The past week has been busy, busy, busy. The start of the week, I was in Manchester for my reading in the Carol Ann Duffy and Friends Series. It was an amazing night, with fabulous poetry all round. It was also lovely to hear guest poet Julia Copus and to chat with her.

It’s around five years since Julia was kind enough to highly commend and short list my poems in a competition. Since then, I loved reading her The World’s Two Smallest Humans (Faber) and it was wonderful to hear her read some of the beautiful, musical, moving poems from this collection on Monday night. I’m hoping it won’t be another five years before we meet again!

This was such a great night that I never got round to taking pictures. The reading was recorded, however, and I’m hoping to upload an extract from my reading some time in the near future.

I mentioned last week that it was Children’s Heart Week from Monday, May 12 to Sunday, May 18.

The poet Rebecca Goss, whose wonderful Carcanet collection Her Birth I have blogged about before, has run a week-long special charity blog project.

Every day, her blog has featured heart poems by a range of poets, as well as information from the Children’s Heart Federation.

I was delighted to be invited to take part in this and my poem, ‘My Heart’, specially written for Rebecca’s project, can be found here.

#100kindsofhappy (cont’d)

glass holding, shaping
placed within sight or colour
sleek glidings of light

between night’s sheets
caves of warmth, smoothed skin, soft dreams
curving towards daylight

owls nestled in oaks
holes wholed by holding feathers
wise eyes in old wood

bubble wrap popping
beneath pressed feet, youth still spills
that thrill of bare toes

purged waste, cleaned sink, neat-
cut stubborn verges, steel shines
tiny powers surge

TO BE…continued

Microreview – Sudden rainfall

It seems ironic to be typing this while full-on almost summer sun is turning our garden to a temporary Carribbean. But I love water and, to some extent, rain. I also love the beautiful description and music in the poems in Sudden rainfall, a Perdika Press pamphlet by Helen Calcutt.

It’s hard writing a review about a work when one is friends with a poet, for fear of it sounding like a mate’s back-slapping. At the same time, it doesn’t seem fair not to write about poetry I’ve enjoyed simply because I’m friends with the poet.

These are poems of unusual and startling imagery, of mystery and wonder, atmosphere and tension, spare language yet rich evocation, and thought-provoking gasps.

For me, there is a beautiful otherness. Nature and place feature a lot, but not as isolated unpopulated landscapes. These scenes are very much alive with narratives and emotional resonances. Rather like a beautiful mist, the poetry thickens, then parts to give glimpses, while still refusing to ever become entirely clear. This technique both leaves room for the reader’s interpretation and, by the nature of its contrast heightens the impact of both the sharp images and those beguiling sections sparking with mystery.

P.S./& afterwards

And the mystery to my week ahead. It will be last time of listening to my mystery piece of music from the Royal Philharmonic Society’s Notes into Letter project. I’m also hoping it will be a week of reading and sunshine, though the sudden changes of British weather will probably always be a mystery to me!