Monday, September 30, 2013

Life has been pleasantly busy on the poetry front:

Writing poems, re-drafting poems, filling in author questionnaires, sorting out an author pic, putting together a sampler for the Scottish Book Trust, reading in London, meeting with my writing mentor in Edinburgh and so on...

I so enjoyed the reading in London at the Eyewear event and super pleased to be back down in a few weeks time to be a guest reader at the launch of four Eyewear collections. Aside from the excellent poetry I just LOVE the Eyewear books!! They are all beautifully designed hard-backs and I'm so looking forward to mine coming out in the spring.
It seems things have been on a non-stop roll for a while now and I intend to make the most of it while it lasts!  I've been asked to participate in a reading showcase for the New Writers Award event at StAnza in St. Andrews next year and also been invited to read in Paris (!!) in the spring as part of an Eyewear poets reading night!

Originally the focus of my mentoring was going to be on putting together my first collection and obviously that's now not needed, so instead Vicki is helping me to extend my voice / exercise more control over voice and imagery and think about themes for working towards a second collection, which is tremendously exciting. It's so wonderful (and nerve-wracking) getting input from an amazing poet like Vicki Feaver, such a wonderful opportunity to push my writing further and escape the post-first-collection-slump. 

I've been reading lots of the two WS's (WS Graham and WS Merwin) and listening to podcasts from the Poetry Foundation website. I especially love the Lorine Niedecker podcast (she has such a beautiful voice) and the Stanley Kunitz podcast who I could listen to all day.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Can hardly believe it....

And this lovely write-up from Jon Stone, the competition judge -

“I chose Marion McCready’s Tree Language as the overall winner for two major reasons: firstly, the poetry is incredibly dark and rich and bloody (blood is a particular theme), with frequently brilliant lines and almost Celan-esque word pairings: ‘blood-cut son’, ‘snow-eyes dressing’, ‘death fruits’. Or how about a poem that opens, running on from its title:
Like a dead shrew
the baby lies comically still.
Secondly, as a collection, it’s superbly structured. Repetition within and between the poems is used to haunting effect; often, a motif or image returns in the manner of a memory resurfacing, or a recurring dream. The loosely held themes allow her to cover a range of territory, including war poems, over four distinct chapters, without seeming to stray from the direct path established in the opening pieces. This is assured, disconcertingly potent work with a sharp and distinctive flavour.”
Todd Swift, Publisher of Eyewear said “We are thrilled to be publishing Marion in 2014.  Tree Language is an extraordinary collection from a debut poet of rare ability and vision. This collection is a real find and I am ecstatic that through the Melita Hume Prize we are able to celebrate such a strong talent. ”
Tree Language will be publishing by Eyewear in Spring 2014.

Thursday, September 05, 2013

Can't believe it's coming up this Sunday!! I've been practising my set all week, it's been a while since I've done a reading so I'm a little nervous but really looking forward to it! It's nice getting an opportunity to read in London though I won't get much of a chance to do any touristy stuff as I'm flying down on Sunday morning and flying back up on Monday morning.
I've been doing so much reading lately and trying hard to focus my writing and instead of the proliferation of image-making, which has always been my first love in poetry, trying to develop a stronger narrative voice in a way that is natural to me and my writing. A new discovery for me has been James Dickey. I'm really enjoying reading his poems, reading up about him and interviews with him and his entertainingly catty comments about his contemporaries (check out the Paris Review archives interview with him!).
Been reading Selima Hill's People Who Like Meatballs on and off over the last couple of months and it's really staying with me. I'm still obsessed by the Imagists and I'm back re-reading Imagist Poetry by Peter Jones and constantly go back to H.D.'s Sea Garden (which is free on the kindle!).
Also keep going back to W.S. Graham, trying to learn how to do 'voice' from him since his 'voice' is so familiar to me coming from Greenock which is just across the Clyde from me and where I spent many a weekend staying with my grandparents as a child and walking the hills and streets with them.