Sabotage Reviews hold a virtually unique position in the poetry community, being reviewers of indie poetry and short story media and - here's the special bit - performance poetry. All these things are taken equally seriously by them and covered with great passion and attention to detail and for these reasons if no other, we independent poetry types should be making more of a whoop of them.
This isn't the blog post to go into the details of page "versus" stage, partly because I'm not convinced the web connection on this device is up to the task and I may have to retype this from scratch, so I'm keeping witterings short. Let's just leave it at: it's very, very nice to have an ally in a publication that considers performance poetry something to put effort into reviewing and therefore promoting. Nice one, folks!
The first review I had from Sabotage stung. A lot. I'd never heard of Sabotage before then, and such a pasting rankled. But I had to concede many of the points and started working on improvements. I also looked deeper into the publication and found myself thinking: here is a good thing. A Very Good Thing, in fact. This was further backed up when I realised at Edinburgh last year that the reviewers were burning themselves rushing to every spoken word show they could to publish their reviews and recommendations, a particularly wonderful thing to behold when the mainstream press appeared to be so roundly ignoring us at first...
This year Sabotage are yet again giving us their anniversarial awards - a fact highlighted by James Webster and Claire Trévien posting in the Allographic and Hammer & Tongue Cambridge (to name but a few) Facebook Groups that the public had a chance to vote for (and thereby nominate) their favourite writers, publications, and publishers (in a variety of categories) for the Saboteur Awards 2013. I immediately pushed my lot to vote for Small Word as I genuinely think it's a wonderful little magazine due to the talented people who've been published in it so far. Allographic Press aren't going to be making Salt sweat quite yet, but I reckon we've got a good thing going already...!
Dan Holloway tagged me in a very late night/ early morning Facebook post to do with the Awards. I assumed this was for Allographic/ Small Word and started, frankly, wiggling.
In this I was to be disappointed. In what I can only describe as a shock move, I've been shortlisted for a Sabotage Award as best performer of the last year.
Now, I know it's been April 1st all day, and I probably won't fully believe it until I check the site again tomorrow, but yeah: somehow, I'm in some outrageously good company and am among some wildly good talent not only in my own "section" (how did this happen? How?!) - the nominees in the rest of the list are ludicrously good.
I am no illusions about my ability to win this. For a start, I'm surprised enough people who get involved in these things have even heard of me, but it'll be an amazing chance to go mingle with independent literature's and spoken word's great and good for an evening. I'll get a stand for Allographic if I can at the mini-book fair, and push "my" writers, artists, and performers while I'm at it...
So I'm encouraging you, please, to all go and vote - because I'd love there to have been so many voters that the notion of an apathetic independent publishing, writing, and poetry scene in the UK is completely exploded. And because I want people to have heard of the other nominees...
On that over-excited note - goodnight!