Phew! It’s been a busy end to June but a wild, foxy and fantastic one!

Two weekends ago, I went up to St Helens for an Arts Council-funded Knives, Forks and Spoons reading at the library. It was a lovely afternoon and great to meet and chat with some fellow poets, as well as non-writing audience members. This is also set to be a bimonthly event for KFS, which is fantastic news.

Last week, I was delighted to have two poems accepted for this winter’s issue of Nine Arches Press’s Under the Radar’.

Then, yesterday was V. Press’s first official poetry reading, in conjunction with Droitwich Arts Network, for the Droitwich Summer Festival. The ‘Wild and Foxy’ evening featured V. Press poets Catherine Crosswell, Ruth Stacey, Jenny Hope and myself, with Pighog Press’s Antony Owen headlining alongside us as our guest poet for the night. We also had some super open mic writers: Amanda Bonnick, Ian Glass, Claire Walker, Michelle Crosbie, Betti Moretti, Lindsay Stanberry-Flynn, and Tim Cranmore. It was an amazing night, with Park’s Café almost full to capacity (I’m told there were 50 of us, with the record number for the venue at Be[yond]’s launch last year with 57 people.) My MASSIVE thanks to everyone involved – readers, performers and audience.

Flashing!

Once upon a time, I was a fiction writer. Then I had kids, took a poetry MA and pretty much stopped writing anything but poetry, quasi-essays and lists, with the odd status/tweet/blog thrown in now and then. So, this is a small whoop in the grand scheme of things but a big whoop for me, as I’d pretty well lost confidence in my ability to write fiction. (NB This flash, The Last Heartbeat, is a thriller but maybe still ought to have a potential trigger warning.)

Oxford Poetry

I’ve ended up with an unintentional Oxford thread in this blog, as two weekends ago also saw us head back to Oxford for the Trinity College Family Garden Party.

To be honest, I have tended to steer clear of official alumni events, prefering to meet up with friends on an individual basis. But friends had invited us, the weather was kind and it was a lovely afternoon.

One of the highlights for me was a proud Mommy moment! I tend not to have these publicly very often, as it’s important for me that my boys know they are loved no matter what. On the other hand, it is always nice when something motivates them, gently. I was both proud and delighted when my younger son wanted to take part in the day’s organised activities, including a Trinity poetry competition, which he won! His poem will also be published in the next college newsletter, which is news that still has me smiling for him two weeks later!

Radio

I blogged before about heading Londonwards for be interviewed for Resonance Radio (104.4fm) by Anna McKerrow, who has a new collection out with Knives, Forks and Spoons Press.

The first of a series of six interviews with KFS poets talking about their collections and experimental poetics is broadcast tomorrow.

Scheduled details are: each show will go on at 9pm on the Tuesday and repeat at 7pm the following Saturday; after that there should be an online “listen again”.

Tuesday 1st July, 9pm – Episode 1 – Ryan Ormonde
In which Anna and Ryan giggle a lot and talk about fugue in quite an energetic way.

Tuesday 8th July, 9pm – Episode 2 – Anna McKerrow
In which Anna says “I am the meat” (contextually) more than she should .

Tuesday 15th July, 9pm – Episode 3 – Richard Barrett
In which Richard and Anna talk about how punk is an oppositional poetics and about a butcher’s intentional use of “lion chops”. Meat again.

Tuesday 22nd July, 9pm – Episode 4 – Sarah James
In which Sarah and Anna read a poem together sounding intentionally drunk.

Tuesday 29th July, 9pm – Episode 5 – Steven Fowler and David Berridge
In which future-Steve, future-Anna and future-David are incredibly incisive about the state of modern poetics and do not talk about meat at all.

#100kindsofhappy (Cont’d)

So, this is the point where I explain that I am still doing this, but progress is getting slower as I reach the last 20-30 poetry snippets. This is partly because of trying to avoid any duplication/over-similarity but also because of how busy the past few weeks have been. (My numbers have also gone slightly awry, but shush, I’m hoping no one’s counting them!)

76.
days without admin
space to think, feel, write
unclenches my tensed musts

77.
waking to child chatter
smiles before breakfast
a world made of play

78.
taking those shoes off
after a long day, released
from leathered caves

79.
standing by castle stones
not knowing who touched last,
or first, fitting my pursed now
into a far grander past

TO BE…continued

Microreview

I haven’t had as much time as I’d like for reading lately, or sharing those books I’ve loved.

This week I finished The Apple Anthology , edited by Yvonne Reddick and George Ttoouli (Nine Arches Press). It’s a carefully put together collection, movingly and beautifully introduced by David Morley, with prose formed as neatly as a polished poem, or apple.

The poetry inside captures or grows out from the apple theme in a range of ways and styles. There are poems of snippet images, narratives, pieces seeded with word play, thought-provoking observation, pared details, childhood memories, sensual evocations, apples as the characters their names suggest…

This breadth in such a focussed theme is wonderfully refreshing. The anthology is also unusual and striking in including interviews, historical articles and prose pieces about apples and writing apples in between blocks of poems. Although, me being me, I didn’t find these as gripping as the poetry, I was surprised to find something strangely addictive in these informational and anecdotal apple slices. I also enjoyed the different shape and extra depth this gives to the book overall; there is something almost comforting in that historical and culture knowledge being there, readily at hand when needed and passed down, as much as this scrumptious fruit itself.

Lastly, but not leastly

This coming weekend sees the start of Ledbury Poetry Festival, where I’m looking forward to readings my Michael Symmons Roberts, Carrie Etter and Ruth Stacey, amongst others. If you’re there and you spot me, please do come over and say hello.