On March 8th International Women’s Day 2021 we thought we’d give space to four fantastic women whose work inspires us. Each of these four northern women – the geographical distinction is of vital importance too – these women are, despite a global pandemic, successfully launching new collections.
The Oscillations by Kate Fox was released through Nine Arches Press, When I Think of My Body as a Horse by Wendy Pratt via the Poetry Business and Winner of the International Book and Pamphlet Competition (Judged by Imtiaz Dharker & Ian McMillan) Passerine by Kirsten Luckins was published in February by Bad Betty Press, and due to be launched in a few weeks time [Just in time for our 6th Birthday] Vitriol Works by Geneviève L. Walsh on Flapjack Press. (Click on Links to purchase and support independent publishers)
By now we have become accustomed to our poetry selves existing largely online, that book launches are viewed via Zoom and premiered on Youtube. What we lose in the lack of audience connection we can sometimes make up for in accessibility and reach. Audience numbers online can be pretty good as more and more people turn to poetry for solace and comfort and joy and escapism, from the harsh realities of what is hopefully a post-pandemic life, an entire year since the world of arts went dark.
With the release of each book, we asked Michelle Dee from the collective, to share a favourite poem and tell us why it resonates with her.
“We were very fortunate to be able to hear from this fantastic collection The Oscillations when Kate joined us on Zoom last year where she debuted ‘What could be called communication‘ but the poem I’ve chosen is called Masks which speaks kindly about recognising and accepting all those different sides of ourselves, and how we still carry the child inside no matter what age.
Watch Kate Fox and Friends at The Oscillations Launch event here:
From Wendy Pratt’s when I Think of My Body as a Horse, jumping out at me straight away was poem The Circle of Sisters, it made me think about what it is to be an outsider, the wrong side of the rope and, more loosely, the different ways one can be othered: as Wendy says she felt by some of the mums after her daughter died. This is a powerful collection about how both the mind and the body experience trauma, grief and recovery.
Hear Wendy Pratt Read from When I Think of My Body as a Horse at Poetry Business Competition Winners 2021 Launch: (along with the three other winning authors)
The third author we have chosen to celebrate today is Kirsten Luckins. She also was a Zoom guest in 2020 where she kindly shared with us her plans for her new book Passerine, a curation of poems and letters to her departed friend Sophie.
The thing that immediately jumps out at me is the deceptively powerful repetition The clouds today are… each time you read them you feel grounded and comforted, yet simultaneously they have you looking upwards in anticipation of what is to come. I cannot recommend this collection highly enough, the language, the imagery, the feel of it is utterly transformative and not bleak as you might expect given the subject.
Watch Kirsten Luckins launch event for Passerine here:
As we said earlier just in time for our 6th Birthday Geneviève L. Walsh is releasing Vitriol Works which Joelle Taylor succinctly describes as ‘Poetry to make your fists itch‘.
“Vitriol Works is a stinging cocktail of fierce urgent verse with all the niceties stripped away. I’ve chosen Salvation (is just a haircut away) for the cynicism that sings out and chimes so beautifully with my own dissatisfaction at those who breeze through life, finding everything comes to them so sodding easily“
And you’ll find Geneviève hanging out with their mates at this launch event March 22nd… here look you’d be a bloody fool to miss it. https://www.facebook.com/events/464170464780425/
Mentioning Joelle Taylor I picked up ‘Songs My Enemy Taught Me’ at Kirsten’s recommendation, after we read and deconstructed ‘report card’ in her workshop How To Enjoy Poetry. Published back in 2017, lets give a shout out to Joelle while were at it. And marvel at the fact that some of these voices have and continue to infiltrate the classroom, giving hope that the next generation will do a better job than we did.