Oversteps News 49

Oversteps News

Oversteps Books Ltd, 6 Halwell House, South Pool, Nr Kingsbridge, Devon, TQ7 2RX

Oversteps News 49  October 2017

I’m really pleased to introduce the latest two Oversteps poets and their books. They are very different from each other, but both are unusual and exciting .

My Cloth-Eared Heart by Melanie Branton (ISBN 978-1-906856-74-8), price £8 plus p&p

These poems are witty, sometimes cheeky, but also thoughtful and challenging. Melanie is a successful performance poet, who excels at poetry slams, and recently represented Bristol at the Hammer and Tongue National Slam Final.




The Plate Spinner by Denise McSheehy (ISBN 978-1-906856-75-5), price £8 plus p&p

I have always loved Denise McSheehy’s poetry. She is adept at the delicate touch, the understatement that says so much more than volumes of words. Many of the poems are luminous, and they all tend to leave the reader wanting more.


It is so good to welcome Melanie and Denise to Oversteps, and I’m sure there will be plenty of opportunities to hear them read in the coming months. In the meantime, do buy their books. They cost £8 each, but can be bought as a pair for £15 plus p&p.

In other news

When Oversteps poet, Maggie Butt, invited some of us to perform in a Poem-a-thon in Enfield, to raise money to settle a Syrian refugee family, we thought we were aiming to raise £4,500 to resettle one family. We sailed past that target, galloped past £9,000 and we have now raised over £14,000 and the money is still coming in, enabling us to contribute something worthwhile to at least three Syrian families. Many thanks to all who helped us achieve this magnificent result. Apart from Maggie and myself, there was a wide range of readers, covering 9 hours of constant poetry. The day started with John Hegley and finished with George Szirtes, and there were many gems in between.

We enjoyed fantastic weather at Poetry on the Lake in Italy last weekend, with a number of Oversteps poets attending and sharing their poetry. Oz Hardwick and myself took the stage on Sunday afternoon,  when he talked about The Medieval Fox, and I read from my collection of poems about mediaeval women, In the Image.

Tony Watts has been busy and successful recently. He had a poem commended in the Poetry Space competition 2017, and another highly commended in the Barn Owl Trust, wildlife poetry competition. He recently won 1st prize in the Wax Poetry and Art Poetry Contest, and 3rd prize in the Waltraud Field Open poetry competition. He was a runner-up in the Wundor Poetry contest 2017, and shortlisted for the Magic Oxygen Literary prize.
Fokkina McDonnell won 2nd prize in the Waltraud Field open poetry competition and was highly commended in the short poem category of the Poetry on the Lake competition.
Christopher North was commended in the Winchester Poetry Prize

Several Oversteps poets will be reading at the Torbay Poetry Festival this coming weekend
     21st October      2.15pm Maggie Butt
                                     3.30pm Miriam Darlington
     22nd October    10.25am Alwyn Marriage
     23rd October     10.30am  Jennie Osborne and Ian Royce Chamberlain will talk about the Teignmouth Poetry Festival

Melanie Branton has a number of events coming up, to launch her book:
   26th October  she will be performing with Brian Patten at Word Café at Cott Inn, Dartington
   28th October  taking part in the Great Book Busk in Bristol
   31st October    reading at Berkeley Square Poetry Review at the Square Club in Bristol
   2nd November performing at Uncorked in Worcester
   4th November reading in Weston-super-Mare

Alwyn Marriage My next few readings include:
    7th November  Guildford Institute
    25th November  Tribute reading for Indigo Dreams in Tavistock
    28th November Uncut, Exeter
    2nd December   Kingsbridge Library
    16th December   Harbour Bookshop, Kingsbridge with Sue Proffitt and Susan Jordan.

Also coming up
24th October   Sally Festing
 will be reading to Wells Men’s Discussion Group at Wells Quaker Meeting House at 7.30pm
26th October   Ian Royce Chamberlain will be reading at Uncut in Exeter at 7.30pm
3rd November Graham High, Sally Festing and Wendy Klein will be performing at the Aldeburgh Festival at 4.15pm
6th November  Jennie Osborne will be presenting her second drop-in Poetry Playtime sessions, at 2.30pm at Teignmouth Library
14th December  Fokkina McDonnell will be reading at York Explore

best wishes


To Oversteps Books, 6 Halwell House, South Pool, Kingsbridge, Devon, TQ7 2RX

Please send ….   copies of My Cloth-Eared Heart by Melanie Branton at £8 each plus p&p    £
Please send ….  copies of The Plate Spinner by Denise McSheehy at £8 each plus p&p    £
Please send copies of both books at £15 plus p&p                                                                  £

Postage and packing per book£1.80 in UK (£4 if ordering from abroad)                                  £
P&p for 2 books, £2.50 (£5 abroad); 3 books £5  (£6 if ordering from abroad)                       £

Total                                                                                                                                                            £

Name & address: …………………………………………………………………………………………………………………… ………………………………………………………………………………………………………………… …………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

Many of the other Oversteps books that are for sale on www.overstepsbooks.com can be added to this order.
Money can be sent either by post to Oversteps, with cheques made payable to Oversteps Books Ltd;
or by email: sales@overstepsbooks.com, using Paypal. Please contact me for details, if you’d like to pay by bank transfer.


Oversteps Day 2013

We had a wonderful day in Dartington earlier this month, when a number of Oversteps poets  took part in another Oversteps Day at the Ways with Words Festival. Many thanks, once more, to Kay and Steve, who so kindly invite us to take part in the festival and give us a free hand in what we do.


Because of the re-organisation of rooms at Dartington, which resulted in Waterstones taking over the Upper Gatehouse, we were not able to use that lovely hall this year; but the Duke’s Room provided a space and atmosphere that was both elegant and cosy – especially as we read to capacity audiences.

In earlier years we have presented five sessions during the day, but for the sake of our poets and to spread the delights out evenly over the day, we decided to offer just four this year.

In the first event, ‘Hot off the Press’, four of our most recent poets read from their new collections: John Daniel (Skinning the Bull), Kathleen Kummer (Living below Sea Level), Jean Atkin (Not Lost Since Last Time) and Charles Bennett (Evenlode).


This was followed by ‘A toast to absent friends’, in which Oversteps poets who were at the festival introduced and read the poetry of some of the poets who were not able, for various reasons, to be with us. John Daniel read from both Elisabeth Rowe’s books  (Thin Ice and Taking Shape), Oz Hardwick shared the poetry of A C Clarke (Messages of Change and Fr Meslier’s Confession), Susan Taylor read from W H Petty’s collection (But Someone Liked Them), Simon Wiliams charmed us with the work of Marie Marshall (I am not a fish) and Christopher North celebrated the poetry of Anne Born and Glen Phillips (Singing Granites). The Ways with Words artist, Jennifer Johnson, was sketching in the room during this session, producing a page of poet portraits.

After lunch our thoughts moved to holidays and travel, as we invited the audience onto our magic carpet. The pilots, Oz Hardwick (The Illuminated Dreamer), Alwyn Marriage (Touching Earth and Festo) and Christopher North (Explaining the Circumstances and Al Otro Lado del Aguilar) were supported by Jennie Osborne (How to be Naked) and Kathleen Kummer (Living below Sea Level), and while the poems ranged over many countries, we were eventually brought safely back to Britain.

J Osborne Dartn

simon dartn

Our final event of the day was a new departure for us, as it included several musical items. Charles Bennett (Evenlode) began the session by talking about the libretto he wrote for last year’s BBC Proms in a joint commission with Bob Chilcot; Susan Taylor (The Suspension of the Moon and A Small Wave for your Form), Jennie Osborne (How to be Naked) and Alwyn Marriage (Touching Earth and Festo) read music-inspired poems, and Simon Williams (Quirks and A Place Where Odd Animals Stand) and Zoë Marriage, with her songs about capoiera and about RD Congo, extended the range of poetry into that which is sung.

susan dartna dartn 1z at Dartn 2

Both performers and audiences enjoyed the day, and we hope we can bring another programme to Dartington next year.

There were several other events by Oversteps poets at the festival as well. Christopher North facilitated a workshop, Susan Taylor took part in the amazing performance of ‘Skeleton Woman’, Simon Williams introduced a Tradewinds session and launched a new book, and Miriam Darlington spoke about her nature book, ‘Otter Country’.