Sunday, 30 September 2012

Two readings this week

Just a gentle reminder that I'm over in the U.K. once more this week to give two readings: Coventry on Tuesday and Uppingham on Wednesday. Details can be found in earlier posts. A heady mix of gorgeous autumnal colours, decent bitter, dodgy League Two  football, energising conversation and lots of poetry are all swirling away in my senses. Time to stock up on memories!

Thursday, 27 September 2012

It's alive!

First off, the semantics of the stuff: rosé wine is made to "bleed" as it's being vinified, while red wine needs to "breathe" once it's opened. White wine seems to "fall off a cliff" when it reaches the end of its life.

What's more, let's say I take a six-bottle case of Zaleo Tempranillo that was bottled on the same day and placed in its case at the same time. On opening the bottles, I'll find that every single one has developed in a slightly different way, as if they've got a sole set of genes but different upbringings.

Wine is alive! That's why I wrote Tasting Notes, to let it speak for itself, all in implicit contrast with the juxtaposed blurb that usually accompanies the "product". 

Tuesday, 25 September 2012

The tie-in

As Tim Love remarked recently in a comment on one of my posts, poetry benefits from a tie-in with the physical world. Such tie-ins not only cast a new light on verse for lovers of the genre, but they also gain new readers for it, people who thought poems could bring little to their lives beyond weddings and funerals.

To that end, I'm delighted that my partners (Ben and Emma Robson from Bat and Bottle Wine Merchants), are offering a mail order package of my poetry with wine (or wine with poetry!) at a specially reduced price. In other words, Tasting Notes can be delivered to a doorstep of your choice together with the wines that speak for themselves in the book. It's now possible to read and taste at the same time! There are two packages available, as follows:

1 x Tasting Notes, plus a bottle of Zaleo Tempranillo 2011, including p & p, down from an official price of 18.75 to 15 quid.You can order it here.

1 x Tasting Notes, plus a 6-bottle case including all the wines from Tasting Notes (i.e. 1 x Zaleo Premium 2010, 1 x Zaleo Rosado 2011,1 x Zaleo Pardina 2011 and 3 x Zaleo Tempranillo 2011), including p & p, down from 55.25 to 47.50. You can order it here.

If you know someone who like a glass of wine but thinks poetry is irrelevant, this is an ideal gift to surprise them. It also goes without saying that the package should go down well with poetry lovers who enjoy wine. Here's to a successful tie-in. Cheers!

Tuesday, 18 September 2012

Nightblue Fruit

Tuesday 2nd October will find me sent to Coventry, where I'll be reading at Nightblue Fruit (now that's a superb name!). Many thanks are due to Antony Owen for organising it all.

The event will be taking place at Taylor John's House, Coal Vaults, Canal Basin, Coventry, CV1 4LY. Doors will open at 8 pm and admission is free. What's more, Antony will have 5-minute open-mic slots available for you on the night. I won't be taking the wines along this time, but that's only because there's a bar at the venue for refreshments throughout.

This is the sort of reading I love giving, where people really focus on the poetry and everyone has the chance to get involved. I'll be reading from both Inventing Truth and Tasting Notes, with a few copies of both for sale on the night. I do hope any readers of Rogue Strands in the Coventry area will try to make it along. Here's the poster for the event:

Monday, 17 September 2012

The price of poetry?

Part One of the launch of Tasting Notes was a great success. About 50 people attended the reading at Free Verse on 8th September, followed by a constant flow of interest on the Happenstance stand throughout the day. I carved ham, poured wine and talked poetry non-stop for six hours!

In fact, we sold a lot of books. This was no doubt partly down to our special offer of providing a free glass of wine and plate of ham with every purchase from the stand, not just of my book. A number of people remarked on how it made them think again about the way we value and price stuff. What does four pounds buy you? A lovely poetry pamphlet or a drink in London? Customers at Free Verse weren't forced into that choice, as we sent a fair number home with a warm vinous feeling inside them and a book to read afterwards.

It was a wonderful day, the chance to showcase poetry I believe in, to promote an excellent, commited publisher. And now I'm looking forward to the second stage of the launch! More on that over the coming days.

Tuesday, 4 September 2012

Double launch for Tasting Notes

I'll be launching Tasting Notes in two very different sets of surroundings in the very near future.

First off, I'll be giving a reading from it at Free Verse: The Poetry Book Fair this coming Saturday (8th September) at 11 a.m.. I'll be appearing alongside Marion Tracy, who'll also be launching her new HappenStance pamphlet, and you can see the whole programme of readings here. It looks like being a terrific day out for poetry lovers, especially once you see the extensive list of exhibiting publishers.

What makes this launch different is that there will be free Zaleo wine and Ibérico ham for anyone who comes along. I'll be carving the Ibérico ham myself, so it's sure to get rather messy! If you can't make it to the reading itself, we'll also be on the Happenstance stand all day afterwards with that ham and wine, plus a very special offer that should encourage you to buy lots of books from the best poetry pamphlet publisher in the whole wide world!

If the London launch is in a poetry-world setting with wine and ham alongside, the second launch of Tasting Notes is taking place in a wine-trade context with lots of poetry on top, all thanks to Emma and Ben, my partners and friends at Bat and Bottle wine merchants.The invite reads as follows:

"Ben and Emma Robson, partners of Bat and Bottle, cordially invite you to

Tasting Notes

An evening of wine, poetry and jamón ibérico de bellota, presented by the
poet and blender Matthew Stewart.

Uppingham Theatre, Stockerston Road, Uppingham LE15 9UD
Wednesday 3rd October 7:30pm

Tickets are £5 each and available online at search ‘Tasting
Notes’ or call 01572759735"

I do hope you can make it along to one of these launches. As you can see, they promise to be somewhat unusual!

Monday, 3 September 2012

The wines

Tasting Notes draws on wines as a point of reference, but not just any old plonk:  I've been working in the wine trade down here in deepest Extremadura (Spain) for longer than I care to remember, and these days I earn my living as the blender and export manager of Viñaoliva, a local co-operative, selling our Zaleo wines globally.

I write the back labels, brochures, website copy and, of course, the tasting notes. If you'd like to find out a bit more background about the wines, why not visit the website here? On the site there are also some lovely shots of the beautiful scenery (all those rolling vineyards!) in this part of the world.

What's more, you'll soon be able to taste the wines alongside the poems, both at two imminent launches and in your own home! More exact details in the next couple of days about those launches.