I’m delighted to welcome a fellow Hedgehog Poetry Press poet to Patricia’s Pen. Peter has come along to chat about his poetry pamphlet. Without further ado, it’s over to Peter.
As I sit down to write a few words for Patricia’s Pen I begin by considering these two ‘books’.
The first, a school science notebook in which I scribed in my neatest handwriting several poems composed between the ages of 14 and 17, my ‘first collection’. Some were lyrical and romantic, influenced by Shakespeare and Keats. Others – political, experimental, existential, idealistic. Frankly, in retrospect very few of my juvenilia had any true quality but some of the themes continue to crop up in my writing several decades later.
The second is my genuine authorial debut, a 22-poem chapbook Art of insomnia published exactly one year ago by The Hedgehog Poetry Press, now available in a revised re-print (five poems having undergone minor but significant surgery). When originally published, lockdown prevented an in-person launch so it is gratifying that I’ll be able to promote the reprint at a number of festivals this year. I also appreciate the wonderful coincidence that this blog appears here on the anniversary of the original publication.
Those who have reviewed my chapbook are more articulate than I in describing its content. I have until now found that sort of objectivity more difficult because it was so unplanned and unwanted. It was after all an automatic response to my wife’s unexpected death, something I simply had to do therapeutically in an attempt to cope with grief and find a way to face a very different future.
Three years on from my darling Helen’s passing, though Art of Insomnia remains for me a personal expression of love, grief and future positivity, I am finally able to view it more objectively as a work of poetry. I am now able to enjoy with appropriate humility the surprising comparisons certain reviewers or commentators have made to works of Emily Dickinson and Shakespeare, as well as the more obviously relevant Douglas Dunn’s Elegies, when describing some of the content and varieties of writing style which appear within my little chapbook.
Having undergone such an elemental outpouring in giving life to my debut work, some of you may wonder whether I have anything left in my poetic locker.
As you would expect I have continued to contribute individual poems to anthologies. Further, during lockdown I wrote new work on an almost daily basis and have continued in a similar fashion in the more recent period of freedom. It is now necessary to impose the discipline of looking at hundreds of drafts, editing, rejecting and selecting fearlessly.
During the next 18 months, I wish to publish a further chapbook and a first full collection. The material is all there; I simply have to get it into shape. Accordingly, you may expect to encounter me at workshops based around good writing practice and habits.
About Peter A
Peter A is a prize-winning Scottish writer, mainly of poetry, whose work has appeared online, in film poems, sound installations, podcasts and paper publications including Laldy, Spindrift, Poems for Grenfell Tower, A Kist of Thistles, Dove Tales Scotland anthologies A Kind of Stupidity and Bridges or Walls, several Dreich (Hybrid Press) publications, and the Civic Leicester anthologies Black Lives Matter – Poems for a New World and Poetry and Settled Status for All. His debut chapbook Art of Insomnia was published in 2021 and was nominated for the Michael Marks Pamphlet Award.
A compelling read the piece from Peter A. I think a man who’s words are well worth the space they fill. A contemporary Scottish poet of some standing, and one who I recognise as such and have a great affinity with. The truth and honesty he employs in his writing says a great deal about the man’s character. A difficult collection to write in the first place, I’d think, never mind a revised version. Kudos sir. A great job:)
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So true, Brian. Thank you for taking the time to read and comment.