Newsletter: Andrew Oldham

Merry Christmas and a great 2011. The season has been busy here with plans for a tour on the back of my first collection, GHOSTS OF A LOW MOON (Lapwing, Belfast 2010), news below on that. I am very grateful for your continued support and interest in my writing.

POETRY: TED HUGHES AWARD 2010
Thanks to all those people who contacted me after buying GHOSTS OF A LOW MOON. I have been thrilled that some of my readers have recommended the collection for the ‘Ted Hughes Award for New Work in Poetry’. If you are a member of The Poetry Society and like my poetry, I would appreciate your support on this and if you could take time out to recommend me. The rules for the award can be found at: http://www.poetrysociety.org.uk/content/competitions/tedhughes/rules/
You have until the 5th January 2011 to do this. Thanks for the support.

POETRY: GHOSTS OF A LOW MOON
Ghosts of a Low Moon (Lapwing, Belfast ISBN 978-1-907276-60-6) is now available via my website shop at: http://www.andrewoldham.co.uk/
You can purchase signed copies.

You can now view the first 19 pages of the collection on Google Books at: http://bit.ly/g9N6ik

Ghosts of Low Moon has been included in Salt’s Horizon Review contributors’ books of the year, nice to be included beside Martin Amis, Don Delillo (one of my favourite writers), Matthew Sweeney (a great Salt poet), Ciaran Carson (one of my favourite poets), Elizabeth Baines (great writer), Pascale Petit and many more. This is a list worth reading and I am happy to be included in it! I am a big fan of Salt and it is nice to be noticed by them. Horizon Review is a great online publication. Do take a look at: http://bit.ly/fp8zpH

The collection is also now available via Amazon (unfortunately it has sold out via Amazon but will be in stock again soon): http://www.amazon.co.uk/Ghosts-Low-Moon-Andrew-Oldham/dp/1907276602

POETRY TOUR: VIRTUAL AND LIVE
I will be touring in 2011, Feb-May online and June-August on tour. I will be touring venues with the poet, Ian Parks and will be joined by Milner Place. Dates will be announced in Spring 2011. If you run a blog and would like to be part of the virtual tour, do email me at andrew@andrewoldham.co.uk.

JOURNALISM: PIG ROW
As many of you know, my wife and I gave up the town way of life in 2009 and moved to a rural area, a thriving town is nearby but our immediate surroundings are cows, sheep, horses, seven neighbours, one road, a pub and chickens. We took over an old cottage house and garden; a garden that had been untouched for thirty years. During the last twelve months I have been keeping a visual record of the changing face of this garden from bramble patch to crab grass hell. This has been accompanied by notebooks full of ideas, plans, redrawn, rewritten, ripped up. In a moment of elation I pitched the idea for a series of articles to the Cottage Garden Society, on someone growing a garden from scratch, from seed and cuttings. They accepted. From 2011, I will appear in the CGS magazine and readers will see my ups, my downs and my sideway steps around gardening on Pig Row (this was the original name of the cottages I live in).

POEM: WHEN WE WERE KIDS WE BOMBED
(taken from GHOSTS OF A LOW MOON)

Past the boarded up top shop, empty plastic jars still labelled:
spangles, candy cigarettes, white mice, pixie sticks and gob stoppers.
A chant for hands sweaty with copper coins.
Bomb it down to my Aunt’s (and the drunk she married),
my cot stillborn, swaddled in their attic; dusty.

Past poor Manny with his pornographic matchstick tricks,
too old to hang around with kids and still riding a BMX.
Bomb it over the cobbles sprouting through black tarmac like weeds in spring,
into a place our Mums don’t play, beneath brambles and beech.
We carve out our regime, our golden rules in the earth:

No girls, no kissing, no rockers, no punks, no big kids and no poofs –
except for John because he’s the hardest kid.
I have survived another term as a maniac on the grazed playground.
I want to rest and pick the scabs on my elbows and bury my blue and orange duffel coat
with tiger teeth, with full military honours. No one listens.

Lee demands to play army; John tells tales about Kevin Sharrocks,
who found mucky mags in Pigeon Park and keeps them behind his rabbit hutch
in his dead Dad’s shed but big kids come with bum fluff lips and we bomb it.
Down the backs past the girl who ate her chemistry set, all the periodic table
and died ten years later in a car crash.

Past my older sister who sits in a booth in Ferretti’s window giving me V’s
as her cheap boyfriend orders one coke and two straws
with shrapnel dredged from the musty crombie he wears all year round
and who walks at a forty five degree angle because he has a bad case of subsidence.
And nothing will shore up their relationship.

And nothing will keep back the summers, not TV, not Billy Joel, not Kim Wilde,
not The Jam because each season outruns us and when we were kids,
there were cheap comics, stickers, penny sweets and Manny and his dirty matchsticks,
and dens, and trees your Mum told you not to climb and sisters to flee.
And now, and now I can’t even run when all I ever did as a kid was bomb.

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