One of a series of layered 'field' poems I'm working on, all of which are the result of research into my maternal family history, was accepted for publication by Julian Smit, Editor of The Projectionist's Playground. I'm thrilled to be included as it is one of the few current UK poetry magazines publishing what its editor calls 'contemporary , surprising and restless work' (Editor, Projectionist's Playground); some wonderful poets here.
'Field Workings 1 Denbury, Torbryan, Ipplepen' appears in Issue 11
I can't resist posting just a snippet of the poem's image here.
Many thanks to Julius Smit.
March- May 2020
It's a turbulent time for everyone and as I write this there is still Lockdown. So many poets are finding voices to document their individual experiences and journeys through this. I have managed a handful of poems, though I find too much time is taken up negotiating various necessary extra daily tasks, ie just surviving this period, but I have had some publishing successes, which I will note here.
Sims comments, [it] 'is a nostalgic collection that addresses family, culture and the threads that links us to the past with an acute attention to detail "deep white sill of the still-room ('Charlotte's Elderflowers'), "chipped white cherub" ('Lament') and some beautiful metaphors, for example "Her eyes are sea-mirrored creatures birthed with milk" (Grandma in 'Farm Kitchen') to bring the memories and the stories to life. This is very much a collection that demonstrates the link between individuals and their environment and Sampson's obvious love for the natural world permeates throughout.
I was especially pleased to have another poem accepted by Aidan Semmens, Editor of Molly Bloom, for Issue 22 of the magazine. You can read 'From the Ridge; a Devon Triptych' here. It is a 'collage' text and image poem and you can see one of the 'map' images below this post. 'Triptych' is one of a sequence of poems that I'm working on all inspired by the landscapes, history, family history and 'spirit of place' of the mid Devon area, where I was brought up.
Semmens' introduction to the magazine concludes with the following comment,
which sums up the reasons that poets and poetry are indispensable now:
'While the times we are living in right now may be full of strangeness and uncertainty, there must be one part in each of us which asks: "Why make poetry now? How can poetry really matter?" And another which replies: "It's precisely at times like this that poetry matters most." Poetry, as much as any other form, provides context, a balance between change and continuity, a sense both of the now and the beyond the now, a way of exploring and expanding one's own thinking as much as the world beyond. For all these reasons and more the show must go on. For some others that may mean the show must go online. Which is precisely where Molly Bloom has been for the past seven years and where she intends to go on going on'. (See Molly Bloom 22)
January - March 2020
I couldn't resist posting the atmospheric image that David Coldwell included with the publication on Poetry Village of 'Narcissi in North Devon'. (See note below).
Well, early in this dire year leading up to Lockdown, I had several poetry publishing successes. David Coldwell Editor of The Poetry Village accepted 'Narcissi in North Devon' and published it along with the illustration above. I have taken the liberty to copy the image as it conjures up the 'geni-loci', the spirit of my poem. My thanks to David for the picture. 'Narcissi' came about during a short trip to north Devon in the search for ancestors, in the spring of 2019. A few days which happened to coincide with one of the most awful rough weather patches of the season. It was not a 'planned' poem but I think was a kind of force of nature; as we were driving along the rain soaked lanes the poor soaking wild daffodils/narcissi seemed to be waving to me demanding I give them a voice. That's how it began. Unfortunately the intended 'family history' poems didn't materialise. But that's creativity for you! Now, given what is happening in the world the poem seems prescient and looking back to the Poetry Village website to find the link to my poem I am surprised and honoured to find that one reader, 'matty', has left a lovely comment about it:
'This poem, and its opening stanza, blew me away. There is a playfulness about the way you use language which contrasts beautifully with the deeper meanings and subtleties of the work. Its clever too, inferring shared knowledge of other famous poems and topical, in the moment, not just springtime, but speaks to our current predicament and our own mortality.'
Unfortunately as I didn't see this comment before I've not thanked the reviewer, and comments are closed, but I so appreciate he/she has taken the trouble to show appreciation of 'Narcissi'.
Places of Poetry Project
I'm thrilled to have been invited to have 'As we climbed the slope', one of the poems I
pinned on the Places of Poetry map, included in the forthcoming Places of Poetry: Mapping the Nation in Verse anthology, which is due later this year. Something to look forward to during this tumultuous time.
Poetry Space Spring Showcase
Sue Sims, Editor of Poetry Space, selected a poem for the Spring Showcase. I always love to find that the issue's editor has accepted one of mine; the Showcase poems are selected anonymously and there's an added bonus - an editorial comment about each poem. Thanks Sue! I wrote 'If you look hard enough' when I was just a little fed up with our contemporary obsession with technology.
Another very lucky month for poetry publication. I was thrilled that Nathan Evans, Guest Editor of Poetry Space's Winter Showcase, included 'Playground', one of a sequence of poems that I've written about childhood in North Tawton in Devon. Thanks so much to Nathan and Poetry Space Editor Sue Sims.
Finally, it felt like home to have two more poems accepted by Annest Gwilym, for publication in Nine Muses. 'I went down into the deepest woods' was (a little like 'my oldest friends'), one of those poems ( a voice?) that just appears out of nowhere and insists that it be written down. 'Mothers of the Ancient Moor' was more demanding and came about after months of research into and much reflection about my maternal
'mitochondrial' ancestors, most of whom had been born and spent all their lives on or on the edges of Dartmoor. (Note that these last two poems were actually published early in 2020).
Thanks to all these editors for taking on my poems!
It was very special to be invited to be one of the guest poets at fellow poet Chrissy Banks' Taunton Book launch of her wonderful new collection The Uninvited and to hear her read a selection of its poems, along with other local poets including Genista Lewes, Anthony Watts and John Stuart.
During the summer of 2019 I enjoyed contributing to the unique poetry project Places of Poetry. For anyone who loves both writing poetry about a particular place, and maps, the project provided a special opportunity not only to write new work but also to collate older poems and pin them on the site in the spot where they belong, so that the poems are forever attached to their home-location. I'm not sure how many poems I let go and left 'in their home' but most of them were in the vicinity of mid and north Devon, including at North Tawton, Okehampton and Cheldon - all places important to me when I was a child. 'As we Climbed the Slope' - which was first published by Ink Sweat & Tears and then appears in my collection It Was When It Was When It Was - is pinned on the site of the old, higher church graveyard at Okehampton.
Thanks to Sarah James and S.A. Leavesley of LitWorld2 for publication of this poem. See notes for June below.
Times' Old Father
My thanks to Sarah James and S.A. Leavesley of LitWorld2 for publication of Times' Old Heron.
See notes for June below.
June was a special poetry month. Three poems were published by Nine Muses. Two of them, 'Moor Mother' and 'Lych Way', are poems inspired by recent Dartmoor - the first one I wrote about how worried we should be about moor's future and the second links with family history. The other one, 'Dundrennan Abbey', I wrote after a visit to that historical place, which is famously linked with Mary Queen of Scots. Thanks so much to Nine Muses' Editor Annest Gwilym
Another three poems were accepted in June by Sarah James, Editor of the delightful little online magazine LitWorld2, along with the wonderful atmospheric images of S.A. Leavesley. These were from a sequence I occasionally work on where I draft observations and ideas about the natural world. These poems were published later in the year. She-Fox, Holding Back the Words and Times Old Father.
'Conkers', was published in the online web journal Picaroon, edited by Kate Garrett. Thanks Kate.
It has been a busy couple of months. Sue Sims, Editor of poetryspace, invited me to Guest Edit the Spring Showcase edition. It provided an opportunity to read a number of exellent and moving poems, but it was such a difficult task to select a final choice of ten poems as I wanted to comment on and include almost all of them. Do take a look at my final choice here, at poetryspace Spring Showcase 2019.
I was delighted to have my poem 'Death-Winter' published on the online webzone Ink Sweat and Tears. 'Death-Winter' is a special poem-of-the-past, which returns to North Tawton, the Devon home of my childhood and the blizzards of 1963. The poem brings together a strange synchronicity of events: the awful weather, our family preparing to leave our beloved home, the death in London of Sylvia Plath (which caused such a 'stir' in our town) and the daily loss of new-born lambs on our farm.
Thanks so much to Helen Ivory, Editor of Ink Sweat and Tears.
Two poems which I drafted some years ago and have always wanted to place in a publication have now found a lasting home. They were both instigated by the terrible Foot and Mouth outbreak of 2001. Thanks so much Sarah Law for accepting 'Offering' and 'Cathedral'.
It's wonderful to have a poem in Issue 13 of the online quarterly review of poetry The High Window. 'Uffculme' takes me back to the few blissful years I lived near that parish in Devon, when I'd often walk beside the river Culm.
And I was thrilled when David Cooke, C0-Editor of The High Window, also invited me to review two recent collections published by my own wonderful publishers, Dempsey & Windle. Both were collections written by Alexandra Davis: Torches and Sparks, Responses to the Poetry of the First World War and Torches. You can read the review here.
Most exciting of all during this busy time, my short collection Stretch of the Long-Tongued Honey-Bee was highly commended in the Geoff Stevens Memorial Poetry Prize, 2018.
Guest Co-Reading for Fire River Poets
The FRPs were marking their 30th year so having once been a member of the longstanding poetry group it was special to be able to not only share the guest reading spot, but also to meet up with several other poets I'd not seen for a while.
September - 2018 Devon Launch
Launch of It Was When It Was When It Was
Well it's all over now but the photo-gallery here will bring back special memories of the evening of the Devon book launch for my small collection It Was When It Was When It Was. A special gathering of poets, family, friends and musicians. I'm not often a Facebook poster but this event had to be remembered. Here's what I put on FB:
I had such a lovely evening and we made over £200 for the charity Royal Agricultural Benevolent Institution. A special Thanks to my publishers, Janice Dempsey and Donall Dempsey of Dempsey and Windle Publishing for travelling to Devon from Sussex in support of my book and launch; to the other poets/writers -Chrissy Banks James Turner Genista Wheatley Sue Sims Alasdair Paterson Denise McSheehy Tony Watts & Martin Patton who were so generous in coming along to take part in an evening of splendid readings; 'Meander' provided a delightful musical background and we had delicious and ample food supplied by Hilary Partridge Catering AND moreish cakes kindly donated by Ruth's Real Food (Thank-you so much Ruth for your generous offer - they went down a treat) ... But sad to say, I forgot to organise photos! If anyone out there has any, please do post ... Slight correction here, (and add on another thanks) as Alan Quick, editor of the local Crediton Courier did join us at the start of the evening and took photos, which should be available to obtain some time next week... Apologies re the add-ons to this post, but I meant also to thank Alasdair and Sue along with Myra Schneider and Kris Hemensley for their lovely endorsements of the pamphlet...
... There are more photos from this event below taken by Donall Dempsy & posted on Facebook.
If you'd like a copy of It Was When It Was it is available from me (see the Bookshop) or from the publishers, Dempsey & Windle.
Devon Launch of
“It Was When It Was When It Was”
(published by Dempsey & Windle)
on Saturday 29th September 2018
at The Boniface Centre
to celebrate publication of the collection
with an evening of poetry
& light music.
Refreshments and readings
from the pamphlet and
by other poets & friends.
A Proportion of Funds from sales of the pamphlet (£6 per copy) will be donated to the charity Royal Agricultural Benevolent Association, which offers financial support to farming people (of all ages) in hardship.
For directions to The Boniface Centre see http://www.lundy.org.uk/download/AGM2015Directions.pdf
(Plenty of parking is available behind the church down the lane on the east side of the churchyard).
It's always exciting to have another poem accepted by an editor for a poetry magazine and recently it's been especially rewarding to have three published by Sarah Law of Amethyst Review, a magazine for those 'who are interested in creative exploration of spirituality and the sacred'.
Thanks very much to editor Christine Murray for taking on my work for Poethead Index of Contemporary Women Poets. I am posting several of these poems here as pdfs, so as to display them visually with their original formats: 'Anchoress' has been around for many years, in different guises; it came about after I researched Canonsleigh in Devon but has undergone a variety of formats. 'At Jacobstowe' is a poem inspired by my maternal grandmother's families links with that parish and 'On Whitehorse Hill'. re-invents an imagined episoed in the life of Queen Aelfthryth, whose family were probably from Dartmoor in the heart of Devon.
Enjoyed my morning in Crediton, at The Local Author Showcase, held at Crediton Community Bookshop, in the company of a variety of other local authors and organised by Hannah Smith. Great community, chatting, company and especially coffee!
Amaryllis Poetry published 'piano-lesson'. I wrote this short poem to vent feelings from long ago concerning a harsh piano teacher of my schooldays. I won't name her, but a persistent memory is of the weeks, months, years I spent on Bach's Minuet in G. According to said piano teacher I was not sufficiently steady in my counting of the crotchets, quavers etc. Although I went on learning the piano with yet another piano teacher, this dreaded piece became my most hated. I had to repeat it every week of my time with ... but not once to her satisfaction. I have never played it since. At least, marginly, she was better than my first, who kept all her piles of sheet music in the bath!
Many thanks to Stephen Daniels
I was thrilled to be invited to take part Dempsey and Windle's Spring Launch at The Poetry Cafe, The Poetry Society. As a personal achievement this event confirmed that my second little collection is well and truly out in the world. It was a fun evening and a pleasure to meet and hear the poems of the other poets whose latest books also featured -
I put the poems in It Was When It Was When It Was together in memory of my late parents. The pamphlet is available from Amazon, or from the publisher's website, where you can read one of the poems 'Uncle under Moonlight'. The poem's subject is an uncle/godfather of mine, Air Cmd., David Green, who gained recognition for his services in Bomber Command during WWII.
..... Later in the year I'll be organising a launch somewhere down in Devon. Watch this space.
The Open Mouse webzine published 'Tonight'. Sad to see that the webzine is shortly to close. Yes another quality poetry magazine soon to be gone.
A poem I wrote after re-discovering an old childhood photo, which I titled 'Flash', has just been published on the online poetry website, Molly Bloom. Thanks so much to editor Aidan Semmens for accepting my work.
I'm thrilled to have three of my poems accepted by Sarah Law, editor of the exciting new online poetry website Amethyst Review, a welcome new poetry magazine looking for 'New writing Engaging with the Sacred'.
Grove is one of a sequence of poems I'm writing at the moment inspired by the midDevon landscape where I grew up and in particular the area's links with what historians are now calling Devon's 'Sacred Grove'. There are a number of books and websites which discuss this; I found Roger Deakn's Wildwood especially thought provoking, after reading the chapter about the discovery of the local wood henge (See Wildwood).
I've recently heard that my poetry pamphlet/short collection titled
It was when it was when it was,
has been accepted by Dempsey and Windle for publication some time in spring 2018. Editor Janice Windle has helped to design a wonderfully evocative cover.
More to come ...
A poem I've recently written which comes from a sequence I'm working on about memory and the landscape of my childhood, titled 'Remembering that Late Summer-Day' was accepted by Abegail Morley and published on The Poetry Shed a wonderful poetry blog/webzine where she generously showcases other poets' work. Am honoured to have work featured here.
Having just returned from a few days on Dartmoor and missing my home county, it was so welcoming to find the new issue of Dawntreader, 040, on the doorstep, from its Devon based publishers, pleading to be opened. A rich selection of poems to be dipped into, many of which will take me back to countryside's treats, from, in DT's editor's words, 'the autumnal forest'. I'm thrilled that one of my own poems jostles amongst them. 'When we walk', followed a mid Devon walk earlier in the year mulling over the locality's landscape's mysterious past.
Thank-you so much to Dawntreader's Editor, Dawn Bauling.
I was thrilled to have a poem selected by Rosie Jackson for the Poetry Space Autumn Showcase, 2017. The poem is 'Lost in Galloway'.
'Human presence is almost irrelevant in this lyrical evocation of a world of geese, squirrels, kites, does, natural beauty. That the poet literally takes bearings from them and not from any map is an original touch, leading to the brilliant seemingly casual throw-away last line. And I loved the memorable ‘wheeling black scripts left by Barnacle geese scrolling their skies.’
That poem happened during a trip to Galloway, sparked by a conjunction of splendiferous scenery and the freeing message of Rebecca Solnit's FieldGuide to Getting Lost, (which I'd read on the train).
Thanks so much to Rosie and Sue Sims, Editor of Poetry Space.
Allegro Poetry Magazine accepted two poems; they appeared in Issue 14, September 2017. They are 'Mrs Danton's Corner Garden' and 'Just the Way Things Are'. 'Just the Way Things Are' was written after a visit to the location of author E.M. Delafield's once home, 'Croyle, near Kentisbeare, in Devon.
Thanks so much to Allegro's Editor, Sally Long.
Thanks so much to the editors of Algebra of Owls for accepting one of my poems
'It was when it was when it was'. It appeared online at Algebra of Owls.
The poem appeared following a visit back to a once upon time home, at Cheldon, in Devon.
Thanks so much Algebra of Owls editors.
At Cheldon, in mid Devon.
Photo Julie Sampson
A slightly different version of the poem first appeared on GreatWorksOnline.
Another Online Poem appeared on the webzine Ink Sweat & Tears.
This one is titled 'As we climbed the slope'. See at Ink Sweat & Tears. The poem began after a trip down in Devon in early spring looking for graves and memorials of ancestors, with a serendipitious discovery of a cluster of graves of direct great great great grandparents. (Any avid genealogist reading this may be interested in Finding Sites the Older Ways, my inter-related family history blog).
Thank-you so much to Helen Ivory, Editor of Ink Sweat & Tears.
Path up to Okehampton Church.
Photo Julie Sampson
Blog in May
In the spring of 1916 the poet H.D. stayed in north Devon for several months. Her collection Sea Garden was published whilst she was in the county. I wrote a short celebratory sequence called South West's Sea-Thyme, which appears in the latest issue of Shearsman 111/112
Two poems, 'I have Forgotten' and 'Homage' appear in the latest issue of The Dawntreader (038).
Thanks so much to Dawn Bauling, Editor of The Dawntreader
Charles Lugg's Cystal-Tree,1769 appears in The Journal#50
Thanks very much to Sam Smith, editor of The Journal.
A couple of poems titled Room and Evensong are included in the unique little journal of the short poem, Noon 13
I'm very grateful to Philip Rowland, Editor of Noon, for accepting my work.
Do have a look at Down the Devon roads to Dunkeswell a blog piece about women writers with Devon links.
A poem titled Caernarfon has been published in Poetry Space Summer Showcase
with lovely comments by Guest Editor, Susan Castillo Street:
This poem evokes remembered love so well. I particularly liked the short lines and Laurentian rhythms, which convey physical urgency, and the images of exploding fireworks and rainbow colours (rockets, Catherine-wheels) which evoke bedazzlement. Sexy and tender'.
Thanks very much Susan and to Sue Sims, of Poetry Space.
Am delighted that a selection of my work is published in Sarasvati, 41. Available from Indigo Dreams
I very much appreciate and thank Ronnie Goodyear and Dawn Bauling for accepting my work.
Poem Centenary published in Lost Things; A collection of poems from all over the world edited by Emma Kendall Lea, Reading Room Cafe Project Publishing.
The poem Isis is a Stone is included in latest March issue of The Dawntreader (Indigo Dreams Publishing).
Pleased to have two poems Julia's Seascape and Sixty-Five selected by Editor Susan Sims, published in the Spring edition of Poetry Space The editor commented that:
In Julia’s Seascape, the poet explores her loss of self with a light touch ,,, and finally to end with, a poem that delights both in the magic of words and celebrates a coming of age. (Sixty Five)
Thanks so much Sue.
February; Devon; Celebration; 10 Women Writers and Devon
See Scrapblog a Writer from the South-West, for a new blog piece celebrating 10 Devon linked women writers.
Photo: Old School House, Martinhoe, where H.D. stayed in early 1916.
The poem 'Lilies' appears in the new edition of the The Lake contemporary poetry webzine.
My poem 'Somewhere' is included in the new poetry collection, Fanfare, (Second Light Publications, 2015, eds. Wendy French and Dilys Wood). The book can be obtained at the Second Light shop.
See a new blog piece, about E.M.Delafield's early novels, which were written in Exeter -
Northernhay Gardens, Exeter, where Delafield wrote her first novels.
I'm thrilled to find that my non-fiction manuscript Voices from the Wildridge; Women Writers in the Devon Landscape has been shortlisted for Impress Prize for New Writers.
I'm very pleased that Wendy French and Dilys Wood, editors of the forthcoming poetry collection Fanfare (Second Light publications) have selected my poem 'Somewhere' for inclusion in the book.
I was delighted that my poem 'Incipient (for Jamie)' won 3rd Prize. Another poem 'Mother's Mirrors', was commended.
Photo: Julie Sampson reading poem 'Incipient', at Tacchi-Morris, Taunton.
I'm so pleased that Guest Editor of Poetry Space Summer Showcase, 2015, Mandy Pannett, selected one of my poems to appear in the issue. 'Return to Cheldon' was first drafted after I returned to that church following a gap of many years. Mandy commented:
‘Return to Cheldon’ is a lyrical and imagist poem, beautifully crafted in sound and structure. This was on my list of choices from the beginning ...'
Photo of Cheldon Church, Devon, taken during 1960s.
Erbacce press selected a cluster of poems for their long-short-list 2015.
The poem For those who say there are no more poems, is published online by Agenda poetry.
Two poems, Room for Folk and I can hear paper ripping, are published by The Lake poetry online.
January - February 2014
Since the publication of my poetry collection Tessitura by Shearsman Books I have enjoyed a successful book launch at The Creative Innovation Centre in Taunton. Friends and family came along, braved the seasonal weather, chatted, skimmed the book, sipped a glass of wine and listened to me reading.
I was asked by two radio stations to come in and have a quick chat about my book and research into Devon's women writers. One was with Darren Daley from Tone FM-listen here, community radio in Taunton.
Then, on 28th January Luch Caise-Dearg of Exeter's Phonic FM asked me to contribute to the morning programme Mighty Book and then the following week to Classical Journey. I was able to read work from my book and discuss some of my research with Luch; link below.
Between these two events I shared the Guest Poet Spot at Uncut Poets, Phoenix Arts Centre in Exeter with Alwyn Marriage.
Exeter University Alumni did a little write-up about my work in their current newsletter.
So, all in all, a busy, noisy month for a normally retreating writerly poet
The University of Exeter included a piece - 'Lost female writers inspire poetry collection' - about Tessitura, in Alumni News -