A Sabotaged Live Press! This zine was created LIVE at the Saboteur Awards Vout-o-reenees, London Sunday 31 May 2015 www.ladiesofthepress.org #LIVEPRESS
So this year’s winners are... Best Collaborative Work
Jacqueline Saphra & Mark Andrew Webber, If I Lay on my Back I Saw Nothing but Naked Women (Emma Press) Best Regular Spoken Word Night Bad Language Best Novella The Mesmerist’s Daughter, by Heidi James (Neon Magazine) Best Reviewer Dave Coates Best One-Off Event The 52 Project Best Magazine Lighthouse Literary Journal Best Short Story Collection Don’t Try This at Home, by Angela Readman (And Other Stories) Best Spoken Word Performer Hollie McNish Best Poetry Pamphlet White Whale, by Victoria Kennefick (Southword Editions) Most Innovative Publisher Penned in the Margins Best Spoken Word Show Some People Have Too Many Legs, by Jackie Hagan
“When you type in ‘Steve Nash Poetry’ you usually get me, but the other Steve Nash (the famous Basketball player) is so famous that people write poetry about him!” —Steve Nash, one of last year’s winners
The Culture of Criticism in Contemporary Literature:
Chaired by Jo Bell, with Jane Bradley, Dave Coates, Sarah Howe and Charles Whalley!
Ladies and Jelly spooons... —Jo Bell, at the beginning of the panel Jo: What can a reviewer or a critic do in writing about a book… what is the point of all this critical activity? Jane: To bring that bit of objectivity…we tend to read quite widely, we have that context. Also to read analytically, perhaps we are more widely read within a certain field of genre. Sarah: The business of the critic, a concentration and an extra actute focusing. A critic has the time to read multiply. The critic has the enforced time to read twice, three times a particular book. There is a level of focus… Readers turn to critics for a clarification and a sort of recognition, a flash of recognition when reading a review, something to respond to and formulate their own thoughts. Charles: I think the job of a critic is to read when others don’t have the time to. I think you can’t assume that the person who is reading the review to read the book. A lot of the time it is the only impression a read has of the book. Jo: So the writing must stand alone as a contribution to the conversation about the book? Dave: I used to read Randall Jarrell, a poet and critic in the 1940s. Then I realised, he was just being a dick! All of the time. He wanted to have the last word. Since I idealised and idolised him, I have started to see critisim as a way of keeping the conversation going about a book and not necessarily being the most authoritative critic about a book.
Jo: Doing the heavy lifting of reading those ‘free’ poetry books so we don’t have to? Dave, you have been quite scathing in your reviews, the kind of reviews that would have a poet sweating in the middle of the night. It is a small world we live in, you are likely to run into that poet in a room like this, slightly drunk and maybe bad things can happen… How do you keep your integrity, how do you balance kindness and honesty, Dave? Dave: If your only tool is a hammer, everything else looks like nails. That is actually a proverb. Jo: A bad review is one that says ‘I would have done it like this’, more elephants or something… Charles: Those sorts of reviews where the critic just wishes they had written the book is a different thing all together. Try to take it from the perspective of the reader, be a sympathetic reviewer. Sarah: There is a certain voice in reviews at the moment, general and universalising terms, I even fall into it but try not to. “Speaking deeply to the human condition” is one. Dave: “Marsterful!” Sarah: It is often a question of space, 700 words to do justice to three books. There is a restrictive, taxing form to the conventional review. It can be very interesting, for instance sending a book to opposed parties to see what comes back. Sometimes their inherent taste might blind them
to something in the book. I heard a poet describe the role of a critic as a slap on the hand of the bad poet. The Function of Critism, Elliot talks about the reshaping the poetry world as a critic. I suppose it is Utopian, in that the critic is trying to push poetry into the best it can be. Jane: We do a lot of workshops and events for women. Our purpose as an organisation is to empower women writers. I do not want to destroy anyone’s dreams, we still want to be constructive in our criticism. Let’s be constructive in terms of the writer, not say ‘you are shit, go away’. Jo: How do you see the idea of a critic as contributing to the greater cultural landscape? How do we address the gender bias issues? Dave: It is important to point this out. There was a chart that laid bare the (im)balance of male to female reviews in the Times Literary Supplement and Poetry Review: It was startling. The ratio is 4:1, and it important to be aware of this, to even say it publically. You need to be conscious of who you are reviewing and why you are. The TLS twitter comments were ridiculous too. The mind set at the very top levels of literary culture. The assistant editor of the TLS Charles: The worst is the reviewer gives a blind folded taste test. It does not ask whose taste this is? There is a way critics avoid bringing their values to the criticism. I am a white male with a silly posh accent and I try not to take my taste for granted. Sarah: I have something to add to this, given my background as I am half white half Chinese. I have been recently asked to review work by non-white, female writers. I am very conscious of giving male writers female critics and so on. Race and reviewing is something I have been thinking about a lot recently. I was involved in a project based on minority, ethnic writers however their works are published into a vacuum. The Guardian sat on a review of one such writer until he won a prize, then they ran it. I think there have been only two black, minority poets reviewed by The Guardian in many, many years. It may be said that critics trained in a certain tradition may not know how to listen out for other traditions. There is something to entrenched institutional racism is also met with the difficulty of reviewing ethnic writers. Jo: Do you mean that it may be considered racist? Sarah: Well, yes. It can be difficult.
Jo: Is the culture of critism different in new media rather than print? Charles: There are interesting things that you can do online that you cannot do in print. Youtube reviews for instance. Hyper links are interesting. You can have a draft of the poem, other links. Reviewing online emphasises the review being more of a conversation. Reviewers need to be a lot better at that, interacting and linking to other reviewers and sources. Reviews should be useful. Jo: There are mechanism that we barely use yet online that can be useful. Jane: I think online reviews are more of a community. It is accessible and powerful, people can have a voice and share their own say. I really love how it is not hampered in the same way, in terms of cost. It gives you so much freedom to publish many voices. The marginal voices, writers and reviewers, need to be heard. There is a lot more space; long form is making a comeback, with no restrictions on printing costs. We can start those conversations and build worlds. I think it is incredible: What a world we live in! Jo: Also, it is faster! I have been forced to read differently since reviwng What do you get out of writing critically, all of you? Jane: Having that time and consideration, what the writer’s intention was, who their peers are. It gives me a much richer experience and I am grateful for that. Dave: Yup! Jo: Concision is a great virtue in reviewers. Charles: Having an opportunity to review what you like is fun and exilirating in a way. Sarah: I straddle both the poetry and academic world. The poetry reviewing, the opportunity to reflect on how the poem acts on your emotional being. It is very exciting, the academy and English department has lost this ability. Jo: The best way to contribute to poetry is to go an buy some!
“It’s a photo of one of the 4 maps I used as I worked on my book of short stories (Jebel Marra, from Comma Press). All of the stories are connected to Darfur, in the west of Sudan, and most are set within Darfur and Sudan generally. I linked a lot of the stories and have centred a few of them around a fictional village, so I spent ages working out the physical logistics of how x could drive past y from the other story etc., trying to keep it all in line with factual events happening externally. Big confusing mess, hence the need to visualise it.” —Michelle Green
Frontlines and Outposts in Literature Today
Chaired by Jo Bell, with Sophie Collins, Inua Ellams, Ashley Stokes, and Sophia Walker.
Jo: ‘A ship is safe in harbour but that is not what ships are for.’ Translation: An Outpost Translation has always been on the edge of culture. Translators have been historically poorly paid. They are often erased from translated texts, by editors, reviewers and sometimes themselves. The role of translators are overlooked in the world literature today. In a sense, translation is a practice of reading and writing, it is bound up in challenging hierarchical structures and textual hierarchies, as with original text compared with the translated text. It is a paradox, they are at the front line, allowing in and out what we do and don’t see in English but their role is underestimated. Spoken Word: An Outpost The spoken word world, the front line are Eastern Europe, Jordan. In Jordan, young women are expressing their feminist views. In Eastern Europe spoken word is a genre of dissent, political activism. There a Qatari and Azerbaijani poets sitting in cells for writing poetry. Cultural Identity: An Outpost There is a feedback to make plays more universal, which means that there 6
should be a more balanced worldview, more liberal. That is not true for all cultures, there is not always a balanced view and we need to push those boundaries. You have to stick to your guns and try to be true to the story. It is a question of integrity. You may make people uncomfortable and in doing so you are also out of your comfort zone. Inua Ellams: “You have to stick to your guns.” Sexuality: An Outpost “Being gay has been a help to me. Being a woman has been a complete arse!” “We would like to book you but please don’t do that women’s bollocks!” The Other: An Outpost We are fundamentally entertainers. It is about the audience to meet you half way. You get the point across but you also need the audience to relate to what you are talking about. After the recent election a lot of us realised that we were living in a bubble, with everyone else who agrees with our point of view. That is not the point. You need to put the work out there and see what you might get back from people who may not agree with you.
Tom de Freston
“THE SHOW HAS ATTRACTED NATIONAL PRESS COVERAGE, HAGAN’S COSY DISCODINNERLADY CHARM AND UPBEAT GRITTY WORLDVIEW (NOT TO MENTION HER DRESSING UP HER STUMP AS CELEBRITIES AND REGULARLY DOWNING PINTS FROM HER FALSE LEG ON STAGE) ARE WINNING OVER AUDIENCES NATIONWIDE.” On Jackie Hagan’s ‘Celebrity Stumps’ 8
What I did to Fifty Shades of Grey Hannah Silva
Some of the writing methods I used to make ‘Schlock!’ 1. Tried to Read Fifty Shades of Grey. (Failed, but did manage to copy down some lines such as ‘How did you feel when I was hitting you and after’?/‘I didn’t like it. I’d rather you didn’t do it again’) 2. Did a search in my Kindle edition of Fifty Shades for the word ‘pain’ (75 instances, if you count ‘paint’ and ‘paintbrushes’). 3. Wrote all the sentences in which the word ‘pain’ appears down. Learned them. Made a soundscape to go beneath them. 4. Did a Kindle search for the word ‘hurt’ (47 instances). Didn’t use this in the show but might go into the book version. 5. ‘Inner Goddess’ (57) The main character talks about her ‘inner goddess’ and her ‘subconscious’ to such an extent she appears to be schizophrenic. However this is so absurd in the original that it already satirizes itself. Still haven’t found a useful way to use the material in Schlock! 6. ‘Love’ (100) 7. ‘Intelligent’ (3) 8. Took the definition of ‘submissive’ that’s used in Fifty Shades: tractable, compliant, pliant, amenable, passive, resigned, patient, docile, tame, subdued. And found words in it: tract, act, able, come, pliant, plant, ant, liant, map, amen, able, pass, sieve, sign, gen, sing, need, tent, net, pat, dol, cile, sub, due, bed. 9. Took the words I found, made more words from them, and used them as a map for a ‘new’ piece of text e.g: Kathy didn’t want to be a tract. Wasn’t able to hope for broken glass, she was in prison. Comely little girl completely mad. Kathy has been lots of places. She plet her tongue before locating her desires and when she disappeared she pleted the ocean[…] Kathy is a sieve I use sometimes when I need a sign. Every
one of Kathy’s books is signed with need with gen with sing at pat at patterns. Kathy used a net to make stories and Kathy had natty tits hidden in a tent top until needed… etc. 8. Replaced the word ‘submissive’ with ‘mother’ and ‘dominant’ with ‘child’ e.g: : ‘Am I submissive? Maybe I come across that way. Maybe I misled him in the interview’ becomes: ‘Am I a mother? Maybe I come across that way. Maybe I misled him’. 9. Add in half lines and words from Kathy Acker’s novel In Memoriam to Identity (which was written by cutting up other texts) 10. Change some more words and structure and totally change the way I think about writing and poetry in order to ‘write’ the sign language sections. Had a breakdown in middle of night. Got over it when I saw a quote by Sarah Kane ‘I genuinely believe you can do anything on stage. For me the language of theatre is image’. Kept going. 11. Made something ‘new’ : words from Acker in italics, words from Fifty Shades in bold, underlined words are ‘mine’. Words I replaced are in square brackets. I’ve used a ‘|’ to indicate when the text is taken from a different location in the same source text: The child wants above all to be destroyed. Before being born, he asks his mother ‘how much pain are you willing to experience? The pregnant woman already knows what it is to be flogged, spanked, whipped and corporally punished. |‘I’ll show you how bad it can be’ her unborn son says ‘Santa Klaus doesn’t exist’ she replies. ‘Ouch! Are you stamping your little foot?’ Whose identity [sexuality] am I and whose identity [sexuality] are you? The entrance to her womb [to the hospital] says EMERGENCY. She must be spread open. | Her heart must show.
Middleincomes enrolled on laughing gas, dream an eternal city. Middleincomes caught in jets of vodka, taste the tang of blood. O! Strange, strange, neutral Middleincome! (after Henri Michaux “Portrait des Meidosems”) Portrait of the Middleincome #154 by Ollie Evans (Live submission)
Victoria Kennefick “Don’t Mind Me!” 10
Live from the 5th birthday celebration
of Sabotage Reviews,
welcomes in a night’s cool cats
And ‘have we got news for you’,
fired all through with
At subterranean London club
The lime light of glassy drinks
gleams deep into fevered wood.
Sipping gin martinis Listening to a lot of words,
Voices paint bright words.
About ‘who’s who’
Looks and sleeved hands pull in threads,
What makes a good review,
A wee show by lovely Steve Nash
till a tide of unfolded
(the poet, not the basketball player!)
nude bodies searches The Wall.
And depressing confirmation
Moon-bright in cobweb,
Of sexism and ageism,
in a side street kept in dows,
In women’s performance poetry,
naked bulbs lean down,
And a welcome layer:
gathering in hard gemstones,
‘Hurrah!’ for Ladies of the Press*
the long waxing years in full\
Giving the rest of us space, To create, which is great
‘cos my head hurts from all the political debate. It’s now the break; Show me the cake! Susan Evans (Performance poet)
“Normally, I spend years doing a poem. But because you’re doing a live thing, I got inspired!”
Being an Iguana Too bored to eat, I’m getting thin. I feel peeled like cheap potatoes for a stew. My owner asks the Agony Aunt if his new pet hates him. Once I tried to escape. In captivity, I’m a dragon. I build mountains for me to climb.
Logo of ‘Evidently’
I crawl clockwise.
“It all began when my dear friend and former colleague, Agnes Marton (also shortlisted, in a different category) asked me whether I would like to review books from time to time for the Ofi Press Magazine. I am a translator of legal and technical texts, some of which tend to be rather dry and boring, so reviewing books for the Ofi Press is such a delight, and such a refreshing change (even though every time I start writing my first draft for the upcoming review, I have to deal with impostor syndrome once again).
Look at my teeth, my tattered claws, my splashing tail. I keep my distance but talk back. My owner doesn’t listen. I ask him to wake me for meals. The treats stuck under my tongue. He calls me Goodboy but I don’t respond to any name. Humans want to own a monster but it must be kept as weak as they are. Now I know the way out. I’ll fetch the fire from the Sun. Agnes Marton
In case you are interested to learn about my working method: while reading, I make notes (everywhere in my home), on paper, and I rewrite them when I finish the book. Also, I try to organize not just my notes but my thoughts too (my most creative ideas come when I’m outside, walking with my dog Sammy, so you can say that he is an important collaborator indeed! Unfortunately, some of these ideas are forgotten by the time I return and would have the chance to write them down). The week before the deadline, I finally make a first draft in MS Word, and rewrite and rewrite until it is submission time. I’m never quite satisfied with the outcome but luckily my editor is! :)” —Enico Jakab
Swallow me whole
Dirty taste Indelicate offal
Play with knives Claws like tart’s heels
Greasy fur, yellow eyss
“The only material I have suitable to send you, is the logo for the Children’s Heart Federation. The week of #HeartPoems on my blog, was about raising awareness about the charity and its work.” Rebecca Goss
Speaking is my revenge
By Heidi James
Ross Sutherland 17
I Dreamt the Month Before My Book Came Out Angela Readman
I was a cleaner in Elizabeth Bishop’s house. I swept bits of grit off the floor, slithers of broken cups. I scrubbed the bathroom. I sweated slog. I was polite, but every night when the poet went out I snuck into her spare room and opened the wardrobe. There, hung her clothes, all the dresses that had been to black tie dinners. I tried one on while she was out. It was blue, they were all blue. Elizabeth came in and caught me, putting on one of her dresses.‘What are you doing?’ she said, dresses everywhere, flopped one on top of the other like sleeping women on the bed. ‘Your fish is too damn long,’ I yelled. ‘I know,’ she said, ‘I’m allowed to do what I like. You’re not. Here…’ She handed me a dress and said, ‘Try it on.’ So I did. Then, she taught me to waltz, there in the company of flopped dresses we danced under the moon, framed by the window, coming in. There was a strange incident with the colour green. The colour had been outlawed. Everyone was on the streets, queuing to hand in their lime items, their forest coats, scarves, fluffy socks. I was in line carrying a cardigan that was so soft, and comfortable, but would not do. Next to me, was a woman who looked a little unusual. When I looked at her closely, I saw it was Kermit the Frog disguised as Miss Piggy. He was carrying figurines and lunch boxes with his face on. He handed them in sadly, without anybody realising it he had been completely banned. There was rain, so much rain people couldn’t use the roads. We all had to stay where we were for the night. I was in an antique shop with a man who always has to wear a tie. Once we were alone, and the other people in the store left to sleep on the sofabeds of relatives nearby, the air went out of him. He pulled off his tie, took off his jacket and fell asleep instantly with his head on my knee. I was sitting on a chaise, and I couldn’t move. His head was so heavy, felt so worried, I couldn’t stand to disturb him, so I sat. The way people with cats on a lap have a reason to stay still. I let him sleep, reached over him to a shelf of antiques and tried on a pair of glasses and a top hat. I put up some shelves for my mother, and my husband kept building sheds.
A little over a week ago, Mark Fiddes read, alongside fellow Templar Poets Jane Weir and Chris James, from his Templar Pamphlet ‘The Chelsea Flower Show Massacre’, and it sounded a little something like this… … The butterflies get in for free, like the Queen, ex officio. For bankers it’s a hundred quid per slick Savile Row carapace. Same again for their plus guests cocooned in crushed silk Gucci thrilling to every sip of Moet and the quadrille of canapés … “Horticultural insensitivity”* indeed! *@fiddesmark 23 May 2015
Extract from Mark Fiddes’ email about ‘The Chelsea Flower Show Massacre’: Already I’ve had a postcard from Alan Titchmarsh (of his lovely garden) in which he says “I shall never view Chelsea in the same light!!!” The exclamation marks are all his. Not sure he’s entirely a fan.
“I am just going to put my beer down, and get started. I was invited to perform and my girlfriend—who is now my wife... Audience: Oooohhhh Actually, it is thanks to the Saboteur Awards, she wasn’t having any of it before I won. Then she put a ring on it. My dad, bless him, is a military man, he wanted me to go to the army but got this instead (points to himself). Luckily my two sisters are butch enough to make up for the sun he never had. He fought in the Falklands war, and this is about it.” Steve Nash 20
A couple of snippets from the book in the poet Jacqueline Saphraâ€™s handwriting, plus a picture from the book by artist Mark Andrew Webber.
Lighthouse They say that when they laid his bloated body in her open arms she tried to dry him with her long red hair; her tears threatened to drown him all over again. They say that when she finally let go, her fingers were puckered; in the morning her hair was pure white. She never left the corner house again. They say she fell away to nothing. Her bones barely held up pale skin, sail-taut against the storm of winds that prevailed night after night. They say she haunted windows, watched the water, her face a perfect sphere. And the crews, sailing the rising sea, often mistook her for the moon. Victoria Kennefick
Becky Varley-Winter Red Flower “I can’t think of a poem, so here is a growing thing.”
The nominations: Most Innovative Publisher
Best Reviewer Dave Coates
Burning Eye Books
The Emma Press
Penned in the Margins
Best Magazine Bare Fiction Lighthouse Prole Shooter Literary Magazine The Missing Slate
Best Regular Spoken Word Night Bad Language
Bang Said the Gun Evidently Project U Say Owt Slam
Best Spoken Word Performer Stu Freestone Oz Hardwick Hollie McNish Chimene Suleyman Sophia Walker 26
The Mesmerist’s Daughter, by Heidi James (Neon Magazine) No Christmas, by Evangeline Jennings (Pankhearst) Women, by Chloe Caldwell (SF/LD Books) The Migrant, by u.v. ray (Murder Slim Press) The Beauty, by Aliya Whiteley (Unsung Stories)
Best Collaborative Work
Amina Alyal & Oz Hardwick, Close as Second Skins (Indigo Dreams) Guardian of the Edge – visual artists respond to Agnes Marton’s poems Jacqueline Saphra & Mark Andrew Webber, If I Lay on my Back I Saw Nothing but Naked Women (Emma Press) #losslit (curated by Kit Caless and Aki Schilz)
Melanie Rees & Sarah Miller, Selkie singing at the Passing Place (Flapjack Press)
Best Poetry Pamphlet
MINE, by Holly Corfield Carr (Spike Island) Kissing Angles, by Sarah Fletcher (Dead Ink Books) White Whale, by Victoria Kennefick (Southword Editions) Chelsea Flower Show Massacre, by Mark Fiddes (Templar Poetry) The Devil’s Tattoo, by Brett Evans (Indigo Dreams)
Best One Off Event 52 Project by Jo Bell
Words & Women (IWD) MINE by Holly Corfield Carr OE by Max Barton, Kiran Millwood Hargrave and Tom de Freston Heart Poems for Children’s Heart Week, edited by Rebecca Goss
Best Short Story Collection
Don’t Try This at Home, by Angela Readman (And Other Stories)
Tales of Modern Stupidity, by Quentin Forrest Jebel Marra, by Michelle Green (Comma Press) Second-hand Rain, by Georgia Carys Williams (Parthian Books)
Best Spoken Word Show
Some People Have Too Many Legs, by Jackie Hagan Standby for Tape Back up, by Ross Sutherland 2001: A Space Ode and Ditty, by Colin Davies Schlock! by Hannah Silva Can’t Care Won’t Care, by Sophia Walker
The Charnel House, ed. By Tom de Freston (Bridgedoor Press) Double Bill, ed. Andy Jackson (Red Squirrel Press) Furies, ed. Eve Lacey (For Books’ Sake) Ten: The New Wave, ed. Karen McCarthy Woolf (Bloodaxe) Unthology 6, ed. Ashley Stokes and Robin Jones (Unthank Books)
Any Other Mouth, by Anneliese Mackintosh (Freight Books)
Thanks! to Claire Trévien; Vout-o-Reenee’s; William Barrett; and everyone who contributed to this zine!
We’re lost in the jungle.
The Word of Colin:
All photos in the zine by William Barrett unless stated otherwise. 28
Will hard at work...
Compiled, edited, transcribed, designed, printed and bound LIVE at the Saboteur Awards 2015, Vout-o-Reenee's, London. #saboteur2015 #LIVEPRE...
Published on Jun 7, 2015
Compiled, edited, transcribed, designed, printed and bound LIVE at the Saboteur Awards 2015, Vout-o-Reenee's, London. #saboteur2015 #LIVEPRE...