New poetry collection / Iceland residency

Over the last year, in between learning to run sensory workshops for people with profound and multiple learning disabilities, and trying to stay financially afloat in the enemy-of-poor-people economy of my new home city of Brighton, I have been working on a new collection of poems…

It is called ‘Boys’ and will be published by Burning Eye Books in May of this year. Its a short collection exploring themes to do with…. you guessed it, boys. Growing up with boys, living with boys, fighting with boys, grieving for boys, and attemps to untangle some of the nonsense messages that this world we live in tells us about what boys (and girls) should say, think, do¬† and feel. I’ve worked really hard on it (along with my dear friend Jamie Harrison and his very sharp editorial brain), and I’m really excited that it will be available in real life very soon. I’m planning a small book tour in June to celebrate its release.

Also in May, I’m very very excited (and a bit nervous) that I’m going to be Writer in Residence at Klaustrid (managed by The Institute of Gunnar Gunnarsson) in the Fljotsdalur valley in East Iceland. It is situated at Skriduklaustur, which was built in 1939 by the famous Icelandic writer Gunnar Gunnarsson! Its apparently 40km from the nearest town. I full of trepidation about being so far from home on my own for a whole month, but also bubbling over with excitement about getting to explore a new part of the world, learn about a different culture, and have loads of time to get some writing done.

It took me SO long to get into the flow of writing and editing critically while I was working on Boys- its easy to get out of the right brain space, what with doing other work too, and money worries, and just being (as I am) prone to bouts of anxiety and depression which are not really conducive (for me) to a really meaty creative process. But now, just as the collection is finished, I find that I HAVE found my flow. New ideas come all the time, in my day to day thinking. I feel confident about knowing whether they’re shit or not, and pushing myself to work on them further if I think they’re ok. And best of all, I can feel the little magical wonderment compartment of my brain fizzing away- looking for magic, or ways of making things register as magic and unusual and fantastical, in the day to day. This often happens after a period of instensly working on something creative. The problem is that it is difficult to maintain once a project is finished and we are obliged to go back to normal life, with its bills and bedtimes and such. So, and I feel very super grateful about this opportunity to go to Iceland, and determined to use the time as productively as possible.

That’s all for now. Check back for details of the release date for ‘Boys’, I should know more soon!

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