Dobby Gibson: A poet, a press, an editor

Having met Dobby Gibson in yesterday’s blog post, we get more of a sense of a practicing poet’s world with today’s video, including an interview with his editor (Jeff Shotts), his publisher (Graywolf Press) and Dobby reading at the book launch.  (This is his third book of poetry).

*CommandCo Exclusive Tomorrow* We’ve been in touch with Dobby, and found out his favourite poetry book of 2017 – the one which makes him want to write more poetry.  Also, the latest progress on his next book….  All this coming on tomorrow’s blog post!


More about the poet

If you’d like to find out more about the poet, his website will give a good indication of what books he has read, poems of his on the internet, and audio and video recordings and interviews.  In fact, it’s a good example of a poet’s website, for those of us in at the beginning of life as a published poet, or working towards that.


Screen shot 2017-12-29 at 12.03.53

Booklaunch Reading: Dobby Gibson reads “it becomes you”, his third book

Writing a Poetry Book

In today’s video, Dobby is honest about the time taken to write this third book – even though it was a book with his usual publisher, he began by sending the editor about 8 poems, and then taking 3 years to accumulate enough other poems to make this book.

Useful to hear that kind of realism, to budget for the time it will take.


W H Auden – in an age of Anxiety

This particular BBC documentary by Adam Low on W H Auden shows how well his poetry is written, how current and up-to-date it sounds.  His “Funeral Blues”  (“Stop all the clocks….”) became the go-to poem for funerals after it featured in the film “Four Weddings and a Funeral”.  And after the calamitous World Trade Centre bombing of 11 Sept – THE public poem which the New York Times and others turned to, to sum up the times was Auden’s poem “September 1st, 1939”, just before England announced its entry into world war 2.


“How to be a Poet” published this week

If you’ve ever wanted advice on “How to be a Poet”, there’s a book with precisely that title, by key UK poetry publisher Nine Arches press, published in a few days’ time (20th December 2017.)  It’s written by Jo Bell and Jane Commane – who are poets and editors in their own write (right).


The book is a sizeable 200 pages long, on sale for about £15 (depending whether you’ve buying in a real bookshop or an online retailer) and as well as Jo and Jane’s insights, includes articles by “special guests”.

How will this book help my writing?


Poetry/wonder (Lucille Clifton 1936-2010)

Happy Birthday, poet Lucille Clifton.  We celebrate you; your arrival and what you made, in the time that you had.

“The mistake teachers sometimes make is that they think art and poetry – they think that’s about answers and it’s not about that, it’s about questions.  So you come to poetry not out of what you know – but out of what you wonder.”


Poet as job

So – you like writing poetry – but how can you make it into more like a paying job?

Here’s a short article by Anthony Anaxagorou.  It describes how he gradually moved from a shy 27 year old writer who printed his poems and made Youtube clips of himself reading his poems….. gradual interest led to poetry teaching work in 3 London schools….