My book, Tigress was launched twice. There was the great London launch at the Poetry Cafe in Covent Garden in July. This was a joint launch with Julia Webb’s new Nine Arches Press book: Threat. Julia has just been nominated as one of the 100 most best women in Norfolk by the way – so I was in some company.
We had a guest poet: Tom Sastry. Tom is also a Nine Arches Poet and his debut collection will be out for launch in November. I met Tom a few years ago when we were both at a Masterclass with Gillian Clarke and Carol Anne Duffy. He was sort of teacher’s pet but that didn’t stop Carol Ann trying to explode us all with fireworks in a Byronesque display. The London launch was packed and Jane Commane (Nine Arches impresario) hosted us.
There were friends from all parts of my life there. There were a couple of people who I didn’t know and had bought my previous book and come along because they liked my work, which gave me a special warm glow.
The second launch was was in early August and in Tunbridge Wells. I wanted to have a party to celebrate by new book with all my friends who have been so wonderfully supportive over the last 5 years. Tunbridge Wells is important to me because it created a safe haven of space for me to write after so many years. For my poetry community in Tunbridge Wells – I wanted an Open Mic. I also wanted to celebrate some local poets. My friend and spoken word poet Lucas Howard was my guest, hot footed all the way from Hastings to deliver his beautiful words. It was important he was there for me because he inspired me when I was starting out doing mainly spoken word. I also wanted to celebrate Neetha Kunaratnam – a local poet who has done so well recently and is in this years Forward Prize anthology (not jealous AT ALL).
The local launch was so memorable because of friendship. I delayed the launch because I wanted my friend Caroline to attend – as I knew she was off to the States late July. I had no idea that while she was in the states she had looked up the artist who’s Durga artwork I used for the cover art of Tigress. I was so lucky to make a connection with artist Laura Santi. Completely unknown to me – Caroline had visited Laura in Oregon, hung out with her in the ashram, and bought a print and presented it to me at my Launch – as well as live streaming it so Laura could ‘be there’. Caroline – you are magical. These are moments of friendship.
I also wanted to extend my launch to my poetry community. We have such a vibrant and talented set of poets in the area, and all have inspired and encouraged me over the years and I wanted to hear them. The Open Mic was varied and lively and a really fun event. And yes – people came in animal print too. The Vittle and Swig in Tunbridge Wells did us proud.
Since the launches – people have been supportive of the book. They have sent me pictures of places they have bought it, from Edinburgh Waterstones to Foyles in London. I got a mention in the Poetry Book Society (under Kai Miller ! -who doesn’t want that?).
In August I read at the Nerhu Centre (part of the Indian High Commission) in Mayfair London alongside some awe inspiring poets spanning the Indian diaspora. Thanks to Yogesh Patel and Matwala and Skylark.
In September I read at the very inspiring and enlightening Tears in Fence festival in Dorset. I met up with old friends, made new ones and heard some emotionally charged and in some cases – shattering – poetry. It made me think. And feel. A lot.
The World Tour. (Well… a bit of the world)
After the launches and Dorset, the world tour will consist of :
Birmingham: Birmingham Literary Festival. ON NATIONAL POETRY DAY
Stroud Book Festival: November 9th
Winchester’s Poetry Cafe 8th November
Coventry’s Word Play at the Belgrade Theatre 26th November
A Poetry Film : Song of the Soil
Poet/Filmakers : Helen Dewberry and Chaucer Cameron teamed up with Nine Arches and have been making film poems of all Nine Arches Poets. Here is mine – it was such a great experience to work with them.
Buy the Book!