Wet Zebra is proud to present our first volume of poetry, London Poems by Robert Cole.
A printed copy of the book is available for you to order right now for £6, as well as the e-book which you can buy and download here for £3.
Although we don't normally print books on the first edition, we decided to invest in a small print run of Robert's poetry because we think it is just that good. Please use the Contact form or email firstname.lastname@example.org to secure your hard copy. Cheques can be made out to Wet Zebra Ltd.
Be sure to act fast - stocks are limited!
You can check out our first interview with Robert here, and get to know him and his collection a little better. It includes Robert's poetic influences, earliest memory, writing process, and wise life motto. Curious?
Deputy Editor Naomi worked with Robert to polish his poems, ready for publication. Here's what she had to say:
'Editing poetry can be tough, as the last thing you want to do is encroach on the artist's creative process. I tried to focus on understanding Robert's rhythms and the particular force of his words, then highlighted instances where the power wasn't as controlled or channelled as effectively as it might be.
Robert made it easy, really, he never took offence and actually welcomed my criticism, which made the whole editing process a total pleasure. Analysing the poems in great detail was such fun, and we both cared about every single word, so we'd be emailing about whether a semi-colon felt right, or agonising over the placement of an adjective. I loved it. Robert has a kindness and gentleness of soul that carries the collection and weaves the poems together with a stunning warmth.
These are brilliant poems, would thoroughly recommend.'
But over to Robert for the final words on the matter.
How does it feel to have a collection of your poems published?
It is hard to describe the feeling without sounding idiotically excited, gratuitously obsequious or immodestly bashful. It is an achievement I am pleased about. Of course I am. It is the fulfilment of a lifetime ambition.
I have deep feelings of gratitude to those that made it possible. That means the peeps at Wet Zebra.....the staffers - especially Martin Baker, Paul English, Shaun Fagan and Naomi Pyburn - and the other Wet Zebra writers, especially Tony Judge, Al Monte, Roberta Selesky, Graham Deakin, Deborah Hadfield, Jim Ring, Gary Farmer, and Risaria Langley. At risk of getting into nauseating Oscar-speech territory, I also want to name-check my wife and children, friends and relations, colleagues and critics, teachers and therapists, fellow trollopsarians and Uncle Tom Cobbleigh.
How open are you with your poetry? Do you show it to most friends and family or just a select few?
I am open with anyone who seems genuinely interested, though still anxious. I am aware that many will think me a prat, or worse. So I keep quiet, mostly.
These years of our lives are culturally deaf, largely, to poetry. I heard it said once that the poetry's 'business model' is broken because more people write poetry than read it. If this is true, it may be because so many poets write unreadable poetry. I have tried hard to avoid this trap. It is up to others to judge if I have been successful.
Bottom line for me: I am embarrassed by my hobby but I am strangely, perhaps foolishly, determined to follow this road to ridicule.
Do I show my poetry to others? Only in the sense that I have a website (which you can find here) that readers and potential readers can freely access; a book of poems which readers can buy in e-format or hard copy; I occasionally use social media things to display my poems; and I do public performances. I am expecting to take a show to this year's Edinburgh Fringe Festival, for example.
How did you find the process of having your work edited by a publisher, someone you didn't know?
Essential and invaluable. I have heard it said that poetry cannot and should not be edited. That's a nonsense, in my opinion. If a poem has to be edited very substantially it may be an indication that it was pretty hopeless in the first place - or you have a bad editor.
It's hard to imagine an editor questioning the essence from which a poem grows. But if the theme is obtusely recorded, if the structure is inappropriate or flawed, if the words and rhymes can be tested and improved, if the spelling or punctuation is wrong, of course poetry can - and must - be edited.
What's next for you? Do you have any more writing ventures planned?
I am continuing to work on poetry - and new poems. There is a Mystery Play in the works too. I'd like to do more readings in the run up to the Edinburgh show I mentioned. The hope is to perform with my 14-year-old son, Maurice. The show will be called 'Man and Boy' and will run at theSpace@JurysInnStudio from 4- 26 August.
Click right here to go to the book page, where you can download London Poems in all its glory.