Whee, a balloon

Far Off Blog

Indeed, indeed.

paper flowers

We are now a proper, officially existing magazine! How exciting. It’s particularly exciting, because we were invited to launch Far Off Places as part of StAnza, Scotland’s foremost poetry festival. And because we had such a fantabulous day (goodness, my spellcheck seems to recognise fantabulous. Does that mean it’s actually a word?), we thought you’d like to hear all about it too.

7am: Grumble grumble. The minions do not like getting up at 7am. Especially not on a Saturday. But they do it. For the love of art. Or something.

8am: Ceris gets driven to the station on a motorbike, with her small red leather suitcase strapped to the back.

8.30: We are on the train! Annie is cutting and sticking, and Ceris is colouring in a hot air balloon. (This has a point, I promise.)

10am: Coffee! Ahem. And poetry. We have wedged our bags, suitcase and typewriter under chairs, tables and feet and are enjoying StAnza’s poetry breakfast, today on the theme of how poetry engages with nature. Beautiful facts: before Gaelic was written with the Latin alphabet, the Gaels used a tree alphabet. Also, eco-poetry literally means “the making of a dwelling place”.

11:30: Time to find the poets’ market. Oh dear, we don’t yet have a table. This is problematic, because we have quite a lot of stuff… We do meet Alan Gay though, who invited us to the market and whose delightful poem, Saving Humpty Dumpty, appears in Issue I.

stall at StAnza

11:45: We have a table! (Thank you Alan!) Possibly to the bemusement of our more established companions, we unpack dozens of paper flowers, a few proof copies of Issue I and a typewriter. Ceris sets about making the table look pretty. Annie tries not to get in the way.

12-4pm: Poets’ market. Much to our surprise, the four hours fly by. Less surprisingly, everyone is lovely. Slightly worryingly, they seem to be most impressed by the quality of the stitching on our proofs (thanks to the fantastic Nicky Davidson for that one), which really are merely proofs - although we do sell one accidentally! However, we also get compliments galore about the layout, design and of course the words. Here are a few of our favourite moments:

  • We sell our first subscription! Richie McCaffery, we like you a lot. (We’re rather pleased in general to sell more subscriptions than individual issues, as it implies both faith and interest in Far Off Places.)
  • We meet another one of our authors, Chelsea Cargill! This is particularly lovely, as Chelsea was the very first person to submit to us.
  • We get given poetry cupcakes, with rice paper poems on them, from the poetry postie.
  • An elderly gentleman gives Ceris a typewriting lesson.


4:30: Having packed up, we go to look at the sea. Ceris runs down the steep slope to the seaside and stands on a rock looking into the water, like a selkie in the final moments before slipping on her coat.

Images (c) Nicholas Davidson

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