Tuesday, October 29, 2013

book review: red roots, orange sky by csilla toldy

I always look forward to reading a Lapwing publication, and Csilla Toldy's poetry pamphlet is no exception. Relationships are a strong theme, with the first section of the pamphlet, 'Red Roots', exploring growing up, and the second section, 'Orange Sky' looking at the twists and turns of a relationship. Csilla is also a film-maker, and many of the poems feature surprising visual images:

Quick, bring
the needle to pin
her down into the dark -

(from 'The Sewing Machine')

Repeated images of losing blood show us the vulnerability contained in the narrative and impressionistic poems, while the orange sky seems to represent the weight of the past.  The free verse formats, punctuation, last lines, and titles work very hard to show us, rather than tell us, the strong emotions here. This is an ambitious collection and I was left with the feeling that the poet has more to say. I hope to read more from Csilla in the future.

Find out more about Csilla, including details of 'Red Roots, Orange Sky' on her website.

Wednesday, October 02, 2013

a braid of words: ten years on

It's now been ten years since my first pamphlet collection A braid of words came out with Poetry Monthly Press. Chris and I had spent the previous day moving house: I remember how exciting it was when the little box of pamphlets arrived at our new home. Here are two poems from A braid of words to mark the occasion.

A braid of words

I cling to the edge
of the roar of a lion,
its white-gold edge
like a coast at sunrise,
My feet hang clear
of the quicksand below
as it bubbles and sucks.
I will scramble up
to face the roar,
its mountains and valleys,
my breath a sirocco,
my pulse a landslide.
I will hear my calm voice
through the tremor,
a braid of words
like a pulley-cable
to haul myself across
until I fall off
into full noon sunlight,
blinking, my palms
stripped and raw.

(This poem was first published in Iota magazine, and also appears in Centuries of Skin)

Angel in the shopping centre

Next to this High Street bench
I sustain your thrown fag-ends,
your empty cans of Coke -
their teardrops brand my palm.
All day I am brushed
by the fingers of your children.
They are unafraid,
but you will only seek me
in your dreams.

York Literature Festival HUB 2018 event, Tuesday, 20th March

I'm looking forward to my first event for absolutely ages - at the York Literature Festival HUB. Many thanks to YLF and Valley...