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Carol J Forrester lives in Cheshire with her husband and their fish. She wanted a dog, she got koi instead. After growing up in the glorious greenery of North Shropshire, and spending her childhood exploring the countryside around her parents’ farm, she moved to Bath for university, then to Crewe to live and work. ‘It’s All In the Blood’ is her first full poetry collection, and covers topics such as family, ancestry, feminism, mythology, mental health, and how a rural background can shape you as a person.

“These deftly written poems cover all aspects of life in a farming family from the hardships of lambing and the contradictions of relationships, to a world of Bic razors, children’s games and old teapots. The poems are vivid and confidently crafted, including effective use of myths and legends which counter the muddy boots of everyday survival. A most promising debut collection.”

Helen Kay The Poultry Lover’s Guide to Poetry’ (Indigo Dreams), ‘This Lexia & Other Languages’ (V. Press)

A bold, brutally honest and dazzling debut collection that insists on being read. Forrester tempts the reader with arresting and hypnotic poetry that leaves an urge to research and ponder each subject she touches upon: Poseidon, Persephone, the literary flowers of Offred and Mrs Dalloway, farming ancestry, death, female identity. The whole rainbow of emotion is explored. The title alone of ‘Zeus Is Spear Fishing Over Stranraer’ is a whole poem in itself. Beautifully written and a voice to watch out for.

Deborath Edgeley ‘Testing the Delicates’ (Amazon), Wilkommen Zum Rattenfanger Theatre’ (Amazon)

Built On More Than Foundations #DVersePoets #Quadrille

Each man’s home is his castle,

so I made mine a fortress,

my sitting room a keep,

and a battlement of books

to stand watch for invaders

wielding words like realistic,

while I was carving hope

into a portcullis,

certain these walls could hold.

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To Self-Publish Or Not To Self-Publish? That Is The Sleep Depriving Question #WeekendCoffeeShare

About five years ago I self-published a collection of poetry through lulu.

I made exactly nothing despite apparently selling at least one book through amazon (according to the less that encouraging review posted), and in the end I retired the project.

The experience taught me a number of important things.

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  1. Lulu is not the way to go if you want to sell a physical book on Amazon and make any margin.
  2. I am not a good enough editor. I need to outsource this element to avoid the number of typos and mistakes that were in the last book.
  3. Reading poems you wrote five or more years ago can be a painful experience. Especially when you realise the bad review hit the nail directly on the head.

So why am I about to give self-publishing another shot?

Well clearly I’m a glutton for punishment.

When I published ‘Before The Words Run Out’ there were thirty-two poems, a series of haiku, and some pieces of flash fiction (all of which can be found somewhere in the depths of this blog). For ‘It’s All In The Blood’ I wanted to create a collection of just poems, and ensure that the majority of them were not poems I’d already published to Writing and Works. Some have appeared elsewhere, such as on Ink Sweat and Tears, but for the most part the collection will be new pieces with a few favourites from the site sprinkled in.

The unfinished draft is sitting at forty-seven poems (it was forty-eight but I axed a poem which I didn’t feel was good enough). I was aiming to cut the collection off at fifty poems (because I like round numbers) but the final number is likely to be higher now as my recent dive back into the local poetry communities means I’m writing a lot of stuff and I’m actually really happy with most of the work I’m producing.

I am editing as I’m writing. As this is not a novel, I’m free to go back and amend, rewrite, obliterate poems as I see fit without changing the entire plot or flow of the book. This back and forth between writing and editing also means that I don’t get snow blind with my poems. It’s very easy to write something, go over it straight away and be like ‘Yeah, that’s good enough’.

No. No it is not.

I’ve got a couple of friends who are helping me with the next round of editing. Both are writers themselves, one of which has done some work in editing. Both are brutally honest and of the opinion that if they don’t say it someone else will, so it’s better coming from them.

There is a small part of me who wants to find the guy who gave me the bad review on my last collection and show him the new one. I want the chance for him to say ‘you’ve improved, well done’. (But that would be bowing to my need for approval and I’m trying very hard to shake that particular dog-turd off my shoe.)

I have been considering traditional publishing but quite honestly, I feel like I need to prove to myself that I can conquer self-publishing. This is unlikely to be my last poetry collection, I’m only twenty-five and it’s not even my first attempt. Even if this bites the dust then I will still come away with more experience that if I’d not tried at all.

IMG_1745The aim is to have the collection finished and ready to publish by autumn. (I will not specify when in autumn because ‘wiggle-room’). The title has been picked, I’m making tentative enquiries about possible cover designs with arty friends, and I’ve settled on using the Amazon self-publishing platform to produce and sell the book. It almost looks like I have a book and a plan. Almost.

A little further down the line (i.e when the book is done) I’ll be looking to do some sort of book blog tour but that is only a very small flicker on the enormous fairy-light display in my brain at the moment. For the most part I am focused on the writing and the torture that is rewrites.

In the meantime feel free to bombard me with any of your own experiences self-publishing, traditionally publishing, or just poetry writing in general. How do you balance writing poetry for a blog v poetry for a collection/competitions. Let me know in the comments below.

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Down In The Dust – #FridayFictioneers

‘There’s never much green out here is there?’ said Bobby, reaching out to pinch the thorn end of a twig. The bush had rooted into one of the fissures running along the face of the valley and Bobby could see its thin, grey roots spidering outwards in tendrils.  

He twisted his hand and the twig crumbled.

‘Sorry,’ he muttered and dusted the debris away.  

He turned and walked the fifty yards back to his car.

The boot was still open, the spade inside.

‘I should have found somewhere nicer,’ he muttered, gripping the handle. ‘You would have preferred somewhere green.’


PHOTO PROMPT © Russell Gayer

Echo #Cinquain Poetry – Writing In Fixed Form For Colleen’s 2019 Weekly Tanka Tuesday

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Echo.

Shadow voices

drifting slowly closer.

Seconds crackle, shiver, collapse.

Silence.

The little poem above is a Cinquain written for Colleen’s 2019 Weekly #Tanka Tuesday #Poetry Challenge. Each line has a set number of words, and a set number of syllables. Overall it’s a tiny, tight poem, that like all fixed forms can be a pain in the arse to write well.

Fixed Form is probably the hardest poetry to write to a high standard, because the rules mean you have to find words that suit what you’re trying to say, but also fit in with the structure you’ve got to work with. It is just the same when you’re working with a rhyme scheme. You might have a word that paint the right picture for the piece, but it might not rhyme in the way you need it to, so you have to substitute in something else of rework the entire poem. It’s why I write so much poetry in free verse, because that way I don’t feel like I’m hammering my poems into shape that they don’t necessarily suit.

However, I do love the challenge of writing a poem in fixed form, which is why I still take part in challenges like Colleen’s Tanka Tuesday, (and when I remember about it) December Form Challenge over on Deviant Art. I firmly believe that just because it’s difficult to write in Fixed Form, doesn’t mean you shouldn’t try to do it anyway.

Poetry is important free or fixed. How you chose to navigate the verses is up to you.