Cool poetry pamphlet news

Pamphlet Update

You may remember from my post Three great things that have happened in 2021 that I have been lucky enough received a creative bursary from Raven Studios. I’ve used this to help me towards publication of my first poetry pamphlet. I’m delighted to say all the poems are complete, and I’ve a tentative feeling that I’ve created something I can be proud of. Before beginning the inevitable round of submissions – and possible disappointments – I’ve used a small amount of my bursary to employ the services of an editor.

Why use an editor ?

Quite simply, engaging the services of an editor means giving my work an extra polish. I’ve been lucky enough to work with Olivia Tuck before, and knew she’d give top quality feedback and suggestions as well as offering advice in a kind and sensitive way. She’s an incredibly talented writer, and I feel privileged to have had her input. The suggestions and tiny tweaks have really made my work sing – it’s amazing what the addition of a carefully placed full stop can do.

What happens next?

I need to do some homework – finding a place for poems is the hardest part, I think. It relies on more than just the quality of the work; it relies on an understanding on what the world of publishing is looking for, a touch of insight into the mood of readers and more than a sprinkling of good old fashioned luck. I really believe in these poems and am excited to have them out in the world. I just need to find a publisher who feels the same – and believes there is a big enough audience to make it viable. I’ve a couple of  ideas – but taking the plunge is a big step.

Other successes

You’ll have seen on my Twitter feed that I’ve had a couple of other happy scraps of news. I was longlisted for Mslexia’s poetry 2020 poetry competition (a huge thrill) and I also have a poem forthcoming in Feline Utopia – Louise Mather’s anthology about the wonderful world of cats. My submission is a cheerful, uncomplicated piece and I’m glad to have a happy poem out in the world.

There can never be enough pictures of this fellow

My biggest challenge at the moment is time. My freelance work has increased ( a good thing, of course) but this means my usable time has decreased. I’ve a bunch of work ready to send out, but precious little time to do the necessary research and submit correctly. I’m hoping things will calm down a little in March. The big hope of course is to be well enough to do that little bit more….

Hope all is well wherever you’re reading from. Take care, wash your hands, wear a mask

Kathryn

xx

Popshot and positivity

Would you like to hear some positive stuff? Amongst the disruption of Covid, and fear around curious political manoeuvrings, 2020 has been challenging to say the least. In amongst all this, there have been some personal positives. This has been my best year so far in terms of publication, with work appearing in high profile online journals, being placed in Paper Swans Press single poetry competition and now appearing in Popshot- which feels like a big achievement. The feeling of holding something in my hand which has my words inside is hard to beat.

 I feel a little awkward about the poem – it’s about something that makes me uncomfortable, and something that I rarely talk about (put paid to that haven’t I?) but issues around body image follow many of us throughout our lives. I thought I was fat when I was seven stone, I thought I was fat when I was nine stone (a fact reiterated by a helpful GP) I’ve never felt comfortable with my body, the responses it elicits and the assumptions that are made. I’m an average size now, to go with my just over average height (and gosh I hate to be average anything) but I still long to be tall and interestingly skinny. Preferably adorned with a permanent pair of Magenta de Vine style sunglasses.

This issue of Popshot is about freedom, and being free from my body is a curious hope, (especially now M.E. means I can’t even enjoy a simple walk – it’s like a prison on some days)  but this poem represents that freedom, as well as touching on the power and promise of the ocean. I’m angry that we are so manipulated into believing we have to present our bodies in a certain way that we’ve damaged our digestive systems with endless diets, spend thousands plucking and colouring and poking to meet some ideal that no one really understands any more. I’m not angry with the fact that people do these things, I’m just frustrated that we are so trained to dislike ourselves that looking like someone else feels like the only way to be happy.

Aha I promised positivity didn’t I? I think being able to talk about this is positive – chats with colleagues and friends about diets have always brought a feeling of absolute inadequacy, and a huge sense of anxiety. Enjoying food in front of others is always tainted by wondering  what assessments are being made and I always long to be the person who fulfils the stereotype and orders proper ladies’ food like a dainty salad* just so I can avoid the feeling of being judged.  I never do and always end up in a pull of pride at not bowing to convention, and an overwhelm of self- loathing. I’m pretty sure I’m not alone.

Writing this poem is a bit of battle cry, a bit of determination not to be bowed down by convention. Will it make a difference to how I feel? Who knows, but I hope reading my poem brings a spark of positivity and more than that I hope freedom begins to move beyond the waves. The fact that it has such a powerful, apposite illustration courtesy of Shut Up Claudia is the icing on the, ahem, cake.

You can buy Popshot from leading news outlets like WHSmith, or via the Popshot website. The Freedom issue is full of work that is funny, moving and challenging and I’m proud to be part of it.

*no disrespect to those who order a dainty salad.

Wild (ish) words

My latest publication Maiden Castle features on Words for the Wild    ,a gorgeous site brimming with poetry and short fiction devoted to the magic of the countryside. There are some wonderfully rich pieces of writing on this site, and I’m proud to be featured alongside them.This poem is one of the first I produced as part of Remi Graves’ The Decisive Moment Studio with Poetry School and one that is close to my heart for many reasons.


It’s such an odd feeling publicising publication; it’s necessary because I need to build an audience, but it feels alien to everything I have learned about not being boastful, and that favourite adage of pride coming before a fall. On the other hand, I tell other people to believe in themselves, and encourage them in their achievements, so shouldn’t I practice what I preach ? Who knows what the answer is. Possibly to stop overthinking and enjoy someone liking what I’ve written….

Please pop over to Words for the Wild and have a read. I’d love your feedback. And if you’re a social media type liking, and especially sharing is a great way to support me. Thanks as ever and happy Wednesday x

 

Published

I’m so excited, I’ve had a poem published in the autumn issue of Mslexia magazine. Since I’m currently in the middle of a field (again) at End of the Road festival, I can’t give lots of detail but suffice to say I’m thrilled.

I’ll do a longer post when I get back, but I couldn’t wait to tell you all.

Thanks as ever for your support, both on person and online. This is a small step forward and hopefully first of many. Most of all it proves I’m doing something right, rather than a fanciful.

Like,share and shout from the rooftops.