Wednesday, 21 May 2008

A good read

Some of you may know A F Harrold, some of you may even own a book or two or have seen him perform but if you want something to really make you smile when you open your email, sign up for his regular newsletter. Here is a brief description of various forthcoming delights in his own words:

Upcoming Gigs

Monday June 2nd – Poet In The City, at the Guardian Newsroom, 60 Farringdon Road, London, EC1R 3GA. 6.30pm Free.
This is one of those odd little gigs that are free but which you must book in advance, by e-mailing the Poet In The City folks ( – if your name’s not on the list you’re not coming in.
The blurb on the Poet In The City website ( says A New Audiences event featuring some of the UK's most exciting poets and spoken word artists, including AF Harrold, Jenny Lindsay, Abraham Gibson and Stacey Makishi. Now I know Jenny quite well and she’s always very brilliant and lovelyly Scottish, but I’ve not seen the other two, but you’d imagine they’d book some good poets for this thing. Should be fun.

Tuesday June 17th – Write Angle, somewhere in Petersfield. In the evening. Probably costs a little bit to get in.
I’m sometimes not entirely forthcoming with details about these things, but I’m guesting at the this regular monthly event in June, in amongst some open mic and stuff. I do know that Petersfield is somewhere to the north of Portsmouth, but that’s about all I do know. If I find anything else out, I’ll let you know.

Friday June 20th – Poets’ CafĂ©, South Street Arts Centre, South Street, Reading. 8pm doors, 8.30pm start. £6/£4.
See, I know about this one. This is the monthly poetry night that I run and in amongst our open mic we’re pleased to slot in our special international guest, Mr Todd Swift, who is, of course, Oxfam’s poet in residence as well as being an editor of such anthologies as Poets Against The War and author of his own books of work. Busy chap. (

Thursday 26th – Sunday 29th – Glstonbury Festival, a field in Somerset.
Just in case anyone’s going – it’s too late to get tickets now, I think – I shall be there, both in my capacity as The Official Glastonbury Festival’s Official Website’s Official Poet In Residence, and as a performer on Helen Gregory’s poetry & words stage on the Sunday afternoon. She’s organised a fine line up of poets for her stage, so if you’re there and bored of bloody awful young people’s music come and listen to some people talking at you instead. Or go home – don’t forget, that’s always an option. For the lucky people who failed to get tickets to this thing, I shall be writing poems across the weekend which will be posted on the Glastonbury website, somewhere, in real time. Hmm, that’ll be fun.

That’s enough gig type things for now.

Forthcoming Book Available Now

Lovely poetic colleague, Mr Peter Wyton has a new book out, raising good money for a good cause. Here’s the blurb he sent: NOT ALL MEN ARE FROM MARS ‘Not all men are from Mars’ is a collection of poems by Peter Wyton, produced in support of ‘Women’s Aid’, the charity which provides sheltered accommodation throughout the U.K. for women and children made homeless by domestic violence. The book retails at £7:99 per copy, £5 of which goes to Women’s Aid. Some of the 55 poems in the book touch on the problems which Women’s Aid seeks to address, but the majority are simply about women from a wide variety of backgrounds. I am currently working with officials from the society on a presentation featuring the work of Women’s Aid, illustrated by poems from the book. Whether you are a literary festival organiser, or a member of some group or society which invites speakers to its meetings or events, please contact my manager, Linda Fisher 01452 532081 Women’s Aid is a vital but under-funded organisation. It is one of three national charities whose work concentrates on the consequences of domestic violence. A recent report highlighted the fact that the combined income of these three charities is £3 million pounds less than that of a single donkey sanctuary in Devon! More about the book at together with a PayPal link for those who wish to order a copy. The book will also be available from Peter at events. This book comes with encouraging jacket cover endorsements from Jo Brand, U.A. Fanthorpe, Rosie Bailey, Jackie Llewelyn-Bowen, Sue Limb and Sandy Toksvig.

A Competition

Okay, let’s see. The first thing a competition needs is a prize – so I quickly browse my shelves and lay my hand on a proof copy of Dan Rhodes 2001 collection of short stories Don’t Tell Me The Truth About Love. This was the follow up to Anthropology, his collection of 101 stories each 101 words long which led him to be described as ‘the bastard love-child of macabre cartoonist Edward Gorey and surreal Scottish poet Ivor Cutler’. The only problem with that quote is how the reviewer had to detail who Gorey and Cutler were – a sad indictment of the cultural heritage the majority of the world pick up…

Anyway, the second thing a competition needs is a question or two. So here goes… (as ever, an easy question, followed by a tricky tie-breaker)

Easy Question: The title of the Dan Rhodes book Don’t Tell Me Truth About Love has one word more, but is in all other ways quite similar, to a poem of almost the same name by W.H. Auden. The question is, what is the extra word that Dan Rhodes added to Auden’s poem Tell Me The Truth About Love to make his own title?

Tie-breaker: In as many words as you like don’t tell me the truth about love. Or to put it another way, as Buffy Summers did in episode seven of the second season of BTVS, lie to me.

Okay, send your answers back to me to be in with a chance of winning this very funny book. Answers need to be received by 11 am GMT on Friday 6th of June. Correct answers to the easy question will then have all their subsequent bits read and judged to be best or not quite best by me, with my favourites appearing in a subsequent newsletter – so a moment of tiny fame for all involved. The winner will get the book sent to him or her, unless they live just round the corner in which case I’ll pop it through by hand. Any questions of your own, don’t hesitate to forget to ask me.


I’ve still got books for sale at that you might enjoy. More to come.


Cheerio, toodle-pip, ta-ra, and the rest.

Be good.

A.F. Harrold.

No comments: