As my first full poetry collection, Species, has been available now for roughly a month ("How time flies" seems appropriate, given the front cover), I thought I'd do a round-up of Species-related news and events so far, in the order in which they've landed.
1. First there were these featured poems on the Nine Arches Press blog. They are: '"Am I Disabled?" - A Self-diagnosis Questionnaire', 'Water Rail, with Moses', 'To My Kreeping Krypto-faith, Krampus', 'Deliverance', and 'To My Parallel-Parked King, Richard III.'
2. There was this interview on Polyolbion, the blog belonging to poet, bird journalist and label-mate, Matt Merritt.
3. There was this short interview with Jody Porter at The Morning Star in which, as well as talking about Species, I also took the chance to soapbox about my unwavering yet fraught and precarious relationship with leaning left (in body, mind and spirit) as a disabled person living in Austerity UK (TM).
4. Also in The Morning Star, and published on the same day, was this poem from the book: 'Standing is the Apples to Sitting's Oranges', which (I didn't realise at the time of writing it) could be said to be partly about that relationship, so I was surprised and delighted that it was the poem Jody chose.
5. No reviews have come in yet. I'll let you know if and when they do. But Jane Commane, my editor at Nine Arches Press, has kindly entered the collection into the Aldeburgh First Poetry Prize, so we'll see what happens. Fingers crossed.
6. If you're one of the people who have told me they wish they could have seen me launch this book / read these poems live (and even if you're not), thank you for your patience. Various physical and mental health-related issues have meant that the prospect of appearing in front of an audience has been too daunting for what seems like an age now. Disability and mental illness often feels like one push of the wheel forward, and two pushes back. However, I have started thinking with Jane Commane about the possibility of collaboratively reading with another poet. I won't reveal who has been suggested in case I'm jinxing myself and it falls through, but fingers crossed, and you might see me at some stage soon, on some stage...
7. The other day I posted on social media that I wanted to choose two poems to write short "essays" on, and asked which poems you would like to see written about. So far a grand total of one of you has responded with 'The Clobber Shop' and 'Silky Sifaka'. I'll resist the temptation to write anything about those here and now, but suffice it to say I've started generating ideas for them, so unless anyone changes my mind (speak now or forever hold your peace), they are the "winners." Again, I'm trying to juggle my writing time with my activism (which also means prioritising relaxation and self-care). So thank you for your patience on that one, and please bear with me. Those essays will appear here as soon as I can manage it.
In the meantime, if you would have come to a Species book launch and bought a copy there, please click on the brand-spanking-new image on the sidebar to the right, which will lead you to the Nine Arches Press shop, where you can buy it online.