<![CDATA[CHRIS EMERY - Blog]]>Fri, 01 May 2020 10:34:33 +0000Weebly<![CDATA[Depth Charge | New poems from moi]]>Thu, 30 Apr 2020 10:41:28 GMThttp://chrishamiltonemery.com/blog/depth-charge-new-poems-from-moi
I have a new limited edition 16pp pamphlet coming: Depth Charge – 100 copies, signed, numbered, illustrated, laminated, and available only from me! First come, first served. Details will go live next month on Facebook and Twitter
<![CDATA[50 Dos and Don’ts | Preparing your poetry submission]]>Fri, 21 Jun 2019 07:16:10 GMThttp://chrishamiltonemery.com/blog/50-dos-and-donts
  1. First off, read submissions guidelines carefully. Many publishers don’t currently take submissions and find their poets from out in those literary communities you’re going to spend your time discovering and playing a part in.
  2. Don’t ask for feedback on your poems. It’s not the publisher’s job to act as your advisor.
  3. Don’t write to ask for submission guidelines. Check the publishers Web site for details. If you haven’t access to the Web, go to an internet café.
  4. Do check whether a publisher is currently accepting submissions, Web sites often give detailed information.
  5. Make yourself a player. A mover and shaker. If you are out there participating in literature, publishers will notice you.
  6. Keep submission letters brief. Editors are ferociously busy people. Spend time planning what message you want to get across, and take time to ensure you’ve got it down in writing, clearly and concisely.
  7. Be completely familiar with the publisher’s list. If you haven't bought any of their books, why should they bother to publish you? And don’t get caught out pretending.
  8. At the same time as planning a submission, prepare a marketing plan for how you will personally promote your book. That’s for the publisher when you get accepted.
  9. Make sure you include your magazine publishing history, citing where and when your poems have appeared.
  10. Find out the name of the person you are submitting to. Find out what they like. Find out where they live. Follow them to work. Alright, just kidding, but find out their name.
  11. Don’t threaten the editor, or be overly familiar.
  12. Don’t set deadlines for responses.
  13. Avoid the common pitfall of purchasing a book as a form of making a submission. Editors can be bought, but only for six figure sums involving a contract of employment.
  14. Avoid portentous, weighty titles: “The Succulent Dark of My Fading Time,” “Dread Fires of The Iron Soul,” etc., are sure to raise the hackles of every editor.
  15. Don’t spend time explaining why your work is important.
  16. Don’t justify your work through a negative reading of contemporary poetry. “All this modern poetry is just rubbish; please find enclosed my 20,000 line Life of Hephaestus written in Alexandrines.”
  17. Do check your spelling. Especially the words you think you know how to spell.
  18. Do take care with punctuation, and take special care with apostrophes.
  19. Echoing Raymond Carver, “No cheap tricks.”
  20. Avoid sending poems on the death of your cat, mother or Biology teacher. Or how crap your life is. Or about bee-keeping.
  21. Beware of sending poems which contain wild metaphor, clever descriptions of everyday phenomena, and make novel use of dialect and idioms, all ending with a stunning epiphany. It’s a tired old template now. Descriptive writing can be very dull.
  22. Poems on the wondrous nature of God’s creation aren’t.
  23. Manuscripts containing helpful marginal notes about what you are meaning at this point, or how to typeset the stanza or line are profoundly annoying.
  24. Avoid hyperbole, cliché, saturated adjectives, and extended simile. High-powered writing is never weakened by such features. Precision is everything in writing, even being precisely vague.
  25. Learn the rules in order to break them.
  26. Do break the rules. We are all so bored of the rules, especially the ones taught to you on writing retreats.
  27. An aside, if someone talks to you about finding your “voice,” they’re trying to sell you snake oil.
  28. Do not centre on the page everything you write.
  29. Do not set the whole manuscript in italics.
  30. Do avoid fads, like workshop poems in strict forms— sonnets, villanelles and sestinas can be truly marvellous, but writing exercises rarely make for saleable goods.
  31. Do not put © Copyright Denise Cuthbert 2005 on the bottom of every page. No one, especially the editor of a publishing house, is going to abuse the rights to your poems.
  32. Do send an envelope big enough to use to send your manuscript back to you.
  33. Do supply full postage or international reply coupons, if accepted by the country you are submitting to.
  34. Do not set the manuscript in 18 point bold Helvetica. Choose a font that looks like a book typeface in the appropriate size and weight.
  35. So many people write on 8.5 _ 11.5 inch or A4 paper that they forget that most trade books are around 5.5 × 8.5 inch or 216 × 140mm in format—be aware of the likely size of the printed page.
  36. Don’t ask for a receipt for your manuscript.
  37. Don’t ring up chasing progress the week following your submission. Be patient. Publishers accepting manuscripts may receive several hundred per week. Even working 12 hour days no editor can keep pace with the deluge of submissions.
  38. If rejected don’t waste time demanding to know why. Dust yourself down and move on.
  39. Do mention if you have been recommended by another poet from the list.
  40. Don’t name drop unless the names explicitly bear upon the nature of the submission.
  41. Don’t waste time sending expensive bound volumes of your work.
  42. Do send a sample of six to ten poems.
  43. Do send some brief endorsements or review quotes, but not those from your mother or English tutor.
  44. Don’t handwrite your letter to the editor.
  45. Don’t handwrite the poems.
  46. Don’t include your photograph—especially the moody one with the Fedora.
  47. Do spend time researching and planning your submission. Choose the best poems to suit the publisher’s list.
  48. Don’t let a friend or family member submit on your behalf. They’re your poems, have the conviction to make their case.
  49. Do tell the publisher why you think the poems will suit their list.
  50. Finally, don’t give up hope. If you believe in your writing, keep on reading and developing your skills. Keep on building your profile. Spread your enthusiasm.
<![CDATA[A new poem in New Welsh Reader 115]]>Thu, 26 Oct 2017 14:21:03 GMThttp://chrishamiltonemery.com/blog/a-new-poem-in-new-welsh-reader-115
Very pleased to have a new poem in New Welsh Reader 115. You can discover the full contents here — very pleased to see Ben Wilkinson in here. 
<![CDATA[A thing of beauty — the new Cōnfingō Magazine]]>Thu, 26 Oct 2017 08:54:32 GMThttp://chrishamiltonemery.com/blog/a-thing-of-beauty-the-new-confingo-magazine
I'm seriously pleased to have a new poem in CŌNFINGŌ MAGAZINE — a beautifully produced journal from my home town of Manchester. I'm even more pleased to say I share the pages with my friend and co-worker, Nicholas Royle.

You can also find works by Roeloff Bakker, Zena Barrie, Peter Bradshaw, Richard, Conning, Alison Criddle, Shiv Dawson, Mike Fox, Andrew Hook, Jo Howard, Tom Jenks, Sarah Longlands, Megan Powell, Charlie Sangster, Lee Stannard and David Wheldon.
<![CDATA[Two poems in Transom Journal]]>Thu, 26 Oct 2017 08:22:55 GMThttp://chrishamiltonemery.com/blog/two-poems-in-transom-journalPicture
I have two new poems, ‘Nights Again’ and ‘Fat Days’ in Transom Issue 11 — many thanks to the editors Kiki and Dan. Hope you enjoy them — and especially hope you enjoy the rest of the issue where you will find work by Abi Pollokoff, Carson Sawyer, Conyer Clayton, Christopher Merrill, Wang Changling, trans. Daniel Bosch, Paul Griner, Adam Day, Cheryl Clark Vermeulen, Rachel Abramowitz, Stephen Frech, Kim Parko, Megan Leonard and John Zedolik.
<![CDATA[Door into the Light]]>Sun, 08 Oct 2017 11:55:51 GMThttp://chrishamiltonemery.com/blog/door-into-the-lightDOOR INTO THE LIGHT
Heaney’s book, of course, chooses a different title for its mystery and (self) revelation, for comfort, and what we might call ‘knowableness’: locus and a smidgen of hocus pocus. It's a book that positions that great writer before he sets out, away from the merely familiar Wohnlichkeit, into the savage politics of his time. Yet it's 1983 not 1969, and I'm reading Heaney’s book sitting in a dirty bedroom in Leeds. I have my own savage times to deal with back there. Someone wants to destroy society. Actually, everyone wants to destroy society. It’s an age that has many parallels with 2017. Marxism on the streets and a decaying regime in power desperate for its hierarchies to prevail or perhaps merely persevere.
Anyway, downstairs, with its cabbage smell seeping into our crappy Victorian terrace from the allotments next door, there are a million woodlice scurrying across the blackened cellar kitchen lino, waiting for me and my housemate to come a-stamping.
Nothing surprising in this glimpse of student life, except that this idea of the younger me reading poetry is a tiny personal explosion of social mobility. Something art offered and which nowadays has been replaced by massive personal debt. Later that week, I shall be walking into Leeds town centre to find some second-hand Beckett, Endgame probably — I have it here on the shelves beside me now. I'd have read it listening to Borodin’s Polovtsian Dances, borrowed from Leeds music library. For a working class kid from Manchester, I wonder what had happened to me at that point. Poetry, music, theatre — how did that young lad gain access to that sort of stuff? — ah, Art school.
Art is the enemy of borders, now there’s something banal and wonky. What I think I mean by this is, once you dip your toe in to the world of culture, the world’s comic order shifts outwards, ripples don’t come back. I don't know any successful art that puts you in your place, even if it deals ‘in place’ — the very naming of something is a dispossession, a dis-location, a loss of sorts, inside the fabric of its reception. All attempts at positioning in art have the opposite effect, for the reader isn’t there, but elsewhere.

For Heaney’s immediate audience, his recounting of rural life was no doubt familiar, but like Virgil's Eclogues, that very picture of the tools of the trade, the seasons and the seasons' work, lies in contrast to a world of conflict. The bucolic winsomeness is enabled by permanent bloody war, just out of sight, at our boundaries; truly a measure of our own times: the veil of freedom concealing from us the real nature of the world. Things break in. Doubts creep in. The boundary moves. The boundary fractures.
Still, back there in 1983, that young art student has escaped from one life’s expectations. Why bother reminiscing? Well, in our new world, the one we’re building right now, inside our incoherent passion for national divestment, for dis-integration, we are imagining a new locus, and those powers shaken free from the moderation of the centre are intent on managing the nuclear force of our revolution. And it is a revolution. We need to make sure that the new walls we choose to live inside, the ones we want to erect to keep our world in order, are ones we want to be constrained by. What keeps people out, locks people in. The familiarity of the dark can be a comfort, but a door into the light involves uncomfortable transformation.
And that, my friends, is 600 words.

<![CDATA[Cromer Gothica 2018]]>Tue, 09 May 2017 16:05:12 GMThttp://chrishamiltonemery.com/blog/cromer-gothica-2018
Imagine a piece of literary theatre that takes over a pier and a seaside town and converts it into a Gothic sea fantasy for one day.
The Pavilion Theatre on Cromer’s Edwardian pier is the perfect venue for a piece of literary theatre, but it can be intensely difficult to draw in crowds from North Norfolk with its ageing population, disparate audiences and, of course, erratic weather. I've been imagining a very different, collaborative approach.

The idea of Cromer Gothica is to create more than a seated literary festival, but a one-off piece of literary theatre, with multiple events, surreal ceremonies and literary experiences, music, dance and story booths, set pieces on stage, as well as readings held together with a Master of Ceremonies and his Black Shucks, dogs that help move the audience from one tale to another, from one space to another.

Immersive and cinematic, an auditorium filled with Victorian music hall sounds, projections and sound sculptures. All gathered together around poetry and stories informed by the ideas of sinister storms, hell hounds, the edges of the world, mad seas, sailors and wrecks and ghosts. Lost buildings, lost worlds. Crazy Victoriana. Giant dolls in crimplene skirts and perambulators filled with wolves. Stilt walking dogs. Incantations. Secret gatherings. Pirates and monsters.

The event could draw together companies from around Norfolk: Writers’ Centre Norwich, Norwich Arts Centre, Sheringham Little Theatre have all expressed support, and would be joined by publishers: Ambit, Salt, Unthank to name a few from the region, as well as a gothic bookshop run by Norwich independent bookseller, The Book Hive, held in the foyer of the pier.

The idea would be to draw a creative team from the theatre and other performing communities, and to agree a narrative architecture for the day’s events. A production team would prepare the show and draw upon the existing services in the region. I imagine the events taking their cues from the work of the Wild Workz Theatre Company, that was led by the late great Bill Mitchell — could we invite them to help coordinate the event?

I’m also envisaging that the event will draw upon Norwich’s theatre goers and literary enthusiasts, and may even take over the train station in Norwich to usher in people attending the day’s events and, once in North Norfolk, escorting them from Cromer station to the pier in a kind of Pied Piper carnival walk.

There may be events on the sea front and, as the day comes to an end, a beach party for the writers and participants to celebrate the literature of Norfolk.

There would be one ticket price for the day and people can pick and choose from a Devil’s Menu which events they wanted to attend.

That's what I'm imagining.
<![CDATA[This Sceptred Isle]]>Sun, 07 May 2017 20:44:59 GMThttp://chrishamiltonemery.com/blog/this-sceptred-isle
It was an open day at Mannington Hall today, the home of Robert Walpole, 10th Baron Walpole. It's a family home and alongside seventeenth- and eighteenth-century portraits, hung in the wood-panelled rooms, there are mantelpieces filled with recent family photos, too. Snaps. Wedding photos. Children smiling. It's a fourteenth-century house with substantial add-ons (you can't quite call them extensions). Outside one lounge of sagging sofas and a serious plaster ceiling, there were ranks of CDs: classical composers alphabetised, English church music and, the entire CD collection of This Sceptred Isle, the 90 part history of the British Empire from the BBC. It is a charming, intimate hall, lived in, slightly fusty — looking through some French windows you see the moat (it has one). What struck me was the sense of another England, a continuous, untouched, living stem of something planted in the 1400s. Perhaps the things central to the Tory core of small C conservatism: preservation, continuity, religious and royal bedrock. For the first time, I really could see it. See it in the gardens. In the children's clubs they run. The Observer’s Guides to Weather, Insects, Birds tucked away in the shelves. It was another England that occupied the one I was standing in. Something forever separate from me and millions like me, parallel, absolute and other.
<![CDATA[European Poetry Night]]>Sat, 06 May 2017 13:19:07 GMThttp://chrishamiltonemery.com/blog/european-poetry-night
Over the past fortnight, the poet and novelist Richard Lambert and I have been collaborating for European Poetry Night, an event run by Steven J Fowler and his Enemies Project on behalf of the International Literature Showcase that was held on May 4th 2017 at Dragon's Hall, Writers' Centre Norwich.

It was a terrific evening of readings and performances, each pair of writers bringing something unique to the occasion: fairy tale, rumbustious parody, experimental dialogue, children's stories — even the vague threat of being eaten. 
<![CDATA[New poems in Transom Journal #11]]>Sun, 09 Apr 2017 00:00:00 GMThttp://chrishamiltonemery.com/blog/new-poems-in-transom-journal-11
So excited to have two new poems coming in Transom Journal. ‘Fat Days’ and ‘Nights Again’ will be published in issue 11. They're taken from a sequence I've been writing for around six months that were influenced by Parquet Courts and Bob Hicok and insomnia — you heard it here first, folks. Huge thanks for Kiki and Dan for taking the poems. I'll share link once the issue goes live.