Cemetery as Muse

The daffodils are out and suddenly the end of my residency at Brompton Cemetery is drawing closer. It’s so far held many of the things I hoped for, and also many things I didn’t expect at all. I have been spending as much time there as possible, meeting volunteers and visitors, participating in activities and…

Best of: January

This post almost didn’t make it; in fact, these are the only three books that I read in January (if you don’t count a few Enid Blytons). It was a difficult month. I was exhausted, and extremely anxious about the fires close to my family, so I gave my mind some time off. I watched…

Best of: November

Scraping it in under the wire with this one, things got away from me a bit at the beginning of December and we’ve been in Australia for the last few weeks. It’s going to be 41C today though, so I am hiding in the house with the air-conditioner on, and I thought I may as…

Review: Knithoard

Miss Marple gave a tinkly little laugh.‘You’re so severe – of course the weather is a very English subject of conversation – one forgets – Oh dear – this is the wrong coloured wool.’ […]‘Take me back inside,’ said Mr Rafiel. ‘I’ll have my massage now before that chattering hen comes back.’ Presenting herself as…

Best of: October

Of these three, the Alice Oswald was the only book that I chose for myself this month. One was a gift, and one was recommended many times by a booktuber I follow before I finally picked it up when I happened to walk past it in a shop. Every so often I wonder whether I…

Review: A Kingdom of Love

Accept my body as transgression,My lungs for greed, guts for sloth,My bones for pride, and envy: my loins. Receive my tongue with all itsHoneyed compromise; there will be tears.My skin: confessional, a slate cleaned. This first collection from priest and writer Rachel Mann is filled with rich imagery and visceral language of the body. The…

Best of: September

Once again, it took me about three seconds to choose my top three books from last month, I love it when it’s easy! I’ve already reviewed Reckless Paper Birds in full, so do go and read that post if you haven’t yet, and I’ll just give it a few words below. I know the whole…

Review: Reckless Paper Birds

I needed the God of my childhood to be useful so I folded him, shaped his pages into wings. Cranes at first, then more challenging roosters, swallows, owls. I pinched edges, split clauses to make word plumage. I fractured Leviticus into pleats. […] I bought Reckless Paper Birds, John McCullough’s third collection, after opening it…

Review: Dad, Remember You Are Dead

The hunt is on: through ashes, photographs and lists, through bone and prayer, through violations – from ‘Utterance’ Jacqueline Saphra’s previous collection All My Mad Mothers, was shortlisted for the T.S. Eliot Prize in 2017, and she returns with a stunning companion collection in which it is her father who takes centre stage. The poems…

Reading Poetry – Where to Begin?

…bewildered were the dead going about their days and nights in the dark putting their feet down carefully and finding themselves floating… – Alice Oswald, ‘Body’ …A light song of light swells up in the dark times, in wolf time and knife time, in knuckle and blood times; it hums a small tune in the…