plentyfish cover (1)“Plenty-Fish Sarah James
Full of piercing and original imagery, Sarah James’s Plenty-Fish shows a mature and erudite poet, unafraid to explore a variety of poetic forms and fascinated by the elusive quality of words. There are cross references to popular culture, science and literature here, which give a wonderfully rich texture to James’s poems. In addition she demonstrates the wonderful ability to take risks and the courage to tackle painful as well as joyous personal experiences.”

The collection can be purchased directly from Nine Arches Press (where there may be special offers available for those buying several Nine Arches Press collections), or on this website.

REVIEW NEWS – The Magnetic Diaries at Ledbury Poetry Festival

THE Magnetic Diaries is an incredible piece of work: a long poem, essentially a one woman play, a tour de force of modern times, a contemporary tragedy with one dominant, inspired yet unhappy voice…

The main character, Emma, played brilliantly by Vey Straker, was the only character on stage. All other characters were off-stage voices: from the dry tone of the doctor to the hurt, confused questions from a husband severely challenged by the serial adultery and alcoholism of his depressed wife.

This, then, is a play about depression; it’s about being self-absorbed and intensely alive at the same time. Emma is both those things…

That weird set, with those step-ladders and the plank, is a feature of Emma’s universe: her inner life which, at times, is simply everything to her. She climbs those ladders, she takes up her Magnetic Diaries and she sets them down again. There’s simply no space for anyone else, not even for her little daughter, Beth.

At times, Emma is not a likeable character. Even when magnetic pulses are passing through her head, as part of the therapy, it’s difficult to really like her. This, I think, is part of the plot. Her depression is the plot, in that we start to care, despite ourselves.

It is hard to see how anyone so beautifully alert to the everyday could ever be so depressed. A train “angles its snout through daisied fields and wounded earth”. Emma observes how “we race the shadow selves trying to pass us”…

…the streams of powerful language and the insights at her command provide much-need evidence that unique, challenging voices can still find a place in modern English poetry and theatre.”

Gary Bills-Geddes, Worcester News and Ledbury Reporter, full review of the Ledbury Poetry Festival performance here and here.

1-The Magnetic Diaries staged picPrize-winning composer Joanna Karselis’ score for the 2016 ACE-funded tour of The Magnetic Diaries can be sampled and purchased here.

The Forward Prize highly commended collection can be bought here, or from The Knives Forks And Spoons Press.

More on the tour, which goes to the Edinburgh Fringe in August, here.


1-P1010888‘How to Grow Matches’ poem published in Magma Revolution issue;
‘From His Uncoy Mistress, 2016’ accepted for Poetry Salzburg review;
Ideas from the History of Graphic Design by California Institute of the Arts certificate earned June 2016;