Call for Submissions: [insert text here]

Well hello there poets!

Exciting news for you: [insert text here] have just got the go-ahead for a new venture!

(Yes, we know the image is a little bit ‘back to basics’, but that’s because we’re putting all our energy into the actual poetry.)

We’re looking for poems to place on the tables in Bibi’s Cafe (on North St, St Andrews, Fife). But it doesn’t matter if you’re not from St Andrews, because we’re accepting open submissions.

This is a particularly exciting venture for us, for a number of reasons. Not only is Cafe Poetry our first (though hopefully not last) event north of the border, but it is also giving emerging poets (that’s you!) the opportunity to have their work seen by potentially hundreds of people. The poems will stay on the tables at Bibi’s for up to 2 weeks, meaning that any selected poems will be seen by a wide variety of coffee-shop-goers.

The project goes live in a couple of weeks, so you have until Friday 19th October to get your poetry in.


A few notes on submitting:

  • The poem(s) must be your own. Sounds obvious, we know, but thought it would be better to remind you. (Court over copyright are expensive, and we don’t have that kind of budget.)
  • Poems must not be longer than 30 lines (including spaces and title). This is so that when we print them, they fit comfortably on the page. So no epics please. (Though if you have written an epic poem, we admire your dedication!)
  • No rude words please! We don’t like to control what people write, so if you have a particular penchant for swearing in poems, that’s fine. But, since this particular project is a very public one, in which we have no control over our audience, we can’t accept any poems that contain swear words, or anything that seeks to be deliberately offensive. Sorry.
  • Please include:
    1. Your poem(s). Obviously.
    2. Your name – unless you specifically wish to remain anonymous. In which case, make sure you make that explicit when sending in your poems.
    3. Brief bio, maximum of 50 words, just saying a bit about yourself and your writing. If you’re not sure what to say, try looking at our Contributor Bios for ideas. (If you wish your poem to be anonymous for whatever reason, then the bio is obviously not necessary.)
    4. A photo of yourself (optional). If your poem is selected, we may wish to put it on our website, along with a photo of the amazing poet his/herself.
    5. Please say whether we also have your permission to publish any selected poem(s) on our site. We like to reach as wide an audience as possible, so we may well also put some (or all) of the selected Cafe Poems up in the Poetry section of our website.
    6. Please say whether we have your permission to use any selected poem(s) in future [insert text here] projects. We will always contact you to let you know if we intend to do this. The copyright will remain with you, the author.

    You can submit your poem in one of two ways: either by sending an email to (preferred), or via the Submit section of the site. (If submitting via the site, please send your photo separately by email.)

    Remember, the (very strict) deadline for this project is Friday 19th October. Enjoy writing – and good luck!

Gliese 581 g

I had a go at the first of the exercises that Jacob posted up – the one about beginnings. This was the result. It’s still in a pretty raw form, so any feedback would be much appreciated. Would love to read other people’s efforts too – I miss seeing everyone else’s work!

(Oh, must remember to mention: this is Katie H, by the way.)

Ok, here goes:


Gliese 581 g

It’s a small step
from the disembarkation ramp (freshly painted
carnation red) to the ground.

She takes it at a leap, connects her earth-feet
flat with the black rock:
slap-slap, like two hands clasping
a heart at the start of a prayer,
her soles beating her pulse rhythm
on the skin of a brave new world.

There are trees here, too:
undersides of leaves lifted
to the unknown sprawl of constellations,

branches waving home
waving like children from the unslung windows
of a steam train
to parents, brothers, sisters, friends, to lovers
caught in the spiral embrace of others,
smooth bodies bronzed under mood lighting
light-years away.

When she breathes, she feels
atoms of the ship’s conditioned air,
the remaining limpet molecules of Earth
fleeing her lungs.

When she closes her eyes, she still smells
the sugar breath of home-baked meringues,
the Christmas tang of new plastic
mingled with leeks and goose fat frying.

She can still hear
her own voice volunteering, fixed and clean
as a button, her smile as proud and distant
as a star.

Poetry Picks – review submissions please!

Hi guys –

I posted this on the facebook group, but I thought I’d put it up on here as well. I thought there might be some Barbican Poets who’d be up for this recommending a pamphlet or two to the wider world. Would love to see some submissions from some of you. :-)

Here’s the post from the [insert text here] site:

‘The time has come, the walrus said…’

…to launch a new venture!

It’s all very well [insert text here] recommending the odd poem now and again, but there are a lot of brilliant poets out there, who have entire books filled with incredible poems. So why shouldn’t we recommend those as well?

So, we’re launching a monthly venture, called Poetry Picks. It’s pretty simple, really. At the start of each month, we’ll post a review of a book we’ve really really enjoyed, which will hopefully serve as an encouragement for our readers to go out and find a copy, and read it themselves.

But that is not all…

As with everything, we would like to include as many people as possible in this venture. So, we’re asking for open submissions.

If you’ve read a collection of poetry recently, and think that other people deserve to know about it, then why not write your own Poetry Pick and send it in to us? You can send it to us via the Submit section of the site, or via email:

A few things to remember when submitting:

  • Only say nice things, please! Poetry Picks is about finding collections of poetry that are really really good, so pick a collection that you love, and take it from there.
  • Make sure you include ‘Poetry Picks’ in the subject of your email, or at the start of the ‘submission’ box if submitting through the site.
  • Include a short bio of yourself (max 50 words), either in the body of your email, or in the ‘additional information’ box on the site. We may also post this on our Who We Are section, and put you down as a Contributor, so if you don’t want us to do this, make sure you let us know.
  • If possible, please include a picture. This can be a photo of you with the book, a photo related to the themes of the book, a photo of your cat reading the book – the choice is yours. Just make sure you’re the photographer – or that you have the permission of whoever is the photographer. (Legal battles over copyright would really put a dampener on things.) You can either attach this to the email, or (if submitting through the site) send a separate email with the photo.
  • We might edit your review a bit, mainly if there are any spelling mistakes or anything – but don’t worry! We’ll make sure we don’t change the meaning of any of your sentences. After all, you’re the reviewer – not us.

If you’re confused about anything, you can either get in touch with us, or have a look at the first Poetry Pick for inspiration.

Poetry Pick #1 coming soon: August 2012

Thanks! Missing you all.


Hi – thought it was a while since I’d posted on here (or anyone really), and it would be a shame to let all our fabulous workshopping skills go to waste, so I thought I’d pop up a poem and see what people thought. Any feedback would be much appreciated!
(Also, because I can’t see an ‘authors’ bit anywhere on the new layout, I thought I’d better just say – this is Katie H. Probably just me not being able to see it – anyone else see where it says who wrote the posts?)



They write my life in wires, my memories
on a microchip. I am translated into the language
of a generation that sees punctuation
as symbols.

Hello world.

I am the new human. Reinvented nature.
My fingerprints are sparks, my taste
unnecessary. Instead, I consume electricity.

My dreams are teased into tungsten blazing
in a vacuum. My life is information – saved.

The day I tripped on wet steps and cracked
my chin is burned in binary, though
the white hyphen scar was deleted.
My link to the past stored in gigabytes,
I can’t forget the smell of fresh grass,
the acrid smoke of fizzled-out Catherine wheels.
I can’t. It’s written in undeletable data,
a hard drive of once-upon-a-time.

It’s skin that I miss. Not my own. Hers – anyone’s.
The vice of a handshake, the hot cup of palm
on cheek, the pressing of two backs in sleep
and the rise and fall of breasts. The friction of thighs.

Lay my metal head on the pillow.



*Hans Moravec is a scientist who theorises that, because all thought and genetic code comprises strings of information, if this information could be rewritten as computer code, it would be possible to create humans as virtual, removing the need for a physical body.

Barbican Poets at Spoken, Theatre41

“Miriam Nash opened the show, with a poem about growing up in the Scottish Islands. She was followed by Will Tyas, the first of the Barbican Young Poets, who read from his brilliantly self-decorated Kindle. (His poem about umbrellas also seemed pretty topical, given the current temperamental weather.) I was the next up (reading a poem entitled Cumbria, 2001, followed by a piece called Turner, which I picked because we had an audience of art people). After me came Kareem Parkins-Brown, whose piece Dream Dealer I have now heard three or four times, and which I love every time. Kareem then introduced Aisling Fahey, who seemed to be the last of the Barbican Poets – but during her reading, we witnessed the timely (or rather, ‘untimely’) late arrival of Ehsan Khan, who rounded off the Barbican Poets. We were just about to wrap up when…”

Want to read more? Head over to Katie Hale’s write up of Spoken at Theatre41, last Thursday evening…