I submitted my PhD on February 4th and since then I have been spending my time catching up on sleep and ‘decompressing’. This deserves a whole blog post of its own which I hope to write after my Viva in May. For now, I am enjoying having space in my brain again and time to do things I love without any I-should-be-working-on-the-PhD guilt.
Submitting my thesis has also given me time to turn my full attention to another exciting milestone: the publication of my second poetry collection, How to Carry Fire. This collection considers fire in both its physical and metaphorical forms, exploring the ways it can destroy and cleanse. These poems are close to my heart and speak to issues of family addiction, home-burning and building as well as anxiety, passion and hope.
The last few weeks with this collection have been eventful ones. Not long ago, I got to hold the proof copies in my hands for the first time. I still cannot believe what a beautiful object this book is! The cover was designed by Emily Courdelle who does such gorgeous work. The collection was edited by Susie Wildsmith who also kindly snapped this photo of my love-struck, joyful moment.
These proof copies promptly made their way out to reviewers and book bloggers in preparation for my very first blog tour. This digital tour will start on March 27th and run for ten days, thanks to the fabulous organisation of Isabelle Kenyon from Fly on the Wall Press.
Although I will be embarking on a real-life book tour after my launch, this online blog tour will happen before the collection’s official release. This means that eight bloggers will be reviewing How to Carry Fire and two will be sharing guest posts by me which offer a glimpse into my writing process as well as some of the collection’s themes. This is the first time I’ve taken part in a blog tour like this so please do come along on this new and exciting journey!
This weekend I was invited to preview How to Carry Fire at Cardiff Poetry Festival’s New Poetry Showcase. I stepped in last minute for Marvin Thompson and the unexpected invitation, the newness of the work and the experience of reading from the physical collection was exhilarating. This was my first time holding this book in front of a crowd, seeing it perched up on a bookstall stand, and getting to sign copies. What a treat!
For those who are interested, Sydney Whiteside wrote a thoughtful post about this showcase and my fellow readers on the Parthian Books blog. Thanks to Abeer Ameer for the collage above and to Jeremy Dixon for my first signing photo! And, thanks to everyone who bought one of these special preview copies – I am so grateful.
Finally, please keep an eye out on this blog for some sample poems and other posts about fire, poetry and the book launching process. Thanks for reading!