If it is true that there’s nothing new under the sun, then Harry Josephine Giles has the ability to create an utterly convincing mirage of originality by crashing old ideas into each other. Whatever you think of Deep Wheel Orcadia, it would be difficult to argue that this work could have come from a mind other than theirs.
Second Memory, a collaborative creative non-fiction pamphlet written by Pratyusha and Alycia Pirmohamed, guides you through this luminous corridor on a journey that not only traces their ancestral histories but also invites you to peer into their stories, and see yourself in them….
Eléna Rivera’s riveting collection of long poems, Epic Series, swims out into the complexities of identity, questioning what it means to be and become, to belong simultaneously to oneself and to one’s generational tree….
Motherhood, birth, and parental relationships are the three key components that make up JL Williams’ collection Origin. She explores all sides of what it means to be a mother: the pain of birth, raising a child when your own parents are absent, the fear of being in charge of another person’s life and their survival. Williams takes us into the depths of her psyche in all the stages of her pregnancy. We not only see her own fears of motherhood but our shared fears over bringing up a child in today’s society.
In a wide-ranging conversation, poet and reviewer, Beth McDonough, interviews Costa Book of the Year poet, Hannah Lowe for DURA and Imagined Spaces (www.imaginedspaces.uk) about her writing practices, about using the sonnet form, the American poets that she loves, the tension between the autobiographical and poetic form and language, and colonial history.
The Sun is Open is a poetry collection from Northern Irish poet and academic Gail McConnell. McConnell had previously published two poetry pamphlets, Fourteen (2018) and Fothermather (2019).
From the very first page which details the tragic death of McConnell’s father by a bullet in front of her three-year-old self, it is made immediately clear to the reader that this will be a difficult and confrontational read.
When a collection’s first line is ‘How did we get here?’, and that poem is called ‘When everything is water’, it’s perhaps hard for readers of a certain age not to hear an echo of Talking Heads and wonder at what is going wrong. In this time of accelerated ecological crisis the collection’s ominous title points that way too. The cover (with the poet’s beautiful photograph ‘Selkirk swimming pool in the rain’) describes how ‘we cannot imagine that the life we know is about to change in personal, political or global terms.’ …
If ever a book wears its scholarly research as a jolly cloak, then it is The Voyage of St Brendan. When A.B. Jackson reaches the final page of his post-collection notes, he quotes George Mackay Brown’s play The Voyage of St Brandon: ‘Imagine, say, a couple of country children on a roadside on a spring day. Tell the story of the voyage as if it was for their ears only.’ Jackson finishes his book, responding to that urging with ‘ It is advice I have kept in mind for my own version’.
For me, writing poetry demands different parts of my resources, whether it is my feelings, my energy, my brain, my ego, my sense of self, or my sense of audience. But I’m probably at my happiest when I’m writing a poem. The process is what excites me the most, and when I’m done, it feels quite removed from me. I’m not reluctant to send it out, which I think some poets are – they fear rejection. I think having been an actress helps. Nobody likes rejection, but it’s not going to kill me. I’m quite pragmatic; I see it as just another part of the process.
There is a warmth that emanates from the pages of Sheila Templeton’s eclectic collection of remembering, intimate reminiscences that span a lifetime, taking in a whole generation of perspectives. Clyack is a passage through life that can be enjoyed from cover to cover or, like the recollections explored and shared, as memories that surface in the mind, singular and unexpected though inextricably linked.