Thursday, June 23, 2016

I'm now onto book two of Richard Holmes' brilliant biographies of Coleridge. I feel like I've spent the last few weeks submerged in the recesses of Coleridge's genius and wild brain, I'll be sad when I've finished the book!

I'm delighted that The Manchester Review have published my poem sequence on Dunoon's Victorian pier  - 'She Lay Down Deep Beneath the Sea' - in their current issue.

Dunoon's Victorian Pier this morning!

The reading list I submitted to POETRY is now up on the blog here - I've finished reading the Ted Hughes biography and obviously I'm now reading the Coleridge books.

A new magazine of Scottish poetry I've been impressed with is the Glasgow-based Raum. I was pleased to have a poem in their recent issue, a beautifully produced magazine with a broad range of poetry, they're definitely worth checking out. 

Thursday, June 09, 2016

Life is so full of commitments and busyness at the moment that I'm not finding much in the way of writing time.

A couple of weeks ago I was invited into my son and daughter's primary school to introduce poetry to the children. It turned out to be a rather mad, busy but rewarding experience. I took classes from P1 right through to P7 getting them to write odes and riddles on topics such as the seashore to fruit and vegetables. The school are putting together a book including a poem from every child in the school in order to raise much needed funds for the school. Edwin Morgan's 'The Apple's Song' went down a treat as did Pam Ayers' 'Oh I Wished I Looked After Me Teeth'! I used lots of tips from this great article in Poetry from Rachel Zucker and started every class with writing a class poem.

I've just finished reading Jonathan Bates' biography of Ted Hughes and have moved onto Coleridge: Early Visions by Richard Holmes. According to Bates it's the last book Hughes read / was in the middle of reading when he died. It's beautifully written - really makes Coleridge come to life, cleverly weaving Coleridge's own words throughout it. I'm so enjoying going back to the Romantics. I'm also reading through the Child Ballads, I have an idea of writing my own version of some of them as a bit of a long term project - just need time and peace to get on with it!

I'm pleased that the fabulous Irish poet, Jane Clarke, whose beautifully written first collection, River, did extraordinarily well when it came out last year has written me a very generous blurb for Madame Ecosse. Vicki Feaver has also generously agreed to write one for me. It's such a kindness when poets you respect so highly agree to write a blurb for you!!

I'm excited that I'll be launching Madame Ecosse in October in Glasgow as part of Jim Carruth's Mirrorball reading series and also in Edinburgh at the Scottish Poetry Library at an Eyewear event along with other Eyewear poets.

Wednesday, June 01, 2016

The 1st of June has never been as sweet as this one!! I can't really believe my Mary Stuart poem is in this month's POETRY magazine (taking up a whole nine pages!!) alongside poetry greats Alice Oswald, D. Nurkse and Sinead Morrissey amongst others, yet here it is -