Thursday, 20 December 2012

Nature, naturally

The splendid folks at Nature have recorded 5 poems from "Where Rockets Burn Through"! Listen to them here:

Poems featured:

"The UFOlogists" by Claire Askew
"Physics for the Unwary Student" by Pippa Goldschmidt
"Future Dating" by Joe Dunthorne
"Supper" by Kirsten Irving
"Man-of-War" by Ian McLaughlan


Russell Jones

Monday, 3 December 2012

Lift off in Londinium

Get your T-Kirk costume out from the back of the cupboard, dust the ray gun, wash your BabelFish! It's nearly time for the London launch of Where Rockets Burn Through!

Toynbee studios are our hosts, with readings from Jon Stone, Kirsty Irving, Kelley Swain, Simon Barraclough, Sue Guiney (and more to be confirmed!)

The Ladies of The Press will also be doing mad and impressive things to your synapses, don't miss it.

The event blasts off at 7:30 and nerds in costumes are warmly welcomed -

Thursday 6 December, 7.30pm

Toynbee Studios
28 Commercial Street
London E1 6AB

Russell Jones

Thursday, 29 November 2012

The First Review

The first review is a scary moment, I've found. But I'm happy to report that Starburst Magazine gave "Where Rockets Burn Through" a glowing 8/10.

Special mention also of Sarah Westcott's poem, "O" and Malene Engelund's "Owls"

Read it here!

Russell Jones

Monday, 8 October 2012

Where Rockets Burn Through

Hear ye Hear ye! Come one and all to a future of ray guns and alien invasions. Where Rockets Burn Through: Contemporary Science Fiction Poems from the UK is my début collection as an editor, a splendiferous anthology of sci-fi poems from the wondrous beings listed below.

Grab a copy if you like sci-fi. Grab a copy if you like poetry. Grab a copy if you like sci-fi poetry. Grab a copy if you don't like anything, misery guts. You can buy a copy from the publisher, Penned In the Margins, for just £9.99 here

Edinburgh will be hosting our first book launch, with readings by Andy Jackson, Andrew J Wilson, Pippa Goldschmidt, Alan Riach, Claire Askew, Jane McKie, Ken MacLeod and Ron Butlin. Come along to Blackwells book store, Southbridge (EH1 1YS) on Thursday 29th November at 6:00pm.

London shakes us by the tentacle on 6th December at Toynbee Studios. Fancy dress is welcomed, so pick up your Bat'leth and get yourself along. Details here:

Where Rockets Burn Through contains poetry from over 40 contemporary writers living and working in the UK, an essay by sci-fi poetry expert Steve Sneyd and a preface from Alasdair Gray. It includes poems by, and is dedicated to, Edwin Morgan.

Poets included:

Claire Askew
Simon Barraclough
Ron Butlin
Tom Chivers
Greg Delanty
Joe Dunthorne
Malene Engelund
Andrew Ferguson
Peter Finch
Matthew Francis
Pippa Goldschmidt
Sue Guiney
Aiko Harman
WN Herbert
Sarah Hesketh
Kirsty Irving
Andy Jackson
Ken MacLeod
Kona Macphee
Lorraine Mariner
Brian McCabe
Chris McCabe
James McGonigal
Jane McKie
Ian McLachlan
Edwin Morgan
Alan Riach
James Robertson
Dilys Rose
Nikesh Shulka
Steve Sneyd
Jon Stone
Ross Sutherland
Kelley Swain
Barnaby Tidman
Ryan Van Winkle
Sarah Westcott
Chrissy Williams
Andrew J Wilson
Jane Yolen

Thursday, 4 October 2012

Happy National Poetry Day

To celebrate this year's National Poetry Day, on the theme of "stars", Penned in the Margins have published James McGonigal's splendiferous poem, "space chaplain" on their site. Read it here!

James' poem will be in print as of November 2012, in Where Rockets Burn Through: Science Fiction Poems from the UK, from Penned in the Margins (edited by my gloomy self)

Russell Jones

Wednesday, 3 October 2012

A début of (anti) depressants

How are you feeling? You look a little pasty. A bit pale. Pallid. Put out. Pukey. Perturbed. Sick. Sad. Sedate. Oh that’s just how you always look? Fair enough. Get some sunlight down ya, Nosferatu.

When your Vitamin D levels are back to an acceptable level why not get yourself down to the Scottish Poetry Library (EH8 8DT) on Friday October 19th (6:30-8pm) for the launch of Mairi Campbell-Jack’s double pamphlet extravaganza. There is the sweet and succulent promise of homemade wine! Oh, and poems.

Once you’ve sobered up buy a copy of her book. Go on you cheap skate, buy it. It’s a two-parter about the happy subjects of post natal depression and the breakup of her marriage. You'll laugh! You'll cry! You'll cry a bit more. Party hats not provided.

Mairi Campbell-Jack’s debut collection, “This is a Poem” is published by Burning Eye Books.

Russell Jones

Monday, 1 October 2012

National Poetry Day 2012

It’s that time of year again when the poets emerge from their dishevelled hovels to grace the human world with their words. Yep, the 4th of October is National Poetry Day in the good old UK, and the theme this year is “Stars”.

I’ll be reading to the kiddywinks of Wester Hailes Education Centre (The High School) with this theme in mind as they take up the solar-reins and study “space” in their science classes. Unless you happen to be one of these delightful child-folk then you can’t come, but here are a couple of “star” themed poems from my fat and flailing hands to whet your pipe.

Breathing Space

Stars, don’t start.
Leave me to everything.
Burn away. Your glimmers
have made their point
though it’s lost.

Let me freewheel
in your distant light,
handstanding, vaulting
through the folds
of your surveillance.

If we’d wanted to see you
every minute of every night
we’d not have built houses,
built factories to drab your sky.
This is our canopy, our cloth
between your vastness
and the immediate universe
of our eyes.

Ghazal Jigsaw

From the small, closed window by our study table the stars are set
like the pieces of your space jigsaw. I ask if you’re any closer. The stars are set

you mutter as you slot another nook into the realised corner, and yet
you seem unsure which cosmos you’ve just pieced together. The stars are set

upon like foxes: your hands are hungry dogs. Your eyes are ready trumpets.
Your mind is a horse and then aha, you’ve a northern glow and the stars are set

in their place with a satisfactory click. Another, two more and you’re a puzzle-rocket.
They look so still and steady with you, but through our study window the stars are set

in more dimension than just those two. You drop a red dwarf and I reach to grab it.
You continue. I open the window and, like the sails of a ship, the stars are set.

Russell Jones

Sunday, 10 June 2012

How To Kill

"God Has Still Not Appeared To the Birds" from my in-progress PhD collection (How to Kill) has been selected as "Poem of the Month" by the Istanbul Review. Follow the link to the Istanbul Review (the link to the poem is on the right hand column):

Russell Jones

Wednesday, 6 June 2012

26 One Word Poems

Another Bite and Then the Diet Starts

Boyhood Dream, Male Reality (Unfortunately They’re His Own)

Chrissy, 48, Loves Cats, Hates Cheaters, Smoker

Darlin’ It’s Not you...


Folk These Days Don’t Know They’re Born

Gravediggings for Breakfast

Have You Trouble Hearing?

Icarus, Fresh from an Afternoon Dreaming, Strode Forward with His Hands in His Pockets, Harked “I’ve an all-inclusive booked in Majorca, paid on the plastic. Onward!”

Jagged Winter with a Terrifying Spring

Kafuffle of Love / Art is Misunderstanding / Death is Song and Dance

Leaves  Blow in the Long Wind of Spring


Nay! Neigh!

Onomatopoeia Walks Into a Bar: thunk

Petite Bundles
Pic  can  inn  ies

Quality Engagement and Wedding Bands at LOW LOW Prices, Mail Order NOW

Rolling into an Etch of the Mind

Speaking of Sin

Tobacco, Tequila and Karaoke Friday

Unborn Clings to the Mic

Versa Vice

What You See Is What You Get

X-Ray Dept./ CT Suite ; Orthopaedic and Fracture ; Males Only Ward

Yaddah Yaddah Yaddahaaahahaaeeee

Zealot Packs His Trolley Full of Cold Meats

Indian Winter

I forgot to mention - and you've probably noticed because you hang around this blog like a malignant wart or recurrent patch of flaky skin - that I've a short series of travel articles from my trip to India published with Exploration.

Parts one and two can be found here; move your lazy hand and click the links BEFORE YOU DIE

Part 1

Part 2

Part 3 is coming soon...

Sunday, 20 May 2012

Renrock Reading

I'll be reading along with some other mere mortals at Cafe Renroc
( on Montgomery Street, Edinburgh, on Friday 25th May. It begins at 7pm. Come.

Russell Jones

Thursday, 3 May 2012

RED10 again

Mr Kevin Cadwallender has assembled a group of super human misfits and degenerates - akin to The Avengers but with less make-up and fewer crime-fighting skills - to read for you potential viewing pleasure. It's in a bar, of course, it has to be in a bar. You need the juice. You parasitic vermin.

Compare him to Tony Stark, perhaps. Or Ash, from Pokemon. Cartoons are your only point of reference, aren't they? Cad is the overlord of "Red Squirrel Press", a publisher (with an odd interest in poetry and red squirrel populations) who has its hands on the Edinburgh poetry scene, among other things. They've published/are about to publish/will publish some day, many of the Poke-poets of Edinburgh town in a series of chapbooks and collections. Drey 4, for example, (buy it here with your metal trading circles, named after a squirrel's 'nest', contains a couple of my own ramblings along with other poets such as Edinburgh poetry-socialite, entrepreneur and general busy-bee Claire Askew.

Anyway, a bunch of people who write words down on paper are reading them out at Perseverance Bar, Edinburgh, June 13th at 7:30. See them here:  then come and give them your prattle and praise


Russell Jones

Sunday, 11 March 2012

Venture Award Reading

You filthy dog. I see what you've been doing, don't think I don't. And it's disgusting. You, yes YOU, make me want to retch up my vodka-soaked guts and then rub the Me Mess into my own eyes so I don't have to see you any more. Even your mother would slap that face. Hard.

This is this premise - kind of - for my recently "Venture Poetry Award" short-listed collection, "Our Terraced Hum". Me starin at people an things an dat from my dank pit window. And then writing lovely sonnets about the things I see. Awww.

Anyway I'll be reading from this collection at the Oxford House Theatre in London, on 12th April (6:30-eternity / 9pm)

Details below, 7 whole British pounds to get in.

Russell Jones

Friday, 2 March 2012

Cadaver, Speak

Imagine, with your feeble mind, what a corpse might say - if it were able - when laid out on the anatomy class slab, being hacked to pieces.

Well you don't have to!

Marianne Boruch hosts a night of readings by medical and literature students (including my miserable self) in Edinburgh's Old Anatomy Theatre on 21st March. We'll each be reading three of Boruch's poems from her collection, 'Cadaver, Speak'

Drag your lifeless sack of limbs there. I command thee!

Check out Boruch here:

Russell Jones

Wednesday, 15 February 2012

Interdisciplinary Science Review: Poetries and Sciences in the 21st Century

Please feel free to circulate this call for papers!!!

Call for papers
Interdisciplinary Science Reviews (
“Poetries and Sciences in the 21st Century”

This is to invite proposals for contributions to a themed issue of Interdisciplinary Science Reviews on the topic of “Poetries and Sciences in the 21st Century”, to be published as volume 39, number 1, March 2014.

Reference here to the present century is meant to imply that the relationship between poetry and science is historically contingent and that our current views of it are informed and challenged by those of the past. The intended aim of this issue is not so much to sketch what we believe to be true but to question our views by considering where they have come from and to speculate on what is to be done through an examination of the interactions between poetry and science.

As a point of departure, consider the literary critic I.A. Richards’ Poetries and Sciences, a work whose writing and revisions span the middle half of the 20th century. Richards asked what poetry could become in a world deeply and broadly affected by technoscience, arguing that the revolution it has brought about is “too drastic to be met by any such half-measures” as promotion of wonder at the marvels of nature (1970: 52-3). What could wonder be but an attitude of ignorance when these marvels have, or are assumed to have, lawlike explanations? Science has neutralised nature, he argued, and so deprived poetry of its original well-spring: “the magical view of the world” (1970: 50). What could a poet say to those for whom making sense ultimately requires the radically plain style of scientific reasoning? Richards’ solution was to cut the language of the imagination free from the language of belief, hence from epistemological certainty, implying our philosophical freedom to explore possible worlds.

Consider also the psychologist Jerome Bruner’s essay “Possible Castles”, from his Actual Minds, Possible Worlds (1986). Here Bruner argues that philosophical questioning of science (by Thomas Kuhn et al.) has reawakened the ancient, even tired question of the “two cultures” by revealing science to be historically contingent. In response to this reawakening he gives us two opposed trajectories for the sciences and the humanities, both originating in curiosity and speculation about the world, but one moving steadily away from ambiguity while the other moves towards increasing “the alternativeness of human possibility” (Bruner 1986: 53). He concludes by quoting Aristotle on the poet’s function: “to describe not the thing that has happened, but a kind of thing that might happen” (Poetics II.9). What matters to the poet, Bruner says, is verisimilitude to conceivable human experience. The poet’s job, we might say, is to expand what is conceivable by finding the best words, whereas the scientist’s is to extend what is explicable by equally audacious, but differently directed, acts of the imagination.

Much closer to our time, physicist Robert B. Laughlin declares that, as much in physics as in biology, we have come out of the reductionism which defined science throughout the 20th century (2005: 208) – and so created Richard’s dilemma – into an Age of Emergence. If so, then the question to be rescued from the muddle of “two cultures” is truly vigorous and contemporary. Let us say that, to quote theoretical biologist Robert Rosen, we foreswear the crippling mental habit of “looking only downward toward subsystems, and never upward and outward” (2000: 2), which renders us unable to see emergent organizational principles, of poetry or life itself. What then might poetry and science have to do with each other? What might that pre-eminent expression of technoscience, computing, have to say about poetry and how might it go about saying it? How might our most adventurous theories of poetic discourse inform a computing that works “upward and outward” from its object of study?

Practical Matters

In the first instance we request abstracts of up to 500 words, highlighting the key areas of interest and possible direction of your contribution.

Articles should have a maximum length of 6000 words.

All contributions will be peer-reviewed.

Articles may contain black and white illustrations (for which authors should seek the necessary permissions).

The theme of this issue is open to interpretation and we welcome a variety of submissions. In particular, though, we aim to publish one article which considers Richards’ Poetries and Sciences in context with his career (including his involvement with the Macy Conference of 1951) as a way of revisiting Richards’ interactions with the topic and comparing them with those of contemporary poets and literary critics.

For details on format see

Please address all enquiries to the issue editor:
Russell Jones
September 2011


06/2012           Declare intention to contribute (title and abstract)
12/2012           Secure commitment to submit article
06/2013           Submit first version
09/2013           Reviewers' comments and decisions back to authors
12/2013           Final materials due to the publisher
03/2014           Publication (vol 39.1)

Please address all enquiries to the issue editor:

Russell Jones
September 2011

Works Cited

Bruner, Jerome. 1986. “Possible Castles”. In Actual Minds, Possible Worlds. 44-54. Cambridge MA: Harvard University Press.
Laughlin, Robert B. 2005. A Different Universe: Reinventing Physics from the Bottom Down. New York: Basic Books.
Richards, I.A. 1970. Poetries and Sciences: A Reissue of Science and Poetry (1926, 1935) with Commentary. London: Routledge & Kegan Paul.
Rosen, Robert. 2000. Essays on Life Itself. Complexity in Ecological Systems Series. New York: Columbia University Press.