins 839. Michael Skaife d'Ingerthorpe 838. Clive Watkins 837. david and helen constantine 836. Andrew Forster 835. Samantha Christie 834. Cahal Dallat 833. Nessa O'Mahony 832. Jane Draycott 831. Emily Dening 830. Ramona Herdman 829. Chris Scott 828. Gregory Dowling 827. Vicky Kimm 826. Marianne Burton 825. Nicholas Murray 824. Heather Danson 823. matthew lanyon 822. victoria bean 821. Caroline Gilfillan 820. Melanie Drane 819. Rachel Mikos 818. Alison Brackenbury 817. Lucy Collins 816. Kathleen Bainbridge 815. Janan Saab 814. Lynn Roberts 813. Ted Millichap 812. Phil Barrett 811. Jane Duran 810. Philip Gross 809. Helen Cherry 808. Jacqueline Saphra 807. Bobby Parker 806. Grevel Lindop 805. John Haynes 804. Mary Rozmus-West 803. Charles Lauder, Jr 802. Martin Alexander 801. dan wyke 800. Catherine Gardner 799. Alan Hayes 798. Keith Roberts 797. Rose Flint Flint 796. Matthew Rice 795. Beverley Kemp 794. Tiffany Atkinson 793. Steve Thomas 792. Judith Marsh 791. Sophia Roberts 790. Bill Swainson 789. Theo Dorgan 788. Charles Christian 787. Russell Turner 786. David Borrott 785. Emma bragginton 784. Lavinia Greenlaw 783. Steve Rudd (inventor of Potty Poetry, poet, visionary and seer) 782. Siofra MaCherie 781. Jerry Carr-Brion 780. Llinora Milner . 779. Rosemaris Jesson 778. Elena Kaufman 777. Carol DeVaughn 776. Emma Lee 775. Anneliese Emmans Dean 774. Juliet England 773. Olivia Waldron 772. Richard Parkinson 771. Robin Taylor Gilbert 770. Maria Bennett 769. Margaret Wilmot 768. Fahima Sahabdeen 767. Chris Meade 766. Siobhan Evans 765. David Wheatley 764. John Lucas 763. Jeff Taylor 762. Rosie Godfrey 761. Shirley Jones 760. B Wheeler 759. stuart pickford 758. Jeremy PAGE 757. Naomi Alderman 756. Sheila Preston 755. Diane Simkin 754. Valerie Striker 753. Sarah Duckworth 752. Marcelle Olivier 751. Nigel Fortune 750. Frances-Anne King 749. Linda Marlowe 748. Jane Knights 747. Roger Boylan 746. Joanna Wilsher 745. Judy Prince 744. Desmond Clarke 743. Fleur Adcock 742. Ian Pindar 741. Stuart Charlesworth 740. David Oprava 739. Noreen Drake -Stoker 738. kaaren Whitney 737. BARBARA DORDI DORDI 736. Cathy Moore 735. John Harrison 734. Nicole O'Driscoll 733. Duncan MacLaurin 732. ANN Gray 731. marion tracy 730. Edward Fox 729. Kate Bonfield 728. Keith Armstrong Armstrong 727. Michael Loveday 726. Mary Gilonne 725. Christine Coleman 724. Robert Holbach 723. Christine Wain-Heapy 722. Jo Field 721. Howard Young 720. Benjamin Morris 719. Alana James 718. Lisa Gee 717. Bev Robinson 716. caroline richardson 715. Dot Cobley 714. Glyn Davies 713. Jenny Hutchings 712. Wendy Klein 711. Bernie Morgan 710. Sarah Passingham 709. Jennie Bailey 708. Tom Stevenson 707. Paulene H 706. Pauline Keith 705. Neil mac Neil 704. Michael Horovitz 703. Tim Parks 702. Berko Berkavitch 701. John Smallshaw Smallshaw 700. Sophie Mayer 699. Richard Crockatt 698. Richard Roberts 697. Val Dunmore-Francis 696. Mark Cobley 695. Jenny Hope 694. Valerie Darville 693. ZOFIA DYMITR 692. Adam Wyeth 691. Annie Bishop 690. pippa little 689. Roger Collett 688. Michael Hutchinson 687. Tom Gardner 686. Josh Williams 685. Pippa Chapman 684. Frances Spalding 683. Lisa Wilson 682. Alice Huzar 681. Mark Bond-Webster 680. Melanie Prince 679. paul askew 678. Susie Burns 677. Brian F Docherty 676. Darrelyn Gunzburg 675. Veronika Bowker 674. Helen Szirtes 673. Roger Thompson 672. hugo lambton 671. Simon Smith 670. Rachel Hore 669. Lorna Thorpe 668. Carole Coates 667. Kona Macphee 666. Nigel McLoughlin 665. Ian Crockatt 664. Sasha Dugdale 663. Frances Clarke 662. ALISON MILLER 661. Marina Warner 660. Henry Fisher 659. Julian Turner 658. Jonathan Davidson 657. Morag Styles 656. Jacky Tarleton Tarleton 655. Marialuisa Stella 654. Michael Scott Byrne 653. Colin Ford CBE 652. Liz Berry 651. Alan Buckley 650. John McAuliffe 649. Maximilian Ellis 648. Derek Morris 647. Paul Henry 646. Simon Dalley 645. Linda Grant 644. Aileen La Tourette 643. Crysse Morrison 642. Roy Woolley 641. Camilla McLean 640. Kevin Cadwallender 639. William Palmer 638. Laura Barnes 637. Anjali Joseph 636. Michael Carver Carver . 635. Rosemary Norman 634. Luke Wright 633. geoff rowe 632. Will Wilson 631. Adele Clifford 630. David Craythorne 629. Daniel Sluman 628. Caroline Davies 627. Alan Harper 626. Rosie Blagg 625. Graham Norman 624. David Whitley 623. Isobel Montgomery Campbell 622. Bruce Barnes 621. Martin Zarrop 620. Patrizia Longhitano 619. Peter Gruffydd Gruffydd 618. Michael Wyndham 617. Andrew McDonnell 616. Ashley Bovan 615. Simon Martin 614. Dorothy Fryd 613. Michael Woods 612. Veronica Zundel 611. stephen cross 610. Linda Herbertson 609. Sally Douglas 608. Michael Thomas 607. Ron Capell 606. Jude Cowan Montague Cowan Montague 605. Rona Hamilton 604. Lindy Barbour 603. Kathy Miles 602. Chris Neale 601. Sheena Clover 600. Catherine Czerkawska 599. Christian Ward 598. Maria McCarthy 597. Phil Bowen 596. valerie pargeter 595. Anthony Ellis 594. Julie Hammerton 593. Susan Burns 592. Jeanette Burton 591. Sarah Rudston 590. Mandy Precious 589. David Gwynne Harries 588. Helen Clare 587. Louise Halvardsson 586. Wullie Purcell 585. sherry pasquarello pasquarello 584. Christie Williamson 583. Linda Johnson 582. Alasdair Paterson 581. Diane Cockburn 580. David Austin 579. Glenna O'Neill 578. Rachel Bennett 577. Kaye Lee 576. Catherine McLoughlin 575. Dawn Morris 574. Meg Peacocke 573. MARIE CLOWES 572. Hattie Grünewald 571. Helen Cadbury 570. angela croft 569. meriel malone 568. Wils Wilson 567. Ruth Stacey 566. Diana Brodie 565. Lesley Quayle 564. Neil Morris 563. Kay COTTON 562. Mick Wood 561. Sue Moules 560. Linda Innes 559. Fanny Gapper 558. Anna Crowe 557. Andrea Ball 556. audrey yeardley 555. Matt Howard 554. Anne Rouse 553. Petra Collis 552. Maureen Jeffs 551. Jane Yeh 550. Janice Windle 549. Kirsten Irving 548. Gareth Writer-Davies 547. Harry Man . 546. Janetta Otter-Barry 545. Seán Street 544. Elizabeth Burns 543. R V BAILEY 542. Judith Taylor 541. Bill Tasker 540. Carola Luther 539. Faye Fornasier 538. Douglas Dunn Dunn 537. Steve Carroll 536. Chris Beckett 535. Frances Sword OBE 534. Cathy Bolton 533. Jon Glover 532. Jim Farley 531. Nancy Mattson 530. Catherine Smith 529. Kei Miller 528. Paul St George 527. Lesley Stokell 526. Jena Winberry 525. Joanne Clement 524. Ama Bolton 523. Sarah Wheeler 522. Simon Austin 521. John A. Sampson 520. Sarah Hobbs 519. sue boyle 518. Lynne Hjelmgaard 517. Susan Watson 516. Elaine Baker 515. Nick Asbury 514. Ian Duhig 513. Maggie Hannan 512. Lynn Woollacott 511. Fran Brearton 510. Mark Husmann 509. Kathleen Jones 508. Simon Barraclough 507. Kath Lloyd 506. David McKelvie 505. Alex Hammond 504. Julie Corbett 503. Jo Radcliffe 502. Luke Kennard 501. Wayne Holloway-Smith 500. Lesley Ingram 499. Anna Robinson 498. Sally Goldsmith 497. Jennie Osborne 496. Corina Papouis 495. Calum Kerr 494. Nick Stone 493. Valerie Josephs 492. Elizabeth Rimmer 491. Samantha Wynne-Rhydderch 490. Jessica Van Doremalen 489. Eleanor Livingstone 488. James Sutherland-Smith 487. Helen Lawrenson 486. jules wilkinson 485. Rebecca Perry 484. Jane McKie 483. Rose Hawley 482. Celia Mitchell 481. Maureen Jivani 480. Robbie Guillory 479. Stewart Hildred 478. Christopher Barnes 477. Hayley Newman 476. Pam Zinnemann-Hope 475. Nancy Campbell 474. Rupert Lally 473. Mandy Haggith 472. Geraldine Green 471. Simon Craft-Stanley 470. Edmund Matyjaszek 469. Dafydd Pritchard 468. Brian Johnstone 467. Herman Deetman 466. Ashley Lister 465. Brigid Smith 464. Andy Willoughby 463. Nikki Magennis 462. Maggie Butt 461. Michael Schmidt 460. Susan Wicks 459. Simon Armitage 458. Choman Hardi 457. Kevin Crossley-Holland 456. Alyson Hallett 455. Robin Bowles 454. Douglas Houston 453. harriet proudfoot 452. Patricia Oxley 451. Ruth Aylett 450. Will Carr 449. John Mackay 448. Andrew Biswell 447. Martin Burton 446. Stephen Elves Elves 445. Douglas Houston . 444. Adam Strickson 443. Jessica Holifield 442. Catherine Burton 441. Keith Parker 440. Ian McLachlan 439. Cathy Strawson 438. Lance Pierson 437. Steven Waling 436. Claire Crowther 435. Lynne Rees 434. Katherine Venn 433. Aaron ben-Joseph 432. Rusty Gladdish 431. Stephen Tunnicliffe Tunnicliffe 430. Simon R Gladdish 429. Alex MacDonald 428. Ute Penny 427. Alwyn Marriage 426. Jenny Price 425. Deborah Alma 424. Sylvie Sims 423. Zoe Redgrove 422. Stephanie Norgate 421. Jenny Shepherd 420. Abegail Morley 419. Jon Turney 418. Helen Taylor 417. Roselle Angwin 416. Ann Drysdale 415. Kate Fox 414. Jen Wainwright 413. Sandy East 412. Petra K 411. Diana Reich 410. Peter Forbes 409. David Peter 408. Anna Kisby 407. will stone 406. VICKI FEAVER 405. David Morphet 404. Rob Spence 403. Nick MacKinnon 402. River Jones 401. Daffni Percival 400. Arabella Harvey 399. David Chapman 398. Geraldine Paine 397. Rodney Wood 396. C J Driver DRIVER 395. Richard Price 394. Marion McCready 393. Jehane Markham 392. Richard Livermore 391. Margaret Beston 390. Charles Bennett 389. William Ayot 388. shirley may 387. mao oliver 386. Kate Noakes 385. Maura Hazelden 384. Sarah Jackson 383. Antony Dunn 382. Tamar Yoseloff 381. Colin Will 380. John Glenday 379. Fran Martel 378. Claire Dyer 377. Ira Lightman 376. Ani Jackson 375. Jon Gamble 374. Laurie Smith . 373. Erika Glenday 372. Michael Mackmin 371. George Roberts 370. david lebor 369. ALISON BRACKENBURY 368. Sarah Miller 367. Laura-Jane Foley 366. Donna Collier 365. Jonathan Ng 364. Van Howell 363. Al Barz 362. amanda bellamy 361. Joy Ill 360. Pauline Rowe Rowe 359. Chris Gribble 358. Carole Humphreys 357. Eliza Gregory 356. James Harringman 355. Julie Boden 354. Jon Stone 353. angela Readman 352. Pamela Robertson-Pearce 351. Luke Smith 350. Jack Underwood 349. Joan Hewitt 348. Aine MacAodha 347. Alan Baker 346. Nicki Hastie 345. Kate Compston 344. joe sherman . 343. James Gardner 342. A C Clarke 341. Morelle Smith 340. Jenny Swann 339. David James 338. Julia Gaze 337. Daphne Williamson Williamson 336. Nicky Guthrie 335. Richard Woodcock 334. Alison Miller 333. Lorraine Mariner 332. Morag Massey 331. Frances Causer 330. Angela France 329. Helen Dunmore 328. Dom Waters 327. Liane Strauss 326. Barbara Farley 325. Tom Richardson 324. Peter Howard 323. Polly Atkin 322. Edward Power 321. Mark Roper 320. Karen Dennison 319. Penelope Young Young 318. Victoria Heath 317. Robbie Burton 316. Norbert Hirschhorn 315. Alastair Niven 314. Ian W King 313. james Grant 312. Mark Granier 311. Paul Claridge 310. Alexander Mcmillen 309. Kim Morrissey 308. Zaffar Kunial 307. hazel buchan cameron 306. Professor Diane DeBell 305. Marius Kociejowski 304. Fiona Finlay 303. Alastair Cook 302. Valerie Laws 301. derrick porter 300. Sean McCann 299. Pamela Johnson 298. Pat Jourdan 297. Sabine Pascarelli 296. Pascale Petit 295. Tony Turner 294. Andy Ching 293. Jen Hamilton-Emery 292. Matthew Johnson 291. Phil Simmons 290. Justin Coe 289. Joanna Watson 288. Elly Nobbs 287. Alexandra Buchler 286. Cliff Yates 285. Colette Bryce 284. jane colman 283. Jocelyn Page 282. Ben Holden 281. Linda Parkes 280. will kemp 279. Stevie Ronnie 278. Dorothy Yamamoto McCarthy 277. Victor Tapner 276. Jane Routh 275. Zoe Benbow 274. Leih Steggall 273. Patrick Widdess 272. Amanda Dalton 271. Sophie Breese 270. Matt Merritt 269. Charlotte Beyer 268. Charlotte Kirin 267. Anthony Fisher 266. Valerie Morton 265. felicity alma 264. Rosemary Barrett 263. Elle Zwandahl 262. Angela Topping 261. Julia Copus 260. Roy Cross 259. Colin Begg 258. Roz Quillan Chandler 257. Bethany Helen Durham 256. Hilary Elfick Hilary Elfick 255. Adrienne Odasso 254. Sarah Westcott 253. Jean Sprackland 252. Matt Bryden 251. Heather Holden 250. John Thake 249. Deej Fabyc Art 248. Isabel White 247. Les Bell 246. Jonathan Wonham 245. Davina Prince 244. Christopher North 243. Rob La Frenais 242. Anthony Howell 241. Jan Bay-Petersen 240. ripa haque 239. Adrian Rice 238. Zoe Piponides 237. Hugh Bryden Bryden 236. Fawzia Kane 235. joanna walsh 234. Nicola Bray 233. Mónika Mesterházi 232. Pc Evans 231. Tony Keeton 230. Kate Scott 229. Carolyn Jess-Cooke 228. Kathryn Maris 227. Joanne Limburg 226. Gail Cameron 225. Alex Pryce 224. Rahil Anwar 223. Charlotte Gann 222. Kate Clanchy 221. Mal Dewhirst 220. Peter Richards 219. Clare Crossman 218. Caroline Carver 217. Roddy Lumsden 216. Ron Scowcroft 215. Annie Kerr 214. joan michelson michelson 213. Amy Key 212. David Wilkinson 211. helen oyeyemi 210. Ingrid Andersen 209. Jenny Lewis 208. Gill Learner 207. Naomi Foyle 206. carole satyamurti 205. Frank Bright 204. Carmel Waldron 203. Strider Jones 202. john weston 201. Michelle McGrane 200. JOANNA BOULTER 199. Zoe Brigley Thompson 198. Tim Reid 197. Derek Adams 196. S.V. Wolfland 195. Katie Moudry 194. Maria McCann 193. maggie sawkins Sawkins 192. Roz Goddard 191. Deryn Rees-Jones 190. Owen Sheers Sheers 189. Charlotte Hartung Nolsoe 188. Clarissa Upchurch 187. Sarah Salway 186. Jo Bell 185. Sullivan the Poet 184. Jules Mann 183. Helen Gregory 182. David Floyd 181. Helen Ivory 180. Edmund Prestwich 179. Max Wallis 178. Laura McKee 177. Iain Stewart 176. BRYAN OWEN 175. louise hill 174. MARILYN LONGSTAFF 173. Nigel Pollitt 172. Shirley Lee . 171. June English 170. Mark Burnhope 169. ann Kelley kelley 168. Yara Delinquent 167. Rik Wilkinson 166. Lynda How 165. Tim Turnbull 164. Tammy Ho 163. Wendy French 162. Chris Allinson 161. Liam Carson 160. Emily Hasler 159. Kate Potts 158. Judi Sutherland 157. Mark-Sue Lozynskyj 156. Fiona Moore 155. Sascha van der Aa 154. Lindsey Holland 153. Andrew Philip 152. Lesley Saunders 151. Alan Garvey 150. Timothy Adès 149. Lindsay Fursland 148. Nicolas Williams 147. Jackie Litherland 146. Christina Patterson 145. Jon Sayers 144. Lindsey Thomas 143. Paul Ranford 142. JAMES FLYNN 141. Agnes Lehoczky 140. Peter Berry 139. Anne Maney 138. Liz Loxley 137. Denise McSheehy 136. Julia O'Brien 135. Diana Gittins 134. Niall O'Sullivan 133. James Womack 132. Atar Hadari 131. Jane Dobson 130. Stephen Wilson 129. Vanessa Lee 128. Claire-jane Carter 127. Elaine Ruth White 126. John Clegg 125. Jonathan Briggs 124. Matthew Sweeney 123. audrey ar ardern-jones 122. Lisa Gershon 121. Sue Dymoke 120. Chris Holifield 119. Nicky Phillips 118. Claudia Daventry 117. Vanessa Weedon-Jones 116. John a'Beckett 115. Roger McGough McGough 114. David Belbin 113. Sarah Gooderson 112. Sue Guiney 111. Mary O'Donnell 110. marek urbanowicz 109. joelle taylor 108. Chris Considine Considine 107. Jim Barron 106. Jane Holland 105. Peter Ryley 104. julie-ann rowell 103. John Wheway 102. Matthew Francis 101. Peter Daniels 100. Anne Cluysenaar Cluysenaar 99. Alistair McCulloch 98. Sally Baker 97. Bernardine Evaristo 96. Diane Slaney 95. Michael Shann 94. Mark Niel 93. Sandy Solomon 92. Davena Hooson 91. Patrick Early 90. donald gardner 89. Roderic Vincent 88. James Hamilton 87. Kevin O'Neill 86. Michelene Wandor 85. Rowan Fortune 84. Julia Bird 83. Katy Evans-Bush 82. Catherine Brennan 81. Andy Booobier 80. Gregory Woods 79. Isobel Dixon 78. Jan Fortune 77. chris gutkind . 76. Victoria Cichy 75. Lucy Lepchani 74. Meryl Pugh 73. Fitch O'Connell 72. Martin Figura 71. Keith Lander 70. Gerry Cambridge 69. Jeremy Page 68. Claire Trévien 67. Marilyn Francis 66. Nina Boyd 65. Susan Atkins . 64. Graham Mort 63. Leona Medlin 62. menna elfyn 61. Adam Horovitz 60. Michael Swan 59. DR BOAST 58. Clare Pollard 57. Karin Koller 56. Anne-Marie Fyfe 55. David Kirk 54. Carole Bromley 53. Chris Preddle 49. Jill Townsend 48. Richard Deakin 47. Rebecca Scambler 46. Joy Howard 45. Justin Gowers 44. Norman Andrews 43. Dante Micheaux 42. John Snelling 41. Gabriel Griffin 40. Josephine Dickinson Dickinson 39. Lucy Wood 38. Alessio Zanelli 37. Neil Astley Astley 36. Michael Spilberg 35. Clive Birnie 34. Jane North 33. Sheenagh Pugh 32. Diana Pooley 31. Janet Fisher Fisher 30. Mark O'Brien 29. Paul McGrane 28. Lyn Moir 27. Nancy Hynes 26. Phil Brown 25. A.F. Harrold 24. Tom Chivers 23. LUCIUS REDMAN 22. Wayne Burrows 21. Barry Tempest 20. MAURICE RIORDAN 19. sally evans 18. Ros Barber 17. Bert Molsom 16. Lydia Macpherson 15. Anne Berkeley 14. Carrie Etter 13. Poetry Society 12. Pippa Hennessy 11. Louise Wilson 10. Chrissie Gittins 9. John Siddique 8. Polly Clark 7. Judith Chernaik 6. Tanya White 5. penelope shuttle 4. Anne Vinden 3. Chris Hamilton-Emery 2. Eva Salzman 1. Donna Sparrowhawk