Sarah James

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Reflections/poem biography for All the Flowers

In the pink

“As we lick the last meringue sweetness
from our spoons, metal shines

brighter than white bones picked clean.”

The main setting for ‘All the Flowers’ is my parents’ tithe barn in the Forest of Dean countryside near Monmouth. With the help of builders and craftsmen, my father converted the disused family barn into a beautiful home. It took years of work, as did the sculpted gardens. Keeping these in this gorgeous state is not a job I envy, though I’m more than happy to enjoy walking in them and admiring the views! The sequence was sparked by admiring all their flowers and then thinking of the potential symbolic significance of flowers at various stages in my life.

My Nanna died when I was a young teenager. Neither she nor my maternal Grandad were alive to see me marry. Taking my bridal bouquet to lay on her tombstone felt very important. The sudden declaration by my father – one day, out of nowhere, during Sunday lunch – that he simply wanted to be buried on the farmland, partly explains why that I’ve only been back once to my Nanna’s grave. Death is a part of life, particularly in a farming family. It is inevitable and other life does go on.

In the back of my mind too, the lyrics to Pete Seeger’s post-war (1955) song that asks, “Where have all the flowers gone, long time passing?” Fearing death and loss too much can paralyse. But feeling that fear just enough also helps to remind me of how precious life and time are.

Electric Questions - lit version smallerDiscussion Point

How does the title ‘All the Flowers’ pull the various temporally disparate parts of this sequence together?

Inspiration/Writing Prompt

Choose a song that evokes a strong emotional response for you. Why does it have this effect, and where does it take your thoughts? Use this as the basis for a new poem or story.

plentyfish cover (1)At poetry readings, I often enjoy hearing about the background to a particular poem. ‘Wednesday Reflections/Sometimes I smile’ is my attempt to share the inspiration, frustrations, pain, philosophies and thoughts that lie behind my poetry collection ‘plenty-fish’. Each Wednesday, this blog will contain one of these ‘poem biographies’, as well as points for potential reader discussion and also writers’ prompts. My collection ‘plenty-fish’ may be bought from Nine Arches Press, here, or my website, here. More Wednesday Reflections on other poems in the collection can also be found here.

Reflections/poem biography for Nomadic

P1040850-002
“Dad’s breath shrinks and expands
the room behind me.”

It feels almost tautology to say that my dad has had a great influence on my life. We haven’t always seen eye to eye – what family doesn’t have its discordances? – but his opinion has always been important to me.

At the time of writing this poem (and still now), my parents live on the Gloucestershire-Wales border. This house wasn’t where I was brought up, but is a converted barn on family farmland. It carries the weight of generations. Every visit to see my parents is not just in some way like returning to my childhood, but like returning to my father’s childhood and the family history before that.

When I am there, various childhood ‘me’s seem to rub awkwardly against the adult ‘me’. Working out how I fit into my family, and the wider world, is a constant state of wondering. And also, wandering, though I’m not sure if the process of firming up identity is helped or made harder by having lived in three different places when I was a child, then two university towns and abroad as a student, and Burton, Lichfield, Bromsgrove and Droitwich after that.

Although brought up in the countryside near Monmouth, my dad went to college in London. Meanwhile, my mum is a Londoner who went to University of Wales, Cardiff. Maybe moving around is in the genes, maybe it’s just part of being human. I guess in some sense, we are all nomads when it comes to life, resting here and there as we’re passing through.

When I feel down, depressed or unsure of myself – in terms of poetry or life more generally – returning to words on paper, the art of creation and the crafting of that creation often helps. But sometimes there are no words, particularly in a numbing period of depression. Then, I have to listen to the silence instead and remind myself that there is always some sound. Also, that the words do come back eventually. Patience and waiting are games I’ve had to live with.

Electric Questions - lit version smallerDiscussion Points

1) Does this poem actually answer the narrator’s need to work out their “sense of my place in this”? If so, how? If not, why not?

2) Although there isn’t a single question in this poem, arguably it revolves around a sense of questioning, or unvoiced questions. What different effects might be created by the different techniques of direct questions, rhetorical questions, questionless answers (statements which imply an unvoiced question that they are responding to) and withheld background details (that evoke questions in the reader’s mind which may or may not be in the narrator’s mind)?

Inspiration/Writing Prompt

Take a place you know well and that is important to you, or important to someone who is important to you. What signs (visible or in memory) of your/their presence does the place have? How different would the place feel without these? Will any of this be obvious to future generations? Use this as the starting point for a poem or story.

plentyfish cover (1)At poetry readings, I often enjoy hearing about the background to a particular poem. ‘Wednesday Reflections/Sometimes I smile’ is my attempt to share the inspiration, frustrations, pain, philosophies and thoughts that lie behind my poetry collection ‘plenty-fish’. Each Wednesday, this blog will contain one of these ‘poem biographies’, as well as points for potential reader discussion and also writers’ prompts. My collection ‘plenty-fish’ may be bought from Nine Arches Press, here, or my website, here. More Wednesday Reflections on other poems in the collection can also be found here.

I’m very very delighted to share news that V. Press has been shortlisted for the Michael Marks Publishers’ Award.

It’s a real honour to see V. Press shortlisted and I’m very very proud of all the authors and books that we’ve published. More about the award can be found here and my V. Press blogpost on the news (with pamphlet offers) here.

The shortlisting ties in serendipitously with another exciting editing project that I’ve been involved with recently. Last month I agreed to take part in #edittheeditor with dna magazine.

The magazine publishes creative non-fiction on a theme specific to each issue. (I had a piece in issue 2 on the theme of identity.) For #edittheditor, editor-in-chief Katie Marsden asked me and another dna magazine contributor, Rob Walton, to consider an anonymous piece written by one of the journal editors on the theme for the forthcoming issue – locations. Our task was to decide whether we would accept it for the magazine, or reject it, with readers also voting whether to accept or reject. The piece can be found on the dna magazine blog, with #edittheeditor thoughts and decisions coming soon.

In the case of dna magazine, acceptance or rejection isn’t just about the quality of the writing, or even how it fits alongside other pieces, it’s also about the best pieces that respond to a particular theme.

For #edittheeditor, we were only considering one piece in isolation, which made the workload and task much easier. I loved the unusual slant of the family car as a location in ‘A Pickled Dinosaur’ – one that moves, and even changes make over the years in this piece, but still remains the generic family car. It’s the place where much of the action takes place and the place that these particular memories are linked to. But would you take a narrower stance on the theme? Head over to the site and comment/cast your vote now!

Taking part in the #edittheditor has been interesting. I used to be co-poetry editor, with Jenny Hope, of the Worcestershire Literary Festival magazine, and the project also made me think briefly again about some of the similarities and differences in editing a journal and solo pamphlets or collections.

With both types of publication, all the selected pieces have to work together – it’s not just about the quality of each piece individually. So, selection isn’t simply the best pieces, it’s the best pieces that work together to create the best overall magazine, pamphlet or book.

Themes can be great for both journals and solo collections in creating a common thread and flow. At the same time, they also mean each piece has to be different and striking enough compared to others on a similar theme to warrant a place in the journal or book. (This can easily become restrictive rather than a unifying element if trying to theme a solo pamphlet too tightly.)

It’s maybe also worth me mentioning an extra selection factor that comes into play for me at V. Press. This is the fact that the work we take on not only needs to gel as a whole pamphlet or book but also needs to gel with other V. Press titles. When I say gel, it has to fit with the range already published, but without encroaching too closely on styles or contents already published by V. Press, particularly recently. In some cases, it may also have to work to help set out the breadth of V. Press’s titles. This is particularly true for the first few titles in any genre new to V. Press, where we may want to establish the full range of subject matter and styles that we’re open to. Quality of work is important. But timing and the press’s range as a whole do also come into my decisions about which manuscripts we take on at any particular point in time.

While I’m on the subject of submissions, this week I was interviewed, as V. Press managing director and editor, for Six Questions For…. My short interview with Jim Harrington about the press and editing can be enjoyed here.)

MY NEWS:

PRIZES

Second and third prize, with my poems ‘The Angel of the North-West’ and ‘The Lamppost’, in the Wordpool Festival poetry competition 2017 on the theme of Illuminations.

Highly commended in the Birmingham Mail, Birmingham Literature Festival and Virgin Trains flash fiction competition, with my flash ‘Taking the 14.03 to Edinburgh’.

PUBLICATIONS

‘Chicken for Dinner’ (poem) in the Algebra of Owls Selected Anthology Number 5 in November 2017.

‘Dear Clent’ (poem) published on Atrium Poetry 3 November, 2017.

‘Correcting a Stutter’ (poem) published in Eye Flash Poetry Journal in October.

‘How to be a Chinese Lantern’ (poem) published in Popshot Magazine, issue 18, the light issue, in October.

‘Out of the Box’ (flash fiction) published in Flash: The International Short-Short Story Magazine, journal of the International Flash Fiction Association (IFFA), Vol 9, No. 2, Oct 2016.

I’m also very pleased to have a poem, ‘A Catching Smile’, in the Nottingham Peacebuilders anthology SMALL ACTS OF KINDNESS, which is launched later this month. LINK (Details of this in the flier below.)

Recent acceptances include a flash ‘No False Pretences’ for Fictive Dream and another ‘Extracting the Best Bits’ for Ellipsis Zine.

EVENTS

I also really enjoyed reading with Ruth Stacey and Katy Wareham Morris in our An Unconventional History of Maidenhood, Mothering and Mistresses at Birmingham Waterstones in October.

The launch of Against The Grain Press, who are publishing my pamphlet How to Grow Matches in the spring, was also a fabulous evening. I met my editors Abegail Morley, Karen Dennison and Jessica Mookherjee in person for the first time, which was lovely. It was also wonderful to hear my 2018 stablemates read and get my copy of Anna Kisby’s fabulous All The Naked Daughters.

Small Acts launch

Reflections/poem biography for Wanting

hand - sea thrift smaller
“It’s his hands, always his hands.

How fingertips skip from the keyboard
to play arpeggios along my arm.”

And the man in this poem is           . [Insert fantasy name and physique of your choice. Okay, so I’m only kidding with the names, though reality tv, soft porn and tabloid spilling the beans do seem to have become a solid part of popular culture.]

Originally, this poem was part of a pamphlet-length collection of poems ‘When Sunlight (Swims In)’ exploring a modern relationship, marriage and parenthood. A selection of poems from this were longlisted in the Venture Award 2012/2013, but many didn’t survive the distance to make it into a full collection.
‘Wanting’ is one of the few that did. By focussing on hands, I’m hoping this poem of attraction and lust may have escaped any danger of a female gaze objectifying men. I may lose some of that high ground though, when I admit that this isn’t about any one man, more a mixture of snapshots. All these men’s suggestive hand movements are brought together in one poetry ‘he’.

Form-wise, music played quite a big part in my original pamphlet. In this poem, I wanted the opening piano-related observation to unfold as notes do in a musical scale. The stanza length, therefore, is a kind of poetry octave crescendo, from one line to two lines to three lines…all the way up to an eight-line stanza and then back to a single line again.

Electric Questions - lit version smallerDiscussion Point

How does this poem use structure to set up, reinforce and break expectations? (The crescendoing piano-scale stanza lengths, ‘how’ at the start of 7 of the 8 stanzas, the sudden change in focus for the final single-line stanza…)

Inspiration/Writing Prompt

Write a poem or story focussing on part of the body. Explore how suddenly changing focus at the end might turn the poem/story on its head, or encourage people to re-read the whole piece in an entirely different light.

plentyfish cover (1)At poetry readings, I often enjoy hearing about the background to a particular poem. ‘Wednesday Reflections/Sometimes I smile’ is my attempt to share the inspiration, frustrations, pain, philosophies and thoughts that lie behind my poetry collection ‘plenty-fish’. Each Wednesday, this blog will contain one of these ‘poem biographies’, as well as points for potential reader discussion and also writers’ prompts. My collection ‘plenty-fish’ may be bought from Nine Arches Press, here, or my website, here. More Wednesday Reflections on other poems in the collection can also be found here.

Reflections/poem biography for This Holy Shrine

This Holy Shrine smaller

“We are not pilgrims. Our feet ache, tempers
stumble in the Venetian heat. We seek…”

Once we were close, then we got closer.

This poem was inspired by a trip to Venice with my husband, our first foreign holiday for just the two of us since our children were born. Inevitably, over a decade filled with nappies, weaning, and parenting early teenage angst, a relationship changes. Setting years of marriage against the honeymoon destination of Venice, and young love’s Romeo and Juliet (those pilgrim palms), this was always going to be a poem of contrasts. But how else does one know how far one has come without placing the journey in the context of its starting point?

For me, nothing in life is so certain that it can safely be taken for granted, not even the longest-standing relationship. Each day, we are in some way foreigners – exploring each other’s geography and mindscapes.

But life and love aren’t just about the things in common, the things enjoyed, the pleasures shared. Perhaps the things that bind us bind as strongly, if not more strongly, for the trials and tribulations survived together.

Electric Questions - lit version smallerDiscussion Point

Is it obvious that this 12-line poem was once a sonnet, with its concluding couplet then removed? What are the dangers of ending a poem with a concluding or summarising couplet? How would you choose to end this poem?

Writing Prompt

Think about a memorable holiday. Write a summarising or concluding couplet that encapsulates the holiday as a whole. Now use this as the starting point for a poem or story with more details, narrative, characterisation etc, focussing in a specific part or aspect of the trip if necessary. When you’ve finished, consider whether you need the couplet at the end or as part of the title. Or can you get rid of it all together?

plentyfish cover (1)At poetry readings, I often enjoy hearing about the background to a particular poem. ‘Wednesday Reflections/Sometimes I smile’ is my attempt to share the inspiration, frustrations, pain, philosophies and thoughts that lie behind my poetry collection ‘plenty-fish’. Each Wednesday, this blog will contain one of these ‘poem biographies’, as well as points for potential reader discussion and also writers’ prompts. My collection ‘plenty-fish’ may be bought from Nine Arches Press, here, or my website, here. More Wednesday Reflections on other poems in the collection can also be found here.

Reflections/poem biography for Small Deceptions

rainbow sky with swan & 3 liles recropped smaller realigned

“A leopard that transforms its spots
without using paint, or photoshop.”

Although I’m not a scientist, my husband was a physicist, and I have a curiosity about the world, which can sometimes, if not always, be satisfied through science.

This sequence started with the small observation that masses of water like oceans and seas appear blue, while the actual liquid that trickles through fingers is clear.

From this small deception, due to how sight and light work, into the science of perception of colours. From there, to more deliberate human manipulations of reality, truth and appearance. Also, how words may be used to lie by omission if not outright untruth. This, sometimes as subtly as the change from ‘lust’ to ‘last’ to ‘lost’, where each small alternation in surface sound/spelling actually carries a far greater significance meaning-wise.

Electric Questions - lit version smallerDiscussion Point

This sequence alternates between parts with straight-forward couplets and parts where stanza breaks occur part-way through lines. Is this use of form effective or distracting? Why?

Inspiration/Writing Prompts

1) Make up a blatant lie about something, something that is obviously untrue – in this world. Now imagine a place where this lie is actually the truth. If you want to develop this a step further, imagine what might happen if characters from these two different worlds met for the first time, both believing their view of the world is the correct one. What if they suddenly found themselves in the place where the exact opposite is true?
2) Create a list of lies poem. Start with a small subtle deception that might pass unnoticed. Gradually stretch the truth further and further, building up to an outrageously blatant fabricaion.

plentyfish cover (1)At poetry readings, I often enjoy hearing about the background to a particular poem. ‘Wednesday Reflections/Sometimes I smile’ is my attempt to share the inspiration, frustrations, pain, philosophies and thoughts that lie behind my poetry collection ‘plenty-fish’. Each Wednesday, this blog will contain one of these ‘poem biographies’, as well as points for potential reader discussion and also writers’ prompts. My collection ‘plenty-fish’ may be bought from Nine Arches Press, here, or my website, here. More Wednesday Reflections on other poems in the collection can also be found here.

Reflections/poem biography for On the Brink of Adultery

Clinging onsmaller

“Longing pulls us to sure gaps
between words, hands, lips –
to lunge.”

Temptation, temptation everywhere… I often think that those who have never been tempted, not even the slightest, must either be good at self-delusion or avoidance. Whereas being tempted seems quite natural, following temptation is of course a different, and a potentially altogether more dangerous and hurtful, decision – as this poem explores.

Sex and love are two very different things, though we may often choose to tie them together. Trust is important, and breaking trust is hard for most of us to recover from. I’ve never seen much point in po-faced about real life though; we’re all human and I do believe that relationships have their own unique natural life span – be that several months, years…or whole lifetimes.

Electric Questions - lit version smallerDiscussion Points

Does framing this poem’s potentially destructive scenario using a conceit (rather than a more ‘real life’ example) narrow or widen its scope? Is a poem harder or easier to read when it allows the reader some distance from strong emotions? Does this change a poem’s potential impact?

Inspiration/Writing Prompt

Take the most important belief or value that you – or a fictional character – cling onto and structure your/their life or relationships around. Think of a real occasion – or create a fictional scenario – in which this is put to the test, or even broken. What happens and how do you/they deal with it?

plentyfish cover (1)At poetry readings, I often enjoy hearing about the background to a particular poem. ‘Wednesday Reflections/Sometimes I smile’ is my attempt to share the inspiration, frustrations, pain, philosophies and thoughts that lie behind my poetry collection ‘plenty-fish’. Each Wednesday, this blog will contain one of these ‘poem biographies’, as well as points for potential reader discussion and also writers’ prompts. My collection ‘plenty-fish’ may be bought from Nine Arches Press, here, or my website, here. More Wednesday Reflections on other poems in the collection can also be found here.

Reflections/poem biography for throughrose-tintedglasses/plentymore/Drowningone’sclichés

watching double small-003
“my fingers butterfly
through air; dive from the page –
my mind’s wrecked lake”

Yes, this piece probably wins the prize for my longest ever poem title, and also explains the collection title. ‘Plenty-fish’ was inspired not by the dating agency that I’ve since learned shares this name, but my playing with the phrase ‘plenty more fish in the sea’.

In this case, the wine-fuelled, lovelorn musings take place not by the sea but overlooking a subtropical indoor swimming pool. (Real love should be taken seriously; less so, those experiences that are dressed as love at the time but later turn out to be in drag. We love, we learn, we laugh.)

But a light ironical touch is, of course, partly the joy of not being single. Remembering heartbreak in a poem is altogether a gentler experience than going through it in real life.

Electric Questions - lit version smallerDiscussion Points

How much work does this poem’s title do? Does it carry too much weight compared to the poem? Ideally, what do you think the best titles should do? (Tease, hint, set the scene, establish an analogy or conceit, pull varied threads together, summarise…?)

Inspiration/Writing Prompt

What in your life feels like swimming/trying to swim? Write a poem or story about actual swimming, using swimming as an analogy/conceit or combining both.

plentyfish cover (1)At poetry readings, I often enjoy hearing about the background to a particular poem. ‘Wednesday Reflections/Sometimes I smile’ is my attempt to share the inspiration, frustrations, pain, philosophies and thoughts that lie behind my poetry collection ‘plenty-fish’. Each Wednesday, this blog will contain one of these ‘poem biographies’, as well as points for potential reader discussion and also writers’ prompts. My collection ‘plenty-fish’ may be bought from Nine Arches Press, here, or my website, here. More Wednesday Reflections on other poems in the collection can also be found here.

Reflections/poem biography for Cactus Ballgown
cactus pin flower multi collage smallest

“This dress should be kept for those prickly occasions
when you sense dryness, and wish to make a point.”

‘Cactus Ballgown’ is one of only a few poems in plenty-fish that I know by heart. I have known the poem by heart for years now, and once performed it impromptu in a London café – a bizarre life moment, where a stranger, hearing I was a poet, immediately asked to hear my poetry.

The poem was written in 2012, at a time when I was generally exploring the possibilities of performing from memory and slipping seamlessly from the flow of a poem introduction into the actual poem itself without overtly signalling to the audience that this was about to happen. My typical way of doing this became to talk about the difficulties of choosing an outfit for a reading and the sometimes strange advice friends can give, such as to wear a Cactus Ballgown…

But, as friends know, I’ve never been a particularly girly girl. Poetry readings are one of the few occasions where I make that extra special effort with how I look. The truth is that I knew the real everyday cactus dress in my heart long before I came to write and learn the poem by heart.

Growing up as an introvert, I was an uneasy teenager in loud crowds and big social functions. Over the years, I realised that what was shyness for me often came across to those who didn’t know me as aloofness or an intentional distancing. As I love word play and conceits, the cactus was already a natural analogy for exploring this.

But there is extra, unwritten, un-explicit, weight for me personally behind the analogy. My father is a keen gardener. When I was growing up, he was also a cacti collector. Between the age of 18 months and nearly 12, I lived in a house that had a big garden, a greenhouse with lots of cacti, and larger cacti stationed on the porch.

Like most children, I got into trouble: for not doing what I was told, for trying to skip going to bed on time, for playing games when I was meant to be doing something else, somewhere else. With a large garden, we played lots of hide and seek and had plenty of typical hiding places. One of these was behind the cacti.

One day, I was hiding too fast and ran into the cacti spikes. My memory of exactly what happened and how is hazy, but I do remember the pain. I also recall not being able to tell anyone about it – whether that was because I was playing a game I wasn’t meant to be playing at the time or just sheer embarrassment at my own clumsiness!

While none of this was explicitly on my mind or in the writing of ‘Cactus Ballgown’, I’m fairly sure the ghost of it is in the background, even if only for me. Although the poem is outwardly armed with barbs and pun humour, as a poet, reading this poem is also me acknowledging when I feel at my most vulnerable – not so much a cactus, perhaps, as a hedgehog slowly, cautiously, uncurling from its spikes.

Electric Questions - lit version smallerDiscussion Points

1) Do the puns in this poem intensify or ease the sense of shyness/embarrassment/internal cringe that are a large part of the narrator’s awkwardness with people?

2) Do the sadder glimpse of loneliness and shyness come as a shock because of being placed alongside these touches of wordplay and humour? Does this lessen or heighten the poem’s overall emotional impact?

Inspiration/Writing Prompt

Choose one of the most embarrassing things that has ever happened to you and turn it into a poem/story. If you don’t want to own or acknowledge it openly as yours, use a fictional character and write it from their viewpoint, or in the third person. Alternatively, choose something embarrassing that happened to someone else and try writing about it as if it happened to you.

plentyfish cover (1)At poetry readings, I often enjoy hearing about the background to a particular poem. ‘Wednesday Reflections/Sometimes I smile’ is my attempt to share the inspiration, frustrations, pain, philosophies and thoughts that lie behind my poetry collection ‘plenty-fish’. Each Wednesday, this blog will contain one of these ‘poem biographies’, as well as points for potential reader discussion and also writers’ prompts. My collection ‘plenty-fish’ may be bought from Nine Arches Press, here, or my website, here. More Wednesday Reflections on other poems in the collection can also be found here.

HAPPY NATIONAL POETRY DAY!!!

Having ended up running behind in my initial plans to blog last Sunday, it seemed apt to shift my blogpost to today, as most of my recent celebrations are poetry related. (And very small compared to the grand range of poetry on offer across the country today – out there, online, maybe even everyday speech – all to be enjoyed!)

Elbow Room - from each tiny twig

This week I received a set of beautiful postcards with my photo-poem ‘From each tiny twig’. The postcards were produced by Elbow Room as part of their 5th birthday celebrations. A selection of these birthday postcards featuring contributor’s work can be bought here.

I’m also very pleased to have my poem ‘Chicken for Dinner’ published on Algebra of Owls. Also that there’s been a new print run of Hearth (Mother’s Milk Books), the poetry duet pamphlet that Angela Topping and I collaborated on. You can get copies here.

I’m delighted to have a poem ‘Underwater: The Rain Globe’ accepted for the next issue of Firefly. This is part of a much longer global warming sequence so very important to me.

Another poem, The Nowhere Shed, has also been accepted for The High Window next year. This web journal has an amazing range of poetry and resources on its website, so I’d really recommend it.

WATERSTONES PROMOTION FOR MY NOVELLA KALEIDOSCOPE

I will be reading with fabulous poets Katy Wareham Morris and Ruth Stacy in a themed night – An Unconventional History of Maidenhood, Mothering and Mistresses – at Birmingham Waterstones on Thursday, October 5. (More details in the events list below.)

To celebrate the evening, there’s a FREE (yep, neatly tying in, at a slant, with this year’s that National Poetry Day theme of ‘freedom’) promotion of my novella Kaleidoscope: a free copy (up to 20 in total) with any copy of the other three books featured in the reading that is bought from Waterstones on the night.

V. PRESS & POETRY READINGS COMING UP SOON…

TONIGHT: THURSDAY, SEPTEMBER 28 – NATIONAL POETRY DAY – AUTUMN IN MALVERN FESTIVAL 2017

I’m absolutely delighted that this year I will be enjoying National Poetry Day from the audience! One of my poems in the Voices of 1919 anthology is included in this reading from the work by local actors.

voices npd 2017 flier

SATURDAY SEPTEMBER 30, FREE VERSE, LONDON

This year’s Poetry Book Fair takes place on Saturday, September 30 at Conway Hall in London and I will again be taking V. Press.

As well as a stand, this year we also have a V. Press reading by Stephen Daniels and Nina Lewis at 3pm at the GARDEN CAFE in RED LION SQUARE.

“Unbroken : V. Press poets celebrate connection/disconnection.
Stephen Daniels reads from ‘Tell Mistakes I Love Them’, exposing social nerves and poking at the wounds with very vulnerable and very poignant poems. Worcestershire poet laureate Nina Lewis offers a very authentic and very fervent glimpse of ‘Fragile Houses’ – tender and sharp snapshots of people, places and memories carried through life.”

Later that day, I will also be reading for Arachne Press at 4.30pm at the Garden Café in Red Lion Square.

The fair itself is free to enter and is open to the public from 11am – 6pm, with an Evening Do from 7pm onwards, at Conway Hall (25 Red Lion Square, London WC1R 4RL).

THURSDAY, OCTOBER 6, WATERSTONES, BIRMINGHAM

Thursday 5th October – An Unconventional History of Maidenhood, Mothering and Mistresses
Waterstones, Birmingham – Thursday 5th October 19:30 – 21:00

Katy Wareham Morris will be performing poetry from her collaborative pamphlet with Ruth Stacey, Inheritance. Ruth Stacey will be sharing poems from her collaborative pamphlet with Katy Wareham Morris, Inheritance, and her collection, Queen, Jewel, Mistress. And Sarah James (aka Sarah Leavesley) will be reading from her poetry collection, Plenty-Fish, and from her brand new novella, Kaleidoscope.

There will also be a book signing. The Waterstones event page here.Waterstones address: 24-26 High St, Birmingham B4 7SL

waterstones pic cropped

To celebrate the evening, there’s a FREE (yep, neatly tying in, at a slant, with this year’s that National Poetry Day theme of ‘freedom’) promotion of my novella Kaleidoscope: a free copy (up to 20 in total) with any copy of the other three books featured in the reading that is bought from Waterstones on the night.

Saturday, 4th November – Poetry Cafe, London – Launch of Against the Grain Press & Anna Kisby’s All the Naked Daughters

I will be reading Anna Kisby, Jane Lovell and Sean Magnus Martin for the press launch and launch of Anna Kisby’s papmhlet All the Naked Daughters. 6pm at Poetry Cafe, 22 Betterton Street, London WC2H 9BX.

Against the Grain

FINALLY, AND MOST IMPORTANTLY, BIG THANKS AND GRATITUDE TO ANYONE AND EVERYONE INVOLVED IN MAKING THESE LOVELY THINGS HAPPEN!!!

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