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.

Wednesday, 19 March 2014

Local News (Plymouth)

There's a lovely article in the Plymouth Herald about my forthcoming reading there this Saturday. The organizers Norman Jope and Steve Spence have been so considerate and conscientious that I'm looking forward to the evening all the more.

Tuesday, 18 March 2014

Today's London launch of Imagined Sons

A London launch upsets the nerves in so many ways. What other poetry events are going on the same night? Who will I lose to those other events? What if there's a tube strike--as there was on the night of the launch of my first collection? WHAT IF NO ONE COMES? I start counting on my fingers those who've said they're attending, then check my email and see one has the lurgy and another has car trouble. 

I've tried to pre-empt as many concerns as possible. It's in central London, walkable from the Holborn, Chancery Lane and Farringdon tube stations. Tick. They serve food, including a few good vegetarian options. Tick. The room is large enough to hold a good crowd, but hopefully not so large that it'll dwarf us if there aren't that many people. Tick. I reminded friends online the day before. Tick. Did I post something on my blog? I'm doing that now. Tick.

Why is a launch important? So many years, so many tears have gone into this book, that I want to do my best by it. I want to sell sufficient copies that my publisher doesn't lose money on my account. I want people to like the best thing I've ever made. 

So, if you don't know already, it all kicks off at 6 p.m. tonight in the upstairs function room of The Yorkshire Grey pub, 2 Theobald's Road, London WC1X 8PN. Click on the name, and the link will take you to their website with fuller information about directions &c. I'll read at 7 p.m., then the revels will continue. Fingers crossed.

Monday, 17 March 2014

"Drowning" from Allison McVety's Lighthouses (Smith Doorstop, 2014)


[as with Macalister’s boy and the fish
so grief has cut a square into our sides

the shock of our wounds
means it is all we can do
to stare from
our numbed eyes

there’s no flex left in our bodies
nor can the warm strobe of the keeper’s lamps
save us

and our dazzling skins
– now turquoise
– now lilac
– now gaudy with blood
– now lessening

in the fall from light

in the fall from light]

Allison McVety
Lighthouses (smith | doorstop, 2014)

Allison McVety's third collection, Lighthouses, is available directly from the publisher.

Friday, 14 March 2014

i.m. Henry Ross Etter, 26 September 1940-13 March 2009

Yesterday was the fifth anniversary of my father's death. His continued goodness, in spite of so much adversity--being made redundant, being rehired years later at less than half the salary, never regaining the quality of position or salary he'd had, enjoying cycling daily for hours in his retirement only to become paralysed because of a medical accident, testifies to his character. If I had the chance to speak to him one more time, that's the first--or second--thing I'd say.

Saturday, 8 March 2014

Did You Get the T-Shirt? Touring a Book

I decided I'd like to see my reading dates lined up as though they were on the back of a band's tour t-shirt, and here's what I have thus far:


27/2   Seattle
18/3   London
22/3   Plymouth
28/3   Bradford on Avon
6/4   Cheltenham
11/4   Bristol
26/4   Providence, RI
30/4   Claremont, NH
1/5   Cambridge, MA
25/5   Portsmouth
5/6     Cardiff
8/6     Oxford
20/6   Reading
26/6   Swansea
4/7 Ledbury
16/7    Nottingham
8/9 Norwich
17/9   Sheepwash
3/10 Swindon (Poetry Festival)
4/10 Exeter
13/11  Swindon (BlueGate Poets)
26/11 Chichester

I'm not interested in promoting myself as an author so much as promoting the book on which I worked so hard--I want to get the book into people's hands.

Friday, 7 March 2014

Chihuly Garden and Glass, Seattle, February 2014: Four Chandeliers

One of my favourite places in Seattle was Chihuly Garden and Glass. I can't recommend it enough. This is just the first of what I assume will need to be numerous postings to show some of the place's exciting scope.