Wednesday 14 October 2020

One Planet, an online anthology of ecopoetry produced by Linda France, Climate Writer in Residence, Newcastle University

I am a Newcastle graduate and recently wrote a poem for last Saturday's 2020 Alumni Day of Action. Climate Writer in Residence for the University and New Writing North, Linda France, invited graduates to send in short poems responding in some way to the Climate Crisis. 

I received an email at the end of last week with a pdf copy of One Planet, an eBook anthology containing new ecopoems, with a Foreword by Linda France. It includes my contribution, 'Silence on the Sand', about the decline of the Curlew. 

It may seem strange, perhaps even ironic at first, to read that Linda describes the poems as a 'source of hope'. If one reads on, however, it becomes clear that it is our sense of connectedness as a body of writers, both to each other and to the world in which we live, that offers a glimmer of light. 

In our endeavours as a global community faced with the task of stemming the tide of the climate crisis, we are stronger together. We all have a part to play. In the wider scheme of things, poetry is, as it always has been, one medium through which issues can be aired in fresh and meaningful ways.

I chose to make the Curlew the focus of my poem because I associate this iconic bird with sightings in Northumberland, especially around Budle Bay and the sweep of coast around Holy island (which is where I took the photograph above). The Curlew's haunting cry never fails to send a shiver down my spine. I have also watched and heard Curlews in places beyond Northumberland, notably on the mudflats in Laugharne, underneath the Boathouse home of Dylan Thomas. 

This bird is marked 'red' on the RSPB site for UK conservation. If you would like to help this iconic species of our coastlines and mudflats, you might like to take a look at these suggestions from the RSPB. The British Trust for Ornithology (BTO) have provided an informative Curlew factsheet here.


One Planet, edited by Linda France and produced by Newcastle University in October 2020, contains 27 poems for the planet. It can be viewed online...

  • here at Yumpu (press 'read' and flick arrows to start).  
  • here on issuu (you may want to press 'full screen'. Once again use the arrows to go backwards or forwards).

Wednesday 7 October 2020

A Poem in 'Where Shallows Talk', the Munnings Art Museum Anthology


I am delighted that David Gill (my husband) and I are both represented in this new anthology produced by The Munnings Art Museum in Dedham, and edited by Dr Tim Gardiner. My poem concerns the Migrant Hawker dragonfly in the next photograph.

Copies of the anthology are available here


Thursday 1 October 2020

National Poetry Day 2020: Vision

Greetings on National Poetry Day 2020

Vision: ‘see it like a poet’



I wonder what 'vision' might mean to you and how you will be celebrating NPD this year, when so many events have become virtual.

Not surprisingly, the National Poetry Day site is packed not only with poetry but with a wealth of poetic information from copyright to competitions, not forgetting the #haiflu

My own very recent news is that Peter Thabit Jones, editor of The Seventh Quarry Press, is due to publish my first full-length poetry collection in 2021. I am particularly delighted about this as my chapbook, The Holy Place, co-authored with John Dotson, was published by The Seventh Quarry Press (Swansea) in conjunction with Cross-Cultural Communications (NY). 

I have just checked on Twitter, and as usual, there is a flurry of #NationalPoetryDay and #nationalpoetryday2020 activity. English Heritage at Stonehenge @EH_Stonehenge, for example, are posting poems about the site. 

My own Stonehenge poem, 'Preseli Blue', was read on BBC Poetry Please in as part of the 2008 programme from the Hay Festival. It was written in response to a rope-bound Millennium Bluestone (pictured below) on display in the National Botanic Garden of Wales. You can read the text by scrolling down on the Shabdaguchha site. 


The Laurel Prize for ecopoetry collections will be announced this evening. The longlist, here, contains a number of books I have read, e.g. Seasonal Disturbances by Karen McCarthy Woolf, and would highly recommend; and others I much look forward to reading, such as Zoology by Gillian Clarke. 

I wonder what poetry you are reading today. I have been reading A City Waking Up by fellow Suffolk poet, Sue Wallace-Shaddad, and plan to write in more detail soon, once my thoughts on this exciting and unusual new collection from Dempsey and Windle have begun to settle.

Meanwhile, I have two new other collections on the go and, interestingly, they both have single word titles. 

Lure, published by Calder Valley Poetry, is described by Cathy Galvin on the back as Alison Lock's 'liminal journey' in and through a landscape of mud, rock and water. Alison wrote the poems during a spell of recovery from a very serious accident that occurred in this beautiful but bleak setting of hills and watercourses. The narrative may be dark in places, and while the poet's approach reveals the tenacity of the human spirit, her language sparkles with the lustre of a Yorkshire river on a crisp and chilly morning.     

Rail, by Miranda Pearson, was published in 2019 by McGill-Queen's University Press and has a glowing commendation from Kathleen Jamie on the back cover. The poems fall into five sections, which in itself suggests a breadth of theme and approach. Like Alison's 'Lure', the word 'Rail' has more than one meaning; and, having just started this volume, I am already enjoying poems that range from familiar aspects of school life in Kent ('Abacus', for instance) to a view, perhaps a vision, of Gaudi-like spires of ice in the poem 'Alaskan Cruise'.


* * *



 I have just seen this Tweet, posted at 14.50 hrs this afternoon:


 Thank you, Tim. 
I much look forward to seeing all our poems in this.


Happy National Poetry Day