I really enjoyed reading at the launch of Niall Campbell's Moontide last week, in London. There was a lovely, attentive audience gathered in what seemed to be a disused/obsolete loading bay cleverly converted by architects into an ambient, rectangular reading space. With low lighting and low slung canvas seats it felt quite intimate even though it was a large(ish) audience for poetry.

Each time I read my stuff I enjoy it more and I feel more confident, although I am not a natural performer. Gladly, I managed to shift a few copies of 'Inklings' despite not reading any poems from it, only new ones. It was a bit of a gamble reading new work for the first time but I think the poems made their first foray without crashing and burning (hopefully). I'm grateful to Declan Ryan for asking me to read. Really looking forward to Dec and Zaffar's Faber New Poet pamphlets coming out this autumn.

I enjoyed hearing Zaffar Kunial, Rory Waterman and Niall read. There's just something magical about hearing poems from their makers' mouths (and hearts) - although I enjoy poring over them on the page too. Once you've heard them read aloud, they are changed and informed by the cadences and tones of their author's voice. Some voices are so distinctive (Plath, Larkin) that I hear them clearly when I read their work on paper.

Moontide is a distinctive, meditative book. The poems are both pared down and expansive in their reach and language, palpable with place. If that sounds all romantic and wishy washy, they are anything buy it or get it from your library (if you still have one...)
I see today it is shortlisted for the Forward Prize for Best First Collection, along with (amongst others) Liz Berry's Black Country (which is going to be just exquisite when it is published this August) and Fiona Benson's Bright Travellers which is compelling and often beautiful. I've already read it several times and will be back for more.

Finally, there was a good review of Inklings in the latest edition of Artemis Poetry by the writer and editor Adele Ward.  I won't regurgitate it in full but I like it that she praised poems with "a botanist's eye for the tiny details of nature".


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