I will come back and update this post over the course of the year, as my various adventures in selling my debut collection poetry, Ticker-tape, unspool…
For now, here’s one to keep you ticking over. As a writer, I’m very influenced by music, especially of the cheap pop variety. People who’ve been in my various Call and Response workshops and Lyric iPod classes at the Poetry School will know that I have a strong belief that a piece of music is as valid a place to start writing a poem from as responding to a text, a picture, a sunset.
To that end, it won’t surprise that Ticker-tape is a book that has a lot of music shot through it; moods and textures yes, but also direct steals of lyrics into the poems. To celebrate all of that, and frankly do a bit more marketing, I have gone and made… a Ticker-tape playlist on Spotify. I know!
Now, I know you won’t like every track here, and that’s OK. But hopefully these will give you a bit more background, context and depth when reading the poems. And if you’re so minded, you can play ‘Where did he steal the line?’ when you read the book. Enjoy!
Poetry books don’t have trailers. Most books don’t. But especially not poetry books. No budget you see.
I beg to differ.
Poetry books do have launches, however. Ticker-tape was to be no exception, and I was lucky enough to have a full house at Waterstones Piccadilly — and this despite a terrorist incident in Westminster a few hours earlier.
Ably supported by Katie Griffiths and Alex MacDonald, I think the night went well. I am not the best judge of how I read that night, but others told me I did OK. Here’s a time-lapse of the signing queue after (we sold out of books too.)
This photo sums it up for me:
And now the business of taking the book — I won’t be as grand to say on ‘tour’ — to places where I and the poems may be wanted.
Such as Oxford, where I was persuaded to try and match the book’s colour scheme:
And the BBC Asian Network, where I chatted to Amol Rajan about how I became a poet, and politics and language too (listen from 1h 10m).
And also my workplace, as my colleagues have been super-supportive of this extra-curricular activity.
I’ve been doing interviews too, such as with revered UK poetry blogger Dave Coates.
I’ve been fortunate that the book has been making its own way around the world too. Such as to New York:
I’ve even dipped a toe into the world of merchandise. A Ticker-tape watch anyone?
If you want one, I can put in an order…
I should add that none of the above — the book, the readings and everything else — has happened mainly in part of the kindness of many people. In the UK, in most cases, for most practitioners of the art, poetry is effectively a gift economy, so nearly everything that happens happens because of people working extra hours, often without any recompense, just because they love poetry. My deep and heartfelt thanks to all of them.