Taking My Mother to Higher Ground poem in Scotia Extremis anthology


Life is amazing isn’t it. I have a baby that takes up 100% of my time and preoccupies ALL my thoughts; America’s just made a massive decision (atrocity) that doesn’t represent me or portend a safe future; and I’ve just gotten home from a picturesque weekend away looking for starling murmurations. However does the mind cope with extremes?

But here is some good news! I’m pleased to say my poem ‘Taking My Mother to Higher Ground‘ has been included in the online anthology Scotia Extremis, an epic collection of poems where Scottish extremes meet!

Brainchild of Brian Johnstone and Andy Jackson, at Scotia Extremis each week two poems from the extremes of Scottish culture are paired together. The Barras meets Jenners, Tartan meets Tweed, Jekyll & Hyde meet Burke & Hare – to name but a few of the cultural collisions so far seen on the blog!

My poem about a walk up Arthur’s Seat (a relatively easy hill to climb in Edinburgh) is paired with Jacqueline Thompson’s stellar ‘The In Pin’ about the Inaccessible Pinnacle, a proper mountaineering feat in Skye which requires a rock climb and abseil! Definitely worth a read! Plus we’re week 42 of the pairings so plenty more great poems to keep you entertained. Hope you enjoy it!

‘Moon Man’ in Dactyl

dactylExcited to say my poem ‘Moon Man’ will be included in Dactyl III, the ‘Origins & Elements’ themed issue. So chuffed! A wee shout out to the zine from their website:

Dactyl is a new, Scottish-based publication for poetry, prose, illustration and photography. In April 2013 we issued a call for entries seeking original, contemporary work responding to the theme ‘Lost & Found’. Our very first issue (our baby!) was launched in Edinburgh in November 2013, and includes never-before-seen work from 21 contributors. Dactyl 1 is available to buy now.

Dactyl’s second issue, Time & Space, was launched on 15 August 2014, and is currently sold out, awaiting stock.

The launch event in Edinburgh will be in September, but you can pick up a printed copy from 15th August at the Edinburgh International Book Festival bookshop. EIBF #shelfies to come!

Full Disclosure, aka Fact Check yo’self

I often wonder, in the world of a poem, how factually accurate it needs to be, or how much scope I have to interpret as I see fit. #poetguilt

My ‘Moon Man’ poem is about an astronaut who has returned to earth after his space mission. I was inspired by an interview I’d read with an ISS astronaut. His line about seeing 16 sunsets/sunrises a day, from the ISS rotating around the earth, got my gears turning!

I built the poem around this line, but over the course of it, (and including the title), it turned into a poem about an astronaut returning from the moon. BUT, on the moon, the sun rises and sets over the course of 2 earth-weeks. (So the earth would experience ~14 sunrises/sets in the time the moon would experience 1 rise/set.) Thus, the 16 sunsets for one of yours line isn’t factually accurate… but I kept it. I felt like, ‘One sunset/sunrise for 14 of yours’, didn’t resonate as strongly… Difficult! I mean, (taking from another line in the poem) the moon is also not a million miles from earth (its ~200k miles). But perhaps ‘a million miles’ is hyperbole for ‘really far’ and therefore acceptable?

Maybe I should have changed the line, called the poem ‘Space Man’, made it perfectly accurate. What do you reckon? Poetic licence? Any budding astrophysicists notice anything else I missed?

Hope you’ll go and check out a copy and let me know what you think!

Amazing Stories review, including The Costume

rockets_cover_smallJust a wee note to flag up a review of Where Rockets Burn Through at Amazing Stories: HERE. The reviewer, Diane Severson, also included some ‘show notes’ at her blog.

In the review, Diane briefly describes the structure of Where Rockets Burn Through, edited by Russell Jones and reviews Russell’s chapbook of SF Poetry Spaces of Their Own.

There are a fair few audio readings in the review, mostly short poetry, as well as short glosses of some of the poems from the collection. I also submitted some audio for my poem, The Costume, which you can go and listen to if you fancy it. I’m obviously a bit mortified at my own recorded voice – but glad for the opportunity to promote poetry!

As ever, you can order Where Rockets Burn Through online! (£9.99, 208pp, Ed. Russell Jones).

But definitely go have a look and listen of the review if you have a chance.