Katy and I had a brilliant day at the Free Verse Poetry book fair. Imagine you are a stamp collector and you went to a stamp collecting convention. A room full of people that share your peculiar passion. Well, that is what the book fair was for us. Hundreds of people who spend all their time wrangling words into the correct place. Pondering for hours about an adjective or a comma. Poetry geeks. It was heaven. Being able to screech in delight at a particular table that had an array of beautiful books was so much fun. Or chat to a friend who you usually only get to speak to online; finally meeting in real life was very satisfying. The whole room was full of enthusiastic, delighted people. Poetry is an unusual addiction, so it is good to be with like-minded people.
We read from our collaborative pamphlet, Inheritance, published by Mother’s Milk Books. I enjoyed writing with another poet; it created an excellent dialogue. I liked the tiny threads we picked up from each poem and the way that was woven into our own work. The garden cafe was a relaxed place to read and we had some great conversations after with members of the audience who enjoyed the poems.
I also enjoyed hearing V.Press poets Stephen Daniels and Nina Lewis (albeit briefly) reading in the garden and Silhouette Press poets, Jamie Thrasivoulou and Andrea Mbarushimana reading earlier in the day.
I would be delighted to see you at our reading on the 30th September.
11.30 Mother’s Milk Books
Ruth Stacey and Katy Wareham Morris
“Nottingham-based independent publisher Mother’s Milk Books showcase poets Ruth Stacey and Katy Wareham Morris, the authors of Inheritance, the most recent pamphlet from the press’s popular series of poetry ‘duets’, which focusses on narratives around womanhood and being a mother.”
“We’re delighted to announce the programme of readings and events at this year’s Poetry Book Fair! It’s only a small selection of the exhibitors attending the fair, but we hope it offers a juicy selection of just some of the exciting developments in UK poetry this year!
The fair itself is free to enter and is open to the public from 11am – 6pm, with an Evening Do from 7pm onwards, at Conway Hall (25 Red Lion Square, London WC1R 4RL).”
Illustration: Ruth Stacey, oil pastels and pencil.
“History holds such a wealth of material for any writer – but especially so for poets. And yet, so few poets find themselves looking to such inspiration. Of all the poets I know, of all the (contemporary) poets I’ve read, I’ve never quite found someone who interprets history through poetry like Ruth Stacey. I’m not talking of using poetry to illustrate history. I’m not talking of political ballads or of waxing poetics. I’m talking of recreating history, provoking ghosts, resurrecting the dead. I have many friends who are history interpreters, working or volunteering at historical sites. They dress in costumes, don weaponry, and wield the mannerisms and speech of the people who were there. Ruth Stacey interprets history in just this way. I was once told, of a poem I wrote of an American Civil War widow, “If they taught history like that in school, I might have paid attention!” Pay attention, dear readers. You will love Stacey’s Queens.”
Eve Brackenbury, Poet and owner of Inklings’ Books & Coffee Shoppe.
Congratulations to Claire! Thank you all for entering.
Queen, Jewel, Mistress is a collection of poems that journeys from Anglo-Saxon times to the present day. Every famous queen and many forgotten ones get a moment to speak with the reader. In the back of the book is a brief history of all the queens. To win an illustrated copy of my book just comment on this post and share with your history loving friends.
The queens in the sketches are Anne Boleyn and Ælfthryth, wife of King Edgar. Plus, a songbird for Eleanor of Provence…you will have to read the poem to know why!
I will choose a winner on 30th April. Good luck!
Pressure. To write a poem every day for a whole month. Will it force me to focus and help my current period of writer’s block? Will the daily deadline just create an accumulation of mini failures as I don’t hit my target? Will it be fun?
I did it a few years back, using Carrie Etter’s prompts, and got a good number of drafts that became published poems. Jo Bell’s 52 project was also very useful. However, this year I am feeling quite flat and uninspired, even with prompts.
I have written a couple so far and it’s day 10 so I am way behind. Instead of trying to force something, I have been writing observations in careful detail. Describing people, conversations, scenes. It’s taken the pressure off and it is fun again. Like sketching instead of painting the final portrait in oils.
Friday 31st March. An event run by Woo Feministas, a Worcester based group, to raise money for the Worcester Pride event.
This house has been far out at sea all night,
The woods crashing through darkness, the booming hills,
Winds stampeding the fields under the window
Floundering black astride and blinding wet
Till day rose; then under an orange sky
The hills had new places, and wind wielded
Blade-light, luminous black and emerald,
Flexing like the lens of a mad eye.
At noon I scaled along the house-side as far as
The coal-house door. Once I looked up –
Through the brunt wind that dented the balls of my eyes
The tent of the hills drummed and strained its guyrope,
The fields quivering, the skyline a grimace,
At any second to bang and vanish with a flap:
The wind flung a magpie away and a black-
Back gull bent like an iron bar slowly. The house
Rang like some fine green goblet in the note
That any second would shatter it. Now deep
In chairs, in front of the great fire, we grip
Our hearts and cannot entertain book, thought,
Or each other. We watch the fire blazing,
And feel the roots of the house move, but sit on,
Seeing the window tremble to come in,
Hearing the stones cry out under the horizons.
nevertheless, she persisted