Come Into The Garden, Bird …

It’s time for Mixed Borders again, the collaboration between London Parks and Gardens Trust and The Poetry School (where I work) which puts 30-odd poets in London’s unusual green spaces for Open Garden Squares Weekend (17/18 June – although I’ll just be there on the Saturday). In 2015, I was up in the roof-top vegetable patch of a Japanese investment bank; in 2016, in a private square in Notting Hill. This year, I’m in the Dean of Southwark Cathedral’s back garden. There’s room for me, a pond and a handful of visitors – and I’m looking forward to it hugely.

Diving into research, I’m learning about the industrial, artistic and waterside heritage of the area, and will be writing a series of poems on those themes to hang in the Dean’s trees. Read this book and this book and you’ll see where my ideas are coming from.

The first poem is written. Seventeenth century bear baitingBankside? It’s a bear-baiting town …

‘Now You Can Look’ (soon)

I’m very excited that my Now You Can Look sequence is going to be published by The Emma Press in September next year, in their art square format. That means Full! Colour! Illustration!

Now You Can Look  is a Venn diagram of a book: part historical re-enactment, part fiction, part autobiography. It follows (sorta) the life of a visual artist from the ’30s, and what she has to break and remake in order to live the life she wants. We all have to do some of that smash and shuffle to get by, eh?

I love the work of The Emma Press. There’s no girl gang I’d rather be part of, and I’m very happy to be working with them.

Here’s a bit more about the sequence, and one of its poems.

Venn Diagram

I work for the Poetry School. The Poetry School has a poet-in-residence (Ben Rogers) at the forthcoming Poetry in Aldeburgh festival. I also produce live literature shows with my company Jaybird Live Literature, and one of those shows is going to Aldeburgh too. Here’s my interview with Ben about the show and my writing. Altogether too many identities.

New Boots & Pantisocracies

pantisocraciesAnthology alert! I’m in this one, being cross about the curriculum. Blurb here …

‘The week after the [2015 general] election Bill Herbert and Andy Jackson decided to chart the responses of those unacknowledged legislators of the world – poets – to the new dispensation. For the first 100 days of the new government they published a poem a day on their New Boots and Pantisocracies blog, recording life under the new unrealpolitik. Now it is a book by over a hundred of the most compelling and distinguished poets of our time, including Sean O’Brien, Sheenagh Pugh, Daljit Nagra, Claudia Daventry, Ian Duhig, Michael Rosen, Polly Clark, Ian McMillan, George Szirtes and Malika Booker.’ Buy it here.

Making it Pay …

In which I reveal what percentage of my annual income comes from being an actual poet compared to all the other poetry-promoting stuff. A panel discussion hosted by the Society of Authors on 26 October, with Tom Chivers, Tamar Yoseloff and me. Get your (possibly tax deductible) tickets here.