If you are here for news of the prose ilk, I apologise – today’s post is a deviation into my other life as a poet. There are lots of photos to keep your attention!
Two days ago, I got back from Tuscany. Tom’s parents have just bought a house in Orciatico – it’s beautiful and amazingly located, forty minutes from Pisa and an hour and a half from Siena. I completely fell in love with the latter, and have an idea for a new story set there…it’s an excuse to go back more than anything! Just look at this library, in the cathedral:
The similarities are striking. I love that lush green, especially when it’s mixed with heathery shadows. I’m here in Shropshire for the Much Wenlock Poetry Festival, and thought this was as good a time as any to talk about ‘the other woman’ in my life, which was the only woman until The Cartographer’s Daughter came along. In fact, to use my friend Sarvat’s analogy, I suppose poetry is my ‘wife’ discipline, and prose my ‘mistress’. I’ve been writing poetry for about four years now, and you can find out all about my publication etc in the relevant section on my website.
Recently, there have been a few exciting developments and occurrences that I wanted to share. First off, over the past two days I’ve read at two brilliant festivals. My poor brother John is my chauffeur for the weekend, as I cleverly made his birthday present a trip away with me. He got me back slightly by dragging me up a rather large hill in rain:
Last night, I read at ChipLitFest, Chipping Norton’s celebration of all things word-y. I was invited by Dan Holloway, author, poet and someone who has been instrumental in in my own development as a poet, and performed alongside Vanessa Kisuule. She is quite simply a revelation. I’m going to ask her for permission to reproduce a poem on this blog, because her work really is something else. The lovely Helen of the T’ai Chi Room sponsored the event, and the audience were great:
I managed an hour of after party with Dan, Vanessa, and Rohan Quine, before John and I got incredibly lost driving to our hotel for the evening, the lobby of which looked like this:
Then we were up bright and early to get to Much Wenlock. The reading came courtesy of Andrea Porter, fellow Gatehouse Press poet and all-round superwoman. She won the Much Wenlock Poetry Prize last year, and kindly decided to share her reading with Sarah Law, Andrea Holland and me. It was a real pleasure to hear them all, and I’d really recommend checking out their work. The Pottery was a very atmospheric venue, and what’s more I spotted Daljit Nagra in the audience:
(l-r): Andrea P, Sarah, me and Andrea H
Also, I found out I have poetry accepted to Cake Magazine, and Lighthouse, but most excitingly of all, my retelling of the Eurydice myth, Splitting the Seed, has been shortlisted for the Café Writers and Ink, Sweat & Tears Commission! It’s an ekphrastic collaboration with Tom, and has become a bit of an obsession. We’re up against stiff competition, including Canal Laureate Jo Bell, but I’m keeping everything crossed.
I hope you haven’t minded the poetry trespassing. I may make poetry corner a monthly occurrence – let me know what you think!