This week sees the publication of my debut poetry collection, Remembering Blue by Ward Wood Publishing. The poems were written over a period of ten years (2008 – 2018) and, even though I am also lucky enough to have two novels published (Also by Ward Wood), with two more on the way, there is something very special about having a book of my poems in print.
My first instinct when it came out was to hide, but I’m over that now that it is time to tell people about it, and to say how thrilling it is to hold such a stylishly-produced book in my hands. Thanks are especially due to Ward Wood and its inspirational publisher Adele Ward, who was the first to suggest that I try my hand at writing poetry.
I must also thank the book’s cover designer, Kayla Bell. I think it’s simply beautiful. If you see a resemblance to the cover for my second novel, Blue Notes, Still Frames, that’s because Kayla designed that cover too. Many thanks!
When the publishers’ asked me to write some suggestions for the back cover blurb, I felt stumped, and wondered if I even knew what these poems were ‘about’ – I’m probably the last one to know but I scribbled this and it will do, I guess.
‘These poems were written during ten years recovering from a life-threatening brain haemorrhage. Poetry writing itself began for me then. The severity of the injury released hidden and repressed feelings, it began a process of rewiring my brain, focusing my mind on what life really meant, or should mean, for me. I was warned that I would probably cry more easily than before. That was both true and beneficial. The poems began before I left hospital. They document, often tangentially, that period, from awakening from a six-hour coma with a mysteriously fractured spine, through several years of rehabilitation, remembering and decoding – the good things as well as the bad: childhood and adolescence revisited, adult relationships reassessed, and most importantly, what is important now that I am fully recovered. Awakening from that death-like coma was a rebirth. When things were difficult, it helped to remember blue.
The title comes from the opening poem:
This blank page is grey
I shall write rain and cloud here
but remember blue.