Shauna Robertson, Jill Munro and Jonathan Edwards
After having a collection what steered towards a pamphlet?
My first collection, Man from La Paz (Green Bottle Press), came out in July last year and during the process of its production and shortly afterwards, I realised I had another pile of poems accumulating, waiting to find a home. I love to enter competitions and the inaugural Fair Acre Press Pamphlet competition had a deadline of November 2015, so it all just seemed to fall into place with the number of poems I had. I think it’s important to support small presses and by entering their competitions it helps to keep them afloat. It was a huge buzz to win!
Tell me something about the competition and the press?
The competition was in two sections – one for previously published poets and one for poets without a previous publication. It was judged by Jonathan Edwards and, as a great admirer of his work, this was another draw to entering. Part of the prize, apart from the publication of the pamphlet, was to read alongside Jonathan (and Shona Robertson, who won the other section) at the Wenlock Festival.
Fair Acre Press is run by a bundle of energy named Nadia Kingsley. She appears to be a human dynamo and turned round the production of the pamphlets from the winning announcement on 1st March to the deadline of the Wenlock Poetry Festival on 23rd April, which was incredibly impressive. She has also managed the remarkable feat of getting all her pamphlets stocked by Waterstones in Birmingham – a tough nut to crack.
Do you think you need to use a poem from the collection as a title and why?
Not necessarily, and in this case the pamphlet title is just a borrowed section of a longer title of one of the poems: The Quilted Multiverse of Gardens. As the pamphlet is an eclectic mix and not themed, the idea of there being a multitude of universes, where we are living doing other things in other dimensions, appealed as a title. I think a line from a poem can also work equally well as a pamphlet or collection title and is somehow less obvious. Titles are one of my favourite parts of the process.
How did you feel when you opened the box of The Quilted Multiverse?
So pleased to have a purple pamphlet! If there is any theme to it at all, it can be seen to be a purple one. Many people seem to like Woolf Wrote in Purple Ink which appears in Multiverse. I am also rather fond of the trampolining Granny on the cover – who is dreaming of another universe …
The Quilted Multiverse of Gardens
When the train stalls to a slow graunch
along the track, the patchwork quilt
of urban Edens comes into view,
sewn and framed in creosote, barbed
wire, laurel bush or red stock bricks.
I spot the garden trimmed orange
in Sainsbury’s bags stuffed
with papier-mâché magazines.
Next door the whirly-gig whizzes
on airy rounds, fixing smells of last night’s
still smoking bonfire into hardening towels.
And there’s the holey tennis net
looping low, once taut and high,
abandoned rackets on the lawn ─
the kids gone in for tea or good.
And then it comes – a glimpse of backyard
heaven ─ a huge brilliant blue trampoline
stretching to square boundaries, where
a floral-aproned grandma is bouncing high,
higher, dreaming of another universe.