The Broadsheet

…is a wonderful eclectic razzamatazz of poems.  Simon Williams, Bard of Exeter, and Susan Taylor have selected and edited the poems (as well  as Simon printing and hand – folding (with notably perfect creases) every broadsheet himself) with an eye for a gathering of the different “tribes” of poetry. So, it really is a broadside, an act of poetic radicalism, just like the political ballads and speeches that used to be printed as broadsheets for quick distribution on the streets.  Hannah Silva’s Foreword probably reveals all the things you’d secretly thought or maybe sometimes said behind the scenes …  see on…..  Perhaps it exposes the whole truth. Or perhaps it reveals why poets always prefer orange shoes and slightly green tomatoes. Whatever it is, this Broadsheet is where the rind gets cut, depending on how you take your marmalade.


Poets prefer marmalade      written by Hannah Silva

An anthology that states it publishes the ‘best’ poetry written today publishes the best poetry written today. There are a range of poetry awards corresponding to the range of poetry being written. It is necessary to categorise poets. All good young poets win Eric Gregory awards.

Black poets are usually performance poets. ‘Performance poetry’ has become a derogative term. ‘Innovative’ poets are usually male, white and sardonic. Poets who use the lower case i are pretentious. ‘Mainstream’ poets are snooty. All poets listen to Radio 4.

If you’re not a white poet you should send your work to a specialist publisher. If you’re not a white poet then you are writing for a niche market. Poetry festivals programme a diverse range of poets. Poets wear sharp suits.

There are as many critics of poetry in performance as there are of poetry on the page. Poets who mostly perform are as respected as poets who mostly publish. Poets who write for the page are bad readers of their work. Poets who learn their work for performance are more interested in performance than in writing. Poets who read are giving priority to the page above performance. Reading is not performance. Performance is not reading. Poets eat shredded wheat.

Rejection after rejection results in poets losing confidence in their own voice. Rejection after rejection breeds ambitious, bold poets who write just the way they wish to. Rejection after rejection results in poets adjusting the way they write in order to be accepted. Rejection after rejection stops poets writing poetry. If you want to get published make sure you write poems that look like poems. Poems look like dandelion clocks. You can learn a poem by blowing its fluff to the wind.

Mentorship is offered to all poets of promise. There’s money in poetry. If you want to be a poet you should do an MA in creative writing. Poets have dodgy knees.

Poets are thick-skinned and dislike freckles. Poets have good dress sense. Poets are middle class. Poets know when to use apostrophes. Working class poets write short, funny poems about their lives.

Publishers shape the poetry that is written in this country. Publishers shape the poetry that is published in this country. Censorship is an inevitable by-product of selection. Small, independent publishers sell as many books as Faber & Faber. Poets have regular haircuts.

There is no ‘mainstream’ poetry. The fact there are several ‘streams’ enriches the poetry scene. British poetry is more conservative than American poetry. Experimentation is actively discouraged. The labels we use to catagorise poets have more positive than negative associations. Poets can hold their breath underwater for ages.

Poems written for performance rhyme and are easily understood on first hearing. Poems written for performance are often political. Poems written for performance sprawl and have irregular line lengths. The spoken word scene is diverse because there are no gatekeepers at its entrance.

Poems written for the page are formally tight. Poems written for the page need to be read several times. The craft of writing poems for the page is superior to the craft of writing poems for performance. ‘Mainstream’ poetry often references Greek mythology.

You can tell that ‘Innovative’ poets don’t believe in the poetic ‘voice’ as they write by cutting up books and instruction manuals and inserting the word ‘Derrida’ now and then. Poets do press-ups.

A poem that works on the page will work in performance. A poem that works in performance will not always work on the page. A poem that works in performance but not on the page is not a good poem. To perform is to be fake. Performance poets are shouty. Poets are typewriters.

There is an equal split of male to female poets writing poetry in the UK. There is an equal split of male to female poets being published in the UK. There is an equal split of male to female poets publishing poetry in the UK. Poets (particularly the innovative ones) can never find the scissors.

Poets self-publish their work when it’s not good enough to be accepted by a publisher. Publishers publish poetry that is good. All good poetry is published. ‘Good’ is not subjective.

There are too many poets. There are not enough poets. Poets wear red shoes. Poets prefer mittens to gloves.

There are too many poets. There are not enough poets. Poets wear red shoes. Poets prefer mittens to gloves.


You can see more about The Broadsheet (and about submitting to the next issue and, believe me,  you’ll madly want to be in it as this is THE new place to be seen in your red shoes and eating your marmalade)  on

You can read Hannah Silva’s blog on

And her play ‘The Disappearance of Sadie Jones’ is currently on tour and will be at Peninsula Arts in Plymouth, 21st November.  Thank you, Hannah, and also Claudia Schmid for the drawing Thank you especially to Simon and Susan for creating such a brilliant Broadsheet and I was very chuffed to be included.


About Rebecca Gethin

Rebecca Gethin is a poet and a novelist. Cinnamon Press published her third collection, All the Time in the World in 2017. Another pamphlet is forthcoming with Three Drops Press. Her second novel, What the horses heard, was published by Cinnamon Press in May 2014. Her second poetry collection - A Handful of Water - was published by Cinnamon in 2013. Her first - River is the Plural of Rain - was published by Oversteps Books in 2009. Her novel Liar Dice won the Cinnamon Press Novel Writing Award in 2010 and was published in 2011. She lives on Dartmoor and writes occasional pieces about wildlife and nature. Her poems appear in a variety of poetry magazines and in several anthologies.
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5 Responses to The Broadsheet

  1. simon838 says:

    Hi Becky,

    Thank you very much for this. What a wonderful response – so glad you enjoyed it.

    Should have said, Claudia Schmid’s site is Any chance of adding that?



    Scoriton Farmhouse, Scoriton, Buckfastleigh, Devon TQ11 0JB

    Telephone and Fax 01364 631308

    Twitter @GreatBigBadger

    Bard of Exeter 2013

  2. Thanks for this, Rebecca! I’ve read Hannah’s poem online – I think it was widely tweeted and posted all over the place when it was first published – but I hadn’t really registered where it was from. I’ve ordered a copy of The Broadsheet now.

  3. I also feel very chuffed to have had a poem included in it. It’s a great publication, and great that you’re publicising it.

  4. E.E. Nobbs says:

    Lots to digest in this post Becky – and I haven’t finished yet roaming & reading. The Broadsheet sounds great. The time is ripe for an old idea to reappear. Your intro alerted me to tracking down the link in Hannah blog to Jon Stone’s post on Tribalism. I’ve signed up for Hannah’s blog, and Claudia’s art is great fun 🙂

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