Friday 19 January 2024

January and poetry...

Hello my January friends,

How are you? Here's my face. Long darkness, wintry silence, cold night skies. I’m clocking into the 4am Writing Club. I’ve been in here every morning for quite a few weeks now. Winter. Writing. Watching for first light. I’m like a surfer waiting to catch a wave on night oceans. I don’t know why I take these lonely pictures, maybe to document the isolation. The feeling of now. Maybe so when it is another era and another time and things are different and changed, I’ll see it and know how this time is gone. How nothing changes. How everything changes. One day these pictures will be in the past and long ago, and we will be in other worlds, I don’t know what that will look like yet, but I have faith in it, and I hold onto it, and want to meet you there.

I am just popping onto my blog to say hello and share some poetry and quotes and to belatedly wish you and all a peaceful and healthy and happy 2024. For those of you that subscribe to this page you'll know I always write a personal blog post like this in January, often with a piss take of my new year resolutions and a run down of everything that happened over the last 12 months, but I'm just not feeling like it this year. I feel quite quiet and introverted, and although lots of significant things happened, I feel like I just am already looking to the future and trying to visualise and picture it and even that in itself is hard right now. This winter I'm mostly hibernating and hiding in books. I am deep in creation, swallowed up in the real work and proper madness of book making. Talking to fires and moons, trying to make sense of this unreal real world and seeking the light. I have been doing lots of work to prepare to launch two beautiful new books this May 2024, and I'm also completing a new novel due for publication in 2025. More about the novel later...

On May 2nd 2024 Canongate will double launch these two books together: the revised edition of my literary childhood memoir  'Springfield Road - A Poets Childhood Revisited' almost twenty years since it was first drafted - I was in my 30s when I wrote this memoir and I could never write this now or remember being a child so clearly and vividly as I have here. Plus we will also be publishing the new poetry book  'With Love, Grief and Fury' which is a full 2020s collection, containing 80 new works on themes of love and peace and joy and gratitude and compassion and empathy and identity and age and womanhood and wisdom and hope and healing and survival and rage. I am nervous that both books are so deeply personal and confessional of then and of now. Also both books launch on the same day and so it will seem fitting that we'll have to have a lovely big party gathering booze up boogie for that, watch this space. I will be back on the road and touring these books throughout spring and summer, and I hope to see you at lots of gigs and festivals and bookshops. I cannot wait to share this work and go on adventures and reconnect with old mates and to see all of your faces again, we have so much catching up to do. Preorders are available now, they really help a new book on its voyage, so I thank you all so much for all preorders so far. Remember: choose bookshops and support independents, preorder links below.

I started the year sharing a performance film of a poetry show I did back in October for Apples and Snakes at the QEH, Southbank. There are four poems captured here: three pieces are from my 'Pessimism is for Lightweights' collection and one exclusive from the forthcoming 'With Love, Grief and Fury' check it all out below. I have lots of films in my archives to share, I am so behind with things, but I want to remember to try to remember to film more of my new poems and performances this year, I have even started trying to share things on tik-tok, but I am not very confident on there yet, but if you can find me there, come say hello. 

I will  post my 2024 tour dates and more book news soon. For now I just wanted to say hey and share some poetry and some hope and some love and urge you to remain whole and hopeful and soft hearted. There is so much pain and sorrow and grief and anger and war and bombs and death and hunger in the big bad world right now. We must all fight to stay soft and strong and resilient all at the same time, to not get despondent, to not get bitter, to keep fighting the good fight. To hold the line. 

More than ever, I love the poets, I just want to say thank you to the poets. Thank you for your powerful words and messages online and offline, for sharing petitions and letters and posts for ceasefire, for your sense of community, for your moving poetry and books, for sharing your truth, for sharing your light, for showing us what you see and feel and know, for narrating the times, thank you for your humanity. Follow all the poets, follow the poets I follow, follow more poets, follow all the poets, have a look at some book recommendations here: 

Poetry is medicine. Poetry is food. Poetry is protest. I'll leave you with some images and poems by incredible poets, shared in solidarity with all freedom fighters and peace seekers and hope punks. Please keep the faith, share when you can, donate where and when you can, I'll add some links below...

Keep writing and keep reading and keep loving,
More soon comrades, 



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