Year end blog

This is just a really quick, short blog to say thank you, wholeheartedly, for all your support and kindness this year. Thank you for sticking with me!

This year has been action-packed (and not always for poetic reasons) so I thought I’d take a moment to reflect and share just a few of the highlights from this year:

For me, the overall highlight of the year must be launching my debut collection, The Girl in the Dog-tooth Coat, with Bare Fiction in July this year. It’s a landmark I’d been daring to dream of for a little while before I was approached, but didn’t think would happen quite so soon. I’m very grateful for the creative guidance and beautiful production of the book itself from Robert Harper at Bare Fiction. Thank you to everyone who has bought it, shared it, read it, talked about it and made it happen through the original crowdfunder. I’ve been overwhelmed by the reaction to it and the generosity of you all.

One of the wonderful things that has happened through launching the book (and other things) has been the opportunity to go and read at venues and places I have never been to before. I’ve put faces to names, made new connections, gained new friends. I’ve heard and read some incredible, beautiful work that I might not have otherwise. I’ve learned a lot. And that’s always a good thing.

As a writer, it’s easy to forget that something you make at your desk in your one-bed flat can reach someone somewhere in the distance, maybe someone you haven’t even met yet. When Nadia King found a poem of mine in Popshot, she liked it enough to look me up (thankfully I’m easy to find) and she asked if she could interview me on her blog. I agreed, though it’s not something I’d ‘normally’ do and couldn’t be happier with the result.

Elbow Room is growing. My final highlight of the year has to be running the Elbow Room competition for the first time, finding incredible work and having our wonderful winner’s event in Battersea. There’s no denying it was extremely hard work, and I can’t quite believe we’re going to do it all again next year, but it was also an absolute joy.

And just finally, while I’m looking back, I’d like to say a huge thank you to all the places that have published my work this year including: HARK, Clear Poetry, The Fat Damsel, Nutshells & Nuggets, Belleville Park Pages, Obsessed with Pipework, The Yellow Chair Review, Lampeter Review, Anomaly, Haverthorn Magazine and Ink, Sweat & Tears.

2016 is already promising to keep me very busy indeed. As well as 2 collaborations in the first half of the year with 2 fabulous photographers, I have a book (but not quite as you know it) coming out with As Yet Untitled in late Autumn. Elbow Room is also going from strength to strength and continues to grow and blossom. As Yet Untitled, Elbow Room’s parent press, will be launching 3 books in the first year of our expansion. So there’s plenty to keep me out of mischief (or in it, depending on how you look at it).

With that in mind, I’m taking the next two weeks off for some rest, recuperation and some family time, getting ready for the adventures ahead. So don’t worry if I’m a little quiet for a bit.

That wasn’t quite a quick a blog as I’d thought, but thank you—for listening, for being part of the journey, for sticking with it.

Whatever you have planned for the holidays and the new year, I hope it’s a happy, healthy one.

Best wishes, Zelda x

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On writing a book…

Ok, so it’s been a while. Sorry.

The big news is, if you have managed to miss it completely, is that Bare Fiction are publishing my debut full collection of poetry in July this year. That’s just about 2 months away. So I’ve been busy!

The last 12 months have been a whirlwind for me, and not only poetically. I’ve a new day job, I’ve moved house, I’ve said (temporary) goodbyes to old friends and hello to new ones. And somewhere in amongst it, I’ve written a book. I’m not quite sure how it all happened, but I’m very glad it did.

Poetically speaking, last year was a bumper year for me in terms of publication successes. I’ve been writing more than I ever have before and enjoying it in ways I’ve not done before. Things feel rather good. I am, of course, forever indebted to Jo Bell, who has not only offered a great deal of support personally, but also created the 52 project which has led to so many great things—not least of which the production of great amounts of work and an opportunity to be part of a creative, supportive network of poets. It’s been invaluable.

The book itself will contain poems written over the last 3 or 4 years. Collected, they explore a narrative of loss, love and a sort of melancholic hope. It’s about relationships, not only with people but with the world as a whole. It’s about finding a place, then moving on. So you see, there’s lots in there to keep you on your toes!

Some of the poems have been published previously in various magazines (you can see a list here) and some of them will be making their debut into the world. Some of them have been placed in competitions and a couple have even been nominated for the Forward Prize. I can’t wait to share them all with you.

If you want to get your hands on a copy first, get hold of a signed copy or even get a handwritten poem from me, Bare Fiction are taking pre-orders now. Just click HERE for all the details of how.

We’re hoping to do a couple of launches, so keep watching this space for details.

As always, thank you for sticking with me! I can’t wait to share the next step with you. Z x

Hitting the ground running

As usual I start with an apology. It’s been well over a year since I last blogged. I did tell you that I am pretty rubbish at this, but still, it’s no real excuse. There’s a bit to catch up on, so I’ll try and keep it brief. I promise to try and blog a bit more often.

 

Someone recently asked me how I fit it all in. I said I probably don’t. I work a 40 hour week at the day job before I even sit down to think about editing for Elbow Room or writing my own work. I constantly feel guilty. When I’m at work, I wish I was writing. When I’m writing, I feel guilty about the neglected housework. Then there’s the thank you cards I forget to send until they are so late after the event everyone’s forgotten about it anyway. The gigs of friends I can’t attend because I’m working or too tired from working to make it. The ones I forget about because I haven’t had a chance to look at my diary for weeks. The blog I’ve not written for months. My terrible disorganisation and constant chaos.

 

Sometimes, it all feels pretty mad. But somewhere in the chaos I manage. I manage to feed myself (most of the time anyway), I manage to get to work on time. I manage to read a bit, write a bit, edit a bit. I manage to make plans. I manage to follow some of them through. So maybe I shouldn’t be so hard on myself. But I am, it’s just in the DNA.

 

Last time, I wrote about how I’d gone through a bit of a dry patch poetry wise and how I was coming out of it. After writing the blog, I had a bit of a relapse. Which may be why, subconsciously, I’ve not blogged for a while. Not that the two could be related, but our brains make connections between the most ridiculous things sometimes. But I worked through it, wrote a bit, some of which I was happy with, some of which got published. So not bad at all. Towards Christmas it slowed down again and I dreaded months of stalled thought again. But I needn’t have. January came around and since the new year, I have produced more than I have in a while. And it feels great. Still don’t know how I’m fitting it all in, but I am, and it’s good. More work has led to a little flurry of poems getting published too, which is always a great feeling.

 

Apart from my own work, I’ve been putting in the time with Elbow Room, making ‘secret’ plans (which I will blog about at another time) and generally having a great time with it. We are getting a lot of quality submissions in, particularly in terms of poetry, which is really wonderful. It’s always a pleasure and a privilege to read through them all. Like any small magazine, we wish we could publish more, but we’re loving being able to showcase just a bit of the wonderful talent that is out there. If you’re interested in submitting, or just want to check it out, I would actively encourage you to check it out HERE.

 

So, things to look out for… I am doing a little open mic slot at Listen Softly London, in Southwark on Wednesday. I’m a bit out of practice, so please come and see me make a beautiful mess of it. There’ll also be a little surprise on the night too! Work soon to be published in the wonderful Bare Fiction and Spontaneity, so keep an eye out for those over the next few weeks.

 

There, see, that wasn’t so painful afterall! Thank you everyone for your continued support, for reading my work, for tweeting about it, talking about it, writing about it.

 

Take care of yourselves x

Creative blockages and fruit trees

So, it has been a while since I last blogged.  By now you’ll have realised that I am not the world’s best blogger!  But I thought I would just check in with you and let you know what has been going on.

Last time I blogged, it was about joining the Elbow Room team.  Since then, Volume 1 has completely sold out and Volume 2 is waiting in the wings to be launched at the first of our live events in Camden, London on the 21st March.  If you’re in the area, do come along.  I shall be reading some words alongside some of our fantastic poets and musicians.  Submissions are flooding in for volume 3 already and I am enjoying every minute of looking over all the brilliant pieces of work that are coming our way.  It’s great to be exposed to so much new work all the time – it really opens your eyes to the possibilities out there.

Since I last blogged I have been busy writing some new work.  After a successful year last year, I’d come to a bit of a creative block with the poetry.  I was finding it tougher and tougher to write something new and fresh.  I think I was putting myself under too much pressure to produce good work and that stifled me.  Nothing seemed to quite work, but I still had a massive urge to write, even though when I tried to put pen to paper I couldn’t.  I knew I had to write in a different way, so I started to experiment with writing bits of fiction and really enjoyed myself.  I’d forgotten how much I love storytelling and writing in a different way really helped to unlock some of the creative barriers I had come across in my poetry.  So over the last couple of months I’ve been writing a mixture of poetry and flash fiction pieces and getting back to a place where I am really enjoying the writing process again.  Which has been great!

So, here’s the bit where I tell you about the new work that has made it out into the world.  Brace yourselves…

At the end of last year, the brilliant Ink, Sweat and Tears published a short poem, Afterwards, we found, as part of their 12 Days of Christmas feature.  If you missed it or want to read it again, you can check it out here.

Since Christmas, I have had a piece of flash selected in the Nottingham Festival of Words competition.  You can read it, and the other shortlisted entries, here.

I’ve also had a short poem published on the lovely London Lit Project, which you can read here.  I highly recommend you read some of the other entries too, especially if you have any sort of link to London.  It’s a great project and I’m really glad to be part of it for the second time.

And finally, this week I feature of part of the Year of Subversion Competition and you can read my selected poem, Diving (previously published in South Bank Poetry last year), and a short interview from me about my work and influences here.  Do check out the other work in the exhibition too.  The standard is exceptional and some of the photography is particularly brilliant.

So, I think that’s probably enough of me to be getting on with.  I’m getting back to the writing…

Keep well x

On joining the Elbow Room team…

Yes, it’s official… I’m now a part of the editorial team for Elbow Room!

When I first came across Elbow Room, I knew it was something I had to be involved in and, back in August, I was delighted to have some of my work printed in the very first volume of the magazine.

Now, just a couple of months later, I have been invited to be a part of this little micro press as part of the editorial team. Since I announced it on Twitter a few days ago, a few people have asked me why I was so eager to get involved, so I thought I would share with you some thoughts on joining the team…

Firstly, I loved the concept of Elbow Room from the very beginning. I have been involved in other projects and magazines (such as Popshot) in which poetry is placed alongside illustration and other art forms, and for me, that’s something that really excites me. No art form stands alone, separate from its counterparts. Creativity breeds creativity and each person has their own way of exploring and expressing their reactions to the world around them, whether that’s with words or film or paint or sound. And I really like the idea of bringing all those different ways of looking at the world, of re-interpreting the world, and putting them alongside each other. It creates a dialogue. And I think that’s a good thing.

Secondly, in the small presses (and micro presses such as this one) there is a lot of risk involved. A lot of good risk. Small presses are exciting because they are places where new work is seen for the first time, experiments are made, risks are taken, boundaries and rules bent and broken. They are places where new voices are given a platform. They are full of innovation. They are full of unseen things, previously hidden things, little gems waiting to be discovered. And most of all, they are passionate about what they do. Everything, in my opinion, that art, in all its forms and guises, should be about.

And lastly, most importantly, it’s bloody good fun!

I’m so glad to be a part of this particular little micro press and cannot wait to get sifting through the submissions!  There’s still time to get your work in the next issue, so if you want to be involved, make sure you check out the Elbow Room blog for details.

Seeing Stars…

The lovely online ‘zine Ink, Sweat & Tears have been celebrating National Poetry Day with a week-long special featuring poems all about stars.

I was delighted to have a poem, (rather aptly titled) Stars, included in the feature and published on Sunday morning.  If you missed it, you can read it here, alongside the poem I had published there back in April.

Make sure you check out the work  from the rest of the week too!

5 Poems, 3 Photographs, 1 Anthology

Around this time last year, my poem, Hastings Pier, was commended in the Earlyworks Press poetry competition.

Now, I am happy to announce that it has been included in the Stories of St Leonards anthology (Earlyworks Press) along with four other poems.  The anthology will also include three of my photographs.

Packed full of poems, stories and photographs, the anthology was officially launches in Hastings today and is available to purchase here.