Beginning With Your Last Breath By Roy McFarlane

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BOOK LAUNCH Wednesday 14th September

Beginning With Your Last Breath

By Roy McFarlane

PUBLISHED: Nine Arches Press

roy-beg-last-breath

Roy McFarlane is a gentle man of poetry. He is really supportive of work other people are doing and loves to collaborate. This year has been a busy one for him. He is currently the Poet in Residence at Shakespeare’s Birthplace and has just released his debut collection with Nine Arches Press, ‘Beginning With Your Last Breath’. I was fortunate enough to be at his book launch in Wolverhampton Arena Theatre last Wednesday *thanks to Kathy Gee for the lift.

roy-3 Richard O’Brien © 2016

It was an amazing night, that filled me with inspiring thoughts. I often scribble away at events, comfortable in the fact that people think I am making notes for the blog. I filled 6 post-it notes, which doesn’t sound a lot, but as I was attempting to be 100% present in the moment – is quite a lot.

Roy filled the evening with so many talented friends and collaborators, all neatly hosted by Chester Morrison. It was a pleasure to be there and feel part of the magic in the room.

Reis Taylor Dixon started events, an exceptional Pianist and composer. Denzil Fletcher has kindly granted permission for us to use the video, unfortunately WordPress have changed video policy and I need to upgrade to include it. Here is a link to the video on Roy’s social media, scroll down to find it.

Reis Taylor Dixon

Reis was joined on stage by Phil Simpson Poet. Later on we watched Steve Tromans Pianist & composer & Lydia Gianville Percussionist have a total blast accompanying Roy’s poetry and discussing the finer points, which was a real treat. Serena Arthur, Birmingham Young Poet Laureate (who will have to hang up her hat next Month, which is well timed as she is off to study at Oxford University), gave us a confident performance and wowed everyone who hadn’t had the pleasure of seeing her before and those of us who had.

roy-launch Richard O’Brien © 2016

The beautiful evening of Jazz and Poetry was topped by Roy performing a set from his collection, accompanied by a soundtrack. This was not just poetry, this was theatre.

This book comes from a deep place and some of the poetry is still raw for Roy, despite this he was brave enough to perform one of those pieces for us. Connections were made.

As if all this wasn’t enough… we even saw Roy dance!

I have yet to find the space to sit and read the collection, but I would recommend it without hesitation.

BUY YOUR COPY

This debut collection of poems by former Birmingham Poet Laureate Roy McFarlane explores love, loss, adoption and identity in powerful, precise and emotionally-charged poetry. From bereavement comes forth a life story in poems; the journey of sons, friends, lovers and parents, and all the moments of growing-up, discovery, falling in and out of love and learning to say goodbye that come along the way.

Themes of place, music, history, and race interweave personal narratives, with poems that touch on everything from the ‘Tebbitt Test’ and Marvin Gaye to the Black Country, that ‘place just off the M6’. Distinct and memorable, McFarlane’s poems are beautifully crafted, intricately focused, moving their readers between both the spiritual and the sensual worlds with graceful, rapturous hymns to the transformative power of love.

 Nine Arches Press © 2016

Praise for Beginning With Your Last Breath

There’s something I need to tell you, says a voice in the first poem of Roy McFarlane’s Beginning with Your Last Breath, which opens with a deeply personal and moving account of the discovery of an adoption. But the need to tell resounds throughout this collection – moving through lost love and friendships, the politics of place, race and culture and the salvatory power of music. The writing is always evocative, with a great care for the detail. These are poems of great power.’ – Hannah Lowe

‘So many of these poems have a novelistic power to hold the reader through their tense interior domains. This is a riveting poetry about loss and recovery, about pride, about boxing, basketball, Norman Tebbit and sex, though not all at once. I love the tight yet welcoming lines of each poem and McFarlane’s ability to concentrate the image, my best was perhaps the reference to ‘a stomach filled with cage birds’. Disturbing yet uplifting verse!’ – Daljit Nagra

 Nine Arches Press © 2016

 

RELATED LINKS:
http://roymcfarlane.com/

 

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One response »

  1. Pingback: September Review (better late than never) | awritersfountain

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