2020: The year to focus?

Happy New Year (unless it is already too late to say that?)

I have actually made some resolutions this year to do with writing. It can be easy to wriggle out of working on my own work with currently 4 jobs and general exhaustion! I’m hoping this will help.

This year I am going to:

  • Submit more of my work to journals
  • Write at least once a month (I want my goals to be achievable!) Quality not quantity 🙂
  • Focus on going to more open mic sessions (I’m flat searching this year to move into the city of Manchester, or at least closer, which will definitely help. Currently I have to have the motivation to get a train and a bus or a willing driver!)

I’ve not started too badly out of the blocks – I’ve had 3 poems out with The Pangolin Review already (which I actually wrote 1 and a half years ago, so it is good to find a home for them) and you can read them here.

I’ve also applied for a Pamphlet Editing day with The Poetry Business – wish me luck!

Do you have any writing resolutions and are you sticking to them so far?

#Lovelikeblood Blog Tour by Sascha Aurora Akhtar

Delighted to be on the Blog Tour today of the excitingly experimental and personal collection, #LoveLikeBlood by Sascha Akhtar, sharing an excerpt and all the information you will need to know about this book!


Category: Poetry

ISBN:  9781912211524

Format: Paperback. Released November 2019. 76 pages.

Available to order from publisher, Knives, Forks and Spoons Press or author direct.

Price: £12.00


With #LoveLikeBlood, which is the title of a very famous song Love Like Blood by 80’s stalwarts Killing Joke, Sascha Akhtar takes her poetic journey back to her origins. The first poem in the book is called GirlChild of the 80’s to send the tone straight from the beginning. She IS in fact an 80’s child & wants others to know this, with the names of the Barbie dolls specifically from the 80’s mentioned in the poem. This collection of poems is meant to contain the poet’s life – a legacy of mental imbalance, undiagnosed aspergers for most of her life – through language. ‘I believe all of my life- from my father leaving when I was 4, to a legacy of abuse ( physical & emotional), a history of mental illness but striking out anyway on my own- leaving Pakistan, leaving America all of it alone – has been rupture and that is what this poetry collection contains: rupture, deep emotions & process but also alchemy & ‘becoming’ ( the poet is also a meditation guide & healer which was prompted through her own healing). The dedication reads: This book is dedicated to You, for there is no ‘I’ except in You & the same love runs through our veins. Like blood.

About Sascha Aurora Akhtar:

Sascha Aurora Akhtar feels deeply connected to her ancestral roots in Lancashire, South Yorkshire and Pakistan.

Her first poetry collection was The Grimoire of Grimalkin (Salt, 2007), followed by 199 Japanese Names for Japanese Trees (Shearsman, 2016) & the first of its kind a deck of Poetry cards with fine art Only Dying Sparkles (ZimZalla 2018). In 2019, she has published The Whimsy Of Dank Ju-Ju (Emma Press 2019) & #LoveLikeBlood (Knives, Forks & Spoons Press 2019).

Her fiction has appeared in BlazeVox, Tears In The Fence, The Learned Pig, Anti-Heroin Chic, and Storgy.

Sascha has performed internationally at festivals such as the Poetry International Festival in Rotterdam, Avantgarde Festival in Hamburg, and Southbank Centre’s Meltdown festival in London, curated by Yoko Ono.


little nature, guises off

Today, snowdrops
I got a message from, snowdrops
Asalamalaikum, snowdrops
Then someone else said, snowdrops


Two slow, lumbering animals
Facing each other
In the sky

One steps forward
One back

It’s so gentle some days


when your vibe starts jamming’ wth
your vibe starts jammin’ wth
your vibe starts jammin’ wid
your face
starts jammin’ wid your face
starts jamming wid your face!
your face !

your face

Today snowdrops tomorrow snowdrops
today snowdropstoday tomorrow
snowdrops todaysnowdrops today your
today snowdrops tomorrow your face.

Today snowdrops.

shout(ing)out snowdrops

I’ll secure my account later, bitch.

“your payment has been declined”

Blog Tour: Miles of Sky Above Us, Miles of Earth Below by Steve Denehan

Today I am on the Blog Tour for the lovely poet Steve Denehan, for his debut full poetry collection, Miles of Sky Above Us, Miles of Earth Below, published by Cajun Mutt Press. I will be sharing one of my favourite poems from the collection.

About ‘Miles of Sky Above Us, Miles of Earth Below’

Steve Denehan is an extraordinary poet. In this debut collection, his poetry brings unforgettable impact into small spaces, reveals the fabric of solitude in epic proportions, and tells stories of the moments where life truly exists. Touching and uplifting, Denehan brings to life the small things and turns them into the extraordinary. In family life and in love for his daughter, he finds poetry, taking the reader on a journey of love and discovery.

Touching and uplifting, Steve Denehan’s debut collection brings to life the small things and turns them into the extraordinary. In family life and the love for his daughter, he finds poetry, taking the reader on a journey of love and discovery.

Where can you buy it?

Cajun Mutt Press via Amazon: https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/057855996X/ref=sr_1_1?keywords=steve+denehan&qid=1566298037&s=gateway&sr=8-1

Find out more about Steve Denehan’s work via his website: https://stevedenehan.wixsite.com/website

The Extract:

Half Eaten Cookies and Carrots

Like a lot of things, the mint chocolate cheesecake flatters to


it lies in our stomachs, heavy, slowing us down

another Christmas dinner over with

that familiar anti-climactic lethargy

dark fingers tug at our eyelids with the temptation of an afternoon


a once-a-year decadence

but it is brushed aside by the bouncing, giddy thoughts of our


still drunk on the shimmering mystery of half eaten cookies and


we climb into the car

loaded with presents and carols and laughter

and drive into the ever-falling evening

marvelling at the empty streets, the quiet roads

we drive into my Christmas past

my parents just the same but older, smaller, wiser

with half smiles we exchange you-shouldn’t-haves

before her little eyes grow heavy

goodbyes are hugged and she sags against my chest

I look at her bundled into her car seat

fading with every passing streetlight

as we drive toward the Christmases to come

Hope you enjoyed the extract of Steve Denehan’s work! Do check out the rest of the tour dates which feature great reviews and insightful interviews with Steve himself.

FEATURE: Andy N and Amanda Steel’s exciting new collection!

When I heard the talented duo that is Andy N and Amanda Steel, had a new poetry collection out, I had to read and spread the word!

Originally inspired by what was intended to be a standalone seven-word poem on Instagram; “Run Away with Me in Seven Words” is the debut co-written collection by Manchester Poets and real-life couple, Amanda Steel and Andy N.

This book contains a sequence of poems taking the reader through a journey. Each piece is exactly seven words, where the two writers seem to play emotional tennis with each other using a pared down precision, redefining how sequences of poetry can be written. This collection takes its readers on a lyrical journey from the beginning, celebrating the textures of life and indeed love, between the desire to stand still and the necessity of not been afraid to run away with the flow.

I really enjoyed the combination of photography and poetry. A relaxing read to spend an evening with!

A feel good collection, currently available on Lulu here!

I’m an Indigo Dreams Poet!

‘Growing Pains’ is a chapbook I have been working on forever. I’m so grateful that it has found a home with such a caring publisher. Indigo Dreams publishes writers I admire – Anna Saunders, Kitty Coles to name just a few!

If you click below, you can see my name alongside some amazingly talented poets, signed up to a friendly, caring publisher I massively admire!!! Definitely not sunk in! I can’t wait to work with Indigo Dreams Publishing!
Massive congrats to all on the line up.
#Growingpains coming 2020


Blog Tour: Self Portrait by Elisabeth Horan

I am delighted to be on the Blog tour for this brilliant collection by established Vermont-based poet, Elisabeth Horan. Below is some information about the book which I hope will convince you of its innovation and creativity!

Self Portrait by Elisabeth Horan

Inspired by Frida Kahlo

Published by Cephalo Press September 30th 2019

I paint self-portraits because I am so often alone,

because I am the person I know best. – Frida Kahlo

About the book: This book of poetry explores the life and work of Frida Kahlo, suffusing the intensity of her life into a dual-language collection. In her love of language and Frida, emerging poet Elisabeth Horan offers a beautiful meditation on art and that which inspires it. Her connection to Frida is drawn out through the vivid poems and imagery, embedding the personal into a life-story that has become well-known. Horan’s collection illuminates a new approach to Kahlo’s life in its emphasis on shared experience and poetic tribute.

About the Author: Elisabeth Horan is an imperfect creature from Vermont advocating for animals, children and those suffering alone and in pain – especially those ostracized by disability and mental illness.

She is Editor in Chief at Animal Heart Press, and Co-Editor at Ice Floe Press. She has several chaps and collections coming out this year including Bad Mommy / Stay Mommy at Fly on the Wall Press, Odd list Odd house Odd me at Twist It Press, Was It R*pe, from Rhythm and Bones Press, and Just to the Right of the Stove, with Hedgehog Poetry Press. She is a poetry mentor and proud momma to Peter and Thomas. She recently earned her MFA from Lindenwood University and received a 2018 Best of the Net Nomination from Midnight Lane Boutique and a 2018 Pushcart Nomination from Cease Cows. Follow her @ehoranpoet  & ehoranpoet.com Her other books are available to buy from: https://www.ehoranpoet.com/my-bookstore.html

The Extract:

Proyecto Para Repararme en Tres Etapas, Vol. 2 1931


I dream about the time

You might have painted

My nipple, and my spine

Aligns – that I might sit

Straight or recline, arching

Perfectly at the waist – as

I saw done by the others.


It was all about the angle;

Your view.


And I am not,

Nor will I ever be –

Disabled for you

Where to buy the book:

From Publisher: https://www.cephalopress.com/books/

From Amazon (ebook): https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B07XZFJ3CT

Review: “The Shape of a Tulip Bird” by Christopher Hopkins

“The Shape of a Tulip Bird” by Christopher Hopkins describes the sea of a “wombing storm” and the tragedy –
“The body doesn’t keep its secrets” and the couple finds in this opening poem, “there is a fist where the heart should be” and that instead of a baby there are “absent echoes”.

In “Magpie”, Hopkins writes,
“If life is a feather
black or white
then death
as a blinded bird
singing for the night.”

This suggested the fragility of human existence and how small we actually are – just a singular feather, in this case. Hopkins suggests death is the fear of not knowing – the blinded bird sings for something they will never sense. The image of blindness continues in “Hospital” where Hopkins writes, “I’m holding your hand like the blind” – the desperation and the uniting force of grief is clear.

In “My Heart is a failed city”, Hopkins describes the weight of his grief – “All the heaviness is at my centre” and he becomes a “failed city” without the busy city lights and activities.

The collection ends with “White Feather”, a symbol of surrender and purity. The light in the dark is found in celebration as possible as Hopkins is able to be the “happy drunk” with a shared dream and a hope for the future.

This collection is available from Clare Songbirds Publishing House, New York and from the author directly.