#BlogTour A Man of Understanding by Diana Janney

It’s a pleasure to take part in the Blogtour A Man of Understanding by Diana Janney. A stand out piece of literary fiction.

About the Author

Diana Janney is the author of the novels The Choice and The Infinite Wisdom of Harriet Rose, which has been translated into German, Spanish, Dutch and Portuguese. It was produced by the BBC as an audiobook and the film rights were sold.

Formerly she practised as a barrister in London after having qualified as a solicitor at a leading City of London international law firm. She read Philosophy at University College, London, where she received a First for her Masters thesis on Kant and Hume, and three Scholarships. She has received international acclaim for her writing, which combines her philosophical knowledge with her wit, poetry and keen observation of human nature. Diana lives on the Kent/Sussex borders. She has spent most of her adult life living in London.

About the book

It takes a man of understanding to rebuild a shattered soul: a man with a deep and learned grasp of philosophy and poetry, a man who can nurture and inspire an enquiring mind, a man with the wit and humour to bring the world alive. That enigmatic man is Horatio Hennessey.

His grandson Blue is that shattered soul. Following the death of twelve-year-old Blue’s parents, he arrives in the mountains of Mallorca, to live with the grandfather he has never met. But is Horatio, ‘Granga’ to Blue, upto the challenge? Or is he merely trying, through his own grandson, to make good his past? Gradually a bond evolves between them through a shared love of poetry. But when secrets are uncovered, will understanding turn to misunderstand? Will two souls be shattered this time?

Review

One could say it’s pretentious and ambitious  – it certainly speaks of a belief in a certain level of academic prowess and talent, when literary work is described in the confines, boundaries and expectations of poetry, philosophy and literature. And here we are. This book manages to work within those expectations, cross the boundaries and expand upon the expectations, and it is also so much more at the same time.

I tell no lie when I say that I shed a tear at the end. Not for the story or the characters per se, but rather for the beauty this work entails and encompasses, and brings together so seamlessly. A melding of word art, emotional turmoil and entwining it with such a firm grasp on existential thoughts and fears.

No thought or word to be uttered without deeper introspection. No interaction noted or action taken without an exploration of depth of connection, of creativity, and acknowledgement of simply being – of existence.

I adored it. I love the art of poetry, and questions of philosophy that burn to be dissected. This is such a wonderful combination of the two, which is only enhanced by the presence of the Blue and Horatio. The stripping of persona and relationships to the core of inner essence – soul, if one can identify something so elusive and tangible. Then using core emotions of grief, abandonment, the need to belong and be loved to drive this powerful story to a conclusion, which is in itself once more a beginning or end, a door to be closed or opened. Beautiful work.

Buy A Man of Understanding at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer. Publisher: Cogito Publishing, pub date 7th April 2022 – paperback – £8.99. Buy via Cogito Publishing.

World Poetry Day – inVerse – Poetry reimagined!

I am incredibly excited about this blog post because it’s all about celebrating World Poetry Day!

Launching on World Poetry Day on 21st March 2021, inVERSE is a collection of five of the world’s oldest surviving poems re-imagined for the 21st century through the medium of film, by the award-winning film maker Jack Jewers. 

Each film takes an ancient poem as a prism through which to explore the world today. With historical poems ranging from the 1st Century Italy to 1500 BCE Mesopotamia, these five short films explore time and the human condition using the language of the ancients and the modern film making techniques of the 21st century. In celebration of humanity’s long relationship with poetry on World Poetry Day, these five films are a reminder that in these troubled modern times, poetry still has the ability to sooth and inspire.  

Far from being dry, remote echoes of a long-gone age, each poem chosen for the collection feels like it could have been written yesterday. And why shouldn’t they? People are people. Our dreams are nothing new. Our ancestors had the same hopes and fears that we do. And if we can understand this, perhaps it helps to put some of the problems of our modern world into perspective. 

The five films being released to mark World Poetry Day on Sunday 21st March are:

·       Love Song –  An Egyptian love poem written in 1400 BCE reveals a meditation on the meaning of relationship and gender in 2021.  

·       Long Wall – A poem about loss and suffering from the Han Dynasty in China, opens up a conversation about Europe’s refugee crisis.

·       My Heart – Originating from ancient Mesopotamia, “My Heart Flutters Hastily” is a delightful reminder that those giddy, dizzy feelings you can get when you really like somebody are nothing new.

·       The Look – A first century poem taken from Ovid’s Ars Amarosa is reimagined as a celebration of inclusivity and tolerance.

·       The Dawn – The ancient Indian poet Kālidāsa’s Salutation to the Dawn transforms into a rallying cry for a better tomorrow led by young street protestors.

All five of the films are available free to watch via the inverse website inversefilm.uk.

Jack Jewers is a filmmaker and writer. Passionate about telling stories in all media, his body of work crosses film, TV, and digital. His short films and web series have been shown in and out of competition at dozens of film and web festivals, including Cannes, New York, Washington D.C., Marseille, Dublin, and London’s FrightFest.

In 2014 he developed and directed Night School, a web series based on the popular young adult novels of the same name. It quickly grew from a couple of low-budget short films to become one of the highest-profile British web series to date. Jack’s numerous short films as director include the critically-acclaimed Shalom Kabul, a dark comedy based on the true story of the last two Jews of Afghanistan. 

Jack has won several accolades for his film work, including an award from the Royal Television Society and a nomination for Best Short Film by BAFTA Wales. He has been invited to speak about his work at several major film and TV industry events, including Series Mania in Paris. Jack has also worked in advertising.

Through his production company, Queen Anne’s Revenge, Jack is currently in development on the fantasy TV series Whatever After, featuring Jessica Brown Findlay. He is also working on a small slate of feature film projects, including a thriller set in the international protest movement, entitled Generation Revolution. 

Away from the cinema in all its forms, Jack has a deep interest in literature and history. He writes historical fiction, and is the co-founder of the publishing company Moonflower Books. 

He lives near London with his wife, the author Christi Daugherty, a small menagerie of pets, and a friendly ghost. But that’s another story. 

Love Song – Based on the poem The Flower Song Anon. Egypt, c.1400 BCE. (Abridged).

Watch here: https://inversefilm.uk/watch/love-song 

A timeless declaration of love and desire, this poem feels as fresh today as it did when it was written – a long, long time ago. The imagery is strikingly sensual; how the narrator describes the sound of their true love’s voice as being like the taste of sweet wine; or wishing they were her very her clothes, so that they could forever be close to her body. It’s passionate, erotic, and quite beautiful

inVERSE: Love Song from Jack Jewers on Vimeo.

Long Wall – Based on the poem He Waters His Horse By A Breach in the Long Wall Anon. China, c.120 BCE

Watch herehttps://inversefilm.uk/watch/long-wall
Jack Jewers says: The first time I read this anonymous poem – dating from the Han Dynasty in China, sometime around 120BCE – I was blown away by its age. How can a poem this rich and vivid be so old? The idea for this whole series of films grew from there. The poem conveys such poignant feelings of separation and loss that it seemed to be perfectly suited to a tale of refugees, far from home.

inVERSE: Long Wall from Jack Jewers on Vimeo.

My Heart – Based on the poem My Heart Flutters Hastily Anon. Mesopotamia, c.1500 BCE

Watch herehttps://inversefilm.uk/watch/my-heart 

Originating from ancient Mesopotamia, “My Heart Flutters Hastily” is a delightful reminder that those giddy, dizzy feelings you can get when you really like somebody are nothing new. Whether it’s in a world of dating apps and socially-distanced love, or from a time that feels unimaginably distant, people have been falling in love the same way forever.

inVERSE: My Heart from Jack Jewers on Vimeo.

The Look  – Based on the poem Take Care With How You Look from Ars Amarosa by Ovid. Italy, 1st Century CE.  (Abridged).

Watch herehttps://inversefilm.uk/watch/the-look 

The Romans knew how to have a good time. The Look is an abridged version of ‘Take Care With How You Look,’ a chapter from Ars Amarosa (“The Art of Love”), by the poet Ovid. Its themes of rejecting false nostalgia about the past, and embracing the richness of the modern age, sounded to me like a celebration of inclusivity and tolerance. Of course, Ovid was writing about a very different age to our own, but the message holds as true today as it always has been. And what more fabulous harbingers this message than Drag Queens United?

inVERSE: The Look from Jack Jewers on Vimeo.

The Dawn – Based on the poem Salutation to the Dawn by Kālidāsa (attributed) – India, c.400 CE

Watch here: https://inversefilm.uk/watch/the-dawn 

Considered the greatest poet of ancient India, Kālidāsa is a founding figure of world literature. And yet, a lot of mystery surrounds Kālidāsa. Some scholars even question whether he was a real person, suggesting instead that his work a kind of collected greatest hits of the ancient Sanskrit world. And perhaps it’s appropriate that such an inspiring poem was written by a semi-mythical figure. It sounds to me like a rallying cry for a better tomorrow. And who better to get that across than young street protestors? 

inVERSE: The Dawn from Jack Jewers on Vimeo.

You can read all five poems on the inverse website here: https://inversefilm.uk/the-poems

Follow inVerse on Twitter: @inversefilmInstagram: @inversefilms, Website: https://inversefilm.uk/

Watch Dawn here:

#BlogTour The Girl and The Goddess by Nikita Gill

Today it’s my turn on the BlogTour The Girl and the Goddess by Nikita Gill. 

‘A mesmerising poetic tale following one girl’s wild journey of strength, beauty and self-discovery, told with lyrical wonder and spiritual revelation by one of the UK’s most popular poets.’

About the Author

Nikita Gill is a British-Indian writer and artist living in the south of England. With a huge online following, her words have captivated hearts and minds all over the world. Nikita is an ambassador for National Poetry Day and is a regular speaker at literary events. Her previous works include Fierce Fairytales and Great Goddesses. The Girl and The Goddess is her first novel.

Follow @nktgill on Twitteron Goodreadson Amazon@nikita_gill  on Instagram,  meanwhilepoetry.tumblr.com/, facebook.com/nikitagillwrites/Buy The Girl and the Goddess

About the book

Meet Paro. A girl with a strong will, a full heart and much to learn. Born into a family reeling from the ruptures of Partition, follow her as she crosses the precarious lines between childhood, teenage discovery and realising her adult self all while navigating different cultures, religions and identities.

Returning to her core themes of feminism, healing and mythology in her most powerful and personal work yet, Nikita’s masterful poetry, along with her beautiful hand-drawn illustrations, taps into the rich well of Hindu mythology, conjuring up jasmine scented voices and ancestral smiles as Paro confronts fear, desire and the very darkest parts of herself in the search for meaning and empowerment.

Review

It’s the story of Paro, a girl who struggles with living her truth and the fear of being rejected because of it. The difficulty of having to live life by the rules of one culture, whilst simultaneously adhering to another. Torn between two worlds, which automatically creates a sort of split identity.

It’s no wonder there is confusion, despair, pain, hurt and anger in the words. There is also fear of treading into the unknown, of guaranteed responses that will turn the world she knows into an unbalanced surface full of eggshells.

Gill’s work wanders from poetry and intermittent short flash fiction like moments, and is enhanced by beautiful illustrations. She uses mythology to connect to the humanity and reality of her life, and the world in general. Drawing comparisons between the religious deities and mythology she grew up with to find a loophole of comprehension and acceptance.

The question is whether it should be from those people she seeks it from so desperately or is it just a matter of accepting her own self. Her emotions, the attractions she feels, and the search for some semblance of inner peace.

It’s a fascinating combination of written and drawn art. Words often delivered in short bursts and then at times in moments of nostalgia they are longer, which is countered by the stories of mythology.

Buy The Girl and the Goddess and Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer. Publisher Ebury Press: pub date 1st October 2020 | Hardback | £12.99. Buy at Amazon comBuy via HiveBuy via Bookshop.org

#BlogTour The Death of the Sentence by Richard Doyle

Today it’s my turn and the last day of the BlogTour The Death of the Sentence by Richard Doyle.

About the Author

Richard Doyle is an old-school SF fan who began writing seriously in 2001. He has a Diploma in Creative Writing from the University of East Anglia and collaborated on a book in 2006. He has had poems published in the UK poetry magazines Orbis and Sarasvati and is a regular member of the Bristol Stanza Poetry Group. Follow Richard on Goodreadson AmazonBuy The Death of the Sentence

About the book

The death of the sentence is the debut role of the writer; the plight of the poetry pamphlet; an inventive homage; science in the novel; science fiction in the real world; prose spaceship and singular music; both fun-

Simple in style yet steeped in emotion, I recommend The death of the sentence for poetry newbs and aficionados alike – Dystopic.co.uk

Review

Let’s begin with the fact the title is an oxymoron. The Death of the Sentence, whereby the use of words and sentences are the tool of communication. The conduit for emotions, frustrations, thoughts and speculative leaps. 

Indeed the comparisons between the pieces are often an intentional contradictory reading experience.

It’s a book of speculative poetry. Exposing inner ambitions, expectations and letting the reader glimpse more than they expected perhaps. Is Doyle at times questioning what is inside or what wants to be out there amongst us. Is it a conversation written in prose and experimental poetry?

I think it would be interesting to see what the author does next and how much depth he can ring to the table, and indeed is there a door beyond the world of this short and yet intimately poignant short experience of words.

Buy The Death of a Sentence by Richard Doyle at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer. Publisher : Independently published 10 July 2020. Buy at Amazon com.

#BlogTour The Love Virus by Eleni Cay

It’s a pleasure to take part in the BlogTour for The Love Virus by Eleni Cay. For bonus features go to Eleni-cay.com it contains links to poems, videos and music that accompany her debut novel “The Love Virus”. 

The e-book can be downloaded for free from all major retailers.  If you can afford to donate, please consider donating to Overcoming MS , or a charity of your choice.

 

About the Author

Eleni Cay is a Slovakian-born poet living in Norway. Her award-winning first collection was published by Parthian Books and her second poetry collection ‘Love Algorithm’ is forthcoming by Eyewear Press. Eleni’s debut novel ‘The Love Virus’ was published in spring 2020.

When Katie finds out that her increasingly unresponsive legs and extreme fatigue is due to Multiple Sclerosis, she rides an emotional rollercoaster – anger, denial and fear – when faced with a wheelchair-bound existence. She puts her studies at Oxford on hold, and she splits up from her fiancé, Mark, even though she still loves him.

While undergoing treatment, Katie is diagnosed with MS2 – a virus that paralyses the mind. In hospital, Katie has to cope with her irritating bedfellows who argue constantly, and where she is treated by Dr Andrews, a handsome psychologist. The closer she gets to him however, the worse her pain becomes. Compounding Katie’s struggle is Mark, who returns to her bedside day after day. Once Katie begins Dr Andrews’ new experimental MS2 treatment, Mark can’t recognise her anymore. He begins to wonder if Katie will ever be cured.

Review

Although this kind of sails under the YA genre category I think this is a read that readers both young and old will be able to relate to. The subject matter doesn’t change much in relation to age.

It’s a powerful piece of writing. Provocative, excruciatingly detailed when it comes to moments full of embarrassment. Moments everyone else takes for granted. How Katie is betrayed by her body, which culminates in fear, rejection, and a feeling of having no control. Feeling full of doubt, because loved ones act out of pity. ‘I felt more loved by her when I was miserable and in pain’ – little shots like that between the mundane moments are what make this an emotionally charged response. Sway, sway – wham upside the head. Softly, softly – screams of pain.

I don’t think the blurb does the content enough justice. It’s far from just a story about a young woman who becomes a prisoner to a disease. It’s far more than that. I wonder what a theatrical stage interpretation of this piece would look like.

This is an interesting one. It’s a story written entirely in lyrical prose. It might not be everyone’s cup of tea when it comes to style. You tend to get readers who want a story or want to read poetry.

I have to say I liked it, perhaps because it has a Shakespearean sonnet vibe, but more because Cay brings a compelling narrative to the table.

It’s honest and doesn’t pull any punches, especially when it comes to pain, pain management and having a sexual relationship with the physical and psychological limitations of an autoimmune disease. It’s a speculative exploration of voice and words.

#BlogTour How to Carry Fire by Christina Thatcher

Today it’s a pleasure to take part in the BlogTour How to Carry Fire by Christina Thatcher.

About the Author

Shortlisted for the Bare Fiction Debut Poetry  Collection Competition in 2015 and a winner in the Terry Hetherington Award for Young Writers in 2016, Christina Thatcher’s poetry and short stories have featured in over 40 publications including The London Magazine, Planet Magazine, And Other Poems, Acumen and The Interpreter’s House. Her first collection, More than you were, was published by Parthian Books in 2017.

Follow @writetoempower @parthianbooks on Twitter, on Goodreads, Visit christinathatcher.comBuy How to Carry Fire

About the book

How to Carry Fire was born from the ashes of family addiction. Beginning with the burning down of her childhood home, Thatcher explores how fire can both destroy and cleanse. Her work recognises embers everywhere: in farmhouses, heroin needles, poisonous salamanders.

Thatcher reveals how fire is internalised and disclosed through anxiety, addiction, passion and love. Underneath and among the flames runs the American and Welsh landscapes – locations which, like fire itself, offer up experiences which mesmerise, burn and purify. This poignant second collection reminds us of how the most dangerous and volatile fires can forge us – even long after the flames have died down.

Review

Poetry is very much a form of art – written art. It is also, when you leave aside structure, an absolutely subjective experience, regardless of whether it is performed for you or read by oneself. The base reaction to words, phrases and even sound is an experience each person owns, which is why I am highly sceptical of third parties evaluating an interpretation of a poem. I mean this more in an academic sense.

You can evaluate if I have recognised stanza, line length or other technical things – what you can’t do is decide what I should be experiencing or how I interpret a poem. Although the author owns their own emotions, truth and their words, even they don’t know how your own frame of references will experience their words.

This book contains over sixty poems. Word-art that speaks to the pain, the trauma, the fear and disappointment felt over decades. Words thrust upon paper in an attempt to understand, confront and eventually heal.

Arson – what does happen when life infuses you with fire? The kind you can’t control as it controls every part of you. You feel, breathe and live it. An anonymous silent partner feeding your internal turmoil.

Most Days – almost an ode to a specific type of body dysmorphia linked to flashbacks. Severe trauma causing an out of body experience. Injuries heal, but scars are constant travelling companions in our lives.

Thatcher takes a sharp knife, draws it slowly down her arm and opens her vein to show her readers her fire, her pain that lives just below the surface and the demons she has tried to silence during her lifetime. Her poetry is a release, a reminder and hopefully also a rescue.

Buy How to Carry Fire at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer. Publisher: Parthian Books; pub date 1 April 2020 Paperback / Poetry – £9.00. Buy at Amazon com.

#BlogTour Love Like Blood by Sascha Aurora Akhtar

Today it’s a pleasure to take part on the Blogtour Love Like Blood by Sascha Aurora Akhtar.About the Author

Sascha Aurora Akhtar feels deeply connected to her ancestral roots in Lancashire, South Yorkshire and Pakistan.

Her first poetry collection was The Grimoire of Grimalkin (Salt, 2007), followed by 199 Japanese Names for Japanese Trees (Shearsman, 2016) & the first of its kind a deck of Poetry cards with fine art Only Dying Sparkles (ZimZalla 2018). In 2019, she has published The Whimsy Of Dank Ju-Ju (Emma Press 2019) & #LoveLikeBlood (Knives, Forks & Spoons Press 2019).

Her fiction has appeared in BlazeVox, Tears In The Fence, The Learned PigAnti-Heroin Chic, and Storgy. Sascha has performed internationally at festivals such as the Poetry International Festival in Rotterdam, Avantgarde Festival in Hamburg, and Southbank Centre’s Meltdown festival in London, curated by Yoko Ono.

Follow @AkhtarSascha on Twitter, on GoodreadsMeet Sascha Aurora Akhtar on poetryinternational.orgBuy Love Like Blood

About the book

With #LoveLikeBlood, which is the title of a very famous song Love Like Blood by 80’s stalwarts Killing Joke, Sascha Akhtar takes her poetic journey back to her origins. The first poem in the book is called GirlChild of the 80’s to send the tone straight from the beginning. She IS in fact an 80’s child & wants others to know this, with the names of the Barbie dolls specifically from the 80’s mentioned in the poem.

This collection of poems is meant to contain the poet’s life – a legacy of mental imbalance, undiagnosed aspergers for most of her life – through language. ‘I believe all of my life- from my father leaving when I was 4, to a legacy of abuse ( physical & emotional), a history of mental illness but striking out anyway on my own- leaving Pakistan, leaving America all of it alone – has been rupture and that is what this poetry collection contains: rupture, deep emotions & process but also alchemy & ‘becoming’ ( the poet is also a meditation guide & healer which was prompted through her own healing). The dedication reads: This book is dedicated to You, for there is no ‘I’ except in You & the same love runs through our veins. Like bloodReview

A child or teen of the eighties will hear the rebel yell of the title of this book. The song speaks to and awakens the soul of the searcher, the seeker and the fighter. The poems are indicative of a poet with a soul searching for answers and connection.

The book contains the following poems: Girl Child of the Eighties, Love Like Blood, Nekyia of the Cataphiles, Ejaculate As a Noun, Ida Hexe, Sometimes the sun, Intimacy, Camino de Cadaveres, Machine-o-mancy: Found Poem, Spring Aspie Remix, Post-Colonial Theory, Anatomy of a Car – Crash, L’aeroport, In Utero, Heartwood, Nocturnal Emissions, Freak Beach, The Others, Mevlevi in a Gas Mask, Texted Plein-Air Poem on Bond Street Spliced W/Communist Manifesto, The Rape of Nanking by Men, Comforted by Rape, Harringay Train Station, Synaesthesia, poetry, Thangka Number 1 Bardo, 3:15, Retractable Patio Awning Systems, Line, Autobiographia, Poems for Eliot and A Year in Clouds.

Whilst the contents or listing the contents of the book may seem arbitrary they also, when viewed as a whole give the reader a certain idea of what to expect or not to expect.

Just the titles speak of an almost inspirational Blitzschlag and experience. Akhtar feels in the moment – writes in the moment. Grabbing those thoughts in mid inspiration and grasping them tightly in case something visceral eludes her. The constant grasp and throwing down of words is mirrored in the way her poetry is portrayed.

There is no collusion with the norm. No rhyme or notion of order. Imagine her, the artist, with a paintbrush or even a hand dipped in paint throwing her words on the blank canvas. Sometimes she screams them, throws with a volatile motion and other times they are laid carefully onto the page.

It’s experimental poetry – I would even go as far as to call it speculative poetry, because it doesn’t adhere to norms or boundaries either spatially, emotionally or from a literary point of view.

Her poetry is an experience. No, let me rephrase that thought. Each poem is an experience in itself. The titles are doors asking, demanding, inviting and challenging the reader to come on inside and partake in her words as they themselves become the interior of her design.

Step inside and let the poet show you where her rooms and words collide with yours and mine.

Buy Love Like Blood at Amazon Uk. Publisher: Knives, Forks and Spoons Press – Paperback. Release date November 2019 – £12.00. Buy at Amazon comBuy at Knives, Forks and Spoons Press.

#BlogTour Anatomy of a Dress by Juliette van der Molen

It’s an absolute pleasure to take part in the BlogTour Anatomy of a Dress by Juliette van der Molen.

About the Author

Juliette van der Molen is a poet currently living in the United States. She is a poetry editor for Mookychick Magazine. Her books include:  Death Library: The Exquisite Corpse Collection (Moonchild Magazine), Mother, May I? (Animal Heart Press) and the forthcoming Anatomy of A Dress (The Hedgehog Poetry Press).

Follow @j_vandermolen on Twitter, on Goodreads, Visit JulietteWrites.comBuy Anatomy of a Dress

About the book

Anatomy of A Dress explores messages sent and interpreted regarding how women have historically been encouraged to dress, mainly for the pleasure and subjugation of the patriarchy. Folded into these pieces are my own experiences and internal conflicts with these issues. Sometimes encouragements or rules are handed down by those of our own gender (i.e. grandmothers, mothers) and reinforced by a male-led society that has a vested interest in the disenfranchisement of women. This poetry is speaks of the struggles women go through when making a decision most men would consider simple– What should I wear today?

Review

When I read the premise for this book of poetry it spoke to me, but I also wondered how the poet would vocalise said premise. When I read the first poem I knew. Zip Me – holds so much power and tension in the words, how one action can simultaneously mean so many things. The ability to conjure up a sensual image and yet also one of weakness. The prey waiting for the hunter to pounce. Fear sitting in the back of your neck. Vulnerability and exposure.

My Hem – what a strong impassioned statement about consent. A loud scream about physical appearance not being an invitation to invade, touch, harass or hurt. Appearance isn’t open for debate. My Hem is followed by Buttoned Up , Dart, Won’t You Call Me Sweetheart, Silhouette Shame, Schooled Pleats, Dupioni Darkling, Girls on Parade, S(mocked), Eye Let, Prêt-à-Porter, Painted legs, Pretty Thing, Unmentionables and Anatomy of a Dress. All of them hard-hitting punches straight into the very structure of our outdated society.

I would love to see the author/poet perform her words as performance art. Hear the strength and conviction that flows from the words she pierces onto the page. They are screams of outrage delivered in a calm, firm and determined manner.

It’s bold, pulsing and passive aggressive poetry. Truth spoken through the iron barred windows of a patriarchal society. Van der Molen invites the readers to shine a spotlight on a seemingly innocent daily routine, which has so many conscious and subconscious implications for each individual. As a woman have you ever thought about how much time and energy you give to choice of clothes, as opposed to the lack of the same that men put into it.

How will I be perceived, if I wear this will someone think that? Have you ever told your daughter not to wear something because xyz could think of them a certain way? Just think of how much power that suggests. The male-centric and driven rules in regard to uniforms that impose skirts and dresses on girls because it suggests femininity, sexuality and cements the lack of equality and power in relationship between men and women.

Van der Molen is certainly a poet and author to watch.

Buy Anatomy of a Dress at Amazon Uk . Publisher: The Hedgehog Poetry Press; pub date 16 Dec. 2019. Buy at Amazon comBuy at Hive.co.ukBuy at JulietteWrites.

#BlogTour Second Life by Karl Tearney

Today it’s my turn on the BlogTour Second Life by Karl Tearney. It’s a book full of emotionally fraught and hauntingly beautiful poems.

About the Author

As a newcomer to poetry and writing Karl has made quite an impact with his succinct and thought-provoking style. Encouraged by Emma Willis MBE after he’d sent her a thank you poem, Karl’s work has been coveted by many. His work has included appearances at festivals and readings around the country. He is hugely passionate about encouraging other sufferers of mental issues to look toward the Arts as a means of therapy.

About the book

Karl Tearney enlisted into the British Army at 16 and dedicated 35 years of his life as a pilot in the Army Air Corps. He was medically retired in early 2016 and found great solace in writing and especially a new-found passion for poetry. he demand for his style of writing has led to National and local Television as well as Radio. In 2018, he was a panelist at the Hay literature festival, helped with a Poetry workshop at RADA and also exhibited some of his work at the ‘Art in the Aftermath’ Exhibition in Pall Mall.

Review

If there is one thing I would say to people after reading this it would be – Tearney wears his soul on his sleeve and he wants you to know it. He wants you to envisage the pain. Feel the words as they pound into your consciousness.

Bam goes the sledgehammer – look what I’ve seen. Whack goes the whip – feel it with me. Shaking you to awaken you to his inner torment. Then between the lines you can hear the call, the tiniest voice crying out to be heard among the loud memories bouncing from the pages. Hear me – help me – save me.

There are quite a few poems I really heard, felt and connected with. I loved Learn from Me. It’s so raw and honest. Banshee is breathtakingly sad. Yesterday today is a poignant message about society. There are just so many beautiful moments in this book, albeit painful and dark ones at times.

I commend the strength it takes to confront inner fears, nightmares, demons and guilt. Even more so when the confrontation is shared with the world, especially in the hope that someone out there will take away a moment of peace. Tearney shows his most vulnerable side in an attempt to convey a message to those open to listening, healing and a way forward.

In the end what remains is not a man, a person defined by PTSD or mental health issues. The old Tearney has left the building and the new one is ready to embrace the world as he absorbs it in this very moment. I can imagine that the difficulty is with getting loved ones, friends and others to understand exactly that, but this book goes a long way to doing it. May many follow the path and hear his sounds and read his truth.

It’s a book full of emotionally fraught and hauntingly beautiful poems.

Buy/Pre-order Second Life at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer. Publisher: Fly on the wall poetry; pub date 26 July 2019. Buy/Pre-order at Amazon com. Pre-order/Buy at Fly on the Wall Press.

#BlogTour Take Me to the Edge by Katya Boirand

Today it is my turn on the BlogTour Take Me to the Edge by Katya Boirand. Photographs by Eli Sverlander. It’s poetry with a visual element with the added variable of chaos. I love the idea of someone else being inspired by the words of another person. A limited number of words – five words to be exact.

If you would like a poem of your own written, please don’t hesitate in submitting your five words via Instagram to @poetrybymeinspiredbyyou and you may be featured in the next book.’ – Katya Boirand 2018

About the Author

Katya Boirand is an actress, dancer, writer and poet. She has travelled the world but now has roots in London. Take Me to the Edge is her first poetry collection.

About the book

That is what Katya Boirand discovered the first time she asked a friend for five words and then turned them into a poem, using the words and the subject as her inspiration. This spark started a movement, and soon Katya was asking friends and strangers alike for their five words of choice. Take Me to the Edge is a selection of these poems, sitting alongside a portrait of each subject, in this stunning and joyous celebration of language, connection and art.

Review

I love the idea of someone else being inspired by the words of another person. A limited number of words – five words to be exact. Then those five words are absorbed into the creativity of the poet to become something more.

I wonder if Boirand tries to channel what those words mean to the person who said them in the first place. Does the inspiration take on concrete form as she interacts with them, looks straight into their eyes and hears them. Or is the inspiration taken purely from the power of the words.

It made me wonder which words I would pick. Would I choose random ones that fall from mind to tongue or would I dig deep for words that have meaning to myself. I am genuinely interested in the creative process and end result.

I highly recommend buying a physical hardback copy of this book. It is incredibly beautiful, a work of art. The combination of words by Boirand and pictures by Sverlander equals oral, written and visual art working hand in hand to create singular pieces of stimulating artistry.

As I was reading this book and taking in the entirety of it, I wished the author had added the five words each person had chosen. What did she start with and how the author went from five to more. Luckily Boirand has done exactly that. The subjects, their words and a little bit about themselves is included in the last few pages. It’s a really lovely way to bring the book full circle.

I loved this expressive, bold and unpredictable expression of art. It’s poetry with a visual element and the added variable of chaos.

Buy Take Me to the Edge at Amazon UkPublisher: Unbound; pub date 16 May 2019. Buy at Amazon com.