Falling Out of the Sky – My First Poem for Children!

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This wonderful book arrived in the post yesterday! Falling Out of the Sky is the first anthology of children’s poetry from publisher The Emma Press, and sees twenty poets re-working classic myths and legends. The poem I contributed is called The Cauldron of Knowledge, based on the Welsh legend of the enchantress Ceridwen. In the legend, Ceridwen brews a potion imbued with the gift of wisdom and poetic inspiration, intended for her son. However, Gwion Bach – the young boy she places in charge of stirring the potion – inadvertently ingests some of the potion and gains the wisdom and knowledge it carries. What follows is a fantastical chase sequence as Ceridwen pursues the boy, each of them transforming into different animals as they go.

My poem is essentially a back-and-forth between the two central characters, with Gwion Bach goading Ceridwen the witch as he flees from her. In the original, Ceridwen eventually swallows Gwion and ends up giving birth to the poet Taliesin. I changed the ending a bit for my version, so that Gwion is successful in his escape by transforming into a tiny flower and hiding from a dragon-formed Ceridwen. I altered a few of the animals they change into from the original story, too.

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Every poem in the book has been lovingly illustrated by Emma Wright, the editor, herself. The cover art is bold and vibrant. It would make a really lovely bedtime reading book for children around 7 – 9. Huge thanks to the editors for choosing to include my work; I’m very, very pleased with the end result!

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Poem In Which

I’ve been away from this blog for a long time and not managed to update it in nearly a year! In that time I’ve not written a lot of poetry but nonetheless managed to have a few bits published, one of which appeared in issue 7 of Poems In Which.

There are a few more exciting things on the way, including my first poem for children and the looming of Bird Book III from the lovely Sidekick Books folks. I’m also thinking about sprucing up this blog, making it more visually appealing, with some illustrations or something. I may even re-locate to a new website, but we’ll have to see.

For now this is really just a little update to say I’m still alive and active and writing, but focusing more on prose writing than poetry these days…

Sprites

As readers of this blog will know, hopefully, I have contributed to the brilliant Coin Opera 2, a bumper book of poetry inspired by computer games, from some of the UK’s (and farther afield) finest poets. The only stalling point now is raising funds so that the book can be printed. The editors are in the middle of a Kickstarter campaign, so please consider backing if you have either an interest in computer games, poetry, both, or neither but want to read something dazzlingly creative!

All of the contributors have been rendered as Neo Geo pixel characters, and appear in this stunning image:

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My own sprite is below. As my poem is to do with Shadow of the Colossus, I’m equipped with a bow and arrow (which, quite coincidentally, would be my preferred weapon of choice were I an intrepid adventurer/ hunter type character). I’ll be posting more about Colossus and computer games in general over the coming days, but in the meantime, do consider donating whatever you can afford to the Kickstarter campaign!

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Thank you!

Marnie, Laura, and Poetic Inspiration

I don’t normally post music here, but this is a little different. Crystal World is the solo album of Helen Marnie, from electronic band Ladytron. The whole album is beautiful, but without doubt my favourite song is Laura. Pristine as an arctic crystal, it embodies perfectly a dreamy combination of pretty and strange. The reason I’m posting it here is that listening to Ladytron’s music actually inspired my first published poem, which appeared in Poetry Wales in 2009. It’s the element of dreamy, almost heavenly music (usually found in the songs towards the ends of their albums) that seems to tap directly into my creative streak, and it’s become apparent that Helen Marnie is the ingredient in the band that inspired those more divine songs. Already, listening to Crystal World, I’ve started to find my mind filled with otherworldly images of glowing gold cities, futuristic castles suspended in mist, forests of jewels, and more. So, here is Laura, and I strongly recommend the album too!