About a year ago, I decided that I was ready to have a book published. Dear reader, I was not. I cobbled together a bunch of loosely-linked poems and called it a manuscript. It got rejected, twice, and I promptly gave up on that particular project.
A while ago now I had the pleasure of being published in a charming print journal called Nightingale & Sparrow – you can read that piece, ‘Shakespeare in Camden, 2019’, here. Working with them was such a lovely experience – the quality of the product they created, the care they took, their kindness – so when they launched a search for manuscripts I instantly knew that I had to throw my pen into the ring. So I dusted off that old draft, read it, and realised that it was start-to-finish awful. The initial thread, though, of poems linked together by a loosely-interpreted theme of grief, was good. It was one that I had naturally accumulated a wealth of work on over the past year, as though this book had been silently germinating in my gut. After much hacking and sawing and plucking and soul-searching – only one or two of the original poems remain – I sent it off, my reanimated corpse of a manuscript.
It is my absolute delight to be able to announce that Nightingale and Sparrow accepted, and will publish my first book next September! All the Shades of Grief, a chapbook of 22 poems, is (in the words of my publisher!) “a beautifully haunting look at grieving as both personal and universal.” And, I promise, it is not quite as depressing as it might sound!