Less of a blog post, more of a quick heads up that most of my back catalogue of books are on Kindle Countdown Sale this week (starting 15th July)!
That means the prices start low (99p/99c – one is even free!) and gradually increase to normal over the next few days. So if you fancy a ghost story with a shock, a zipping adventure mystery for teens, or some poems to quietly mull on the beach, head over to my Amazon page now.
Is spring filling you with inspiration and making you want to discover some of the best books with nature poems? Then this post is for you!
I began writing poetry in my twenties when I was doing environmental studies at Stirling University. At the weekends I often went hillwalking in the Scottish Highlands with friends. Inspired by the majestic scenery, I picked up a copy of Wordsworth and began reading poetry for the first time since my English degree. Soon after, I began to write my own poems.
When I got a job in South Wales I started sending poems to magazines such as Orbis and The New Welsh Review. Coming downstairs one Saturday morning to find a letter accepting three poems in the latter – along with a payment of £60! – was one of the best moments of my life. It gave a massive boost to my confidence as a writer.
A few weeks ago, I was approached by new book recommendation website Shepherd to share my favourite books on subjects I write about. I created my five favourites for ghost mysteries, books with portals for children and young adults – and for poetry books with nature poems that make you think and feel. I write all kinds of poetry, but I particularly love poems about the nature and landscapes of Britain.
So why not check out my list here, which includes books by awesome poets including Ted Hughes, Alice Oswald, Sherry Ross and Barbara Lennox.
And you can always check out my own collections if you love nature poetry:
It’s National Poetry Day here in the UK so here’s All, the opening poem in my collection The Things We Thought Were Beautiful, and a couple of poetry book recommendations.
And here’s the two fantastic independently published poetry books that I want to flag up, which both mean a great deal to me. With excerpts from my 5⭐ reviews of each, they are:
US poet Sherry Lazarus Ross’s Seeds of the Pomegranate:
“I loved ‘Touch Me’, in which the poet asks ‘How many times can the earth / withstand this ritual. The pain of being frozen / then thawed out.’ But as ever throughout this collection of dark and light, spring is the wake-up call coming ‘soft as the turn of earthworms.’ Just one more of the many stunning images in this wonderful book, already a favourite on my shelf.”
Scottish poet Barbara Lennox’s The Ghost in the Machine:
“It deals with themes of the natural world, myths, science and the human condition. There is a sense of living at a mid-point, a delicate balance of ‘trying to return, but never quite arriving.’ The poet has a beautiful turn of phrase, using alliterative language that reminds me of Seamus Heaney: ‘From every slope there rings/ a rush and purl of streams/ pocked by peat-dark tarns’.”
The best poetry has an almost magical power to transform our relationship with ourselves and the natural world. Please check out these collections by clicking the links below, where you can also read my full reviews. And just… read as many poems as you can today!
OK, so technically National Poetry Day was yesterday and I missed doing this Poetry Playlist post due to juggling 101 other things!
Whilst I love reading poetry on the page, it’s important to recognise that it developed from oral traditions, a means of passing down the values, wisdom and playfulness of humanity from one generation to the next before writing became common.
So for me poetry exists in two very distinct states. The poem on the page, which emanates its power in a wonderful, still silence (if it’s good!) And then there’s the poem as read by the poet or avid reader, which can take on a wholly different feel. The pacing and the length of the end-of-line pause, the emphasis of certain words, the catching of the poem’s rhythm. All are shaped by the personal interpretation of the out-loud reader.
I’ve done quite a few poetry readings in the past – at festivals, schools, pubs and in such illustrious venues as the basement of the Troubador Cafe in Old Brompton Road, where Bob Dylan and the Rolling Stones played (and Ed Sheeran and Laura Marling for you young folk!). But with Covid there’s much fewer chances of doing live readings, so why not take a look at this Poetry Playlist I’ve put together? In it, you’ll find me reading six of my favourite poems from my two collections, Up in the Air and The Things We Thought Were Beautiful.
And if they inspire you to read more, the books are available here:
Today I’m announcing a special book sale offer for anyone who wants a paperback copy of one (or more) of my books.
I’ve realised that with the continued impact of Covid-19 on our lives, I’m unlikely to be returning to bookshop signings and other events for a while. This means I have a reasonable stock of paperbacks that I’ve decided to put up for offer.
So here’s the deal… You can order any of my books for the cover price (£6.99 for novels, £5.99 for poetry), with FREE postage and packing in the UK. For the rest of the world, I will deduct the price of the UK postage (about £1.70) and you would need to pay the difference.
On top of that, if you order 3 or more books I’ll also deduct 10% from the total price of the books.
I will also sign copies if you like, and I can do dedications for birthday and other gifts.
To take advantage of the offer, please email your order to email@example.com, with any dedication details etc. You’ll need to pay by a PayPal account – and I’ll need your postal address of course. Here’s a full list of the available books:
I’m posting this poem from The Things We Thought Were Beautiful for World Poetry Day not because it’s a ‘happy’ poem, but because sharing our sadness can also help us to pull through.
Many people think of poetry as a sideline, or even worse, an irrelevance. But for many of us, poems are a source of inspiration and comfort. Losing the possibility to see and hug our close relatives is surely one of the hardest things for us all to deal with at the moment.
This poem, Sorted, heads up the ‘Without Love’ section of The Things We Thought Were Beautiful, and it was written about the frustration and emptiness we often feel when we’re not with a lover. But I think it works just as well in the context of being apart from anyone we love.
I’m excited to announce that The Things We Thought Were Beautiful is out now on Amazon!
The Things We Thought Were Beautiful is my second book of poetry. It includes poems on our changing feelings and connection to nature and the world around us, the beauty and strangeness of travel, and the places we look for meaning. Poems explore the challenges of living without love, as well as the redemption of home and family.
Here’s a taster:
These are some of the things readers said about Up in the Air, my first collection:
“Beautiful and thought-provoking collection of poems that speak of life, death, love and nature…” Amazon UK
“I love this book. I keep it at my bedside to read a passage or two before getting up to start my day or at night before the lights go out.” Amazon.com
Order your copy now:
Note – this link is to the paperback – you need to search in the Kindle store for the ebook as it takes a few days for the formats to link.