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.
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!
‘The first poem of Queen, Jewel, Mistress ends: ‘hear them echo echo’. I think that Ruth Stacey’s remarkable book will be the beginning of many different echoes in her readers’ (non-royal) minds.’ Alison Brackenbury
Read the whole review of QJM at The Compass Magazine
My editor and his team decided that a different title and cover design would appeal more to readers browsing in a book shop. It’s a strange thing letting go of your title, as I spent a long time deciding what the collection should be called, but I do like the one they selected. It comes from the Anne of Denmark poem:
I didn’t choose Anne Boleyn for the cover but it feels inevitable, as if it had to be her! I have been interested in Anne Boleyn since I read about her at school and then devoured every history book I could find about Henry VIII and his six wives. That soon extended into all other periods of history. If I went to anyone’s house I would seek out their
bookcases and find any history books they owned, then slink off to the sofa to read them. But my first love was Tudor and Stuart history. Watching historical movies like A Man for All Seasons and Anne of the Thousand Days with my mother after she had taped it on VHS off the TV for me. My Aunt took me to London, aged about 12, and I was allowed to pick any itinerary and I selected all Tudor themed things. Tower of London, Hampton Court and the National Portrait Gallery so I could stare at the Boleyn portrait for a long time. And now she is on the cover of my book.