About Me

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Bristol , United Kingdom
I'm co-director of the Leaping Word Poetry Consultancy, which provides advice for poets on writing, editing and publishing, as well as qualified counselling support for those exploring personal issues in their work - https://theleapingword.com. My fifth poetry collection, Learning Finity, is now available from Indigo Dreams or directly from me.

Thursday 1 February 2024

A yee-haw poetry round-up

In terms of poetry, 2024 got off to a good start with Clare Shaw and Kim Moore's Writing Hours, a month-long series of daily Zoom workshops, the majority of which I managed to attend despite work commitments. They came at the right time for me this year: I spent most of last year severing emotional ties to my previous project and not writing poems - something which would have sent me into spiralling panic years ago, but which I've come to realise is a vital part of the process - and now I'm ready to start again. To give me a gentle boot up the bum, a commission from Bristol Lyra Poetry Festival came my way, and with the help of a prompt from last year's Writing Hours, that poem is taking pleasing shape as I write this. (I say I don't panic, but phew.) 

The previous project - my next collection, 'Love the Albatross' - just needs some final arranging of poems and a last read-through before it goes off to my publishers, Ronnie Goodyer and Dawn Bauling of Indigo Dreams, and the act of emailing them will be additional impetus for getting started on a new obsession. 

A few excellent poetry gigs have come our way in Bristol over the last few months. I was aggrieved to miss the launch of Melanie Branton's new collection, 'The Full English' and Jonny Fluffypunk's gig, both at Satellite of Love, thanks to a bout of acute bronchitis, but I did get see Ruth Padel read some new poems at Bristol University, inspired by the snake goddess figurines found at Knossos in 1903.  

I've encountered a few adders in my time, two of them alive (rather than run over). I didn't pick this one up and wave it in the air like the goddess in the top photo; rather - since it didn't appear to want to budge from the side of the path - I picked up my young collie, Ted, and sidled past as quickly as I could (after I'd taken a photo, of course). 

I spent another excellent evening at the launch of Helen Dewbery and Chaucer Cameron's poetry film based on the collection of poems by Chaucer entitled 'In an Ideal World I'd Not Be Murdered'. 

To be frank, I'd been a bit of an agnostic with regard to poetry film - enjoying many but not quite appreciating the need for them, because shouldn't a really good poem be able to summon strong images in a reader's mind without assistance or embellishment? Obviously the right film had to come along, with poems I already knew well, for me to be converted, and this was it. Helen's film adds layers of time and place to Chaucer's poem, without taking away any of their inherent power. It's an emphatic vindication of the form and I strongly recommend it. 

A few opportunities have materialised for me to read some poems during the first few months of this year, although I need to focus on getting readings later in the year and into 2025, once 'Love the Albatross' is published. The reading with Words and Ears at Bradford Roots has been and gone already, but there are a couple looming connected with the aforementioned Lyra Bristol Poetry Festival in April, and on 15th February, I'll be reading in support at the launch of Tina Cole's new collection, 'What it Was', which takes place at the Poetry Pharmacy in Bishop's Castle.

It's a memorable collection, for which I was delighted to write an endorsement.  

A few contributor's copies have come my way, in which 'Love the Albatross' poems that have a home. (I'm always relieved when this happens with poems from a themed collection, as it means they stand on their own, as well as part of a whole.) 

I'm especially pleased that the poems published in Dream Catcher stand alongside two by fellow Bristol and Leaping Word poetry group poet, Marius Grose.

Finally, a link to my poem, 'Your silence is all I have left', which was runner-up in the 2023 Frosted Fire Single Poem competition, and can be both read and heard on the Wild Words website.

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