I’m reading this a few days after her funeral. The service was all in Italian but there was an English translation which made it easier to follow. On Saturday 11 March Greg Freeman phoned me to say that Carla had suddenly died. Five minutes later I left the house to attend the poetry prizegiving at the Farnham Literary Festival. There was an open mic after the awards and I wanted to read a poem for Carla. This was the only poem I had on me and it seemed right somehow reminding us to be alive and reminding us that Carla was also alive. I also read the poem at Winchester Muse where David Cooke, editor of The High Window, wanted to use it in the magazine, where it appeared a few days later, because Carla had written reviews there, was published under their imprint and was their Artist in Residence.

Interview at with Heather Moulson at her site

The wonderful and engimatic poet, Rodney Wood is joining us today.

Applause – Crowd go mad – security is called (again)

Rodney elegantly descends the lighted stairs

Now, settle down, Poetry Lovers! Let’s let our guest take his seat

Cool hat, Rodney! I think this is the hat – is it not? It certainly has a story to tell!

Every hat tells a story, Heather. I particularly like this one as it goes with my tie dye vest

Oh Rodney, you are so cool ! Tie dye is the way to go! How long did you stand at that sink to get such a strong shade of pink? Isn’t he the most, everybody?!


Now calm down, Poetry Lovers, because I’m chomping at the bit to ask Rodney his first question – How did poetry become a part of your life?

In my very late 20’s, I spent a week with the poet lorryeate of Milton Keynes, Bill Billing, at Open University Summer School. He introduced me to poetry (and much else) and encouraged me to “just write”.

I was able to thank him a few years later by putting him on the stage with his hero, Ivor Cutler, in Aldershot and by buying him some SAS wings. From that stage I continued to write bad poems.

Fabulous, Rodney! How I’d love to interview those guys too! You’ve certainly come a long way, and so modest!

Now which poets influenced you the most?

Elizabeth Bishop, Raymond Carver, Ken Smith and Matthew Sweeney. I fell in love with them and read everything they’d ever written. When I had the chance to meet Ken and Matthew (who was writer in residence at nearby Farnham. He invited me to a reading once but didn’t tell me the audience would be made up of sixth form schoolgirls) they were both so kind and generous that I just wanted to become part of that world.

I had much to learn so paid weekly visits to the Poetry Library, went on Arvon courses, was one of the founder members of the OU Poets and put on about a dozen poetry readings.

Rodney! That is so impressive! An inspiring example of what we do for our passion and art.

spontaneous applause

And what a CV! Tell us about your pamphlet Dante called you Beatrice, published by Red Ceiling Press. How did you come to write it?

I’d read so many books with dedications to a significant other and I thought well why not write all the love poems to and for that person. Found the title by the way from a book by Paul Potts, not the opera singing one.

Geoffrey Pimlott told me how he’d been a landscape watercolourist but when he saw how computers could generate the same result, he had to do something different. I invented a new form that was short, based on repetition and mucked around with the structure.

The last thing to fall in place was the cover. I’d seen the Cuban artist’s work while I was on holiday and emailed him (Raul Cordero) to say how much I enjoyed his exhibition. A few years later, I emailed him again and asked if I could use one specific painting. He replied that I could use any one of his paintings I wanted. That generosity again.

Todd Swift, of Eyewear Publishing, called it a lovely little book and gave me much needed confidence. “When did you start getting good” he said.

Love it, Rodney! What a story! And that was praise indeed!

Now, can you elaborate on starting Write Out Loud Woking with the wonderful Greg Freeman?

For various reasons (one of them to do with my leather hat), Greg and I wanted an open-mic in Woking where people could just read their poems in a relaxed, non-competitive environment. We also both had a passion for poetry and liked each other’s poems. After perhaps too much prompting from me, Greg found a venue at Send (bit out the way) and later The Lightbox in the centre of Woking, where a few great writers from London also came to enjoy the vibe, Matthew, Tom and Heather.

We’re zooming across the universe now. We enjoy the events so much and at every reading are struck by the varieties and types of poems on offer. In fact, no poem is better than any other.

I was, and still am, the Stanza rep for Woking at this time and it was a good fit as I believe that reading out loud is the final stage of editing a poem.

Well, I’m blushing here, Rodney, I tell you. I treasure those nights at Woking. Loved Send too. Magical nights at both.

So, what was your best poetry gig, and what was your worst?

The worst was at the Poetry Cafe in London. I was really giving the poems some welly and then looked at the organizer who was busy writing and chatting to a neighbour. Why bother? I thought.

The best reading was at the LRB Bookshop where there was an attentive audience and I was trying to see what my poems looked like when signed. I’m half deaf as well. A magical experience like laughing along with Ivor Cutler.

Tsk! That’s happened to me too. It’s a really deflating experience.

I would love to have known Ivor Cutler. He sounded a great talent.

Rodney, thank you so much for sharing such unique, enthralling and inspiring stories. Hasn’t he been wonderful, Poetry Lovers?!

standing ovation, security look nervous

Now Rodney, you’ve got to come up the Talk of the Town tonight. Lovelace Watkins and Peter Gordeno are having a frilled shirt contest. You’ve gotta be there! Greg’s going!

They never let me in, Heather. I think it’s my hats!

Well! If your hats aren’t good enough for them………I’m just going up Send with Cliff and The Shadows then! Greg can tell me who won. Coming, Rodney?

The Shads and I drank Send dry last night, Heather.

Tonight it’s feet up, watching Z Cars.

What?? I bloody love Z Cars! That’s it! They’re getting the old heave-ho!

Thank you so much for coming in, Rodney, and allowing me to interview you.

Huge huge applause as Rodney is smuggled out the building

Wasn’t that great, everybody?! Tune in, same time, same channel for more poetry antics. Bye bye


The cover had to be updated to include the logo for “The Woodenpress” and the price the book would retail at. I could also take the opportunity to fiddle round with the formatting after I’d looked at other pamphlet publications. I thought this would be a long tedious process using some Adobe software I would have to pay for and spend ages learning. How wrong I was. KDP allows me to download my own cover and helpfully provides a template. I downloaded this onto an online site,, where I was able to download photos, add text and save as a PDF. It took an hour and the new cover is ready to print. KDP automatically inserts to barcode for you.


When listening isn’t enough: Rodney Wood, Independent Publishing Network

by Carla Scarano D’Antonio

Friday 23rd April 2021 8:50 am

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Rodney Wood’s second pamphlet is an original and powerful sequence of 21 poems about a challenging time the author experienced, his own difficulties interweaving with stories told by ‘Steve’, whom he meets at a railway station after work.

Wood’s poems have a performative style that fits well with his role as co-compere of Write Out Loud Woking open mic and as leader of Woking Stanza group, where he runs workshops. His poems are characterised by keen observations expressed in striking fresh images that convey an unexpected view; revelations of sorts that always surprise the reader.

     the train turns down an unknown track / become clouds / forks of lightening


     tears leaving my eyes like falling fruit / I was alive but nothing made sense

                                                                                              (‘Seeing himself’)

     outstretched arms heavy with tears / the white fluid of compressed vertebrae

                                                                                        (‘Good enough to bury’)

Such epiphanies interweave in the conversation with a stranger who becomes his alter ego, a companion in an infernal journey. The innovative use of language recalls the situation the protagonist was experiencing at the time, and the problems of ‘Steve’ – his addictions, sense of failure, and depression:

     under the obvious & meaningless sun / the cage & weeds / of London Road

     my wounds have yet to heal / under the obvious & meaningless sun

     my wounds have yet to heal / the cage & weeds / of London Road

                                                            (‘Cherry Methanol & Liquorice’)

     I’ve known pain without end / I don’t want an immortal soul / I wanna die

     I’ve never been human / I’ve known pain without end

     I’ve never been human / I don’t want an immortal soul / I wanna die


In this atmosphere of dejection and emptiness, “in a world of appearances”, Dante’s Inferno is evoked in the figures of the damned, who are “buried to the neck”; they are the damned souls in the Caina, the traitors to relatives whose punishment is to be buried in different positions in the iced lake of Cocytus. The literary reference is probably not related to the sin but rather to the condition of being damned forever and to the harshness of the punishment. In contrast to Dante’s Divine Comedy, in Wood’s sequence there is no positive progression, reconciliation or redemption. The poems trace a cycle in which the end reiterates the beginning:

     the weight of London Road / at the end of the platform / with a leather hat

     Steve’s walking in circles / the weight of London Road

     Steve’s walking in circles / at the end of the platform / with a leather hat

                                                                           (‘Watching from the Bridge’)

Physical decay affects the final poems in a world that is indifferent to the protagonist’s terrible situation. Listening isn’t enough; we cannot turn our head away – we need to be involved, empathise and find solutions in order to save people’s lives.

Wood says that ‘selling the book is not my priority’ and that he is giving the book away to people he admires and to friends or is swapping it for a different book. The profits from any sales will be donated to national charities such as the Samaritans that work to help people in difficult situations. This is a compelling sequence that contributes to the awareness of the human condition by raising a flag for the unlucky ones and revealing how far we can go when desperation hits.

Rodney Wood, When listening isn’t enoughIndependent Publishing Network, £5

Background: ‘Self-publication is a perfectly respectable way to get yourself into print’


Getting the book printed didn’t take very long and in fact took me by surprise. It’s on Amazon now. but the book entitled “Action Steps for Expository Preachers” was written by another Rodney Wood. Selling the book isn’t my top priority. It was always my intention to give the book away to people I admire, friends or engage in “swapsies”. So I haven’t got a Facebook author page, use Twitter, Instagram or worried about Bookbub, the cream of the crop apparently when it comes to promoting and marketing your book. I do however like the idea of creating a Youtube channel where you can hear the poem and see me wearing that leather hat. I already seen to have started a blog but haven’t set up a link to my Amazon page and really tried to push it. When I get the books I’ll send some off to reviewers, although my first book was received 5 positive reviews that resulted in no extra sales. Two copies will of course be sent to the Poetry (and they’ll probably pay you). The point is I’m very relaxed about the whole affair. So far this has resulted in an article in Write Out Loud. I’ve also had the idea of donating any profits to a national charity but more about that in another post. However, I’m still waiting for copies of my book to arrive and then I have to buy envelopes, and stamps. To end here’s the second poem in the book:


I was bruised with bamboo canes / knew nothing much for sure

slept on boards / wore chains / I was bruised with bamboo canes

slept on boards / wore chains / knew nothing much for sure

I started cruising until / another day / another demon came along

escaped from the closet / I started cruising until

escaped from the closet / another day / another demon came along

I waited in the park for business / I couldn’t forgot that childhood

joined with a pimp / I waited in the park for business

joined with a pimp / I couldn’t forgot that childhood

I’ve known pain without end / I don’t want an immortal soul / I wanna die

I’ve never been human / I’ve known pain without end

I’ve never been human / I don’t want an immortal soul / I wanna die


Here’s the first poem from my pamphlet. Like Coleridge’s wedding guest it starts off with someone urgently talking to you.


under the obvious & meaningless sun / the cage & weeds / of London Road

my wounds have yet to heal / under the obvious & meaningless sun

my wounds have yet to heal / the cage & weeds / of London Road

& I want to talk / about everything & life isn’t the vision I had

the man comes after work / with a smoke & I want to talk

the man comes after work / with a smoke & life isn’t the vision I had

I talk / about how I’m ruined / mad & alone wearing a leather hat

how I’m afraid / a puzzle / always failing / I talk / about how I’m ruined

how I’m afraid / a puzzle / always failing / mad & alone wearing a leather hat

& the man watches as I fade / as my hat appears further & further away

the train hurtling with its ironies / & the man watches as I fade

the train hurtling with its ironies / as my hat appears further & further away


‘Self-publication? It’s a perfectly respectable way to get your book into print’

by Rodney Wood

Friday 12th March 2021 7:13 pm

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Rodney Wood is a long-time poet and co-compere of Write Out Loud Woking. He recently decided to investigate how difficult or easy it is to self-publish your own pamphlet. Here’s how he got on:

“After you’ve been writing a while and sending poems off to magazines you obviously think of the next step, a pamphlet. You try competitions and sending to publishers who may or may not respond. It’s a lot of work, not only finding the right 20 or so poems but also writing about your poetry ‘experience’. For whatever reason, no one was going to take my poems.

What’s my pamphlet about? When working in Guildford I used to meet ‘Steve’; I never found out his real name. We fell into a routine of smoking and ‘Steve’ would tell me stories about his life. It ended when he committed suicide. All the poems share the same looping pattern.

Visiting printers at the moment is out of the question, so if you want to be involved in the process that means print on demand. The advantages? There are no upfront costs, it’s simple, quick and relatively cheap. Self-publishing has been around for years (Virginia Woolf did it, as did Mark Twain and James Joyce. William Blake did nothing else). It’s a perfectly respectable way to get a book into print.

The process is quite simple and you can redo, if necessary, any one of the stages.  The first step is to have the poems ready in Word format (DOCX). Go through them and get friends to go through them to check for typos. At the front of the document I manually added the contents list together with the page numbers on each page. I saved the file in Word format but it could just as easily have been in DOC, HTML or RTF.  In order to get an idea of the overall process read, or print out, the Amazon KDP: Complete Guide to Kindle Direct Publishing (Step-by-Step). I was only interested in a print version – I don’t like the look of poems on a Kindle. I did a mock-up at this point of how I wanted the book to look including the cover, back cover, copyright page and dedication.

The most difficult thing was coming up with the name of the publisher. Ace Press, Aldershot City Press, Applewood Press, Arcadia Publishing, Pond Books, Autumn House Press, Bruyno Press, Beacon Publishing, Bonnier Little Press, Book Publishing Of Farnborough, Bright Skies Press, Little Wood Press? I could have spent weeks trying to think of names. Instead I joined the Independent Publishing Network to solve this little problem, using their name as my publisher. It also gave me an ISBN number, but Amazon can give you this for free anyway.

For the font there was a straight choice between something unfussy and easily readable, Arial or Times New Roman, or else the more interesting looking Garamond, Didot or Perputa. I chose Arial in the end. A size of 8 or 9 point worked fine.

Most pamphlets I have are the same size trim size of (5”x8”). It’s a good idea to change the page size of your Word document to fit this size, and don’t forget to change the margins.

KDP has a Cover Creator tool which proved sufficient. I had already chosen a photo for the cover and I was given a number of different templates for the style and layout.

At this point I could preview and go back to make necessary changes. When I was finally happy I pressed Save and Publish and 12 hours later my book, When Listening Isn’t Enough, was listed on Amazon. I ordered a proof copy to check what it looked like: £1.70 printing costs plus £2.84 postage. The cost of 50 copies of the 24-page pamphlet, including the proof copy, was £95.25. So now I must order 50 copies for myself to swap or sell. And then comes the marketing stage …

Email Rodney at if you have any queries

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The proof copy arrived today. The photo for the cover worked well, a few headings need adjusting and the page numbers in the contents page are a bit ragged (corrected by using tabs rather than spaces. So loaded the amended WORD document and published it. My page shows “Your recent changes are currently under review. Titles are typically reviewed and published within 72 hours. Review times vary and may take longer if publishing rights need to be verified. Meanwhile, the previous version of your title is live on Amazon and is available for purchase.” When I get the email saying this has been done I’ll order 50 copies.



Apparently during the pandemic Amazon has decided to cut down production of paperback books. Which explains why I won’t be getting the proof copy until Tuesday, a week after ordering it. Meanwhile I’ve been going it and making a few changes. The book is available on Amazon now. That last sentence should really be in bold and sound more exciting.

Although the events happened in 2004/05 I didn’t actually start writing it until 2013. I was dissatisfied with my writing and started thinking about inventing my own form. I thought about what I liked. Repetition “in word and phrase and in idea is the very essence of poetry,” Theodore Roethke. The structure of the haiku. Blues lyrics from Leadbelly to Muddy Waters. German grammar where all the verbs go at the end of the phrase. Michael Hamburger’s “The Truth of Poetry”. John Ashbery and repetition. Add some play and viola a form I was happy with. A poem consisting of 4 (don’t ask me why) 3 line stanzas. I thought of those poems I’d written at the time and recast them in the new form. They turned into about a dozen poems called “The Night Cafe” which I submitted to a Pighog Competition where it was shortlisted. It lacked depth. I put it aside for a few years and started adding and taking away poems till they seemed to tell a story. From first meeting, I never got to know his name, through to him telling me about his life, and me witnessing his suicide. It was much more real, more true now. The title, When Listening Isn’t Enough, came very, very late in the process. I’ve had something to do with the Samaritans for a number of years and remember their attempts to stop suicides on the railways. One of the recommendations if you see someone “at risk” was to engage them in small talk. Perhaps if I’d done that with “Steve” it would have turned out differently but I had my own problems back then, mainly to do with work.


The first step was to login to

Where a page like this should face you, without my book details obviously. My aim was to publish say 50 paperback copies. Click on Create a new title +paperback. Then you are taken through a number of options and fields for you to enter: language, book title, your name, description, keywords, and category. The next step is to upload the files containing the poems. It doesn’t like .kdp files only DOC, DOCX, HTML or RTF. Luckily the project folder keeps a DOCX file. It was at this stage I added back page numbers to that file.

Launch cover creator to select your cover photo from the hard drive and look at the available templates, with different positioning of the photo,title etc. It is also at this point you can add material to the back cover – biography, description and your photo. Amazon automatically adds the bar code. It would have been nice to add the price here as well but I couldn’t work out how. Then click the Launch Previewer button. This takes a good few minutes. The resulting panel told me I had a problem. The book I wanted was 5×8 but my DOCX files had a page size of A4; luckily kdp can resize the file for you but if could change some formatting. It is at the point you can see if things aren’t quite right you can you back and put them right in the DOCX file and reload. You don’t have to redo the cover. When you’re satisfied click the Save and Continue button.

The next stage was getting together rights, pricing and financial information which proved a bit of a pain. The result was I have worldwide rights on a books costing £5, similar to most pamphlets, with printing costs of £1.70 and royalty of £1.30; Amazon I assume gets the other £2, I could be wrong though. I was happy with everything so clicked the Save and Publish button. My bookshelf, see above, showed my book’s cover and said that’s it’s status was now In Review. It will take about 72 hours for my book to be ready for me to order proof copies. I’ll let you know what it looks like in the next post.