Wednesday, 4 January 2017

2017 - New Year News

 Happy New Year 

The Tawny Owl in the photo above is known as Mabel. She is well known to those of us who live in the Ipswich area as she frequents the town's Christchurch Park and has for many years returned to the hollow branch of the tree in the picture. 

I was delighted to begin the year with a cheque representing the fact that my Barn Owl poem had been voted 'Second' in the readers' votes for the December issue of Reach Poetry, one of three flagship magazines from Indigo Dreams Publishing. 

I heard today that my entry for the Indigo Dreams Pamphlet Competition had gained a 'Commended'. More good news, but of a kind that leaves little room for complacency as it would be good to see the poems published as a batch. Unlike Mabel, I intend to keep my eyes wide open.

As for specific 2017 writing goals, well, I have an 'illumination of ideas' but am still at the formulating stage. I wonder what goals you have in mind?

Sunday, 11 December 2016

Barn Owl Poem in Reach Poetry #219

Barn Owl

I am grateful to editor, Ronnie Goodyer, of Indigo Dreams Publishing for including my poem, 'Barn Owl, Flatford', in the December 2016 issue of Reach Poetry. Like most poets I respond to what I see as well as to what I feel, and I well remember the thrill back in 2012 of watching the owl swooping over the snow in this landscape known so well to John Constable.  

Flatford Mill
The photos below were the best I could manage at the time. As you can see, the light had all but gone. But there is something magical about Barn Owls in the snow! 

Monday, 5 December 2016

Matthew Stewart's Best U.K. Poetry Blogs of 2016

New Vistas (boardwalk to the bird hide, Tregaron, Wales)

It is the season of lists and annual reviews, and I am delighted and honoured to find that this blog has a mention in the Rogue Strands line-up of Best U.K. Poetry Blogs of 2016. Thank you so much to Matthew Stewart for this inclusion.

Thank you, Matthew, as well, for drawing my attention to the other blogs in the list. I have followed some of these with interest for a while, but the others will open up new vistas and provide fresh paths of poetic exploration in the days to come.

P.S. I cannot decide whether this is related or a bit 'off-topic', but I have just seen this list of favourite 2016 poetry book covers (I believe most, but not all, are North American) on C.A. LaRue's Bonespark blog. It may be of interest to you, as it was to me.  

Saturday, 3 December 2016

Zoomorphic's 'Driftfish' anthology - edited by Susan Richardson and James Roberts

Driftfish is a new anthology of poetry and prose about marine wildlife. But let's be more specific: the book is 'dedicated' (and I seem to hear a double-entendre) to marine wildlife, as it says on the Zoomorphic site.

Poetry editor, Susan Richardson, and prose editor, James Roberts, have produced a fine publication that not only looks and feels good, but is also packed with vibrant words and exquisite images evoking the creatures of our fragile, and often threatened, marine environments. I am delighted that my poem, 'Quills and Spills', has been included.

The volume was launched last weekend in Brighton and is available for online purchase from this page of the Zoomorphic site. It could be just the gift you were hoping to find...

  • Zoomorphic (the online literary journal 'in celebration and defence of wild animals')

Friday, 11 November 2016

Disability Arts Cymru Poetry Competition 2016

I was thrilled to receive an envelope this morning containing my First Prize in the 2016 Disability Arts Cymru Poetry Competition. Poets were encouraged to write in response to art work, which is always an appealing idea; but this year we had the added topical but paradoxical theme of 'austerity and extravagance' to take into account.

'Shoreline Symphony' by Eileen Harrisson was my artistic starting point (9th canvas down on the left side of this link).

So why the photo of rope and gull prints on an otherwise empty beach? My poem was set in what had once been a flourishing harbour. You can guess the rest.

Friday, 4 November 2016

Poetry Workshop at Poetry in Aldeburgh

I have just returned from a Poetry in Aldeburgh workshop in the Lookout on the beach. It was a grey November afternoon, but we had a small log burner to keep us warm, and plenty of energy flowing freely through our pens. The workshop's title was 'Edge of the Depths' (the sea, the sea - what else?) and was led by Anne-Marie Fyfe. What an inspiring start to the Festival. Thank you, Anne-Marie.

Coming home, with two compulsory items - a book and a bag. 

The book in my hand is just out, and exquisitely produced by Eye Wild Books. Its title is Conversations with Birds, and the poet is Ian Griffiths, former Chair of Suffolk Poetry Society. The wonderful artwork is by Carol Lawrence. Do consider obtaining a copy of this publication.

 You can hardly see the sea,
but I can assure you it was visible
through the Lookout doors.

Aldeburgh beach, outside the Lookout

Last glance at the Lookout before I made my way home...

Saturday, 3 September 2016

St Govan's Chapel Poem published in 'Seeing Beyond The Surface'

St Govan's Chapel © D&C Gill

I have just had a poem, 'Above St Govan's Chapel', published in a rather unusual book.

Seeing beyond the Surface is 'a lighthearted and uplifting compilation of short stories and poems by and about people with disabilities'. Joanna Swank, the editor, writes in the context of assessing our fellow human beings, that 'it is a great thing to see what is beneath the surface.'

This volume has just been published and proceeds will benefit Abilities Solutions in Westville, New Jersey, USA.

Most of the contributors are based in the USA, but there are a couple of us from the UK. Another volume is in the pipeline, and if you might be interested in making a submission to Joanna, please visit the Seeing beyond the Surface website here.

My poem arose out of a visit to the chapel in a cleft in the cliff at St Govan's in Pembrokeshire, Wales. I was both elated (by the scene, and also by the Choughs that clipped the turf) and frustrated (by the access to the chapel itself). 'Above St Govan's Chapel' was written as part of a Disability Arts Cymru project, which resulted in the publication of Hidden Dragons/Gwir a Grymus, an anthology published by Parthian and launched at the Hay Festival in 2004.