A beautiful day on Bankside today, in the Dean of Southwark Cathedral’s garden as part of Mixed Borders, the Poetry School’s poet-in-residence collaboration with London Parks and Gardens Trust who run London Open Garden Squares weekend. 500 visitors, and many gallons of lemonade sold.
I wrote 10 poems about the history of the area, laying them out in flower shapes because the Dean is a George Herbert fan, and the one fun fact we all know about Herbert is his skill with the pattern poem. In the photo, you can see the flower poems collaged on top of photos and illustrations.
Thank you to all of the staff and volunteers who made me so welcome. Here are the poems … Continue reading
The lovely librarians of Nottingham are holding a poetry festival in July (11-16) and I’m their digital poet in residence. I’ll be making myself at home on their Facebook and Twitter, and will be giving the old Poembola a spin at Southwell Library over the last weekend of the Festival. A great line up – Jackie Kay, Paul Farley, Hollie McNish and lots more readers.
From 12-16 June, I’ll be making another flock of of origami poetry pigeons with the patients, staff and visitors at Guy’s Cancer Centre in London Bridge. Each pigeon (and we’re aiming for 1,000 of ’em) will contain a message – a wish, a prayer or a poem.
Thank you to Keats House for inviting Mike Sims and me back for another summer picnic of readings, games and poetical Romantical thematical cakes. We’ll be performing a new summery version of ‘A Joy Forever’ (subtitled ‘I Almost Wish We Were Butterflies’) at Keats House in Hampstead on 29th July. Tickets and all the details here.
I’m reading with Lauren Kaye at the Gypsy Hill Tavern for Beyond Words on 2 May. 7.30 onwards, details here … Beyond Words Poetry London
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 Bankside? It’s a bear-baiting town …
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.