This last few months have seen the The Swell (Telltale Press) published and launched in Tunbridge Wells. I enjoyed it hugely – and my co-readers were Mara Bergman, Sarah Barnsley, Robin Houghton and Abegail Morely. As one poetry wag at my launch chipped “these were certainly no ugly bridesmaids – quite the reverse”. LOL – er… thanks. But it was true really. I have always attempted to surround myself with the better looking in case their shine rubs off on me. The other great thing about the Launch was having all my poetry community in one place, my Kent and Sussex Stanza friends, my old Tunbridge Wells Writers buddies, my Word Up mukkas, my Fractal friends, and good loyal allies that have cheered me on from the beginning. It made me think how important we are to each other, and that may sound sentimental, but I mean this organically and viscerally.
The Milk of Kindness
One of my poems is about “the things that make us” – that which nurtures us. It is often mainly our parents. But we can forget sometimes that when our own nurturing can fall short – sometimes those kindnesses from strangers can fill us up. These kindnesses are spelled out in my poem “Milk” (published in Tears In the Fence). This poem is about how acutely I felt the loss of grand parents and aunts and uncles when I was a child. My parents – immigrants from what was then ‘East Pakistan’ (or as my father still called it – British India), had no one. So I went about collecting grannies. I loved the old welsh ladies who told me what Swansea was like before the war, stories of Dylan Thomas’ Wales. They took me to all the churches and chapels in mumbles– hundreds off them – and they all believed something slightly different. Very baffling to a little indian girl who had a mother who believed in lots of gods and a scientist for a father. My take home message – was kindness. In all my childhood I only ever met one mean old lady – who called me “chocolate drop”. She was a silly cow. Everyone else was my grand-mother, my grandfather, uncles, aunts and they didn’t even know it!
http://www.welsh-costume.co.uk I had to wear this.
It has been a good and busy poetry time for me. The wonderful Carrie Etter for Bath Spa University selected The Swell to be one of her pamphlet study texts. I was selected for the Eyewear Anthology and the Templar Anthology. I was asked back to Word Up! Slam – to do a 10 min slot and Invited to read at the Derwent Festival – (where the wonderful Mara Bergman is launching her pamphlet). Telltale had a wonderful and packed Telltale and Friends event at the Lewes Arms – with Judy Brown (!!) and Michaela Ridgewell (!!). Then I got poems selected for The North and Three Drops In the Cauldron. So onwards an upwards.
I will be reading at
Derwent Festival – Derbyshire November 4th/5th, Black Light Engine Room – Middlesborough -November 19th, Word Up! Tunbridge Wells December 7th, and I’ve been tentatively asked to read some poems at our village Christmas lights event too. Now theres lovely – as they say in Wales.
http://www.twforum.co.uk/word-up-holly-mcnish/ this event has passed – but is was v good !