Thursday, August 25, 2016

New Science-Inspired Story on Radio 4 This Sunday

It's been one of the greatest thrills of my writing life, having my short stories read on the radio. This is how it all started for me, my first "published" short story was actually a broadcast, in 2003, on the Afternoon Reading on Radio 4. There have been quite a few more since then, and I have written especially for radio a number of times - and now I have a brand new story on Radio 4 this Sunday night, Aug 28th, which for the first time they have allowed me to read! It's produced by the excellent Jeremy Osborne for Sweet Talk Productions. It's called "There's No-One In The Lab But Mice", and you can hear it live at 7.45pm and it will be available on Listen Again for 28 days after that, I believe. I hope you enjoy it, I had a lot of fun writing it!

Tuesday, August 02, 2016

The Enemies Project South West - Performance

There's this wonderful thing happening, The Enemies Project, where pairs of poets collaborate and then perform, all around the south-west of England, set up by Steven J Fowler and Camilla Nelson.

I was thrilled when Holly Corfield-Carr asked me to collaborate with her, and we will be performing our piece (which is still in progress) at the event in Bruton, Somerset, this Sunday night - do come along if you're near! Free entry, but booking is essential. Here's all the info:

Sunday, July 24, 2016

Closely read

It as an honour and a gift to be so closely read, by anyone, and then to have these readers (often writers themselves) share their thoughts. I'm fortunate to have had this experience twice in the past few weeks, first by Neil Elder, author of the poetry pamphlet Codes of Conduct and my fellow Sabotage Awards shortlistee (congratulations, Neil!) on his blog, Neil Elder Poetry, where he responds to my poem, Life Just Swallows You Up: "I’m laughing, then thinking and feeling, and then admiring. I’ve read ‘Life Just Swallows You Up’ and I immediately want to re-read".

The second, also around a poem from my chapbook, is the excellent Proletarian Poetry: Poetry of Working Class Lives. Peter Raynard asked if he could reprint my Conversations With A Taxi Driver, Falmouth, and he talks about what the poem raised for him: "This is a fascinating short poem because it leaves a lot to the imagination, allowing us to drift with our thoughts the same way a taxi driver must do when waiting on their next fare." 

Thank you, Neil and Peter, I hope I can pass on the favour of such close reading!

Thursday, June 30, 2016

Kissing, Climbing and An Aubergine

So, it's been a record week for me in terms of publications, with two poems and a flash story published in different places online, which, between them, cover kissing, climbing and aubergines. (see below). It's a wonderful, miraculous thing, being chosen by an editor and put between (virtual or actual) covers. And being able to share the links online is also joyous, especially when friends and strangers choose to get in touch with kind words.

But it's also surreal - all the more so in this turbulent year, and in particular in these few weeks of turmoil and uncertainty here in the UK, which haven't ended yet and may not for a long long time. I often find the disconnect between tragedies around the world and good news in my writing life hard to navigate. (As I thought about this blog post I was going to say "tragedies in the real world", but then again, I am a writer, and my writing is real, it is my real world too.) I feel guilty for celebrating these personal things.

As I was thinking about this, I realised that when I'm in despair, I turn to books, to poems, to short stories, novels, science writing. They help me. And when I read some of the comments people have made about my writing, I think, I am perhaps adding to that well, and they might be useful for one other person. I don't think my writing is some kind of panacea for the world's ills (apart from to me when I write it), but it's what I have to offer. I'm not particularly good at anything else, so this is what I've got. And I love celebrating other people's publications, so am trying to persuade myself that it's okay to every now and then be the one that other people are celebrating!

So, with delight, a little ambivalence, enormous gratitude to the editors of The Pickled Body, the Wales Arts Review, and Anthony Wilson (whose Lifesaving Poems blog is such an inspiration to me, I can't quite believe I am now one of them) -  and with encouragement to go and read everything else they publish, here are the links to my 3 new works:

Kiss The First in The Pickled Body (final poem)
Fire and Granite in Wales Arts Review
By Any Other Name, one of Anthony Wilson's Lifesaving Poems

Wednesday, June 08, 2016

Nature Poem: How To Be Here

So, I recently received my first poetry commission - to write a nature poem inspired by a particular location on the Bristol-Bath Nature Trail for the Festival of Nature! I've never written a site-specific poem before, and my first attempt was a little cynical and not so much about nature. Luckily, my second attempt seemed more suitable - and here I am reading it!

Click here to find out more about the Poetry Trail and the other poems