Saturday, 23 August 2014

I Read A Slim Pamphlet

I read a new pamphlet of poetry earlier today.  It's called Mending The Ordinary and it says on the cover that it's by me and published by Fair Acre Press.  I was a bit surprised to see my name on it because it's a collaboration, and the work is full of other people's ideas.

I have, for example, taken some of the poems to workshops where poets have commented on them and offered useful suggestions, often about leaving words out. One of the things I like about the pamphlet is its white space - I'm grateful to everyone who helped me to increase and shape this.

Many of the poems are inspired by people I love.  Other readers may sense their love for their children or their mothers or their friends appearing in the poems in some way. The poems owe themselves to those things which can only occur in the context relationships.

And I'm aware of the way in which the poems are ordered and how much I like the trajectory as it is, and how the rightness of the order took me by surprise again this time round.  They don't appear in the order in which I set them out originally: this order is so much better.  Nadia Kingsley, who designed, edited and published the pamphlet, worked out how the poems could sit together and showed me what she meant.  As we discussed it, I saw that what she was suggesting was completely and obviously right.   It's a particular gift of hers, this pairing and linking of poems, this being able to visualise how they'll look when the pages are opened and turned,  how they'll speak to each other across the fold.

It's a privilege to be read.  It's a privilege to have my work taken seriously, examined, shaped and then given back to me like this.  My name is on the cover, but this pamphlet is not a solo act.

Mending The Ordinary is published by Fair Acre Press at  £4.99.  It's also available at Wenlock Books.

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