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New pamphlet – The Memory of Water

When I started off on this Scotney Castle sequence I had no idea that I would be lucky enough to have Karen Dennison’s photographs in the collection. I’d asked her if she fancied collaborating and after she read the poems she said yes. We spent time wandering the grounds – Karen’s eagle eyes settling on the roots of trees that looked like woven rope, or collecting reflections from the lip of the moat.

We created a limited edition handmade pamphlet but the card I chose for the cover was too thick to staple so we ended up hand sewing them. They did look beautiful but I was hugely relieved we made so few!

A year later the text gave itself to a different story, one that found its voice and momentum in a completely new way. Actually, a way I really didn’t expect. The number of poems grew and found their own footing and Karen supplied more photographs, and we have a wonderful full cover colour – Karen’s stunning photo and Ronnie’s eye for design is brilliant. So here it is in all its glory….

TMOW matt to be changed LOW RES
Skin deep

Ripples recede as if the water sits back on its haunches,
geese glide into the space between air and knees.
The fluster of wings fetches him from the path,
running as if there’s a ghost at his heels and, like a boat

slipping its moorings, he bobs into view. The water licks
at its past: tastes the metal of broadswords as they slice
its tongue, the heady swell of wild garlic on its lips,
the bitterness of nettles hung around its banks each spring.

The custom of collecting buds from barely-warm ground
is lost on him as he slides, swan-like at the muddy edge,
pulls himself back in time. He looks up at the deserted castle,
the morning’s fog wraps around it like a scarf,

and somewhere in it are the stirrings of forgotten language:
ramparts, gatehouse, defences, keep. All of this is lost on me.
I see where he collided: the nest of eggs, how the sun
lights each one like a sonographer doing a scan.

Petrichor
(petra, meaning ‘stone’, + ichor, the fluid)

I kick off my shoes, roll jeans to knees,
cuffs up thin wrists. Sun prods

through leaves, flashes on my skin
like a slippery fish with interlocking scales –

I’m a single word, an unbuttoned shirt
flapping in the breeze. I’m thinking

I adore this weather, this history –
him – can smell the scent of my ancestors

in the shrubs, grass, soil, hear the dreamlike
way rain shifts quietly on the pelt of trees

when the sky gives nothing away. I didn’t know
rain could fall this lightly, this slowly.

 

If you’d like a signed copy let me know via thepoetryshed@hotmail.com, otherwise the lovely Dawn and Ronnie at Indigo Dreams will send it to you (cheaper and more quickly than Amazon!). Support small presses please… because they’re worth it.

There’s more from Ronnie and Dawn at Indigo Dreams Publishing in the next posting.

Box of books

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Straid Collections Award 2014

the straid

Closing Date: 17-Mar-14

Details:
The annual Straid Collection Awards are open for submission of full collections of poetry. Poets are invited to submit between forty and sixty pages of poetry, with no more than forty lines per page, excluding title and stanza breaks.

Prize: The award is given to one poet each year and is intended for poets who have a complete new collection. The winning poet will be offered a launch reading at the 2014 Derwent Poetry Festival and a further launch reading in our Keats House events programme.
Entry Fee: £22.00 for each submission and £25.00 for each Online Submission

Contact: For further information see website
Postal Entries: Templar & Iota Poetry, PO BOX 7721, Matlock, Derbyshire, DE4 9DD
Email entries: submissions@templarpoetry.co.uk

PREVIOUS STRAID AWARD COLLECTIONS

The Waiting Hillside by Martin Malone

Rumpelstiltskin’s Price by Susanne Ehrhardt

Not Saying Goodbye at Gate 21 by Kathleen Jones

Cry Wolf by Cristina Newton

On the Kiso Road by Jo Haslam

The Invention of Fireworks by Beatrice Garland

E.E. Nobbs

The Invisible Girl – E.E. Nobbs

Carolina Read reviews The Invisible Girl by E.E. Nobbs

Invisible.

.

E.E. Nobbs’s debut collection inspires us to notice things and events in our lives that makes for poetry that sits us up.   She opens with a sensitive but defiant voice from her childhood. In a beautifully crafted sequence, the theme takes us through the wonder and intimacy of growing up.

From the start, Nobbs’s shares her love of detail and the naming of things — drawing us in with all the senses to think a little deeper about times past.  The atmosphere in the poem “Jim”, for example, takes us straight to young farm life in Prince Edward Island, Canada:

.

…………….‘He’d hitch
Jet, the old gelding, to the turnip cart, go down
to the woods by the creek – hauling

spruce and white birch seedlings the whole morning.’

This collection gives us poems from a true nature lover, the type that walks the woods every day and heeds to coincidences.  They are articulated with a wonder to discovery and of wisdom that is rich in perspective.  Poems including “Childless in the City” and “The Oceans are Dying” expose a knowing of aloneness that contrasts with the yielding into relationships that “Elmira Sweetheart” and “Casablanca” speak of with uplifting, humorous sentiment.

Using a playful imagination to deal with difficult, often painful themes offers the reader a welcoming way of seeing things.   Whether this be dealing with age, garden slugs or enduring a Canadian winter – as in “Seasonal Affective Disorder”

‘Now it’s January.
I’m parched
wrinkled and
shrivelled.  Now I’m sprouting
shoots – pale, hard, red-eyed.  I’m etiolating
but I’ve nowhere to go…’

The poems keep returning us to this meeting place, where self meets other, be it ducks, sisters or universes – with the conundrum of the cohesion that lies between. There lies a tease towards a longing for things as they are and as they could be – as in the opening of “Rereading Anne of Green Gables” –

‘Anne Shirley!  Will you please come back for me?
Tragically, I missed you at the station’.

Throughout The Invisible Girl, readers are invited into this question of the ‘here and there’ and the ‘want and can’t have’ themes in their own experiences. Through observation of the natural world and our place in it, any sense of separation is cleverly dissolved without too much sentiment – a talent which Nobbs’s brings to her poems with a perspective that suggests to me how Emily Dickinson wrote about the world. This brings us to reflect upon the title of this collection, and how personal a journey we are taken on, whilst also noticing the poems she’s selected to be the first and the last –

opening with a canter into identity in “All I Want is a Pony, and”

‘Dad won’t say he doesn’t have the time
for this – a daughter he’s hoped
would manage better.
……………………………..He won’t sell
the pony, this time – and this time I will learn
to ride.’

and closing with a freedom and wonder to the Self in “Seaweed”

‘I am fronds of green-brown dulse
Plamaria plamata
— holding fast
stuck close on stone
You are flights of silver dolphins
Delpinus delphis
— swimming fast
faring out to sea

This collection is a marvel of wit and surprise. It guarantees to fill your senses with a curiosity for life from whatever age you so choose to be. It is a book which could well become a companion when I feel in need of an invisible friend.

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Midnight On The Pond

The snag tree,
old punk spruce
— an owl’s nest,
empty inside —
makes no sounds
when it crashes oddly
down like a shipwreck’s mast;
it falls on his dream’s paper birch canoe,
which disappears as if
it never were, while the two survivors
treading water [ Why don’t they dive? ] wait
and watch for the missing third —
their mother
who won’t resurface.

They forget what she
told them once:

Look up.

A bird with moon eyes turning blue
flies off.

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Buy the book here

About E.E. Nobbs: I am a poet. Born in the decade of the last century when Elvis’s career was getting underway… And I live in Prince Edward Island, Canada, which is where I’ve spent almost all of my life, as an “Islander”. The prize for winning the Doire Press Second Annual International Poetry Chapbook Contest (2013)  was the publication of my first poetry collection,  The Invisible Girl  which is available to order directly from me. It’s been a wonderful experience working with the great folks at Doire Press.

About Carolina Read: I work as a specialist Physiotherapist in learning disability in the NHS (22 years). I integrate many healing streams of influence into my work and life,  from where I find my passion for words and their meaning arises. My greatest love is of the language that lives in all Nature, beyond our understanding and marvel.