Category: Self-Publishing (Page 1 of 2)

LAST FARMER – Pamphlet 2010 : free pdf download

The Salt Modern Voices Pamphlet No. 6 which was issued as part of a Salt print on demand experiment in 2010 is no longer available and all references to book and author have been removed from the Salt website in a recent upgrade.

Chris Hamilton-Emery has moved Salt steadily towards a more fiction based list with just the occasional poetry book now. The cover painting was not my painting it part of a rights free set of a Finnish artist available to use and save costs across the series so there you go….

I asked him about all this and he told me that I had sold the glorious number of 62 copies over the last decade so it unsurprising it no longer on list and I now reside in bin 13 with quite a few others.

Whilst it was available I would only shared promotional edited versions of the book out of respect for the copious and long contract but now it officially ceased to exist I can offer to all as an Easter Egg free download.

The volume pretty much hoovered up everything I had published in small magazines up until 2010. To this day my published works ceased in 2007 with three poems in Staple magazine. So until the new stuff I sending out now gets somewhere this is all there is….the last of the Last Farmer:-)

MY FATHER’S THINGS – Poems for Ivo Charles Belcher

My father as ayoung boy holding a rabbit..Long Wittenham Berkshire probably during wartime.

I produced an illustrated sequence of poems for my father in 2019. This April 13th he would have been 92 had he lived but he has been gone 20 years now.

As a tribute I have created a pdf of the sequence that was shown as a series of artworks at the King Billy.

Below a link to the free pdf download

Note on process. All typed directly on old manual typewriter. Very few mistakes or edits. One take like jazz… either got that swing or it ain’t….

DIESEL ON GRAVEL – 1986-1989 First Flash Fictions

Poems written in London and Oxfordshire. Published in early 1990s in Last Gasp pamphlets. Last Gasp was a poetry open mic I helped run with poets Giles Goodland and Bridget Kursheed in Oxford.

From 1986 I was heavily influenced by Raymond Carver and especially his book FIRES.  Indeed I attended his memorial readings event in London and saw Edmund White, Richard Ford and Salman Rushdie read in his honour.

I think this volume is the ‘lost volume’ as I was living at home in Didcot and totally cut off from literary world from 1988 until 1990.

I did do some readings through the Last Gasp group until I moved to Edinburgh in 1993.

None of these poems have been seen apart from in these hand made pamphlets.

Style note all hand written then typed on my mother’s old typewriter.

The last few pages of the document as pdf have originals and some uncollected poems.

The blue pen and line through a poem are from Giles Goodland when selecting for a pamphlet…I did not have second copies as everything had to be typed by hand …so here it is..

Diesel on Gravel…..1990

Diesel on Gravel PDF

The Impossibility of Producing a Print Literary Magazine.

A link to this article was shared onine by by Martin Malone former editor of Interpreter’s House which pre Martin I helped survive as a paper edition by creating a basic website.
The price of progress is that the magazine now now exists only online.

The article by Wendy Pratt of SPELT magazine

available to read here:

My response in comments as follows:

I agree totally with your comments above although I have seen a lot of poor quality work riding on the coat-tails of the ‘so-called’ working class writing revolution which more a Bookseller PR stunt than actuality. The print medium died the day Oxford University Press tipped its lead type into the Thames or is that urban myth based on link below? (there is an eco-poem if ever there was one perhaps I should write it).

It ended in early 1990s when a press I represented by actually hand set a poem of mine (I will find and share on my blog) in lead type. They had one of the last machines for creating type and a man came to mend it He was the last of the generation that had knowledge to mend them. The knowledge died with them.

A decade later I helped Oxford University convert ALL paper based Science publishing acquisition to computers and then a whole College’s library. Digital hit hard around the Millennium and since then a younger generation have developed entirely new habits of consumption, dissemination and interaction. Paper unless sold as anachronistic fetish object ( works for Vinyl records) is to all intents and purpose dead as a piece of type in muddy water. So forgetting the argument that internet is green (it is not the servers and electric generation to fuel it alone cost a few rain forests). Where do we go now?

Substack a good choice. I suggest you read the Jazz critic Ted Gioia (brother of poet Dana Gioia) he very cutting edge on where we are now and it isn’t good news.

Your magazine looks great but it also looks like something I would have shelved at Poetry Library in 1990 (I been around that long). As for getting your messages across I returned to ‘the poetry world’ or rather the blizzard of new ‘worlds’ each tightly regimented and screened online (or paper) come to that. This is not because all magazines now are nepotistic (though a good few are or class interest based) but simply because the numbers now are frightening. Like music anybody with a phone and half a brain can be a poet if they want to (before AI made it even easier to simulate poetry) .

I grew up in an era of clearly defined gatekeepers ( Faber, Cape, Bloodaxe etc) which on the whole male dominated yes but because numbers far lower and generally standards higher it was easier to at least work out one’s place in the (singular) poetry world. Post world-wide web that no longer possible one has to find a nest that suits and defend your interests whatever your politics from that lonely tower as global capitalism basically runs riot below.

As a white (working class whatever that means these days and frankly in some cases not much) male aged 65 trying to re-enter the worlds (plural) I on a hiding to nothing and add fact that I been writing about the environment for nigh on 40 years it appears I am now almost unpublishable going by feedback I had so far. The reasons for that are generational (ageism) political (sexism) and demographic as I do not read or wish to engage with certain class ridden circles or even some younger circles of interest any more than they do me.

So Substack is a potential rabbit hole to another wonderland. It does work but if you enter this domain be prepared to post daily to make it work and engage followers and also to engage directly with thorny issues of political activism if talking Green we are no longer in village fete friends of earth stage we are in defined as eco-terrorism (pace Edward Abbey) territory now. Truly engage and it may be that Spelt finds a new niche.. paper is not dead its just not printed on any more..

Out of frustration I took a new tack towards ECO and Poetry on my substack is a long job but it seems to engage people far more than straight poetry offering. You may find of interest.

We are in for stormy weather 

My old style words on a screen and very occasionally a page although less so in the last 20 years than before here.

A lot self-published because I an early adopter and specialist in multimedia. I find the fetishism apparent in the ‘self-publishing’ wrong attitude symptomatic of those who should know better slamming the stable door shut after the horse not only bolted but also shot dead…..

It generally white middle class that promulgate that attitude of ‘I don’t want my poems online’ because they dream of standing in a bookshop with that object in their hand feeling pleased with themselves along with the other 5000 recently cheaply published (thanks to digitisation of the production line) authors feeling the same ..
It is complete nonsense.

I look forward to the podcast…..they are hard work….I ran a music one for a year.


Armitage has been run ragged at left back let’s see what the new boy can do…

One of the fabulous things about the modern poetry scene is the hatred of ‘self-publishing’ as somehow amateur or not professional…a opinion reinforced by those with most to lose i.e. the publishers.

GRASS CLOUDS contains everything I have written as ‘poetry’ since I arrived in Nottingham in 2002 so about 20 years worth

Contains 80 poems and some illustrations.

Includes the following pamphlets and projects:

Drifting Village Poems 2001-2011

Edwin Smith Commission 2014

Burning Books and Buying time 2017 – 2018

My Father’s Things (illustrated) 2019

At the Organ Grinder I shall be reading from the new volume ‘Substitute’ which I am working on now.

No Substitute: New poems…

The planned new poems in a volume called substitute was held back as I had another year’s teaching contract to complete. I am now officially retired from Nottingham College so can concentrate a tad more on the written word.

To date I have written a baker’s dozen of new poems since last year’s reading and will be reading from the new collection at the Open Book Reading on the 3rd October.

No Substitute update….

In an ironical twist having selected the title because of The Who song I found out that Pete Townsend actually got married in my hometown and at the council offices I and my sister helped clean back in late seventies. My mother and nan were cleaners there in evening.

There no sustitute for a tie-in bit of PR in this case there were even photos taken. No I was not there but probably at home kicking a football against the wall as a nine year old.

Wedding of The Who rock group guitarist Pete Townshend and Karen Astley at Didcot Registry Office. 20th May 1968 (b/w photo); © Mirrorpix.

Accept no substitute…

GRASS CLOUDS : 20 years on the poetry bench.

Armitage has been run ragged at left back let’s see what the new boy can do…

I will be offering this as a free download from this evening as it Bastille day.
GRASS CLOUDS contains everything I have written as ‘poetry’ since I arrived in Nottingham in 2002 so about 20 years worth

Contains 80 poems and some illustrations. I will be reading from it on Tuesday August 2nd at the Organ Grinder Canning Circus with Neil Fulwood who celebrating his new Smokestack Press publication.

Includes the following pamphlets and projects:

Drifting Village Poems 2001-2011

Edwin Smith Commission 2014

Burning Books and Buying time 2017 – 2018

My Father’s Things (illustrated) 2019

At the Organ Grinder I shall also be reading from the new volume ‘Substitute’ which due in Fall 2023.

The Rattle Bag

This rather nice vintage French leather bag came my way yesterday and I am going to use it to carry my poetry around in and hence the name ‘the Rattle Bag’ which I copped from the Heaney and Hughes anthology title…

As Heaney said :
Ted suggested we call it by the name of a strange roguish poem translated from the Welsh of Dafydd ap Gwilym. It’s about an instrument that sounds more like an implement, a raucous, distracting, shake, rattle-and-roll affair that disturbs the poet and his lover while they lie together in the greenwood. In the words of the translator, Joseph Clancy, it becomes a noisy pouch perched on a pole, a bell of pebbles and gravel, “a blare, a bloody nuisance”.

Sounds about right. Any way the last twenty years i.e. the volumes ‘The Drifting Village’ and ‘Burning Books’ fit very neatly in to the bag….the previous twenty would be a stretch…

Burning Books – hiding in plain view?

Last year I did a reading for Nottingham Poetry Festival in which I produced a small ‘polemical’ pamphlet called ‘Burning Books’.

The pamphlet was a one off and most of the poems after ‘outing’ in paper form were then hidden away as ‘too political’ for my readers by myself!

I censored myself which crazy but shows the agonies of being in any way ‘political’ or writing from a stridently working-class viewpoint in the contemporary middle-class ring-fenced world of ‘proper poetry’.

It only now and post Kit de Waal’s article in the Guardian that I realise that in doing so I hiding from my true self.

So here again is the ‘real’ ‘Burning Books’ pre-edit and I stand by these poems…..a lot of pretentious middle-class ‘poets’ will hate it but frankly as I don’t spend much time listening to their whinging I don’t care. I will be ‘re-categorised’ as a ‘performance poet’ I expect and described as having  a ‘chip on my shoulder’ which a frequent method of negating anything which threatens the middle class.

Here a taste of what I talking about…

Proper Poetry

I used to write proper poetry

Not the really proper stuff

You know packed full of classical allusions

Or invented lives based on obscure photographs

No I gave up on proper poetry

Because it is so fucking boring

So I write an occasional diatribe

And raise two fingers to the academy

These are the times for less poets, less experts

Less academics and more UKIP candidates

When a military chaplain’s daughter from Wheatley

Is playing Joan of Arc in the Wars of Brexit

With only God and King Billy to save us.

Download as a pdf here


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