Brand new #poetry #audiobook – get it #free with Audible 30 day trial

FreezeFrameAudioMP3Well it’s finally here – the FREEZE FRAME international poetry anthology has been re-mastered and is now on sale on Amazon, iTunes and Audible.

The brainchild of the poet Oscar Sparrow, he invited 5 other poets from around the world to write a collection of poems that would ‘freeze the frame’ on our bustling lives.  In addition to their written words, each poet recorded a performance of each poem.  To complete the project, a talented young pianist composed a theme for the anthology with individual motifs for each poet.

It’s a fantastic opportunity to hear works read aloud by these poets, in their own inimitable styles that really bring the poetry to life.

If you would like to get this audio book for FREE here are two suggestions ( you could do both of course!):

1. Sign up for a FREE 30 day trial membership on Audible and get FREEZE FRAME for FREE too. CLICK HERE FOR DETAILS

2. Get a FREE copy to download from Amazon.  We have a number of ‘review copies’ to give away – we are doing this via a draw, to make it fair.  The first draw will take place at the end of September.  Click here to enter:    a Rafflecopter giveaway

Congratulations to Oscar Sparrow, Paul Tobin, Jo VonBargen, Claude Nougat, Candy Bright and Jefferson Hansen on a great audio project.

Find the audio, print and kindle versions here too:

Amazon UK

Amazon USA

The Proof of the Pudding is in the Freeze Frame

We were all excited when the proof copy of FREEZE FRAME landed on the doormat four days earlier than anticipated.  We love digital media but there is nothing like holding the real thing in your hand and flicking through those pristine pages.

FreezeFramePaperbackImageBEst

It’s almost there – a couple of changes and we’re good to go.

We’ve also formatted the e-book for Smashwords, so in a couple of weeks from now FREEZE FRAME will be available for just about every e-reading device known to man e.g. Kindle, Kobo, Nook, Apple, iPad, Android, Sony, EPUB etc etc. as well in traditional tactile format.

Both the e-book and print book include the free link to the audio recordings of FREEZE FRAME – a one hour poetry fest where each poet performs their poems – a real treat!

Find the book currently on Amazon HERE

Freeze Frame Launched!

Santa maybe
Santa may-be

Sometimes I have to remind myself that I am a reasonably serious old bloke who has scribbled poems for about 50 years. Finding myself posing in a Santa hat holding a Kindle Fire device for a picture to be captioned with punny quips made me wonder if I had lost the plot. If I appear disrespectful to poets and poetry I do apologise. O brave new world that has such peep-shows in it. Such is the circus of the modern book world. Apparently some fiction writers are so busy on the road that all their stuff is done by ghost writers. Seemingly it’s the brand that matters. It seems incredible to me. Perhaps I won’t beat myself up over the Santa hat. If it makes poetry more accessible and unstuffy then it has to be a Google plus. I defy anyone to ghost write in the style of any of the six Freeze Frame writers.

Far more importantly, the book is out there and up on Amazon. It was delivered without anaesthetic during the night, about 24 hours premature but at a good weight and with powerful voice. This is not the end of course but at least everything is all together and in one place. The stars are the poets who had enough faith in me to join in and risk all to be part of the Freeze Frame project.

Tomorrow evening 1800 hours UK (GMT)  – 12 noon USA EST – there will be a launch party at which all can meet the poets. There will be readings and comments and hopefully a few silly hats.  This takes place on Facebook with a live link to a Google+ ‘Hangout’ – you can watch us all having our virtual champagne and reading a selection of poems from the collection.  Here’s the link:

Stop the world – FREEZE FRAME – it’s the launch party!

Find the book here:
Amazon USA
Amazon UK
Amazon Canada
Amazon Germany
Amazon France
Amazon Italy
Amazon Spain
Amazon Japan
Amazon Brazil

Ho Ho Ho!

Freeze Frame Poetry Anthology – Music Reveal

Isabelle Fuller

Thank you for the music

As the date for the launch of the Freeze Frame Poetry Anthology approaches (Friday 21st Dec!), Oscar Sparrow interviews the composer of the original music used on the audio album….

One of the huge number of things about which I know nothing is music. My mother was a singer who could not believe her genes carried the recessive potential for a tone deaf croaking sparrow. After all, she had specifically ordered a nightingale.

Fortunately, I am surrounded by talent. One of the requirements for the music track was that it contained a variety of themes with changes of pace and melody. It is surprisingly difficult to commission original work.  I approached Izzy, who composed and played the theme for “I Threw A Stone” and she agreed to give it a try. We had a long session of reading the poems and she took them away to get a feel for the individual poets. Although the music track is a continuous piece in its own right, the mandate was to create moods and reflections complimentary to the audio tracks. Obviously the music speaks for itself but I had a chat with her shortly before its goes live.

You have worked on a couple of projects for us before. How did this job feel?

It was a huge leap of difficulty. I wrote and played the flute track on “Where is God” by Jo VonBargen the fabulous American poet. (You just have to hear her read her work – it’s a thrill it really is, She opened me up to poetry power). I did the same with the piano theme for Oscar’s book but Freeze Frame was something much more complex. I spent a lot of time thinking about the different themes. Because I had access to the audio tracks I could feel my way into the atmosphere of what I wanted to do.

I was out shopping and saw you on a poster as a star flautist at a concert. Which is your preferred instrument? 

The piano allows me to compose and I can just play without accompaniment. I get more chances to perform with the flute. The piano is more versatile and has a ready depth that you need for composition.

I have no idea what it feels like to compose music. Can you tell me?

It’s a great feeling to get the idea out of my heart and into my fingers. It doesn’t really feel like an idea in my head – thoughts are more like words somehow. Music is something fluid you tap into. It’s not like thinking at all, its like skating or dancing – it happens inside you and you express it without knowing how or where its going exactly. You need technical information about harmonies and such like but it is a marvellous sense of freedom.

In this case did you have a starting point?

Only the tradition of everything that anyone has ever composed. There’s a lot of music written around individuals, physical themes and other art forms. Any composer feels humbled by it. There are pieces like Mussorgsky’s Pictures At An Exhibition, Elgar’s Enigma Variations, The Planets, the whole book of ballet music and pieces like Gershwin’s Rhapsody in Blue that I saw in Disney’s Fantasia 2000 when I was a very little girl. I think it changed me! I know composers are supposed to be highbrow but my first awareness of music was from Barbie cartoon movies which featured classical ballet.  You never feel you can do anything like that but it’s still in me  to do what I can. I just have to.

What’s next?

I’ve enjoyed working to a theme and I have an idea beginning along those lines. I can’t really express it yet. I’ve sent the project down into my heart to warm up and get some feeling. It’s like……. waiting for springtime now….

Favourite film and favourite song?

You’re going to laugh at me. My film would be “The Page Turner” which is about a psychotic sadistic pianist. I’m afraid my favourite song  is “Sweet Child O’ Mine” by Guns N’ Roses. I know its far older than me but that guitar riff takes me somewhere sublime. I think they’re for old rocker guys. Do you think I’m normal?

I’m actually more worried about the psychotic pianist. Gallo-Romano don’t pay much!

It’s always a pleasure to work with Izzy because she does the work. That’s the way I like it.

So- here it is, the music that will buffer between the poets. It will play in its entirety at the end of the book. As an update I can say that we are on target for the e book with audio launch on 21st December. The “real” paper book will follow in the New Year.

Guys – it’s good.

In case you missed it here is the soundcloud music link.

Freeze Frame Anthology. Featured Poet and Editor Oscar Sparrow. Interview by Jo VonBargen

It had to come – the final interview with Freeze Frame Editor and  Poet No 6 – Oscar Sparrow.  Jo VonBargen puts the questions…

Reading-between-the-sheets-1024x768

I’d like to introduce our fearless leader and Editor of the upcoming Freeze Frame AnthologyOscar Sparrow! This has been a wonderful project to work on and Oscar has made it so easy for all of us! Oscar’s own work is without peer, in fact, he’s my own favorite living bard! Here, an example from his delicious book of poetry, I THREW A STONE, available at Amazon.com, which has an audio file of him reading the poems accompanying it.

Engine Management Light

Some semi-conductor keeping time
turns his back
as half an orchestra falls flat.
A filament of existence
beyond darkness triggers an enlightenment.

I stare into the void of mystery,
in the pews of ignorance
awaiting the priest,
images of invisible strands
spinning in unknowable blackness
fill my blind imagination.

Others speed by
down the Damascus Road.
On the hard shoulder,
facing the question –
My question,
I open the book and pray.


For a little taste of his enormous talent, listen to him read what has been said to be the “worst poem in the world”, written by Theo Marzials. I found it enchanting!

A TRAGEDY by Theo Marzials. Read by @Oscar_Sparrow  Unforgettable! 
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qfXSQ9wj3AI

We are all so excited about FREEZE FRAME and offer heartfelt thanks to Oscar and his team atGallo-Romano for all the hard work they’ve done to come up with what we think is a fantastic result!

I had the opportunity to interview Oscar before the release of the book, just as he interviewed us; this is a peek at the character of a very intriguing individual!
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Oscar Sparrow Interview (by Jo Vonbargen)

I appreciate so much that you have been able to put together this unique collection called <em “mso-bidi-font-style:=”” normal”=””>Freeze Frame. You once said to me,

“If we froze the frame – what would we see? A guy taking an order at Burger King and punching the codes on his till? A girl in the line texting her friend the menu choices? A land mine victim smelling a rose? A guy flicking sports channels. So many layers of interface and distraction! Paul Gaugin asked “Where do we come from? What are we? Where are we going?”

Now that you’re wearing the Editor’s hat, has any of this become clearer to you?

What has become clearer to me is that individuals are very capable of focusing on those moving moments of life. In some cases, moments of experience live on forever perhaps and to some extent define those individuals. It is even clearer to me that this IS the work of poetry in terms of how it stands relative to our minds in this multi-channelverse. As for Gaugin’s question – well, the linear idea of an individual life being a flash of light between bookends of oblivion is obviously far too simple. As for what we are, maybe more than ever I see that we are seekers of understanding. Probably we are trying to understand rainbows by eating mud. Poets deal with what they don’t know but they cook the mud before they serve it up.

You are my favourite living poet, hands down. You peel a subject down to the quantum level, disassemble the atoms, then rearrange them into a veritable feast of multi-layered meaning and social commentary. I find them absolutely fascinating! When did you first realize poetry would take over your life and be your very breath?

What a wonderful compliment – thank you. I suppose that as quite a young kid I did not fit in because I wanted conversation and discussion to go much further and deeper. We use descriptions such as “as hard as stone”. The use of words in this context troubled me and kids and teachers shuffled away when I would ask how you “understood” the hardness of stone. My refuge was poetry – particularly Wordsworth. I bought a copy at a second-hand shop. I hated all that poetry they served up at school – all that dah di dah di dah stuff.  I wandered about a lot, looking at yellow iris and learning the smell of water and advancing snow. I wanted a poem to look out beyond to that place which could not be a place but which my tiny brain can only see in terms of a location. I must say that your own work “From This Far Time” touched me deeply by heading out on this path.

That’s very sweet of you, Oscar! Your own response to that work gave me so much encouragement and hope for the future…you have no idea!! I’m curious as to how you actually work in your “poet’s cave”.  As for subject matter, where does your poetry come from and who has influenced you?

The poet’s cave is a philosophical place quite often of no thought or input. I have to go there just to be.  The biggest fact of the human mind, the universe and everything that binds them together is something we completely ignore. Intuition is the dark matter of thought and the construction of our picture of existence within our consciousness is intuitive. This intuition is very much there in the child. The “system” both ignores and discourages it. Who says to a scruffy kid “I want you to wander about free, not trying to think anything. If you want to – or if you feel you just have to, come back and tell me what you felt”.  Now that is not just a school for poets – that is a school for the world. The sad thing is that once we did have that power and freedom. We have forgotten where we left ourselves. 

As for influences – certainly Wordsworth, the English Movement guys like Larkin. Robert Graves, W.H. Auden, Thomas Hardy, Maggie Huscroft, Elizabeth Browning, Walt Whitman, Les Murray  and so many writers and poets. The work of Gaugin, many films and singers like Jacques Brel. The word play and cleverness of Charles Trenet leaves me dumb with admiration. My biggest influence is that elusive intuition in a scene or moment. Always that question “What words can fit the intuitive signal I am receiving?”

You are one of the best spoken word artists I’ve ever had the pleasure to meet. You have a natural talent for dramatizing the written word and leaving us spellbound! Have you ever worked in theatre?

No theatre I’m afraid. I think a critic would say that I just love the sound of my own voice. Look – we all have depth and nuances within ourselves. The voice can betray/reveal them. Life and poetry are acting jobs. Shyness and uncertainty make us reluctant to risk the true expression of our spirits. If I’m any good, it is because I have grown old enough to let go and just do what anyone could do if they stepped up and grabbed the microphone. 

Remove the editor’s hat and put on the poet’s. What message would you leave the world on your tombstone?

Wow – hmmmm. It would be difficult to not appear righteous if I gave advice about how to live when I know nothing more than anyone else. If I were to try to combine the basic selfishness of mankind yet their ability to elude its grip, I would condense everything to:  “Love yourself –  for your kindness.”

What direction do you think your own poetry is going and where do you think poetry in general should go? Have you ever been part of the poetry establishment?

I have lived through several re-launches, renaissances, second comings and new waves of poetry.  None of them have changed the sales or perception of it. In a rather joking way I dub myself the “Poet Lorry-Park” in order to underline my allegiance to the cause of non-academic people. I feel that poetry was stolen, mystified and separated from the main stream of life by a clique of media connected cronies. They wanted the poetry world to be ten stars <strong “mso-bidi-font-weight:=”” normal”=””>and all the rest of us fawning upon their latest style of line break. To me, this is tosh. You can stuff a sonnet in your rhyming bonnet or ride into Jerusalem on your assonance for all I care. What I want is for anyone who feels a surge of joy, who poses an infinite question or who sees a dog peeing on a cabbage AND who really sees it and reflects on it to realise that they themselves are the poet. I do not believe in any regime or form of poetry. It is the naked honest mind seeking to use this heavy toolbox of words to do a job no one will ever complete. The subject and my intellectual/emotional relationship with it dictate the form of what I write. How can I be bigger than the power of the unwritten poem? The poem is the statue unborn, yet living in the stone.

I have skirted around the poetry establishment because I thought I might pick up some electricity from the overhead wires. I felt the current but essentially they only wanted a coin for their trochaic meter. In short, let there be poetry and let all be poets. Those with the best words will be guides, not stars.

Finally, Jo – my dear friend, thanks for inviting me to ramble on for far too long. I dreamed that one day I would be a poet.  To be so dubbed by a poet I admire so much is a true honour and happiness. 

Thank you so much, Oscar! It has been my distinct pleasure to know and work with you!!

Cover Reveal – Freeze Frame Anthology

Today marks the beginning of an exciting week as the first stage of our latest book launch gets underway and we reveal the graphics for the FREEZE FRAME anthology. Edited by Oscar Sparrow, this collection includes an international array of authors: two Americans, Jo VonBargen and Jefferson Hansen, three Brits, Paul Tobin, Candy Bright and Oscar plus a Citizen of the World Claude Nougat.

Without further ado, here is the artwork for the digital version which will be launched on Amazon worldwide on the 21st December…

FreezeFrame

As part of the general festivities we have also revealed the Facebook Fan Page for the book which is available here: http://www.facebook.com/FreezeFrameAnthology

If you give the page a ‘like’ we’ll keep you up to date with news about the book, its launch program and the authors.

Next up will be the  ‘Music Reveal’ – the first public playing of the original piano track commissioned to head up this anthology.  Watch, or rather listen, to this space…

Freeze Frame Anthology – featured poet Candy Bright

The fifth poet in the Freeze Frame family is Candy Bright, here’s what she had to say to Oscar…

Candy Bright

Candy Bright

It can be dangerous hanging out with poets. They often handle dangerous materials without a risk assessment. One of my rules is to read aloud any poem I encounter. When Candy submitted her poems for Freeze Frame I opened the file in the Gallo-Romano Media office. I selected a poem and read it out. Suddenly there was a sob from the lady who had been happily tapping at her keyboard. The poem to blame, “Sam” will appear in the collection. It is a simple poem dipped in human life juice. Some writers have this quality and I do not think you can force it if it is not there. With Candy’s poetry somehow you know that it is informed by an emotional life lived. There are many nuances in the human soul. Regret is not always sadness. Joy is not always happiness. Sadness itself may have on occasion an enveloping pleasure of gravitas and insight.To understand and savour this, we have poetry. Candy operates in this area but without self indulgence. Her work can be suddenly direct, factual and almost harsh. Above all you feel a fellow human reaching out to share how it is and how it feels. For poets, this process rarely gets beyond the work in progress file. In her collection “Candy Colours” she opens with a poem  A Life So Far. It begins

It’s only a draft you understand
I’ll get it right some time soon.

Well, that’s life – and far more importantly, that’s poetry.

Candy was my fifth interviewee and I think her responses show very clearly what she is about and the unique thread of poetry that she brings to Freeze Frame

Reading your introduction and chatting to Paul Tobin after your audio studio session, the word “naked” has come up. You talk of poetry somehow revealing the truth of you. I see this is a valuable insight into the way you approach your work. I think you have every justification for feeling confident in your nakedness but how does it feel to you?  Have you held back from getting your work out there?

Yes I have, I have used the analogy of writing in closets and singing in cupboards for years-for whatever it is worth when I write I seem to strip back to the bones my bones-and I guess that as few of us are unique-there may be a synergy out there somewhere. I now being of a great age that I have little left to lose by my honesty. Sometimes I so wish I knew another way to be-but I don’t.

When I received your poems I read them aloud in the Gallo-Romano office. Your poem “Sam” is very beautiful and poignant and brought out some tears. Your work often touches on the loss of innocence and to some extent, regret. Is this a theme in your thoughts?

Yes-I suppose it is apparent. I always thought I would die with Edith Piaf’s words on my lips-but not so. Whilst I embrace life and all the beauties it has to offer-the antithesis also exists and I find separation ridiculously hard.

You write about people. You also write about people in places. It seems to me that travel has been an element in your development as a poet. Is this so?

I have travelled out of pleasure and out of necessity and lord it has taught me much. I have also travelled out of autonomy and out of powerlessness and it is these opposites that seem to rule my life. I do so try to take on the lessons that they all seem to offer …….

Do you see yourself as a poet or as a woman, wife, mother who writes poetry? It is clear to me that much emotion comes off the page of your work. Is writing an emotional experience for you as you dig down into memory and experience?

That is a very hard question to answer without stripping back even more layers upon layers. I write as a being, I happen now to be a woman but I have been a girl and I have synergised/empathised with boys/men as well as females and  then I have my spirit which I believe may just rise above gender and worldly position. However I write as my experiences have found me or it is I who have found them? And I am a woman, a sister, a mother, a lover, a friend and having been a nurse for most of my life a wannabe healer. There are times I truly feel I transcend these boundaries-but it usually gets me into trouble………

Listening to your audio track, I catch all sorts of influences in your accent and voice. Is that the result of an interesting life?

That is a very kind way of asking that question. It’s funny –I have lived in many different places-worn many different hats-and I am told that when I have had a few (too many) glasses of wine my American accent is very strong!! I guess I have many hats- I hope it’s a strength-I have always felt comfortable amongst kings or tramps or anything inbetween as long as there is good intent-who am I ?? perhaps my poetry is trying to find out

I love the straightforwardness of your poetry. There is no puffy language. Have you developed a lean style over time? Do you ponder and revise at length or does a poem just leap out trimmed and formed?

Mostly when I write-it just comes out –formed-sometimes I feel that I cant put that on the page as its too much ownership for the reader and I feel all responsible, I feel I have to apologise for dripping loss all over the place-and yet that is who I am. I so don’t want to bring anyone down but if someone reads my words and then does not feel so crazy or all alone then that’s great-and for me too. I guess that’s why I write I am shouting-hello-to anyone out there.

I have worked with people much more versed and academic than me and it lends me to working more to form-my only fear is losing passion………..

Had you read any of your poems aloud to an audience? Do you read them aloud to yourself and having undergone ordeal by audio do you feel it brings a fuller experience of poetry?

I LOVE hearing people reading their own work as I so know it adds a dimension that otherwise is lost. I do enjoy reading my own work-but there we go-naked again-and it takes much courage……

Candy has the honour of having the last word in Freeze Frame. She has a style which I believe many readers will recognise as being their own hearts and sentiments. In her first collection “Candy Colours” she employs the tag line “Poetry Especially For Women”.  It is undeniable that her work does have a distinct femininity in that it is expressed from the heart of a woman. To give you a taste of her work I have selected a poem from her book.

YOU

Art becoming life and back again
Delving for the entwinable essence
Once this precious treasure found
Holding tight for fear it loses breath

You should not take me to the edge
Unless you beckon me to fly
You would not show me such brilliance
Then return me to lonely shadow life

Once a life is saved needs must it will be shared
Shall I rest here then for those trusting days
And nights where promises are made
Breathe then, this heart is in your grasp

 

The next and final interviewee will be Oscar himself  –   he is being put through his paces by Jo VonBargen.  Can’t wait to see what nuggets she digs out…