Saturday, 19 April 2014

Giving it away and other poetry matters

Imagined Sons is one of twenty titles in a giveaway by New Welsh Review. The reason? I'm a past NWR contributor; between reviews, poems and a short story, I've had more appearances in its pages than I can recall. Details of the competition, including how to enter, can be found here.

On another bookish matter, Josephine Corcoran came to my reading at Park Street Poets in Bristol on the 11th and brought her thirteen-year-old son, Johnny. I'm glad to hear my work appealed to him. Her account of the evening appears on her blog here.

On Wednesday I fly to the States for a mini book tour, with readings in Providence (April 26 at Ada Books), Claremont, New Hampshire (April 30 at River Valley Community College), and Cambridge, MA (May 1 at The Grolier Poetry Book Shop). Full details of these events are on my Readings & Events page, and I hope to post photos &c. from the trip as I go. Recommendations for sightseeing, restaurants and used bookstores in these areas are all most welcome!

Friday, 11 April 2014

Adoption birthdays

Today's my adoption birthday, the day my adoptive parents picked me up from the hospital and took me into their home. It often feels more important than my "real" birthday, as I think of the creative, loving environment I was brought up in and credit it for what I value most in myself. 

My new book, Imagined Sons, focuses on my other position in the "adoption triangle," the birthmother. I've given five readings from the book now, and at each one someone asks whether I've searched for my son. 

I finally managed to start the process last September. I learned that the agency I surrendered my son through had been absorbed into another agency and with some research discovered the right person to contact. We swapped emails, and she said I should get on the Illinois adoption registry and in the meantime she'd send me a letter. 

The letter never arrived. It says something about the degree of my fear that only yesterday, over six months after the initial exchange of emails, that I wrote again to say so. I received a prompt response saying the letter would be sent out at once (with apologies for the lapse), and I downloaded the forms I need to fill out to join the Illinois adoption registry. I'll fill them out this weekend and post them next week. 

So I wonder what day my son's adoption birthday is. His birthday's September 11th, but I know he was briefly in foster care before being adopted, so I have no idea what his adoption birthday would be. If I'd known my parents wouldn't make it to their seventies, I would have begun this search much earlier. All I can do now is remember today, remember them, and be oh so grateful I had them as long as I did.

Thursday, 3 April 2014

Saturday, 29 March 2014

Mothering Sunday (UK)

Christmas 2010. Experience and Innocence. My mother, above, had lost her husband in March 2009 and was persisting sadly and hopefully. My niece Sara, below, is now ten and as easy and happy as she was then. 

In England, it's Mothering Sunday, reduced to 23 hours by the time change. I'm a little grateful for the shortening. I'm reckoning what I'd trade to have my mother back again for an hour, a week, a month, a year. Make me an offer....   

Imagined Sons launched at the West Barn, Bradford on Avon, 28 March 2014

Thanks to everyone who came and made it a wonderful night!

The launch viewed from outside the glass at the West Barn

My reading from Imagined Sons after an outstanding introduction by Claire Crowther

Blurry, but still great! Gerard Woodward, me and Tim Liardet, three of Bath Spa's faculty poets

Josephine Corcoran and Tania Hershman pose with their copies of Imagined Sons

Thanks to Reiss McGuinness for taking the photos.

Wednesday, 26 March 2014

A wonderful review of Homecoming

My day has been made by this thoughtful review by poet and critic Pippa Little of my pamphlet, Homecoming (Dancing Girl, 2013), at Elsewhere: A Review of Contemporary Poetry.

Tuesday, 25 March 2014

National Poetry Month--Or Not

This year I've decided not to try to write a poem a day during National Poetry Month. With my third collection just out, I have April readings in Portsmouth and Bristol in the UK and Providence and Claremont in the US, and I'm just beginning a new book project with the Bath Abbey for which I've only just begun research. If you'd like to find a community to pursue NaPoWriMo, I recommend either going through the official site linked here or adapting use of Jo Bell's poem-a-week site to the poem-a-day format by using her prompts when you need outside inspiration. Feel free to reply in the comments with other sites useful for NaPoWriMo.

Sunday, 23 March 2014

Kim Moore on Imagined Sons

Poet Kim Moore interweaves news about her week with thoughtful commentary on Imagined Sons in her blog entry today. She also reprints "Imagined Sons: The Bus," which originally appeared in Long Poem Magazine.