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Incidentals, a Call-Out!

This will be our last call-out for this year, so please pay attention, as I won’t be repeating this. Well, its on a blog, so I won’t have to repeat it. Stop nitpicking and read the bloody submissions guidelines already!


These are a5 chapbooks featuring 20 pages (sides) of poetry. The covers are all blue – see the original Incidentals post on this blog – and have a frontispiece drawn by Jane Burn. If you would like to be considered for this series – as of today there 11, with a further 5 due before the end of June – then you must follow the submissions guidelines EXACTLY.

All submissions must come by post – we will accept no email subs. Your sub should be on a4 paper, Times New Roman 11.point & No Spacing. Each sub should have your name, short biog & email. There should be a sheet with the title/contents.

If chosen you will receive 5 contributor’s copies, and the chance to buy extra copies at a reduced rate. You will be expected to promote the chapbook with – preferably – a launch in Middlesbrough, or a similar event in your home town/locality. We can’t afford to pay you to come to Middlesbrough, but we will house and feed you for the night.


We’re looking for selections of prose from single authors, the genre isn’t important, just that you fill at least 8 pages (16 sides) of the 10 pages you’ll be given. The same rules as above apply as far as submitting them.

ADDRESS. The Black Light Engine Room, 12 Harrogate Crescent, Middlesbrough. TS5 6PS.

Submissions accepted from Saturday 1st of April till Friday 30th of June 2017.



We’re almost to March, and I’ve been assured that I’ll get another year’s funding for the Press in June. This will be the final lot of funding from Christian Seedbed, who have funded me for the last 2 years. So, I’n saying Thanks!

We’ve got a busy publishing schedule up until June, with Ann Cuthbert in the Inicdentals tonight, alongside Janet Philo and Steven Bruce in Dark Matter 8. Then, in no particular order, Neill Fulwood, Aidan Clark, Ann Graal, Charles Lauder jr, Neil Young and Jessamine O’ Connor.

Graham Clifford, who we published last month, is having a London Launch on Thurs, 2nd March at Willow Brook Primary School, Church Road, Leyton. E10 7BH. Its a free event, featuring myself, Harry Gallagher, as well as Graham & David FLoyd. It is a free event if anyone is interested, but is on very early – 17.30-19.30. And, I’ve been told, we’ll all be adjourning to a local hostelry for post-gig chats and the like.

Issue 15 of the mag is finally done, and I’m just waiting for this weekend and the London Trip to be over, before sending out copies to those poets unfortunate enough to be in it. Which brings me to my real reason for blogging –

I’m going to launch a Prose Journal to run alongside the main BLERoom poetry one. As yet I have no snazzy title, though TITLE is actually in the running, but we’ll see. If you’re interested in submitting to it, then please read below for details.


We’d prefer unpublished work, but if it has been featured in out-of-print  journals in the past. All work must, obviously, be your own. Illustrations for your work will be considered, but not necessarily accepted.

Any subject matter will be accepted, though its down to the quirky tastes of the Editor, Me, as to what goes in or not. I have specific tastes, but can also recognise when something is good but not to my taste. We’ll also consider articles on the arts/lit etc, but not – and I can’t stress this too strongly – verbose, phd-like writings will not be considered.

Your submissions can be short, flash-style fiction, to a couple of pages long.


Please send your work to The Black Light Engine Room, 12 Harrogate Crescent, Middlesbrough. TS5 6PH.

All submissions must be SINGLE-SPACED & have be wither stapled together, or have the title & numbers on it. Include your NAME/BIOG & an email address where I can contact you.

Submissions will be read from 1st March 2017 til 31st August 2017. Each person chosen will get a contributor’s copy. Ta.



December 22nd, and I thought I’d better write a blog while I’m still feeling positive.

On the whole 2016 has been a good year. For the Press it has meant a lot more coverage, due to the Incidental Poetry Series, which started with Robert Francis in October 2015, but really kicked off in January. Martin Malone. Harry Gallagher. Jane Burn. Pippa Little. p.a. morbid. Annette Volfing. A great bunch of poets, and – even if I do say so myself – a gorgeous imprint, aided massively by Jane Burn’s illustrations for them. 2017 will see the launch of Incidentals by Graham Clifford. Helen Anderson. Ann Cuthbert. Ann Graal. Neil Fulwood. Aiden Clark. Charles Lauder jnr. Neil Young. Jessamine O’Connor. And that’s only from January to June!

The Dark Matter chapbooks have played their part too, with 2016 seeing Judi Sutherland paired with Jim Burns, and Laura Lawson paired with Richard Skinner. February of 2017 will see Janet Philo paired with Steven Bruce. Two names to watch for 2017!

finally, the mag. Apologies to everyone who’s submitted stuff, been accepted, but hasn’t seen the mag yet. I’ve developed a very ambivalent attitude to the mag, which has prevented it from getting published, but am working to have it ready for early in the New Year.

I’m not gonna name everyone who cam to read with us in Middlesbrough, as there have been loads. Thanks to all of you, and I hope to see you – and some new faces – in the New Year.

Right, that’s enough positivity from me, I’m going to indulge in some nihilistic behaviour…

Flying solo…

Not  a post about poetry, or the nihilistic experience of running a mag…today is the private view of my 1st solo exhibition. Its upstairs in the Python Gallery, and while not being the main exhibition, I’m rather pleased with it.

I did my first painting in oils in October 1988, when I was living in Radlett (Herts) with Peter (curator of the Python) & have painted intermittently since then, usually destroying them because they weren’t right. Or in a drunken rage when I needed to vent some anger. Peter offered me the space last year, but I didn’t take him up on it til this year, and since then I’ve been painting regularly. Which is great for me, as my poetry has been very thin on the ground, mostly because I’ve been trying to finish a short story, which I’m in the process of re-writing. And my other life as a Local Historian takes up a fair bit of my time. I’m working on a couple of Middlesbrough related projects that will see fruition next year, as well as book of poetry/prose/history/art that deals with the town.

But painting. I’ve got 28 pieces in the exhibition, the majority from this year, and while they’re not what you could call homely, they are arresting and I’m looking forward to the private view, not least because TP Cafe’s sausage rolls are delicious, but to see how people react to them, good and bad, because a lot of people I know only know me as a poet, or a historian with a weird 2nd life as a poet. Though I think most of them are aware that I’m a somewhat troubled soul, which is evident in the work. I’m expecting a few people to ask why I can’t paint nice things, or even why can’t I paint, but hey ho.

I will blog about the draining experience of being a poetry publisher soon hahah – no, seriously, the Press is good, and while I’m still struggling with the latest mag, I am still in love with it all…


“i speak but You do not listen” (2010) and “Background Radiation” (2013)

The exhibition runs til the end of the year

incidentally, a Call-Out

Now, listen carefully, I will say this only once…

We’re asking for submissions, BUT, you have to follow the guidelines given or you won’t be considered

We launched the 1st of our Incidental Poetry series on Halloween 2015, with “transitions” by R.M. Francis. This was followed by “tongues of fire” Jane Burn, “prodigals” Martin Malone, “chasing the sunset” Harry Gallagher, “our lady of the iguanas” Pippa Little & “river songs” p.a. morbid.

IMG_0033If you feel like you would be suitable material for The Black Light Engine Room then please send your manuscript to the address below, BUT, remember these guidelines:

It must be on A4 sheets, using Times New Roman 11 point & No Spacing.

Each manuscript should have a separate piece of paper with your                        name/address/email & short biog, as well as                                                                                          a list of the poems & the name of the collection

The submissions window is from 1st May to 30th June & I will endeavour to let you know as soon as I can if your poems aren’t what we’re after.

If chosen you will be given 5 complimentary copies as payment, and be able to purchase more copies at a reduced price.

You will be expected to promote the chapbook with – preferably – a launch in Middlesbrough, or a similar event in your home town/locality. We can’t afford to pay you to come to Middlesbrough, but we will house and feed you.

If you’re interested then you can send a manuscript to: The Black Light Engine Room, 12 Harrogate Crescent, Middlesbrough. TS5 6PS.

If you want the poems returned then enclose an SAE



…Sunday, 14th Feb. 2016. It tried to snow this morning – tiny, white balls, like polystyrene. But there’s too much pavement visible for it to last, and even now its fading. This has nothing to do with what I’m posting about, but I’ve been involved in editing so much recently that I’ve almost forgot how to be a Poet!

I’d spent a good lump of the Xmas Hols involved in editing the next 3 chapbooks in our Incidental Series. Well, I’d also been editing the 2 after that & Dark Matter 6, but let’s not get ahead of ourselves, eh! These were, in order of release, “Chasing the Sunset” by Harry Gallagher, “Prodigals” by Martin Malone, and “Tongues of Fire” by Jane Burn. We’d launched the 1st in the series in October, but these new ones all had a frontispiece drawn by Jane, which, along with the nice cover flaps, gave them a rather lovely look. Martin, Jane & Harry all read at the Launch, which was very well attended, and it made all the hard work worth it.

I’d also been having another crisis about being a publisher over Xmas, partly brought on by not having the last of 2015’s mag out on time, and partly because I’d just gotten over a bad couple of weeks depression. I’m feeling much better, even if the whole publishing thing is depressing as fuck hahaha. I have spent a lot of time thinking/brooding on things and have come to a decision. In 2016 I’m only going to put out 2 mags – as well as the one from last year. This is so I can concentrate on putting out more chapbooks. I’ll still be doing the mag, because it is fun & it is important. But the chapbooks bring in more money, which is something I need to look at more closely if I’m to continue. But there’s also the idea that for a lot of people chapbooks aren’t important. Its incredibly hard to get them reviewed anywhere, never mind a Name Magazine. This pisses me right off, because it reveals a level of snobbery, even in those supposed Socialists among us. So many people publish their work in chapbooks, and while a nice produced book can be a wondrous thing, mostly they’re not. Not that chapbooks are all gorgeous – I think what’s missing in a lot of publications is a sense of aesthetics – how many ugly publications have you seen? The paper’s shit, the cover’s awful & all the poems are suffer from left-bias & stuck to the top of the page in tiny tiny print.

Then I found out that my pamphlet, Gorged On Light, had been reviewed here & on top of being a nice review, it brought to my attention the website, which deals exclusively with pamphlets/chapbooks.Which has given me a little added impetus to carry on. That and I’ve got Jim Burns, who featured in a previous blog, coming to read with us on the 27th of this month. Jim Burns!!

And another reason I’m only doing two magazines, and not taking a full month off running the live events, is that I need to get on with my own work! Last year I submitted one lot of poems! This year I’ve submitted twice, and one of those times was prose, which I’ve been writing a lot more of. I intend getting more stuff out there, as well as tidying up/finishing a number of short stories I’ve been working on.

The sun’s out and the cat has finally stopped banging against my leg, or tryign to walk across the keyboard, so I shall stop now…

Now comes the Winter…

…with a suitably ominous tag line, what could possibly go wrong?

I’ve not blogged in ages, despite having a few things to say as regards the Press. This has been mostly down to the fact that I hate blogging about the Press as it all seems so pointless, as I know hardly anyone reads it & I always bring this awareness with me when I sit down to do it. The other reason, and the reason I’m behind in everything, was a three week bout of depression, which I won’t go into, but was fucking shite! Throw in some very wild drink cravings & you have a recipe for total shiteness! I did write a little while I was under, and I am up from the depths now, so let’s press on.

Halloween we launched the first of our Incidental Poetry series of chapbooks, which was (to quote Robert Francis, the poet we were publishing) “Pant wettnigly exciting.” Which it was. Robert did a great set & we sold a few copies on the night.

Its an a5 chapbook (£7 inc p&p) & I got the idea for the flaps after reading a Smith/Doorstop book. Getting the design right was a bit of a bugger, but the Printer (Quoin, North St, M’bro) really came through – he had to bend the flaps by hand! And this being The Black Light Engine Room Press, all the subsequent chapbooks are going to have the same blue cover, BUT – and its a BIG but – they will all feature an excellent frontispiece by Jane Burn, who, as many of you may know (well I know for a fact that all 7 of my readers know) is a brilliant artist. She’s also a brilliant poet & one of the featured poets in the Incidental series.

Which brings me to 2016. January 30th to be exact. When we release the next 3 in the series. These will be, “Tongues of Fire” by Jane Burn. “Chasing The Sunset” by Harry Gallagher & “Prodigals” by Martin Malone. 3 great, but very different poets! Then in February we’re launching the next 2, as well as no.6 of the Dark Matter series! The February poets will be Pippa Little “Our Lady of the Iguanas” & the reissue (and re-worked) “River Songs” by p.a. morbid (me). This was originally put out by Ek Zuban in 2010, so I thought I’d cash-in on my current popularity as a Rising Star of Red Squirrel Press (I’m being ironic here) & foist my earlier chapbook onto the world. March I’m resting my shoulder, which will no doubt be in traction by then!

But why the sudden rush of activity? you cry! Well, the small amount of funding we’ve had this past year runs out at the end of March, so I’m putting the chapbooks out while I still have a little cash. I’ll still be running the live event, but will be restricting our published output to the magazine til I figure things out. I’m hopeful I’ll sort some more funding out, I’m just not sure when!

I’m also slipping the 14th  issue of the mag out at the end of December, and then I can say I stuck to my rule of putting out 3 a year. Merry Xmas!

p.s. If you’re interested in buying any mags or chapbooks, then we have paypal: