My copy of the Autumn issue of Poetry London popped through the post today (Post, you say? Oh yeah – ) and lo and behold it contains a review – the first in print – of my book How To Build A City. I’m pretty ecstatic. That horribly talented Luke Kennard was tasked with perusing my poems, and found them… to his taste.
Here are some choice cuts:
Worse luck, How To Build A City is so good it scares me. It’s a debut collection which is angry, vital and constantly surprising with a pleasing earthiness to the language.
Chivers’s writing feels refreshing and necessary, a genuine, lyrical appraisal of contemporary life, something about the mediated layers of reality we experience every day.
The lazy reviewer in me just wants to write something like from spam email to urban foxes, Chivers has his finger on the zeitgeist. Which is exactly the opposite of what the work’s trying to do, which it seems to me, is to stop us blithely using terms like zeitgeist at all.
I really admire Luke’s work, so it’s great to get this kind of praise. I still have some signed copies of the book, so message me if you’d like one – and I’ll include a new original poem to boot. Alternatively, nab a copy from my publisher (which is also Luke’s… conspiracy theories start and end here).
I’m lucky enough to have been invited to take part in Like Starlings – a poetry project organised by that very nice man Caleb Klaces. The project teams up pairs of poets in a kind of collaborative game of Chinese whispers – a creative two-step with no fixed outcomes.
Tonight Like Starlings became Live Starlings at The Betsey Trotwood, Farringdon. Fascinating performances by lots of people involved in the project, including outrageously good collaborations between Luke Kennard and Richard Price, and Claire Crowther and Chris McCabe. Some poets were without their partners for the night, so read solo (George Ttoouli was excellent, with a poem I knew already but which grew even darker in performance). Well done to Caleb for pulling together such an interesting and open-minded group.
I read last, with Emily Berry, my poet-buddy for the project. We’re only a couple of poems into our collaboration, so just read what we’d done so far. I’m really excited to be working with Emily as her work is very different from mine, and I really admire it. As I mentioned tonight, I read her first poem as a weirdly personal accusation, so my response became a sort of apology. When I raised this with Emily, she said that her ‘accusatory’ poem was in fact an apology. And in some ways, mine is actually quite aggressive… So there you go, in knots already! I can’t wait for her next instalment! In due course, the whole set will be online at the Like Starlings website (which has just been renovated, don’t cha know).
My first collection How To Build A City was launched alongside new books from Abi Curtis and Luke Kennard two Saturdays ago, and here is the video evidence. It was a great night, hosted by that charming genius Ross Sutherland – the venue (The Slaughtered Lamb) was absolutely rammed, and consequently pretty hot and sticky. Also, a troupe of burlesque pole dancers had been using the space before us – really. Thanks to everyone who came along. To those who didn’t, you know what to do.
Tony Williams has reviewed The Terrors on his poetry blog. He describes it as an ‘exuberant, coherent and original pamphlet’. I’m really pleased that readers have responded so positively and creatively to this little sequence – opening up new avenues of thought, responding liberally to the material I set down.
I believe Jane at Nine Arches has done a reprint, so you can still get hold of a copy at five pounds.
If any of my readers (ha! what a notion) are interested, my debut collection of poetry How To Build A City is now available to buy online from Salt Publishing. You can, presumably, also order it from Amazon, your local bookshop and so on, but in my experience ordering direct from the publisher is best for everyone! So click on the link above to find out more, and perhaps depart with a few pennies…
I had my first look at the books themselves last night in Brighton – I was down for a reading at Abi Curtis’s launch, which was lovely. The books are handsome devils indeed, and I’ve not spotted any typos yet! When I first saw them, I was a bit scared and didn’t want to touch, let alone open, one. I’m a bit like Charlie Bucket with these things. But on the train journey back, I fully perved over it.
If you’re in London this Saturday, you are invited to the launch of How To Build A City, along with Luke Kennard, Abi Curtis and Ross Sutherland. It’s at The Slaughtered Lamb, starts at 8pm and is free entry.
My first collection, How To Build A City (Salt Publishing), is being launched on Saturday 13th June at The Slaughtered Lamb in Clerkenwell. Joining me to launch their own new books are Luke Kennard and Abi Curtis. Ross Sutherland will also be appearing, in the combination-lock role of poet/compere. It’s shaping up to be a good night.