Poetry, Uncategorized

A complete ramble, plus the first piece of writing I had published…

Hi everyone, I’m happy to say I’ve now finished the revamp, line edits and proofreading I was doing on one of my books and sent it off to my publisher.

I’d like to say it was a pleasant experience – and parts of it were, like getting acquainted with my characters and falling in love with the world all over again – but on the whole it made me question every aspect of my writing ability, particularly my grammar. I didn’t know it was possible to spend hours agonising over the correct usage of was and were (look up subjunctive mood, and you’ll see what I mean – technically the rule is fairly simple, but I have oodles of self-doubt), but apparently it is. Even after I sent the manuscript off (after reading and re-reading and fretting back and forth), I was still worried I’d got it wrong (‘it’ being the entirety of my grammar usage).

So my conclusion regarding having to do line edits and proofreading on my own work is that I never want to do it again. Hopefully, this was a one-off scenario and whatever is happening with the editing team at my publisher gets sorted, so I won’t have to. Still, I honestly felt like I was losing my mind.

The other side of it is that now I have finished, I’m not sure what to do with myself. Which is a little ridiculous because I know full well that I need a break, but for some reason my sense of self-worth and achievement is so thoroughly linked to my productivity that I can’t shake it. I think I was relieved for all of ten minutes after I hit send, then the overwhelming heaviness of ‘What am I going to do now?’ hit me and I spent a good few hours stimming and being lost in my thoughts.

Anyway, now I’ve expressed my thoughts on all that, it’s time for something a bit lighter. I thought I’d share with you the first piece of writing I had published, which is a poem I wrote when I was ten.

My primary school encouraged years five and six (I think it was both, but I’m not quite sure) to write a poem for an anthology called Poetic Voyages, created by an organisation called Young Writers. I think quite a few kids in my class submitted a poem, but only some were chosen. This is the cover of the one my poem is in, as there were separate anthologies put together for each region. It was published in 2002:

20200822_120845

On the back it says:

Young Writers was established in 1991 to encourage the reading and writing of poetry by young people.

Young Writers’ books nurture interest and confidence by giving young people the opportunity to see their work in print in a series of regional anthologies.

The books represent a generation of voices having their say on a wide range of themes from home and school to the environment and sport.

These anthologies are a showcase for the writing talent in schools today. 

And here’s a bit more info:

20200822_125753[1]

Lastly, here’s my actual poem in all its glory…

20200822_121006

(The note about whisky in the last line was supposed to be in brackets, but my pa said it’d look better without. I still think brackets would be more effective.)

It’s interesting that, considering the wide range of topics I could have written about, I chose to write about ghosts and school. Perhaps my ‘ghost’ was actually a metaphor for how terrified I was at school (if you haven’t seen my previous posts, I was severely bullied at school by one of my teachers, and quite a few of the kids too. It was not a happy time for me). That, or I’d just been watching Ghostbusters or The Frighteners. Who knows.

 

Uncategorized

Flight: A Science Fiction Anthology

Hi everyone, I just thought I’d let you now that the science fiction anthology I’m part of is now out.

Here’s a link to the ebook, and the paperback should be available by the end of the week.

I’m very excited to be a part of this, and look forward to reading the other stories in it myself.

 

books, Uncategorized

Flight Anthology Cover Reveal!

I don’t think I mentioned this in any previous blogs, but one of my short stories was selected by Elephant’s Bookshelf Press to be in their upcoming ‘Flight’ anthology, which will feature a multitude of authors from various parts of the globe.

Elephant’s Bookshelf Press has been publishing great books and anthologies since 2012, and I believe Flight will be its fourteenth book (or thereabouts – don’t quote me on that). They’re a small but enthusiastic team that love getting new and established authors onboard, and from my personal experience, they’re a joy to work with.

Flight is currently scheduled for release in mid-November, and I’m very happy to be able to share its fantastic cover with you:

Flight ebook complete

Look out for updates, as I’ll be posting order links as soon as they’re ready!

Uncategorized

Book Haul! part one: Poetry collections

I don’t usually write about books I’ve bought at any given time, mainly because I don’t tend to buy a lot at once. But this month I did, plus I was gifted a few too. Some I’ve started reading, some I haven’t, but they all grabbed my attention for one reason or another. So, here’s the first part of my haul for this month, focusing on poetry collections. I’ve included their blurbs too, so you have an idea of what each collection is about:

Bear by Chrissy Williams – The lively ‘bears’ in this playful and poignant collection will surprise you on every page. They are poems of love and death, life, loss and grief. The ephemera of popular culture is used to confront mortality, and you’ll be transported from the British Library to the Alps to the International Space Station, along with a vibrant cast of Vikings, videogames and Angela Lansbury. From the ludicrous to the domestic, these profound, wry and very real bears affirm that hope may be found even in our darkest moments.

Motherland Fatherland Homelandsexuals by Patricia Lockwood  What if a deer did porn? Is it legal to marry a stuffed owl exhibit? And what would Walt Whitman’s tit-pics really look like? Free-wheeling and surreal yet deadly serious, and including the viral hit ‘Rape Joke’ (‘An oblique mini-masterpiece’ – Guardian), this book shows one of our most original poets at her virtuosic best.

The World’s Wife by Carol Ann Duffy – That saying? Behind every famous man . . . ? From Mrs Midas to Queen Kong, from Elvis’s twin sister to Pygmalion’s bride, they’re all here, in Carol Ann Duffy’s inspired and inspirational collection, The World’s Wife. Witty and thought-provoking, this is a tongue-in-cheek, no-holds-barred look at the real movers and shakers across history, myth and legend. If you have ever wondered, for example, how exactly Darwin came up with his theory of evolution, or what, precisely, Frau Freud thought about her husband – then this is the book for you, as the wives of the great, the good, the not so good, and the legendary are given a voice in Carol Ann Duffy’s sparkling and inventive collection

Take This  One To Bed by Anthony Dunn (hardback signed edition): The poems in Antony Dunn’s fourth collection explore the passions and tensions of how we live together – as neighbours, as families, as lovers, and as companions to our own various selves. Here are stories of experience and imagination – of a man’s clothes taking on a life of their own, of a city overcome by an epidemic of weeping, of two goldfish left in an emptying house: touching and enchanting tales that combine bittersweet comedy with an unflinching account of human nature. At the heart of this deeply affecting collection are poems that dwell on the domestic crises that define our lives, that tell ‘how our hurts come down … hard and without warning’, and ask how we might live with them.

Making Cocoa for Kingsley Amis by Wendy Cope (1986 edition) – Already well known for her hilarious send-ups of contemporary writers, Wendy Cope is perhaps the most accomplished parodist since Beerbohm. This first full-length collection includes work by Jason Strugnell, the subject of the Radio Three programme, Shall I Call Thee Bard?, as well as other parodies and literary jokes. There are, in addition, telling lyrics and a number or remarkable love poems – candid, sometimes erotic, and very funny indeed.

The Air Mines of Mistila by Phillip Gross & Sylvia Kantaris (1988) – High above the plain, beyond the village of Hum, up where the mountainside melts into cloud, lies an unmapped plateau. Here people appear out of thin air. And disappear. Or so they say. Mistila

Life on Mars by Tracy K. Smith – In this brilliant collection of new poems, Tracy K. Smith envisions a sci-fi future sucked clean of any real dangers, contemplates the dark matter that keeps people both close and distant and revisits kitschy concepts like ‘love’ and ‘illness’, now relegated to the museum of obsolescence. With allusions to David Bowie and interplanetary travel, Life on Mars imagines a soundtrack for the universe, accompanying the discoveries, failures and oddities of human existence and establishing Smith as one of the best poets of her generation.

The Ghost Orchid by Michael Longley – Following on from the remarkable riches of Gorse Fire, the poems brought together under the title The Ghost Orchid share some of the same concerns, but take many different approaches. Whether in the west of Ireland, Sissinghurst or the stone gardens of Japan; whether confronting the blood of the Iliad or the Odyssey or undergoing Ovidian metamorphoses; whether testing poetic form or renewing Ulster Scots dialect; whether in Buchenwald or Belfast, Longley speaks with pared delicacy, passion and huge vulnerability about love, life and death. A lyric craftsman of genius, Michael Longley has written a book that is fragile and exquisite – like the evanescent ghost orchid itself – yet full of tragic intensity; it is his finest achievement.

The Hungry Ghost Festival by Jen Campbell (pamphlet) – The Hungry Ghost Festival [a traditional Chinese festival]. On the 15th night of the seventh lunar month, the boundaries between the living and the dead break down, and the dead visit the earth looking for food and entertainment. Jen Campbell’s festival celebrates the presence of the past, in this case childhood and adolescence in the North East, as it floats through the present adult consciousness.

Staying Alive edited by Neil Astley (anthology) – ‘Staying Alive’ is an international anthology of 500 life-affirming poems fired by belief in the human and the spiritual at a time when much in the world feels unreal, inhuman and hollow. These are poems of great personal force connecting our aspirations with our humanity, helping us stay alive to the world and stay true to ourselves.

So that’s all the poetry books I’ve gathered this month. A few were recommended by Booktubers, but most were finds in local bookshops. I might review a few once I’ve read them, there are one or two I already want to talk about in more detail.

Stayed tuned for part two: Fiction and Non-fiction.

Kat out.

 

 

Uncategorized

I’m in an anthology! ‘One Hundred Voices vol 3’

One of my flash fiction pieces is being published in an anthology, which is currently available for pre-order here. If anyone’s interested, there’s 10% off when using the order code: 100V3-97.

Happy reading!

Reviews

Review: Pooems by Nicola Winsland

Pooems is a small anthology of children’s poetry based on that always amusing topic: poo.

It mainly focuses on animal poo, and the beginning few pages have a breakdown of what the poo from different animals is like, written (as you would expect from a book of poetry) in verse, and hilarious verse at that, before moving on to large poems detailing the strange things animals, humans, and even dinosaurs do with poo. Here’s the blurb from the back cover, complete with extract:

Contrary to all the hype,

Zebra poos don’t have a stripe,

So it’s conceivable of course,

That you could muddle them with horse!

 

From the unstripy poo of a Zebra, to the pungent pong of a piggy’s poo,

this little book of pooetry rhymes about it all.

And if you’ve ever pondered where a mole does his business

or what a pigeon gets up to on the London Underground,

then this collection of hilarious pooems is just for you

The tag line is ‘A fun read for children and adults alike’ and having read it in the staff room only to giggle out loud and have my co-workers stare at me, I can attest to that. This is a very fun book, and the poems would not look out of place in a bigger book of children’s poetry (such as my childhood favourite, ‘The Puffin Book of Utterly Brilliant Poetry’).

The illustrations are fantastic and add to the humour, and are drawn by the author. All in all, I believe that this book is worth every penny and would make a great addition to any collection of poetry.