My Fitcher’s Bird Sestina is up at the beautifully edited Sycorax Journal. It’s one of a collection of 13 poems, all new versions of traditional bird-lore fairy tales. Fitcher’s Bird is a Grimm’s Bluebeard tale, and I have set it to the music of the sestina form. I have long been obsessed with the fractal like structure of sestinas, with their intricate feeling of spiralling return.
As part of the Winter’s Last program, I will presenting poetry as well as teaching an online writing workshop on January 29th.
Ghost Missives: A Writing Workshop Exploring Ancestors and Place
The nights are long and the veil is thin. We tell tales of the dead in verse and song and they tell of us in the wind, rain, ice, and stone.
In this collaborative workshop, I will facilitate the writing of letters in prose poetry to and from the ancestors. The writing will be rooted the Scottish landscape. To set the tone, the session will begin with readings specific to the liminal landscape, and move on to collaborative work. I will guide the group as they work with prompts or “Wilding Cards” I will have made up. These will be exchanged by the group. After some dealing and discussion we will get down to write using the prompts we all have. Writers will be invited to play with voice, speaking from the point of view of our ancestors, ourselves or the land itself. In the final section of the workshop there will be opportunity for further collaboration between writers as well as time to read and share with the group.
For more information on tickets and other presenters and workshops, go to the Tiabhsear Collective website.
My poem “Moth” about the folk belief that moths were perhaps witches in another form, will appear in the Superstition themed issue of Stonecoast Review, number 13, available from this online bookseller.
I’m delighted that a poem of mine will be included in the Monster Verse, Poems Human and Inhuman anthology, to be published by Random House on September 15th, 2015. The anthology is edited by Tony Barnstone and Michelle Mitchell-Foust.
About the anthology, from the Random House website:
Humans have always defined themselves by imagining the inhuman; the gloriously gruesome monsters that enliven our literary legacy haunt us by reflecting our own darkest possibilities. The poems gathered here range in focus from extreme examples of human monstrousness—murderers, cannibals, despotic Byzantine empresses—to the creatures of myth and nightmare: dragons, sea serpents, mermaids, gorgons, sirens, witches, and all sorts of winged, fanged, and fire-breathing grotesques. The ghastly parade includes Beowulf’s Grendel, Homer’s Circe, William Morris’s Fafnir, Lewis Carroll’s Jabberwock, Robert Lowell’s man-eating mermaid, Oriana Ivy’s Baba Yaga, Thom Gunn’s take on Jeffrey Dahmer, and Shakespeare’s hybrid creature Caliban, of whom Prospero famously concedes, “This thing of darkness I acknowledge mine.”
Monster Verse is both a delightful carnival of literary horror and an entertainingly provocative investigation of what it means to be human.