Some of you might not know that I’m part of a lovely Nottingham collective called DIY Poets. We’ve been making a free poetry zine for well over ten years now. It’s been suggested that it’s the longest running free zine in the UK, but we’d love to find a longer running one!
Anyway, as people have quite rightly gone off grabbing things from the flyers bit of bars and cafes, we’ve made issue 49 online only.
This is a picture from my first ever poetry open mic, back in May 2013.
If you’d have told this bloke, who was awkwardly avoiding eye contact with the audience and deliberately holding a large folder of poems to stop his hands shaking, about all the poetry things he’d achieve in the next seven and a bit years, then he’d have probably run away and hidden in the corner.
I’ve been very lucky to be part of a great Nottingham poetry scene and to meet kind poets from all over the country who have taken the time to give me a platform and gently nurture my writing and confidence, bit by bit. There’s still so much to learn and improve and provide, so long may it continue.
Wherever you are on your poetry journey, or if it hasn’t started yet, then good luck, go for it, yes you are good enough and enjoy what you never thought you’d achieve.
It’s been a long road to get to this point, since I sat down one afternoon in early 2018 and started looking through my poems, to figure out what would make a good collection. But here it is, polished, redesigned, edited, looking fabulous and with Fly on the Wall’s logo on the back, an award nominated, socially conscious press, the perfect fit for my poems and a better publisher than I could have hoped for!
If you wanted to buy a copy then just click on the link above and thank you, I hope you enjoy reading it as much as I’ve enjoyed writing it 🙂
Also, check out what several fantastic poets have already said about it:
“Martin makes the ordinary extraordinary, turns the mole hill into the mountain.”
Sophie Sparham, Performance Poet
“The Prettyboys of Gangster Town is an open-hearted, compassionate debut collection from Martin Grey. These poems are wistful, warm and highly emotionally-engaging, articulating the joys and pitfalls of modern life from a number of different perspectives, while always remaining true to Grey’s distinctive poetic style. There are some real gut-punches in this collection too – all life is laid bare with a beautiful eye for the details – but at its heart, this is a book all about empathy.”
Leanne Moden, Poet and Performance
“If there is one central force which pulses through the words of Martin’s work, it is love. In spite of life’s let downs and losses, love is discovered and cherished on a rite of passage from a grubby nightclub and teenage dreams to handling the daily bewilderments of attempting this thing called adulthood. Get ready for love as big as any astronaut’s favourite planet. There is enough love between these pages to start a revolution. These stanzas brim with love for the melody of lyrical language, subtle internal rhyme and imaginative wordplay. This book also enthusiastically explores boy-meets-girl love, without saccharine or cliché, but with genuine openness at the awkwardness and potential highs of trying to navigate an optimistic heart. On top of all of this, you will be subjected to some very important questions, such as ‘does anyone like their knee caps’ and ‘is it OK to dunk a custard cream?’ (The answer to the latter is ‘No’). A relatable, hope-raising read for both the realist and romantic.”
Dominic Berry, winner of Saboteur 2020 Best Spoken Word Artist