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Poetry Preserves and Pickles

Poetry Preserves and Pickles

I'm a busy poetry bee this coming week. If there's plenty of honey I'll sell it in jars so you can have poetry on your morning toast :)

On Tuesday I'm heading to the big hive, London, to participate on a recording for a Lunar Poetry Podcast. We'll be talking about some of the barriers that disabled poets and other writers face in the publishing world.

The episode is being hosted by Khairani Barokka, who was one of the editors of a recent Nine Arches Press anthology, Stairs and Whispers: D/deaf and Disabled Poets Write Back. Also on the show are Sandra Alland, who is another of the Stairs and Whispers editors, and Raymond Antrobus, who was one of the two guest editors for the recent Magma issue on the theme of deafness, plus yours truly.

I'm really looking forward to this, because there is a lot to talk about when it comes to making the world accessible for people of any disability. My personal experience being focussed on blindness, means I know I find it easy to do some things that other blind people struggle with, and vice versa. For me the mere act of getting to an event like this is a major hurdle. My dad will be accompanying me to London to make sure I find my way to New Cross Station. Disability-wise the ability to get myself to events under my own steam is probably the top goal in my life at the moment, but it's far from easy to build up that level of confidence.

Poetry on the Doorstep

Although the cows in the field next to my house do enjoy listening to my poetry, and give their considered opinions (“Mooooooo,” sounds surprisingly similar to, “Mooooooooor”) and Wally the cat likes to stop and listen too, though I suspect his interest mainly lies in seeing whether he can get to the back stage area (into the house), I'm going a little further away than my doorstep.

I made contact with Cath Barton, the organiser of a monthly Abergavenny writers' gathering in The Kings Head right by the market. There is also a Kings Arms in Abergavenny, and I have terrible trouble remembering which premises I am supposed to be going to. Maybe I could persuade one of them to change their name to The Kings Kneecaps and that might make it easier — heads and arms are just too close to each other for comfort ;)

Poetry Chutney in Putney

No, this part doesn't really have anything to do with chutney, but I love chutney the product and the word, so it's a nice rhyme :) The Putney part is, however, correct.

For National Poetry Day on 28 September 2017, I've been asked to read at Putney Library in London. The time of my reading is still to be confirmed, but it'll be added to my events page as soon as I have the info.

Time And Relative Dimension In Space

I'm due to read at Voices on the Bridge, in Pontypridd, south Wales, in October, exact date TBC. I used to live just up the hill from Ponty when I worked as a transportation planner for Atkins in the Cardiff office so I expect I'll feel a little reflective as I find myself reading 5 mins drive from my old house in Cilfynydd (which if you pronounce it kill-vun-ith you'll be pretty close).

Further along the timeline I've also arranged to read at The Abergavenny Writing Festival (AWF) in April 2018. This will be the third AWF and I'm very much looking forward to reading in my home town. Abergavenny and the nearby towns of Crickhowell, who host The Crickhowell Literary Festival (CLF), and Usk attract a lot of literary readings — I wasn't planning on attending it myself, but I gather former Formula 1 world champion, Damon Hill's book launch at Book-ish, Crickhowell, sold out very quickly. I have to admit that I am not thrilled when an event includes a copy of the author's book in the ticket price, since that pretty much assumes that everybody attending wants to own a copy and, more importantly, is able to read it ... since when did it become okay for attendance at a book launch to incur a financial penalty for being blind? A selection of events that I have attended in the last year include:

  • Editor of BBC Countryfile Magazine, Fergus Collins, talked about how to pitch a story idea to an editor (AWF 2016)
  • Welsh author Jasper Fford ran a workshop for writers which was very thought-provoking. I thought he handled having a blind participant in the class very well given there were some visual elements to the session. Another fond memory was the lovely young lady who brought me a cup of tea at the halfway point — you can't always take such things for granted when you're blind and turn up to an event by yourself (CLF 2016)
  • Author Owen Sheers reading from his novel, I Saw A Man, at The Angel Hotel in Abergavenny. Highlight of the evening came at the end, when he took questions from the audience and a lady asked him if he'd read a particular one of his poems, and he apologised that he could not remember it off the top of his head. Not discouraged the lady quickly found it on her phone and he read it whilst looking at the text on her mobile!

I'd love to say hello if you're able to make it to any of my events. Please remember, I have no way of recognising your face, so it's your task to find me, and please don't forget to say who you are because I ain't a mind reader ;) xx

#LunarPoetryPodcast #NineArchesPress #AbergavennyWritingFestival #CrickhowellLiteraryFestival #PutneyLibrary #NationalPoetryDay #VoicesOnTheBridge

Published inblindnessPoetry


  1. Enjoyed this.

    Getting around is so very important, and your blog post is full of energy!

    I believe you could make it anywhere you put your mind to. But a little help is also remarkably useful.

    • Giles Giles

      yes, it dismays me how much my independent mobility skills have declined since I lived in Atlanta. Obv my sight has also declined, but half the battle is having the confidence to get out and not being afraid of getting lost 🙂 xx

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