Category Archives: Books

INKSPILL 2018 Bookshop

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inkspill bks

The INKSPILL Book Shop posts provides you with access to this year’s Guest Writers books and other books featured over the weekend.

Our Guest Writers give their time for free and the whole weekend is free for you to access… so if you are in the market for a book, you have come to the right place.


Kate Garrett

density.jpg

The Density of Salt

These are poems of journeying, transformation, and growth, woven through with fairytale and myth, forest, sky and sea; they are elaborations of the dark times that make us look for light. This book is a place where love is never the same feeling twice, and neither is revenge.

doomsday

You’ve never seen a doomsday like it

These are poems about surviving doomsdays. People use the word doomsday to describe the apocalypse, and apocalypse simply means ‘an uncovering of knowledge’. Every life has its share of apocalyptic moments—not only great catastrophes, but also small secret revelations, and surprise twists of good fortune as well. They leave you with lessons learned, and stories to tell.

deadly

Deadly, Delicate 

Here are fourteen poems circumnavigating the world of historical piracy, presented at a slant where the men are dangerous and the women are lethal. The violence and the sweetness, the freedom and the acceptance of death are all given equal footing. Never straying from the brutality of a lawless life on the seas, Deadly, Delicate welcomes you to the depths…

Three Drops Press and Picaroon Titles can be found here – 4 pages of books.

Spotlight Kate Garrett

 

bONNIES CREW

Bonnie’s Crew Poetry Anthology 

The Bonnie’s Crew poetry anthology is here! Our tiny A6 paperback contains 41 poets and 52 pages of poetry. It’s a limited first print run of 200, and they’ve been flying out my front door – but we do still have plenty available.



Kevin Brooke

jimmy-cricket-front-cover YA

Jimmy Cricket

‘Seen through the eyes of the main character, Jimmy Latham, this story shows how teenagers can, with the right support, survive just about anything. Set just after Jimmy’s fifteenth birthday and a year after the death of his parents in a car accident his life is in disarray. But then…he’s given the chance to focus on something positive.’

Published by Black Pear Press

Max & Luchia–The Game Makers

front-covere28093max-luchia

Max & Luchia–The Game Makers takes you on a magical journey into an online game invented by the imagination of Max & Luchia. Illustrated throughout by the super-talented Seraphim Bryant, this is an exciting, engaging read that young readers have said is unputdownable! 

Published by Black Pear Press

The Roman Citizens From Class 6B

roman

Ben has an amazing talent – his pictures come to life! When he and his friends Calum and Maisie are transported onto a Battlefield, their Roman adventures begin. Aimed at an approximate reading age of 6-10, the story includes a chariot race in the Circus Maximus, a day in the Roman Senate and a daring rescue of a slave girl called Phina from the lions in the Colosseum. After hiding in the Catacombs, Ben draws one last picture and he, Calum, Maisie and Phina are transported back to England – 61AD England to be precise where they are soon charging towards the Roman Army alongside Boudicca, the Iceni Queen.


Alison May 

All That Was Lost

ATWL Cover

In 1967 Patience Bickersleigh is a teenager who discovers a talent for telling people what they want to hear. Fifty years later she is Patrice Leigh, a nationally celebrated medium. But cracks are forming in the carefully constructed barriers that keep her real history at bay.   

Published by Legend Press

Click below to buy a copy.

INKSPILL 2018 Feature – Interview with Alison May ALL THAT WAS LOST

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2018 VERSION GUEST POETS TO USE

Alison May (2)

What inspired you to write All That Was Lost?

All That Was Lost is an idea that I’ve had on the back burner for a long time now. I started writing a rom com about a stage medium years ago, but the subject matter was pulling the story in a darker direction. And my rom com heroine had a mother, who was also a medium, and had been in the business for years and years. She was a total pro at what she did. And that character seemed so much more interesting than my twenty-something main character. So the rom com (and the daughter) got ditched and I put my old pro centre stage, where she belongs.

 

Patrice isn’t a classic heroine. What drew you to that character?

I’m fascinated by the question of to what extent our personalities are formed by our upbringing and to what extent we get to choose who we are.
Patrice is an extreme example of that. It seems that she’s based her whole life on a lie – what does that do to a person over fifty years? Does the lie become truer because someone sells it hard enough?
I was also really excited to write a slightly older heroine than I’ve written in the past. Patrice has decades of good and bad experiences that colour every decision she makes. I think we often cast older women as supporting characters – someone’s mum (as Patrice started out!), someone’s grandmother, someone’s wife – so putting all the complexity that Patrice has built up over her life at the heart of a story felt good.

What are your top tips for new writers trying to write or publish their first novel?

Just write the sodding book. That is always the top piece of advice. There’s lots of stuff you can learn and develop in terms of craft and understanding story structure, but none of that will help you if you don’t get some words down on the page.
Following on from that, listen to advice, but make your own decisions. There are a lot of writing tutors and consultancy services out there – I’m one of them – but what none of those people can do for you is find your voice and work out what sort of stories you want to tell. That has to come from you, so don’t let all the advice that’s out there overwhelm who you want to be as a writer.

 

ATWL Cover

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INKSPILL 2018 Feature – All That Was Lost By Alison May

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2018 VERSION GUEST POETS TO USE

Alison May was a Guest Writer for INKSPILL back in 2015. We are delighted that this September Alison launched her latest novel ‘ALL THAT WAS LOST’. This afternoon we are happily featuring Alison May and her new book on INKSPILL.

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alison book launch poster

Author bio

Alison is a novelist, short story writer, blogger and creative writing tutor who grew up in North Yorkshire, and now lives in Worcester. She has worked as a waitress, a shop assistant, a learning adviser, an advice centre manager, a freelance trainer, and now a maker-upper of stories.

Alison won the RNA’s Elizabeth Goudge trophy in 2012, and her short stories have been published by Harlequin, Choc Lit and Black Pear Press.

Alison has also been shortlisted in the Love Stories and RoNA Awards.

Alison writes emotional fiction, and her seventh book, All That Was Lost, was published by Legend Press in September 2018.

She also writes modern retellings of misunderstood classics, in collaboration with Janet Gover, under the penname Juliet Bell. Alison is currently Vice-Chair of the Romantic Novelists’ Association.

alison all that was lost

You can find out more about Alison on her website: www.alison-may.co.uk, by following her on Twitter or Instagram @MsAlisonMay or on her facebook page: www.facebook.com/AlisonMayAuthor/

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‘Intriguing with a cast of complex characters that keep you fascinated, this is a page-turner and surprisingly tender’ Katie FForde

‘A resonant, emotional story about grief, loss and love with a complex, tragic heroine—a fake psychic reaching the end of her career. Although it’s about death, this story is never depressing, and ultimately it’s about recovery and healing’ Julie Cohen

‘A beautiful and compelling story that delves into what is real, what we are willing to believe and the power of grief’ Liz Fenwick

‘”All That is Lost” is a bold, beautiful thought-provoking novel, that sensitively confronts difficult themes’ Rowan Coleman

‘It is a triumph. What Alison May has produced is an intimate and affecting study of loss, grief and identity that is just wonderful.’ Linda’s Book Bag

‘What an interesting and unique book… a fascinating, at times heart-wrenching, look at secrets, the cost of keeping them hidden, and whether hiding them requires lies.’ Fireflies and Free Kicks

 

 

INKSPILL 2018 Bookshop

Standard

inkspill bks

The INKSPILL Book Shop posts provides you with access to this year’s Guest Writers books and other books featured over the weekend.

Our Guest Writers give their time for free and the whole weekend is free for you to access… so if you are in the market for a book, you have come to the right place.


Kate Garrett

density.jpg

The Density of Salt

These are poems of journeying, transformation, and growth, woven through with fairytale and myth, forest, sky and sea; they are elaborations of the dark times that make us look for light. This book is a place where love is never the same feeling twice, and neither is revenge.

doomsday

You’ve never seen a doomsday like it

These are poems about surviving doomsdays. People use the word doomsday to describe the apocalypse, and apocalypse simply means ‘an uncovering of knowledge’. Every life has its share of apocalyptic moments—not only great catastrophes, but also small secret revelations, and surprise twists of good fortune as well. They leave you with lessons learned, and stories to tell.

deadly

Deadly, Delicate 

Here are fourteen poems circumnavigating the world of historical piracy, presented at a slant where the men are dangerous and the women are lethal. The violence and the sweetness, the freedom and the acceptance of death are all given equal footing. Never straying from the brutality of a lawless life on the seas, Deadly, Delicate welcomes you to the depths…

Three Drops Press and Picaroon Titles can be found here – 4 pages of books.

Spotlight Kate Garrett

 

bONNIES CREW

Bonnie’s Crew Poetry Anthology 

The Bonnie’s Crew poetry anthology is here! Our tiny A6 paperback contains 41 poets and 52 pages of poetry. It’s a limited first print run of 200, and they’ve been flying out my front door – but we do still have plenty available.



Kevin Brooke

jimmy-cricket-front-cover YA

Jimmy Cricket

‘Seen through the eyes of the main character, Jimmy Latham, this story shows how teenagers can, with the right support, survive just about anything. Set just after Jimmy’s fifteenth birthday and a year after the death of his parents in a car accident his life is in disarray. But then…he’s given the chance to focus on something positive.’

Published by Black Pear Press

Max & Luchia–The Game Makers

front-covere28093max-luchia

Max & Luchia–The Game Makers takes you on a magical journey into an online game invented by the imagination of Max & Luchia. Illustrated throughout by the super-talented Seraphim Bryant, this is an exciting, engaging read that young readers have said is unputdownable! 

Published by Black Pear Press

The Roman Citizens From Class 6B

roman

Ben has an amazing talent – his pictures come to life! When he and his friends Calum and Maisie are transported onto a Battlefield, their Roman adventures begin. Aimed at an approximate reading age of 6-10, the story includes a chariot race in the Circus Maximus, a day in the Roman Senate and a daring rescue of a slave girl called Phina from the lions in the Colosseum. After hiding in the Catacombs, Ben draws one last picture and he, Calum, Maisie and Phina are transported back to England – 61AD England to be precise where they are soon charging towards the Roman Army alongside Boudicca, the Iceni Queen.

 

INKSPILL 2018 Guest Writer Kate Garrett Bonnie’s Crew

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INKSPILL GUESTS Kate G

This year Kate Garrett embarked on a new project Bonnie’s Crew. Kate tells us more about this in our final interview.

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1) Can you tell us a little background on Bonnie’s Crew?

Bonnie’s Crew was originally just going to be a little A6 print anthology, put together from work sent in by my friends in the poetry community, and sold via JustGiving to raise money for the Children’s Heart Surgery Fund. Leeds Congenital Hearts – which is funded by the CHSF – saved my daughter Bonnie’s life when she was born, but they did it without surgery (so far – she does have a condition that often requires surgery later in life). Other babies, children, teens, and adults need the unit’s help in much more complex ways. Our time on Ward L51 opened my eyes to congenital heart disease and made me want to do something to help.

 

2) At what point did you realise poetry was your way of giving back?

Almost immediately – it’s where my own heart lies (aside from my family unit of course, but even then my husband and closest friends are poets too!), and poetry is where my people are, where the community is for me.

 

3) Please tell us about the Bonnie’s Crew anthology and webzine.

The Bonnie’s Crew anthology is fiftyish pages of poems, mostly by poets in the UK, printed in A6 size with beautiful original cover art by Marija Smits. The poems range from those written just for Bonnie to suitable reprints, and everything in between.

The webzine has become far wider-reaching – poets from all over the world submit to Bonnie’s Crew! For both mediums, I wanted poems touching on hearts and hope, above all else, but also hospital experiences, grief, loss, love (romantic or otherwise) – as these are all very universal things, we all have a body, we all have emotions, and when we experience health issues, or loss, or family problems, or anything that moves us deeply, it’s good to have a place to express those things and find solace in other stories.

Sometimes our poems are inspired by news articles that aren’t even about human beings, but are relevant to our moral dilemmas (I’m thinking of Jude Cowan Montague’s brilliant ‘the sadness of the experiment’ https://bonnieandcrew.wordpress.com/2018/04/21/poem-the-sadness-of-the-experiment-by-jude-cowan-montague), and sometimes the poets themselves have been in hospital for heart conditions. It varies, but the writing is always beautiful.

We currently publish two poets a week, on Wednesdays and Saturdays, but from February 2019 we will be publishing in a web journal format every other month. BC #1 will be released on 9th February – and there’s still space for more work. To read what we’ve published so far, and to submit your own work, visit http://bonnieandcrew.wordpress.com

4) How many poems have been published on the zine?

I’m not exactly sure! Over 150, or around that… at the time of answering these questions there have been 105 posts published or scheduled, and quite a few of those include multiple poems. We’ve been publishing since the first week of February 2018.

 

5) How did it feel to hit your fundraising target?

Amazing, unbelievable. And I was so moved by the fact that through poetry we were able to raise over £1,000 in 6 months. We’re still going, and still have anthologies left to send out, so if people are interested, our JustGiving page is https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/bonnieandcrew and if people would like an anthology after donating (£5 minimum for a book, but even a £1 donation helps!), please email me at bonnies.crew.poems@gmail.com. I’d love to raise £2,000 by the time Bonnie turns one in January, or at least by the time the print anthology turns one in May.

6) When did you decide to include visual art?

When I decided to change to a bi-monthly web journal format. Our webzine has been characterised by me pairing public domain images with the poems we publish, and people always remark on the lovely combinations. I’d like to carry on the visual aspect when we change to releasing work in issues, but I wanted the art to come from submissions instead of public domain resources.

7) What have you enjoyed most about this project?

What haven’t I enjoyed! It’s honestly the most rewarding bit of editing and publishing I’ve ever done. If I had to stop editing/publishing everything else tomorrow, I would not be able to put Bonnie’s Crew down. It’s made such a difference to people, not just the heart unit, but regular people who come across the poems and feel soothed by reading them.

 

8)What is the future for this project?

Well, as I say, I’d love to raise more money (which means selling the remaining anthologies), hold an event in Leeds with readings, and see where the new web journal format takes us. I’m accepting creative nonfiction articles and essays now as well, alongside the poetry and visual art. Bonnie’s Crew’s tagline has always been ‘poems helping hearts of all sizes’ and it’s grown to helping hearts in both literal and figurative ways. It would be lovely to keep that momentum going and reach even more people.

bONNIES CREW

bonnies crew

INKSPILL 2018 Guest Writer Kate Garrett Editor Interview

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INKSPILL INTERVIEW - Made with PosterMyWall

Kate Garrett is a poet and an editor. In this interview we will discover more about her editorial work.


1) What makes your magazine /journals different from others on the market?

I don’t know, I didn’t set them up to really be anything in relation to other publications, they are just what I wanted them to be – Picaroon is for “rogue” poems, work that might be too odd or outspoken for other markets. Three Drops from a Cauldron is for folkore/myth poems but for everyone regardless of geography/nationality, age, race, sexuality, gender identity, disability, etc – I love myth and lore from all perspectives. Bonnie’s Crew was originally set up to raise money and awareness for a heart charity, but it’s now a place people come to read gentler poems about being human, or poems that will give them a moment of calm.

 

2) What’s your mission at Three Drops from a Cauldron?

Actually, apart from indulging my own love of reading work based in myths, lore, magic, superstition, legend, and son on – another side of our mission is to show that myth/folklore/fairy tale/legend-themed writing has more scope than people sometimes think. I’ve seen people say ‘folklore poems’ as if the very idea leaves a bad taste in their mouths, that ‘political’ poems are somehow superior… and while I appreciate a good political poem, and agree they are very important, I’ve published poems that are both of those things – mythical and political. In addition to this, many of our poems are personal to the author, the stories have a lot more to say than just ‘here is some magic happening’ or a direct retelling of an old tale. These things – myth, folklore, legend – are ingrained in all of us and fanciful stories are not always told just for the sake of it. There is often more under the surface.

 

3) How has expanding your team changed things?

Well, it’s definitely made the seasonal specials a lot more interesting and fun! I took on our readers and editorial staff for seasonal specials (Samhain, Midwinter, Beltane) specifically, and to help out with our early themed print anthologies. While I try to keep a wide range of readers in mind when selecting work, it’s definitely easier to do that with seven other people going over the submissions. Sadly, we won’t be doing any more themed print anthologies, and our seasonal specials will be ending with Midwinter 2018 (submissions open 1 November, and it will be published in December), but the team have said they will still be around if I need them. They’ve also expanded our audience by sharing Three Drops with quite different groups of people – their own social media friends and followers – which is wonderful.

 

4) Do you have a theme for each issue?

No, for the regular web journal issues, there is no set theme. Themes might arise in each issue of my three web journals – Three Drops from a Cauldron, Picaroon Poetry, Bonnie’s Crew – but it’s not intentional.

 

5) How should writers contact you?

By email please. Three Drops: threedropspoetry@gmail.com

Picaroon Poetry: picaroonpoetry@gmail.com

Bonnie’s Crew: bonnies.crew.poems@gmail.com

 

6) What’s your day like as an editor?

It varies wildly – because I have five kids, currently four journals (as well as people’s pamphlets in print) to publish, and health issues. One day I might not do any editing at all – I might do some writing instead, I might have to have a full housework day, or a day resting, or there might be appointments for the kids. On the days I do edit, the weekday mornings always start with coffee, then giving Saoirse and Bonnie breakfast after the husband and three teenage sons have left the house, exciting mumsy things like that… After the girls have settled, if it’s a Saturday/Sunday/Monday I am probably responding to submissions. If it’s any other day I might be formatting a book or a journal issue, designing a cover, scheduling posts on the webzine format mags, proofreading. It’s organised chaos.

 

7) How do you edit? / What are you looking for?

Most of all, I’m looking for work that moves me. I’m not concerned with how much the writer has been published, what degrees they have, what competitions they’ve won – I don’t even read bios until I’ve read the submission itself. A writer with no publication credits could send a poem or flash fiction or creative nonfiction that blows my mind, and maybe a writer who has won every possible contest and has a PhD could send their least impressive work – I will accept the pieces that make me feel something regardless of who wrote them.

 

8) What’s your final advice to writers?

Probably the same advice most people give – keep writing, keep READING (I cannot stress how important it is to read if you’re a writer; apart from improving your craft, I don’t understand why anyone would want to be published if they don’t like books…), and don’t take rejection too hard. Rejections seem to upset people more than anything, it seems, and honestly they are just part of the whole writing game. Everyone gets them. Being a bit of a melancholy person, I actually expect them! Take a step back, look for any positives you can take from it (I always look at my work again, and sometimes – though not always – in the harsh glare of a rejection things appear that might need more work), know that selections for journals, anthologies, and pamphlets/collections/novels/everything else are made based on a number of factors, and try again.


Check in later to find out more about Bonnie’s Crew when we chat to Kate this evening.

bonnies crew

INKSPILL 2018 Bookshop

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inkspill bks

The INKSPILL Book Shop posts provides you with access to this year’s Guest Writers books and other books featured over the weekend.

Our Guest Writers give their time for free and the whole weekend is free for you to access… so if you are in the market for a book, you have come to the right place.


Kate Garrett

density.jpg

The Density of Salt

These are poems of journeying, transformation, and growth, woven through with fairytale and myth, forest, sky and sea; they are elaborations of the dark times that make us look for light. This book is a place where love is never the same feeling twice, and neither is revenge.

doomsday

You’ve never seen a doomsday like it

These are poems about surviving doomsdays. People use the word doomsday to describe the apocalypse, and apocalypse simply means ‘an uncovering of knowledge’. Every life has its share of apocalyptic moments—not only great catastrophes, but also small secret revelations, and surprise twists of good fortune as well. They leave you with lessons learned, and stories to tell.

deadly

Deadly, Delicate 

Here are fourteen poems circumnavigating the world of historical piracy, presented at a slant where the men are dangerous and the women are lethal. The violence and the sweetness, the freedom and the acceptance of death are all given equal footing. Never straying from the brutality of a lawless life on the seas, Deadly, Delicate welcomes you to the depths…

Three Drops Press and Picaroon Titles can be found here – 4 pages of books.

Spotlight Kate Garrett

 

Bonnie’s Crew Poetry Anthology 

The Bonnie’s Crew poetry anthology is here! Our tiny A6 paperback contains 41 poets and 52 pages of poetry. It’s a limited first print run of 200, and they’ve been flying out my front door – but we do still have plenty available.

bONNIES CREW

 

INKSPILL 2018 Guest Writer Kate Garrett Interview

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INKSPILL INTERVIEW - Made with PosterMyWall

INKSPILL GUESTS Kate G

Kate Garrett talks to us about writing poetry, her influences, books and reading as well as the latest on her current projects.

 

1) When did you realise you were a writer/ poet? 

I realised I was a writer somewhere around age three. I wanted to write my own books (I’d learned to read when I was two) – so my grandma would bind scraps of leftover wallpaper in cardboard, and I’d spend my days drawing Care Bears and My Little Pony fan fiction in them. I recall one of my Care Bears holding a knife, so I think my personal style was set long, long ago…

Poetry came several years later, with reading ‘The Highwayman’ by Alfred Noyes for the first time. It was historical fiction, it was a ghost story, it was full of emotion – it was everything I loved about prose fiction but in ballad form. It made me realise poetry was storytelling, too; it was when I learned ‘poetry’ was not just the amusing rhymes they taught us as small children. From there I moved on to the Beat Generation, then Sharon Olds, all in my teens, and became obsessed with writing it myself. I was 12 when ‘The Highwayman’ got that started. Strangely enough, it was through school that I came to love it – which is what quite a lot of people cite as a turn off.

2) Tell us about your process: Pen and Paper, computer, notebooks … how do you write? 

Pen and paper first, words and ideas jotted down in stream of consciousness, scribbles, only I know what I am trying to say (and sometimes even I don’t know). Then I take it to the computer, start typing anything that sounded salvageable in my notes, and stronger images and phrasing will come to me as I work. While I write the proper first draft, I must discover something I didn’t know was there – something about a character I’m writing (because much of my poetry is historical fiction or horror or both), or about myself, or a situation/experience. If that doesn’t happen, if I don’t learn something while writing, the poem isn’t working.

3) Which writer would you most like to have a drink with, and why?

Søren Kierkegaard and Albert Camus, because both of their books have helped with my emotional and mental wellbeing over the years… being comfortable with your own anxiety in an absurd world has a lot going for it, and without these guys and their own forms of existentialism, I don’t know if I’d have reached that point.

4) Where do you buy your books? 

Everywhere books are sold! I mean that sounds like an exaggeration, but I buy books literally everywhere I go, as well as from the internet. Two of the books I’m currently reading were purchased from the gift shop at the top of the Great Orme in Llandudno…

5) Who are you reading now? 

It’s more what am I reading than who just now. I’m reading a lot of history books, especially witch and/or occult and/or religion related – nothing new there – and I’m reading Against Nature (À Rebours) by J.-K. Huysmans, because I just love Huysmans’ novels, they hypnotise me a bit. But I tend to have anywhere from 10-25 books on the go at once (not an exaggeration), depending on what I feel like picking up on any given day. I do go through phases of reading poetry book after poetry book, but right now I’m not in one of those – I imagine I’ll be in one again before the new year! The last handful of poetry books I read included Sheffield Almanac by Pete Green, Sunshine by Melissa Lee-Houghton, Killing the Piano by Joe Williams, Moon Milk by Rachel Bower, & by Amy Kinsman, and Somewhere Between Rose and Black by Claire Walker.

6) Tell us about your latest collection. 

It’s called Land and Sea and Turning, and it’s a limited edition (only 100 copies will ever exist) chapbook published by CWP (Cringe-worthy Poets) Collective Press in Buffalo, NY, USA. It’s 22 poems about fate, and free will… and ok, also death. There are mythological, historical, and personal poems, and a few which are horror fiction. I don’t like to say which poems are which. I’m sure people can figure it out…

7) What influenced it?

History, mythology, literature, astrology, and inevitably, life. There are poems about cannibalism in Jamestown during the winter of 1609-1610; medieval belief in revenants in the abandoned Yorkshire village of Wharram Percy; a crime/horror fiction poem narrated by a very superstitious understudy during a run of Macbeth; a poem about The Girl in Blue, a figure of Ohio folklore who really existed, but her identity was a mystery for 60 years. Some of it is based in my own experience, but I’m increasingly weary of focusing on myself. I like giving life to history. I want people to feel those who came before us as fully fleshed out humans, not just names and dates and ideas, because learning history by memorising dates misses the point. More than anything I want to unsettle people in unexpected ways, not just with stories of my childhood abuse and bad choices as a younger adult. And that’s kind of what happened in Land and Sea and Turning – though some of the poems are personal, the need to dig around in other darkness, the stuff outside of myself, that took over.

8) What are your current/future projects?  

I’ve just finished a mini pamphlet of 12 poems called She looks just like you, which is currently under consideration at a press, and my fingers are firmly crossed. This one is very much based in my personal experience, but it’s through the lens of an elf or a changeling in the human world.

I also just finished my four-part poem ‘The fifth & final’ (to be released this winter as a Stickleback micro collection from Hedgehog Poetry Press), which is about magic, and how I blend my Christian and pagan beliefs, and sort of mythologising my youngest daughter Bonnie’s conception/gestation/birth. It’ll be part of my first full-length collection of poetry, The saint of milk and flames, which I’m halfway through writing. It’s full of faith and doubt, ideas about belonging and outsiders, and has a thread of fire running through it while being simultaneously soothing – hence the title, which is after Brigid, who is both Christian saint and pagan goddess.


 

Later we interview Kate Garrett in her role as Editor.

Don’t Oil The Hinges Heather Wastie’s Book Launch

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Behind every Worcestershire Poet Laureate is a book and 2018 sees the launch of a new one. Heather Wastie was Worcestershire Poet Laureate 2015-16 and since passing her crown onto Suz Winspear (who in turned passed the crown to me), Heather has been busy touring Idle Women, writing a book of poems for The Ring Project and creating Nationwide adverts… so it is no surprise that this new collection (her 7th book) took a while in the making.

The beautiful cover is designed by Jess Silk.

I was delighted to attend her launch last Saturday 15th September at Park’s Cafe, Droitwich. Apt that we celebrated the launch in the very cafe that features the door which led to the poem/title of the collection. ‘Park’s Cafe Poetry Reading’.

parks cafe

It was a delightfully fun evening which brought back lots of memories and people. Heather loves to collaborate and I found it particularly touching to see the amount of people in the room who were part of some of the projects touched on in this collection. There were also plenty of ‘Mouth & Music’ friends I hadn’t seen for a while and it lovely catching up and conspiring to do some one off event in 2019.

Knowing Heather and her poetry, I knew we were in for a treat… and I wasn’t wrong! The evening was filled with poetry and music, all of Heather’s Guests had appeared in the book in some way.

After brief introductions from Rod Griffiths & Polly Stretton (Black Pear Press) Heather shared poems from Don’t Oil The Hinges.

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Sharing with us details of where the poems came from, these context introductions are included in her book. She prefaced every poem with ‘I wouldn’t have written this poem if it were not for…’ and when that came round to Chaucer it had us all chortling!

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Heather’s first guest was Sarah Tamar who she used to host Mouth & Music with. We were all delighted to see Sarah again & to hear her poems.

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Then Heather’s Idle Women partner in crime Kate Saffin was next, delivering poetry used in the show (from the Idle Women book), delivered with aplomb. Kate blames Heather for getting her writing poetry. She is a talented Theatre maker and performer.

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Another feature of a Black Pear Press Launch is the author Q&A, hosted by Tony Judge. His wicked sense of humour left us all aghast as he asked Heather who her favourite collaborator was, we knew he was joking… it was a magical moment when Heather answered. We also heard about her writing process, other work she has been involved in and future plans.

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Following an interval we had music from Dave Sutherland, he had set Heather’s poem ‘Carrying the Evening Home’ to music – it was a great sing along and we got to hear one of his own songs too.

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Then Sunny Ormonde, an actor from The Archers performed Heather’s poem ‘Dad Was A Fan of The Archers’, which she performs in her one-woman show.

“Needing a poem about local life for my show at Bewdley Festival I discovered Heather’s wonderfully funny poems on line. Immediately smitten, I contacted her and was over the moon when she kindly offered to write a special poem for the show and Dad was a fan of The Archers was born. Nothing could have been more perfect—it was a huge hit and continues to be so.” – Sunny Ormonde

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Then Emma Purshouse closed the evening with a brilliant set including a poem she had written about the Canal for Heather & Kate to use in Idle Women. Her performance of it moved the room, we were all in that water. This poem will be included in Emma’s next book.

Exceptional!

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A well oiled (unlike Paul’s door) and relaxing evening. A most enjoyable launch and I now have my own copy of Heather’s latest book of poems.

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Find out more about this collection and treat yourself to a copy here https://blackpear.net/authors-and-books/heather-wastie/dont-oil-the-hinges/

black pearPublished by Black Pear Press.

Book Launch: Unable Mother by Helen Calcutt

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Described as a ‘violent grapple with our cosy notions of motherhood’ (Robert Peake)  this bold and breathtaking new book of poems exposes the painful and the beautiful experience  of becoming a new mother, torch-lit with violent and tender experience, sung from the body, and cast through a unique metaphoric lens.
This promises to be an unforgettable evening, celebrating themes of womanhood, transformation, and new life.

 

A much awaited Book Launch happened this month. Helen Calcutt’s first collection UNABLE MOTHER published by V. Press was launched at Waterstones, Birmingham.

I have heard Helen read from Unable Mother several times and was looking forward to getting my hands on a copy. The journey to Birmingham was epic with several issues that had occurred earlier in the day, trains were not running well. We waited on a platform for nearly an hour. By the time we arrived in Birmingham it felt like we should have least made it to Manchester!

I was delighted to see lots of familiar faces and the room was buzzing with pre-launch excitement. Helen had some 90s pop quietly playing in the background and everyone was settling in ready to hear some stunning poetry.

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The evening was hosted by Gavin, who is a Storyteller but he still treated us to a poem.

Helen invited Guest Poets Nellie Cole, Isabel Galleymore, Claire Walker and David Calcutt to read during the first part of the evening. Each poet read 3 or 4 poems which was enough to catch the flavour of their writing and leave the audience wanting more.

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Nellie Cole

I first heard Nellie at Stirchley Speaks a few years ago and thought how confident she was back then, how grounded her work is. I am delighted that I have heard some of the poems in her debut pamphlet in genesis form. I find it fascinating following the progress through to end results. ‘Bella’ is published by Offa’s Press.

http://offaspress.co.uk/poets/nellie-cole/

Nellie is from the Black Country and started writing poetry when she studied at Birmingham University.

Bella is … a work which blends factual evidence with folklore, superstition, hearsay and the imagination, these poems explore the Worcestershire murder mystery ‘Who Put Bella in the Wych Elm?’

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The book table at Helen’s Launch generously featured her Guest Poets, I needed more than my train fare and money for Unable Mother. I had hoped to catch Nellie performing at Permission to Speak on the 12th but due to work commitments was not able to make it. Bella is a book destined for my reading pile.

You can grab yourselves a copy here http://offaspress.co.uk/shop/

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Isabel Galleymore

I was really excited to hear Isabel’s set as I had not heard her read before. I have read her work, several poems are published on the Poetry Foundation website. She also won the Eric Gregory Award in 2017.

Isabel shared a beautiful set, her poetry draws the listener in. I definitely wanted to hear more.

Isabel’s first collection ‘Significant Other’ will be out next year (March 2019) published by Carcanet. Until then copies of Dazzle Ship published by Worple Press can be found here.

http://www.worplepress.com/dazzle-ship/

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Claire Walker

Claire Walker is a poet I know well, having met her on my first adventure as a poet back in September 2013, she is a good friend and a fellow V. Press poet and it is always a pleasure to listen to her work.

Her debut pamphlet ‘The Girl Who Turned Into a Crocodile’ (V. Press 2015) has sold out, but the poems in those covers remain strong. I was so glad she shared ‘Teaching Your Daughter to Crack Eggs’. Claire’s second pamphlet ‘Somewhere Between Rose and Black’ (2017) published by V. Press was available on the book table.

You can get a copy here http://vpresspoetry.blogspot.com/2017/12/launching-somewhere-between-rose-and.html

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David Calcutt

Three marvellous sets by three amazing poets and I thought it would be Helen next. Then we were introduced to David Calcutt who after his set was then to introduce Helen.

I had not expected David to be reading and was very happy when I discovered he was. It was a captivating set. He read from his latest collection ‘The last of the light is not the last of the light’, published by Fair Acre Press which launched earlier this year. https://awritersfountain.wordpress.com/2018/06/30/a-night-of-light/

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You can buy a copy here https://fairacrepress.co.uk/shop/david-calcutt-the-last-of-the-light-is-not-the-last-of-the-light/

 

 

 

 

As a daughter of a musician (and an ‘in the shadow of’ musician) I understand the need for a daughter of a writer/poet to want to feel she has established herself without standing on the shoulders of her father. Helen has definitely done that and I was touched by her metaphorical sigh of relief. Her first collection now published she could confidently invite David to be part of the Launch.

Even if David was aware he may be sounding like Father of the Bride in introducing us to her.

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Helen Calcutt

Like Claire, I have known Helen for a while and always enjoy listening to her work. I had the pleasure of hearing a set from Unable Mother at David’s Launch back in June and had heard some of the poems from the collection at other events. But this evening I was buying my own copy.

Hearing some of the poems for a second or third time works for me, because like a good film you notice something else. Something new. When I read poetry books it is not unusual for me to read a poem twice. Of course, in an extended set Helen shared more poems than I had heard and also the stories woven into the poems. How poems written for one thing take on significant and different meanings because of her experiences since.

She even shared the stories behind the magnificent cover.

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Helen Calcutt

It was a very moving set and left a few of us in tears. Helen trusted us enough to expose parts of her life on a soul level, it was painfully honest. The poems speak this honesty, this undoing of secrets, uncovering the things we don’t talk about, the experiences we hide – it all holds importance.

As Robert Peake says in his endorsement: “This work challenges our abstract and cosy notions of motherhood with a brutal and vulnerable delve into the psyche.” 

Helen’s set was brave and touching.

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An excellent evening and a wonderful book launch and a fine celebration with cake, wine and book signings afterwards.

Unable Mother Calcutt 978-1-9998444-0-0 You can buy a copy here

http://vpresspoetry.blogspot.com/p/unable-mother.html and also read a sample poem and hear Soundcloud audio of a selection of poems from the book.

“This work challenges our abstract and cosy notions of motherhood with a brutal and vulnerable delve into the psyche. Calcutt grapples, sometimes violently, sometimes with aching tenderness, each hard-won line ‘like squeezing / flesh and fruit from the bone, / this terrible love’. Yet these poems reach even further, into the rent world, and the remarkable kinds of beauty to which poetry alone can allude. This is an intimate book, the kind that comes in close to your ear to whisper dark secrets and unavoidable truths. These poems are spare, careful, insistent–and devastatingly good.” Robert Peake

“Helen Calcutt’s poems are full of surprising and intricate moments – they unfold like origami, deftly packing and unpacking themselves into new forms and presenting the reader with confidences, secrets and insight, the tender words for the things that are hard to say. In their explorations of motherhood, loss and discovery, Calcutt’s poetry is steeled with precise language, always finding clarity forged in the heart of experience.  These are intimate poems which are felt in the body, and written with a keen physicality – ‘love is meant to live on in the body’ writes Calcutt, ‘My flesh making heaven of it.’ In their makings and re-makings, each poem here reveals this to be a remarkable and potent debut.” Jane Commane

https://helencalcutt.org/

 

Stuart Bartholomew Waterstones Regional Manager is a huge supporter of Poetry (as well as co-director of Verve Poetry Festival and Verve Poetry Press) and he made sure this evening was smooth and possible, so I think he deserves some poetry thanks and praise too!