Unusual Places by Louise Tondeur, stories that fizz with modern morality

October 31st, 2018 § 0 comments § permalink

Louise Tondeur’s short story collection, Unusual Places, is reviewed by Erinna Mettler on The Short Story. Mettler begins with some kind words for small publishers such as Cultured Llama: champions of the short form in a publishing world that often neglects the short story:

It’s not all doom and gloom, short story writers are thriving and, like all practitioners of under-represented art-forms, are finding a way through the short-sightedness of mainstream publishing. In the current climate the short story heroes are the small presses, the people who mail out lovingly produced short run paperbacks from their kitchen tables. One such press is Cultured Llama. […] They were kind enough to send me a copy of one of their newest titles, Unusual Places by Louise Tondeur.  Unusual Places begins with the foreword;

Grandma’s stories, ‘…would always start in the place where we were,’

Which illustrates perfectly the ability of short stories to connect us with a collective past and continuously add to it in the present. Tondeur’s short stories are very much in the oral tradition, they are made to be read aloud, shared around campfires and over warm drinks at Grandma’s fireside. This is not to say that they are old fashioned, far from it, they fizz with modern morality and the normalisation of previously silenced voices.

Mettler finds much to enjoy in Louise Tondeur’s use of ‘live writing’, with each story either written in or based on a place. She also mentions the authenticity of sex in the stories, plus the intriguing treatment of gender and sexuality:

There are few absolutes in Tondeur’s worlds. Several of the stories feature protagonists whose gender is not explicitly confirmed, either because the story is told in first or second person, and the narrator is simply ‘I’ (or you) or because no defining pronoun is mentioned. Sometimes this is resolved for the reader and sometimes not. It is immensely satisfying to read a book which deliberately plays with our expectations of gender and sexuality.

Read Erinna Mettler’s review here: The Short Story

Order Louise Tondeur’s for £12 plus p&p here: Unusual Places

Postage and packing is free if you order two or more books from this website.





New poetry – The Hospital by Ben Barton

October 31st, 2018 § 0 comments § permalink

We are proud to present our final publication of 2018, The Hospital, by Ben Barton. A film artist and poet, Ben Barton turns his ‘unflinching gaze’ on a long stay in hospital.

In The Hospital, Ben Barton offers slow observations of hospital life. A dead man’s phone rings; a slug encroaches through a gap in the window; a glimpse of the outside world is viewed through an X-ray held up to the light. In amongst the daily humiliations and the public spectacle of the sick and the dying, there are sparks of hope: a nip of whisky from another patient’s hip flask, the cries of a newborn from down the corridor, and one last meal, jab, swab before leaving.

978-1-9164128-2-8. Cultured Llama. PB. 203×127mm. 64pp. October 2018. Poetry. £10.00

We had so many endorsements for this collection, we couldn’t fit them all on the back page of the book. A couple appear below; you can read them all here:The Hospital

Turning an unflinching gaze on the experience of illness and a prolonged stay in hospital, The Hospital connects with the humanity, horror and grace under pressure of both patients and staff. In a beautiful collection that is not without humour, Ben Barton shows that his formidable poetry gifts were not allowed to lie idle in that hospital bed.

Patric Cunnane, poet and organiser of Dodo Modern Poets

Hard-hitting, sensual, sometimes sarcastic, sometimes in your face, these slant nuggets of hospital life are ‘birth and death served together in one meal’.

Graham Burchell, poet

Ben Barton will be launching The Hospital during the Folkestone Book Festival: 18 November, 6.00 – 8.00 p.m. at Steep Street Coffee House, Folkestone. More info on the Events page.

Order Ben Barton’s poetry collection for £10 plus p&p: The Hospital

Postage and packing is free if you order two or more books from this website.

There is nothing fancy about cancer in The Year of the Crab by Gordon Meade

October 31st, 2018 § 0 comments § permalink

Dominik Szczepaniak finds The Year of the Crab, by Gordon Meade, an ‘immersive’ book, which begs to be read as a whole. On the Dundee University Review of the Arts, Szczepaniak writes:

There are times when life throws us into trying situations that isolate us from the understanding of others. In 2014 Gordon Meade was diagnosed with cancer. In his 9th poetry collection he takes the reader on a full tour of the battlefield – from the diagnosis to the battle itself and finally, its positive verdict.

The book is immersive; it reads like a diary, full of Meade’s personal feelings and struggles. This is not a collection of complex, poetic language or convoluted metaphors (although that is not to say there are no powerful metaphors within) […]

I strongly believe that only few selected poems in the collection, if presented on their own, would make a great impact upon the reader. Combined, they create a story, something inherently private and cohesive. Meade, with an air of honesty and openness, conjures an atmosphere of pain, fear and sorrow, but also hope and appreciation. At times he expresses it through the description of a regular encounter at the hospital, but he also finds other means, such as nature or classical mythology. […]

‘There is nothing fancy about cancer’ – these words figure on the back cover of the book and stand to summarise the overall collection: a genuine and direct read. After reading a couple of poems, what’s not fancy becomes desired the most. For it’s not in the simple words that it’s found, but in the simple images that suddenly become powerful metaphors, brutal or hopeful. In this dichotomy Meade finds his reality; torn between living and dying, he craves comfort.

Order Gordon Meade’s latest poetry collection for £10 plus p&p here: The Year of the Crab

Two other poetry collections by Gordon Meade are available from Cultured Llama: Sounds of the Real World and Les Animots: A Human Bestiary, with images by Doug Robertson.

Postage and packing is free if you order two or more books from this website.

Flood by Jessica Mookherjee – a book of ferocious imaginings

October 31st, 2018 § 0 comments § permalink

Flood, Jessica Mookherjee’s debut poetry collection, continues to garner praise in reviews by Brian Docherty, on London Grip,  and Abigail Ardelle Zammit, in The Ofi Press. Brian Docherty writes:

This is a book of ferocious imaginings, which builds on two earlier pamphlet collections. Good to see that so-called smaller presses are continuing the valuable work of bringing newer voices to the attention of the reading public.

Read the full review here.

Abigail Ardelle Zammit writes:

Flood sparks with striking metaphors, unexpected social realism and multicultural brilliance. Its verses can hold pain and trauma without losing their capacity to sing.

Read the full review in The Ofi Press

Order Jessica Mookherjee’s poetry collection for £10 plus p&p: Flood

Postage and packing is free if you order two or more books from this website.

Derek Sellen is Canterbury Festival Poet of the Year

October 31st, 2018 § 0 comments § permalink

Congratulations to Derek Sellen who is Canterbury Festival Poet of the Year 2018. Derek’s poetry collection, The Other Guernica: Poems Inspired by Spanish Art, was named Poetry Kit book of the month in October, and the collection has attracted a great review, by Trevor Breedon, on Write Out Loud:

The poems, based on artworks from the 15th to the 21st century, are arranged in four sections; they cover individuals and relationships, war and violence, art and artists and place. There are brief notes and potted biographies and, best of all, links to images of many of the paintings on the publisher’s website. […]

Canterbury-based Sellen, who recently won the city’s international Poet of the Year competition, has produced a collection full of stark, powerful imagery. For many readers the chief pleasure might be found in the modern parallels and contemporary allusions he teases out of the artworks. Ultimately, however, the main source of satisfaction and achievement derives from the imaginative richness and dramatic economy of phrasing that is surely the verbal equivalent of the masterly brushstrokes of the paintings he writes about so well.

Order Derek Sellen’s poetry collection for £10 plus p&p: The Other Guernica: Poems Inspired by Spanish Art

Where am I?

You are currently viewing the archives for October, 2018 at Cultured Llama.