Wednesday 5 September 2012

Pete Cox, Poet - Guest Blog, September 2012

Amongst the many things that I enjoy writing, site-specific poetry has to be near the top of the list. Back when I was Poet-in-Residence for one of my citys cemeteries (2005-2008) I created poetry trails through the old Victorian graveyard. The first was a series of riddles relating to the wild life of the site and as they ended with What Am I? one of the drinkers found something sharp to engrave into the laminated cardboard precisely what he thought the answer was. Ive kept it as a memento of interaction with my audience, though not on general display. Now that Im P-i-R for St. Johns church Ive so-far written about the font, the church clock, the pulpit and a memorial stone. Now every-so-often an event will come up that sparks some creativity and if I can write a series of poems, Ill put them together as a pamphlet to be given away and hopefully (shamelessly) generate some publicity for myself. 
As it would be easy to label me a geek (my life is much like the characters in the American comedy series Big Bang Theory, except I have poetry rather than science) and I have always had a love of almost all things science fiction, the events at which Im dishing out these pamphlets are often science fiction conventions. I can argue that poetry of the fantastical has a long and noble tradition passing back through Tennysons Locksley Hall to Beowulf and Gilgamesh. From Edgar Allen Poe the dark torch was passed to the writers who contributed to Weird Tales and other pulps of the thirties, H.P. Lovecraft and his circle. A couple of the most prominent  poets who have used sf tropes in their work are Edwin Morgan this years Pulitzer Prize winner Tracy K. Smith. (If you want to know more about genre poetry and current markets, Ive written a piece for the blog of the horror author Sam Stone As a result of these and other poems published in the genre small-press Ive picked up quiet good reviews and been placed in the top three for the Data Dump award (a British prize for best published sf poem) a handful of times. Recently I found that an American book-dealer was advertising one of my pamphlets for a nominal amount. My reaction was to send him a few more and wish him well. In his own way hes helping to publicise me and for the amount he wanted ($5) he was hardly exploiting the workers.

One British small-press publisher who both uses and reviews genre and non-genre poetry is Southend-on-Seas Atlantean Publications, who you can find out more about at ".

© Pete Cox 2012

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