October 19 @ 6:30 pm – 8:30 pm
£99 BOOK TICKETS
Thursdays, 6.30pm to 8.30pm,
19 October, 26 October, 2 November, 9 November and 16 November.
Birmingham & Midland Institute
In the lead up to the publication of Unable Mother next year, I will be running a short writing course on parenthood. Through birth, adoption or fostering, the moment of becoming a parent changes you forever, in ways you cannot predict. Together, we will explore these ideas, and how we can write about them – from what we gain by becoming parents, to what we lose.
Writers will distil single moments in ‘parent time’, explore how becoming a parent can change, influence, and strengthen our poetic voices. We will also explore our children’s voices, and how the conversations between us and them can come alive in the work.
There will be sharing and discussion, alongside intensive writing exercises and feedback.
The short course is for those new to poetry, as well as experienced poets. It is intended for parents with children of all ages, and babes-in-arms (under 6 months) are welcome although the venue is not appropriate for babies who are able to crawl or walk. The venue is not accessible for buggies but you can securely park it on the ground floor.
For tickets and further info please visit: https://www.writingwestmidlands.org/event/short-course-poetry-parenthood/
A.i.R. | In conversation with the wonderful Sian Norris about the PIKPA refugee camp in Greece.
On first impressions…
“The quiet. It’s so heavy, and controlled: and beyond any kind of sadness you can imagine. It’s goes further than sadness. You can feel how much has happened there. The volunteer and aid workers are remarkably positive, and they bring a huge amount of life and light to the air. But the quietness….it almost hums. I hadn’t experienced anything like it before. There’s a vacancy behind the eyes of the people on the camp too that’s disturbing – with the men especially. Sadly, I feel there may be no way out for them now. With the children, you feel a certain level of fight and vivacity. But the men – they’re gone.”
“The morning after my daughter was born, I got straight back into writing. She had been late, and struggling to find a way out. We both underwent a speedy and painful induction. When induced, the body suffers contraction after contraction, without rest. The natural rhythms are suspended, and a new chemical urgency swamps the body. I couldn’t manage the pain (or the fear) and screamed for an epidural. From this point, I couldn’t feel. She was struggling to reach me, and I couldn’t answer. I’d been numbed to her throughout the pregnancy – fighting her every step of the way. But still, somewhere inside, I’d sensed her insistence; her slow, relentless beauty. Now in these crucial throws, I had no way of communicating with her at all, and it was mortifying.
In the final pushes, I was heavily assisted. My partner tells me the floor of the hospital room was like a butcher’s blood bath. ‘She was the real sea, and all the blood to follow.’ I didn’t know how to push, so had to lie on my back attached to a monster of machines by tricks and wires. When the last toe, slipped soft and white from the vertical wound, she spleened into the world. Hungry for life, she suckled perfectly.
And despite being left alone that night on the hospital ward, torn and psychically dislocated, having to feed every 3 hours and sleep none, I still found energy for inspiration. The morning after the dreadful day, and the long, clicking hours of the night (it never ceases to amaze how many machines there are in hospitals; how many people breathe like crickets) I woke to a nest of crumpled silk. Her lily hands, her familiar face. I watched her sleep in the plastic bed, I ate biscuits. I took out my yellow notebook (in that new sense of quiet, that uneasy calm) and began to write.
I, or we, have been operating like this ever since. And she has always, selflessly, allowed me to spill my ink. Some might think this is selfish of me. I think it’s magic.
When first asked to review Writing Motherhood, A Creative Anthology, the free, unbridled ‘account’ of motherhood that I’ve given above is much what I’d hoped for. I wasn’t disappointed.”
Read the full article here
Publication rights The Wales Arts Review, June 2017
For Saffie-Rose Roussos
Lamp in paperfields
and in the sky, a compression of long halls.
Do you know how sudden you are
how sad? Sadness being air
or soft fly of a thing
over dark houses.
The sad dying voice of the bird
is my dying voice
We are the poem – Look
our heads, tongues
drag with the old clock.
This is how it has to be.
The shadows dancing on the eaves
know our trick
of being one thing
when you lower the lamp
of your voice
my mouth rises to its light,
I dilate under your finger-tones,
if you fall the moon will step down
and hold you close.
First published Ink, Sweat and Tears 2016