My First Blog Post

Writing and Me

Be yourself; Everyone else is already taken.

— Oscar Wilde.

This is the first post on my new blog so please bear with whilst I get the hang of it. It was set up some time ago, at the time of writing it’s November 2019 so I’m a bit late but here we go!

The photo on my home page was taken in the beautiful ‘Chained Library’ at Hereford Cathedral U.K. https://www.herefordcathedral.org/chained-library

I had a magical visit to this C17 library, with my late Dad. It was awesome to be surrounded by literally the weight of knowledge surrounding us. I remember my then 93 yr old Dad joking that he felt like a youngster amidst such aged tomes.

Hereford Cathedral also homes a Mappa Mundi https://www.herefordcathedral.org/mappa-mundi

A detail from the Mappa Mundi

Dating from C13, it’s a fascinating insight into how the scholars viewed our planet.

As for me – I’m a poet and will post up links to some of my work soon. I recently stepped down from a three year period of chairing – The Gloucestershire Writers’ Network (GWN) from 2016-19.

It’s a wonderful network which promotes writers, events and groups. GWN organises an annual poetry and prose competition where the winners receive cash prizes and they and the runners-up are published and read their wining entries at the prestigious Time and Sunday Times Cheltenham Literature Festival https://www.cheltenhamfestivals.com/literature

See here for our prose and poetry winners 2019 and also to find our more about GWN https://gloswriters.org.uk/2019-competition-winners/

Poetry winner Sarah Hemings
Sarah Hemings – GWN Poetry Winner 2019





Prose Winner Julie Carthy
Julie Carthy – GWN Prose Winner 2019

It’s been wonderful to see so many writers and poets further their talent and become ‘names’ on the writing circuit.

I’ve taken time out from my writing to care for my Dad as he declined into dementia and this blog is really my way of moving on, as he would have wished. So here’s to him, Dad, Frank – and I share the poem I wrote for him and read at his funeral. It’s on a wonderful website called Good Dadhood in honour of all those great Dads out there
https://gooddadhood.com/2017/06/05/a-poem-by-kathryn-alderman/

See the source image

Unconditional

Just you and me, and the tchck, tchck
of your hobnails, spading
stony grey buttercream
for the patio.

I love your talk of optimal ratios —
sand, water, cement,
but it’s hard to stay rapt
when the world’s a grassy bank
with worms to scream at,
and stepping-stone ants who promise
other means of construction.

If you’d wanted a boy
you never said.
Applauded my preference
for daisy chain decoration,
yum-yummed over mud pie teas.

Later, I learned
how you layered rare elements
to buttress my shaky mettle.

Now I spade up that same blend
of unconditional 
pass it back for you.

Frank and Kathryn at Hereford Cathedral

I’m looking forward to blogging about writing events, publications and poetry in particular. Coming next, look out for my review of Helen Ivory’s The Anatomical Venus (Bloodaxe, 2019)

It’s great to be writing again and I will be returning to my own creative writing in 2020 – no doubt, detailing the highs and lows of submitting. See you soon 🙂

Hedgehog Poetry Press -Halloween Anthology!

I’m delighted to say that my poem ‘The House of Dark Hearts’ appears in The Hedgehog Poetry Press‘s anthology of fabulously spooky poems! @hedgehogpoetry #Halloween #Halloween2020 #Boo

Image courtesy of Hedgehog Poetry Press

Copies available from Hedgehog Press here or via Amazon over there

Many thanks to Ed. Mark Davidson for including me alongside such mighty fine poetry!

Prose Poetry at The Poetry School

I meant to post this some time ago but life got in the way – it’s a ‘shout out’ with thanks to The Poetry School and Carrie Etter whose course, ‘Historicising the Prose Poem‘ I completed a short while ago.

@poetryschool @Carrie_Etter

https://twitter.com/poetryschool

I’m a complete novice at the genre; confused and perhaps a little annoyed (!) by the perceived view that it’s hard to define. However, through a series of assignments, excellent feedback and the fellow classmates’ work, I began to understand its intriguing complexity and attraction. There were some incredible poets doing the course and I had a wonderful time reading their work and learning from their understanding of Prose Poetry.

Carrie Etter
US expat poet, fiction writer
University Lecturer
@BathSpaUni
https://twitter.com/Carrie_Etter

Carrie has mastered the genre to great effect, as evidenced in her collection which was shortlisted for the Ted Hughes Award. It’s the very moving — Imagined Sons published by Seren Books

and in her forthcoming publication — The Shooting Gallery which can be pre-ordered from Verve Poetry Press

The Shooting Gallery now available for pre-order!
from Verve Poetry Press
https://www.carrieetter.com/post/the-shooting-gallery-now-available-for-pre-order

Although the Poetry School’s online system may be a little clunky, their support staff are extremely helpful. I enjoyed expert tuition, a great standard of work from fellow poets and superb feedback. I will certainly enrol for another Poetry School some time.

In the meantime I’m delighted to say that two of my poems from the course are about to be published, one in @EyeFlashPoetry and another in @PoetryBusMag !

Image
Eye Flash Poetry Journal
Image
The Poetry Bus Magazine

Many thanks for reading this blog page 🙂

My Poetry News

An update on my own writing – having begun to write again earlier this year, I’m very glad to say that the past couple of weeks I’ve had a bit of a lucky run.

I sent out a little bundle of poems and now have some in three forthcoming publications, one in an art exhibition and one was Highly Commended in a poetry competition.

Of Earth and Sky project by artist Luke Jerram

Some of my words have been chosen alongside those of other poets, by artist Luke Jerram of Museum of the Moon for the ‘Of Earth and Sky’ exhibition @OfEarthandSky

and they’re written into the landscape of the city of Gloucester, U.K. Luke’s Gaia Earth is the pinnacle of the ‘Earth and Sky’ exhibition and you can find out the Gaia Earth tour dates here

To read my poem ‘From the Heart’, click here –

at the Boating Lake Gloucester

EYE FLASH POETRY – POCKET PAMPHLET

My poem ‘always.whatever’ is included in Eye Flash Poetry’s ‘Dog’ Pocket Pamphlet.

Copies of this delightful pamphlet and other tempting things – can be pre-ordered by clicking here –
@EyeFlashPoetry

Image courtesy of Eye Flash Poetry Journal
eds. Charlotte Begg and Anna Britton
https://www.eyeflashpoetry.co.uk/

GLOUCESTERSHIRE WRITERS’ NETWORK COMPETITION 2020

Many thanks to poetry competition judge Sarah James who Highly Commended my poem ‘How to Forecast During a Pandemic’ for the Gloucestershire Writers’ Network Competition – in association with The Times and The Sunday Times Cheltenham Literature Festival
and will be printed in the winners’ anthology – on sale this October from – here –

GWN Logo - Gloucestershire Writers Network Writing Competition Cheltenham Literature Festival Competition
Image courtesy of The Gloucestershire Writers’ Network – GWN

THE HEDGEHOG POETRY PRESSHALLOWEEN ANTHOLOGY

I’m very happy to have a poem in Hedgehog Poetry Press’s forthcoming spooky Halloween anthology The House in the Forest. Details available from the website – release date 31st October 2020 – mwah ha ha!

Image courtesy of The Hedgehog Poetry Press
ed. Mark Davidson

THE POETRY BUS MAGAZINE – PB9

Finally, my poem ‘Of the Master’ will appear in The Poetry Bus Magazine (PB9) @PoetryBusMag – the mag will be fundraising and hope to publish September 2020.

Image courtesy of
The Poetry Bus Magazine – eds. Peadar and Collette O’Donoghue

Thanks very much for reading this blog post ❤😊

Poetry Review: Hex by Jennie Farley

Many thanks to Helen and Kate at Ink Sweat & Tears for publishing my review of Jennie Farley’s Hex from Indigo Dreams Publishers Ltd

@InkSweatTears @jennieMFarley @IndigoDreamsPub @kmalderman1

You can read my review of Jennie’s book – here

You can read Jennie’s bloghere

Happy Writing All

NaPoWriMo 2020 Day 3

Day Three is experimenting with rhyme.

I want to say I’m enjoying this but maybe only in a whisper, in case the Muse disappears! Perhaps it’s unrealistic to expect to produce complete poems each day but I’m glad to have some useful ideas to develop.

Don’t think I’ll post about this daily now because there are other projects I’d like to talk about but so far, it’s proved useful to try to write a poem a day. I’ll hope to keep it up for the entire month of April.

Good Luck All !

Self-Isolating, Pandemics & Panic-Buying

It’s Thursday 19 March 2020 and we are battling a global pandemic. Who’d have thought it?

I’m in a high risk category and so, in line with UK Government and National Health Service advice, I’m staying at home for the next 12 weeks, bar emergencies. This seems quite unreal, I know others feel this too.

At least I have my lovely daughter and husband to keep me company and do tasks outside the home. Others are not as lucky but it’s great to see so many offers of help for each other. This is the best side of us coming out and it’s heartwarming.

Panic-Buying though is the less heartwarming side of our natures …

See the source image
https://uk.news.yahoo.com/critical-care-nurse-pleas-end-005251035.html

A Critical Care nurse broke our hearts when she broke down after 48 hours on duty, trying to save lives. There wasn’t any fresh fruit or vegetables left in the supermarket because people had cleaned the shelves of essential foods and she didn’t know how to keep herself healthy – to use her words …

Just stop it, please!

https://uk.news.yahoo.com/critical-care-nurse-pleas-end-005251035.html

I’m anxious though as our son is one of the many on the front line treating people hospitalised with Covid-19. We won’t be able to see him for however long it takes to see this virus gone. That’s upsetting BUT ALSO he has no toilet paper at home because there’s none left and he hasn’t time to look for it!

Please, let’s all calm down and stop the panic-buying ❤️ let’s give the elderly and those in greatest need a chance.

Like many others, I want to try to make more of my isolation than just sitting on social media and looking mournfully out of the window.

I’ll try to share what I’m reading on here and will be interested to see what everyone else is up to.

Next post will be about Charlotte Begg’s intriguing poetry pamphlet,
My Father/The Son/No-One’s Ghost (Broken Sleep Books) … back soon xx

Cheltenham Poetry Festival 2020 Postponed

In light of the Coronavirus pandemic, festival Director Anna Saunders and team have made the heartbreaking decision to postpone the Festival until late September. This also means that Anna’s book launch is also rescheduled.

Feverfew – Indigo Dreams Pubs Ltd – ‘a bold and intense collection where candid, confessional poems meet richly lyrical, mythically inspired verse.’
https://www.indigodreams.co.uk

They’ve taken the decision to put the community’s welfare above their own means of earning a living but of course, many other events and launches have been cancelled everywhere.

No-one makes much profit (if any) from these events. Many use their own funds and who blames anyone who needs to keep going as long as possible or until their Governments restrict movement more stringently? It must be a difficult call.

I  think so much of how hardworking people are in the arts and how much they support and encourage talent, both established and newly-hatched. Indeed I and many I know have benefited hugely from their help.

It’s so upsetting to read of the hardship being encountered by independent organisations and individuals everywhere. They slip between the rules governing statutory sick pay and other funds that might help to keep their organisations and indeed themselves, going. I fear that many may not withstand this latest setback and really hope that they can get some help with the loss of income.

I’m going to ensure that I support the festival this Autumn and hope that many of us will try to support other groups as much as possible.

So here’s wishing ‘Good Luck’ to Anna and her team and to ALL other independents in a similar position and well … stay well everyone!

anna-saunders
Anna Saunders – Cheltenham Poetry Festival Director