So last year, I decided my blog needed something new, something different. But until last month, I wasn’t sure what. Then, someone emailed me about something else, and inspiration struck for In the Booklight.

This will be a new (as and when) series on my blog, which will feature author interviews or articles focussing on a particular book or writing project. I’m hoping this will combine typical author interviews with quirky questioning, elements of micro-review (as I will have read the book or a sample from it in order to shape my questions) and the kind of companiable background information and atmosphere that poets often give during live readings from a book. This at least is the theory.

The first interview will be next weekend, when Bert Flitcroft shares some of the ‘behind the scenes’ to his poetry pamphlet Thought-Apples. Meanwhile, a reminder of novelist Lindsay Stanberry-Flynn’s The Power of Place.

In between these posts, I will be continuing my now very condensed snippets of personal writing news.

Even since my last post, I’m delighted that these include a lovely review of The Magnetic Diaries in The Journal. I won’t reproduce the whole of Andrew Taylor’s thoughtful and considered review. But snippets include:

“There are some wonderful individual lines of poetry in this book. From ‘Friday, 4th October (Latent): ‘A stranger’s breath greases my neck’; from ‘Monday, 4th November (Unwanted Presents): ‘ice winds sting, my throat is grated beetroot’ and from ‘Tuesday, 1st October (vases I have known): ‘those cracked egg shells: cress/ pushing up from the brown spit/ embedded in their husks’.”

“Overall, this is a solid sequence that engages the reader throughout. A useful addition to the Bovary experience and is rewarding in its scope and inventiveness. Recommended.”
(The collection can be purchased from Knives, Forks and Spoons Press here, or from me directly, here.)

Meanwhile, plenty-fish, has also been reviewed in The Cannon’s Mouth:

“a talent for the unexpected: a love of the natural world that often acts as a metaphor or foil for the deepest emotions”
“Her poems are fresh, images vivid and sometimes startling – even uncomfortable (deliberately so, I would guess). I could not help recalling Eliot’s ‘Whispers of Immortality’: ‘Webster was much possessed by death / And saw the skull beneath the skin.’ Take, for example, ‘I bite down on the memory’: ‘…my back-to-front body filled with worms; / because of this heart of barbed wolf bone…’”
John Alcock in The Cannon’s Mouth, issue 57
(The collection can be purchased from Nine Arches Press, or from me directly, here.)

Other snippets include a second poem accepted for the Fairacre Press Maligned Species spider anthology, which can be purchased as an e-book here (It’s just £2.99, with money from each book donated to Buglife). I’ve also had three poems accepted for Clear Poetry and a flash fiction ‘Of Risk’ accepted for issue 3 of Rockland.

My thought for this weekend stems from a fabulous morning in Chawson First School, where I shared some of my funny children’s poems in a school assembly. The children’s response was enthusiastic, laughing, and joining in with lines. It was a great experience and made me ask myself why the children’s poems that I write are always funny, when I tend to find it hard to pull off humorous in an adults’ poem. In part, I wonder if, engaging with children, I’m able to let through the silly, light-hearted, impulsive lines that I’d almost automatically censor or edit out in everyday adult life and writing. Maybe, in the right time, place and context, we all need permission to be a little silly sometimes?