It’s been another busy fortnight of reviews, readings, graphic fun and some new events lined up.

REVIEWS of Lampshades & Glass Rivers

I am absolutely delighted to have had not just one, but three fabulous reviews of Lampshades & Glass Rivers (which is just £1 if you follow the link and buy it with plenty-fish or The Magnetic Diaries).

“The collection brings together poems in the form of flashes of memories from the past like open rooms filled with shadow; its glass rivers an icy, sharp pain from which growth is born. Leavesley’s latest pamphlet invites the reader to ponder the meeting of past and present in “Babcia’s banned books”, and in another poem, “… her half-sung / offerings: the lost poppies / of a faraway life”…

“Light and darkness, past and present, pain and life are all contrary forces that cannot exist without the other. The poems in “Lampshades & Glass Rivers” subtly illuminate a careful balance and the mutual reciprocity between these dualities…

“In conclusion, “Lampshades & Glass Rivers” is a story of memories, personal growth through pain and a woman’s perspective on family, birth and love. It is a well-balanced collection of poems filled with deep reflections on the dualities of living. Each read of the book brings new insights; it is tender, affirming and rich in its telling of twenty tiny glimpses into past lives and possible futures, born not from escape, but rather an acceptance of all that has been and is.”

Jack Little, The Lake, May 2016 – full review with detailed commentary and quotes here.

“Reminiscent of a delicate fairy tale… There is so much to love in these dreamlike scenes, as they intricately weave Ada’s experiences with those of her grandmother forced to flee Poland during the war, quiet sufferings that hover at the edges as if to keep Ada’s company…

“There are several dominant themes in this collection – glass, fragility, rivers and loss juxtaposed with strength, endurance and woman as nature, with the lampshade battling light to prevent revelation. In one scene Ada is leaving a hotel, with ‘each room, the size of her mind’ and where ‘each guest’s wake / trembles in a sealess wave’ across the lobby’s lights, a dazzling description literally and then in another, she contemplates ‘that all water / is a form of strained cloud.’”

J.V. Birch, full review here

“This is a moving and hopeful volume. Strands of imagery run through the book to subtly chart journeys and experiences; there are images of flowers, rivers, glass, knitting and lampshades.

“In Ada’s life we have the lampshades catching her sighs and casting shadows into haloes. The shades give presence to absent people and past times as well as watching what goes on…

“I particularly loved these lines and images – ‘all water/ is a form of strained cloud’ and ‘Memory stalls on how to say goodbye/to a place that is her first walking moment,/ whose minerals strengthen her bones’. They are magic and I will be processing them for some time to come…

“I enjoyed this sequence of poems and they repay rereading. I want to turn the words over like stones whose tops are dry and whose underbellies have been transformed by trapped water.”

Sonia Jarema, goodreads

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CHELTENHAM POETRY FESTIVAL READING

This pic of me before the event is nothing compared to my smiles afterwards – friendly people, a cracking venue and receptive audiences! A big thank you to everyone who also bought a copy of one (or more!) of my books.

GRAPHICS

Delighted to be firing my way through a CalArts Graphic Design course. One module finished and another (in typography) nearly half-way through.

Also pleased to have two photos – Petal Traces and Traces of Rain – accepted for the next issue of 3Elements Review.

NEW EVENTS

Saturday, May 21 – ‘Poetry Extravaganza’, 7pm at Park’s Café, Victoria Square, Droitwich. I will be joining other local poets for this Droitwich Arts Network ‘Arts Week’ event, MCed by Fergus McGonigal.

Thursday, July 7 – Private Moments at Birmingham Waterstones from 7-9pm.

I will be joining a fabulous group of Birmingham and Worcester poets to share my poetry (and a flash fiction) that takes its inspiration from behind the toilet doors…

Tuesday, September 27 – guest poet slot at Poetry Bites, 7.30, Kitchen Garden Cafe, York Road, Kings Heath Birmingham. Hosted by Jacqui Rowe, the night also features open mic spots.

MENTAL HEALTH AWARENESS WEEK 2016

This year’s MHAW starts tomorrow. This year’s theme is relationships. But, as all of us have a relationship with ourselves as well as those we have with other people, I think the With You In Mind anthology poems I shared last year are as relevant again this year. I will therefore be sharing last year’s blogpost poems through social media over the coming week.