The past few weeks have brought a mixture of personal poetry delights.

Among these, a perestroika poem ‘Black Market’ accepted and published at London Grip, a poem ‘Slipping’ accepted for the Offa’s Press anthology Poetry of Staffordshire (edited by Simon Fletcher and Emma Purshouse) and learning that Hearth, my collaborative pamphlet with Angela Topping from Mother’s Milk Press is a Poetry Book Society Autumn Pamphlet. This is one kind of new.

The other is the old made new – reading through plenty-fish, as I start to prepare for next month’s launches of the collection. I use ‘old’ here in the loose sense that many of these poems have won competitions, been published elsewhere individually and spent some time in the collection-editing process, so are not immediately fresh in my memory. But re-reading them again, they still feel new. This is something that I think is important when selecting which poems actually make it through to a whole collection, not least because I’m likely to be reading from it for a while. That first read-through post-publication is also nerve-racking for the very reason that it’s now too late to change anything, so it was a huge relief to find myself enjoying the poems as if new.

I’m now looking forward to:

Saturday, September 12 Poetry Half-Hour
Saltbarrow Way, Droitwich, 3.15pm-4pm
Sarah is organising and Mcing Poetry Half-Hour Saltfest. Three Worcestershire poets share their poems of myth, history and endurance. Claire Walker reads from her pamphlet The Girl Who Grew Into a Crocodile. Ruth Stacey shares the lives and intrigue of England’s queens in Queen, Jewel, Mistress, while Sarah James marks the endurance of nature, landscapes and people in her collection plenty-fish. There will also be a book-signing.

Saturday, September 12 Endurance – The launch of Sarah’s Nine Arches Press poetry collection plenty-fishat Park’s Café, Victoria Square, Droitwich from 7pm-9pm as part of this year’s Salt Fest. Also poetry on a theme of endurance from Worcestershire Poet Emeritus Maggie Doyle, Fergus McGonigal, Kathy Gee, Ian Glass and Mike Alma. Free entry. Food will be available to order from 7-8pm. This event is also a Droitwich Arts Network literary/social event and a Facebook page can be found here.

Friday, September 18 Nine Arches Press/Birmingham launch of plenty-fish. Sarah will be reading from plenty-fish as part of the Nine Arches Press event also launching books by David Clarke, Myra Connell and David Hart in the Pinsent room at the MAC Cannon Hill Park, Birmingham, West Midlands B12 9QH from 7-9pm. The event is free but tickets should be booked here.

Monday, September 21 – Sarah will be a guest poet, reading from her Nine Arches collection plenty-fish at Leicester Shindig at The Western Pub, 70, Western Road, LE3 0GA.

Sunday, October 11 – Sarah will be reading on the Birmingham Literature Festival ‘Ode Trip: Black Country Bus Tour’, which is from 12 noon to 4pm. More details here.”

Meanwhile, ahead of all these live readings, a video reading of a slightly longer poem that I probably won’t be reading live:

An audio version of one of the plenty-fish poems, ‘Still the Apple’, can also be found now on the Radio Wildfire The Loop, playing at

Meanwhile, I’m also looking forward reading from Hearth in Kidderminster in just over a week’s time:

Tuesday, September 8 – Sarah and Angela Topping will be guest poets, reading from their pamphlet Hearth, at Mouth and Music, Kidderminster, at the Boar’s Head Pub from 7pm. The evening also features songs from Elena Thomas and Dan Whitehouse, and an open mic, with a theme of heart.”