I’m taking 19 titles to the Poets’ Market at StAnza this year. I have to admit the number surprised me when I counted them up, but that’s the total of books I have in print at the moment. I aim to arrive on Thursday, via my printers to pick up Juliet Wilson’s wonderful ‘Unthinkable Skies’ collection, around lunch-time. In the afternoon I’m doing a ‘Past and Present’ session on Gregory Corso, who was given the title of ‘The Last Beat’ in the 2009 film biography by film maker Gustave Reininger. It’s true that at times he tried to distance himself from the ‘Beat’ label, but he was associated in the late 1950s with Allen Ginsberg, Jack Kerouac and the others. As a poet, however, he was very different from the others, and the romantic poets of the 19th century were a major influence on him. Indeed, after his death in 2001 his ashes were buried in Rome beside the grave of Shelley. For my part, I first read him during my own drop-out period in the early 1960s, so I’ve always felt some kind of link to him.
So I’m looking forward to doing that session. In the past I’ve chaired most of them, so it’s going to be very different not sitting in that big Provost’s chair in the Council Chamber. The other thing I’m hugely looking forward to is seeing my new collection from Red Squirrel Scotland – The floorshow at the Mad Yak Café. I haven’t seen it yet, and I’m just about bursting with anticipation. PDFs are fine, but they don’t feel like a real book in the hand.
PS: I’m re-jigging the CWP website so I can fulfill orders from abroad. That should be finished next week.
PPS: ‘Tis done. Order with confidence. From anywhere. I’ve got button-builder’s fatigue.