I wrote poetry long before I became embroiled in fiction.
I was 12 and had just started school at St Barnabas College. My English teacher got us to create an anthology of favourite poems. I spent hours trawling through books in the local and school library. I'm talking here about the dark ages before the internet.
At any rate, this first dip into poetry soaked the form into my bloodstream through my fingertips as I licked pages to turn them. I didn't always understand the poems but they stirred the embers of a certain something in me. A something my 12 year old self couldn't quite name but felt compelled to rake up into the steady flicker of a pilot flame.
And so it began.
While other girls my age were writing in their diaries, I was filling a notebook with poems. Some of these I shared with my mother – my harshest critic. Others I kept to myself because, they voiced my teenage angst – you know, the kind only a teenager can possess.
As I grew older I discovered fiction and wrote my first novel – Panthra.
Then I moved on to short stories but quickly returned to longer fiction.
The point of this preamble is that as a consequence I've always had a soft spot for poets. I know I can never be a very good one – I tend to get too flowery with my language. Turning 40 instilled a certain amount of wisdom in me with regards to my writing. I now leave the outstanding poetry to those who know how to do it.
Well, okay, sometimes I still write the odd one or two but tend to keep them to myself.
Okay, okay, I still write quite a lot of it in a notebook I keep in a drawer by the side of my bed. Geez, you guys are relentless.
Now moving on. A few months ago I introduced you to the poet Caroline Natzler. This month I'll be introducing you to Karina Vidler. I met Karina at one of Caroline's workshops and we clicked. When our busy schedules allow, we meet up at The Royal Festival Hall for tea, cake and a chat.
Whenever I read Karina's poetry I get that same hit I got when I first read poetry as a 12 year old. There's an honesty, power and energy to Karina's poetry which I truly admire.
I am immensely pleased to announce that 32 of her poems have been chosen to feature in a Prolebooks pamphlet called Caboodle.
I've been invited up to Sheffield for the launch of Caboodle. This is a triple bonus for me.
- I get to go to Sheffield – there's something about the landscape up there which calls to the English part of my mixed up genes;
- Catch up with my wonderful writing friend Bev Cross and her family;
- Sample the joys of a pamphlet launch.
After the event I'll be sure to give you the low down. But if by any chance you're near The Fat Cat in Sheffield on 19th February, why not pop by to sample the goods for yourself.
Later this month Karina will be the featured poet on this blog.