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Pippa's Published Poetry

Pippa Hennessy
Wed 10 Apr, 2019

Poetry publications are enjoying record sales, and with Nottingham Poetry Festival starting this week we thought we'd take a look at the publication process with Pippa Hennessy.

In 2018 one of the region’s many independent publishers, Soundswrite Press,issued a call for submissions for their first collection of emerging East Midlands women poets. The book, titled Take Three, would feature the three best poets. I’d been working on poems inspired by quantum theory for a few years, and although I’d had a few accepted by magazines I hadn’t made any further attempts to get my poems published. This seemed like the a perfect opportunity to dip my toe into the water.

It took most of a day to choose the poems to submit, and the rest of the day to write the covering letter and format my submission. Then I had to wait a couple of months to find out if I’d been selected. Five days before the winning poets were to be announced, I was thrilled to find out that I’d been selected as one of the three. It was almost impossible to keep quiet about it until November 1st, and I did in fact tell a few people, I was so excited. The other two selected poets were Tuesday Shannon and Elizabeth Hourston.

Each of us was assigned an editor and asked to provide several more poems to be included in the collection. I spent an enjoyable few weeks polishing my poems and finalising those which were to be included with Karin Koller, my editor. It’s nerve-wracking, allowing someone else to suggest changes to your poems, but Karin made the whole process easy and rewarding.

After that, everything went quiet as far as we were concerned, as the nuts and bolts of the publication process went into action. The book was designed and typeset, proofs were provided and checked, and the book went off to the printer in early March. Boxes of books arrived at Soundswrite on March 12th, and we received our first copies on March 13th. I read the whole thing from cover to cover as this was the first chance I had to read the work of my fellow poets, and to see my own work in print. It was a great feeling, and I was delighted to find that Tuesday’s and Elizabeth’s poetry was amazing. I couldn’t have been in better company.

Sounsdwrite secured a slot at States of Independence (a free one-day independent book festival in Leicester) on March 23rd to launch the book. We were each given an opportunity to practice our ten-minute readings beforehand. I took Karin up on this offer — it was more nerve-racking than the actual reading, but it was useful in that we slightly changed the order of poems and substituted one for another, and I think that made for a better reading.

On the day I was very excited to see piles of copies of Take Three on the Soundswrite stall. The launch event was in the afternoon, so I had all morning to get nervous. By the time it was my turn to read the adrenaline was definitely flowing, and I felt as if I’d shake myself to bits. Luckily this wasn’t obvious to the audience, and I think the reading went well. The part of the day I found most bizarre was signing the books after the readings. I never thought I’d be in a position to sign books as an author. It felt good!

I’m reading from the book at two events in Nottingham, which are part of Nottingham Poetry Festival. The first is on Tuesday April 30th at the Fox and Grapes, and the second is with the other Take Three poets at Five Leaves Bookshop on Thursday May 2nd.


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poetry

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