Simon Collings

stories, poetry, reviews

Four new short prose pieces

Four of my short fiction pieces have just been published by Fortnightly Review. These are new work. I hope you enjoy them. I am currently putting together a collection of my prose poems/micro-fictions for publication as a book.


New prose poems

I have two short prose pieces just published on Stride, and a third one will appear there tomorrow.

£5m now raised by Energise Africa

The crowdfunding platform Energise Africa, which I helped set up last year has now raised more than £5m of working capital for businesses supplying off-grid solar energy products in Africa. Lisa Adams, the Managing Director, has just been on a UK trade mission to Africa, with the Prime Minister and other business leaders. You can see her in conversation with the CEO of one of the solar companies, Azuri, raising finance through Energise Africa here.

Also a new report on crowd investing in energy access which I was working on just before retiring is now available. The report called Crowd Power: Who is the Crowd? is published by Energy4Impact, with funding from UKaid. Lending to businesses like Azuri is the fastest growing area of crowd support.

You can invest as little as £50, and it’s a great way to help low income households in Africa gain access to basic electricity services.


Georges Limbour’s short fiction

I’m in the process of translating the French writer Georges Limbour, and I have just had a guest blog on his work published by The Untranslated – a site focused on literary works of merit, in various languages, which are currently not translated.  My piece provides an overview of Limbour’s short stories. The Untranslated is a great site, well worth visiting.

Georges Limbour translations

Fortnightly Review has today published translations I made of three short prose pieces by the French writer Georges Limbour. As far as I am aware no other English versions of these stories exist.

Limbour was one of the original members of the Surrealist group associated with André Breton in the 1920s. He later broke with Breton, as did others in the group. Limbour published a number of novels, novellas and short stories, works for the theatre, and poetry. He also wrote books on the painters André Masson and Jean Dubuffet who were among his close friends. Limbour died in 1970 in an accident.

The three tales I have translated are dated 1968, and are markedly less surreal than Limbour’s earlier work. His story L’Enfant Polaire (written 1921-22) is available in English from Atlas Books.

Portrait of Georges Limbour by Jean Dubuffet

Thinking and poetry

‘It should be the poets business to test, continuously, current assumptions, rather than assume them. I find being a poet something that must start again all the time; I’m always reinventing my practice, discovering what I believe is true and how to express it.’

Alice Notely, from her essay ‘Thinking and Poetry’

Coming from nowhere

I have just had a review essay published in Fortnightly Review about the documentary film New Town Utopia. The film is an examination of the gap between the ‘vision’ for Britain’s post-war New Towns and the reality as recounted by residents of Basildon in Essex. The flawed idealism of the original concept, the impact of the policies of the Thatcher governments, and the influence of wider economic and social trends, are all discussed by participants. I grew up on a council estate in Stevenage, another of the New Towns, so the film has lots of personal resonance for me. In the essay I review some of the ideas which helped shape the New Town experiment, and look at ‘plotlands’ as an alternative. There were self-built settlements created in the 1930s by working class people as weekend and holiday retreats. Two such settlements were demolished during the creation of Basildon New Town.

Shopping arcade lgePhoto: Christopher Lee Smith

Reviews of Carol Watts and Harry Gilonis

I have a review of Carol Watt’s latest work, When Blue Light Falls, published on Stride today. I like Watts’ work and this is as good as anything she’s done – definitely worth a look. A review of Harry Gilonis’ Rough Breathing: Selected Poems, published by Carcanet, will be up on Stride tomorrow. This is another book I can recommend. Gilonis will be reading at a launch event on 17 July in London, along with Simon Smith – details here. I hope to be there.

Poem published

I had a poem published yesterday on Ink, Sweat and Tears. ‘Azucar Negra’ mirrors another of my prose poems, ‘La Vida es un Carnival’, published a couple of years ago in Brittle Star.




I’ve just had a review published of Lissa Wolsak’s latest book – Lightsail. She’s an extraordinary poet – lyrical, elusive, hard to place. The new volume is a good place to start if you don’t know here writing. The title comes from the world of space travel and the use of the momentum of light to propel spacecraft. This  becomes a complex metaphor in the book –  you have to read the poem to understand how this works. There is  a video of Wolsak reading from the book on Vimeo here – the text is slightly different from the printed version. There is an intriguing ‘postlude’ in the video which is not included in the book.