Jan 032016

Like m2016any others, I thought a New Year blog post was required and, as I am always one for introspection, when better to reflect than at new year?  I won’t bore you with the multitude of resolutions I have (the usual suspects) but one key element to 2016 will be changing lanes.

I spent most of 2015 in the fast lane; Paper Swans took flight in a big way and I bit off rather more than I could chew with a three-weekends/cities-in-a-row launch of ‘Schooldays’ in the summer. We did it and it was great, but it was exhausting, expensive and ate into my family’s summer holidays. My own poetry kept speeding along too, not so much with getting a lot published (although I was proud to get accepted by Prole and The Emma Press) but with the number of courses I took on at The Poetry School and then September exploded with new poetry groups and projects to join and, yes, start. Not busy enough, I formed The Poetry Shelf with Abegail Morley and Jill Munro which is a collective effort to promote poetry through events in Kent and Sussex.

So, December being a time for reflection as well as celebration, I realised that I needed some balance and couldn’t be in the fast lane in every aspect of my life. Well, not at the same time.

Paper Swans is destined for the outside lane a while longer with an anthology and pamphlets in the pipeline. My own poetry is definitely hogging the middle lane at a steady 70mph while life in general is being relegated to the slow lane. I find life too fast anyway and I largely blame technology and the need to have/know everything NOW. I read books, not kindles. I make lists on paper, not an iPad. I want my kids to know what it is to finally finish the jigsaw that’s been on the kitchen table for a week rather than being glued to an app or screen of some sort. So, my personal mission is to slow it down, enjoy life as it happens and not always be thinking about the next thing on the list.

Having said that, I would like to blog more; I used to blog daily and I actually really miss it. I currently have five blogs/websites which are all somewhat neglected and so I have decided to archive my original blog and write on here, not just about poetry and writing, but about life in general; thoughts, dreams and schemes…that sort of thing. I find blogging very cathartic and I need to do more of it. My food blog will simmer gently in the background (pardon the pun) and the others need a bit more regular attention, which I will schedule in as and when.

So, there we are; the general aim for 2016 is to pace myself, enjoy the view and embrace whatever life flings at me. Failing that, there’s always gin…


 Posted by at 7:18 pm
Jan 032016

I was thrilled to have my #quirkychristmas poem, Holiday Inn, published over on Abegail Morley’s The Poetry Shed. Read it here.

 Posted by at 5:22 pm
Oct 162015

06ba0f86-b9ba-11e3-_559816kI have spent the afternoon at the Agenda Poetry Festival with Patience Agbabi. Well, I wasn’t with her as such, but I was listening to her and then took part in a workshop she led.

Held at Mayfield School, which is fortunately just up the road from me, she read a variety of her poems, including the multi-layered Eat Me which is now on the A-Level syllabus. We were treated to several poems from The Ted Hughes Award shortlisted anthology Telling Tales which is a re-telling of Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales. To be fair, ‘re-telling’ doesn’t do it justice at all. In addition to the twenty-four poems/tales, she includes Harry ‘Bells’ Bailey’s Prologue and Back Track as well as Author Biographies for the ‘pilgrims’ including Mozilla Firefox who states “I adore the heroic couplet but free verse is OK, as long as you’re wearing adequate protection.”

TIMG_2310he workshop explored the theme of food and pulled on the senses and the pleasures and pain of eating. I’m not sure my poem about spaghetti bolognese will make it to my draft pile, but it was fun to write
and made me think about placement on the page, white space and synaesthesia.

Tomorrow, the festival continues and I am going to the evening performance to hear Daljit Nagra, Grace Nichols and Robin Robertson. I am almost as excited at the prospect of catching up with some old and new poetry friends that I have made in the Kent/Sussex area. Total poetry immersion; a baptism of words.

 Posted by at 8:19 pm
Jul 252015

Slow-Things-productLast week, I attended The Emma Press launch of ‘Slow Things’, their new anthology, in which I am featured (p30 if you’re interested) about things that are slow. But you had probably guessed that. It was held at The Rambert Dance Studios where, surprisingly, there was a sign up instructing us not to jump for fear the building would crumble around us, or words to that effect. I might have done a sneaky jeté in the loo, but don’t tell!

It was a lovely evening where I bumped into the lovely Claire Dyer who has been a recent judge over at Paper Swans and I also had the pleasure of meeting Alison Brackenbury, who was absolutely delightful. I read my poem which was somewhat of an oxymoron being a three-line and thus very quick poem about something that is actually very slow (the M25). It was great to say hello to Emma and Rachel again and my thanks to them for publishing my little poem. I have been attempting to get published by The Emma Press for two years now and I was delighted to finally get accepted.

And, it just goes to show that small can be beautiful. I love short poems and have just signed up for the short poem course at The Poetry School next term, as well as the course about women. Having just completed my prose poetry course (which was great) I was very keen to sign up again for the next term. If you are a poet, do check out the courses and also Campus, which is The Poetry School’s version of Facebook.

Anyway, here I am looking a bit scruffy around the edges, but clutching my lovely anthology and not jumping.

FullSizeRender 2

 Posted by at 4:13 pm
Jun 172015

More good news from me – I have had a poem accepted by Prole for their August issue. This has really perked me up – two acceptances in as many months and both from publishers I respect and admire. I am off to the Emma Press ‘Slow Things’ launch in July and then August holds the Paper Swans Press summer tour, so I will be very busy with that.

I am really enjoying my Poetry School course on prose poetry and I have been inspired to send off a prose poem for submission. I’m not convinced it will be accepted, but I like the fact that I now have the courage to try, whereas before, my confidence with prose poetry was non-existent. I will definitely be writing more of it (when I get a spare moment!) and hope to be able to produce some half-decent stuff.

In the meanwhile, I have an anthology launch to negotiate. If anyone wants the perfect end of term teacher present, you can find it HERE!

I know; shameless self-promotion…

 Posted by at 7:00 pm
May 252015

It’s been a long time coming, but finally I have had a poem accepted by The Emma Press, who I adore. I have been sending them submissions for a long time now and so it is very exciting to have my poem, Stuck in a Traffic Jam on The M25, accepted for their forthcoming anthology, Slow Things. I think the title is only just shorter than the poem, but I shall be hopefully reading it at their launch in July.

Tomorrow, I have the first online meeting for the prose poetry course I am doing with The Poetry School. Also on my course is the most excellent, Maggie Sawkins, Ted Hughes Prize-winner and published in Paper Swans’ first anthology, The Darker Side of Love. So, no pressure then!

I am intrigued by prose poetry, which often seems to cross over with my other love, flash fiction. I’ll keep you posted on how it all goes, but I am there to learn and improve as a poet, so it’s all good.

I went on an excellent course last week held at Faber and Faber (I was like an Elvis fan arriving at Graceland!). It was about how to get published and, even though I am not planning to write a novel, it was really interesting and the literary agents (Janklow and Nesbit) and publisher (Harper Collins) dispelled all myths about agents/publishers being scary beasts who will eat you, and your manuscript, alive.

Author, Julia Bell, put paid to rumours about the worth of creative writing courses (she recommends them, but find a good one) and Clare Conville (lit agent for Vernon God Little, Before I go to Sleep) was honest, but inspiring and had some great anecdotes to share.

Although not wholly useful for my writing, it was a thoroughly insightful day and I got some great information should I ever wish pen more than flash fiction…

So, that’s me. Busy, busy with Paper Swans (in the throes of publishing ‘Schooldays’) and trying to keep myself afloat at the same time. Keeping those balls in the air…just.

 Posted by at 3:37 pm
Mar 132015

It’s been a strange week. Another rejection, two submissions and a poetry crit from the lovely Wendy Pratt. I am making a concerted effort to submit more frequently this year, following Stephanie Arsoska’s advice that ‘if you throw enough shit, some of it will stick.’ Well, I have made the effort to fling some of it around and remain deluded hopeful that somebody might forget to duck.

The anthology for my poetry course has arrived, ‘The Line is Not for Turning’ and so I plan to dive into that this weekend and have a go at writing my first prose poem. The course doesn’t start until May, so I hope to get a few practice drafts under my belt before then. It’s all very well reading it and loving it, but replicating it is a whole different matter.

In a couple of weeks I am going to the Oxford Literary Festival for the weekend where I plan to meet with a fellow writer and drink gin. There are a couple of venues I want to check out for Paper Swans, so it should be fun. I love Oxford; I studied there and someday I plan to get old and cantankerous there.

And that’s me. Never enough time, but not giving up.


 Posted by at 10:39 am

Back to School

 Blog  Comments Off on Back to School
Feb 252015

I have taken the plunge and finally bucked up the courage to book an online course at The Poetry School. I have bought a few of downloadable courses and they’re really useful, but there’s nothing like interaction which is something that thrills me and scares me. Like most creative-types, my passion for writing is fuelled by self-doubt and recurring waves of hopelessness.

I have booked the course on prose poems. These are not a genre of poetry I know a lot about and, seeing as I am a poetry and flash fiction writer, I thought they might actually suit me pretty well. The course starts in May, allowing me a while to read the coursework book and familiarise myself with prose poems. I’ll keep you posted and may even subject you to a few of my early attempts. I have no shame!

In other news, I am super-busy with Paper Swans, more so since the launch of The Darker Side of Love last month. ‘Swans’ was an apt choice as I try to glide through the internet with grace and dignity, but behind the scenes my admin legs are going ninety to the dozen! I am still wishing/hoping I will be able to give up the day job at some point and run it a a bona fide small business. We’ll see…big dreams.

 Posted by at 9:25 pm

Ready, Set….Write!

 Blog  Comments Off on Ready, Set….Write!
Jan 042015

10409564_874798889237535_7341000915540181432_nAh, yes. The new year brings new resolve and mine is to get something published. This means more writing, better writing, more editing and actually submitting my poems (helps!). The Poetry Fairy (well, a very lovely friend) gave me a voucher to have 5 poems critiqued with Wendy Pratt and her advice has given me the confidence to keep going and made me realise that although most some of my work is utter shite, some of it is actually not bad and with editing and tlc, it might actually stand a chance of getting published.

I have been so busy with Paper Swans, that I have somewhat neglected my own writing. It’s all down to free time, which is a rare commodity in my household, and although January is going to be utter madness with the upcoming publication of Paper Swans’ first anthology, I also need to put some time aside for me to write. This time is late at night. There is simply no interrupted time until then and, luckily, I am a full-on night owl and my husband likes to go to bed fairly early. I know I have limitations and I don’t want to get too specific, but if I can write something every day – even if it’s just a line or some ideas, then I feel I will make more progress. I am aiming for a couple of poems a week, some editing and maintaining my flash fiction entry to the Friday Flash Fiction. I also have a secret little prose project on the go, so I want to work on that too. The other thing I really want to make more time for is reading, both poetry and prose. Believe me, I have enough books lined up of both genres and I am an avid believer that the more you read, the better you write.

One thing I am excellent at, is procrastinating. So, with no time like the present, I’d better go and scrawl a few lines…


 Posted by at 5:32 pm

Wise Words Festival

 Blog  Comments Off on Wise Words Festival
Sep 212014

I am thrilled to have had a haiku selected for the Wise Words Festival, running in Canterbury 12th-21st September 2014.  The remit was for a haiku about one of the given shops (supporting the festival) and mine was selected for Fenwicks. It is displayed in their window with a QR code which links back to the website where there is further information.

On Friday, I went to see my name in print! I was slightly perturbed that they had moved my ‘on’ to the next line (and therefore no longer haiku but micropoetry) but, there I was – in glorious red!

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

 Posted by at 7:31 pm