Your shadow at morning – poetry film

So I need to generate some publicity for Yes to Tigers. Readings are out – at least for the time being, so I made this poetry film.

It’s one of the poems from the zine, first published in Words for the Wild,and inspired by work from Angie Silkstone and Jo Clarke aka Both in Stitches.

What do you think? Good? Bad? Meh?

Let me know – and if you like it please share xx

You can buy a copy of Yes to Tigers by emailing kathrynannawrites@gmail.com or just use the contact form x

Yes to tigers!

If you happened to see my super-awkward “unboxing” (it’s a thing you have to do these days) video last week you’ll know my zine Yes to Tigers is available now available to buy. I’m thrilled to have reached this point with my writing, and thrilled to have something to share with everyone who’s supported me over the last few years. Thank you!

What is Yes to Tigers?

Yes to Tigers is a 24 page illustrated poetry zine. It’s my first foray into indie publishing and crowdfunding and is the fruit of my time spent as poet in residence for a group of artists in the Severn Gorge. The poems are inspired by both the artwork, and the people themselves. The zine includes photographs taken during my visits, it’s a cool thing, and I think you’ll enjoy reading it.

Why Yes to Tigers?

When I started getting in touch with the artists and makers to arrange studio visits, I followed various social media pages, to get a feel for their work. I was nervous about stepping into this world- that old feeling of being inadequate – and rarely interacted beyond a like. As I got to know people I realised this was daft, and grew a bit bolder.

Browsing Instagram one evening I spotted one of the artists, Caris Jackson, canvassing opinion on the finish for one of her pieces, Fairground Baby (which is fab) should there be tigers ? The only sensible answer is Yes to tigers! Tigers were included, the final piece looks amazing and I was astounded my boldness. That boldness kept me going when things got a little tricky with the project, kept me working on the poems when I had no idea how/I’d publish and gave me courage to send the finished work out to people to see what they thought.

Fairground Baby – by Caris Jackson

Why indie publishing?

Essentially it’s about time. When drawing up plans for my role as poet in residence my aim was to have the zine published in a year, and I wanted to stick to this. Art is a fluid thing, and this represents where the artists are at a certain point. The process of submitting manuscripts to publishers is long and didn’t feel right for this project. You can find out more about the thought process behind indie publishing and crowdfunding on my blog post Why this all began

How can I buy a copy of this wonderful zine?

You can buy direct from me! Just get in touch via my contact form or email kathrynannawrites@gmail.com. This is also the best way to get in touch if you’re interested my bespoke poetry packages.

As ever, I’m terribly coy about this,and nerves make me a bit dismissive of it as a piece of work. It does look good though (thanks to Amanda Hillier Printing) and I hope you’ll enjoy reading the work. I’m spending the last part of the year organising more magazine submissions, and drawing together another collection of work to submit to publishing houses.

Thanks as ever, stay safe, wash your hands, read more books xx

Treacle

This week has been a gloomy one. I’ve felt overwhelmed by the endless slew of injustice that is bestowed from those who are employed to care about us all, and especially the most vulnerable. I am privileged to be able to write this on my own laptop, at my own desk, with warm(ish) feet and a full stomach. But I feel powerless. Sapped of energy. It feels like a time when poetry and creativity is needed more than ever, to remind that there is beauty and good in this country. It also feels like a time when poetry and creativity is utterly banal and irrelevant. My mooching around my emotions, noticing the play of light on a rose, or the slow movement of spiders huddling away from the cold, is at odds with the sheer dreadfulness of day to day life that others are experiencing. It feels insulting to feel disappointment or frustration at my own concerns.

©kam

A development opportunity I’d set my sights on for next year is out of my reach financially, so I’m back to the drawing board about my next steps. I’m pleased with how I’ve responded though – I didn’t take it as a sign that I’m not good enough, or feel that I may as well give up. I’ve worked hard to reach the point where I am and I’m not stopping now. Development is not just about becoming a better writer, it’s about valuing myself, my work and believing in it. Being from good working class stock, a career in the arts still has an air of being fancy, of being somehow indulgent. This is borne from a deep desire for security – an avoidance of the challenges faced by those who’ve gone before. I can’t quite shake it. I still hear myself frame my writing as a hobby, and follow up any conversation about poetry with a assurance that  do  some “real” work as well. Sometimes this “real” work values each of my words at a penny, but somehow even this meagre pay is more credible.

Chilli lights make dark days better

I have a couple of things up my sleeve, I’ve applied for a bursary from Raven Studios a local group of creatives, sent my pamphlet submission and have a new prompt a day course starting in November, which should help reinvigorate a regular writing practice. I’ve also set up Poems from the Hare my brand new shop, where you can commission a bespoke poem (just in time for Christmas!) and buy a copy of my brand new zine, which will be landing in the next couple of weeks.

What about the treacle?

It’s how the week has felt. The grey days with whispers of gold from the trees, the weight of the sky. The mizzle or drizzle or full on rain. My endless doom scrolling in the small hours. My absolute inability to read, which inevitably affects my writing and the nag,nag,nag of pain that increases with each damp day. Wading through treacle. It won’t last, there is a way out and I am never not grateful for the fact that I am lucky enough to have these things as my worries.

Thanks, as ever for reading, hopefully next post will be all about me sending my zine into the world, and if anyone can recommend a book that is uplifting and rollickng good story I’d love to hear your suggestions.

Stay safe, wash your hands, wear a mask

Kathryn xx

I have a big stack of envelopes

…and I’m daftly excited. Why? because it means publication day is getting closer! My zine is at the printers and soon there will be copies winging there way to crowdfunders, waiting in our wonderful local bookshop and generally making this all feel rather real. There were time when I never thought this project would bear fruit, for a variety of confidence based reasons. Having other people get behind me and give me a gentle shove has made all the difference, and the sheer joy of having support from so many people via my crowdfunder is a massive boost. As soon as the copies I’ll take a million pictures of them and let you know how you can buy one.

This confidence has helped me cast a critical eye over my other work too, and I’ve spent this month putting together my first pamphlet submission. For anyone who doesn’t know, a pamphlet is a short collection of poems, usually around 15 or so, that centres around a particular theme. For me, identifying this theme has been a case of going through my work and seeing what threads and thoughts run through my work and putting together what amounts to a kind of story. There may well be a “proper” way to do this (this is another time when I kind of wish I’d had the wherewithal to complete my creative writing degree), but going by the pamphlets that I’ve read, this seems to be how they work.  I’ve worked through things like the order, as well as refining and redrafting each poem, before summoning the gumption to press send and submit to . My little pamphlet is winging its way to Nine Pens as we speak. This is a new press that seems very friendly and open to work from new poets. They’ve already had over thirty pamphlet submissions, out of which nine will be chosen for publication. My chances of being chosen are small, but I’m getting used to taking these gambles, and the very act of putting together another group of poems that if feel are worth sharing is a positive and pleasing act.

I’ve submitted to fewer journals this year, and avoided most competitions – partly because of cash (competitions and some journals charge for submission) and also because I’m starting to see my work as a whole entity. The dopamine hit of winning a competition or getting a magazine publication has become a little less important. That doesn’t mean it’s not a massive thrill, I’ve still got my copy of Popshot casually placed on my living room table, but something has shifted in terms of validation and my ability to assess my own writing. I throw out a lot more than I keep in, but my critical eye is less hostile.

Taken in the Brecons – when we could still travel…

So a lot is happening this autumn, paid work is thin on the ground which is tricky, but hopefully something will turn up soon. I’m getting a few more views on my website which is something at least. Over the next week or so I’ll be setting up my Etsy shop, where you can by the zine, plus I will be offering bespoke poems for sale, just in time for Christmas!

Please like and share this blog, especially if you’re reading on one of the social media platforms – it’s one of the most useful ways to help me grow my audience.

Thanks as ever for your support – next post will be the title and cover reveal of the zine – how ace is that?

Stay safe, wear a mask, wash your hands

Kathryn xx

………to good things coming soon.

It’s finally happening, my poetry zine is on it’s way to the printers! Very excited, and very grateful to Amanda Hillier printing for her patience with my endless edits – finalising poetry punctuation is hard – finalising poetry punctuation when you’ve a head full of brain fog is almost impossible. We got there though, and the finished zine will be with me soon.

A poetry zine sounds like a wonderful thing, how can I buy one?

If you live in Telford, you’ll be able to pop into the Ironbridge Bookshop to pick up a copy. If you’re further afield just drop me an email or a message and I’ll post one out to you. I’m planning to set up an Etsy/Folksy shop to sell the zines, as well as some bespoke poems which will make great Christmas gifts too, and I’ll post the links here and on my social media pages.

A short post today – brain fog is beating me, but I’ll write a longer one soon.

Stay safe, wash your hands, wear a mask,

Kathryn

Do you remember…

a post I wrote last year, talking about the restrictions I experience as a result of M.E.? Well I’m cured! Ha. Not really, it’s all still the same, tricky getting about, needing two, three times as long to do simple stuff like prepare a meal. All here, doing it’s stuff.

Despite this, I have some news that baffles and delights me. I’m publishing a collection of poetry. It’s based on my time as poet in residence for Secret Severn and is an achievement in many ways. Not only have I got twelve poems that I think people will enjoy, I’ve put aside my disappointment at having my funding withdrawn and pushed ahead.

Why keep going?

I believe in this project. The overriding feeling is joy and respect, a desire to celebrate the relationship between art and words. I gain so much sense of place from enjoying the work created by these talented artists and makers, it didn’t seem right to waste the time and effort we spent putting in the groundwork with visits and follow-ups.

Why crowdfund?

The usual path of approaching indie presses didn’t seem right for this project. Firstly, it’s a fairly local scene and subject – that doesn’t mean it’s all just poems about the iron bridge* but it does mean it’s something that may not have the mass appeal the average indie press needs to guarantee sales. Secondly comes the issue of time – it’s been a year since my first visits and meetings – this feels like the right time to publish.

Crowdfunding is nerve wracking. The whole thing of asking for money feels weird, and a bit rude. This is why I created a reward system – essentially people are buying a copy of the poetry zine. I’ve put together some reward bundles too, so it doesn’t feel quite so much like asking for handouts. It’s worth exploring why this whole thing feels so awkward though – perhaps a subject for another post.

How’s it going?

Really well. I’ve been amazed by the level of goodwill and positivity from people – it’s good to know there’s an interest and that there is a market for when I come to sell. It’ll be in Ironbridge Bookshop, and I’m hoping to place it in local cafes, bookshops further afield as well as selling direct. It’s more than the funding – it’s about having people believe in what I’m doing.

When will it be published?

Assuming I meet our funding target, it should be published in October – just in time for Christmas!

*there are no poems about the iron bridge – sorry bridge fans xx

You can buy a copy of Yes to Tigers by emailing kathrynannawrites@gmail.com and popping in to Ironbridge Bookshop just as soon as pandemic restrictions have waned.

Thanks as ever for reading, and for your ongoing support

Kathryn

xx