How Poetry Burns

This blog post could be called so many things: how time burns, how love burns, how loss burns. I have stepped away from this blog for 18 months to attend to various fires in my own life – some destructive and some restorative. I will be returning, slowly, to say more about these experiences over…

To San Jose with Thanks & Poetry

I am sitting in bright sunshine under a blue clock tower in Prague but all I can think about is San Jose: the thick humidity cloaking its streets, the shelves and shelves of poetry written in a language I cannot yet reach, and the school I visited on the outskirts of the city—the Institute of…

Launched

My favorite definition of the verb ‘launch’ is “to send or shoot (something, such as a rocket) into the air or water or into outer space”. When anyone talks of launches, I think of NASA countdowns, young children building homemade rockets, my New Year’s Eve friends setting off fireworks. Two weeks ago, I had my own…

In Anticipation

­Tomorrow is the day. After nearly four years of lock-myself-in-the-house-at-night-poetry-making, my debut collection, More than you were, is launching in Cardiff. Friends are already messaging me this morning – ‘Are you excited?’, ‘Can’t wait to see you!’. I am certainly excited, but I am also humbled and grateful and blooming with joy to see these…

Lessons

After my father died, my childhood memories came flooding forward with a force I wasn’t expecting. I remembered his swooped back hair, his over washed jeans, his too loud laugh. I remembered watching the same films with him over and over again, lazing on the couch during hot summer days, threading worms onto our fishing lines. At his…

The Joys of the Pre-Order

Last year, I pre-ordered two debut poetry collections: The Sobbing School by fellow Marshall Scholar Joshua Bennett and The Knowledge Weapon by the winner of Bare Fiction’s Debut Poetry Collection Competition, Annette C. Boehm. I was desperate to read these collections so I ordered them the first chance I got. Then I waited, full of the…

Loss and Poetry

Since my father’s death in 2013, I’ve learned a lot about grief and writing. I’ve spent late nights reading poetry books and memoirs and early mornings combing over blogs, essays, and academic journals. I have led Death Writing workshops, given a grief talk at Ignite Cardiff, and even changed my PhD topic to better understand…

Mobile Home

Lately I’ve been thinking about home, where it is, what it means. Although I live in the UK, I was born in America and there are people there I miss – friends, family, former professors, the lovely strangers on the train to Philadelphia. But, I don’t feel at home there. When I am away from…

Memory

Last month I led my first Death Writing session of 2015. Participants of different backgrounds, ages and experiences came together to discuss their relationship with memory, write about significant objects and places, and compose poems for people they’d lost. One of the attendees, the lovely Jodie Kay Ashdown, has kindly posted the piece she wrote…

Letting Go

My best friend growing up was a painter. She had long wild hair and enjoyed a command over colors that I never had. I always admired her and, once, when she was abroad at an art college in Rome I sat in the extension of her parent’s house and got lost in her canvases –…