More praise for Zygote Poems by Richard Thomas. To be Launched in October

September 28th, 2015 § 0 comments § permalink

Richard-Thomas-Zygot-for-webWrite Out Loud has published a fantastic review of Zygote Poems by Richard Thomas. Here is a taste of Diana Reed’s review:

Towards the end of the collection, sadness underlies the work as the complexities and difficulties of the world beyond the tight relationship of father and daughter takes its toll. ‘Tu Rooms, Pt 1’ looks for a rental:  ‘It was to have Tu rooms somewhere fairly central / but with a brilliance of trees and daisy caves for picnics … For the five hundred mark there must have been something surely reminiscent of all these things, if not exact, or a Wonn bed basement flat would do it … and that would tide us over until we found the Wonn proper family home.”  ‘Tu Rooms Pt 2’  also holds hopes, though now “… Wonn / bedroom will do to tide us over until I’m / fully qualified in my poesy and earning a steady / coin-flow … it’ll be a home away from her usual home for the weekends.”

Stylistically Richard Thomas shows experimental playfulness while not appearing too self-aware. He demonstrates understanding of the culture and traditions in which he is working without seeming to be over-knowing. High in his list of ‘Those Things I’ll Teach You’ is  “to tamper with the rubric but know it first / to get best success.” A comparable straightforwardness runs through his handling of the “young father” theme; he brings us the challenge and joy of being the caring parent of a new baby, rather than delivering an analysis of male bonding.

You can read the full review on Write Out Loud.

There is also a great review by Emma Lee on Sabotage Reviews:

Acute anxiety induces mind-fog, effectively reflected in the phonetic spellings, as the brain struggles to find words to explain a state of mind overwhelmed by the responsibility of a treasured, longed-for but utterly dependent baby daughter who needs not just the basics of food and shelter, but also the security of love and stimulus to discover herself and develop. A sense exacerbated by reams of unsolicited, generic and often unsuitable advice freely avalanched onto new parents. It’s the state of someone who cares deeply and wants to provide their best, whilst feeling inadequate. Someone whose daughter will be fine.Zygote Poems are an honest reflection of the transition from father-to-be to father, with the broken language reflecting emotional states on that journey.

Read the full review here: Sabotage Reviews

Richard Thomas will be launching Zygote Poems on Thursday 22nd October at Plymouth Social Club, 38-39 Tavistock Pl, Plymouth PL4 8AX. With Support from Booby Trap, plus open mic poetry and prose slots available. 7.30pm, £1 Entry.

You can buy the book for £5 plus p&p here: Zygote Poems 



The Hungry Writer: Eat Live Write by Lynne Rees

September 28th, 2015 § 0 comments § permalink

9780993211935-Cover190915 ALT1.inddWe are delighted to announce the publication of The Hungry Writer by Lynne Rees. We have long been fans of Lynne’s blog, the hungry writer. This book is a simmered reduction of five years of the blog, with memories, stories, poems and personal recipes on the theme of food. There are also 365 Hungry Writing Prompts – to give you inspiration for your own hungry writing, every day of the year.

The life of a hungry writer is a life of craving, reflection and deep engagement, and The Hungry Writer captures all aspects of that rich way of being. The book tells multiple and interconnected stories: of sources of inspiration and a commitment to inspiring others; of sourcing food and the joy of feeding others; and of the three big themes: love and loss and home. And all told with a passion for words and writing, and a profoundly moving generosity of spirit.

Shaun Levin, creator of The Writing Notebooks  

The book is in full colour, and some samples pages are available on the book’s page, where it can be ordered for a very reasonable £13.50 plus p&p: The Hungry Writer. Buy it for yourself, buy it for your friends.

There are a number of events to launch the book in Kent and in Wales. These are listed on the Events page. Booking is required for some of these.

And we can let slip a secret – the Kent launch of The Hungry Writer, on 18 October, will have a very special guest, making his debut. Let’s just say, the Cultured Llama has been made flesh by Steve Allen, who previously worked with the Jim Henson workshop. It’s so top secret that we have not yet been allowed to take photos. Details of the Kent launch, Welshcakes and Wine, are here.

Do It Yourself: A History of Music in Medway reviewed in Record Collector; Music and Business books from Peter Cook

September 14th, 2015 § 0 comments § permalink

book cover2Do It Yourself: A History of Music in Medway by Stephen H. Morris received a fine review by Jake Kennedy in Record Collector magazine:

It was a quote in a small 2011 news story in the Medway News that acted as the catalyst for Stephen H Morris to write his obsessive (and possibly life’s) work on Medway’s music scene. The quote said the local scene was dead. Morris didn’t necessarily agree, but the passion with which he writes suggests he might well have preferred the music from decades prior.

For nearly 500 pages, the author doesn’t so much seek to disprove the accusation but celebrate the huge, huge number of acts that have played in and originated from the area. So there are interweaving histories of all the bands you might expect – Thee Milkshakes, Billy Childish (of course), Lupen Crook, The Prisoners – but also plenty that even some of the bandmembers themselves might have forgotten existed (step forward Alvin Purple, The Ambience, UpCDownC… the list is really very long and obscure). But Morris’ passion repeatedly brings them back to life.

Do It Yourself: A History of Music in Medway costs £15 plus p&p.

9780993211911-front-cover-SMALLAnd, if music is your thing, please take a look at two books by Peter Cook. Peter is the self-styled Dean of the Academy of Rock – a prolific writer and blogger, musician, workshop leader, keynote speaker, business guru … the list goes on. His speciality is the lessons that business can learn from music.

Cultured Llama publishes:

 Punk Rock People Management: A No-nonsense Guide to Hiring, Inspiring and Firing Staff 

The Music of Business: Business Excellence Fused with Music.

We are delighted that Peter has a book forthcoming with Bloomsbury – we found him (or rather he found us) first. Go to the links at the books’ titles to order Punk Rock People Management: A No-nonsense Guide to Hiring, Inspiring and Firing Staff  for £7.99 plus p&p or The Music of Business: Business Excellence Fused with Music for £12.99 plus p&p.

Order two or more of any of our books and postage and packing is free.

Reviews Round Up – Poetry by Michael Curtis, Stories by Maggie Harris

September 14th, 2015 § 0 comments § permalink

Front cover Michael CurtisWe send out review copies of all our books with hope and love; sometimes the love comes back to us. The Fire in Me Now by Michael Curtis is reviewed by Rosie Johnston for London Grip:

Beckett’s play Krapp’s Last Tape shows Krapp in old age listening to tapes of his past, musing: Perhaps my best years are gone. But I wouldn’t want them back, not with the fire in me now […]

In the poem Not in Love the narrator tells us about a friend’s adulterous flirtation:

younger of course, single
but they didn’t get it together
on the walking holiday with her husband around

though little was left unsaid
of that I’m certain

The affair is thwarted when the potential lover drowns (presumably on another holiday):

she didn’t seem too upset
because as she pointed out
she’d only been in lust with him
not in love and after all
they hadn’t done anything. 

You can read the full review on London Grip.

The Fire in Me Now costs £8 plus p&p, and can be ordered here: The Fire in Me Now

9780992648534-front coverCath Barton reviews In Margate by Lunchtime by Maggie Harris for Wales Arts Review. Barton picks out the recurrent theme of birds and animals in the stories:

Birds appear in different guises too – in ‘Alice’ it is people who, to Alice’s drugged mind on a night out, have been transformed, and the Ladies is:

…full with flocks of starlings and parakeets, fingers fluffing hair, unrolling tubes of crimson lipstick.

Later in the story Alice herself, in her flight from the nightclub, takes on animal characteristics:

Her feet became a fawn’s, small-hoofed and dainty as they negotiated the mosaic floor, elbows morphing from bone to feather, giving her flight up the spiralled stairs and out into the foyer where the bouncers turned and opened the door where the wind was waiting.

You can read the full review on Wales Arts Review.

In Margate by Lunchtime costs £10 plus p&p and can be ordered on the book’s page: In Margate by Lunchtime


Richard Thomas blogs for the Huffington Post

September 14th, 2015 § 0 comments § permalink

Richard Thomas with his daughter, Emmeline. Photo by Karen Stone

We are proud of all our authors, but particularly proud of Richard Thomas’s blog piece for the Huffington Post, ‘Zygote Poems – a Journey of New Fatherhood’ . This short collection moved us to tears during the book’s production, and once again the Cultured Llama editors were misty-eyed when we read Richard’s contribution.

Here is an extract from the article:

I mostly made notes for poems over the following ten months, amongst changing nappies, night-time feeds, bathtimes, and making bottles – all of which I got very quick at – after a while, you can pretty much do it blindfolded. Some nappy changes are a potent exception though, and require a few more baby wipes than planned. The night-time feeds soon become second nature too – you think you can’t possibly adapt to living on such little sleep but you do – I even sleepwalked and answered the door to the health visitor in my boxers:

it had been a long milk-filled Tyme-slot
and sleepwalking had become

an action I was taking to well –
all I can hope
is that I was suitably dressed

when I opened Home Entrance with
my sense barely open and
totally not conscious,

(From ‘Health Visitor (Shape Caller)’)

Richard later goes on to talk about how his experience of extreme anxiety, as well as that of new fatherhood, shaped the poems:

To make the collection even more personal, I began to think about something that has affected me for a long time – anxiety – a health issue a lot of people dismiss as ‘just being silly’. The truth is: it can be suffocating, your brain can fog over, and you can freeze in fright. I thought it would be empowering to explore that. So, there are two strands to the collection – charms, and anxieties. To try and explain anxiety, I wrote all numerical words – something that turns my mind to cotton – phonetically. This anxious spelling also doubles up as ‘baby language’:

Nothing about you is Mehtrik, you are
pure, unaccustomed, whole and gentle in
your touch on your Calunderr, just as the
wind scurrying around you like awe-
gobbed mice, attending to your Duzun, is

(From ‘Furhst Burhfdae Sohnnit’)

You can read the full post here: Zygote Poems – a Journey of New Fatherhood.

Zygote Poems costs only £5 plus p&p and can be ordered at the book’s page: Zygote Poems.

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