from BARDO

The stars are in our belly; the Milky Way our umbilicus.

Is it a consolation that the stuff of which we’re made

is star-stuff too?

– That wherever you go you can never fully disappear –

dispersal only: carbon, hydrogen, nitrogen, oxygen.

Tree, rain, coal, glow-worm, horse, gnat, rock.

Roselle Angwin

Wednesday, 28 March 2012

all the missing names of love

I think I might have posted before this Chippewa/Ojibway quote: 'I go round the place pitying myself, and all the time I'm being carried by great wings across the sky.'

My wings have felt a little sodden of late. So there I am plodding around my small corner of paradise feeling sorry for myself with the continual sense of pressure: work undone, car problems, family troubles and relentless issues in relation to them to sort out, no time to rest or simply appreciate the coming spring...

...and here is a courier, and here, six weeks ahead of time, is my new poetry collection!

There truly is little like the buzz of the birth of a book, and I am heady for the rest of the day. Here it is; and if you click on the link, with any luck it'll take you through to my author page where you can, should you wish (please wish!) buy it... my publisher has chosen 7 or 8 sample poems from it, I see, too; so you'll know what you're buying. It's different from Bardo; the poems (all poems, no prose poems this time) are more personal, on the whole, and include a few 'forms', like the sonnet, the roundel, the terza rima, the dunad. All of the work coheres around the notion of love, which I interpret broadly to mean our relationship to everything.

The cover artwork is from a beautiful tapestry by my friend Anne Jackson, and it inspires one of the poems in the book (for me too the prehistoric cave art of Europe is a continual source of amazed astonished delight; almost a sacred experience; this too informs one or two of the poems, including the title one).


Every poet in the UK must dream of being picked up by Faber, Cape or Bloodaxe; just as every novelist would like the big mainstream houses to open a 'bidding war' against each other and offer him or her a vast advance and a major publicity campaign for The Novel. For 95% of us, or more, it simply doesn't happen like that.

And for myself, I am enormously grateful to Ronnie and Dawn of the small indie press Indigo Dreams. They've been fabulous to work with: they constantly let me know what's happening; they negotiate and give me choices; they do what they say they're going to do (just about instantly); and with my novel Imago last year no less than this collection they are ahead of schedule. What's as gratifying is that they approached me – Ronnie was the poetry editor for my first poetry publisher, bluechrome, who brought out Looking For Icarus in 2005, and was due to publish Imago; and who disappeared (the publisher, not Ronnie, who'd already left and founded IDP), leaving a number of authors adrift. Ronnie emailed me to say he'd like to take my books on (interestingly, I didn't register what he was saying the first time). So a big thumbs-up to you guys at Indigo Dreams.


  1. Congratulations. I love the cover!

  2. Thank you Sophia. I'm pleased with it (tho the surround is just a little PINK for my liking! - but it still works well). I think you'd love Anne's work, as a textile person yourself.


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