Oh, what a night…last night’s performance of my poetry-play at The Courtyard in Hereford was one of those memorable nights. Actress Vey Straker was amazing as Emma, and with Tiffany Hosking from Reaction Thaetre Makers as director, they really brought The Magnetic Diariesto life on stage. It was a truly exciting evening,enjoying the production, listening to people’s comments and feeling the buzz afterwards.


PLENTY-FISH

The collection has gone to print!!! Excitement is not the word for it! More about this over the next few months ahead of its Droitwich festival launch in September
For now though, the collections endorsements are now over on the Nine Arches Press blog, along with four sample poems. Although there are a handful of more experimental poems, this is for the main part a relatively mainstream collection, as can be seen from the examples. The opinions of these poets means a lot to me, as I’ll probably blog about in more detail at some point. But ‘exciting’ ‘startling image and memorable metaphor’, ‘a sure and assured voice’, luscious physicality’ and ‘boldly metaphysical’ in particular are verbal music to a self-doubting poet’s ears, and I very grateful for their time and care reading and commenting.

I am also delighted to be doing a pre-launch reading from plenty-fish along with an extended launch reading from The Magnetic Diaries at Ledbury Poetry Festival on Wednesday, July 8, alongside two poet-friends, Ruth Stacey and Lesley Ingram, who are also launching collections. (I’ve had a preview copy of Ruth’s Queen, Jewel, Mistress and it is truly a beautiful thing.) And if that wasn’t enough already, the evening also features cider. More information and booking here.

MICROREVIEWS

The past few weeks have been extremely busy. Within this hustle and bustle, dipping into Robert Peake’s The Knowledge (Nine Arches Press)has been a delight. These poems are the kind that create their own space of existence, no matter how noisy a place or head space I was reading in. To bring such calmness and focus to a reader reading in unideal surroundings is no mean feat, perhaps enhanced by the fact every poem feels complete, crafted and sufficient in itself, not needing the reader to move on at any pace other than what comes naturally; this what comes naturally being subtly and imperceptibly set up by the poems.

From closely observed nature, Peake links to philosophical insights, human needs and warm humour. Family relationships, not belonging and the surreal humour of English phrases can also be found. This is, in fact, a wonderfully wide-ranging and encompassing collection; ancient history, contemporary society and modern technology merge, contrast and throw light on each other. These poems of knowledge and experience are also not afraid of bold suppositions or asking questions, and they resonate afterwards; sometimes through images or ideas, other times simply by changing the tempo of everyday life post-reading.

The Misplaced House by Josephine Corcoran (Tall Lighthouse) is a pamphlet of vivid, striking imagery and enviable lines. For me the poems simultaneously capture elements of the real and imaginative. Poems of national news, family, literary influence, history and tradition come together naturally beside each other as they do in life, but with the magic touch of striking lines of language and imagery that make me pause in thought-provoking admiration.

I am, as ever, way behind in reading the books that I have, let alone then formulating my thoughts into a comprehensible form, but more to follow soon(ish)!

P.S. I also just received my contributor’s copy of the Inky Needles’ print issue Celebrity and Speed. Very pleased to have my poem ‘Model Child’ in this vibrant, fast-paced, artistic publication.