The past fortnight has been one buzzing with poetry – from this year’s Poetry Book Fair, to the Forward Prizes and the awesome feeling of opening this year’s prize anthology to read one of my poems from The Magnetic Diaries.


In fact, prizes and anthologies have featured quite a lot in the past week. (It doesn’t happen often – so please bear with me if I enjoy it for a short while as a little reward reaped from much hard work.)

 
 
 

First up, was the Free Verse Poetry Book Fair in London, where I was proud to be running the V. Press stand, reading from Hearth for Mother’s Milk Books and have a poem chosen by Paper Swans Press (from the ‘Schooldays’ anthology) for the fabulous Free Verse poetry book fair anthology. At the fair, I picked up my copy of the new Mother’s Milk Writing Prize anthology,The Story of Us, containing my poem ‘Chuckle Chutney’. Then, a trip to Southbank for the Forward Prizes awards ceremony, where I was particularly awed by the shortlisted single poems and collections readings. It was amazing too to hear Claudia Rankine read from her prize-winning Citizen: An American Lyric, which I reviewed (and loved) last year after reading the original Graywolf Press edition. Finally, I also came away with a copy of the Forward Prize anthology – proof that it’s not just a dream that I have a highly commended poem in there!

The past few weeks brought news too of other anthologies. I was delighted to check the proofs for my poem in My Dear Watson (Beautiful Dragons Press) feauring a poem by a different poet for each element in the periodic table. I’ve also heard that my poem on three drops from a cauldron is to be included in the next print anthology (due out in January).

Other poems have been published in The French Literary Review and accepted for the International Times, the next issue (January 2016) of Molly Bloom and I have a poem in the Ink, Sweat and Tears week-long series of light-themed poems to mark this year’s National Poetry Day. (My poem ‘Against Candlelight’ features tomorrow, Monday, 12 Oct, but the whole week’s line-up looks very exciting so do dip into the other days’ poems too!)

Last year’s National Poetry Day saw me turning on the animation of my light-themed poem ‘That Night’ at the Blackpool Illuminations as part of the Wordpool festival celebrations, so this year I thought I’d settle for a quieter day, only to be delighted by two surprises. The first was the Mad Hatter Reviews review of my Nine Arches Press collection, plenty-fish. I knew that Charley Barnes was reviewing the book and had also done an interview with me, but not that they would coincide with National Poetry Day. For me, “this entire book is really quite beautiful” and “Plenty-fish is a stunning and emotional collection” are two of the highlights in terms of what I’d hope to achieve. But these are just two short snippets, the whole of the review can be read over on the website here, along with an interview about the collection, writing and performance more generally.

On Thursday, Lindsay Stanberry-Flynn also revealed a little more about our collaboration for her forthcoming novel The Broken Road. My part in this is small, but one I was very honoured to be asked to play, admiring Lindsay’s work and also the opportunity to widen poetry’s scope. Set in Venice, this beautiful and moving novel features a character who takes up poetry, these poems written by me for the character’s voice and life story. One of the poems ‘La Resistenza’ is shared on Lindsay’s blog. You can read the poem, and find out more about the novel and the poem’s inspiration, here.

Meanwhile, this weekend, a poem from my very first collection Into the Yell gets another outing over on the fabulous Keep Poems Alive run by Sally Evans. The site is a great way of discovering poems, poets and publications, as submissions are all ones that have been previously published elsewhere three or more years ago. (My poem ‘Unsubmerged’ was also one shortlisted in the Plough Prize 2009.)

Anyway, returning to my quiet plans, the other reason(s) for this plan include current childsitting debts, having enjoyed a lovely night headlining with the wonderful Paul Francis at Lichfield’s Poetry Alight on Tuesday and reading in the Birmingham Literature Festival sold-out vintage bus Ode Trip taking place in just a few hours. So, instead of being out and about enjoying poetry, I settled for social media sharing and enjoying some quiet time reading poetry at home. It was lovely day, but to avoid this post bursting its internet seams, the resulting micro-reviews will follow in a separate blog post next week.

Have a good one!