Writers read, too.

Have been consoling myself thus, as January wasn’t great in terms of writing output.

Today’s been better, though, so hopefully it’s a turning point…

Recent reads include:

Sharon Black’s To Know Bedrock (Pindrop)

I purchased this first collection after enjoying Ms Black’s work in Poetry Kit‘s Caught in the Net 98 (featured poet showcase) and Michelle McGrane’s Peony Moon blog review.  Several poems in the collection have won or been shortlisted in competitions and poetry prizes.  Amongst my favourites: Sabotage, a poem about control, containment, the breaking of spirit.  Chilling, powerful.  Palomas (“doves”), the nickname given to Chilean miner Victor Zamora’s poems, sent to his wife in plastic capsules during the 69 days he was trapped underground in 2010.  Beautiful.

These poems speak to my ear: great sounds, whether sub-vocalised or read aloud.

Gorgeous cover image, too: Hebrides by Isis Olivier.

Jacqueline Saphra’s The Kitchen of Lovely Contraptions (Flipped Eye)

Another first collection.  Having read Peter Daniels’ review on Ink, Sweat & Tears webzine, I promptly placed an Amazon order. ( I’ve since found the Peony Moon review.  Click here to read).

Saphra’s poems deal with childhood, sex and death among others, yet even dark subject matter is handled with energy and humour.  ‘The heart aches, the shoulders shrug but the feet dance.’ (George Szirtes).

Consummate handling of syllabics and form.  A treat for eye and ear.

Have just finished reading David Morley’s The Night of the Day (Nine Arches)

I am grateful to Maria Taylor for ‘introducing’ me to Morley through his podcasts, online writing challenges and blog.  Again, it is the poet’s use of sounds that appeals: his use of alliteration, rhyme, kennings.  This short collection navigates through childhood trauma, the natural world, relationships, life in a big top travelling circus.

Not just a reader of poetry, Sarah Waters’ Fingersmith is my most recent fiction read, begun over the Christmas holiday.  Faithful to my favourite few fiction authors, this is my first Waters read and am unspoiled by never having seen its TV adaptation.  A charity shop-purchased World Book Night title, I was disappointed to find no ID number with which to register the copy online.  I’d have liked to share my comments with readers around the world.  A fascinating foray into a Victorian underworld of double-dealing; several twists in the tale.  Difficult to put down, necessitating several lengthy coffee shop sojourns…