Looking up image 7 - tree lens scaled down for The High WindowI’ve been wondering and wandering a lot lately – on trees, nature, health, writing and many other interests and influences that shape both my life and how I feel about my life. I’ve not yet transcribed these thoughts to paper/screen, and possibly never well. Not all that is thought needs recording – in fact, given the state of my musings sometimes, heaven forbid!

Whether I like it or not though, what I think, believe and care about does tend to make itself felt in my work, even some things I believe I’ve consciously filtered out. Is this the nature of life in general as well as writing? I suspect so. I am my thoughts and actions, though the full picture of me may not be captured by just those things. As a writer, that inevitably means I am in everything I write.

For what glimpses it may give, and what those glimpses may or may not be worth, the past few months has seen me celebrating the following:

Looking Up to the Sky, Trees as inspiration, resource, lifeline article/essay with poems and photos published on The High Window in June 2019.

‘Woodland Walk’, ‘Bark’ and ‘Wearing Real Mist’ (poems) published in The High Window, issue 14, summer 2019 in June 2019.

‘A Countryside Town’ and ‘The Lamppost’ (poems) published in Scintilla 22 in May 2019 – available on
Amazon UK, Amazon USA, Amazon Germany, Amazon Japan.

A revised handout/series of tension-themed prompts following my workshop for Trinity Arts week at Trinity College, Oxford, can be found here.

I was also commissioned to write an anniversary-themed poem for Poetry on Loan, and then heard that this poem is one of a number chosen for use on a Poetry on Loan postcard, with various library spoken word events to follow – I’m so delighted, watch this space for more news soon!

Other good news includes a poem shortlisted in the Welshpool Poetry Festival Poetry Competition and a poem accepted for The Cotton Grass Appreciation Society anthology to be launched at Marsden Walking Festival in September. (The event takes place on Saturday 21 September between 6pm and 7.30pm at Marsden Library, Peel Street, Marsden, West Yorkshire – Facebook event: https://www.facebook.com/events/463105951190049/.)

And I’ve had a poem accepted for Words for the Wild next month and a flash for publication in September.

Meanwhile on the art front, I’ve two pieces from a sequence (Us too – among the lost hearts and Us too – lost hearts, swarming) in the latest issue of Bonnie’s Crew.

Snake Girl‘ (flash) and ‘Freewheeling‘ (flash) published on CafeLit in June 2019.

V. Press at the Flash Fiction Festival

Sunday, 30 June 2019 – Publishing with an Indie Press, Flash Fiction Festival
Trinity College Bristol, Stoke Hill, Stoke Bishop, 2.45-3.45pm. This event is part of the weekend festival – full details on booking can be found on the festival website at https://www.flashfictionfestival.com/.

‘Publishing with an Indie Press’
Diane Simmons, whose debut flash fiction collection Finding A Way was published by Ad Hoc Fiction in February 2019, Damhnait Monaghan, whose debut flash fiction chapbook The Neverlands was published in April 2019 by V.Press, and Susmita Bhattacharya published by Dahlia Press will talk about their journeys to publication and what has happened in the few months since, with publishers Jude Higgins from Ad Hoc Fiction, Sarah Leavesley from V Press and Farhana Shaikh from Dahlia Press. Diane, Damhnait and Susmita will read samples from their collections and there will be Q and A.

V. Press at Ledbury Poetry Festival – Sunday, 14 July 

This year’s Ledbury Poetry Festival includes three V. Press poets, Margaret Adkins, John Lawrence and Brenda Read-Brown, giving FREE 20-minute readings on Sunday, July 14.

Photo by Leah Adkins

20 Minutes with… Margaret Adkins
12:20 pm – 12:40 pm

Margaret Adkins will read from her debut pamphlet, Mingled Space. It won the inaugural V. Press Poetry Prize in association with the University of Worcester, and was launched in May. These poems inhabit real and imagined everyday spaces. Other work features in recent issues of Under the Radar and Prole magazines.

20 Minutes with… John Lawrence
3:20 pm – 3:40 pm

John Lawrence will read from his V. Press debut collection The boy who couldn’t say his name. His poems are packed with heart, humour, and a unique slant on everyday life. The Poetry Book Society Spring Bulletin reviewed The boy who couldn’t say his name as ‘… a thoroughly enjoyable debut collection. Running the full gamut of the comic and the tragic…’

Photo by Andy Smith

20 Minutes with… Brenda Read-Brown
5:20 pm – 5:40 pm

A look at the sharper edges of life, love and laughter, performance poet Brenda Read-Brown has turned to the page with her new collection, Like love (V Press). “The poems in Like love are uncluttered. They are simple, profound, and immensely touching…” Brian Patten. “These poems remind me of the tingles. I’m so happy to feel them. This collection makes me want to run outside, kiss, fall in leaves and then write.” Hollie McNish

Romalyn Ante is also a Nine Arches/Poetry School Primers:Volume Three poet reading on Saturday, July 13. (You can find details of her V. Press pamphlet Rice & Rain which won the Saboteur Awards 2018 Best Poetry Pamphlet here.)

(Thanks to Herefordshire Libraries who are supporting these readings.) The festival runs from Friday, July 5 to Sunday, July 14 and you can check out the full festival programme here.