News & Events
Thursday, October 1st National Poetry Day
Join me for an online reading hosted by Fire River Poets, open mic slots available but hurry if you want one. They tend to be very popular. I will be reading from The Uninvited, but may also give a sneak preview from Frank, which is forthcoming from the Poetry Business imprint, Smith Doorstep, next Spring. To register for the event, go to www.fireriverpoets.org
The other news is The Uninvited has been longlisted for the Welsh Poetry Book Awards. The shortlist is out in October and the winner in November.
Tuesday, July 21st from 7.30 p.m.
Poetry Teignmouth at the Mill invites you to a scheduled Zoom meeting.
An Indigo Dreams Evening with readings from Ben Banyard, Chrissy Banks, Paul McGrane and Veronica Aaronson
All poetry lovers welcome.
About the Poets:
Ben Banyard grew up in the Midlands but now lives in Portishead, near Bristol. Ben's poetry focuses on love, loss, parenthood and the modern world around us. His two collections to date, 'Communing' and 'We Are All Lucky', were both published by Indigo Dreams. His third collection, 'Hi-Viz', will be published in 2021. His blog is at https://benbanyard.wordpress.com
Chrissy Banks is based in Exeter, where she writes, runs a couple of reading groups and is full of good intentions about setting up more poetry-related stuff. She assisted Alasdair Paterson for several years in running the Exeter Poetry Festival. She is published in many journals and anthologies. Her latest collection is The Uninvited from Indigo Dreams. Previously she worked as a counsellor and psychotherapist and this interest in the human psyche and relationships is the main focus of her work. The Uninvited has been described as ‘powered by wry perceptiveness yoked to generosity of spirit’ and ‘a grippingly moreish book’.
Paul McGrane is the co-founder of the Forest Poets poetry collective in Walthamstow, East London, which has just celebrated its first ten years. He’s The Poetry Society’s Membership Manager and runs the Poetry@3 open mic at the Poetry Café, Covent Garden, on the first Thursday of every month. As a winner of the Geoff Stevens Memorial Award he had his first collection 'Elastic Man' published with Indigo Dreams in 2018.
Veronica Aaronson is the co-founder of the Teignmouth Poetry Festival. Her first collection Nothing About the Birds Is Ordinary This Morning has been put forward for the 2020 Laurel Prize. One of the poems from the collection was chosen for the Scottish Poetry Library Anthology 2019. A poem from her upcoming collection came second in the Waltham Forest Poetry Prize and has been nominated for the Forward Prize.
Thursday, November 21st. 6.30. Taunton Literary Festival Event. Venue: Brendon Books. Reading and book signing. Tickets from Brendon Books or online https://www.tauntonliteraryfestival.co.uk
Monday, November 4th Poetry Reading at the Venue, Wells. 7.45 p.m.
Launch party for The Uninvited. Date and time: Sunday, 6th October from 2.00 p.m. Venue: Studio 36, 36 Denmark Road, Exeter, EX1 1SE. Music, Art, wine, nibbles, short readings. Books available for sale. All welcome, but it would be useful to know numbers if you plan to come.
Things My Mother Said was entered for the Forward Best Single Poem prize by Josephine Corcoran of And Other Poems. This is the second of my poems to be nominated and the second not to make it, but congratulations to Sarah Hyams whose andotherpoems poem Whale-Boned Corset and Other Relics was Highly Commended and will feature in the Forward anthology.
August 2019 The Uninvited is out! Now available from Indigo Dreams or from me via this website. Check out some of the poems on this link to my page on Indigo Dreams' site https://www.indigodreams.co.uk/chrissy-banks/4594681043
July 2019 Ink Sweat & Tears have published If You Don't Come Back and Ninth Muse Finn and Sea Change
April 2019 Indigo Dreams will publish my second full collection later this year under the title The Uninvited. Watch this space for more details.
December 2018. I'm so pleased to have two poems on Josephine Corcoran's wonderful And Other Poems site. Here is the link: andotherpoems.com/2018/12/21/two-poems-by-chrissy-banks/
And please take a look at Orbis 185, where my Christmas poem, The Agnostic's Christmas, can now be found. This poem was voted joint first by readers.
Coming up: November 1, 2018 8p.m. I will be guest poet along with Julie Sampson at CICCIC, Taunton. Julie and I are both ex-members of Fire River Poets, who host these first Thursday in the month sessions with an open mic and guest poets. The November reading marks the 30th anniversary of FRP's existence. For further information, go to http://www.fireriverpoets.org.uk/ or https://www.creativeinnovationcentre.co.uk/
October 2018. I am very excited to say that Indigo Dreams have accepted a full collection of my poems to be published as The Uninvited next year. Indigo Dreams are home to a very talented posse of poets and I am proud to think I'm going to be one of them. They are winners of last year's Saboteur Awards for most innovative publishers of poetry and seem both generous and ambitious in their reach. Check them out here www.indigodreams.co.uk/
I am not expecting the book to be out till this time next year, but I will keep you posted.
Currently, I have two poems in the Journal and some reviews in the next issue. I also have two new poems coming out in the next issue of Orbis.
September 2018 Exeter Poetry Festival takes place from October 1 - 7 with a whole series of exciting events for poetry lovers, including readings from Ann Gray, Fiona Benson, Jacqueline Saphra and performances from Matt Harvey, Melanie Branton and Michelle Madsen. In addition, Anthony Wilson will be running a workshop for poets on Work and Michelle Madsen is holding a workshop for performance poets. Jan Dean invites families to drop in to have fun with words, for all ages. Go to exeterpoetryfestival.wordpress.com/ for further details.
March 2018 Shortlisted for the Indigo Dreams Geoff Stevens Memorial Prize. This was a competition for publication of a full collection. Down to the last 8 out of 200. Thank you, Indigo Dreams. So near and yet so far.
September 2017 Take a look at the programme for this year's Exeter Poetry Festival with the legendary Linton Kwesi Johnson. Also, multiple award-winning novelist and poet Kei Miller and Poetry Review editor and Forward Prize Winner Emily Berry. There will be workshops for adults and children and the launch of the Broadsheet packed with poems. Other poets appearing are TS Eliot Prize shortlisted Harry Man, Exeter's Andy Brown and Harry Guest and Annie Fisher, who reads from her recent Happenstance pamphlet. All this and more at exeterpoetryfestival.wordpress.com/programme-2017/
July 2017 I am really, really pleased to tell you that my poem, The Waves, has won second prize in the
Wordsworth Trust Single Poem Competition. Thank you if you voted for it. The poem was prompted by a conversation with my daughter, who works with the homeless in Bristol. It's set against the backdrop of austerity cuts and the impact on the disadvantaged and on public services. You can read it by clicking on the Poems link in the Menu at the top of the page.
June 2017 The Poetry Business runs an annual Pamphlet Competition, which was judged this year by Mimi Khalvati and Ian Duhig. No, I didn't win, but I was shortlisted and one of my pamphlet poems has been entered for the Wordsworth Trust Single Poem prize. This is decided by readers' votes. You can vote for your three favourite poems by copying and pasting this link www.poetrybusiness.co.uk/competition-menu/wordsworth-trust-prize?mc_cid=726d6288b5&mc_eid=e7e294df4a . Or go to the Poetry Business site www.poetrybusiness.co.uk and look for news about the Wordsworth Prize. I can't tell you which is my poem as it has to be judged anonymously, but it's possible you may have read it as the poem had been published, which was allowed in this competition, unlike many others.
The Trios exhibition is at Taunton Library this month after a short run at the Glorious Art House in Exeter, where we had a fun poetry reading recently. Trios poets Ian Beech, Gram Joel Davies, Elaine Jarvest Miller, Robert Garnham and me read our Trios poems and more besides. Look out for further events.
April 2017 The Trios exhibition is now underway and touring the Southwest: Tiverton Hub till 29th April. Also Exeter, Plymouth, Taunton and Exmouth and Barnstaple. Paintings inspired by poems inspired by photographs. A couple of poems are included.For further information:http://jomortimer25.wixsite.com/original-art/trios2017 or on Trios Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/Trios-2017-1088758754555361/ Or Trios Twitter page: https://twitter.com/Trios2017
I am co-hosting Uncut Poets at Exeter Phoenix this month with Alasdair Paterson. Come along on April 27th for guest poet Claire Crowther and open mic poets.
Three of my poems can now be found on Ben Banyard's Clear Poetry website clearpoetry.wordpress.com/
Many thanks to Peter and Ann Sansom for publishing three of my poems in the North, to Patricia McCarthy for one poem in Agenda, Sam Smith for my poem published in the Journal and Rosemary Badcoe for featuring one of my poems in Antiphon. You can read it here. www.antiphon.org.uk . It is also available on the website as a recording. You have to scroll well down the page of recordings.
January 2017 Maybe I'm on a roll or maybe it's just the fickle coincidence of how it works with this weird business of submitting work for publication in magazines and online poetry websites, but I sent out a batch before the year's end and now some of my poems are set to appear in the North, the Journal, Antiphon and Agenda. Others are already online in the Lake. Thanks to the editors of that fine site. I am pleased to have my work featured along with other fine poems.
I would just like to mention two fine pamphlets from Happenstance. I went to the launch recently of Annie Fisher's Infinite In All Pefections. Annie's poems are funny and touching and wise. This is her first published collection and I suspect there is even better to come. Similarly, Helen Evans's Only By Flying, published earlier this year, introduces a new talented poet writing to an original theme. Helen, a licensed pilot, uses the metaphor of flying to jump off into many other areas of experience, including those universal favourites love and loss. I declare an interest though. I'm lucky enough to have these two as my regular feedback gang
November 2016 The Trios Project is nearing completion and will go on tour next April. Photographers, poets and artists have collaborated to make this a really exciting process to be involved in and I am sure the finished results will be fascinating. So many talented people are participating in a project conceived and put together by Jo Mortimer http://jomortimer25.wixsite.com/original-art . If you would like to learn more, please visit the Trios site http://loumortimer1978.wixsite.com/trios
Other news is I was shortlisted for the Bridport prize, though it has to be said it's a long shortlist. Still with 5000+ entrants and one or two of my favourites on the shortlist, it can't be bad.
September 2016 Exeter Poetry Festival 2016 runs from October 3rd to 9th, 7 days of poetry
readings, workshops and performance. Please visit the website, https://exeterpoetryfestival.wordpress.com to view the variety of poets and events lined up for this year. I am appearing briefly with Mincinglake Poets on Sunday afternoon, but I am very much looking forward to all the events, especially Hannah Silva on Monday night, Eliza Kentridge and psychoanalyst Mark Solms on the Wednesday and Annie Freud and Penelope Shuttle on Friday, 7th.
Also, come and write a poem yourself at Julia Copus's workshop on Archetypes or at the Cathedral Green tent on Thursday afternoon. All ages welcome.
August 2016 Summer has been full of poetry one way or another. I went along to Poetry Island at the Blue Walnut in Torquay for the first time a couple of months ago in the company of Anthony Watts and Annie Fisher, who were reading there. It's a great venue, just big enough to take a group of performers and an enthusiastic crowd, but small enough to have an intimacy and a buzz that's rare. The emphasis is on performance poetry and the quality was very impressive. Jez Prins was the guest poet that night and I was knocked out by a mixture of off-the-wall subject matter, humour, unexpected rhymes and and a quickfire delivery of some perfectly memorised lines. These evenings are brilliantly hosted by performance poet, Ian Beech.
Ian also runs a monthly radio programme on Mix Radio with a changing selection of guests. Last month he was kind enough to invite me to be his guest. To listen to the interview, try this link PoetryIslanders and look for the interview on July 24.
June 2016 I haven't been idle! There is many a distraction here in Exeter, not least trying to renovate a house, but I now have a beautiful, custom-made writing room in the garden - and a growing collection of poems. And I have been out and about performing and really enjoying it. I recently read alongside Tim King, Paul Mortimer and Robert Garnham at the Tiverton Oak Rooms, which was a great evening. Go and see any of these guys and you will have a good evening. If you like surreal comedy with your poetry, Robert Garnham is your man.
Many thanks to Helen Ivory of Ink, Sweat & Tears for publishing my poem, Hurrying Woman, which you can view here www.inksweatandtears.co.uk/pages/?cat=7, a great online site, and also to Paul Tobin for inviting me to take part in the Marjons Project which lead to this poem being written. You can find Paul's blog here magpiebridge.blogspot.co.uk/
January 2016 I am starting the New Year with a renewed intention to write and send my work out. Haven't done much of either over the past year since moving and being taken up with house renovations and finding inner space as well as a physical place to settle and be and focus. I have updated the website and almost started a blog, but it was a bit of a false start for various reasons. However, watch this space for further information.
One lovely event just recently was the 90th birthday of Derrick Woolf, who founded Odyssey Press. Derrick published PQR magazine for many years, introducing new poets and publishing reviews of new poetry. He also published a number of pamphlets, including my Watching the Home Movies, back in 1992. I will always be grateful for the belief he showed in me when he offered to publish my work.
September 2015 I am really looking forward to taking part for the second time in the Poetry Cafe run by Paul Mortimer and held in Tiverton's Oak Room. The event is on Friday, September 25 and will start at 7.30. There will be a fine group of poets reading and if last time's sold out event is anything to go by, a great buzz in this stylish, lively venue. Tickets can be bought from the Oak Room http://oakroomtiverton.com
March 2015 I am hosting a Poetry Cafe for Fire River Poets at CICCIC, Paul St., Taunton, at 8.00 on Thursday, 2 April. I will be reading a few of my own poems and then handing over to audience members to read what they have brought. If you would like to read one of your own poems or just come along and listen, please join me - no need to book a reading slot. The evening ends about 10.00. For this and other Fire River events, go to http//www.fireriverpoets.org.uk
Two of my poems, Found and Ploubalay can be seen in the latest Orbis magazine. This is another well produced, interesting magazine and I am pleased to be featured here. Thanks to Editor Carole Baldock.
November 2014 Fire River Poets Competition is once more open for entries with increased prize money this year. Laurence Sail is the judge. We fund this competition ourselves, so profits are small if at all, but any takings after paying the judge and prize money go back into the pot to bring poetry to the people. If you're a poet, please support us and give yourself the chance to win a prize. Go to http//www.fireriverpoets.org.uk for further information.
If you are in the Taunton area, you can also find Fire River Poets and guest readers on the first Thursday of each month at Taunton's CICIC at the top of Paul Street. Open mic slots are available if booked in advance. See our site for more details.
October 2014. South magazine have published Scene on a Hotel Balcony and Rhubarb and Kippers, the latter about my Manx roots.
I have won a Commended in the Battered Moons Competition (I love that name - how did they think of that?!) The poem's called Lilies White Heaven. I read the poem via a video at the Winners' event at Swindon Festival. Don't think I'll ever get used to the sound of my voice on screen.
Took part in Exeter Festival's feature on Women Poets of the First World War along with Ann Gray, Rachel McCarthy and Helen Evans, some of Exeter's Mincing Poets - another name to conjure with. There was a really great line-up at the Festival. Kate Tempest, Carrie Etter and Exeter's own Forward Prize shortlisted Fiona Benson were standout performances. I would recommend their books Holding Your Own, Imagined Sons and Bright Travellers respectively.
April 2014. Two more poems coming out soon in the Rialto. It is so rewarding to be selected again for this great magazine.
February 2014. I have a new poem in the Rialto and three in the North. These are both excellent magazines. I recommend you try them if you haven't already.
On Sunday, March 2, there is a poetry reading taking place featuring Michael Swan and ten Bath Poetry Cafe writers, of which I am one. Find us at Bath Central Library, Podium Centre. It's free! This event is part of the Week of Good Poetry organised by Bath poet, Sue Boyle, who is a fine poet. Sue also co-ordinated the publication of The Listening Walk, an anthology of poems from Bath Poetry Cafe writers. I have three poems in the book, which can be ordered through Amazon, as can Sue's own collections.
September 2013. I am feeling really happy to have won Second Prize in the Poetry Category of the Yeovil Literary Prize 2013, judged by Neil Astley of Bloodaxe Books. As you may know, Bloodaxe publish a wide range of contemporary poetry and three anthologies of modern poems that you have to go out and buy if you haven't already got them: Staying Alive, Being Alive and Being Human. These are Desert Island Disc books for me.
The poem is called The Waves and is about the struggle that so many people face living in the city, when those in extremely straitened circumstances become more fearful and desperate and those working with the most disadvantaged groups in society find it hard themselves to keep their heads above water while maintaining compassion. You can read The Waves on the Poems page.
I have a poem currently in the magazine Obsessed with Pipework and another in the Frogmore Papers.
Fire River Poets is one of the poetry groups I belong to. They run their own annual Poetry Competition, which I administrate. Closing date 9 November 2013, judge Ann Gray. To find out more, go to http//www.fireriverpoets.org.uk. This competition is now closed and the results are out. Look out on the site for our next Competition.