Brilliance. In two parts.

Part I. Brilliant Coroners.

I have edited a book of poetry.

What an extraordinary statement to make. Also an inaccurate one. I co-edited a book of poetry with my dear friend the Velveteen Rabbi. She did most of the work and provided the brilliance. I opted to go camping at the critical moment in circumstances where “wireless” referred to an apparatus with which one might tune in and listen to radio broadcasts using twiddly knobs rather than ethereal, fast, always-on access to the internet.

For on the internet was the project germinated, on the internet was it gestated and from the internet might it be acquired, fully formed. Or, as the information on the publisher‘s site puts it considerably more elegantly:

Writers and artists have always formed groups for mutual support, commentary, and encouragement, sometimes collaborating on public projects from group shows to hand-printed literary magazines. But while one tends to think of local writers hanging out in Paris cafés in the 1930s, or on the lower East side of New York in the 1950s, how does that desire for communication and creative inspiration translate into today’s online world? The poets and visual artists of this anthology met online through their blogs, and have corresponded for a number of years, across continents and oceans.

It’s one of the most rewarding things I have done. Printing off a great swathe of poems and reading them with minute critical attention whilst also being attuned to the writers themselves. It didn’t impede the task but rather enhanced it. So too did the knowledge of and absolute confidence in my hugely talented and experienced co-editor, Velveteen Rachel, who has an all-inclusive post about the book. It was a collaborative effort throughout with artwork, design, layout – everything you can imagine going into the production of such an object – being undertaken by members of the group. It is, on so many levels, a labour of love.

Brilliant Coronors

It’s for sale too!

Part II. d’Arbrilliance.

The wonderful and extraordinarily multi-talented Natalie d’Arbeloff  (who not only has a poem in the volume above but of course has also recently published The God Interviewshas just won a prestigious competition, to celebrate 50 years of the Guardian‘s women’s pages. See Natalie’s accounts by scrolling down to entries for 5, 7, 8 and 10 November. And for her pain (that inflicted by the party boots) she gets to edit the section for a week. I can hardly wait to see what she’s going to do. And what she thinks of the experience.

I like the movement implied in these two disparate shining things. The interplay between “old” media and “new”. Writers and artists exploring “new” ways to produce and distribute an “old” media product; a writer and artist immersed in the “new” bringing her talents to the “old”.

3 Replies to “Brilliance. In two parts.”

  1. Co-editing this volume with you was a treat and a pleasure! Your insights were invaluable, and when I read the collection now I am endlessly delighted by what arose out of this collaboration.

    I love your point about how being attuned to the writers themselves didn’t hinder but rather enhanced the experience of choosing poems for publication. Yes yes and yes. Remarkable, isn’t it?

  2. I’m wondering whether, instead of “Brilliant Coroners,” we should’ve gone with “Goodbye Pork Pie Hatchet”?

  3. I’m glowing with pride to be included in the truly awesome company of real poets (unlike me, a Sunday or Monday poet) represented in this collection and Rachel, thanks very much for your support and affirmation yet again. I too can’t wait for the Guardian experience – an adventure, for sure.

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