Monday, September 29, 2014

I've been on a roll of garden poems for a while now, in fact I think my garden has taken on a bizarre life and mythology of its own which I'm happy to tap into for as long as the poems last!

I've been knee-deep in reading some wonderful books recently. I had a buying splurge and bought a bunch of books I've been dying to read for ages:
Airmail: The letters of Robert Bly and Tomas Transtromer, Fauverie and Heart of a Deer by Pascale Petit, and the excitingly amazing African Folktales and Sculpture by Paul Radin.

Any Plath fan will recognise the Radin book which according to Ted Hughes had a huge influence on the poems Plath wrote at Yaddo. I've been wanting to pick up a copy of the book for ages and managed to get a second-hand ex-library copy. The book is huge and full of wonderful stories and large photos. It was exciting to come across The City Where Men Are Mended - a Hausa folktale, and see how Plath weaved the African mythology into her own personal mythology in her Poem for a Birthday.

I read Airmail very quickly, it wasn't quite as good as I was hoping it would be. Very much a friendship played out in letters and particularly good if you're interested in translation but otherwise I didn't find it to be particularly revelatory about either Bly or Transtromer's poetry.

It's so good to have Pascale Petit's new collection (with an absolutely gorgeous cover) and catch up with one of her older collections. I'm happily reading them slowly and continually and probably will be for the next while. Still also reading Roethke and Bhatt - which have become my staple reading and I don't see that changing for the foreseeable future.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

It may have been a no vote but I think 'not yet' is more accurate...

Anyway, very pleased to be in the Sunday Herald magazine at the week-end for the Be The First To Like This - anthology of new Scottish poetry. Can't wait to get my copy of the book - such an eclectic range of poets in it and of course many more fine Scottish poets not in it - definitely think Scotland is going through a bit of a literary renaissance!
If you want to keep up with the news about the anthology follow here on twitter and check out here for the facebook page.

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Hello blogger, my old friend. I've come to talk with you again...

It's been rather busy since I've updated. The most miraculous news is that after all these years of writing alone on my little peninsula I've finally come across some other local poets and we have formed a monthly poetry work-shopping group. Wonderful to get a chance to meet up and talk poetry with real live people - there are four of us and bizarrely we all live within two streets of each other!

Dunoon hosted it's first Mini Book Festival which I read at with Tariq Latif - it was a good opportunity to try out some of the new poems. Hoping it'll be the first of an annual local book festival which would be wonderful. Tariq and I also did a poetry reading in the summer in the local bookshop which seemed to go down well - it's so good having someone else locally to read with!

I put together a book list for the Scottish Book Trust of some of my favourite contemporary female poets which you can read here.

I was pleasantly surprised to come across a lovely five star review of Tree Language on Amazon. It feels wonderfully good to get the feedback and simply that my book has found a happy home in some complete stranger's life!

Very pleased to have some poems in Be The First To Like This, an anthology of new Scottish poetry with a foreword written by Liz Lochhead. Colin Waters from the Scottish poetry library (editor of the anthology) has put together a great webpage for it here. It's being launched next week in Glasgow and Edinburgh and tomorrow we're all getting our picture taken at the Scottish Poetry Library for the Saturday Herald and Sunday Herald Magazine, so that's quite exciting!

Next month I'll be reading and chatting at the Portobello Book Festival in Edinburgh as part of a Scottish Book Trust event along with two other recipients of the SBT New Writer's Award. Check out the dates of the book festival here and if you're around please come along - I've heard there will be wine!

Finally, good old Highland Mary's voting yes and so am I. Only four more days until the referendum and it's all up for grabs!!