The Not So Stories

NotSoStories

Prof Rod Griffiths has always admired Kipling’s Just So Stories. Kipling was expansive in his style and enjoyed playing with words. For example, we are told that the Whale:

“ate the Starfish and the Garfish, and the Crab and the Dab, and the Plaice and the Dace, and the Skate and his mate, and the Mackereel and the Pickereel and the really Twirly-Whirly Eel.”

Rod continues, ‘It is charming and quirky but hardly punchy. My stories are shorter. They have been developed in performances at story-telling gigs where time and word counts are limited. I aim to be at least mildly funny because in live performances laughter works so much better than tears.

‘Some of the charm of Kipling’s stories is in his use of simple questions: How did the tiger get his stripes? How did the camel get his hump? Kipling did not exhaust all such questions, so I thought it might be fun to explore a few more, like “Why do swallows sit on phone wires?” and “Why pigs don’t fly”. I have tried to imagine explanations that are vaguely plausible, though clearly impossible. None of these stories are true, or at least not completely true, hence they are Not So Stories.

‘In another departure from Kipling, I have to say that these are not children’s stories, though they are not about what is commonly called adult material; they are simply a little more complicated or in some cases require some background knowledge before the reader is likely to get the point. In some cases the logic may appear a little twisted or even quirky.

‘There are other stories, some of which have a common theme; “String Theory” three stories, “Zombies” four stories and “Gordis Thriff” five Stories. A little more background to these is included at the start of each of those sections. Two of the String Theory stories also fit the “Why Do…” format, but are included in the String Theory section.’

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Aimless Fear

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Rod Griffiths acknowledges ‘the fine folk who run NaNoWriMo each year. It may seem like a daft idea to write a novel in a month, but it is fun and it got the first draft of this book written.’

Professor Rod Griffiths CBE lives in Gloucestershire UK and spends his time making up stories and trying to convince people that they might be true.
Some of the material in the book draws on his experience in medicine and public health, the rest is pure imagination.

This is the second edition of Aimless Fear, a modern thriller with a supernatural edge. A modern thriller with a supernatural edge. Sam Diglis, a village bobby with an interesting past, has to deal with the aftermath of a series of fatal accidents. Each time an unlucky individual is overwhelmed by a bizarre fear, the consequences are fatal for someone. Trying to deal with a steady accumulation of widows in the village Sam comes to realise that each event lies on a ley line, clearly marked by standing stones and old burial mounds. These lines have existed since ancient time and no one knows for sure what they can do. The mystery deepens when he discovers that all the victims have blue eyes. What is the source of this aimless fear and how can it be stopped? When Sam finds out his own life is in danger.

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Girl’s Got Rhythm

A second edition of Polly’s first collection ‘Girl’s Got Rhythm’ was published 4 April 2014.

Girl’s Got Rhythm takes us on an urban journey with Morning Town Ride. Feel the emotional directness of Illumined. He Sits and Waits highlights the sadness of dementia.

See the homeless in Spilt Milk. The Silence of Emptiness expresses lovelorn loss.

Chill to the vampirical He Drinks Blood. Lamb and Hollyhock Noir revel in things of beauty.

A four-year-old speaks of injustice in not sorry yet.

There is humour, honesty, sunshine and sadness in this first collection of poetry.

‘Polly Robinson is a luminary of the Worcester literary community and her writing, whether prose, or poetry, is always worth listening to. Her poem of a tube ride on a sticky day with its onomatopoeia driven structure is very satisfying, whilst Across the Timeless River, “Five past six, light bright evening across the wrinkled river” does for the River Severn what Waterloo Sunset did for the Thames.’ Gary Longden (https://garylongden.wordpress.com)

Polly said ‘How delightful to have been given the opportunity to reprint ‘Girl’s Got Rhythm’. Like many poets, as I read and re-read my work I can’t resist tinkering to improve them – it’s not often that I’d call a poem ‘finished’ – though as some will recognise, lots of them are finished as they form on the page. I hope you enjoy reading this collection – I’ve loved creating it.’

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The Girl From Midfoxfields

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Michael W Thomas’s latest collection of poems is available in both print and eBook versions from Black Pear and Amazon.

About the Author

“Since 2004, Dr. Michael Wyndham Thomas has helped develop and spearhead the workshops for the Key West Robert Frost Poetry Festival. His hands-on teaching skills make poetry exciting for even the novice; his depth of knowledge is impressive.

Because he has endeared himself to everyone associated with the festival—and to many others who live on this island at the southernmost point in the United States—Michael is fondly referred to as the Poet at Large in the Conch Republic Navy”– Barbara Bowers, writer and journalist.

Many thanks from The Robert Frost Poetry Festival Committee, Key West, Florida.
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Michael Wyndham Thomas is an Irish-British writer and lived in Canada for a number of years. He now lives in Worcestershire. He is an internationally-known poet, fiction-writer, dramatist and musician. His poetry, prose and scripts have appeared in Critical Survey, English, The English Review, Fire, The Interpreter’s House, Iron, The London Magazine, Other Poetry, Pennine Platform, Stand, Staple and The Swansea Review (UK), as well as Poetry Salzburg Review and The National Gazette (Tirana), Alive!, From the Horse’s Mouth, Grain and Reflections (Canada), Etchings (Australia),The Black Mountain Review and Irish University Review (Ireland) and The Antioch Review, Magazine Six, Modern Haiku, Muscadine Lines and The Secret of Salt (USA). He also reviews for Other Poetry (Durham, UK), Poetry Nottingham (UK), Under The Radar (Rugby, UK) and The Journal of American Haiku (Toronto). His most recent reviews have appeared in The London Magazine and the TLS.

Since April, 2004, Michael has been poet-in-residence at the annual Robert Frost Poetry Festival, Key West, Florida. In consequence, he is Poet-at-Large in the Navy of the Conch Republic of Key West. Other recent events outside the UK include readings at Linnaeus University, Sweden and at Tampere University, Finland. Most recently, he gave the keynote address at Poems Are Being Written, a conference on contemporary poetry at the University of Portsmouth, November 2013.

Michael’s novel Pilgrims at the White Horizon was published by TQF, September 2013, and his poetry collection Batmans Hill, South Staffs was published by Flipped Eye International editions, December 2013.

He is available for readings, workshops and seminars on both the practice and the theory of poetry writing.

Website: www.michaelwthomas.co.uk

E-mail: michaelw.thomas@btinternet.com
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What the critics say about Michael W. Thomas’s poetry:

‘Michael Thomas’ poems are rich with the details of past and present lives.  They explore the wildest possibilities of those lives with passion and humour.’
–Alison Brackenbury.

‘Michael W. Thomas’s poetry shows a real sense of exploration and discrimination of fine states of feeling…. Thomas cuts away all dead weight, creating a sense of economy with richness, and is not afraid of using a phrase that in a lesser craftsman’s hands would bring a sneer…. His language is vigorous and street-wise and his poetic tools work on experience in Coleridgean mode, dissolving, diffusing, dissipating in order to create a surprising world.’
–Peter de Ville, Poetry Salzburg Review.

‘Thomas is a poet who deals with the muscular and descriptive qualities of language…. The poetry often launches itself at the reader in a way that is both terse and direct [and] perhaps more sensory than sensual. Metaphor is often employed in a strange and imaginative way. Many of the poems deal with the domestic sphere, but Thomas also writes about unusual or imagined scenarios [and] is not afraid to write about many different subjects.’
–Maria Taylor, Under The Radar.

‘What is this man doing to me? I want easy references, polite allusions. I don’t want my thoughts to be shattered, to fall down like a wet wave! Michael Thomas tears the traditions of metaphors and similes apart. One feels each word took him hours to select before he cemented it in place; he has complete control of his medium. An American poet would shun some of his subjects—but I know my blood ran cold and then hot when I read [the poems] carefully. For me, they tossed Eliot’s spoonfuls on the rug and announced the new ‘Howl!’ Always his language is terse and efficient. No words are wasted on poetical indulgences.’
–Kirby Congdon, US poet, dramatist, editor and associate of the Beat Poets; author of Selected Poems and Prose Poems and New Mystic, Connecticut, Sixty-Five Years Ago.

‘The language throughout has a grit and tactility that seems distinctly British to this American ear. It has a bite which is, however, always without animus, ironic rather than sarcastic. These are poems that show abundant compassion, feeling for family, and affectionate regard for all the various characters Thomas encounters and describes.’
–Barry George, US poet and haiku master, author of Wrecking Ball and Other Urban Haiku, instructor at Spalding MFA Summer Residency, Louisville, Kentucky.

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Also available from Amazon. For a paperback copy click here. For the eBook click here.

Chatterton

Chatterton

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Black Pear Press announce the publication of ‘Chatterton’, a series of poems about the young and starving poet in a garret, Thomas Chatterton. Did he commit suicide or was it an accidental death? You decide.

Polly Robinson has created a series of poems about Thomas Chatterton from the viewpoints of those who loved or were somehow influenced by him, gathered around the foot of his deathbed, remembering and commenting on his life.

Polly says, ‘I’ve loved the Henry Wallis painting (shown at the top of this page) since I studied the pre-Raphaelites – it’s been the inspiration for this series.’

There is a limited first edition of 50 copies of this pamphlet signed by the author. Get your copy here, click the ‘Buy Now’ PayPal button below (UK customers).

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Chatterton Front Cover

Polly Robinson is a member of Worcester Writers’ Circle and part of the Worcestershire Literary Festival team. She has performed her poetry at spoken word events such as Worcester SpeakEasy, 42 Worcester, Mouth & Music, and at The Poetry Place in Covent Garden. Her writing has been published in many anthologies, most recently, Slants of Light, The Paragram Poetry Prize Anthology in which she was shortlisted with her poem Latent. Last year she was published in The dVerse Anthology: Voices of Contemporary World Poetry. Polly released the first edition of Girl’s Got Rhythm in 2012 and the second edition in 2014.

 

Look out Kidderminster! Black Pear Press at BHG!

If you missed our Launch event in December, here’s a second chance. Black Pear Press will launch their Short Stories Anthology 16:30 Sunday 16 March in Kidderminster DY10 1EW at The BHG (Boar’s Head Gallery), the venue used for Mouth & Music.

The stories in the anthology reflect the diverse talents of people living and writing in Worcestershire, the Black Pear County.

Black Pear Press will regularly publish novels, poetry and short stories, with some of its publications originating from the Worcestershire LitFest & Fringe.

There will be a 500-word or less extract from each contributor listed below. Following the readings there will be book signings. We hope you’ll relax and enjoy a chat with all who’ve been involved :)

The writers / readers are:

Mike Alma
Kevin Brooke
Tim Butler
Alan Durham
Tana Durham
Rod Griffiths
Tony Judge
Andy Kirk
Damon Lord
Alison May
Andrew Owens
Dunstan Power
Polly Robinson
Suz Winspear

We’ll look forward to seeing you there.

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Flashes of Fiction

Flashes of Fiction Front Cover 2013

As Mike Alma says, ‘You are getting 73 … yes, 73 different stories in one book.” All this for just £5.00 plus P&P. Following our fabulous launch event, UK customers can get the anthology ‘Flashes of Fiction’ via PayPal Buy Now Button with Credit Cards

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The print and eBook are available from Amazon by following these links:

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LitFest Flash Anthology Launch

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Worcestershire LitFest and Fringe is launching the second Flash Fiction anthology from writers in the WLF Flash Fiction competition. Black Pear Press is pleased to publish this anthology. Selected writers will be reading their Flashes Sunday 19 January 2014, starting at 4pm.

Competition organiser and judge, Lindsay Stanberry-Flynn, and judge Calum Kerr, will be at Drummonds, The Swan With Two Nicks, 28 New Street, Worcester WR5 1BU. We may be treated to one or two of their own Flashes!

Copies of the anthology will be available – perfect gifts throughout the year – come along to the launch event and get yours signed by the authors!

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