Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

A Night of Happenstance, 26 November 2011

Thursday, October 27th, 2011

A Night of Happenstance

Lee Rosy’s tea room, 17 Broad Street, Nottingham, NG1 3AJ
Saturday 26 November, 7.30pm
Entrance £4/£3 (concs)

Six Happenstance poets, from across the Midlands, Scotland, and as far away as Spain, will be gathering for a reading downstairs at Lee Rosy’s in Nottingham on 26 November 2011, from 7.30pm. The poets are Helena Nelson (also editor of Happenstance Press), Ross Kightly, Marilyn Ricci, Robin Vaughan-Williams, DA Prince, and Matthew Stewart, who will be in the country to launch his new pamphlet, Inventing Truth.

Happenstance is an independent poetry press based in Scotland that publishes poets from all over the UK. It specialises in pamphlets, and in 2010 won the Michael Marks Award for Poetry Pamphlets for publishers. Ali Smith, one of the judges, commented, ‘HappenStance proved outstanding in the elegance, thoughtfulness and clarity of their design, and the infectious interaction, open-mindedness and energy of their publishing ethos’.

Lee Rosy's Street ViewHappenstance also produces Sphinx, an indispensable source of poetry pamphlet reviews.

Lee Rosy’s is a tea room and café in Nottingham city centre’s Hockley district, opposite the Broadway cinema.

About the Poets

Helena Nelson

Helena NelsonHelena Nelson is editor and founder of HappenStance Press, which specialises in poetry pamphlets. Her most recent poetry collection in her own right is Plot and Counter-Plot, (Shoestring Press). Helena is also this year’s judge on the Nottingham Open Poetry Competition, and will be attending the adjudication at 2.45pm on the same day (Mechanics Institute, 3 North Sherwood Street, NG1 4AX).

DA Prince

DA PrinceDA Prince started out with light verse and political satire, but gradually found herself shifting into the realms of what might be called ‘proper’ poetry (the sort that poetic/moody poets write). After having three pamphlets in print, her first full-length collection Nearly the Happy Hour came out in 2008 from HappenStance. More about DA Prince is available on PoetryPF.

Ross Kightly

Ross KightlyBorn in Melbourne in 1945, Ross Kightly spent many years teaching in Victoria, Croydon, ILEA, Lucca (Italy), and then Yorkshire. Since recovering from viral encaphalitis in 2007 Ross has devoted himself to the heroic task of becoming the World’s Most Prolific Poetaster by setting himself ridiculous output targets, such as 7,457 poems for 2011 (which works out at over 20 a day). Gnome Balcony was published in 2011.

Marilyn Ricci

Marilyn RicciMarilyn Ricci lives in Leicestershire.  Her poems have appeared in anthologies and been widely published in magazines including Other PoetryOrbis, The Rialto and Smiths Knoll.  Her first pamphlet Rebuilding a Number 39 was published by Happenstance Press in 2008.

Matthew Stewart

Matthew StewartMatthew Stewart was born in Farnham, Surrey, in 1973, but has lived in Extremadura, Spain, for the past fifteen years, where he works for a local winery. His poems have been widely published in UK magazines and he blogs at Rogue Strands. Inventing Truth, his Happenstance publication, ‘is a remarkable collection of pithy poems that open up to panoramas of love, family, regret and longing, and linger, flourishing in the mind long after reading’ (Richie McCaffery).

Robin Vaughan-Williams

Robin Vaughan-WilliamsAfter many years in Sheffield, where he ran the Spoken Word Antics monthly night and radio show, Robin Vaughan-Williams moved to Nottingham via Iceland in 2010. He is Development Director at Nottingham Writers’ Studio, author of The Manager, and also a live literature producer. Some of his projects are shown at

An invalid argument was encountered

Sunday, December 5th, 2010

Is that so?

One of the things that make computer error messages so infuriating is that they invariably use impersonal constructions, implying that there is nobody to blame, nowhere to channel your frustration and vent your rage.

Is not the computer, or more specifically the operating system, the product of a collective effort? ‘We encountered an invalid argument’ would offer a glimmer of hope, implying there might be a phone number with some friendly people on standby to resolve any invalid arguments. But of course there isn’t, unless you pay for it, so the glimmer would be false.

‘I encountered an invalid argument’ would be even worse. Several years ago for a brief time the recorded announcements at Raynes Park station started saying, ‘I am sorry for the delay’. ‘You’, I thought, ‘who are you?’. It sounded like a disingenuous ruse to get passengers—sorry, customers—to relate to their rail company on a more personal level. I expected this to develop into ‘I’m doing my best’, which would soften our tempers because it’s just some guy and we all make mistakes but at least he’s trying. The Tony the Tiger of the railways was just around the bend.

Pretty soon they reverted to ‘we’, and ‘we’ is appropriate for corporate entities because they have legal personhood, which is not so good in some ways (why should corporations have similar rights to individuals?), but it does at least mean we can hold them responsible. It’s hard to think how one might hold a personal computer responsible though, except by chucking it out the window.

Perhaps what we need is a new personal pronoun for speech generators that are not persons. Something like a neuter version of the first person, an ‘it’ version of ‘I’. Could they just use ‘it’ in the first person—’it encountered an invalid argument’—or maybe ‘I’ in lower case: ‘i’. Given the move from ‘e’ to ‘i’ as a prefix for anything digital (if the iPhone had been invented 10 years ago, would it have been the ‘ePhone’?), that could be a rather elegant solution.

i encountered an invalid argument

Would that make me feel any better about my computer malfunctioning though? I’d rather it just worked.

No. 163 (Morden to Raynes Park)

Friday, April 30th, 2010

I spilled a cup of water on my social wor-kaah, but most of it went all over his mana-gaah.

He was going to tell me what happened, but you know what the first thing he says is, ‘well I’m not saying anything till you’ve made me a cup of coffee’.


I couldn’t believe it.


Then he sort of smiles and says he was only winding me up, but a coffee would be nice. I say this is my meeting and you’re here to tell me what happened, not sit and drink coffee.

That’s when I spilled a cup of water on my social wor-kaah, but most of it went all over his mana-gaah.

This is what I have heard

Tuesday, April 27th, 2010

I have heard that in Sri Lanka the new president, who just a few months ago was widely criticised for being young and inexperienced, is proving his worth. He has installed his two brothers in the ministries, which some would label as nepotism, but you have to have people you can trust. The war is over. Gone are the charges of genocide. Sri Lanka is now a peaceful nation. And already you can see the change. He is bringing in Chinese money to repair the roads, upgrade the ports, and fix infrastructure that has not been touched in decades. The country is opening up. People from the south are flooding the north. Tourists are coming. They want to see this beautiful land that has been closed for twenty-five years. People are saying it is a good thing. This is what I have heard.