Don’t Ask

After years of writing and months of planning, I have a book!


Earlier this week I took an oil painting to be properly photographed for the cover. This painting is by Alan Slater, and has been hanging by my desk for a few years now. I met Alan through Twitter (we still haven’t met in person), fell for this painting and bought it. I’ve been losing myself in it when I write for so long now, I couldn’t think of any other image that would suit the cover of my book so well. Luckily, my publishers agreed. I think it’s beautiful. The original painting is square, so we lose a bit to the right, but this portion of it captures the sense of depth and calm I always feel when staring at it.

Forty-seven of my poems made it into this collection. Kelly Davio, my editor at Eyewear, sifted those out of nearly double that number that could have gone in, and I’ll be forever grateful for her steady eye and evaluation skills. She has organised them into four sections that bring disparate ideas into coherent themes, which makes the whole book easier to navigate as a reader.

There are some poems I love that missed the cut: they will either end up somewhere else or sulk. You know what poems are like. One long one about a chap in Paris having his head guillotined, investigating how long he remains conscious afterwards, didn’t make it in. One day I may write an entire collection about different deaths, but it just didn’t fit here. Some just weren’t good enough. Some were too much like others already in. There are some I wrote years ago and some from my current year as Hampshire Poet.

If you’d like to put Alan’s beautiful painting on your bookshelf and get some free poems stuck to the back of it, you can order it from Eyewear Publishing. It’s out in February.