New publication, some gigs and a big project

Happy March everyone! But firstly, let’s momentarily go back to the end of February, and the publication of Fuselit’s latest journal, Contraption.

I’ve been looking forward to this for ages, not just because it features one of my poems, but because editors Jon Stone and Kirsten Irving go above and beyond what you’d expect from a small press. Each issue of the journal is built around a spur word, which informs not just the poetry inside but the physical makeup of the magazine. Handbound and crafted from lovely paper, it’s the extra touches that make Fuselit’s publication such a joy: in this case, a gold box of treats in the form of a bonus booklet of experimental poetry, a tongue-in-cheek user’s manual (with hilarious instructions for various personality traits), and a CD with music and a text adventure game.

It’s truly lovely, and I’m delighted with my copy. There’s poetry from Joe Dunthorne, Claire Trévien, Niall O’Sullivan, Sophia Blackwell, Chrissy Williams and lots more! If you want one, it’s just £7 – though you can view it here for free. There are a couple of really positive reviews here and here!

I’ve got whole bunch of gigs coming up in the next few weeks. I’ve got feature slots at Arts Admin’s The Jam on Thursday 15 March, then in April it’s Kiss the Sky with Mark Niel and hosts Mel Jones and Alan Wolfson on Wednesday 4th, Bang Said the Gun on Thursday 12th and the final of Poetry Rivals on the 21st – plus, more than likely, I’ll be hosting The Word House in April (stay tuned for a definite date!).

Aside from recent hosting duties and the epic Page Match at the end of Feb, it feels like I’ve taken a step back from regular performing recently due to other work. I love hosting other poets and putting together nights like Grand Verse Quarto, but I’m definitely looking forward to having my own, longer sets at these gigs. I enjoy the challenge of putting together 15-20 minutes of material for an audience, and the reward when it comes off is brilliant. I’m still casting about for gigs, so if you’re interested in booking me, do drop me a line!

Speaking of work, I’m really excited by a new project that I’m about to begin. You may have seen or been part of the crowdsourced poems I put together for Escape to Create and Kaleidoscope Gallery. I’ll be launching the call for words and lines for a brand new crowdsourced poem on Monday 16th March – it’ll be the biggest and most ambitious one to date! I’ll be posting links and more details very soon, but the easiest way to find out about it is to follow me on Twitter – I’m @dansimpsonpoet.

Lastly, it’s great to see spoken word being covered in the media recently. First Dean Atta’s response to the Stephen Lawrence trial went viral, then Mark Grist stormed into the public eye through Don’t Flop. Inua Ellams featured in The Metro last week, and Murray Lachlan Young is part of 6 Music’s 10th Birthday celebration. Bridget Minamore performed a poem for International Women’s Day over at Huffington Post, Bang Said the Gun and Lemn Sissay had slots on Channel 4’s Random Acts. Recently, it feels like spoken word is gathering momentum, and that it’s starting to be known more and more widely. More power to that.

- Dan

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