25th August 2020
It was with great sadness that I heard of the death Rosemary McLeish this week. She had been a Grey Hen contributor from the first anthology A Twist of Malice, and her brave, funny and generous poems have featured in many Grey Hen anthologies since. A recent poem appears in Reflected Light, due out soon – a poem that itself reflects Rosie’s particularly Glaswegian touch for empathy and humour, and speaks for her special place among Grey Hens. Very much herself, as always, and she will be much missed.
GREY HEN – SUMMER 2020
Since the publication of Measuring the Depth in March 2020, Covid has put a stop to all public launches and readings. There was some press interest – in June, Cumbria Life did a feature on Grey Hen Press and in July Magma 77 (‘Act Your Age’) featured an article about Grey Hen in the form of a conversation between Joy Howard and Christine Webb.
Online events – Joy spoke at the Magma launch on 18th August. There were many very positive responses. On the same evening, as Grey Hen had been allocated a slot at the cancelled Teignmouth Festival in March, Teignmouth Poets devoted an evening to a celebration of Devon-based Grey Hen poets: ‘Grey Hens Give Voice’. Many thanks are due to Jennie Osborne for organising this event.
Look out for the next anthology Reflected Light: responses to the creative arts - due for publication this autumn.
Measuring the Depth: Poems about Lakes
The second in a series of Grey Hen chapbooks on the theme of landscape.
Out of Context: An Anthology of ‘Found’ Poems
The literary equivalent of a collage, ‘found’ poems take existing texts and refashion them. Words, phrases, and sometimes whole passages from other sources are reframed, thus imparting new meaning. Sometimes humorous, sometimes deadly serious, all these poems make a telling point.
Further Than It Looks: Poems about Mountains
The first in a series of Grey Hen chapbooks on the theme of landscape.
And don’t forget this not-so-recent book with an unfortunately relevant theme:
Get Me Out of Here! Poems for Trying Circumstances
Click on ‘BOOKS’ to order online.
Postal address: PO Box 269, Kendal LA9 9FE.
Grey Hen Poetry Competition 2020
Grey Hen Poetry Competition 2020 is now closed.
The results, including the winning poems and judges report will be posted on the website in due course.
Hen Run is Grey Hen’s chapbook imprint.
‘Hen Run gives older women an opportunity to get their work published. The project is unfunded and not for profit, so the deal is that I select submissions, edit, and prepare manuscripts for publication. Authors are responsible for printing costs, and for subsequent publicity, readings, and the bulk of sales, though the chapbooks will be featured on the website. The usual high production quality that Grey Hen has maintained applies!
As with Grey Hen, I’m limited with how much work I can take on so there isn’t an open submissions policy. I will follow up any recommendations – but if you are recommending someone else, please contact me yourselves in the first instance for a discussion. For example, two excellent poets have been recommended to me who are well into their 70s and need to have a leg-up onto that first rung of the publication ladder. I am happy to consider proposals from Grey Hens who fit the criteria – also those who may have a particular sequence or group of poems that doesn’t fit easily into a collection.’ Joy Howard
Hen Run publications include Gill Nicholson’s The Buoyancy of Space, Joan Poulson’s Tequila & Shooting Stars, Shoal Moon by Anne Boileau and Water Colour by Hilary Elfick – many more to follow!
You can find all the Hen Run books, and how to order them, by following the ‘Hen Run‘ link on the Grey Hen homepage.
GREY HEN SUPPORTS UK YOUTH CLIMATE COALITION
FROM THE UKYCC WEBSITE: “SPECIAL THANK YOU – POETRY SPEAK OUT”
“On Sunday the 23rd of June, a Climate Catastrophe: Poets Speak Out event was held in Cumbria in partnership with Grey Hen Press which brought together poets from the North of England to share their creative contributions to the climate crisis.
The event itself featured 10 poets and an almost full house. Despite the serious nature of climate change, the event ended up being a full of chat, laughter and inspiration.
The event was predominantly attended by the older generation, but there were young people present and the link between old and young was clear to see, with the older attendees in full support of the work of young people.
The event raised a total of £105 through entry fees, and a further £36 via a raffle, all of which was chosen to be donated to UKYCC.
UKYCC were so happy to hear about this event, as it brings together the creative arts and climate change in a community format which is not only inspiring and empowering, but shows the plethora of ways in which we can all come together, old and young, for climate change action! – Eilidh Robb, UKYCC Press Contact
If you are interested in organising a similar event, get in touch with us at email@example.com. We would love to hear about it and link you up with those who have experience. “
26th October 2.30-4pm at Manchester Central Library. A reading from Vaster than Empires with Alison Chisholm, Kerry Darbishire, Rosemary Doman and Joy Howard.
16th November 11.30-1pm in Kendal. Launch of Further Than It Looks with Kerry Darbishire, Kate Davis, Caroline Gilfillan, Geraldine Green, Joy Howard and Hilary Tattershall as part of Kendal Mountain Festival. www.kendalmountainfestival.com
6th July at Todmorden Library. A reading from Vaster Than Empires with Joy Howard, Jane Kite and Jo Peters. 2-2.30 pm
22nd June 1-2.30pm at Central Library, Reading . A reading from Vaster Than Empires with Wendy Klein, Gill Learner and Christine Webb.
13th June 6.30-8pm at Kenilworth Books 12 Talisman Square CV8 1JB. A reading from Vaster Than Empires with Ann Alexander, R V Bailey, Joy Howard and Judith Priestman.
28th May 6 -7.30pm at Blackwells University Bookshop, Aberdeen. A reading from Vaster Than Empires with Mandy Macdonald and Margaret Wood. Plus music from Intuitive Music Aberdeen and readings by The Apothecaries group.
Grey Hen’s 10th Birthday Party
In April 2018 Grey Hen held a 10th anniversary celebration (it is actually 11 years old, but I couldn’t fit the celebration in in 2017!) in its new home base of Cumbria, with a workshop, readings and a ‘proper do’ with afternoon tea and a wonderful birthday cake (made by J’aime Cakes, Cumbria). In the evening we had an informal read-around – relaxed, sociable and fun. Thanks to all who took part.
Other 10th Anniversary Events
Glasgow Women’s Library. Readers were A C Clarke, Joy Howard, Mandy Macdonald, Anne B Murray and Sheila Templeton, and poems from all eleven of the Grey Hen anthologies were included. Readings there are always a treat, but this was something else. The library staff told us it was the largest audience ever for one of their monthly lunchtime events – we were struggling for space! but it was really a remarkably happy and successful event, great atmosphere and encouragingly good book sales (we ran out of several titles). Some of the comments: ‘I enjoyed this event to a great extent. I want to experience it again and again!’ ‘Really enjoyed day with readings and background to poetry. Also a great variety of poems.’ ‘A great and uplifting event’. ‘Loved this, thought-provoking and enjoyable. Very good mixture of very fine poems and readers.’ ‘What were the best bits? Too many to mention.’ ‘I wish that when I was young at school, being forced to read and remember poems, that there had been the delight of the words, themes and ideas brought by the poets we heard today. Most enjoyable!’
York Library with Carole Bromley, Joy Howard, Pauline Kirk, Thelma Laycock and Josie Walsh. A lot of poets and a lot of fine poems! Selections from all the eleven Grey Hen anthologies made for a lively and varied reading. A warm and appreciative (almost capacity) audience in a lovely room at York Explore (Central Library) helped make it a memorable afternoon. Special thanks to Thelma Laycock, standing in for Helen Burke, who was unfortunately unable to join us on the day.
Reading Central Library. With Wendy Klein, Gill Learner, Susan Utting, Jean Watkins and Christine Webb. Reading Library is a welcoming venue, and we were delighted to return for this very special Grey Hen reading. Wendy Klein was the MC, and she was well supported by local poets Gill Learner and Jean Watkins. They were joined by Susan Utting and Christine Webb. Thanks to all for contributing to a memorable day.
Transitions, Outlook Variable and Shades of Meaning launch at Glasgow Women’s Library. Group photo, left to right: A C Clarke, Mandy Macdonald, Sheila Templeton, Eleanor Livingstone, Anne Murray and Joy Howard.
First Hen Run launch, Harris Library, Preston. Gill Nicholson and Joan Poulson read.
PLEASE SUPPORT YOUR LOCAL LIBRARY AND THESE INDEPENDENT BOOKSHOPS – they regularly stock our books, and hold Grey Hen readings.
Glasgow Women’s Library 19-23 Landressy Street, Glasgow G40 1BP 0141 550 226 www.womenslibrary.org.uk
Queens Park Books 87 Salusbury Rd, Queens Park, London NW6 6NH www.queensparkbooks.co.uk
The Limpsfield Bookshop, High Street, Limpsfield, Oxted RH8 0DS 01883 714 034
Wenlock Books 12 High Street, Much Wenlock, Shropshire, TF13 6AA 01952 727877 www.wenlockbooks.co.uk
Yellow-Lighted Bookshops 21 Church St, Tetbury, Gloucestershire GL8 8JG
01666-500221 and 17 Fountain Street, Nailsworth, Gloucestershire GL6 0BL
The Book Case 29 Market St, Hebden Bridge, West Yorkshire HX7 6EU 01422 845353
The Edge of the World Bookshop 23 Market Jew Street, Penzance, Cornwall, TR18 2HR 01736 365607 www.edgeoftheworldbookshop.co.uk
GREY HENS AT LARGE
Sheila Aldous had a Hen Run chapbook out in August, Patterns of All Made Things
Anne Boileau won 2nd prize in the George Crabbe Memorial Competition 2019 and had another commended, and had a poem published in ArtemisPoetry this Spring. Her first full collection is Dreams of Flight a collaborative venture with artist Belinda King (Orphean Press 2019). Anne will be reading from this at the Aldeburgh Poetry Festival, with Kate Foley and Antony Johae, in November.
Carole Bromley won the Hamish Canham Award 2019. She has a new collection The Peregrine Falcons of York Minster coming out in 2020 from Valley Press
Maggie Butt had a poem long-listed in the National Poetry Competition. She adjucated the Barnet, Ware and Segora competitions and has had a novel accepted by an imprint of Penguin Random House.
Debjani Chatterjee won one of the Hedgehog Poetry Press competitions and was a runner-up in another. The prize was publication of a micro-pamphlet – her second from this publisher – and the publication of a full collection next year. In June 2019 she was inducted as a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature.
Alison Chisholm‘s latest collection Echoes in Cloud was published in July 2019. For every copy sold, a donation is given to Queenscourt Hospice, Southport. July also saw the publication of The Poet’s A-Z, a glossary with exercises for the working poet, which is a compilation of articles that first appeared in Writing Magazine.
Chris Considine has a new collection out from Cinnamon Press. Seeing Eye , in part about her very successful cataract operations.
Rose Cook had a Hen Run chapbook out in June, Sightings.
Doris Corti helped her U3A poetry group publish a book of their poems, Poems from the Third Age. Her memoir Muffins for Tea covering the decade 1939 to 1949 is being prepared for publication.
Julia Deakin now edits Pennine Platform and warmly welcomes submissions for Issue 86 details at www.pennineplatform.com
Hilary Elfick has a third Hen Run chapbook This Is What Happens due out in October 2019.
Elsa Fischer ‘ As You Set Out’ from Hourglass (Hen Run chapbook 2018) was selected by Carol Rumens as Poem of the Week in The Guardian 18.02.19.
Caroline Gilfillan won the Yeovil Poetry prize 2019 and been awarded second prize in the Suffolk Poetry Society competition for this year. Her first novel, The Terrace, was published in 2018.
Geraldine Green is currently Writer-in-Residence at the Quaker Tapestry Museum, Kendal, Cumbria, tutoring creative workshops. For further details see www.quaker-tapestry.co.uk
Mimi Khalvati has a new collection Afterwardness, a book of Italian sonnets, out at the end of October from Carcanet Press. It is a Poetry Book Society Winter Wild Card.
Angela Kirby has had poems published or accepted in Morphrog, London Grip, ArtemisPoetry, The London Magazine and Domestic Cherry, plus a new book from Shoestring Look Left, Look Right.
Jane Kite will be performing from Phobia and the Girl at the Ilkey Festival Fringe this autumn. www.ilkleyliteraturefestival.org.uk/whats-on/fringe-festival. This work is due to be published in book form.
Alison Mace has a first collection Man at the Ice House (The High Window) which should be out before the end of the year.
Gill McEvoy won a Highly Commended in the recent Candlestick Press competition for poems about snow. Her poem will appear in the forthcoming pamphlet.
Katrina Porteous‘ third collection Edge will be published by Bloodaxe in October 2019. She is currently sharing a residency (with Phoebe Power) on the East Durham Coast for the National Trust Peoples Landscapes programme and the Durham Book Festival 2019.
Eveline Pye was shortlisted for the Aurora Prize.
Elisabeth Rowe‘s fourth collection Timewise will be published this month (Sept 2019) by Oversteps Books.
Anne Stewart’s fourth poetry collection, The Last Parent, came out in April 2019 (Second Light Publications). Read sample poems and see readers’ comments at Anne’s website www.annestewart.me.uk
Christine Webb will be giving a Breakfast Talk the Aldeburgh Poetry Festival in November.
Merryn Williams has a New and Selected from Shoestring The Fragile Bridge, and she has written an updated version of a Jane Austen novel, Mansfield Park Revisited, available from York Publishing Services both as paperback and ebook
This year’s competition saw a bumper entry – a record-breaking 500+. The standard was high, and the judges were presented with a real challenge in having to select only three prize winners. In the end they decided to nominate all of the short list as ‘Commended’, with one ‘Highly Commended’ as an indication of exactly how hard it was. Many thanks to them and to everyone who entered, and many congratulations to the winners and runners-up.