Gloucester Poetry Festival begins!

Pack away sandals, sun-honeyed

limbs; autumn’s

here, welcome as wisdom.

Our English summer left us abruptly this week and we’re tucking up warm away from rain and winds. Luckily we have the Gloucester Poetry Festival to look forward to all through October, link here. It’s online so you’re welcome wherever you live. Very many thanks to the Gloucestershire Poet Laureate Ziggy Dicks and Marcelle Newbold who are organising it all. Herding cats is easy compared with herding poets and my goodness, they are terrific at it.

On Saturday 23 October, from 2pm, I have the honour of reading along side Chaucer Cameron and JLM Morton. Please check them out, they are extraordinary poets with great stories to tell. I’m gathering a new collection together at the moment and will have some new poems for you too. Free registration is here.

There is an open mic in this event too! We’d love to hear your words so please register here soon to be sure of a place.

What a great month this is going to be. See you there soon!

Mary Evans Picture Library Poems and Pictures blog update

The Mary Evans Picture Library is a beautiful trove of images of all kinds, located in an exquisite Arts and Crafts building in Blackheath, south east London, close to where I lived for many years. So it’s a special pleasure for me to have my poetry published from time to time on their Poems and Pictures blog curated by Gill Stoker.

Gill has just updated the blog’s main page to include links to their gorgeous events, including a recording of the online reading from Devon in January this year where I read my Oyster Seventeens. The site now allows you to search by poet too. What a list it is and all free!

Happy browsing.

Her Other Language (Arlen House, 2020) at Vigo University last May

Last year Arlen House published a mighty anthology called Her Other Language with the subtitle ‘Northern Irish Women Writers Address Domestic Violence and Abuse‘. Needless to say, domestic violence and control have been on the rise throughout this pandemic, and in May this year, its editors Ruth Carr and Natasha Cuddington, along with academic and fellow Lapwing poet Lorna Shaughnessy, addressed a conference at the University of Vigo in Spain. With the permission of everyone mentioned in them, you can find their three interventions here.

I am deeply proud to be included in the anthology. Ruth Carr asked me to record a short reading in advance of the Vigo event. The first intervention around the subject of this book was by Lorna Shaughnessy and includes my reading at the end. Other readers appear in the other interventions and I’m so pleased to see not only the poets but Ruth and Natasha having their work honoured in this way.

Gloucester Poetry Festival online throughout October 2021

The Gloucester Poetry Festival is going to be outstanding this year – what a line-up! – and you are welcome to be there, wherever you live as it’s all online.

I’m thrilled to have been invited to join Chaucer Cameron and J.L.M. Morton to read on Monday 25 October at 14.00. You can book here – it’s free but you will need a ticket. There will be an open mic as well as us poets having half an hour each.

Usually I write short poems and half an hour felt a bit daunting at first, but I’ve been productive during our lockdowns. I’m working towards a new collection of poems in all sorts of styles and lengths and am busy gathering together what could work best for Gloucester. My themes will be family and mental health, and the beauties of living close to the sea. A few laughs, a few tears. I look forward to seeing you there.

Wolves in the forthcoming Fevers of the Mind anthology

David L O’Nan has been in touch to say that my poem Blood Stains on the Stones has been selected for his forthcoming print anthology for Fevers of the Mind. I had been shy of sending this poem out for some time – it’s rather personal even for me – but Fevers of the Mind welcomed it in May and you can read it here. Now it is to have its place in print as well as online and I’m deeply honoured.

The poem describes PTSD layers as wolves. Thank you to Lebanese-American poet Gibran Khalil Gibran for the title; how can we tell when wolves have visited? By the blood stains on the stones.

Fevers of the Mind Quick-9 interview

Would you like to peer behind the curtain of a writer’s life? David L O’Nan is conducting a series of interviews on his wonderful Fevers of the Mind blog and I’m honoured to show you my interview here. The Fevers blog is home to honest writing in all kinds of forms, saying the unsayable in new, beautiful ways, and is always a fascinating read.

It’s so easy to think we’re just howling at the moon when we write. Many thanks to David for giving so many of us this showcase and for his tireless work for poetry, art and other writing. Thank you very much for interviewing me, David. It’s been a pleasure.

American Writers Review 2021: Turmoil and Recovery – now available online

In May I mentioned that American Writers Review has accepted my story Laughing and Grief. The ‘thing of beauty’ mentioned in the post being the unexpected sight of an acceptance first thing in the morning.

This year the Review has a theme for the first time: Turmoil and Recovery. Well, the proofs have been checked, the beautiful cover designed, and the book is now available on Amazon here. I can’t wait to read the other selections. Happy reading!