Where do I start on the past few weeks, which have been busy, busy, and then some?

Biggest news first: I delighted last week to find I had two small poems published in the Financial Times – I’m still smiling now!

I have been busy checking and re-checking proofs for The Magnetic Diaries and last weekend I headed up to Merseyside to record some audio to accompany this and hopefully for a poetry show version of the poetry narrative.

Last week, was the splendid launch of Worcestershire Poet Laureate and Worcestershire Poetry Society Stanza member Fergus McGonigal’s The Failed Idealist’s Guide to the Tatty Truth (Burning Eye Books). It was an amazing night – nothing less than I would have expected from McGonigal, who is both a talented writer and performer of his own work.

I also enjoyed headlining at Worcester SpeakEasy in an absolutely cracking night of spoken word on Thursday. It’s a wonderful monthly spoken night with a warm atmosphere, generous M.C.s and many talented readers and performers. I’m looking forward to a shorter headlining spot again next year with one of new collections.

Other publications for me the past fortnight include a shed poem for the collection on Abegail Morley’s The Poetry Shed blog and I have also just received the proof for my poem in the next issue of The Wolf, which I am very excited about, as it’s both experimental and environmentally focused. And news too that I should have two environmental poems up on The Stare’s Nest on November 18 and November 29.

Meanwhile, I’ve been enjoying bouncing ideas and working on some collaborative poetry for a joint pamphlet I’m lucky enough to be writing with Angela Topping for Mother’s Milk Books and hoping to get even more stuck into this next week.

Harder jobs of the last week include making decisions about which pamphlets to publish at V. Press. This followed by the harder job of emailing not-so-good news, as well as the delight of contacting those we are able to work with.

In between this, a variety of other poetry and every day life tasks, chores and pleasures. Amongst the latter, finally having time to read Pascal Petit’s Fauverie (Seren).

This is a gorgeous book with a gorgeous cover. Although the title ‘Fauverie’ is the big-cat house in the Jardin des Plantes, phonically, it also makes me think of ‘fathery’ – summing up the main themes of the collection: animals, a dying father and a French setting that runs through many of the poems.

From real animals to the human jungle, these are poems full of beautiful images, striking images, sharp images and images that sting. It is a collection that repeatedly makes me hold my breath, gasp and wow! The subject matter isn’t always easy – human illness, a broken father-daughter relationship, the shocking cruelty with which the animals we eat are treated. But none of this is overstated and even the strangest metaphors are very, very real. These poems seem cut perfectly, precisely, exactly to hit a nerve that resonates even more strongly given the beauty of the language. It is this very beauty that ultimately makes it a collection that left me feeling motivated and hopeful despite the dark nature and sharp edge of many of the poems.