Things are bubbling along. The autumn issue of Poetry Review is pretty well sealed up: a tight fit, more than tight, even after cuts and slashes. Flyers etc for the Free Verse bookfair will be done next week, as also the sorting out of the readings programme for that day – and here again, because there is no possible way that all the proposals for readings put forward by the presses can possibly be fitted in, there will have to be – as I’m sure Cameron has said, and Brown before him, and Blair too – tough choices. A lot of people will be disappointed.
Extras at the book fair (none of these will eat into the time available for the readings) will include workshops run by Daljit Nagra and Nancy Campbell, put on in association with the Poetry School and held in the sublime setting of the upstairs café at Candid Arts, the bookfair venue. Links to those here and here. Also (not finally confirmed, but hoping) a set by Brooke Sharkey, who at last year’s book fair in Exmouth Market came in from busking on the street to go up on the stage.
CBe is pleased and proud this week to learn that Beverley Bie Brahic’s White Sheets is shortlisted for the 2012 Forward Prize. If you go to the foot of the Books page on the CBe website, you can buy White Sheets and Brahic’s translations of Francis Ponge and of Apollinaire all for £20.
The Forward shortlists, both for the main prize and the first-collection prize, have been greeted with some delight and surprise. One Faber book on the first-collection list; nothing from Cape or Picador. This may be timely. There’s an arrogance in certain places that could do with taking a knock. Wanting the Free Verse book fair to be inclusive, to show the whole range, we invited Picador, Cape and Faber. Picador eventually replied, and it looks like they’ll be there. Emails to Cape were not replied to; eventually I got through to someone in sales who was interested but said the table hire would have to come out of the marketing and not the sales budget, and gave me another number; despite messages left on an answerphone, the trail went dead. With Faber, more unanswered emails; I’ve been asking them since before Christmas; they’d need to have a ‘meeting’, they eventually said, before they could decide; that meeting still hasn’t taken place, or if it has they haven’t bothered to tell me.